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Open Educational Resources: Simulations and Virtual Labs: Home

An introduction to open educational resources (OER).

Simulations and Virtual Labs

Our teaching and learning environments have changed quite rapidly this semester! This page provides a (growing) list of free virtual labs and simulations. See the "Finding OER" tab for freely available textbooks and other course materials. If you find or create a resource to share, please email Emily Bongiovanni (emilybongiovanni@mines.edu) to have it added to the page.

Software repositories that include thousands of open source programs that do not cleanly fit into the categories bellow include the Community Software Internet Archive and Software Library.

Please see our vast list of research guides for lists of resources (both OER and non-OER) curated for specific subjects or course.

This page is the product of the Open Education community, who quickly came together to share resources and help each other's campuses.

Anatomy and Physiology

Whitman College Virtual Fetal Pig Dissection: Supplement to laboratory dissections exploring introductory mammalian anatomy and physiology

Astronomy

Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Simulations of a wide range of astronomical phenomena, organized into units of related simulations with reading. (Written in Flash, however, Windows and Mac installable versions available at https://astro.unl.edu/downloads/)

Astro Simulations, from the Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning: Online implementation of several NAAP simulations.

Foothill College AstroSims: Online Astronomy simulations (currently planetary configurations and dark matter. Soon: Ptolemaic model, cosmological redshift, gravitational lensing) (mix of re-implementations of NAAP simulations and entirely new simulations)

SDSS Skyserver projects: Activities to examine many topics in astronomy including H-R diagram, spectroscopy, galaxy classification, Hubble's Law and others. (Have students use actual data from Sloan Digital Sky Survey to engage in astronomy laboratory exercises.)

GEAS Project Astronomy Laboratory Exercises: Online hands-on and Image/spectra-based lab exercises for Distance learning (full access provided on request; includes archive of images and spectra and video tutorials)

PlanetMaker: Online simulation to experiment with creating planets.

Biology

Learn Genetics: Interactive techniques labs, online lessons in genetics, cell biology, evolution, human health, plants, neuroscience, and ecology

 

Virtual Laboratory: Videos, descriptions, simulations throughout lessons on subjects including water properties, Ecoil, growth, mutation, and adaptation (Adobe Flash Player required)

Whole Frog: Interactive frog dissection, images, 3D rotatable images, stories, and games

Phet Interactive Simulations: Interactive simulations for science and math + faculty resources: includes activities and questions to ask students (Adobe Flash Player, Java or others (depending on simulation) will be required)

Gizmos: Online math and science simulations with instructor guides and prompts for students

Molecular Workbench: Simulations + lesson guides for students (Java Required)

Labster: Simulations + short lesson/learning objectives (accessed through BB)

Praxilabs: Online simulations with prompts embedded to walk students through lab.

Judith Nuno's AP Biology: Simulations, activities, lab protocols + for a few simulations (Adobe Flash Player required)

Biologica - the concord consortium: Web labs and 3D cell renderings to each genetics (Shockwave plugin required)

Teaching Genetics with Dragons: Genetics game with instructor guides, resources

EduWebLabs: Online laboratory - guides for students beside simulator (labs, exercises, drills, tutorials) (Adobe Flash Player required)

Genetics Web Lab Directory: Click through simulations with embedded content (instructions, teacher notes and student instructions) (Adobe Flash Player required)

BioInteractive - HHMI: Virtual laboratories with workshops, handouts and teacher materials (iPad apps)

McGraw-Hill Biology Virtual Laboratory Exercise: Laboratory exercises with instructions, quizzes and report options (Adobe Flash Player required)

General Biology Lab 101: Online instruction with walkthroughs and videos (Quicktime player required)

Interactive Media - Virtual Labs Stanford: Online interactive media (Adobe Flash Player required)

Microscopy Laboratory: Virtual microscope (Flash 6 plugin required)

Virtual Scanning Electron Microscope: Interactive microscope with different samples and ability to change focus, contrast, brightness and magnification (curriculum on microscopy available + interactive tutorials) (Java required for interactive tutorials)

Virtual Biology Labs: Virtual labs that allow students to save predictions, data, calculations and conclusions from lab (Adobe Flash Player required)

