Science experiments for communities of distance learners

Robinson, David J. and Swithenby, Stephen J. (2009). Science experiments for communities of distance learners. In: Bilsel, Ayhan and Garip, Mehmet U. eds. Frontiers in Science Education Research: Proceeedings of the Frontiers in Science Education Research Conference, 22-24 March 2009, Famagusta, North Cyprus. Cyprus: Eastern Mediterranean University Press, pp. 487–492.


A longstanding challenge for distance educators has been to provide a meaningful experience of science experiments. The difficulty is not only a matter of accessing equipment but also of framing the valuable social and collaborative experience that students enjoy in conventional laboratory settings. In this paper we describe the development of a module that allows individual students working at a distance to collaborate in groups, carry out simple but significant scientific experiments and acquire transferrable and professional experimental skills. Developing suitable experiments appropriate in a global distance learning environment is very different from devising a laboratory-based experiment. We report the results of a pilot with a small group of students, tested against the criteria for successful on-line collaborative experiments we have set for the new module.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions