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Engaging Secondary School Students in Science by Developing Remote Laboratories

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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

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session: Works in Progress

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Danilo Garbi Zutin Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

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Danilo G. Zutin is currently a Senior Researcher and team member of the Center of Competence in Online Laboratories and Open Learning (CCOL) at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS), Villach, Austria, where he has been engaged in projects for the development of online laboratories, softtware architectures for online laboratories and online engineering in general.
Danilo is author or co-author of more than 30 scientific papers published in international journals, magazines and conferences. Most of these papers are in the field of online engineering, remote and virtual laboratories and issues associated with their dissemination and usage.

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Michael E. Auer Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

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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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Christian Kreiter MSc Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

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Technology-enhanced learning has become a new important trend in higher education worldwide, in particular, engineering education. Remote Laboratories - laboratories involving physical equipment that are available through the Internet – are an important part of this phenomenon and are constantly gaining motion in the higher education scenario. However, remote laboratories can also be effective assets in pre-university education. Several initiatives and projects have been or are being carried out worldwide aiming at exploring the use of remote and virtual laboratories in secondary school students. For example, the European Commission funded project Go-Lab ( is building a federation of online laboratories and tools to embed these labs in the lectures of secondary school teachers to serve as a motivation for students to pursue a career in STEM subjects. However, most of these projects treat students as consumers of online laboratories and not as providers or developers. Building remote laboratories requires students to deal with a highly interdisciplinary scenario: It requires an good understanding of information and communication technologies, computer sciences, management and additionally understanding of the laboratory domain (ex. Physics, chemistry, electronics, biology, etc) in order to be able to design experiments that can be conducted online.

Together with national and international partners we are carrying out a project that places students of technical secondary schools in Austria in the role of remote laboratory developers under the supervision and tutoring of the project staff. Students are actively involved in the scientific process and actively participate in the acquisition of knowledge. Beyond involving secondary school students in the developing process of online laboratories we aim to acquire insights on the age appropriate requirements for the development of new laboratories in order to make these more attractive and therefore improve the learning experiences with the laboratory. We are working with three different schools. We began our research by constructing teams where each member had clear definitions of responsibilities. Each team had the task to develop an online laboratory in a domain of their choice. One team designed a Remotely Controlled Warehouse System, the second developed two online laboratories in control systems and electronics and the third team created a laboratory for civil engineering that investigates how forces affect the deflection of wood beam. The students were asked to create a mock-up of the user interface of the online laboratory and present it to the project staff. The process of bringing the laboratory online was carried out with close support of our team using a new developed software framework that simplifies this task. The project helped us to gain a better understanding of the age-appropriate student preferences for the use of the laboratory experiments. This might have a positive impact on the usage and utilization of online laboratories that will be developed in the future.

Garbi Zutin, D., & Auer, M. E., & Kreiter, C. (2016, June), Engaging Secondary School Students in Science by Developing Remote Laboratories Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26971

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