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Learning in the lab can continue at a distance

Katie Cowart

As most of the world came to a halt at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers were trying to find a way to engage students through research at a distance. University of Georgia professor of biochemistry and molecular biology Erin Dolan and her research team carried out a study to appraise the remote programs that grew from this challenge.

The study evaluated 23 programs at colleges, universities, and research institutions across the country. Most of these programs were eight- to 10-week internships.

“We wanted to get a sense of how the programs worked so we could make recommendations as the programs were ongoing as well as see ways we could make them stronger and better for remote research going forward,” said Dolan, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Innovative Science Education. “We wanted to know what happened and was it good from a student perspective because these programs are developed to serve students and help them grow.”

The researchers conducted a descriptive evaluative study where they asked participants to describe the novel approaches used to execute the remote research. Participants also reported on the strengths and weaknesses of their programs and made suggestions for improvements. Undergraduate researcher Olivia Erickson, a senior majoring in biology, and others on the research team compiled the feedback and analyzed overarching themes.

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Stock photo via Getty Images.

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