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WORK IN PROGRESS: A Study on Student Feedback Regarding the Usability of Online Laboratories

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors

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Christian Kreiter MSc Carinthia University of Applied Sciences


Danilo Garbi Zutin P.E. Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

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Danilo G. Zutin is currently a Senior Researcher and team member of the Center of Competence in Online Laboratories and Open Learning (CCOL) at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS), Villach, Austria, where he has been engaged in projects for the development of online laboratories, softtware architectures for online laboratories and online engineering in general.
Danilo is author or co-author of more than 30 scientific papers published in international journals, magazines and conferences. Most of these papers are in the field of online engineering, remote and virtual laboratories and issues associated with their dissemination and usage.

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Michael E. Auer Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

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Dr. (mult.) Michael E. Auer is Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and IT of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences Villach, Austria and has also a teaching position at the University of Klagenfurt.
He is a senior member of IEEE and member of ASEE, IGIP, etc., author or co-author of more than 170 publications and leading member of numerous national and international organizations in the field of Online Technologies. His current research is directed to technology enhanced learning and remote working environments especially in engineering.
Michael Auer is Founding-President and CEO of the "International Association of Online Engineering" (IAOE) since 2006, a non-governmental organization that promotes the vision of new engineering working environments worldwide.
In 2009 he was appointed as member of the Advisory Board of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG). Furthermore he is chair of the Advisory Board of the International E-Learning Association (IELA) and member of the Board of Consultants of the International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE).
In September 2010 he was elected as President of the "International Society of Engineering Education" (IGIP,
Furthermore he is one of the founders and Secretary General of the "Global Online Laboratory Consortium" (GOLC). GOLC is the result of an initiative started in 2009 at MIT to coordinate the work on educational online laboratories worldwide.

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Online Laboratories allow students to perform virtual and real experiments remotely. The user interfaces of the laboratories are delivered by Web-based client applications that can be accessed with every modern browser. This work presents the results of a survey carried out in the scope of a national project that aims among others to gain knowledge from peer-feedback to improve usability and to increase workload of Educational Online Laboratories, as well as to explore age-dependent requirements for the integration of Online Laboratories in classes of secondary schools.

In our project we work together with three secondary schools from Austria and some others from European countries with a focus on STEM subjects. Each Austrian project partner develops its own Educational Online Laboratory in an area that suits their curricula. To assure that the laboratory experiments are qualified in terms of their pedagogical goals (usability and age appropriateness for use in classes), a part of the project is to ensure that every laboratory goes through a pilot phase, where it is tested by students of the same age from participating schools.

During the project, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy invited us to take part in a contest with the goal to involve young students in science topics. We have participated in this contest, since one of our project goals is to gain insight from students and teachers from secondary schools concerning the potential usage of Online Laboratories in class. Our task for the students was to try out Online Laboratories and to provide feedback regarding usability, experienced challenges and personal impressions. The contest allowed us to test the stability of our Online Laboratories in a large scale, before they were presented to our international school partners. The evaluation of the feedback from this contest helps us to understand problems and design flaws, but also to detect what aspects keep the students interested. This paper will provide a statistical analysis of those aspects.

Kreiter, C., & Garbi Zutin, D., & Auer, M. E. (2016, June), WORK IN PROGRESS: A Study on Student Feedback Regarding the Usability of Online Laboratories Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27211

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