This series of questions may help focus your approaches to labs during times of remote teaching. Remember to align alternative content and activities with the lab learning outcomes.

Alternative Approaches

  • Could live Zoom sessions during normal lab meeting time, perhaps with live or pre-recorded demos, be used in place of some of the lab activities? If so, how could active learning be encouraged by students creating hypotheses, recording observations or answering process-related questions during the demo, or analyzing results afterwards?
  • If analysis and interpretation of data is a major part of the lab experience, could students analyze other experimental or hypothetical data sets.
  • Would it be beneficial to change the order of labs while teaching remotely?
  • How can student submissions (e.g., lab reports) be modified for digital submission via Canvas?
  • Are there alternative ways to assessing learning outcomes of the lab?
  • Could some field-oriented labs be modified so individual students can do them remotely with everyday materials?
  • Could lab fees be repurposed to purchase lab kits that are mailed to your students? For example, see Hands-on Labs.
  • Are there small-group elements of the lab experience that students could carry out via Canvas or Zoom?
  • How could you collaborate with other instructors in your department who teach similar content in other courses?
  • How can you utilize and support TAs in online lab spaces?

Online Content Available?

Also see Online Resources for Science Labs (POD) for links to 150-plus simulations, virtual labs, data sets, case studies and other media.