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Remote Laboratory Experiments: Offering Of A Complete Laboratory Course

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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

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1235.1 - 12.1235.13



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Paper Authors

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Abul Azad Northern Illinois University

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Xueshu Song Northern Illinois University

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


1. Introduction

It is a challenge to provide students with an adequate laboratory experience at a time and place convenient for them. This applies to both the traditional laboratory courses as well as to 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 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 of their popularity. Towards this the authors used a unique facility to offer a regular undergraduate laboratory course within an electrical engineering technology program10. The study is conducted through a grant from the National Science Foundation (Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program). Although, there are a number of remote facilities reported, as far as the authors’ knowledge, this may be the first system of this kind that is used to offer a complete laboratory course over the Internet as a part of a regular academic program.

This paper will provide a brief description of the system, pedagogical design, laboratory implementation, and lesson learned through the laboratory offering. The next section describes remote laboratory system (in terms of hardware and software design) that was used for the remote laboratory course. Section three presents the pedagogical design of the laboratory course describing the assessment methods and implementation protocol. Section four describes the implementation details along with the system monitoring process. Section five illustrates the evaluation system that was used to assess the system itself as well as its effectiveness in terms of achieving targeted learning outcomes. These are followed by the conclusions, acknowledgement, and references.

2. System Hardware and Software

This section will briefly describe the overall structure of the remote laboratory facility that has been used for the study. The facility is developed in a modular structure so that each module can be changed/modified in an independent manner10. Figure 1 shows the different

Azad, A., & Song, X. (2007, June), Remote Laboratory Experiments: Offering Of A Complete Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1876

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