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While the use of online instructional technologies allows the presentation of theoretical science materials, how do we deal with the fact that such courses often include hands-on labs? Laboratory simulations can only provide a solution for online students in a limited and often artificial way. Nearly 20 years ago, Athabasca University developed a solution to the problem of students having to travel to complete their lab work. Emerging technologies at the time allowed for quantitative physics labs to be sent to students as a small kit. The physics initiative was so successful, with over 5,000 students served, that it was picked up in other fields at Athabasca University.
Over the years, such material has become cheaper, easier to use, and more integrated with modern computers. Athabasca is now pioneering ways to put real labs directly onto the internet. In this session, the methods used to make real lab experiences available to online students will be discussed, and some of them demonstrated.