The New "Normal": Online Tools for In-Person Learning in the Molecular Life Sciences

Quinn Vega, Mary Huff, Rachell Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the spring of 2020, the world experienced one of the worst pandemics in a century, forcing educators to almost immediately shift from on campus to online instruction. Given that most universities were largely built for teaching in person, the transition to distance learning required a rapid expansion of internet infrastructure and the mid-semester implementation of online instructional tools. After the initial shock, confusion, and adjustment experienced in the spring of 2020, the continuation of the pandemic led many institutions to maintain a predominantly online or hybrid instruction model for the 2021 academic year. Although not as rushed as the previous semester, many faculty members were still trying to navigate the online landscape and adjust their curriculum to meet course objectives as defined during pre-pandemic times. With universities inviting students back into the classroom and departments shifting more activities back to campus in the current academic year, we wanted to see what, if any, processes or activities implemented because of the pandemic would be retained or expanded post-pandemic, specifically looking from the perspective of biochemists, molecular biologists, and science administrators. This feedback included information about alterations to in-person instruction, communication with students outside of the classroom or laboratory, student assessment, additional educational opportunities that were not easily accessible previously, and enhanced research collaborations. Our conclusion is that, while few faculty members were interested in maintaining a primarily online format in future semesters, some distance learning tools were transferable to in-person instruction and, in fact, enhanced the in-person experience.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFASEB Journal
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


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