Labassistant: a web-based general-purpose software for the delivery and administration of computer based laboratory sessions
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The design of a web-based general-purpose software system, named LabAssistant, that supports computer-based laboratory sessions is presented. The aim of LabAssistant is to provide support to the preparation, conduct, evaluation and administration of the laboratory sessions offered by academic institutions. LabAssistant may support both the traditional and distance-learning educational delivery model. LabAssistant is used in collaboration with other domain-specific software such as mathematical modeling tools, simulation software, database management systems, etc. It adopts a step-wise approach to laboratory sessions: at each step a domainspecific task is suggested to the students while the corresponding theory is presented, the appropriate domainspecific software features are explained and useful hints/suggestions related to the suggested task are made available for inspection. All this information (i.e. the domain-specific tasks, software features, related theory, suggestions) and its sequencing is determined by the academic staff during the preparation of the laboratory session and are input to LabAssistant. The students employ LabAssistant to initiate a new laboratory session or continue a previously suspended one and utilize the domain-specific software to accomplish the tasks suggested to them, while LabAssistant keeps track of the student progress. LabAssistant also provides support to administrative tasks related to the regulations and the assessment methods adopted by academic institutions.