One of the biggest challenges of remote teaching is sustaining the lab components of classes, not to mention creating an engaging experience.
Since many labs require specific equipment, it is difficult or impossible to reproduce a comparable experience outside of that physical space.
Thankfully, there are a number of excellent resources available that may be suitable to the needs of PBSci lab instructors.
Investigate virtual labs
Online resources and virtual tools may replicate the lab experience: virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, and simulations.
The UCSC Library has a full subscription to JoVe Science Educational Videos including conceptual videos (animations to explain theory) and full lab demonstrations
Disciplines: biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, and environmental sciences
Link or embed into a Canvas page
BeyondLabz is a virtual laboratory where students click & drag to perform experiments, including analytical tools and lab notebooks.
Disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, and physical sciences
Student fee: $25 for one year access
Learn more by watching video tutorials on the BeyondLabz YouTube channel in your discipline
Choose-your-adventure lab websites!!
Increase student interaction
Labs provide valuable time for direct student interaction. Consider other ways to replicate that type of interaction or create new online interaction opportunities.
Use Zoom breakout rooms in synchronous lab meetings to give students time to talk through the experiment.
Group projects or collaborative assignments. GradeScope, for example, allows group submissions.
Provide raw data for analysis
In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze.
TAs provide randomized data to students within a range to individualize the experience and prevent cheating.
Feel free to reach out to Caitlin Binder (firstname.lastname@example.org), Chemistry Lecturer and PBSci Course Design Fellow to discuss how to make the most out of the remote labs, even making them fun!