Over the past 10 years we have adopted a variety of new teaching methods to make both our in-person and our online introductory biostatistics courses more active, relevant and effective. These include the flipped classroom approach, active learning, collaborative answer keys, and group projects using “The Islands”. The virtual world of The Islands, created by Michael Bulmer at University of Queensland, allows students to actually do research (and statistics) from start to finish by designing, executing, analyzing and reporting the results of a "real" study on virtual people. We have collaborated with Dr. Bulmer to add features to The Islands (such as clinics and hospitals) to facilitate health-related research studies, both experimental and observational. Carrying out an Island study provides students with sometimes painful but nevertheless invaluable experience in many aspects of research, including study design, data collection, teamwork, data analysis, and communicating research results to others. This talk will describe The Islands and how we use them for student projects, and will discuss the benefits and challenges of these projects, both for students and for instructors.