Carolina Distance Learning® Lab Kits and Team: Quality Materials, Comprehensive Support

by Carolina Distance Learning Staff

Oregon State University (OSU) has had great success with the online Introductory Biology course it began offering.

Since the first quarter it was offered, the course has experienced an ever-expanding student enrollment, both in number and geographic reach. Most recently, 240 students living throughout the United States enrolled. This success is a tribute to the professors who designed and teach the course, the quality of the course materials, and the ease with which students can obtain the required materials.

When James Howard met with course designers to discuss the materials students would need, he knew there would be some unique logistical challenges for student acquisition of these materials. As the 14-year academic materials manager of Beaver Store, OSU’s official campus store, Howard is no stranger to challenges. When he and Carolina began coordinating student access to the Carolina Distance Learning® lab kits designed for the course, he was delighted to find an experienced team of professionals ready to support him and OSU students. “I find the Carolina team to be exceptionally collaborative and responsive,” Howard says. “They’re ready to help in any situation.”

Collaborative and Creative

Howard and Carolina staff worked together to design a seamless process for students to order, purchase, and receive the lab kits for the course. Howard identified a few key components:


  • Integrating the Carolina lab kits into a comprehensive course materials package so students acquire all the required materials with a single payment
  • Ensuring students receive the Carolina lab kit designed specifically for their course
  • Arranging efficient, timely delivery of the kits to students

As they worked together to address these challenges, Howard found Carolina to be a committed collaborator. Carolina staff created a kit voucher system that Howard integrated into the store’s ordering platform.

For each term in which the course is offered, Carolina creates a unique landing page. The course uses a different lab kit for each of its three quarters. To ensure students get the correct kit for a specific quarter, Carolina works with Howard on a continuous basis to update the vouchers, instructions, and landing page.

Each student receives a kit voucher in the course materials package along with specific instructions for redeeming the voucher and receiving the kit. Students simply key in the URL received in their instructions and enter the voucher code and shipping information where indicated. Carolina then ships the kit directly to each student. “The process makes it easy for students to get the correct lab kit,” Howard explains. “And having Carolina ship directly to the students saves time and money.”

“The Carolina team works with me in a collaborative way, not just as another order to fill. Their professionalism and flexibility make it easy for me to coordinate the class materials and easy for students to obtain the correct lab kit."

Responsive and Flexible

Howard is impressed with the excellent customer support he receives from Carolina. “The Carolina crew is very responsive,” he reports. “I always get same-day assistance when I contact them.” He also appreciates Carolina’s flexibility as he works to help students with issues such as last-minute ordering and lost voucher codes.

“Carolina is very prompt with their shipping, so even when a student redeems the voucher at the last minute, I am confident the student will receive the kit quickly,” Howard adds. If a student loses the voucher and calls Carolina for help, Howard says, “Carolina immediately coordinates with me to confirm the student’s voucher code and to get the kit on its way to the student.” Carolina’s responsiveness and flexibility provide Howard with the confidence that he will be able to easily address any situation that arises.

Student and University Success

Carolina’s collaborative approach helps managers like Howard provide efficient, user-friendly procedures for students to obtain the materials they need. This encourages students to pursue their educational goals regardless of their location and instills confidence in colleges about the feasibility of offering distance learning science courses. The result is another win-win-win success story for distance learning.

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