Laboratory experiences are essential for optics education. However, college students have limited access to advanced optical equipment that is generally expensive and complicated. Hence there is a need for innovative solutions to expose students to advanced optics laboratories. Here we describe a novel approach, interactive virtual optical laboratory (IVOL) that allows unlimited number of students to participate the lab session remotely through internet, to improve laboratory education in photonics. Although students are not physically conducting the experiment, IVOL is designed to engage students, by actively involving students in the decision making process throughout the experiment.


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