The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced many educators to move their courses to the online environment with little time to adjust. It especially affected undergraduate biology laboratory courses that rely on on-campus facilities to provide students with meaningful laboratory-type experiences. Here we describe a multisession, at-home, and hands-on laboratory activity that utilizes yogurt culturing to explore microbiology concepts. We also summarize the findings of 219 undergraduate students who successfully performed this lab remotely. In small virtual groups, students learned how to make yogurt at home, formulate a testable hypothesis, run an experiment on conditions necessary for yogurt fermentation, analyze experimental results, and present their results to peers in an oral scientific talk. Practical considerations include the use of low-cost and accessible materials, low-tech yet effective quantification approaches, and online note-taking and data management tools to coordinate group work and provide informal and formal assessment.
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Vol. 84 • No. 5