When the COVID-19 outbreak prevented physics students from attending their labs in person, their instructors brought the labs to them. Several physics labs transitioned last week to an online “choose your own adventure” style, where students are encouraged to ask questions and make mistakes as they would in a physical lab.
“We’re giving students the opportunity to interact and make choices as they would if they had lab equipment in front of them,” said Jennifer Weinberg-Wolf, teaching assistant professor. “They can’t physically manipulate things, but we tried to give students different pathways they can follow through the experiment.”
In a typical physics lab, the students are introduced to a topic in the lecture and then dive into that topic in more detail in lab sections where they conduct experiments and other activities.
The interactive online labs combine a number of digital components: images of lab equipment and measurements, videos of instructors conducting experiments and breakout sessions with their peers.