This chapter examines the rationale and motivations for using Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) for Online Laboratories. It explores different classifications, facets and features of virtual, remote and hybrid laboratories (Gomes2009, Gravier2009a) and subsequently introduces and discusses a range of metaphors, which can be used to understand each approach (Kreijins2002, Northrup2001). It also attempts to classify each of these platforms based on how students learn in these environments i.e. working as individuals or collaboratively in peer based groups (Gravier2009). It discusses and defines the concept of “Collaborative Online Laboratories” as Remote, Virtual or Hybrid Laboratories where groups of users work collaboratively in online virtual communities to support and facilitate learning. Two practical examples of Collaborative Online Laboratories, (the OCELOT project, a Collaborative Remote Laboratory from the University of Saint-Etienne and the Engineering Education Island project, a Collaborative Virtual Laboratory from the University of Ulster) will be presented in the context of existing literature, our individual experiences in implementation and the functionality included in each platform to facilitate collaboration between learners. The chapter will conclude with a discussion of the author’s experiences of practical implementation of these projects and the opportunities/barriers to future directions in Collaborative Online Laboratories.
Gravier, C., & Callaghan, MJ. (2012). Functionalities and Facets of Group Awareness in Collaborative Online Laboratories. In Virtual Community Building and the Information Society: Current and Future Directions (pp. 136-152). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60960-869-9.ch007