Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) should increase the number of online courses, and online programs, offered in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
That’s the message of a study supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The study was conducted by four researchers who teach at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC.
The study acknowledges the success of HBCUs in producing African American scientists and engineers. Researchers concluded, however, that additional online courses, and online programs, would expand the number of students who could study these critical subjects.
“Unfortunately, most HBCUs in America do not offer online programs in STEM fields; however, a few offer online programs in non-STEM fields,” the researchers said.
Concerning resistance to online teaching, the study found, “A major concern among educators regarding online courses with laboratory components is the perception that less skills are gained with virtual labs due to the lack of hands-on activities when compared with wet labs offered with face-to-face courses.”
Previous studies, however, have shown that virtual science labs provide effective learning outcomes, the study said, adding, “Many U.S. health professional schools incorporate the use of virtual labs as major components of the medical education curriculum.”
The study urged HBCU institutions to provide support for faculty committed to teaching online, including training, technology, and assessment procedures.
The following researchers at Fayetteville State University conducted the study: Lawrence O. Flowers, assistant professor of microbiology; Erin N. White, assistant professor of biology; James E. Raynor, Jr., associate professor of cellular and molecular biology, and Sambit Bhattacharya, assistant professor of computer science.
You can read this peer-reviewed research, published in a SAGE journal, here.
It’s your turn. Do you teach STEM courses? What is your perception about the effectiveness of teaching STEM courses online? Share your comments below.