Teaching Science Totally Online Using Soft Chalk and Home-Based Lab Kits (LabPaq)

In 2003, Ocean County College (OCC) was awarded a $458,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a One Day per Week Nursing Program which allowed students to attend clinical training one day per week while the didactic portion was delivered online. Almost immediately, they realized that the value of the program would be limited if the students were required to come to campus at all. We needed to put science totally online.

At the time the content was largely “all text” Word files. Two major changes allowed us to place science totally online. We discovered SoftChalk was an easily way of putting content online and providing an interactive format. The other was using home-based lab kits (LabPaqs) to provide a hands-on laboratory experience for our students.


SoftChalk was easy for faculty to learn, and eventually nearly all of our faculty members teaching online became “Chalkies”. Both the use of SoftChalk and Hands-On Labs LabPaqs were keys to our success in bringing a total of 14 online science courses with laboratory completely online. Students from as far away as Alaska, California, Europe and the soldiers deployed in the Middle East began taking OCC’s online science courses. The follow up surveys showed that the students loved both the LabPaqs and the interactive SoftChalk content.

Presenter: Dr. Jim Brown, Associate Professor of Science at Ocean County College (OCC) and former Dean of Science, Engineering, Health Sciences and Human Performance.

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