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An Intelligent Tutoring System for Multimedia Virtual Power Laboratory

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session I

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NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Ning Gong Temple University

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Ning Gong is currently a third year PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Temple University. His research is focused on Smart Grid and Consensus Control Theories. He is particularly interested in power distribution system topology and resilience control applications. Before coming to Temple University, he graduated in Polytechnic Institute of New York University with his M.S degree. Currently he is a Graduate Research Assistant in the department. He can be contacted at:

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Saroj K Biswas Temple University

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Saroj Biswas is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Temple University specializing in electrical machines and power systems, multimedia tutoring, and control and optimization of dynamic systems. He has been the principle investigator of a project for the development of an intelligent tutoring shell that allows instructors create their own web-based tutoring system. His current research focuses on security of cyber-physical systems based on multiagent framework with applications to the power grid, and the integration of an intelligent virtual laboratory environment in curriculum. He is an associate editor of Dynamics of Continuous, Discrete and Impulsive Systems: Series B, and is a member of IEEE, ASEE, and Sigma Xi.

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Li Bai Temple University

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Dr. Li Bai is a Professor in the ECE department, Temple University. He received his B.S. (1996) from Temple University, M.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2001) from Drexel University, all in Electrical Engineering. He was a summer research faculty in AFRL, Rome, NY, during 2002–2004 and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD), Philadelphia, PA, during 2006–2007. His research interests include video tracking, level 2+ information fusion, array signal processing and multi-agent systems, wireless sensor network and dependable secure computing. His research has been supported by Office of Naval Research, Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), National Science Foundation, U.S. Army and Exxon Mobil, etc. Also, Dr. Bai served as the Chair of the IEEE Philadelphia Section in 2007 and was Young Engineer of the Year in Delaware Valley, IEEE Philadelphia Section in 2004.

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Brian P. Butz Temple University

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Dr. Brian P. Butz is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. In 1987, Professor Butz founded the Intelligent Systems Application Center (ISAC) which provided a focal point within Temple University for research in intelligent systems. Professor Butz's research efforts focused on expert/knowledge-based systems and intelligent tutoring systems. He has been the Principal Investigator for several projects that immerse users into a particular virtual environment in which they are able to learn both theory and application within a specific subject area. From 1989 through 1996, Professor Butz was the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Temple University. He has written many papers on intelligent systems and has received several teaching awards including the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Temple University Great Teacher Award. He is a m a Life Senior Member of the IEEE.

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Ning Gong, Saroj Biswas, Li Bai, Brian Butz Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Temple University, Philadelphia, PA19122


A laboratory practicum is considered a key element in traditional undergraduate education in power engineering, however is often ignored for various reasons, such as expenses for establishing a physical laboratory, safety of students working with high voltage source, and lack of qualified teaching assistants. With the current availability of web-based multimedia authoring tools and high speed Internet interfaces, web-based virtual power engineering laboratories are becoming a reality for providing students with a reasonable alternative to physical laboratory experience.

In this paper, we present continuation of an NSF funded project on the development of a Virtual Power Laboratory (VPL) environment that can simulate an electric machines laboratory. The VPL is a universal web-based platform that can be accessed anywhere by most mobile devices and standard computers. The architecture of the virtual laboratory consists of eight modules: 1) Core Concept Knowledge Base, 2) Experiment Knowledge Base, 3) Mathematical Tools, 4) a Virtual Instrumentation Core, 5) the Student Interaction Module, 6) Multimedia Graphical User Interface Module, 7) User Management Module, and 8) Intelligent Tutoring Module. Development of the first seven modules has been reported in previous years. This paper describes the final stage of the VPL architecture which is instructional design and implementation of an intelligent tutoring system.

The virtual laboratory is supervised by a virtual Intelligent Tutor that can track the students’ progress and monitor their actions in the virtual laboratory platform. The VPL offers a virtual experimental environment with 2D graphics, 3D animations, audio guidance, simulations, knowledge concept bases, and virtual experiments. The intelligent tutoring system is designed on top of these functionalities. It is designed to be able to process the resources existing in the virtual laboratory in order to track the students’ progress, monitor the students’ actions, answer questions from the students, and guide the student with prerequisite material on the subject matter.

With the addition of the intelligent tutoring system, this virtual laboratory serves as an intelligent learning platform to bring the best of both worlds in the learning environment: the richness of domain knowledge concepts and the tutoring supported by multimedia interactive simulation that mimics a physical laboratory environment.

Key Words: Virtual Power Laboratory, Intelligent Tutor, Electric machines, Web application.

Gong, N., & Biswas, S. K., & Bai, L., & Butz, B. P. (2016, June), An Intelligent Tutoring System for Multimedia Virtual Power Laboratory Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26216

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