Integrating laboratory education into a course with Labster


Patricia Post-Nievelstein


University College Utrecht



At University College Utrecht, Patricia Post-Nievelstein teaches the biology course Human and Animal Biology for 28 students. This level 1 course focusses on physiology. The course incorporates interactive lectures and problem solving sessions. There is no space for lab sessions during the course. Nonetheless, Patricia successfully incorporated lab sessions into the course by utilizing the online tool Labster.


Patricia Post-Nievelstein first used Labster in the course in 2020. One of the main goals of implementing the Labster tool was to provide students with practical experience during the course. Patricia explains, "In our education, there is no space for real lab sessions. Students take four subjects simultaneously, and we have only two sessions of 105 minutes per week available for teaching. Labster was an opportunity to integrate some practical work into this biology course."


Patricia’s goal was largely achieved. She says, "I selected labs that help understand basic concepts and facilitate working with data. This enabled active learning outside the classroom. Although students work on labs individually, collaboration is encouraged. The majority of students found the use of the tool helpful. Additionally, they enjoyed applying what they learned in lectures to a lab setting."

Tips from Patricia

  1. Familiarize yourself with the platform: Ensure you become familiar with the platform yourself before assigning virtual labs to your students. Take the time to thoroughly explore the features, interface, and functionalities. I encountered a few technical issues, but they were quickly resolved. Make use of the support from Teaching Support as needed; they are always willing to help where they can.
  2. Don't overdo it: Integrate with the course content. Align lab activities with your learning objectives to effectively reinforce key concepts. However, avoid excessive integration; not every topic is suitable for a virtual lab. Provide variety by including other types of assignments, such as online tutorials.
  3. Monitor progress: Use the Labster dashboard to effectively track students' progress.