With so many changes to academic life at Texas A&M, from courses moving online to the spring semester grading system being altered, students may be wondering how their in-person labs will be conducted for the rest of the semester.
In-person labs in the College of Science, the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the Department of Health and Kinesiology will continue to be conducted online through the use of Zoom, instructional videos, data sets being sent to students for analysis and other methods that may vary based on the instructor and the class.
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Mary Bryk said each individual instructor will decide how to make the best transition to online teaching.
“Individual instructors will determine how to transition their lab course activities to online delivery,” Bryk said. “There are several possible scenarios: post videos showing how techniques are performed and how data are collected, ask students to analyze and interpret data sent to the students by the instructor and more.”
Associate Chair for the Physical Education Activity Program Lorinda Cohen Gomez said while all of this semester’s kinesiology courses were successfully moved online, they had to be significantly altered because they are based on physical activity.
“I know it’s not the ideal situation since a lot of our classes are activity-based,” Gomez said. “Some of the instructors are going to do Zoom videos, or there are a lot of good video sources already, so they can put up a video so the students can still practice at home.”
Gomez also teaches an archery class for which she has already formed a new teaching plan.
“Archery is a skill my students can’t do [on their own] because they don’t have the equipment, they don’t have my guidance,” Gomez said. “So I put videos online where they’re going to do a video analysis of top-level archers to compare what the archers’ techniques are versus what they’ve learned in class.”
The College of Science is also making adjustments to their lab courses. Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs Lucas Macri said all lab courses will continue with alterations that adapt them to an online platform.
“Experiments will be performed and recorded on video by faculty instructors and teaching assistants,” Macri said. “We will provide links to the videos and all the experimental data that is collected. Students will analyze the data and write a report, which will be graded.”
Despite these changes, Macri said the impact on students will not be drastic.
“Because the first half of the spring semester was conducted in a face-to-face format, the students are already familiar with a significant portion of the laboratory equipment,” Macri said. “This minimizes the impact of switching to a new laboratory teaching format.”