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University System of Maryland Rolls Out Virtual Science Labs Across All Campuses

The University System of Maryland has partnered with Labster to provide its virtual laboratory simulations across all USM institutions. The university is working to integrate virtual science labs into its course offerings as the COVID-19 pandemic has limited students' and instructors' access to classrooms.

"While it is difficult to replace the 'hands-on' experience of a real lab environment, we were very pleased to find a solution for our campuses that can help us de-densify the classroom by helping students prepare for labs in advance using simulations," said MJ Bishop, director of USM's Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, in a statement. "Labster is both providing the tools as well as the support faculty need to learn how best to integrate the simulations into their course."

Students and faculty will have access to more than 150 virtual lab simulations, including biology, chemistry, physics and general sciences. Through the interactive simulations, students can perform realistic experiments, learn key science concepts, and practice their skills in a risk-free learning environment," according to a news announcement.

The rollout is part of USM's OnTrack initiative, a collaborative effort between the fully online University of Maryland Global Campus and the Kirwan Center to help USM institutions prepare for remote instruction. In addition to funding the Labster deal, USM OnTrack will provide professional development for faculty to help them incorporate the technology in their teaching.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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