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The Effects of Remote Laboratory Implementation on Freshman Engineering Students' Experience

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Division for Experimentation & Lab-oriented Studies Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--31094

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31094

Download Count

106

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Paper Authors

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Sulakshana Lal Curtin University

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Sulakshana Lal is a second year doctoral student in Engineering education at the Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia. She also has a Master degree in Physics from Tribhuwan University , Nepal. Her current research involves studying about human interactions important for learning in engineering physical laboratory and identifying from those interactions that can be effectively transferred to remotely controlled engineering laboratory. She can be contacted at: s.lal2@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

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Anthony Denis Lucey Curtin University

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A.(Tony) D. Lucey is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor and Dean of Engineering at Curtin University. His main research area is fundamental Fluid-structure Interaction and its application in engineered and biomechanical systems. As a university educator, he also conducts research in Engineering Education practice.

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Euan Lindsay Charles Sturt University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3266-164X

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Professor Euan Lindsay is a Mechatronic engineer, a discipline that integrates computers, electronics and physical hardware. Prof Lindsay’s background is in Remote laboratories, investigating whether remote and simulated access alternatives to the traditional in-person laboratory experience can provide the high quality learning outcomes for students.

Prof Lindsay’s work in Remote and Virtual laboratory classes has shown that there are significant differences not only in students’ learning outcomes but also in their perceptions of these outcomes, when they are exposed to the different access modes. These differences have powerful implications for the design of remote and virtual laboratory classes in the future, and also provide an opportunity to match alternative access modes to the intended learning outcomes that they enhance.

Prof Lindsay is the Foundation Professor of Engineering at Charles Sturt University. His research interests centre largely around online learning – the use of remote and virtual laboratories, MOOCs and other methods for making learning asynchronous, and data analytics for promoting student learning.

Prof Lindsay was the 2010 President of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Prof Lindsay was the recipient of a 2007 Carrick Award for Australian University Teaching. In 2005 he was named as one of the 30 Most Inspirational Young Engineers in Australia.

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David Franklin Treagust Curtin University

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Professor of Science Education in the School of Education

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Mauro Mocerino Curtin University

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Associate Professor Mauro Mocerino is an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow and Coordinator of Chemistry Post-graduate coursework at Curtin University. His research interests are in supramolecular chemistry and in chemistry education. The supramolecular chemistry focuses on the design and synthesis of molecules for specific intermolecular interactions including crystal growth modification, corrosion inhibition, chiral recognition and drug-protein interactions. The chemical education research focuses on understanding how students learn chemistry and what can be done to improve their learning.

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John Matthew Long Deakin University

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Dr. John M. Long completed his undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Michigan (Flint) in 1987, while working as an analytical chemist at AC Spark Plug, General Motors Corporation. In 1995 he completed a PhD in physics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Since then he has worked in the School of Engineering at Deakin University, where he teaches physics, materials, and electronics. His research interests include materials-analysis techniques, engineering education, and online learning.

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Marjan G. Zadnik Curtin University of Technology

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Abstract

Today, learning in engineering laboratory takes place via face-to-face and distance modes the latter via the internet. Both of these modes are seen as crucially important for students’ learning of essential practical skills as stipulated by accrediting bodies. Recent research has focused on developing new remotely controlled laboratories for various disciplines in engineering studies. Remotely controlled laboratories are robust in design and have the potential to serve well in an era of high student enrollment and help to alleviate constraining factors of physical laboratories such as space, time, safety hazards and cost.

Remotely controlled laboratories are efficient and provide students with experience in controlling real equipment to obtain real-time data but without the need of being physically co-located with the equipment. These laboratories focus purely on technical aspects of the laboratory while still struggling to provide an environment for the development of personal and professional skills that are also a critical part of a student’s education.

A recent study was conducted at two different Australian Universities, Curtin University and Deakin University in face-to-face and remotely controlled modes in the engineering discipline for first-year students. Quantitative and qualitative surveys were conducted to observe student interactions and capture their experience in these contrasting laboratory modes. The study was designed to compare the effects of each mode on students’ behavior and performance.

Responses to the survey questionnaire showed that students were more satisfied with the remotely controlled laboratory as compared with a corresponding face-to-face laboratory. They also experienced (as reported and observed) significant levels of student-student and student-instructor interaction in the remotely controlled laboratory. However, when students were interviewed for triangulation purposes, they opined that although remote laboratories were efficient and gave them a feeling of conducting a real experiment, their first preference was for face-to-face laboratories because they valued the importance of gaining hands-on experience of the experiment as an engineering student. Students also believed that working in teams was an important part of their learning and that they preferred remote laboratory work to be introduced at later stage in their learning when they are conceptually more capable and experienced.

The opinions expressed by students therefore pose the following questions that should be addressed when designing the laboratory program for engineering studies:

What is the appropriate study level for remotely controlled laboratory implementation for engineering students? Can remote laboratories help in learning essential personal and professional skills?

What is the best way to integrate a remote laboratory component into an engineering laboratory program so as to prepare engineering students for a workplace where the remote operation of equipment is becoming increasingly common?

This paper will present a discussion of these matters based upon quantitative and qualitative data framed within the requirement that, for accreditation purposes, laboratory work exist not only to develop the technical and scientific competence of students but also to acquire essential personal and professional competencies.

Lal, S., & Lucey, A. D., & Lindsay, E., & Treagust, D. F., & Mocerino, M., & Long, J. M., & Zadnik, M. G. (2018, June), The Effects of Remote Laboratory Implementation on Freshman Engineering Students' Experience Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31094

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