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Pilot Test Results Of A New Distance Laboratory Platform

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Virtual Instrumentation in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1000.1 - 10.1000.10



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Paper Authors

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Tom Eppes

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Tanuj Oruganti

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Peter Schuyler

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

Session 2550

Pilot Test Results of a New Distance Laboratory Platform Tom Eppes, Peter Schuyler and Tanuj Oruganti University of Hartford


A number of laboratory pedagogies have been developed to support distance learning. The authors’ approach has been to develop a hands-on laboratory experience delivered via the Internet using an internally-developed system called ALTE (Automated Laboratory Test Environment). The system consists of a single management server and multiple lab stations, each with dedicated measurement and instrumentation equipment and a PC. At each lab station, a device under test (DUT) is connected to a LabVIEW virtual instrument panel that interfaces with traditional test equipment.

ALTE was pilot tested in fall 2004 in two courses with a combined enrollment of thirty-one students. Both courses were offered by the Electronic & Computer Engineering Technology Department (ECET) and covered analog and digital circuit theory, respectively. During the semester, students in each course performed two experiments over the Internet using ALTE and the remainder of the experiments using the traditional method of coming to the onsite lab. Lab reports were submitted and graded using the same criteria. Comparisons were made between the distance and onsite lab reports and a questionnaire was administered to the students to collect qualitative feedback on their experiences.


At the University of Hartford, Engineering and Technology programs have enjoyed a trend of sustained growth. Both graduate and undergraduate programs have experienced increasing enrollments, and as a result, this has severely limited “open-lab” availability. “Open-lab” has traditionally been a time when students can access the laboratory classrooms to finish lab assignments, makeup missed work, and get additional experience with the laboratory instrumentation. Our philosophy in creating ALTE was not to replace the onsite laboratory experience, but rather to supplement it with a system that provided 24x7 access to the same experiments via the Internet.[1]-[2] The aim was to allow users to run experiments nearly identical to the ones that they now perform in onsite laboratory.

Much of the early work that used the Internet to remotely deliver experiments began in 1998 with Esche and Chassapis.[3] It was followed by a series of work reported in 2000 by both Esche and Gurocak.[4]-[6] Each year, additional work has appeared that has further validated the viability of distance labs and their effectiveness in delivering a worthwhile laboratory experience.[7]-[12] The quality of the architectures and designs of distance labs has steadily improved including the latest presented at the 2003 ASEE National Conference.[13]-[19] There is ample evidence that this

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Eppes, T., & Oruganti, T., & Schuyler, P. (2005, June), Pilot Test Results Of A New Distance Laboratory Platform Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15210

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