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Internet Based Physical Experiments: Application Within A Laboratory Course

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Instrumentation and Laboratory Systems

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.824.1 - 11.824.8



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Paper Authors


Xueshu Song Northern Illinois University

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Xueshu Song received his PhD from The Pennsylvania State University in 1989 and is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Illinois. He is a Professor of Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University, USA. He has been the principal and co-principal investigator for eight application software development projects funded by the National Science Foundation. He is active in professional societies.

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Abul Azad Northern Illinois University

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DR. ABUL AZAD is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Technology of Northern Illinois University, USA since July 2001. He completed his PhD in 1994 from the University of Sheffield, UK, which was sponsored by the Commonwealth Scholarship, UK. Subsequently he worked with the University of Sheffield and University of Portsmouth (UK) with various capacities. His research and teaching interests include Internet-based physical experiments, mechatronics, real-time computer control, adaptive/intelligent control, and mobile robotics. Dr. Azad has over 75 referred journal and conference papers and one edited book in these areas. He has active membership and involvement in several learned societies, including the IEE, IEEE, ASEE, and ISA.

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


1. Introduction Engineering educators are faced with a challenge for providing students with an adequate laboratory experience at a time and place convenient for them. This applies both the traditional laboratory courses as well as laboratory courses as a part of distance learning programs. Traditional laboratory classes are scheduled only for a specified time period, when students attend a laboratory class located within their academic institution. Considering the mixed ability level of students, the allocated time is often not enough for all students to complete their tasks satisfactorily and also gain sufficient experience through the process 1, 2. To address these issues, there are a number of initiatives that have been made to provide experimentation facilities over the Internet 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. None of these facilities are designed to deliver a laboratory course that is a part of a regular educational program. In addition to these, all these suffer from one or more of the three main drawbacks. These are: a) complexity in development; b) higher cost; and c) single server can provide access to only one experiment at a point in time. Although the Internet-based laboratory facilities have a number of potential benefits, these drawbacks hinder the process of gaining their popularity. The paper will describe the design, development, and evaluation of an Internet-based laboratory facility that will be used to deliver an undergraduate digital electronics laboratory course within an engineering technology program. The system is developed through a grant from the National Science Foundation (Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program). The uniqueness of the developed facility is its modularity in design and the use of commercially available hardware and software technologies. This approach is adopted to address the drawbacks identified earlier. The next section describes the Target Laboratory Course. Section three illustrates the structure of the developed system by highlighting its main components. Section four illustrates the evaluation process in terms of usefulness of the system and learning outcomes. These are followed by the conclusions, acknowledgements, and references.

Figure 1: System structure.

Song, X., & Azad, A. (2006, June), Internet Based Physical Experiments: Application Within A Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--831

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