Increasing Usability in Simulated Labs Through the Use of User Interface Design Principles
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEducating students in the formal sciences is a difficult challenge. It can be especially difficult when attempting to attract new students to a field when the fundamental concepts are not intuitive nor easy to comprehend such as computer science. The Laboratory for Computer Science (LoCuS) software system was designed to address the issue of teaching students difficult theoretical concepts that usually require a deep technical background. LoCuS teaches students computational theory through the use of virtual laboratory experiments that immerse the student in a laboratory desktop environment. As proficient as LoCuS is at teaching students through laboratory experiments, it could be improved upon by increasing the usability of the system. The focus of this thesis is to improve upon LoCuS through the use of insights from user interface research. By thoughtfully using insights from user interface design principles to enhance a virtual laboratory, it becomes possible to make computer science labs more immersive, to better approximate a physical laboratory experiment and increase usability for students.
Degree ProgramHonors College