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Bethel College psychology professor to speak about online experiments

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -Psychology professor Dwight Krehbiel will present the next Bethel College faculty seminar at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 7 in the Administration Building Chapel at Bethel College, North Newton. The lecture is part of the 2002-03 Faculty Seminar series at the college. Admission is free and open to the public. Krehbiel’s lecture is "New Initiatives in Distance Learning." The lecture will examine the results of the college’s online science experiments as well as address the possibilities for new concepts in distance learning.

In the presentation he will visit the Web site where the college’s online experiments are located and demonstrate how laboratory instruments can be monitored and controlled remotely.

Krehbiel has worked with others for several years in developing online experiments, which high school students can access from their classrooms.

"The vision of collaborative learning that underlies this project is that students at different levels of education can act as both teachers and learners," Krehbiel says. "Such a learning environment can be enriching for all involved--our own Bethel College students as well as high school students and teachers."

Krehbiel has taught at Bethel College since 1978. He earned a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences at Bethel College and master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Funding for the Faculty Seminar series at Bethel College was provided in part by the Earl and Meta Leisy Eymann Endowment.

From Dwight:

The presentation will be based primarily on the project that I have been working on for the past few years, and especially actively in the past two years under a grant from the National Science Foundation entitled "Online Experiments for Multidisciplinary Instruction in Environmental and Ecological Science." My collaborators on the project are Richard Zerger and Jon Piper, a number of Bethel students, and several high school teachers and their students.

In the presentation I will first try to illustrate and indeed demonstrate some of what we have done in our project. I will visit the project Web site (http://escience.bethelks.edu/), and demonstrate how our laboratory instruments can be monitored and controlled remotely. I will also examine the results of some of the online experiments that we have done, showing how the results can be easily examined graphically using software with which many students and teacher are already familiar. I will consider the vision of collaborative learning that underlines the project - that students at different levels of advancement act as both teachers and learners. A number of aspects of the project that require further work will be noted, especially how it may be used as a foundation for high school science faculty development workshops, how our teacher education program for science students might be enhanced through the project, and what resources may be needed to make the project sustainable.

Finally, I hope to show how the project could be broadened -- how it may serve as an example of a general approach to the problem of how to use distance learning to enhance our residential college mission. I will discuss how we might use Blackboard and our new distance learning classroom (perhaps with a demonstration) to provide transitional courses for high school students. These courses would be designed to introduce students to college-level work as we conceive it (not as the community colleges do) and would give students an introduction to the quality of our teaching. Various devices, such as incorporating at least one campus visit into these courses, might be used to maximize their student-recruitment potential. The possibility of developing a clientele for our offerings through an association with Greenbush, The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, will also be discussed.

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