Fall Preview: One Month In

Ilyana Sawka/ October 31, 2019/ Uncategorized

Are you interested in becoming a beta tester? Click Tester’s Login and use the password fallpreview to create your account!

Just one month ago, on September 23rd, we kicked off the LabXchange fall preview and opened up the platform to beta testers for the first time. We now have test users on five continents, and new ones join every day. Input from our beta testers – you! – is incredibly valuable.

We want to empower you on your learning journey – from finding the topics that excite and inspire you, to seeking or offering mentorship, to preparing for a scientific career or improving your practice as an educator. Together, we are building the next generation of online learning – one that is open, flexible, and community-driven. For this reason, our team is working hard to improve the platform based on your feedback, observations, and suggestions.

A screenshot of the beta tester's login screen, with a graphic of a key.Opening up an online product to a rapidly growing number of users inevitably unearths many technical issues and bugs. We definitely share your frustration about log-in issues and error messages! But crowdsourcing feedback from hundreds of users is often the best way to identify and solve these issues. For example, our first group of test users helped us quickly discover – and fix! – an issue that was unique to the browser Safari. And based on your experience using the tester’s log-in, we helped make the sign-in process a little smoother for you by eliminating the username for beta testers.

Beyond flagging technical glitches, you are also offering deep insights into which elements of LabXchange are most valuable to you. We are thrilled that you think pathways are important, and that we should feature them more prominently. And we’re especially proud to hear that you are enjoying the design, organization, and structure of our simulations. We know these interactive elements are still finicky, and we aim to iron out the issues in time for our global launch in January.

In this image, Marie Teng-Pei Wu demonstrates the lab technique for serial dilution.

We also know that learners won’t be able to learn every nuance and detail of a real laboratory environment through our simulations. However, we hope that when combined with the method videos and other content in the LabXchange library, our simulations will help learners become more familiar and confident when they encounter common lab scenarios in real life.

Moving forward, we hope to offer more bite-size user testing scenarios around a variety of relevant topics. We are sensitive to taking up too much of your time, as we know it’s a limited resource! Instead, we now ask beta testers to take short, optional surveys on a variety of topics.

By participating in our fall preview and sharing your thoughts, you are not only helping improve the platform, you are also helping it grow. Thank you again for your input, and stay tuned for more updates and new features!