A classification scheme for OpenSTEM Labs experiments

Lockett, Helen; Bromley, Kay; Gowans, Kevin; Richardson, Claire and Smith, James (2021). A classification scheme for OpenSTEM Labs experiments. In: The 10th eSTEeM Annual Conference - Scholarship for a Changing World – Disruption, Innovation and Impact, 30 Jun - 1 Jul 2021, Online.

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The OpenSTEM Labs deliver authentic practical experiences to the Open University’s distance learning students in STEM subjects using real time instrumentation, data and equipment for practical enquiries over the internet. We are undertaking an eSTEeM project to understand the breadth of activities, skills and educational outcomes developed in OpenSTEM Labs experiments. In this project, a classification scheme for remote and onscreen experiments is being developed and will be used to create a database of OpenSTEM Labs experiments. The database, once populated, will help us to understand the range of experiments in our labs and will help module teams to search for existing experiments that are relevant to their needs.
Several researchers have developed classification schemes for remote and onscreen laboratories. Zutin et al. (2010) classify online laboratories in terms of laboratory type (remote/ virtual/ hybrid) and experiment type (observation/ fixed/ adaptive) and Orduna et al. (2016) classify of online laboratories in five models: remote laboratories, simulations, datasets, dataset-based simulators and hybrid dataset and reality labs.
Remote and online laboratory experiments have also been classified in terms of their educational outcomes. Mead and Bennett (2011) developed a framework for assessing engineering outcomes building on Bloom’s taxonomy. Brinson (2015) classified learning outcomes from remote/ onscreen laboratories using the United States ABET defined technical outcomes for Engineering Accreditation; and Feisel & Rosa (2005) developed a set of 13 learning objectives that can be used to assess the effectiveness of laboratories in distance education.
This paper will review previous classification schemes for remote and online laboratories from the literature and propose a new classification scheme for OpenSTEM Labs activities that includes attributes for both laboratory types and educational outcomes.

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