eScience in and beyond the classroom

This is a pre-conference space to determine what we'd like to discuss at the workshop on 4th December. Our time allocation is 1 hour 40 minutes and so to maximise that time please do contribute here in advance. Workshop information is here and on the conference website

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Comments to Burbidge & Grout paper

Currently the design of the remote access facility seem to support more individual learning and experimentation than collaborative learning and knowledge sharing. Is this due and motivated by the specific teaching/learning requirements of the course or is the remote facility expected to evolve in the future towards support of more extended collaboration among students, as well as between students and tutors?

Are the authors interested at assessing possible differences (for learning) of the use of simulated experimental environments vs real environments (at presence or remotely accessed)?

Do they think it would be useful to support also learning scenarios where more expert (or advanced) students remotely interact with beginners and provide indications on how to carry out scientific experimentation (e.g., in the case of scaling up the system to support many courses, thus increasing the complexity of their management)?


Blogger Hilary Smith said...

I enjoyed reading about this remote access challenge for using science equipment.

Do the authors have a feel for any differences in the quality of students learning across the remote / present conditions with the equipment yet? Are there differencs in the types of learners' questions about the material or experiment for example, that indicate how well the students are engaging with the material?

11/14/2006 6:28 pm  
Blogger Dawn Woodgate said...

This is a very interesting account of 'real' work in progress, as opposed, say, to a purely experimental set up. It would be interesting to see if differences are seen to emerge between the learning that takes place for co-present and distance learning students. Also, are there any aspects that are 'lost' in distance learning that would be available if the student were present and able to physically manipulate the equipment, and interact with co-located lab technicians and tutors? Does it matter whether or not students get experience of setting up and using bench instrumentation and other lab equipment? I guess this depends on the learning objectives. What I trying to say, I think, is that we need to recognise the possibility that the distance learning and co-present students may be learning subtly different things. If it were possible to provide opportunities for both, this may present a greatly enhanced learning experience.

11/22/2006 11:54 am  
Blogger mburbidge said...

I found the initial comments relating to interactive learning between new students and more experienced users interesting. At the moment some of the material has been delivered with interaction between the tutor and the student. This was carried out in some instances in real time i.e. with the the tutor in phone and email contact with the student whislt stepping through a particular experiment. It would be interesting to incorperate real time capabilities directly into the remote access interface in the future. However, I will expect this may lead to further interesting scheduling issues that will have to be accounted for.

11/29/2006 5:06 pm  
Blogger mburbidge said...

In response to Hilary’s question, the main student interactions with previous versions of the lab have been via phone and email. Also, some students had interacted with the hardware "locally" but using the remote interface. The main feedback regarding the remote access material seemed to be related to the interaction / feedback from the original hardware. There were not really enough visual status indicators to rapidly inform the learner that the hardware was responding. This will hopefully be addressed with the newly developed hardware and the ongoing development of the user interface. This will be shown by Dr.Ian Grout at the workshop. In terms of the difference with the learner feedback between at-presence and remote scenarios, there is little difference with the delivered material. However, the main distinction is the time delays that are incurred between learner response and tutor feedback. Obviously, in the at-presence situation you can question the learner and provide instant assistance. With the original version of the lab time delays could sometimes be incurred between the learner and tutor response. The new interface will hopefully include mechanisms to provide the tutor with response of the students progress.

11/29/2006 5:29 pm  

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