Using Biology Labs Online: The Basics

  1. Before you get started, please check the Technical Requirements to ensure that you have the right hardware and browser to successfully run the labs. Each lab has its own Technical Requirements, located on the introduction page of the lab.

    You will need a Java-enabled browser in order to run most of the labs. We recommend that you use Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer.
  2. To access one of the labs, select its button from the list on the left of the home page of this site.
  3. Once you get to the lab, read the Introduction, Objectives, and Prerequisites for each lab. You may also need to read the Background material to review important concepts behind the lab. Each lab has Assignments; your instructor should tell you which Assignments you are to complete. YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPTS BEHIND EACH LAB ONLY BY WORKING ON ASSIGNMENTS.
  4. Each lab is a simulation of a real-life situation where you will be making choices about certain information and running experiments. The simulations are also referred to as applets, or small applications.
  5. Click “Start Lab” to enter the lab and begin working with the simulation.

Working with Many Windows

In using Biology Labs Online, you will find that there are often many lab windows open on the screen at one time. You may find it easier to work with the windows by making them smaller. Click the bottom right-hand corner of each window and drag it with your mouse to make it the size you want.

Saving Notebook Data : Exporting

In order to save the data you generate in Biology Labs Online, you will need to export it; that is, move it out of the lab or the notebook onto your local drive.

To Save and Export Text:

  1. Click on the Export button in the Notebook.
  2. After you click Export, your notes are moved into the browser window. If you wish to save the document to a location other than the desktop, choose the drive and/or directory, then save the file.


The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) is an online community for instructors utilizing technology in their curriculum. In addition to member profiles, MERLOT contains a searchable collection of learning modules, papers, tutorials, and technical support tools which instructors can use in their own classes. Instructors and developers can add resources to MERLOT, and reviews, pedagogical examples, technical notes, and other information can be added to the resources.

Access to Biology Labs Online is provided by the California State University system. Development was partially supported by a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. © 2002-2016 California State University.

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