Asee peer logo

Switching from Hands-on Labs to Exclusively Online Experimentation in Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses

Download Paper |

Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37795

Download Count

35

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Dominik May University of Georgia Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9860-1864

visit author page

Dr. May is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Education Transformations Institute. He researches online and intercultural engineering education. His primary research focus lies on the development, introduction, practical use, and educational value of online laboratories (remote, virtual, and cross-reality) and online experimentation in engineering instruction. In his work, he focuses on developing broader educational strategies for the design and use of online engineering equipment, putting these into practice and provide the evidence base for further development efforts. Moreover, Dr. May is developing instructional concepts to bring students into international study contexts so that they can experience intercultural collaboration and develop respective competences. Dr. May is President of the International Association of Online Engineering (IAOE), which is an international non-profit organization to encourage the wider development, distribution, and application of Online Engineering (OE) technologies and its influence on society. Furthermore, he serves as Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) intending to promote the interdisciplinary discussion of engineers, educators, and engineering education researchers around technology, instruction, and research. Dr. May has organized several international conferences in the Engineering Education Research field. He is currently program co-chair and international program committee member for the annual International Conference on Remote Engineering and Virtual Instrumentation (REV) and served as a special session committee member for the Experiment@ International Conference Series (exp.at).

visit author page

biography

Beshoy Morkos University of Georgia

visit author page

Beshoy Morkos is an associate professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia where he directs MODEL (Manufacturing Optimization, Design, and Engineering Education Lab) Group. His research group currently performs research in the areas of system design, manufacturing, and their respective education. His system design research focuses on developing computational representation and reasoning support for managing complex system design through the use of Model Based approaches. The goal of Dr. Morkos’ manufacturing research is to fundamentally reframe our understanding and utilization of product and process representations and computational reasoning capabilities to support the development of models which help engineers and project planners intelligently make informed decisions. On the engineering education front, Dr. Morkos’ research explores means to improve persistence and diversity in engineering education by leveraging students’ design experiences. Dr. Morkos’ research is supported by federal [National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), United States Navy, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)] and industry partners [Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Sun Nuclear, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins, PTC, Alstom].

Dr. Morkos received his Ph.D. from Clemson University. His Ph.D. dissertation was awarded the 2014 ASME CIE Dissertation of the year award for its transformative research on the development of nontraditional representation and reasoning tools for requirements analysis. Dr. Morkos was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University performing NSF funded research on engineering student motivation and its effects on persistence and the use of advanced technology in engineering classroom environments. He graduated with his B.S. and M.S in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 and 2008 respectively. His past work experience include working at the BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) as a Research Associate and Robert Bosch Corporation as a Manufacturing Engineer.

visit author page

biography

Andrew Jackson University of Georgia Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2882-3052

visit author page

Andrew Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Workforce Education at the University of Georgia. His teaching and research interests are to support design-based learning and teaching in technology and engineering contexts. His past work has bridged cutting-edge soft robotics research to develop and evaluate novel design experiences in K-12 education, followed students' self-regulation and trajectories while designing, and produced new instruments for assessing design decision-making. Andrew received a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute, with an emphasis on Engineering and Technology Teacher Education, and completed postdoctoral research at Yale University. He is the recipient of a 2015 Ross Fellowship from Purdue University and has been recognized as a 21st Century Fellow by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.

visit author page

biography

Fred Richard Beyette Jr. University of Georgia

visit author page

Fred R. Beyette Jr. has been teaching and performing research in areas related to Mixed Technology Embedded Systems since 1988. From 1988 to 1995, his efforts contributed to the work of materials, device and systems specialists at the NSF Engineering Research Center for Optical Computing Systems. After receiving his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University in 1995, Dr. Beyette spent the 1995/96 academic year as a NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow working at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. While in the UK, he investigated the system level feasibility of photonic devices based on piezoelectric multiple quantum well structures which exhibit blue shifting absorption characteristics. In 1996, Dr. Beyette joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Cincinnati where he served as a faculty member and graduate program director. In 2017, Dr. Beyette joined the faculty of the University of Georgia where he currently serves as the founding chair for the School of Electrical & Computer Engineering. He is currently performing research and teaching in areas related to design and implementation of Mixed Technology Embedded Systems His research interests include development of Point-of-Care medical diagnostic systems, Hardware for Wearable Computing Application, Embedded Systems for Smart Power Grid Infrastructure, hardware development of photonic information processing systems, components that bridge the photonic/electronic interface.

visit author page

biography

Nathaniel Hunsu University of Georgia

visit author page

Nathaniel Hunsu is an assistant professor of Engineering Education. He is affiliated with the Engineering Education Transformational Institute and the school of electrical and computer engineering at the university. His interest is at the nexus of the research of epistemologies, learning mechanics and assessment of learning in engineering education. His research focuses on learning for conceptual understanding, and the roles of learning strategies, epistemic cognition and student engagements in fostering conceptual understanding. His research also focuses on understanding how students interact with learning tasks and their learning environment. His expertise also includes systematic reviews and meta-analysis, quantitative research designs, measurement inventories development and validation.

