To maintain a high standard of education during COVID19, a collaboration between faculty and lab coordinators of the STEM division at Skyline College started to develop and purchase lab kits, to allow the students to have hands on lab experience in their homes.
The lab coordinators developed the operation as a drive thru, and the team setup on parking Lot A at Skyline College with help from facilities, public safety and the bookstore to distribute lab kits to students. This maneuver took place the first time in the summer semester, which was basically a training run for the fall. This operation was again, successfully performed in fall, where we distributed more than 700 lab kits for Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Physics.
The worldwide COVID-19 lockdown caused delays in delivery times and other surprises for the lab coordinators, to deal with.
Our Chemistry Lab Kits came in various states with missing items and so a scavenger hunt, was played out by our Chemistry Lab Coordinator, Mousa Ghanma. One kit was missing one item, the other kit another item and so on. He had to overhaul all 70 of them to get the lab kits ready for distribution.
Another bottleneck caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was seen in the microbiology lab kits. For microbiology, we were using lab kits which were purchased in a complete state, but even when they were ready to be distributed, they got stuck in transport on a cargo train in Idaho while we started our distribution session on August 11. Lab Coordinator Gary Cheang adapted to the situation and started to reschedule the pickup, when suddenly the lab kits arrived. Gary also did a tremendous job in organizing the pick-up scheduling via the appointment platform, Calendly, and handling all the different time slots for the students to come to campus.
For Physics we used both fully assembled kits and custom made ones. The first we could distribute over the bookstore and ship direct to the students. The others were for Physics 220, 260 and 270 and were made from scratch. Physics and Engineering Lab Coordinator, Marco Wehrfritz, turned the Fab Lab in building 7 into an assembly line and manufactured 200 lab kits for pick up with the help of Physics Faculty Emilie Hein.
Last but not least we had to assemble 150 lab kits for Biology 215 and 230 in house. The lab kits contained interesting items like fetal pigs and live plants, and lab coordinator Christian Galang called in the other lab coordinators Mousa, Gary and Marco and with the help of Dean Carla Grandy and Program Services Coordinator, Alyssa Wong, we were able to assemble all 150 lab kits in three days to be ready to distribute them on September 3rd. It turned out, that there were some things missing in the kits but overall the students received most of the materials.
A big Thank you for the support and making this happen: to our new STEM Dean Carla Grandy, Kevin Chak and the Skyline Bookstore Team, John Doctor and the Facilities Team and Public Safety. The students and faculty will benefit from the Lab Kits as instructions keep being held online.
Article by Marco Wehrfritz, Gary Cheang and Mousa Ghanma | Photo taken by Susanne Schubert