Technical developments of LabNbook

With the LabNbook Meetings taking place, it’s time to take stock of the latest developments in the platform and what is expected to come in 2022-23.

Let’s start with what is, as of now, available in the platform:

  • Synchronous tracking of students by teachers has been improved (all this was detailed in a previous post).
  • V1 of the Moodle-LabNbook connection plugin has been released and sent to administrators of Moodle connected to LabNbook. This new version has been simplified and made more robust. If you don’t see a change in the Moodle interfaces when you create a LabNbook activity, remind your administrators that it’s time to update the plugin!
  • The first login interface allows students to create a LabNbook account via a class code or to link their Moodle accounts to LabNbook. We’ve redesigned the interface to prevent students from creating multiple accounts, which makes it difficult for teachers to manage.
  • The teaming interface has received a complete facelift. This interface is a key part of LabNbook as it allows students to be assigned assignments. We are confident that it is now more explicit and ergonomic, and that teachers’ work will be simplified.
  • Students working on large screens sometimes felt cramped in LabNbook. They can now manage their workspaces by changing the width of their report and the height of Labdocs.
  • The drawing tool has been improved in several ways. The most notable ones concern the image libraries:
    • A new object library has been introduced in process engineering,
    • Teachers can now add objects to the local library of a pre-structured Labdoc in an assignment. These objects can even be added to the generic libraries of the drawing tool if requested.
  • In the report tracking table, teachers can now choose whether or not to display (“out of my classes” box) reports for their students that were created by teachers in classes other than their own. This is especially useful to access reports of students who have caught up with their work in another group.
  • It is now possible to follow the activity of an entire class. To do so, you have to go to the “Reports” tab, choose a class and an assignment in order to display, under the reports table, a “heatmap” of the work of the student teams. Please let us know if this new way of tracking your students is useful.

As for the future, there is first of all what is being realized (some prototypes were presented at the Meetings)

  • It will soon be possible to display the modifications made by the students to their report (Labdocs texts) between two follow-ups of the report by the teacher. Planned production start: September 2022.
  • The data processing tool is completely reworked to improve its ergonomics and to allow automatic adjustments of the data by minimizing the Chi2. Planned production start: September 2022.
  • The equation editor will be improved (ergonomics, bugs). Planned release: September 2022.
  • A tool for evaluating reports using a criterion-based grid is under development. We are trying to make a tool versatile enough to answer all your requests. Planned release: 1st semester 2022-23.

… and what is planned for the near future:

  • We want to connect LabNbook to Shibboleth, the directory of all universities and secondary schools in France. Planned release: October 2022.
  • Labdocs to do code (Julia, Python, R) will be added in LabNbook. We plan to have a prototype in December 2022 and a production launch in early 2023.

A user testimonial on the use of LabNbook and Genially for remote labs

A “scientific day on digital simulation environments and the contributions to higher education” has been organized by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (http://esn2021.fr/fr). During this event, Anne-Line Perriollat and her colleagues presented their use of LabNbook + Genially to organize practicals in distance conditions. The proposition has been popular with students and teachers, and there are certainly some great ideas to keep in mind, even if viruses let our students come to the campus.

Explore further with the abstract and the poster of the presentation.

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