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Implementing A Remote Access Engineering And Technology Laboratory Through A Graduate Level Team Project

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

New Trends in Engineering Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.838.1 - 12.838.13



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Paper Authors


Jonathan Godfrey Western Carolina University

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JONATHAN A. GODFREY received his A.S. degree (2003) from College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He received his B.S. degree (2005) from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He is currently working on his M.S. degree in Technology at Western Carolina University. Professional interests include advanced machining, parametric modeling, and rapid prototyping.

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James Zhang Western Carolina University

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JAMES Z. ZHANG received the B.S.E.E. (1986) from Hunan University, PRC. He received the M.A. (1993) in Telecommunications from Indiana University, M.S.E. (1993) and Ph.D. (2002) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in the School of Technology at Western Carolina University. He is a member of ASEE and senior member of IEEE.

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Aaron Ball Western Carolina University

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AARON K. BALL is an Associate Professor and serves as the Graduate Program Director in Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. from Appalachian State University, and earned his doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His areas of interests include fluid power, advanced machining, prototyping systems, and applied research.

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Robert Adams Western Carolina University

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ROBERT ADAMS is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology in the Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University. His research interests include mathematical modeling of electrocardiographic applications, 3D modeling, and digital signal processing. Dr. Adams is a senior member of IEEE and a member of ASEE.

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

Implementing a Remote-Access Engineering and Technology Laboratory through a Graduate Level Team Project

Jonathan Godfrey, James Z. Zhang, Aaron K. Ball, Robert Adams

Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723


For many distance engineering courses, labs are either accomplished by gathering students at a central location or are comprised by requiring students to perform computer simulation. Aimed at improving learning effectiveness for the students, Kimmel School graduate students are set out to implement a real-time, remotely accessible engineering laboratory for an undergraduate automation class based on the previous research results [1], [2]. Designing a remote-accessed engineering laboratory can eliminate the unnecessary need for transportation of laboratory equipment, reduce the cost of software licensing, and to provide flexible scheduling for student laboratory exercises.

This project consists of four major components: remotely controllable lab equipment, student knowledge assessment tools, information transfer over the networks, and a relational database and user interface design. The project is carried out by four graduate student teams, and each team is responsible for one of the four tasks. One graduate student takes the leadership of overseeing the project progress, coordination among teams, time-line management, and system integration.

The first team is composed of three graduate students with engineering technology backgrounds. Two of them are working students who use PLC programming at their jobs. This team designs and programs the lab stations and makes them suitable for remote laboratory exercises.

The second team is responsible to develop student tutorial materials and assessment tools. Assessment tools include a “background theory test” and a “pre-lab knowledge test.” Team members are first year engineering technology graduate students whose course knowledge on “Automation Systems” is still current.

The third team focuses on information transfer over the networks. The information includes remote access methods, monitoring methods in the lab, and delivering methods of lab results. Both team members possess telecommunications engineering technology background and are familiar with computer networks. The fourth team is composed of two students came from an electrical and computer engineering technology background. They possess moderate programming skills. This team designs a relational database for data storage and a user interface for navigation and data collection.

Godfrey, J., & Zhang, J., & Ball, A., & Adams, R. (2007, June), Implementing A Remote Access Engineering And Technology Laboratory Through A Graduate Level Team Project Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1980

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