Molz, D. (2009) Home dissection kits and more Inside Higher Education, June 5
Another form of blended learning: online courses with home kits. The interesting question is the extent to which virtual labs can replace or more likely reduce the need for home kits. This is where course design becomes critical – what skills are we teaching and how do we measure those competencies? Which delivery medium is most suitable for which competence?
Note though that home kits are not new. The British OU’s first science foundation course opened in 1971 with an elaborate home kit sent to every student, and many courses still have home kits – not just in science. However, the OU supplemented home experiments with a one week residential summer school, where students could use more expensive equipment or do experiments that needed personal supervision. The OU consistently is ranked in the top 10 universities in the UK (out of 180+) for both teaching and research – proof of the quality of distance teaching in science.