The Virtual Edge Reboot

Rachel Watson, and award winning instructor,  is leading the afternoon with a presentation on The Virtual Edge.

The Virtual Edge is a set of online dry labs that complement all twenty-six wet labs for both General and Medical Microbiology. These virtual labs contain images, text, videos, and interactive content that have all been developed within the UW Microbiology teaching labs. We evaluated Virtual Edge with a quasi-experimental research study in the spring of 2009. Our findings show that students using the virtual labs rather than the traditional paper-based quiz method had improved practical knowledge.

Rachel talked about the labs she teaches. There are 7 lab sections which are very extensive. The Virtual Edge augments the wet labs. They have developed videos, photos,  and interactive content to support the wet labs. Students can review the material before and after labs as well as prepare for exams. They use YouTube to deploy the videos.

Rachel showed off videos of mold to show the details available. The Virtual Edge was developed over time, but was not initially required. Students began using the resources to support their learning. In 2009, they did an experiment to see if the Virtual Edge was helpful in the labs. It was. There was great knowledge of practical laboratory knowledge. No difference in physical skill.

They are reworking the Virtual Edge to bring it forward from a dated look. They also want to analyze the data collected. They are being funded by the UW College of Agriculture. Through data analysis, they found major themes to work on:

  • Students really liked the YouTube videos.
  • Redesign the site.
  • Desire to incorporate the grading feature to eCompanion.

Rachel showed off a new video. Kudos go out to Jim Wangberg for the support of the project.

Important notes from Christi Boggs: The project was created over time, and students were used to help create the media.

Great project. Let’s get resources out to students.