Evaluation of the new version of the Virtual Microscope (VM) with OU student [eSTEeM funded project]

Herodotou, Christothea; Fox, Kate and Scanlon, Eileen (2021). Evaluation of the new version of the Virtual Microscope (VM) with OU student [eSTEeM funded project]. The Open University.

Abstract

In our previous study funded by eSTEeM (Herodotou et al., 2019; Herodotou et al., in press), we examined the integration of the VM in Open University (OU) online courses and blended courses at a campus-based university. A significant finding was the students’ need for ongoing support and guidance when using the tool that can confirm or correct their interpretations of slides and clarify any misconceptions. This finding suggested that the current design of the VM could be further improved to effectively support or guide students’ understanding. In this second study funded by eSTEeM, we evaluated a new, more improved version of the VM. The aim of this study was to identify what kind of support would better scaffold students’ learning and understanding with the VM. This support would either come from a tutor providing help to students while they are using the VM (synchronously) or a detailed written guide (the “workbook”) designed to support the use of the new version of the VM. A better understanding of the students’ interactions with the new VM could contribute to more effective and evidence-based learning provision, improve the design of certain features of the tool, and enhance students’ learning experience.

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