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Dr. Maria Davis, University of Regina

Dr. Maria Davis

Laboratory Instructor, University of Regina

When the University of Regina switched to remote labs, no one predicted the result: a better educational experience.

The University of Regina’s Faculty of Science is recognized for the significance, novelty, and impact of its research and for the quality, relevance, and currency of its academic programs.

But what happens when a school’s research and academic programs are abruptly disrupted? At the University of Regina, as at many universities across the world, all science courses and labs were moved to an online format to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to the school’s speedy adaptation and smart innovations, the change in educational format is presenting new opportunities and benefits for students.

Dr. Maria Davis working in the lab

A new way of looking at things

Dr. Maria Davis is a laboratory instructor at the University of Regina who teaches large-enrolment biology courses, including genetics and plant physiology. With in-person labs cancelled, she had to switch to remote labs. This shift has presented surprising benefits. Dr. Davis explains that the remote labs take different formats. Some are video-based — with videos of the step-by-step lab process being supplied to students to watch at home — while others are take-home labs. “The new lab formats have actually given the students more of an in-depth understanding,” she says, citing an example of a lab about DNA sequencing and CRISPR editing. “We had more of a focus on content and concepts rather than lab techniques. The students are also moving more toward discussion groups, which I think is great and would like to keep even beyond COVID-19.”

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