Welcome to Western's Integrated Laboratory Network
The Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN) is an initiative to integrate scientific instrumentation and supporting instructional material into the classroom, laboratory, and research environments through the use of web-based technologies.
The objective of the ILN is to provide anytime/anyplace access to scientific instrumentation with the goal of providing new opportunities to engage in "mindful" scientific activities at all levels throughout the curriculum.
Introduction to the ILN
Providing access to scientific instrumentation and expertise anytime, and from anywhere, is a dramatic departure from the way science historically has been taught. This change is based on the philosophy that science is a dynamic, iterative, ongoing, and collaborative process, rather than an individual activity conducted in isolated laboratories. This is particularly true of the laboratory-based sciences that require advanced instrumentation. In the past, scheduling, cost, and space limitations have forced the teaching of instrument-intensive science courses in blocks, with laboratory sections meeting in three to four hour blocks once or twice a week. Large student enrollments in these courses typically limit the time available to students to perform experiments, conduct instrumental analysis, and process data. This does not adequately prepare students for the work that scientists actually do, involving the constant review and reprocessing of data, which often leads to significant reinterpretation of results. With the access offered by the ILN, more students can learn more about science.
Although still in the early stages of development, the ILN has already been recognized as a model for the virtual laboratory of the future. We are spreading the word about Western's approach to the ILN at national and international conferences, including the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning and the national American Chemical Society conference.
Although simple in concept, the development of this virtual laboratory will require implementation through several stages, each involving careful planning and coordination among many University programs and departments. We welcome your interest and questions and look forward to working with the University community in the development of this exciting initiative.
2010 HP Catalyst Initiative Consortia Partner HP Catalyst Initiative
Supported 2004-2010 by the National Science Foundation