A networked demonstrator help request system for laboratory work

Pearce, David A. J.
December 2012
Engineering Education;Dec2012, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p29
Academic Journal
This paper reports on the design, development, introduction and reception of an online system for requesting help from demonstrators in laboratory sessions. The system has proven very popular with students, with over 80% expressing a positive preference for the new system over the previous method of raising hands. Side-effects of the new system include a greater number of requests and busier demonstrators as a consequence, although there is no evidence of a corresponding increase in waiting time. There was considerable variation between the numbers of help requests made by different students; however, no significant correlation was found between the rate of asking for help and the performance of students in the lab assessments. Characteristic patterns for the rate of student requests during a lab session were observed and there was clear evidence of a significant peer effect on the priority which students assign to their own help requests. The system was straightforward to develop and adaptation for other laboratories would be simple.


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