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Netmeeting As A Distance Learning Tool For Electronics

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.400.1 - 4.400.6

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Eric W. Tisdale

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

Session 2663

NetMeeting as a Distance Learning Tool for Electronics

Eric Tisdale Ball State University


This paper will focus on the electronics laboratory and the problem of distance education with a “hands on” subject. Electronic Workbench1 has been used with Microsoft’s NetMeeting2 achieving marginal success. Discussion will include the need for “hands on” in the laboratory, the possibility of a laboratory done without “hands on”, a method of one-on-one instruction from a remote site, and problems with NetMeeting in this application.


The electronics laboratory is a place where experiments are done to support theory previously learned. The intent of the laboratory is to provide the time and resources to make mistakes and clarify concepts. An exercise that does not allow for a mistake may not be asking enough questions. A demonstration is often used to present a concept where safety requires that no mistakes are made. When the student is in a power laboratory and the question is one of motor control or three-phase power, safety requires that mistakes do not happen. One professor teaching power constructed a three-phase simulator 3 so that the students could work with 20 volt, three-phase. Obviously, the intent is to allow the student the possibility of error and thus of education. In a laboratory situation, mistakes must be an option since they are major contributors to our education.

The Situation

Mistake recovery needs to be available to the student. The student found lost in the maze of a laboratory procedure that he does not understand is not learning what was desired. A laboratory instructor / professor needs to be available and conscious of the student conditions. Time is valuable and particularly so in the technical fields. The students do not have time to learn all that is desirable and some material must be cut from a program in order that the student graduate. Wasting time in a poorly run laboratory can be very frustrating to both instructors and students. Making the laboratory too easy for the student removes some of the challenge and potential learning. Students do not want easy, they want achievable. Laboratory exercises should be challenging, clearly stated, and cover theory already presented or understood.

To accomplish this, instructors typically require that students work problems covering theory before the laboratory exercise is attempted. My best success with a basic laboratory has been to

Tisdale, E. W. (1999, June), Netmeeting As A Distance Learning Tool For Electronics Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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