Station1 Partners with LabArchives to Foster Blended, Active, and Inquiry-Based Learning
A Case Study in Interdisciplinary Team Instruction
Station1 partnered with LabArchives to deliver its’ shared curriculum in the 2018 Summer@Station1 program through its’ innovative cloud-based digital platform. We joined the over 155,000 scientists and engineers worldwide who already use this platform for storing, organizing, sharing, collaborating, and publishing research. We were able to adapt existing functions for our blended, active, inquiry and research-based pedagogy.
The Station1 shared curriculum focuses on socially-directed STEM inquiry and research, drawing together critical perspectives on history of science and technology, social studies of science and technology, equity and inclusion, social change and innovation, computation in social context, and ethics. The shared curriculum builds on a core of inquiry, is integrated with students’ internship research projects, and is delivered by an interdisciplinary team of instructors using active, inclusive, and blended pedagogies.
The LabArchives digital platform serves as an electronic lab notebook, as well as a FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)-compliant instructional tool for facilitating blended (virtual and face-to-face), active, and inquiry-based learning. We were extremely grateful that LabArchives donated a subscription to Station1 at no cost for the use of its digital platform from to deliver the shared curriculum during Summer@Station1.
The platform fostered an outstanding learning experience that greatly enhanced the pedagogical approaches and learning outcomes of Station1. It was utilized in multiple ways:
The platform was employed as a learning management system (LMS) to organize all educational materials including content generated collaboratively by the instructional team and remote guest instructors, pre-class assignments, student feedback and revisions to assignments, and work generated by students during the shared curriculum both at Station1 and in the field. The user interface (UI) had a number of features particularly beneficial for blended and inquiry-based learning. The UI had the ability to organize folders hierarchically and sequentially, thus visually structuring the curriculum around the various stages of inquiry. In addition, each folder contained linked easily modified multimedia pages (e.g. rich text data, videos, images, tables, sketches, links, documents, datasets, assignments, etc.) which allowed organization of the day-to-day content and activities in an easily accessible and visually engaging manner (screenshot below). These capabilities facilitated the blended, “flipped” learning approach where pre-class multimedia materials and assignments were posted in the platform for students to work on remotely and independently prior to the face-to-face learning session.
Each student maintained their own digital notebook with all the course materials and their own work (i.e. assignments, project deliverables, and in-class work) and could also access the notebook through a mobile app. With active, inquiry and research-based pedagogical approaches, students also generate work during the learning sessions and activities, often collaboratively, which is also an assessment of their learning. Hence, a benefit of the platform was the ability to upload their work to the platform in real-time, whether in the learning space or in the field. This flexibility allowed us to use the platform when the learning activities took the classroom into the city (at the Lawrence History Center, Great Stone Dam, etc.). This is another excellent advantage for socially-directed research that often involves data collection and analysis at multiple geographic sites and locations.
The platform enabled students to maintain an evolving and complete digital archive/e-portfolio of their work. A digital portfolio allows students to more readily see progress and mastery of the material and increases student ownership of their educational process. Students could also share their work with their peers by giving them access to individual or multiple pages in their digital notebook.
Instructors utilized a comment function on student assignment and project deliverables for them to receive feedback, revise, and resubmit.
The platform facilitated collaboration of the lead instructional team and guest instructors, as each instructor could upload and contribute remotely by posting their materials in the platform. We could also provide guest instructors access to the full curriculum so they could better integrate their topics and activities with the flow of the curriculum prior to arrival at Station1. We also created an inclusive pedagogy literature resource page as a separate digital notebook which was very beneficial in preparing guest instructors prior to arrival.
The platform enables a complete digital archive of the curriculum and all student’s work and will enable tracking curriculum development longitudinally each time it is revised and delivered. The platform tracks and stores all revisions, by users, for every entry. The complete digital archive of student’s work is also beneficial for data analytics of assessment of student learning.
In addition to all of these benefits, LabArchives was also selected in order to allow students to become familiar with a state-of-the-art digital environment for the scientific and technological research, including “open research.”