19 July 2013
The OU’s innovative OpenScience Lab and iSpot both feature in an article showing how the OU and other Universities are going beyond MOOCs (massive open online courses) to provide students with a more immersive learning experience online. IET’s Professor Mike Sharples highlights the OU’s considerable contribution towards the development of deep learning resources so that students can engage with real data online.
“Labs are where we offer students the opportunity to engage with real lab equipment, to analyse authentic data, to experience the wonder of observation” explains Mike. The OpenScience lab developed by the OU is offering students the chance to do real lab work from home without using a kit posted to them by the University, which the OU did until the late 1990s.
Labs are where we offer students the opportunity to engage with real lab equipment, to analyse authentic data, to experience the wonder of observation
The educational uses of mobile devices for data collection are also being explored by the OU, which launched the award winning nature observation and identification website iSpot in 2008. Some MOOCs are now finding ways of improving the learning experience for students beyond providing them with online lectures and this may mean integrating practical resources such as OpenScience lab and iSpot alongside the traditional lectures.
The news article, called “Education online: the virtual lab” is published in the prestigious ‘Nature’ journal.