Journal of College Science Teaching—Fall 2023
(Volume 52, Issue 7)
By Colin Harrison, Clarke Britton, Hannah Shin, and Yassin Watson
Online laboratories can be an effective way to introduce students to lab concepts while providing flexibility, increased access, and reduced costs. However, online labs might lack the authentic research experience that can be gained by doing hands-on lab work. This study explores student perceptions of an online, inquiry-based introductory biology lab. Students participated in a semester-long curriculum during summer 2020. Upon completion of the course, students responded to a survey about their thoughts and attitudes toward the material and mode of delivery. Overall, students perceived the course favorably, with more than 90% of students indicating that they were satisfied with the course. Students had strong positive impressions of the writing-intensive sections of the course, which included a research proposal and a lab report. They also recognized that these components helped contribute to their own learning. This positive influence on student perceptions indicates that an online inquiry-based lab can be an effective means for student participation in biology labs when in-person lab options are not available.