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A Framework for Remote Hardware Lab Course Delivery: Rapidly Adjusting to 2020

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Matthew McConnell Case Western Reserve University Orcid 16x16

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Matthew McConnell has been a hardware design engineer building networked, embedded Linux devices primarily in the industrial Test and Measurement market for the past twenty years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics and a Masters of Science in Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He currently collaborates with the Institute for Smart, Secure, and Connected Systems (ISSACS) to further IoT education and engineering programs at Case Western Reserve University.

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Kenneth A. Loparo Case Western Reserve University Orcid 16x16

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Kenneth A. Loparo is the Arthur L. Parker Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering, holds academic appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the Case School of Engineering and the Faculty Director the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems. He has received numerous awards including the Sigma Xi Research Award for contributions to stochastic control, the John S. Diekoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Teaching, the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Engineering and Science Professor Award, the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, the Carl F. Wittke Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and the Srinivasa P. Gutti Memorial Engineering Teaching Award. He was Associate Dean of Engineering from 1994 -1997 and chair of the Department of Systems Engineering from 1990 -1994 and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 2013-2017.

Loparo is a fellow of a Life Fellow of the IEEE and a fellow of AIMBE, his research interests include stability and control of nonlinear and stochastic systems with applications to large-scale systems; nonlinear filtering with applications to monitoring, fault detection, diagnosis, prognosis and reconfigurable control; information theory aspects of stochastic and quantized systems with applications to adaptive and dual control and the design of distributed autonomous control systems; the development of advanced signal processing and data analytics for monitoring and tracking of physiological behavior in health and disease.

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Nicholas Barendt Case Western Reserve University Orcid 16x16

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Nick Barendt is the Executive Director, Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS) at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also an Adjunct Senior Instructor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering and the Department of Computer and Data Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. He has worked in a variety of industries: Industrial Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, and Test and Measurement. He has lead technologies teams as well as been an entrepreneur. He consults with industry and academia. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

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This paper describes a framework for enabling students to remotely interact with laboratory computers and equipment for traditional, in-person laboratory courses. This framework was developed due to the closure of campus facilities and the transition to remote course delivery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This transition was particularly difficult for hands-on laboratory courses. The laboratory course used as a test-case for the framework was an IoT Edge Computing design course that had an on-campus laboratory equipped with workstation computers, development boards, isolated network segments, and custom sensor hardware. Duplicating this setup would be cost prohibitive for students so remote access to the lab was essential. A detailed description of the lab station architecture, development hardware connectivity requirements, network security issues, student guides, and custom software to support the framework is presented along with the educational goals that drove those decisions. The paper concludes with a discussion of the lessons learned in this first remote delivery offering, a discussion on how remote delivery impacted student mastery of the course materials, what aspects of the remote laboratory might be generalized to other hardware-intensive courses, and what improvements may be made in future iterations of the course.

McConnell, M., & Loparo, K. A., & Barendt, N. (2021, July), A Framework for Remote Hardware Lab Course Delivery: Rapidly Adjusting to 2020 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36581

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