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Sustainability Model

Page history last edited by ron.evans@nic.bc.ca 7 years, 8 months ago

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Sustainability model




Proposed on-going NANSLO RDN management model ... What will this look like?  ...  Probably this should be a board or committee to which each institution can send a representative to govern the operation of NANSLO RDN, how institutions join, the cost and price of remote lab services, and over-all standards for RWSL nodes and Labs.  Representation on this committee would be an advantage of joining the NANSLO RDN.



RWSL Node development costs

Initial equipment costs

Initial Tech wages to set up an RWSL node

On-going operations costs



RWSL Tech wages

Equipment replacement


For Comparison:

Face-to-face Lab costs

Initial building costs

Initial equipment costs

Initial Lab Tech wages to set up a traditional lab

On-going operations costs


Lab Tech wages

Equipment replacement


Potential Revenue Sources (Potential Business Model)

One-time grants

Student fees?

institutional fees?

Provincial and State government subsidies?

(This one could be dangerous to rely on in the long term, but one time grants could offset initial development costs.)

Fees for service


Faculty organization to develop and refine experiments

Disciplinary Panels to review curriculum built around RWSL lab?

(This is more likely an institution by institution responsibility because the NANSLO RDN will not be granting transfer credit.  Individual institutions will.)

Ad-hock faculty groups employed from time to time to recommend curriculum for specific RWSL labs?


RWSL Tech Support Network

This would be a network of techs from all RWSL service institutions who will share expertise and fixes across the system.  It is important that each institution contribute to this network and all will draw benefit from it.


Tech staff/support contracts to operate and maintain equipment

Each institution should have at least one RWSL tech, but institutions hosting multiple RWSL nodes will want multiple RWSL Techs.



Document End


Input: Everyone, please insert anything you think I should include or any pertinent comments in the comments at the bottom of this document.  I will incorporate them into this section when I write it.  Thanks!



From April Meeting:

Create a non-profit that represents NANSLO:

-          funnel funding

-          centralized scheduling

-          configuration control (manage different interfaces at different institutions)

-          core set of experiments


More from April Meeting:

NANSLO Consortium Membership Tiers


From Day 2 of April Meeting:

9:00 - 9:10       Welcome

9:10 - 10:30     Review of models from day 1 and application to current NANSLO expansion plans and opportunities

                        Current Expansion Opportunities

-          National Science Foundation Cyberlearning – $1.35 million research application to do longitudinal research on learning outcomes associated with physics labs, along with optimal use of simulations, at-home lab kits, and remote web-based science labs producing a guide for faculty and instructional designers

-          iLabCentral HP Catalyst – customize lab experiment(s) for high school

-          Adoption by Wyoming? Montana?

-          BC public post-secondary shared service – use for online and on campus science labs. NIC wants to establish centre of excellence around educational technology including RWSL

-          Alberta Grand Prairie College – interest in RWSL node

-          UK Open University – wants to pool and share lab experiment designs

-          Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave 1 Round 2 – up to $5 million

-          TAACCCT Applied Health up to $15 million application

-          Other?

Boulder Meeting Notes

Fee For Service

-          Denver has capacity for non 3 pm to midnight hours – sitting idle. Have to pay for lab techs plus compensate for wear and tear, power/utilities, cost recovery. Could charge for training. For a 15 week semester to cover the lab tech time for x enrollments Rhonda has come up with $30/student. May be better to charge just on a per hour basis? Fee for student may be $60 for the kit and 10 hour access to the RWSL. Elements of the fee – lab tech time, eqpt wear and tear, consumable supplies. Scott students charged $40/student/semester. How institutions charge students for it is one thing. How we charge an institution for access is a different thing. There are two charges 1. Membership in the network (dependent on size of institution and how much they think they’ll use it) 2. Also bill out on an enorllment/use basis. 1 lab, 4 students, 2 hour lab $240?

Costs associated with usage may be best hourly. Pay for it up front to reserve the time. Could put one student or 40 students through. Approx $100/hour for use of lab.

User wants 2 microscope lab (1 hr each), 2 spectrometer labs (1 hr) (2 hr), 1 airtrack (2 hr). For section of 20 students working in groups of 4 – 5 lab groups. Need 35 hours total 10 for microscope (5 hours x 2), 15 hours for spectrometer (5 hours + 10 hours), 10 hours for airtrack. Approx. $3500

Tie membership fee to cover employees with benefits. Actual fee is for non-people time.

Could have 10 microscopes running simultaneously with the same amount of techs. 3 hours of lab time is only one hour of tech time if have 3 microscopes going simultaneously. Argues for specialization of lab facility? Costs go down the more simultaneous labs going on. Cost efficiencies are based on maximizing utilization of what is in a lab simultaneously.

Ability of lab techs to multi-task across expts is not infinite.

Makes more sense to maximize scheduling in such a way that utilizes the fewest possible hours so all three microscopes are being used simultaneously.

Approximately same cost as a lab kit.

Pilot may provide a certain amount of freebie for an amount up to x. Beyond which you pay. Tier 1 and tier 2 may be x amount per  hour. Tier 3 and 4 x amount per student.

What is the target number of institutions we need to generate operating capital from membership that lets us carve out what we need to cover staff. Then need just charges to cover non-staff.

Students pay $200 per lab kit for 11 labs – approx $20/lab

What weeks do you want to do a lab?

Part of the appeal of online is its asynchronicity. Now we are locking people in to a time. The planning and scheduling needs to be done well in advance. Need to let institutions know that we are now adding a fixed time aspect.

Build funding for development lab and sandbox into TAACCCT grant. Both development lab and sand box serve all campuses in the network.

Facility/space/IT issues related to expansion and what is required for a node. Ideal might be to double duty a traditional lab space. Would need to adapt it with the network infrastructure required. Makes it possible to have local and remote students working together. A traditional chemistry lab may be the best option? Who owns it, who is responsible for IT, if it breaks who is responsible for fixing it. Two scenarios advice on what is required for anyone creating a node (ideal down to acceptable) and finding expansion opps for our own nodes.

NGLC second round – membership expansion & support, network scheduling, multiples of equipment (focus on the high enrolment courses – biology so 3 base, 3 microscopes & 2 spectrometers, + 3 slide loaders) development lab as per TAACCCT (3base + 3 subm300K), training program (techs, faculty, developer) Be great if techs were interns leading to labour market opportunities, hire students, lab tech role for credit. Metnoring faculty, students doing reearch as tech.. What is the training/education program that skills techs, lab directors, and leads to a developer like Albert. Re-rogramming of microscope. Staff deve for 2nd semester labs & astronomy (possibly environmental science, & engineering), computer application development (mobile, virtualization), Evaluation metrics/analytics rubric development bring in academic person for science efficacy and attitude perception/change

TAACCCT – sandbox (3 base + 3 submodules + robotic arm + slide loader $300K), expansion CCCS (3 base, 3 microsocopes, 2 spectrometer, 3 slide loader $425,000) Staff 1 CCCS FTE Lab Director $100K/year x 4 year. Lab techs (22.5/lab tech/semester x 2  = 50K x 4 year) $200K – CCCS interns, MSU- Grand Falls (2 base + 2 micorscope + 2 spectrometer), Lab tech & lab manager half time/year for 4 years. Renovate facilities, Trainng techs, Travel BC team, Interns as lab techs and job opportunities associated with lab techs (biomedical, pharmaceuticals,  …) career path for lab techs?

Pursue corporate sponsorship with National Instruments, Nikon, Ocean Optics





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