An essential goal for physics and optical science instructors is to encourage students to find excitement and beauty in physical and optical phenomena while helping them learn the theoretical concepts and conducting experiments that can test the validity of the concepts. Such motivation largely relies on realistic hands-on lab opportunities where students can interact with physics-based phenomena as well as their corresponding laws and principles. Virtual simulation and modeling tools provide a great alternative to deliver interactive experiences when participating in physical lab environments is limited or unavailable (i.e., during distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The use of computer-based simulations can improve students’ ability to make predictions and explain the phenomena practiced in the experiments. The educational value of virtual labs has been extensively investigated and reported, showing that students who use simulated equipment outperformed their peers.

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More than 30 virtual labs are available and can be acquired by contacting the authors by email. More labs will be added and shared with the public through the outreach website.8
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