This paper describes how an anatomy and physiology laboratory class transitioned from a paper-based lab to an online learning platform that updated the curriculum to rely more on face-to-face small group collaboration and peer teaching. Student perceptions of the new format were positive, but halfway through the transition a global pandemic challenged the new instruction method. The face-to-face curriculum had to be adjusted to a virtual format that lacked in-person interaction between the instructor and the students. This switch to virtual labs had an adverse effect on both student perception and student performance in the second half of the semester. Our observations underscore the importance of creating an interactive community when teaching virtually.
Keywords: collaborative learning; online learning systems.