Authors: Linda and Peter Jeschofnig

Publisher: Jossey-Bass
ISBN: 978-0-470-60704-6

Click Here To Purchase Teaching Lab Science Courses Online: Resources for Best Practices, Tools, and Technology (Jossey-Bass Guides to Online Teaching and Learning)

Linda Jeschofnig, co-author of “Teaching Lab Science Courses Online”, is CEO of Hands-On Labs Inc. and prior college educator with a master teacher designation in the fields of accounting, economics, and business. (2011, back cover and xvii inside) She is a graduate of University of Houston (BBA) and obtained her Master’s from Regis University. She received many awards as a result of her high ethical standards and business savvy.

Peter Jeschofnig, co- author of “Teaching Lab Science Courses Online”, is co-founder of Hands-On Labs Inc., as well as the non-profit Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education. (2011, back cover and xvii inside) He holds the title of Professor Emeritus of chemistry and physics at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) where he won the 2001 Distance Educator of the Year award. Professor Jeschofnig is past chair of CMC’s Science Department, and teaches adjunct physics at CCCOnline. He is a double Fulbright Scholar. His undergraduate and graduate degrees are from West Texas State University and his PhD’s are (anthropology) from Methodist University, and (adult science education) from Colorado State University.

While Peter was teaching at CMC the Jeschofnigs decided to develop and found the Hands-On Labs, Inc., and the Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education. (2011, xvii inside) The Hand-On Labs produce over one hundred various LabPaqs for different online science courses. Both Peter and Linda are frontrunners in the innovation and development of online science education because they believe “…that every aspect of modern life stems from scientific advancement…the future of our country and the world requires a more scientific-literate population.” (2011, ix inside)

Science teaches a number of critical skillsets that students need to master effectively and efficiently to navigate the workplace. The authors state that “…experiential science activities teach solid problem-solving and decision-making skills.” (2011, p.2) Science has been one of the laggards in the pursuit of developing online courses for the real world. The Jeschfonigs have changed the dynamics of that equation in positive ways proving that science can be effectively taught online v. in the traditional classroom. As a matter of fact, their experience has led them to conclude that “…experiential learning tends to create more profound and longer-lasting knowledge of subject matter than didactic learning. Direct participation in a learning activity, in contrast to passively observing or listening to information, makes the learning personal and paves the way for deeper, more genuine, and longer-lasting comprehension. Science also deals with change---the causes and effects of change.” (p.5)

On the topic of lab structure the authors state, “…the laboratory component of a lab science course should be structured in a way that allows students to gain significant personal familiarity with experimental procedures and processes, as well as opportunities to participate in designing experiments.” (2011, p.7) And, “…students should come to appreciate the importance of direct observation of science phenomena and learn to distinguish between inferences based on theory and outcomes of experiments.” Furthermore, “…students must take responsibility for their own learning.” It is important to note that, “Through active engagement with the subject matter, it becomes more personally relevant and interesting to the students.” (p.10)

There is no doubt that the direction of higher education is the flexibility of pursuing it online and at one’s own pace. As a matter of fact, the authors hypothecate “…that 3.9 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2007 semester.” (2011, p.12) and that “…higher education students are choosing online courses at ten times the rate they are choosing campus-based courses.” This means that educational facilities that are not currently offering an array of online courses may soon find themselves without students. Online courses are better learning forums because “…asynchronistic communication forces improvement in the long-term memories and focusing abilities of the communicators.” (p.18)

The authors present tips for educators on how best to structure their online learning courses and how best to engage their student populace in these courses. I am a graduate of an online university and can attest to their value and significance in the reinforcement of learning and retention of materials learned, as well as the benefits of concise and correct verbiage to convey our thoughts and feelings about any given topic. Personally, I believe that the future of higher, and perhaps primary/post-secondary, education too, is moving toward the virtual classroom. These formats teach valuable written and spoken communication skills that many brick and mortar institutions cannot possibly keep pace with.

I highly recommend this book for any and all persons or institutions that are contemplating or constructing their online course curricula, particularly those with lab science courses that have previously been taught only in the classroom. This book is revealing and point on with its assessment of how best practices can improve the educational pursuits of all persons involved in this online process.

Click Here To Purchase Teaching Lab Science Courses Online: Resources for Best Practices, Tools, and Technology (Jossey-Bass Guides to Online Teaching and Learning)