Virtual Labs (VLAB) is a multi-institutional Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative, exclusively focused on lab experiments for engineering education. This project envisages building a large OER repository, containing over 1650 virtual experiments mapped to the engineering curriculum. The introduction of VLAB is a paradigm shift in an educational system that is slow to change. Treating VLAB OER as an educational technology innovation, its adoption by potential-adopter engineering students (N=131) is modeled based on Roger's theory of perceived attributes. Regression and factor analysis were used to analyze the data. Results indicate that the attributes of Compatibility, Ease of Use, Relative Advantage, and Trialability significantly influence potential-adopter students' intention to adopt an innovation like VLAB. The study also observed that using OER (such as VLAB) on desktops and low-cost tablets had similar effects in student performance to using physical labs. This has interesting implications for education policy-makers who are looking to reduce the digital divide.
Raghu Raman, Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, Prof. Nedungadi, P., Dr. Shyam Diwakar, and Bose, R., “The VLAB OER Experience: Modeling Potential-Adopter Students' Acceptance”, IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 57, pp. 235–241, 2015.