Effective Practices in Online Lab Science Courses

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Online Education Committee

Whereas, California Code of Regulations Title 5 §55202 states that distance education courses must adhere to the “same standards of course quality” as traditional classroom courses and that determinations of course standards and quality must be made “with the full involvement of faculty,” and given that the separate course review and approval of distance education courses required by Title 5 §55206 maintains districts’ local authority to determine if courses will “be provided through distance education”;

Whereas, California State University (CSU) Executive Order 1100, section 3.2 states “GE requirements may be satisfied through courses taught in all modalities” including “completely online,” [1] and most lab science classes offered by California community colleges satisfy the B3 Laboratory Activity requirement of the CSU-Breadth Pattern for General Education, with the 1 unit laboratory activity requirement often embedded into a course meeting the requirements for B1 Physical Science or B2 Life Science;

Whereas, For-profit colleges, CSU campuses, and some California community colleges currently offer science courses, including lab sciences, online, and proposed Education Trailer Bill language (February 13, 2018, Department of Finance) includes a proposal to establish the California Educational Learning Laboratory with the purpose of increasing outcomes and closing achievement gaps “using learning science and adaptive learning technologies in online and hybrid college-level lower division courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)” [2]; and

Whereas, Many students endeavor to achieve their degrees, including Associate Degrees for Transfer to CSU, completely online, and restricting online course offerings for general education requirements creates a barrier to these students’ success and transfer guarantees;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges engage science faculty, through its discipline expert lists and discipline-specific state associations, to make recommendations regarding lab science courses most adaptable to online instruction without compromising student outcomes related to laboratory practices necessary for upper division study or employment and disseminate its findings; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges through its discipline expert lists and discipline-specific state associations identify and disseminate effective and promising practices for teaching appropriate laboratory courses online.


1. http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Trailer_Bill_Language/documents/California…