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Instructional Design and Technology in Education

Online Science Labs

After reading this Inside Higher Ed article on home lab kits for distance learning, another obstacle for offering beginning level Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses to non-majors should be eliminated. Lowering the barrier for those in degrees that aren’t specifically science-related will go a long way towards getting students who aren’t on a campus finished up with their educational goals. There is a cost associated with this – looks like most kits are around $200. Does that price compare to not having to attend on-site? Is this a fee that could be shared between students? Most labs offered in the classroom group students together so this might be an option.

The article sites two resources for these kits: and At first glance the esciencelabs looks more interesting and the prices seem a bit lower. The Kits come with a lab manual.

Author: Heidi Olson

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.

One Comment

  1. You should add Quality Science Labs to your list: They’re a very friendly organization. (I am not involved with them in any way.)

    OTOH, you can do very good science at home without expensive kits. Even first-year chemistry can be done at home for only about $30 in materials if you choose the online lab units at This list of online labs includes a number of readily done hands-on, do-it-yourself labs. The list meets the requirements of the College Board for AP Chemistry. Virtual high schools have had their online AP Chemistry courses approved by the College Board using this resource. (I am part of Paracomp, Inc., the creator of Smart Science® education.)

    Colleges using the Smart Science® system pay $30 per student.

    The Smart Science® system does not use simulations and animations. The experiments are real, and you’re doing real science just as you would in a classroom. The system makes this result possible through a new patented technology.

    While most lab kits emphasize cookbook procedures, the Smart Science® system emphasizes scientific investigation. Saving $140 is s nice bonus.