LEVERAGING THE POPULARITY OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCING DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR STEM EDUCATION
Since many government bodies and reputable scientific teams worldwide conduct extensive sampling and data collection (while making this data publicly available), this virtual education approach allows the exploration of STEM topics without necessitating field or laboratory sampling. Availability of open access information pertaining to benchmark publications through the internet, it has opened a plethora of opportunities for more scientific research.
The innovative combination of virtual learning tools along with email communications, allowed students to meet for 2 hours sessions multiple times a week and receive individualized attention and mentorship to generate final E-posters to present their work. Topics included: the effects of air pollution on respiratory health, acid rain in the northeastern United States, and pollution along the Yangtze River (China). The virtual platforms also enabled students to share their work-in-progress for feedback from peers, as well as allowed the students to use other forms of communication such as chat instead of only voice-communication or only face-to-face interaction. This flexibility gave an additional level of confidence to the participating students.