The technologies running this project
We are exploring how innovative technologies can be aggregated together to push Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) to their next phase
We are allowing remote participants world-wide to access a robotic platform that is situated in the Mitchell Lab at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and conduct their own empirical experiments over the internet. We are combining existing tools with software and hardware we designed and developed in the Mitchell Lab. These include live youtube streams and interactive google docs, python scripts and online virtual meeting using Zoom. The hardware relies on a commercial robotic liquid handler that we augmented with our own hardware (multiple webcams and full temperature control) as well as a low-cost spectrophotometer we engineered that we are sending to all participating classes. We believe the that all these technologies can work synergistically to outline a new approach for STEM education that bridges many of the gaps exciting today.
Mitchell Lab spectrophotometer
The Mitchell lab spectrophotometer (MLS) is a DIY optical density reader that we designed, engineered and constructed in the Maker-space of the Program in Systems Biology. The unit uses an Arduino micro-controller, red LED, light-sensor and 4 digit display which are all embedded in a 3D printed tube-holder and laser-cut acrylic box. The cost of the entire unit is less than $10, making it 10-100 fold cheaper than commercial spectrophotometers and a great educational tool for Science Outreach.
The spectrophotometer comes with simple instructions.