Virtual Interactive Bacteriology Laboratory: Virtual bacteriology labs with pre-lab walk through (descriptions, steps, starts) (some make students do all or some steps)

Microbiology Virtual Lab: Animations, lessons, simulators, assignments

LabXchange: Experimental design - identify SNPs

SimBio/ Simulated Biology: Experimentation using realistic simulations of biological systems

NOVA interactives: Interactive modules and videos for many subjects

DataNuggets: Activities to develop quantitative skills. Undergrad. = Content Level 4

Evo-Ed : Integrative Evolution Case Studies/Modules/Games

Wiley Plus: Interactive materials for many subjects (registration required and state that you are using it due to coronavirus interruptions)

QUBES: Biology/Math platform with open source simulations, activities etc.

GelBox: Open Inquiry Simulation of DNA gel electrophoresis (only DNA currently) (Download for Mac only!)

Virtual Microscope: Virtual microscopes, 90 samples of multi-dimensional, high-resolution image datasets. The Virtual Microscope, available for free download, supports functionality from electron, light, and scanning probe microscopes, datasets for these instruments, training materials to learn more about microscopy, and other related tools

Gel Scramble: Critical thinking in molecular biology (Students are given protocols and then have to decide which gels fit AND what happened when they don't fit perfectly. Good critical thinking lab).

StarGenetics: Mendelian genetics cross simulator developed at MIT by biology faculty, researched-trained scientists and technologists at MIT's OEIT. StarGenetics allows students to simulate mating experiments between organisms that are genetically different across a range of traits to analyze the nature of the traits in question. Its goal is to teach students about genetic experimental design and genetic concepts.

Case It Biology

Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners: Biodiversity and Conservation Modules: Over free 170 educational teaching modules (including case studies, data exercises, background materials, power points, teacher notes) that are downloadable, modifiable and geared towards undergraduate level (but adaptable) (A great addition to any class that has topics of biodiversity, conservation, and ecology. All materials go through peer-review and are designed with evidence-based teaching techniques in mind. Select materials are published in an online journal, Lessons in Conservation https://ncep.amnh.org/linc)

PEER - Partnership for environmental education and rural health

VetGirl on the run

Biomanbio Games: [pre-college] Video games on bio topics - teacher sign-up and student scores sent to spreadsheet

Advancing Science Without Harming Animals: Virtual dissection

The Science Bank: Virtual dissection

Solve The Outbreak: Simulation of a virus outbreak

Avida-ED: Researchers and educators designed Avida-ED to help students learn about evolution and scientific methods by allowing them to design and perform experiments to test hypotheses about evolutionary mechanisms using evolving digital organisms.

Biology Simulations: Biology simulations for evolution, ecology, heredity, and cell energy (Virtual lab worksheets available for download, simulations each include random components, many can be used for inquiry based investigations.)

DNA from the Beginning: Animated content with 75 online experiments consisting of problems, videos, biographies and reference links on Genetics

eSkeleton: An interactive website to view and compare anatomical structures of human, chimpanzee, baboons, etc.

Jim Allison: Breakthrough (Free Film): Award-winning documentary which is a moving, true story of one warm-hearted, stubborn scientist’s visionary quest to find a cure for cancer (with discussion/activity guide) (We hope that this story of how science can solve some of our most pressing problems today can be of inspiration to your students.)

Biotech

LabXchange/Amgen Biotech/Harvard: 

Fundamental concepts and lab techniques essential to the field of biotechnology(Can also curate playlists)

Molecular Workbench: Simulations + lesson guides for students (Java required)

Business and Finance

U.S. Govt Open Data

AnylogicMultimethod business modeling and simulation tool

Cell Bio/Genetics

UCLA: Contains a few lab simulations w lesson plans, is a robust textbook with embedded movies as well


Virtual Lab on Cell Division:  A virtual laboratory on cell division using a publicly-available image database (need to create account with Course Source to download materials)

Chemistry

Resources by Prof Gary L Bertrand - Simulated Experiments section: List of simulated experiments, self-tests and tutorials

