Edited Recording from June 12, 2020
As the instructor for a non-major GER science course, Anja Kade has a lot of students that come with apprehensions about doing well in a lab course, especially a distance lab course. Her friendly tone shines through in her thorough directions and excellent organizational structure. Students do better and have less anxiety when the location and steps to complete weekly assignments are clear.
Another great thing about this course is that the assessments are designed to minimize the potential of academic dishonesty. Kade doesn’t have any big proctored exams – instead, there are a lot of smaller quizzes and critical thinking assignments. When there are 4-6 graded activities every week, the cost of doing poorly on one here or there is minimized, and research has shown this makes students less likely to cheat. The final assignment is a multi-week experiment that students design and conduct on their own, sending in selfies to show their progress along the way.
Lastly, many instructors worry about the viability of an online lab course, but Kade has been doing it for years with no big fuss. She’s created a custom lab kit through Carolina Biological Supply that students order at the beginning of the semester. Many students have left feedback about how meaningful and exciting it was to do science in their own homes.
Apart from my passion for research-based scientific teaching, my research interests include the interactions of vegetation types and soils in arctic tundra and their associated carbon fluxes.