Objectives. To develop a software application for the pharmaceutical biotechnology drug research and development process. The Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Virtual Laboratory was offered as a hybrid course in spring 2003. We evaluated (1) the software’s pedagogical effectiveness, and (2) how students utilized the software in the teaching/learning process. Methods. Software development involved software-authoring tool selection, mock-up layouts of content screens, educational content creation, and storyboard development with artwork, animation, and programming. All modules were developed and refined based on student usability testing. Course implementation permitted student choice of face-to-face, hybrid, or online course formats. Student learning was assessed through quizzes, pretests, and posttests; assessment of student mode of learning (eg, how the students used the software and course participation format); and transference of learning from the course to other situations. Results. Results of student posttests and quiz scores were not influenced by students ’ choice of course participation format. Hardcopy materials were rated more important than software or electronic materials. Conclusion. Based on anonymous surveys, students felt that the software was a valuable learning tool. However, students preferred to use their “tried and true ” method – studying hardcopy notes
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