Gen Chem online Simulations (from J Wiley and Sons): Electrolyte Solution Simulation (need Macromedia's free Flash Player)

Gen Chem Interactive Simulations: Simulations by textchapters (Adobe Flash Player is required)

Virtual Chemistry Experiments: Effect of Temp; Joule Experiment; molecular and atomic structure (Java-Based)

ChemReaX (LibreTexts): Web App for modeling and simulating chem reactions

goREACT Museum of Science+Industry, Chicago: Mobile app to create own virtual chem reactions (Drag and drop lab using Periodic Table; game format)

Royal Society of Education: Titration Screen Experiment

ChemCollective - CMU: Gather clues - Interview suspects - Analyze evidence, Solve a mysterious death (game-like activity developed by the ChemCollective with students from the Departments of Chemistry and Drama at CMU)

Chem Doodle: Chemical Drawing, Publishing and Informatics.

ChemCollective CMU: Virtual Labs and Simulations (Online simulation of a chem lab; by concept and difficulty)

Phet Interactive Simulations: Simulations + faculty resources: activities, questions to ask students (Adobe Flash Player, Java or others (depending on simulation) is required)

ChemSims: Evidence based assignments to support several online simulations from PhET and Pearson

Gizmos: Online simulations with instructor guides, prompts for students

Molecular Workbench: Simulations + lesson guides for students (Java required)

Labster: Simulations + short lesson/learning objectives (accessed through BB)

Praxilabs: Simulations with prompts embedded to walk students through lab

EduWebLabs: Online laboratory - guides for students beside simulator (labs, exercises, drills, tutorials) (Adobe Flash Player is required)

Learn Genetics: Interactive techniques labs, online lessons in genetics, cell biology, evolution, human health, plants, neuroscience, ecology (Virtual Labs only)

Ck-12 Explroation Series: Easy to use simulations and walkthroughs

EduMedia: Simulations by subject

Wiley Plus: Has interactive materials for many subjects (Must register and state that you are using it due to coronavirus interruptions)

MIT OpenCourseWare Digital Lab Techniques Manual: Videos of common chemistry laboratory techniques 

AACT (American Association of Chemistry Teachers): Activities, animations, projects, simulations, and videos for middle school, high school, and Advanced Placement/general chemistry

Labflow by Catalyst ( COVID -19 Contingency Lab Course): Ready to implement guided Lab Simulations on select topics with questions and Lab reports on Labflow platform.

Nanome (Nano Me): VR Molecular Exploration & Design, VR calculus visualizations

NC State Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Teaching Laboratories - S.M.A.R.T. Lab Videos: Lab videos that demonstrate organic chemistry lab techniques. Resource also contains some organic chemistry concept videos. 

List of free resources compiled by Stacey Lowry Bretz: Download a list of URLs to online animations, videos, simulations, & demos that many talented people (these are not my intellectual property) have created in the the chem ed and biochem ed communities. I’ve created this collated list to support colleagues as we move to #remoteinstruction #online learning.

Chem1 Virtual Textbook: A resource for General Chemistry aimed mainly at the first-year university level. (The Chem1 Virtual Textbook is a resource for General Chemistry aimed mainly at the first-year university level. It offers a more comprehensive, organized, and measured approach than is found in most standard textbooks. It should also be accessible to advanced high-school courses, and helpful as review material for students in more advanced courses in chemistry, biology, geology, and engineering.)

ChemMixLab

Chemagic: Simulations and model builder

MacMillan Learning: Majors Biology & Chemistry

Labster: Simulations + short lesson/learning objectives (accessed through BB)

Civics

iCivics: Simulations of different government positions and elections as well as civics education

Comparative neuroanatomy

UCLA: Contains a few lab simulations w lesson plans, is a robust textbook with embedded movies as well

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Zybooks: Interactive Textbook for Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Engineering

Energy3D: Energy3D is a simulation-based engineering tool for designing green buildings that harness renewable energy to achieve sustainable development (Download and install)

Flowsquare: Straightforward Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software requiring simple drawings to simulate different flows and visualize result in real-time

GNU RADIO: Software Development Kit (SDK) offering signal processing blocks for developing software radio and can be used with low-cost RF hardware

Scilab: Numerical computation software and application development platform using high-level programming languages. Functionalities include Data analysis and visualization, Optimization, Signal processing, Control System and App development. (Download and install the software)

Reactor Lab: Interactive reactor simulations and online labs for dynamic simulations and control of physical systems. Downloadable desktop versions are available as well.

