Lab Activities

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.


choose-your-adventure lab sites

Labsite Tour.mp4

Click play for a two-minute labsite tour

more on slugs@home

Pre-record lab videos then organize with procedures and photos in a Google Sites

Link the website in Canvas for students to watch during synchronous or asynchronous lab sessions

Work with Online Education to design simple choose-your-adventure remote labs using Google Sites.

Reach out to Caitlin Binder ( for a Slugs@home template, demo, or assistance with building an interactive lab website.

virtual lab software

Online resources and virtual tools may replicate the lab experience. Check with your textbook publisher, or sites such as Merlot and PhET for materials (many open source) that may replace parts of your lab.

  • Lab and concept videos with animations

  • Full lab demonstrations

  • 100s of videos in biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, environmental sciences

  • Link or embed into a Canvas page

  • Full access to UCSC students

      • Virtual laboratory

      • Click & drag to perform experiments

      • Analytical tools with spectral data

      • Lab notebook

      • Disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, physical sciences

      • Student fee: $25 for one year access, download

Search the app store for educational software:


Have a lab protocol or background reading? Make an audio recording (podcast) & post on Canvas.

Equity & accessibility for visually impaired students or those with learning disabilities or tired eyes.

Recording options

    • Voice Memo on mobile device

    • Zoom automatically makes audio file


Labs provide valuable time for direct student interaction. Replicate that peer-to-peer experience with online collaborations.

Use Zoom breakout rooms in synchronous lab meetings to give students time to talk through the experiment.

Group projects or collaborative assignments. Use GradeScope for group submissions.

Provide raw data

In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, show how to collect data and provide raw data sets for analysis

TAs provide randomized data to students within a range to individualize the experience and prevent cheating.

additional resources

Feel free to reach out to Caitlin Binder (, Chemistry Lecturer and PBSci Course Design Fellow to discuss how to make the most out of the remote labs, even making them fun!