In this work, the online offering of a sophomore electrical and computer engineering hands-on course at UC Davis during COVID-19 pandemic is discussed. In response to California’s social distancing guidelines, the course was abruptly moved from in-person to remote instruction. To overcome the challenges inherent in remote instruction, we employed novel policies, “Boost Points” (BP) and “Student Assistants” (SA), to incentivize early action on lab assignments and interaction between students. We present survey and participation data that show students favor these techniques. Finally, we outline future directions for SA/BP in lab-based circuits courses.