Preparing access for students
Group with associated laboratories, within a the LabsLand space of a higher education institution.
Table of Contents
One of the most important functions of LabsLand spaces is to allow instructors to manage student access to the labs. There are different access methods to suit the needs and circumstances of each higher education institution.
The main objective is to make access as easy as possible for the student, and not to get "lost" along the way.
There are two main alternatives for students to access: either in a generic way via a link, or by integrating access with the institution's educational platform (Moodle, Google Classroom, etc.).
Before you can provide access to students, you need to be an administrator of a LabsLand space. Normally the space will be associated with your institution (e.g., "example-university.labsland.com") and may have several administrators. If you do not yet have a space for your higher education institution or do not have administration permissions on the space, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need this access before you can follow the rest of the guide.
Access via link
Access via a link will work in all higher education institutions. Instructors create a link associated with a specific group. From there, they can pass this link to the students by any means they consider appropriate (by mail or by writing it on the whiteboard, or by posting it in a Google Classroom activity...).
By following the link, students will be taken to a screen where they will be asked for some very basic information (a nickname and a password). Once entered, they will log in and will immediately be able to access the specific labs of their group.
This method is very easy for instructors, as they only have to share the registration link with the students, and do not have to worry about anything else. Compared to other methods, it has the disadvantage that the student will have to enter some information (however little), instead of directly accessing the lab.
Step 1 - Choose the laboratory and start the process
The first step is to go to the higher education institution's space in LabsLand (usually, "college-name.labsland.com"). You will see the available groups, and the labs associated with each group. If we have not yet assigned the lab we want to give students access to, we must do so before this step.
In this example, we want to give access to our students in a group called "Physics Grade 9 2021-2022". The labs we have associated with this group are the Pendulum lab and the Conservation of Linear Momentum lab. Our aim is to create a link that allows students to access them.
Figure 1. Physics Grade 9 in LabsLand.
To start creating the link, click on the "Add students" button (top left).
Figure 2. Screen that appears when clicking on "Add students".
Step 2 - Create the link
After clicking (see Figure 2) we can choose by which method to create the access for the students. In this case, we will choose the first one: "Manage a link". In the blue card on the left, click on "Manage link".
Figure 3. Confirmation screen after selecting "Manage link".
You will then be taken to a confirmation screen (see Figure 3). We must confirm by clicking on "Create".
Step 3 - Copy and share the link
Figure 4. Screen with the link we have created, ready to be shared.
Now that we have the link, we can click on "copy" to copy it automatically to our clipboard. From there, we only have to send it to the student, by any means.
The students will only have to follow it to be able to register and access the laboratories of the group "Physics Grade 9 2021-2022".
Integrate with educational platform (LMS)
If the higher education institution uses an educational platform such as Moodle, Google Classroom, or any other similar platform, the recommended option is to use this method to provide access to students.
Once set up, instructors can add an activity linked to the lab on the platform, just as they would add any other activity. Students will only need to click on that activity, and they will automatically enter the lab. They will not need to enter any information, nor will they have any way to get lost, as they will not even go directly through the LabsLand platform.
This is the advantage of this method over the generic method of link creation: by integrating with an educational platform, the student will not even have to enter their nickname, nor associate a password.
The disadvantage of this method, however, is that it is initially a bit more complicated for the instructor. Certain steps have to be followed, depending on the specific learning platform. In addition, depending on how customized the higher education institution's platform is, it is possible that the platform administrators at the school have blocked the use of third-party tools (although this is rare).
Step 1 - Ensure that the platform is listed in LabsLand
The first step is to go to the higher education institution's space in LabsLand (usually "college-name.labsland.com"). You will see the available groups, and the labs associated with each group. If we have not yet assigned the lab we want to give students access to, we must do so before this step.
In this example, we want to give access to our students in a group called "Physics Grade 9 2021-2022". The labs we have associated with this group are the Pendulum lab and the Conservation of Linear Momentum lab.
In this example, our objective will be to integrate access to the Pendulum lab into the higher education institution's learning platform (LMS). In the case of this method, the integration is done at the lab level. After integrating it, students, by clicking within the learning platform on the corresponding activity, will enter directly into the lab, without the possibility of loss.
Figure 1 shows the screen of the institution, with the laboratory to which we want to give access. At the top right of the box corresponding to the pendulum lab, we should see buttons similar to those shown in the image. In the case of the image, these buttons say "Add to Moodle" and "Add to Google Classroom". In the case of other higher education institutions, however, other buttons may appear.
The buttons should correspond to the system you want to access. If you can't find a button for your learning platform (Moodle, for example), or if you can't find a button at all, the easiest way is to contact us at email@example.com, and we will configure the higher education institution's space appropriately.
If you have confirmed that you have the correct option, then click on "Add to Moodle" (or the button corresponding to your platform), and continue to the next step.
Figure 5. Physics Grade 9 group within the LabsLand space.
Step 2 - Follow the specific instructions
After clicking on the corresponding add button, you will be taken to a page with detailed instructions. The instructions are platform-specific.
It is advisable to follow the instructions with some care. It is possible that the screenshots do not completely match your higher education institution's platform, as higher education institutions often customize the look and feel of their educational platforms (such as Moodle).
In case you have problems following the steps and getting it to work properly, we recommend that you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you.