Science Instructors Ask: Can You Teach Students at a Distance How to Use Microscopes?

Thomas M. Lancraft, an assistant professor in the department of natural sciences at Florida's St. Petersburg Junior College, was hesitant when he was asked to create an online laboratory for an introductory-biology course for nonmajors that he teaches. He wondered how he could teach the hands-on aspects of biology, such as using a microscope, from afar.

In the course that Mr. Lancraft eventually created, students are mailed a package of materials and expected