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I am required to publish courselab files in 800x600 format. As a result the images can be rather small. Is there a way through scripting or actions to have an icon available for the user to open a magnifying tool?
Consider lightbox, a javascript library.
Just google for 'lightbox'.

You'll have to integrate the libary yourself. I never did but I think if you make the changes in the template you use (f.i. C:\Program Files (x86)\CourseLab 2.4\Data\Template\Standard\0001) it might be included when you publish.

Apart from that, it might not work because of the way image tags are build by CL using javascript but then again, maybe it works.
Just give it a try [;)]
'iframe with image zoom' will do this and can be quite flexible. Not as smooth as lightbox or using moo tools but easier to implement. I've got this working zooming into some quite massive images.
Just idly thinking, would the lightbox window open at larger than the parent window invoking it?
Also if you want to use less code lytebox in an iframe would also work... I think
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