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Remote Lab Strategies

Asynchronous Strategies

Replacement ActivityExplanationPrep TimeDelivery TimeTools Used
Convert the lab or activity to a Canvas moduleList the process students would have followed or observed, highlight the results expected or unexpected and their relevance to learning objectives. Add quiz questions to assess student learning and/or ask students to reflect on2-3 hoursNoneCanvas
Yellowdig (optional)
Convert the lab or activity guide to an assignment or discussion prompt.
(Individual or Groups)
If you have a lab or activity guide, turn it into an assignment that asks learners to work through possible outcomes or consider key points related to their learning objectives.
This can be done with an individual or group worksheet assignment or as a forum discussion asking them to reflect on what they learned.
2-3 hoursNone to several minutes per student, depending on instructor discussion participationCanvas
Google Docs Office 360
Yellowdig (optional)
Use a real-world example and reflect/discuss
(individual or groups)
Find a real-world example that illustrates or gives students practice or observe the concept.
With supporting learning materials, ask them to read an article and describe how it connects to the intended activity. This can be done in individual essays or done as a group discussion.
1-2 hoursNone to several minutes per student, depending on assignment structureCanvas
Yellowdig (optional)
Create a “Kitchen” LabIs there a practical (and safe) way for students to do a simple reproduction of this experiment or activity at home? Rewrite the lab to focus on the same learning objectives with simpler tools learners can find in their own home, or provide a shopping list or prepared lab kit.
Ask them to reflect on what they learned in a forum post or submitted assignment. Ask for photos of their at-home labs and application process.
2-5 hoursNone to several minutes per student, depending on grading strategyCanvas
Yellowdig (optional)

Synchronous Strategies

Replacement ActivityExplanationPrep TimeDelivery TimeTools Used
Convert the lab or activity to a large interactive lecture or discussion.Describe or show the process students would have followed or observed, highlight the results that were expected or unexpected and their relevance to learning objectives covered in the lab. Add poll questions to assess student learning or ask students to respond verbally or via chat.2-3 hours1-2 hoursZoom
Convert the lab to a live group activity.Ask your students to work through the process in the lab activity in small group discussions using Zoom breakout rooms.
If you have a lab or activity guide, turn it into an assignment that asks learners to work through possible outcomes or consider key points related to their learning objectives.
2-3 hours1-2 hoursZoom
Google Docs Office 360
(optional)
Host a live panel discussion, interview, or Q&A sessionHost a remote panel discussion or Q&A via Zoom to cover the same topics or recreate parts of your lab.
Are their real-world examples your panelists or interviewee could speak to that relate to your learning objectives? Are they located somewhere where they can show your students something that you can’t?
2 hours1-2 hoursZoom
Make it a gameLead your learners through the activity, at the points where they would have made a choice, prediction, or observation, poll the class to see what they think will happen or what they want to happen.
You can correct and teach along the way and/or make it a “choose your own adventure” by giving your learners options that will produce different outcomes to be used as teaching points.
2 hours1-2 hoursZoom
Do an interactive demoAre you still able to access your lab space? Using a webcam or mobile device, you can broadcast your bench to your students and lead them through the experiment or activity.1-2 hours1-2 hoursZoom

Virtual Labs and Simulations

Replacement ActivityExplanationPrep TimeDelivery TimeTools Used
Find an existing simulationThere are many existing online simulations for common labs and activities in many fields. Using an existing simulation, your students may achieve your objectives, or you can add additional activities like reflections, Q&A sessions, and even lab reports based on the simulation,0.5-1 hourPotentially none, as that will rely your after action activity
OR
As long as you want to host your Q&A session
Simulation service
(ex. Labster, PhET Labs)
Zoom (synchronous) or LMS discussion space
(asynchronous)
Find an interactive toolIf you can’t find a full simulation of your lab, perhaps you can find a tool that illustrates a concept you’re trying to demonstrate to learners.
(Click here for some Physics examples)
0.5-1 hourConsider if you want to debrief and reflect on the simulation as a group or require individual reports or reflectionFlipgrid can be used to create short asynchronous practice in language arts courses
Zoom can be used to host synchronous conversations
NightSky can be used for interactive astronomy labs