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Expanding the Concept of Remote Access Laboratories

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Remote and Network-based Laboratories

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.605.1 - 25.605.11



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Paper Authors


Alexander A. Kist University of Southern Queensland

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Alexander A. Kist received the Ph.D. degree in communication and electronic engineering from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, in 2004. His research focused on performance modelling and evaluation of SIP Protocol based 3G Signalling IP networks and the development of methodologies to enable QoS Signalling in multi-service IP networks. He received his bachelor;s degree, Diplom-Ingenieur (FH), in telecommunications engineering from the University of Applied Science Offenburg, Germany, in 2000. The thesis on the problem of synthesising of partially link-disjoint paths in a network was completed at the Centre for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT), RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. From 2004 to 2006, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Australian Telecommunications Cooperative Research Centre (ATcrc) and RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. From 2005, he was the ATcrc networking program project leader. Since May 2006, he was a lecturer and since Jan. 2011 a Senior Lecturer in Telecommunications at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia. His research interests include green IT, teletraffic engineering, performance modelling, QoS provisioning, and engineering education. He is a member of the Telecommunication Society of Australia, Engineers Australia, the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE), and the USQ Teaching Academy. He is also a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has won several learning and teaching awards including a University Program Award in 2010 and the University Teaching Award in 2011.

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Andrew Douglas Maxwell University of Southern Queensland

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Andrew D. Maxwell received a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from USQ University, Toowoomba, Australia, in 2002. His research examined novel mechatronic methods for the measurement of CO2 using chemical transduction. From 2002 to 2007, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) researching significantly funded industry projects examining the design and modelling of specialist conductivity instrumentation and modelling for foods in the dairy industry. Since 2009, he has been a lecturer in electronics and communications engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at USQ. He has published commercial research reports, trademarks, patent, and academic peer reviewed research papers both nationally and internationally including two recent publications directly relating to improving STEM engagement in schools using remote access laboratories and robotics. His research interest includes surrogate instrumentation systems, remote and non-contact measurement, remote laboratories, and engineering education. Maxwell is an IEEE member, a member of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE), and was recently awarded a USQ Dean’s Commendation for Achievement in Learning and Teaching in 2011.

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Peter D. Gibbings

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Peter Gibbings is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (learning and teaching) in the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at the University of Southern Queensland. His professional background is in land surveying and his key research interests include problem-based learning, remote access laboratories, and engineering education. His academic achievements have been recognized by receiving a University Medal in 2003 for excellence in design and delivery of problem-based learning, in 2005 received a national award from the Australasian Association for Engineering Education for excellence in engineering education, in the same year was a finalist in the Australian Awards for University Teaching, in 2006 won a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning Carrick Australian Awards for University Teaching, was runner up in the Pearson Education UniServe Science Teaching Award, and won the 2007 Carrick Australian University Teaching Award for Programs that Enhance Learning. In 2008, he won the individual Queensland Spatial Excellence Award for Education and Professional Development and in the same year went on to win the individual Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award for Education and Professional Development.

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Expanding the Concept of Remote Access LaboratoriesThe ability of students to partake in laboratory experiences remotely through appropriatetechnologies has obvious utility for students who are remote from university campuses forwhatever reason. This need is experienced in many disciplines and this study reports on aproject that is exploring how Remote Access Laboratory (RAL) technologies developed inengineering can be used to support learning in other disciplines such as business, health, artsand education. The definition of RAL includes hardware as well as software experimentswith the understanding that remote access laboratories are also tools for offering moreequitable opportunities for distance learning across the higher education sector.We have taken a participatory evaluation approach using a program logic framework toelucidate the pedagogic logic in a range of learning situations and evaluate the usefulness ofRAL in each of them. To take this step it is necessary to expand the traditional definitions ofRAL leading to a range of interpretations of the concept of remote access laboratories; fromthe traditional, physical and tangible experiment, as is frequently seen in the Engineeringapplications of RAL, to more conceptual experimentation in any form which is conductedremotely. We began with an expanded concept of laboratory to include learning experiencesand environments that are linked to propositions about facts, concepts and ideas (White1996). Relevant activities may involve manipulation of physical equipment, but may alsoinclude modelling with data, collaborating with other students to complete a task, thedevelopment of clinical reasoning, exploring scenarios, or experimenting with variables.The study focuses on five projects in the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, theDiscipline of Surveying and Spatial Science, and the Faculty of Education. We find that theapplication of RAL is limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the nature of thelearning objectives. We argue, on the basis of the learning affordances they provide, thatthese technologies deserve to be, and can be, developed for wider application across alldisciplines in order to address the needs of the target demographics but also because theyoffer exciting new ways of providing quality learning to all students. Key ReferencesBarak, M. (2006). Instructional principles for fostering learning with ICT: teachers' perspectives as learners and instructors. Education and Information Technologies, 11(2), 121-135. doi: 10.1007/s11134-006-7362-9Jonassen, D., Carr, C., & Yueh, H.-P. (1998). Computers as mindtools for engaging learners in critical thinking. TechTrends, 43(2), 24-32. doi: 10.1007/bf02818172Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools: engaging critical thinking: Merrill.White, R. T. (1996). The link between the laboratory and learning. International Journal of Science Education, 18(7), 761 - 774.

Kist, A. A., & Maxwell, A. D., & Gibbings, P. D. (2012, June), Expanding the Concept of Remote Access Laboratories Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21362

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