Investigating Online Laboratories

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An ever present concern with teaching science courses online is how to translate laboratories into the digital world.  A number of companies have been working on just this task, including a Danish company named Labster.  Labster has a number of potential laboratories including a CSI case, Animal Genetics, and Medical Genetics to name a few.  Labster’s work creates an exciting platform for students to engage in real world problem solving in an interactive manner.  Online laboratories do have inherent drawbacks and need to be tailored to students’ knowledge base and familiarity with hands on laboratory work.  However, I do believe a mix of at home laboratories, in the classroom, and online can yield a significantly more in depth understanding of experimental design, technical work, and resulting analysis than any one of these on their own.  I have high hopes for these digital laboratories and I am excited to see their continued development.