Kinesiology professor Adriana Duquette alternates through one of three lab-based courses each semester: Laboratory Experiences in Biomechanics and Ergonomics, Human and Exercise Physiology, and Motor Learning and the Psychology of Physical Activity.
When COVID-19 first hit, she understood the need to adapt the activities and experiences of the lab to an online format as close as possible to an in-person experience. She achieved this by creating a virtual lab each week using the eCampus Ontario H5P Studio to mimic the floor plan and space of the undergraduate lab students would normally work in.
At each station, Duquette and her teaching partner, Emilie Halle, created videos showing students how each exercise or test works, an explanation of each exercise, what data to collect, and how to analyze it. This required extensive work leading up to each semester.
In the fall semester, for the Human and Exercise Physiology Lab, Duquette and Halle filmed over 100 videos using three iPhones and tripods to show three different points of view for each lab: the participant during the exercise, the investigator providing the explanation, and the data being collected on the computer. After filming, they worked to edit all three views into one video for each exercise or test, allowing students to experience firsthand the exercises or tests they would have been completing in the lab.
The students could work on the labs asynchronously, but the instructors encouraged them to use the three-hour class period where Duquette and Halle were available for support during virtual office hours.
The Fall semester was largely video-focused, since many of the exercises required specialized lab equipment. The Motor Learning and the Psychology of Physical Activity lab during the Winter 2021 semester has many more adaptable tasks that the students can actively participate in from the safety of their homes. Although the faculty members created about the same number of videos, many of them show the adapted tasks and visually and verbally instruct students on how best to complete each task while at home.
Duquette says she determined early on that the videos and interactive lab experiences would be the best methods to fully immerse her students in the topics discussed in the lab, so she encourages them to use them for the best possible virtual experience.