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Electronic Laboratory On The Internet

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.236.1 - 3.236.7

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Eric W. Tisdale

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2663

Electronic Laboratory on the Internet

Eric W. Tisdale Ball State University

Abstract The focus of this paper will be on the usage of an electronics laboratory on the Internet as an alternative or in addition to a physical hardware electronics lab. Software simulators, logistics, cost, security, the Internet, the World Wide Web, and usefulness of the marriage will be discussed.

Introduction Research was started to discover what support could be given to a sophomore level basic electronics AC/DC class by using remote resources. Some students need more laboratory time to understand concepts. Some students need laboratory time because they have made mistakes on the first attempts. Some students are not able to handle the physical laboratory because of a disability but they can operate a computer.

The initial need for an alternative laboratory came from a student that wanted more laboratory time but didn’t have campus time to spend there. The student commuted and was going to school to enhance their job skills and not for a total change in job type or function. The requirement was to find a way to work on a laboratory assignment from their home when the physical laboratory was closed.

Distance learning is the process of bringing the classroom to the student. Chemistry classes have been taught using video tapes and chemicals sent to homes. It is possible but expensive to send a well equipped electronic laboratory to an individual home. This would require a multi-meter, AC-DC signal sources, an oscilloscope, a prototype board, and RLC discrete components. It is possible that given a very good video tape walk-through on all of the equipment and each of the laboratory exercises, the student could learn something and that the equipment might survive. Should this plan be approached, considering the cost, the potential to teach electronics is marginal. The opportunity to make mistakes in the presence of someone who can assist in the recovery from those mistakes is a necessary element of the hands-on-laboratory. A laboratory without the possibility of mistakes is worthless. The detailed video that could allow operation of a new piece of equipment would not solve the need for some method of recovery from errors in connections, operation, or theory. This would cause extreme frustration on the part of the student. A physical laboratory with all of the hardware and an instructor would seem to be the best choice. As an alternative, an electronic simulation of the laboratory and a method of communicating with an instructor is being explored.

The Internet is being used as the communication link to an instructor. Electronic Workbench and Current Maker are being used as the laboratory simulation. Students may use the simulators while in or out of the physical laboratory. Disabled students need the simulator in the lab.

Tisdale, E. W. (1998, June), Electronic Laboratory On The Internet Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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