LogicSim: Downloadable Java program to design and simulate basic digital logic circuits on virtual breadboard

SimSE: Interactive educational engineering game with the aim to teach different software engineering concepts

Virtual Labs: A MHRD Government of India Initiative with 100+ web-assisted virtual labs for various Engineering and Sciences divisions.

Open Simulation Interface: OSI is an interface offering virtual environments for testing the perception capabilities of automated driving in simulated scenarios

Verilator: Multi threaded Verilog simulator

Environmental Science

Wiley Plus: Has interactive materials for many subjects (must register and state that you are using it due to coronavirus interruptions)

The Habitable Planet - Annenburg Learner: A robust text plus lab simulations + lesson plans (pollution, C cycle, ecosystems), embedded topic movies, interviews w sciencetists, and more

DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth): Community driven project providing access to data across multiple member repositories, supporting enhanced search and discovery of Earth and environmental data.

Epidemiology

Linked through CDC Epi Info:  An electronic textbook for teaching epidemiology. Lectures, videos, datasets, and activities included.

Geology

Phet Interactive Simulations: Simulations + faculty resources: activities, questions to ask students  (Adobe Flash Player, Java or others (depending on simulation) is required)

Gizmos: Online simulations with instructor guides, prompts for students

EduWebLabs: Online laboratory - guides for students beside simulator (labs, exercises, drills, tutorials) (Adobe Flash Player is required)

Geology Online Labs: Curricula with virtual earthquake, dating and river (Java or Flash required)

Finding Lab Activities Online: A list of online courses/laboratories to teach geology

Jules Verne Voyager: Manipulate maps of the world to view different features

Geology Lab Study Materials: A handful of virtual labs with fillable worksheets/lab reports

Earthquake Simulator: Manipulate length, depth and slip, then predict magnitude and experiment (Flash required)

EduMedia: Simulations by subject

NOVA interactives: Interactive modules for many subjects (and videos)

Virtual Microscope: Our virtual microscope collections include a full range of rock types native to Earth and beyond. To these we have added minerals and a Cabinet of Curiosities.

Math

Phet Interactive Simulations: Simulations + faculty resources: activities, questions to ask students  (Adobe Flash Player, Java or others (depending on simulation) is required)

Wiley Plus: Has interactive materials for many subjects (Must register and state that you are using it due to coronavirus interruptions)

MapleSoft MathApps: Interactive Math apps

Patterns in Nature: Short lessons + online simulators (Java required)

Tutor.com: It is used by US government and military.

Microbiology

Public Health Image Library: Pictures of human cases, media, test results, and microscopic images (It takes a while to understand the exact search you want but it is intuitive as you use it)

General Microbiology Labs: 25 Virtual labs + accompanying lab lecture notes for students

Neuroscience

UCLA: Digital modules for undergraduate neuroscience course

UC SanDiego

Neuro in the time of Corona: Collection of Neuro Virtual Labs, Seminars, and Resources

Build Your Own Brain: Online simple neural network simulator for intro behavioral neuroscience (There are detailed help notes under the help menu. This website allows you to build and 'run' simple brain networks, as well as adding drugs and external stimuli)

Physics

Phet Interactive Simulations: Simulations + faculty resources: activities, questions to ask students  (Adobe Flash Player, Java or others (depending on simulation) is required)

Gizmos: Online simulations with instructor guides, prompts for students

Molecular Workbench: Simulations + lesson guides for students (Java required)

Labster: Simulations + short lesson/learning objectives (accessed through BB)

Praxilabs: Simulations with prompts embedded to walk students through lab

EduWebLabs: Online laboratory - guides for students beside simulator (labs, exercises, drills, tutorials) (Adobe Flash Player is required)

Physics Simulations: Interactive physics labs (change values and experiment)

HTML5 Physics Simulations: Manipulate systems and experiment with climate change, motion, forces, gravity, momentum, energy, rotation.

