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OSU Ecampus to enhance online chemistry lab courses with adaptive learning

Collaboration with Smart Sparrow allows faculty to augment lab experiences with online simulations

July 19, 2017

CORVALLIS, Ore., and SAN FRANCISCO — Oregon State University Ecampus today announced an innovative collaboration with Smart Sparrow that will allow chemistry faculty to design their own wet lab simulations to enhance the student learning experience in place of in-person lab experiments.

An online chemistry wet lab simulation.As part of the collaboration, Smart Sparrow’s team of learning designers and engineers will work with subject matter experts from OSU’s Department of Chemistry to create wet lab support tools that will enable instructors to create and configure their own scientifically meaningful, adaptive chemistry lab simulations. OSU Ecampus distance students will be able to practice lab techniques and procedures in a risk-free, online environment, providing opportunities to build additional experience.

“Oregon State’s unique commitment to not just technological, but pedagogical innovation is reflected in the depth of experience and commitment of their faculty,” said Dror Ben-Naim, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Smart Sparrow. “Innovating the student lab experience is how Smart Sparrow began. This collaboration has the potential to further advance the field, by bringing the insights of pioneering faculty to bear on creating learning environments that engage and motivate students in challenging, but critical, lab courses.”


Tyler Hansen
OSU Ecampus

Sarah Herring
Whiteboard Advisors

In Smart Sparrow, instructors can add adaptive feedback — hints or additional material, for example — and adaptive pathways for student remediation or fast-tracking, as needed. They can also change or update that adaptivity at any time, from the same space where they’ll initially set up their lab experiences.

The introduction of the wet lab support program at Oregon State is the latest initiative stemming from the university’s groundbreaking lab innovations. In 2016, OSU Ecampus received national recognition for the development of its online biology lab series that effectively puts a 3D microscope in the hands of every distance learner.

Oregon State’s wet lab support program is expected to be completed in early 2018 and will initially be used in OSU’s general chemistry course sequences for non-science majors.

Smart Sparrow believes in providing the tools that support great teaching, and putting faculty first to unlock the full potential of online learning. They’ve helped universities, corporations, and foundations worldwide create more than 20,000 simulations, digital lessons, and teaching networks.


About Smart Sparrow: Smart Sparrow provides an adaptive elearning platform for authoring next-generation courseware. It enables any educator to create engaging, personalized learning experiences and then continuously improve them through built-in learner analytics — so students are better supported and more motivated to succeed. In 2016, Smart Sparrow launched the Learning Design Starter Kit, a free set of tools to help academics learn how to design online resources rooted in cutting-edge learning science and create rich, interactive, and adaptive courseware, and capture user data to evaluate student engagement.

About Oregon State University Ecampus: Through comprehensive online degree programs and courses, Oregon State Ecampus provides learners with access to a high-quality education no matter where they live. Ecampus delivers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs and more than 1,100 classes online to learners in all 50 states and over 50 countries. Oregon State is consistently ranked among the nation’s best providers of online education.



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