The Daily Telegraph

On­line learning is no sub­sti­tute for time in a lab

- Science · Biology · College · Higher Education · Imperial College London · London

SIR – Prac­ti­cal classes in the lab are es­sen­tial for the train­ing of medics, chemists, bi­ol­o­gists, physi­cists and other sci­en­tists.

Do­ing ex­per­i­ments with the ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment and safety pre­cau­tions, prepar­ing and ex­am­in­ing mi­croscopy spec­i­mens, us­ing elec­tri­cal cir­cuits, mea­sur­ing quan­ti­ties, car­ry­ing out an­a­lyt­i­cal tests, do­ing dis­sec­tions – all of these are nec­es­sary parts of train­ing and can­not be done over the in­ter­net. Do­ing some­thing one­self is quite dif­fer­ent from see­ing record­ings.

Dur­ing my 40 years of teach­ing ge­net­ics at Im­pe­rial Col­lege London, prac­ti­cals were very im­por­tant for teach­ing tech­niques and for a full un­der­stand­ing of the lec­ture ma­te­rial. Even dur­ing prob­lem classes in the lab, it was ex­tremely use­ful for me to cir­cu­late to see how each stu­dent was cop­ing and to of­fer help when­ever they got stuck or were go­ing wrong.

Re­strict­ing stu­dents at univer­sity and schools to re­motely given lec­tures, with no lab prac­ti­cals, is a huge de­pri­va­tion, and will re­sult in a loss of skills and un­der­stand­ing.

Dr Bernard Lamb

Emer­i­tus reader in ge­net­ics, Im­pe­rial Col­lege London

 ??  ?? De­tail from Chemist by Clif­ford Hooper Rowe (1904-89), an ac­tive Bri­tish Com­mu­nist
De­tail from Chemist by Clif­ford Hooper Rowe (1904-89), an ac­tive Bri­tish Com­mu­nist

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK