LabSpot is a tool in development by educational startup ResearchConnection, in close partnership with the UCSF School of Medicine, for designing, managing, tracking, and assessing students’ scholarly projects. LabSpot assists in the management of the entire scholarly project cycle and more, including:
- Student-Mentor Pairing: Faculty/mentors and students find each other with a simple search and project opportunity posting infrastructure.
- Curriculum Management and Project Tracking: Configure curriculum and organizational structure, track student progress, solicit and revise assignments, and send reminders.
- Analytics and Assessment: Maintain an archive of student projects, track site usage, and benchmark cohorts across disciplines and years. Analyze outcomes at the granular or statistical level to gain insights and share reports.
- Systems Integration: Keep things centralized with single sign-on integration, data dumps from any internal records of faculty profiles, and APIs to other CMS and LMS systems.
Getting Started with Labspot
Both students and mentors access the LabSpot tool via the same URL: https://ucsf.labspot.io
Users are asked to login via their UCSF MyAccess credentials and are taken to either a student or mentor landing page, based on their pre-assigned role in the system.
Students: Creating a Labspot Profile and Usage
Students will be asked to set up their LabSpot profile by filling out a series of fields, including graduation year, area of concentration, and research interests
Once a student has accessed LabSpot, they are ready to begin the search for a project opportunity or mentor. Students will be given the option to take a short tour of the homepage, which will run through the different methods of searching or browsing the system, including:
- Search: Allows students to search the Labspot database as well as UCSF Profiles for keywords relating to research topics, mentor names, and is even connected to the PubMed database
- Browse Opportunities: Allows students to browse opportunities posted to LabSpot, with relevant opportunities sorted based on the interests entered
- Browse Researchers: Allows students to browse UCSF researchers in LabSpot, with most relevant researchers sorted based on the interests entered
Students can click on individual opportunities or researchers for more information. Each opportunity will list the requirements for application, including the application close date, project start date, a description of the project, and any special requirements
To apply for a project, a student selects the “Apply” button on the opportunity page and provides out the requested information. Opportunities can also be "Favorited" for later application.
Students can also contact a researcher without applying for a specific project by clicking on the researcher’s name and selecting “Contact” on that researcher’s profile.
Mentors: Creating a Labspot Profile and Usage
Mentors (occasionally referred to as researchers) will be asked to set up their LabSpot profile by adding their main topics of research, describing their research, department affiliation, personal bio, and education.
Once a mentor has logged in and set up their LabSpot account, they are ready to begin posting project opportunities. Mentors will be given the chance to tour the system, which will run through the various tasks mentors have to complete within LabSpot, including:
- Post an Opportunity: Allows mentors to post a project opportunity into LabSpot, for which UCSF students will apply to act as research/project assistants
- Manage Postings: Allows mentors to view and manage current and past project opportunities they have posted
- When a mentor is ready to post a project opportunity in LabSpot, they simply select "New Posting" from the "My Opportunities" tab and are taken to the Opportunity Posting form.
- The Opportunity Posting form will ask for all relevant information that a student will need to know when applying for a project, including:
- Project title and description (ideal project descriptions are at least 200 words)
- Posting close data and project start date
- Location (for projects conducted primarily off-site)
- Program (Summer Learners, Inquiry, Both)
- Whether you will require a resume and/or cover letter from applicants
- Any ideal qualifications you may wish an applicant to have