Virtual Soil Science Laboratory Sessions: Delivery and Student Perceptions


  • Glenn Arthur Garcia
  • Sergio Abit Oklahoma State University
  • Jason Warren



distance learning, soil science teaching, virtual laboratory


Laboratory classes effectively enhance student understanding and appreciation of course concepts. With course delivery suddenly shifted into the online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four laboratory exercises in each of two introductory-level soil science courses were converted into virtual sessions delivered in the form of student-accessible videos. Each laboratory video included a pre-lab discussion, demonstrations of a process or experiment, prompts to answer questions and record data, and/or explanation of relevant calculations. The online link to the video was provided in a laboratory guide which doubled as the report document that students submitted online. Semester-end surveys (n=130) reveal that at least 97% of students agreed or strongly agreed that virtual labs successfully demonstrated key processes and at least 96% thought that the virtual labs enhanced student understanding of soil science concepts. Over 90% of students considered the virtual labs as successful substitutes for hands-on exercises in COVID19-affected semesters. The absence of instructors who could immediately address questions and classmates to discuss results were the two main challenges. Students liked the ability to review the video if things were unclear the first time. While it has its limitations, virtual lab sessions were perceived as successful substitutes to in-person laboratory activities.


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How to Cite

Garcia, G. A., Abit, S., & Warren, J. (2024). Virtual Soil Science Laboratory Sessions: Delivery and Student Perceptions. NACTA Journal, 68(1).