The use of web enhanced curriculum to teach and reinforce science concepts based on specific learning objectives has been a positive experience for faculty and students. This chapter provides a review of the rapid development of web enhanced science courses as a teaching-with-technology alternative to the traditional approach. The main theme of the article is a step by step introduction to the design, implementation, and usage of a computer-aided system in teaching undergraduate science (physics, mathematics, electronics, and chemistry) courses with an adequate laboratory experience. These steps are (i) the learning management system evaluation and selection; (ii) computerized course curriculum adjustment to a web-based format; (iii) the simulations (virtual labs) and animated illustrations if needed; (iv) the establishment of threaded discussion board where each student is expected to participate in discussions moderated by a professor; (v) computerized test set ups; (vi) student feedback summarization and analysis.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interactive Tutorial: A document, software, or other media on the Internet created for the purpose of instruction for any of a wide variety of tasks. Interactive tutorials usually have the following characteristics: a presentation of content, a method of review where user follows on-screen instructions (and in some cases watch short instruction movies), whereupon user does the tutorial exercises and gets feedback depending on his actions, and transition to additional modules or sections.
Virtual Lab: A web site or software for interactive learning based on simulation of real phenomena. It allows students to explore a topic by comparing and contrasting different scenarios, to pause and restart application for reflection and note taking, to get practical experimentation experience over the Internet.
Web-Based Assessment: A method that enables educators and trainers to author, schedule, deliver, and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. It is well suited for both Internet and Intranet environments and replaces the old pencil-and-paper testing systems and simplifies the entire exam cycle, including generation, execution, evaluation, presentation and archiving.
Learning Style: The method of learning particular to an individual that is presumed to allow that individual to learn best. Over 80 learning style models have been proposed, each consisting of at least two different styles (visual, auditory, reading/writing, verbal, logical, kinesthetic and so on). It has been assumed that teachers should assess the learning styles of their students and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each student’s learning style.
Application Sharing: An element of remote access, falling under the collaborative software umbrella that enables two or more users to access a shared application or document from their respective computers simultaneously in real time. Generally, the shared application or document will be running on a host computer, and remote access to the shared content will be provided to other users by the host user.
Computerized Test: A method of administering tests in which the responses are electronically recorded, assessed, or both. As the name implies, computer-based testing makes use of a computer or an equivalent electronic device. Computer-based testing system enables educators and trainers to author, schedule, deliver, and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. It may be a stand-alone system or a part of a virtual learning environment, accessed via Internet.
Distance Education: Education that focuses on the pedagogy, technology, and instructional systems design that are effectively incorporated in delivering education via Internet to students who are not physically “on site” to receive their education. Instead, teachers and students may communicate asynchronously (at times of their own choosing) by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows them to communicate in real time (synchronously).