June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Electrical and Computer
14.98.1 - 14.98.17
A Remote Laboratory for Collaborative Experiments
Laboratory experiments are a fundamental and integral part of science and engineering education. In addition to reinforcing the theoretical concepts learnt, they also allow students to gain and develop vital skills associated with collaboration and communication. We have developed and implemented a remote laboratory at the University of South Australia (UniSA). One particular criterion in our case has been for the remote laboratory to facilitate student collaboration. It is currently used by both domestic and transnational students who collaborate in conducting joint experiments.
To evaluate the remote laboratory and its effectiveness in achieving the learning outcomes, domestic students in the Signals and System course were divided into 3 groups to conduct an identical experiment. The first group was asked to conduct the experiment in the actual laboratory. The second group was directed to conduct it using the remote laboratory. Students in the third group were given the choice to conduct experiment either in the actual laboratory or via the Internet in the remote laboratory or both. All students were asked to answer a short survey about their collaboration before, during and after the experiment. The student performance, activities and responses are discussed in this paper.
Laboratory experiments are a fundamental and integral part of science and engineering education. In addition to reinforcing the theoretical concepts learnt, they allow students to gain and develop vital skills associated with collaboration and communication. However, despite this, real laboratory experiments have been increasingly complemented or replaced by simulation (on- or off-line) and remote laboratories (RL). The primary reasons for this development must be seen in the reduced numbers of technical staff to provide laboratory supervision, the high cost of multiple sets of laboratory equipment, occupational health and safety regulations as well as time constraints. Comparative studies have been conducted on advantages and disadvantages of the three different types of laboratories, i.e. real, virtual and remote1, 2. It has been investigated and documented that remote laboratories, if designed and implemented properly, secure similar, if not better, learning outcomes of the students – as compared with real laboratories 3.
Remote laboratories allow experiments to be conducted on real laboratory equipment remotely via the Internet without time or location limitations. We have developed and implemented such a remote laboratory at the UniSA. This laboratory has been subject to continuing refinements and improvements via a number of sources, in particular through student user feedback. One particular criterion in our case has been for the remote laboratory to facilitate student collaboration. It is currently used by both domestic and transnational students, who collaborate in conducting joint experiments. Remote laboratories, which started their development about two decades ago, are currently seen as the humble beginning of the future global systems. They can be considered as a good structured and teaching environment for developing skills required for the efficient collaboration and communication on the local and global scale. In 2007 there were
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