Closed laboratories are becoming an increasingly popular approach to teaching introductory computer science courses. However, as observed in , "Considering the prevalence of closed labs and the fact that they have been in place in CS curricula for more than a decade, there is little published evidence assessing their effectiveness." In this paper we report on an integrated approach to designing and implementing laboratories with embedded instructional research design. The activities reported here are part of our department-wide effort to not only improve student learning in Computer Science and Computer Engineering, but also to improve the agility of our Computer Science and Engineering Department in adapting our curriculum to changing technologies, incorporate research, and validate the instructional strategies used. This paper presents the design and implementation of the labs and the results and analysis of student performance. Also described in this paper is how we have employed cooperative learning in our labs and how it impacts student learning.