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Carolina Distance Learning® Lab Kits: Meeting Students Where They Are Academically and Geographically

by Carolina Distance Learning Staff on September 11, 2018
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Students traveling domestically or abroad are able to complete their online chemistry course thanks to hassle-free lab kit delivery from Carolina.

Dr. Kathryn Kloepper

Dr. Kathryn Kloepper designed her first online chemistry course in 2016. The course was also the first online science course for Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts, so expectations were high. Her goal was to offer non-majors an opportunity to complete their science requirement during summer break when they could better focus on the often daunting subject matter.

As she developed the course, Dr. Kloepper began looking for hands-on labs that students could easily complete. The labs also needed to include the scientific rigor required by the university’s academic standards. Dr. Kloepper discovered Carolina Distance Learning® lab kits at a professional conference where she was able to complete a few of the labs and see for herself what they were like. She was immediately impressed with the labs’ content and quality. The Carolina Distance Learning® team listened as Dr. Kloepper described some of the labs she envisioned for the course, and then walked her through the kit design process. Dr. Kloepper knew a custom-designed Carolina lab kit was exactly what she needed.

Over the next few months, Dr. Kloepper and the Carolina Distance Learning® team designed and fine-tuned a lab kit that included the specific experiments and components needed to meet the course objectives. The new course, The Chemical World: The Chemistry of Bears, debuted in the summer of 2017. The course name refers to Mercer University’s mascot rather than ursine biochemistry, and it definitely caught the attention of the undergraduates it was intended to serve.

As registration proceeded for that first class, Dr. Kloepper discovered that her students would be studying from many different locations that summer. She knew it was crucial that students be able to easily order their kits and receive them in a timely manner, regardless of location. As with kit design and content, she found that Carolina provides students with outstanding service in those respects, as well.

Convenient, Timely Ordering

“Carolina makes it easy for students to order and pay for their lab kits,” says Dr. Kloepper. Carolina provides a dedicated web page for the class that ensures students order the correct custom lab kit for the course. Students can order and pay for their kits directly on the web page, or they can purchase a voucher through their campus bookstore using financial aid. Vouchers are redeemed at the Carolina web page when ordering kits. These options provide students with a straightforward yet adaptable way to order their lab kits.

“Carolina has the lab kits and ordering webpage ready to go well-ahead of the course start date,” reports Dr. Kloepper. This is much appreciated by those students who like to plan ahead, as well as by students who will be traveling during the summer and are concerned about kit delivery. “Carolina is really good at coordinating with the students to make sure their kit is delivered to the right place at the right time,” says Dr. Kloepper.

Adaptable, Reliable Shipping

“I’ve found that the students taking this course are located at any number of different places during the summer,”explains Dr. Kloepper. She has students located throughout the state of Georgia, others at locations across the US, and still others studying abroad. She even has students who are with traveling sports teams during the summer, so their location may change from day to day.

Students spending their summer within the US report receiving their kits within 2 to 4 days of ordering; those that are abroad, 4 to 7 days. International destinations often have special requirements for transport of certain chemicals and hardware. The Carolina Distance Learning® team and shipping specialists make sure each kit is shipped in compliance with transport requirements, so it will get to the student without delay.

Dr. Kloepper admires her students’ commitment to completing the chemistry course during their summer break, and she appreciates the way Carolina goes the extra mile to accommodate each student’s specific needs. “Carolina provides students with the same excellent communication and support that I receive,” she explains.

Dr. Kloepper and her students are also enjoying a few unexpected benefits of the Carolina Distance Learning® lab kits. “The shipping box is big enough that students can continue to use it to store the materials throughout the course,” she explains, “as opposed to the box being so tightly packed that once the materials are removed there is no getting them back in!” She also appreciates that the contents are shipped without excessive amounts of packing materials that end up in the trash.

Building Momentum

The Mercer University student grapevine has been operating in overdrive about The Chemical World: The Chemistry of Bears. The course’s 2017 inaugural run was so successful and popular with students that the summer 2018 course enrollment was doubled, quickly reaching maximum capacity. The course’s success also has other professors expressing interest in developing online courses.

Carolina Distance Learning®—supporting students and professors around the world!

“The Carolina team is very helpful and responsive to both me and my students. I know my students will be taken care of and will receive their lab kit on time.”

—Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Mercer University