Ck-12 Explroation Series: Easy to use simulations and walkthroughs

Physics Classroom: Simulations, tutorials, concept builders, aimed at HS but usable for college (HTML5)

EduMedia: Simulations by subject

NOVA interactives: Interactive modules for many subjects (and videos)

Positive Physics: Physics questions and prep (Email the founder for access)

Wiley Plus: Has interactive materials for many subjects (Must register and state that you are using it due to coronavirus interruptions)

Open Source Physics: Lots of great tools—simulations, analysis programs.

Pivot Interactives: Formerly "direct measurement videos", videos of lab trials with javascript tools for measurement (30-day free trial for educators)

The Physics Aviary: Lab simulations, some with built-in random error for better analysis

Smartphone experiments that don't need apps: Five ideas for measurements that can be made with a smartphone

oPhysics: GeoGebra Physics Simulations: Simulations for intro mechanics, vectors, E&M, optics, and fluids

Algodoo: Physics simulation (Need to be downloaded and installed)

Nuclear Reimagined Virtual Field Trip: tep inside a nuclear reactor, explore unexpected careers in nuclear science, and see what the future may hold thanks to advances in nuclear capabilities (Ipad/tablet download available in addition to windows or other mac downloads. Has a downloadable educator's guide with NGSS and ITEAA, including links to digital tools for Venn diagrams, brainstorming mapping)

Psychology

 

American Psychological Association: An Online Psychology Laboratory, in which you can have your students engage in experiments, or have them use available data for analysis

Build Your Own Brain: Online simple neural network simulator for intro behavioral neuroscience (There are detailed help notes under the help menu. This website allows you to build and 'run' simple brain networks, as well as adding drugs and external stimuli)

Public Health and Nursing

Health and Aging

National Health and Aging Trends Study: Public use data files, but must create login

Nordic University Health Hub: OER content on health from Nordic Universities for college and graduate students.

Multi-Disciplinary, Case Studies, and Open Data

Molecular Workbench: Hundreds of Simulations - Physics, Chem, Bio, Biotech, Nanotech (Java-Based)

Finding Data Home: University of Bath: Finding and reusing research datasets

United States Census Bureau: Census Updates and Details

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey): Science datasets; search by topic

NextGen Molecular Workbench: Similar to MW descriptions above, but improved web based interface (Browser based)

WOLFRAM Demonstrations Project: Mostly math, physical science, and life science.

Friady Rat: Computer simulated rat

 

Multi-Disciplinary, Case Studies, and Open Data

Virtual Labs (Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development): Collection of science and engineering virtual labs from various institutions in India (some are Flash-based)

Labs Land: Remote access to real labs (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology)

Virtual Labs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham: Realistic virtual lab animation (Biotech, Bioengineering, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Cybersecurity)

Science Buddies- at home labs: At home labs for K–12 students

University of Texas Libraries: Links to open or free STEM data sources

JoVE Science Education: Video textbook that isolates and visually presents core concepts in Biology to improve learning comprehension

QUT (Queensland Univeristy of Technology) Library: Science datasets and repositories

NSF NCSES (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics): Repository for engineering and science statistical data. NCSES serves as a clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, analysis, and dissemination of objective science and engineering data.

AltspaceVR: Owned by Microsoft. Desktop or VR meeting places. Hold meetings, classes, socials, office hours, etc. (Contact Matthew Fuentes if you want to learn more. mfuentes@everttcc.edu)

QUT (Queensland Univeristy of Technology) Library: Science datasets and repositories

Google VR Expeditions: VR Field Trips (Users can order low-cost cardboard VR goggles for immersion)

ClassVR Virtual Reality in Education: ClassVR is a versatile platform using the power of Virtual and Augmented Reality for education and training from the classroom to the boardroom. (Some resources available for vocational and technical courses)

Dryad: Can filter by subject/discipline; requires a login

Open Maritime Simulation Platform: OSP consists of multiple plug and play and blackbox simulation models of maritime industry ecosystem. The simulation can be downloaded from command line interface or as a java-wrapper.

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