July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies
As all schools worldwide reverted to remote learning early this year, most STEM programs have suffered greatly. These programs flourish and are made distinct by the ability to conduct laboratory classes, and the absence of the latter deprives the STEM programs of their main distinction from other literary programs. It was no surprise that there were a number of lawsuits against schools, especially Engineering schools for not lowering their tuition fees while not offering in-person classes. From Engineering students’ perspective, those in a regular non-distant learning-based program, hands-on experience is expected mostly through laboratory classes. They usually enjoy laboratory classes and look forward to implementing what they had learned in book courses. But most importantly, since project/lab-based learning is one of the most effective and better resonating methods of learning, and one that distinguishes between Engineering programs; engineering students immediately feel that they are getting their money’s worth when engaging in a laboratory environment. Different engineering schools struggled to convince their students with remote laboratory classes as an alternative to in-person laboratory classes, as ABET has not relaxed any accreditation requirements, especially the criterion related to facilities. it was mandated on instructors to carry out their laboratories remotely, with minimal compromise to the hands-on experience. Thus, it became the instructors’ obligation to setup remote labs at every student’s home on their rosters. In this paper, two instructors’ experience of setting up four remote hardware and software labs will be presented, discussing in detail the advantages and caveats of the process. It certainly seemed like a fool’s errand to attempt to send laboratory kits to classes that have over 40 students enrolled, but with perseverance from the instructors, administrators, and sales support teams at vendors, this hurdle was overcome. The instructors further faced problems related to remote lab handling such as managing teams working remotely, the difficulty of remote-debugging software and hardware experiments, lab kits faults, and providing support for software installation. Other remote lecturing problems like internet issues during conducting lab-meetings, and students being at different time zones were also intrinsic to the remote learning process. This article will include a survey-based study that was conducted to gauge the level of satisfaction of students, along with the depth to which the lab materials resonated with students in comparison to in-person labs. Additionally, the classroom dynamics of both in-person laboratories and remote laboratories will be compared. An assessment will be made to reveal how remote teaching may compromise the quality of the laboratory experience and how well the learnings will resonate with the students. The article will also discuss the viability of remote laboratory classes as alternatives to in-person laboratories. A recommendation will be made by the authors to conclude whether students should still opt for lab-based classes during the pandemic or delay their plans.
Zaghloul, M. A. S., & Hassan, A., & Dallal, A. (2021, July), Teaching and Managing Remote Lab-based Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37808
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