Activity: Talk or presentation › Talk or presentation at a conference
We will describe two iterations of a fully open lab course in which natural science students (N=15,20) conceive, design, and carry out two extended experiments using open-source materials. A flipped-style is used whereby students set up experiments and take measurements without supervision, allowing the instruction time to focus on the more difficult parts of their empirical research cycles. In our analysis, we explore the merits and trade-offs of this radically open approach, whereby student agency is prioritized over the quantity and scientific quality of the inquiries. In student projects, initially unforeseen constraints or unexpected results usually require changes to the experimental design and sometimes even force students to alter their research questions. Happily, students make demonstrable progress towards becoming critical and independent researchers, especially in the conception and iterative design of their experimental methods. We also describe interdependencies amongst the open-inquiry and flipped-classroom teaching methods and the accessible open-source materials.