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A Toolkit to Facilitate the Development and Use of Educational Online Laboratories in Secondary Schools

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computing and Information Technology Programs II

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.126.1 - 26.126.9



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Paper Authors


Michael E. Auer CTI Villach

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Dr. (mult.) Michael E. Auer is Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and IT of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences Villach, Austria and has also a teaching position at the University of Klagenfurt.
He is a senior member of IEEE and member of ASEE, IGIP, etc., author or co-author of more than 170 publications and leading member of numerous national and international organizations in the field of Online Technologies. His current research is directed to technology enhanced learning and remote working environments especially in engineering.
Michael Auer is Founding-President and CEO of the "International Association of Online Engineering" (IAOE) since 2006, a non-governmental organization that promotes the vision of new engineering working environments worldwide.
In 2009 he was appointed as member of the Advisory Board of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG). Furthermore he is chair of the Advisory Board of the International E-Learning Association (IELA) and member of the Board of Consultants of the International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE).
In September 2010 he was elected as President of the "International Society of Engineering Education" (IGIP,
Furthermore he is one of the founders and Secretary General of the "Global Online Laboratory Consortium" (GOLC). GOLC is the result of an initiative started in 2009 at MIT to coordinate the work on educational online laboratories worldwide.

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Danilo Garbi Zutin Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

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Amir Mujkanovic CUAS

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A Toolkit to Facilitate the Development and Use of Educational Online Laboratories in Secondary Schools In the last years, considerable advances have been made regarding the design anddevelopment of Educational Online Laboratories. Active learning by means of online laboratories is especially valuable for blended learningapproaches. Students can access remote laboratories from any place. This flexibility isimportant for education and further education and for lifelong learning. But it is a difficult task for teachers at all educational levels to include interactive onlineexperiments in their courses. This paper describes the implementation of a software framework that facilitates thedevelopment of online laboratories. LabView was chosen as the development platform due toits broad usage in a lot of different fields in engineering, physics, chemistry, etc and for being abroadly used tool for easily creating applications involving virtual instrumentation and dataacquisition. It provides also interfaces for several commercial hardware equipment. The toolkit was developed for the iLab Shared Architecture (ISA) is a web services basedsoftware framework that aims at sharing access to online laboratories assuming that they sharesome characteristics. It distinguishes the tasks of using a specific lab that comprises anexperiment from the tasks of managing users’ accounts, user authentication and other tasks thatfollow a lab session. Together with international partners we will involve secondary school students in thedeveloping process of online laboratories and potentially achieve valuable scientific results aswell as provide insights for students into scientific research. We therefore target to stronglyinvolve young learners in the research process as well as to gain age appropriate insights intothe requirements of these students. This is important as it might illuminate new insights intothe requirements of the young learners and teachers using and developing these onlinelaboratories. In order to achieve the desired outcome some design goals will be specified:  The toolkit will not be tailored for one specific type of lab.  Users should have available a LabVIEW based configuration interface where they should be able to select the parameters that will govern the experiment execution  Parameters should be converted to their proper data types  XML should be used to exchange the experiment data The direct beneficiaries of the proposed Framework will be online lab developers. As a result of this research, we expect to gain a better understanding of how to design andimplement plug-play-share interfaces that facilitate the attachment of new laboratoryequipment to the Internet. Together with these interfaces we plan to create guidelines howthese interfaces can be used with minor software programming skills. In addition, we anticipate better understanding of the age-appropriate student preferencesfor the use of the laboratory experiments. This might have a positive impact on the usage andutilization of online laboratories. Experimentation might become more fun for students andthey therefore might use more often online experiments. For that reason we justify the attempt to develop such a framework that speeds up thedevelopment of lab servers. The outcome of this work is a product that includes a configurablexml parser toolkit that can be utilized at any place for any type of laboratory. In this way including interactive online experiments in in a variety of educational forms willbe much easier. REFERENCES[1] Soumare, H., Schroff, R., Hardison, J. L., et al. (2009a). A Versatile Internet-AccessibleElectronics Workbench with Troubleshooting Capabilities. Paper presented at the REV 2009Conference, Bridgeport, CT.[2] V. J. Harward, J. A. del Alamo, S. R. Lerman P. H. Bailey, J. Carpenter, et. al., "The iLabShared Architecture: A Web Services Infrastructure to Build Communities of InternetAccessible Laboratories," Proceedings of the IEEE , vol.96, no.6, pp.931-950, June 2008.[3] Harward, J. V. 2005. Service Broker to Lab Server API, 2005, MIT iCampus, CambridgeMA, USA.[4] Zych, D. 2005. Client to Service Broker API, 2005, MIT iCampus, Cambridge MA, USA.[5] Felknor, C., DeLong, K. 2006. iLabs Service Broker Complete Machine Build, 2006, MITiCampus, Cambridge MA, USA.[6] Soumare, H. et At, 2009. A Versatile Internet-Accessible Electronics Workbench withTroubleshooting Capabilities, 2009, REV Conference Proceedings, Bridgeport CT, USA.

Auer, M. E., & Garbi Zutin, D., & Mujkanovic, A. (2015, June), A Toolkit to Facilitate the Development and Use of Educational Online Laboratories in Secondary Schools Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23467

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