Enhancing Student Learning in OpenSTEM Labs Through Live Support: The Lab Assist Project

Kbaier, Dhouha; Kear, Karen; Lockett, Helen; Sykes, Peter and Long, Steve (2024). Enhancing Student Learning in OpenSTEM Labs Through Live Support: The Lab Assist Project. In: ICCSE 2023: Computer Science and Education. Educational Digitalization (Hong, W. and Kanaparan, G. eds.), Springer, pp. 327–339.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-97-0737-9_29


This paper presents the Lab Assist project, a two-year initiative at the Open University, focused on enhancing real-time support for students engaged in OpenSTEM Labs (OSL) activities. The project explores the feasibility of real-time support mechanisms. The research includes an in-depth literature review, emphasizing self-regulated learning, live chat technology, cognitive load theory, and real-time collaboration in virtual laboratories. Survey findings from module chairs underscore the diverse experiments benefiting from real-time support, emphasizing the need for flexible solutions aligned with faculty priorities. The paper also outlines pilot live support sessions and future initiatives. Key aspects such as platform selection, staff assignment, scheduling, resource preparation, and feedback collection are discussed in the context of implementing an effective live support system. The paper concludes with a reflection on developing and testing a prototype in 2024, aiming to provide a dynamic, responsive, and accessible support ecosystem within the Open STEM Labs, ultimately enriching the learning journey for all students.

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