visit author page

biography

Joachim Walther University of Georgia

visit author page

Dr. Joachim Walther is a Professor of engineering education research at the University of Georgia and the Founding Director of the Engineering Education Transformations Institute (EETI) in the College of Engineering. The Engineering Education Transformations Institute at UGA is an innovative approach that fuses high quality engineering education research with systematic educational innovation to transform the educational practices and cultures of engineering. Dr. Walther’s research group, the Collaborative Lounge for Understanding Society and Technology through Educational Research (CLUSTER), is a dynamic interdisciplinary team that brings together professors, graduate, and undergraduate students from engineering, art, educational psychology, and social work in the context of fundamental educational research. Dr. Walther’s research program spans interpretive research methodologies in engineering education, the professional formation of engineers, the role of empathy and reflection in engineering learning, and student development in interdisciplinary and interprofessional spaces.

visit author page

biography

Amy Ingalls University of Georgia

visit author page

Amy Ingalls is an instructional designer with the University of Georgia Office of Online Learning. She holds a Master of Education in Instructional Design and an Education Specialist in Library Media. Amy has extensive experience developing, designing, and supporting impactful online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her work focuses on applying Learning Experience Design to create inclusive online educational environments.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

The COVID-19 global pandemic forced universities to suspend face-to-face instructional activities, prompting faculty with the extraordinary challenge of transitioning fully online instruction. While the transition to online instruction is difficult for many instructors in traditional courses, it is a unique challenge for engineering faculty who are also required to deliver alternative laboratory experiences. At the University of Georgia (UGA), 70% of our Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Systems Engineering (CSE) required courses include hands-on laboratory components that are integral to meeting course learning outcomes. Similar to peer institutions, we switched to online instruction which includes the translation of hands-on labs into online lab experiences. Our transition to online lab instruction is informed by past research and has deepened our research understanding and approach. Necessary participation by a wide range of faculty and students may offer clarity on factors for the adoption and success of online labs beyond the current circumstances. In this paper, we explain both our approach to switch to the online mode for lab experiences and preliminary results from course development.

As face-to-face labs are currently prohibited and take-home lab kits do not serve our curricular needs, we implement two different remote lab solutions for electrical engineering students during self-paced online lab sessions. Namely, we introduced the VISIR lab platform and netCIRCUITlabs from EMONA Instruments . Both remote labs offer suitable online lab environments for different educational levels of electrical and computer engineering courses. In our case, the implementation of online laboratory modules involved a combination of circuit simulation exercises and engagement with one of the aforementioned remote lab platforms, e.g. to enable manipulation of circuit elements and typical electrical circuit measurement techniques through a web-based interface. It is important to note that, while the manipulation of circuit elements occurs through a virtual interface, in both labs the users are still manipulating real physical circuit elements.

Based on positive experiences in earlier pilot studies prior to the onset of the current global health crisis, faculty had already decided to incorporate limited use of remote labs in their face-to-face course delivery models. Hence, we were ideally positioned to build on these experiences while transitioning to completely online. The main focus for our work has been the development of a fully online version of our combined lecture/lab course—ECSE 2170 Fundamentals of Circuit Analysis. Skills learned in this course include both analytical (required for the design and evaluation of circuits) and hands-on (building, testing, and debugging circuits). Delivery through the described remote labs is critical for these skills. The course is taught by an instructional team of six faculty members and serves ~350 students annually, including ~75 students during the summer term.

Our initial efforts in using the remote labs during the current crisis have been well received by the students who engaged with the online lab modules. Further, the instructors who developed and deployed these pilot remote lab modules found them to be a useful component of their course instruction. Students and faculty document their appreciation for performing real lab experiments in their courses, even though traditional hands-on facilities are still closed. Early data shows that the integration of online labs has a good chance to persist as part of our curriculum, even after the crisis, very likely in combination with hands-on labs. For example, one could think of using the online labs as preparation for hands-on labs to better understand both theoretical concepts and basic technical procedures and use face-to-face lab time for more complex activities.

Our ongoing research closely examines the socio-technical realities of online experimentation and the rapid switch from face-to-face to online experimentation. The study will explore the impact of online lab adoption on faculty who are faced with the challenge of satisfying lab-based experiential learning outcomes and students who are suddenly asked to engage in lab exercises more independently. With our remote lab initiative at the UGA College of Engineering, and our research efforts, we will broaden knowledge about remote experimentation, especially in electrical and computer engineering. For example, we will perform a targeted concept roll-out to logical extensions from the ECSE 2170 Fundamentals course. Based on research results, our next steps include faculty development to support the integration of online experimentation in other courses. This will be accompanied by a close feedback loop on both the gained knowledge and personal experiences toward bringing lab activities online with the wider UGA College of Engineering faculty.

May, D., & Morkos, B., & Jackson, A., & Beyette, F. R., & Hunsu, N., & Walther, J., & Ingalls, A. (2021, July), Switching from Hands-on Labs to Exclusively Online Experimentation in Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37795

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015