At-Home STEM Lab Kits in Higher Education

Lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic and recommendations for future success

Created By: Carolina Distance Learning in partnership with Online Learning Consortium (OLC)  

Download the Brief Here

This brief presents original research that explored the value and future use of online tools for science teaching, like at-home lab kits. Data collection took place in May 2022 during which time five virtual focus groups on various STEM subjects (Biology, Physics and Engineering, Anatomy and Physiology, Environmental Science, and Chemistry) were conducted with a total of 45 participants. Participants were selected to include a range of institutional types (i.e., 4-year public and private universities, community colleges, and technical colleges) and institutional roles (i.e., science deans, chairs, program coordinators, and faculty). Findings were centered on the quality, access, and institutional support for science education with recommendations for institutions to: 1) Provide HyFlex options to increase access, 2) absorb costs like in-person labs, 3) consider the difference between emergency online vs. planned online, and 4) a call for more flexible state boards for accreditation.

What can I expect from this research brief?

With Carolina Distance Learning’s dedication to providing quality at-home lab programs for college-level distance education and the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC’s) dedication to creating community and knowledge around quality online, blended, and digital learning while driving innovation, a mutually beneficial opportunity has arisen to explore the evolving needs of science educators in higher education as they create quality digital, blended, and online learning experiences for their students.

Who is the intended audience of this research brief? 

Higher education faculty, staff, leaders, students, instructional designers, and lab coordinators involved with STEM education.


The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner—anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies, and corporate enterprises. Learn more at onlinelearning

Carolina Distance Learning® offers campus-quality science lab kits for online students that provide the same rigor, relevance, and results that traditional labs provide. Carolina has leveraged 90+ years of expertise to be able to offer hands-on labs in nine subject areas that can be completed at home safely. We also provide free course design, the flexibility to customize, and shipping schedules to match your timeline so you can plan and facilitate labs with ease and confidence (and without aggravation and stress). In addition to serving schools, our products have also been used by the scientific and health communities. We have a 24-hour order hotline for a special program to supply medicinal leeches to doctors and hospitals. Carolina has also supplied NASA scientists with various products for their important work. Learn more at or take a look at this video.