June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
23.757.1 - 23.757.13
Innovations in Remote Laboratories & Simulation Software for Online and On-Site Engineering StudentsLaboratories are an essential component in engineering classes to bring together theory andhands-on experimentation to help students learn complex concepts. This is very challenging todo with on-line engineering classes. This paper will describe how we used state-of-the arttechnology to create and improve laboratories for on-line and on-site students in the AppliedEngineering and Computer Science Departments at our university. Starting in the fall of 2012,we designed new remote laboratories for on-line electric circuits classes using equipment fromNational Instruments, ELVIS (Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite). We alsodesigned new laboratories for circuit design classes using Multisim software from NationalInstruments.The objectives of the new experiments in Applied Engineering are to illustrate the basic conceptsof DC and AC circuits in a new way to enhance on-line student learning and improve retention inthe engineering program. First, the instructor conducted demonstration experiments withresistors that introduced concepts in DC circuits in order to show students how the equipmentworked. The demonstration was done within the eCollege on-line course platform using ELVISand a webcam. A second on-line laboratory demonstration was led by the instructor to introduceAC circuits with resistors and capacitors. Then the students were given instructions on how toconnect to the lab equipment themselves, using a remote desktop session to access the server thatthe ELVIS equipment was connected to. A USB hub was connected to the server so that up to 7ELVIS boards could be accessed by the students. The remote access was tested using a WindowsXP desktop, Windows 7 desktop, Apple Mac laptop, and an iPad so that the students had avariety of options to connect directly to the lab equipment and operate it from home. Theobjectives of the new laboratories in Computer Science are to illustrate the basic concepts ofdigital circuit design. In-class exercises and out-of-class projects were developed and deployedusing Multisim software.Qualitative and quantitative assessment data were collected at the end of each month-long courseat our university. Data from multiple electric circuits classes of on-line students show a 10-30%increase in students’ satisfaction with their learning, the teacher, course content, and technology.Also when the ELVIS remote laboratory demonstrations were used, student learning is 8%higher, as measured by the average GPA of the class. Data from multiple digital circuit designcourses of both on-site and on-line students show similar trends.Further horizontal integration of these remote laboratories in other Applied Engineering classesis planned, with additional vertical integration within the engineering program to electronicsclasses and embedded systems classes. Further work is also planned in Computer Science toexpand and extend these laboratories to on-line classes.
Reeves, J., & Sinha, B., & Amin, M. N., & Davis, A. S. (2013, June), Innovations in Remote Laboratories & Simulation Software for Online and On-Site Engineering Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19771
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