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Introducing The OpenSTEM Labs

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Even before COVID-19, growing intakes of STEM students and a lack of laboratory capacity for face-to-face teaching has been a real challenge for colleges and universities.

If like many institutions, you need to bring practical learning online in the new world of social distancing and off-campus learning, The Open University can help.

The Open University’s OpenSTEM Labs allow students to engage in practical activities through online distance learning. They offer an authentic experience and connections to real data, building your students’ skills for their scientific career.

Students can choose when and where to learn as they build their practical knowledge and expertise independently, without supervision and without having to visit your campus.

The online labs are scalable and can be rolled out via your Virtual Learning Environment to your cohort of students – helping you lead the way in the digital transformation of your learning delivery.

Benefits of the OpenSTEM Labs approach

  • Provides consistent, convenient and flexible distance learning for multiple students
  • Simple, cost-effective implementation of online practical learning to supplement your existing offering
  • Provides continuity of learning without the need for laboratory access
  • Can be used at various levels for formal and informal learning
  • Developed by experienced academics specifically for distance learning
  • Already used successfully by Open University students for more than five years

What is available?

We are currently offering a subset of our OpenSTEM Lab activities to other institutions and hope to add to this list in the near future.

  • Mendel Peas
Health Science
  • Creatinine clearance 
  • Microbiology of water
  • Quantitative PCR analysis
  • Quantitative HPLC laboratory
  • Rat training laboratory
  • Chemical equilibrium
  • Arrhenius equation
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • A model cobalt complex for oxygen uptake

If we tried to do this in real life, students would have to come in every day for two weeks to achieve the same ends. We don’t have the facilities to do that. You couldn’t make a reasonable cost-benefit for the learning. With an OpenSTEM Lab, we can complete the whole experiment in one 90-minute session. It is ideal.

Dr Eleanor Dommett
Kings College London

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