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An online course has been developed to support learning of practical material in a Botany unit. Students received feedback after each laboratory session, with answers to exercises and images of specimens studied made available. The effectiveness of this approach, in the context of the unit, was the focus of an evaluation study. This paper reports only on the usefulness of the WebCT online environment. The majority of students perceived that the online materials helped them to learn. There was heavy use of WebCT by students. However, most of this use was in the final two weeks of the semester, when students used surface learning strategies prior to exams. This approach was encouraged by the nature of the unit.