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The Global Online Laboratory Consortium and its Role in Promoting a Global Cloud of Cyber Physical Laboratories

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2016 ASEE International Forum


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 25, 2016

Start Date

June 25, 2016

End Date

June 25, 2016

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks Session II Courses

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International Forum

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Paper Authors


Michael E. Auer CTI Villach, Austria

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Dr. (mult.) Michael E. Auer is Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and IT of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences Villach, Austria and has also a teaching position at the University of Klagenfurt.
He is a senior member of IEEE and member of ASEE, IGIP, etc., author or co-author of more than 170 publications and leading member of numerous national and international organizations in the field of Online Technologies. His current research is directed to technology enhanced learning and remote working environments especially in engineering.
Michael Auer is Founding-President and CEO of the "International Association of Online Engineering" (IAOE) since 2006, a non-governmental organization that promotes the vision of new engineering working environments worldwide.
In 2009 he was appointed as member of the Advisory Board of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG). Furthermore he is chair of the Advisory Board of the International E-Learning Association (IELA) and member of the Board of Consultants of the International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE).
In September 2010 he was elected as President of the "International Society of Engineering Education" (IGIP,
Furthermore he is one of the founders and Secretary General of the "Global Online Laboratory Consortium" (GOLC). GOLC is the result of an initiative started in 2009 at MIT to coordinate the work on educational online laboratories worldwide.

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Abul K. M. Azad Northern Illinois University

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Abul K. M. Azad is a Professor in the Technology Department of Northern Illinois University. He has a Ph.D. in Control and Systems Engineering and M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Electronics Engineering. His research interests include remote laboratories, mechatronic systems, mobile robotics, and educational research. In these areas, Dr. Azad has over 100 refereed journal and conference papers, edited books, and book chapters. So far, he has attracted around $1.7 million in research and development grants from various national and international funding agencies. He serves on editorial boards of a number of professional journals and is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Online Engineering. He is active with various professional organizations (IEEE, IET, ASEE, and ISA) as well as a member of board of Trustees of CLAWAR Association.

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The NMC Horizon Report lists Virtual and Remote Laboratories as one of the most important future technologies in learning. In the last years, considerable advances have been made regarding the design and development of Educational Online Laboratories. These Laboratories are accessible via the Internet 24 hours on all days a year. Active learning by means of online laboratories is especially valuable for blended learning approaches. Students can access remote laboratories from any place at any time. This flexibility is important for education and further education and for lifelong learning. Especially in Engineering Education there is an enormous educational value in hands-on laboratory experiences. But conventional labs are becoming increasingly expensive, have complex logistics and can’t be easily shared. Using Online Laboratories has the potential of significantly reducing obstacles related of cost, time-inefficient use of facilities, inadequate technical support and limited access to laboratories. This is especially important for Engineering Education in developing nations. Different solutions and technologies exist today to implement Online Laboratories as well as different communication standards and data exchange protocols. Therefore, each Institution/University is likely to adopt its own standards and approaches. Because of that, sharing remote Labs becomes difficult. For a global and joint further development of a global cloud solution the “Global Online Laboratory Consortium” – GOLC - has been established. A group of enthusiasts and visionaries met already in June 2009 at MIT and discussed the objectives and principles of such an association. Finally in June 2010 GOLC was official founded. The GOLC strategic objectives are: - to encourage and support the creation of new online labs and associated curricular materials; - to sponsor the design of an efficient mechanism for sharing, exchanging and trading access to online labs by creation of a global network of shareable experiments (iLab Cloud) - to support communities of scholars created around online laboratories; and By means of the iLab Consortium GOLC helps to make Global Learning in Engineering a reality. Within a continually growing cloud, based on MIT iLabs, iLab Europe, iLab Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Uganda, Nigeria, ..) and iLabs in Australia, Online Laboratories are freely available for educational institutions.

Auer, M. E., & Azad, A. K. M. (2016, June), The Global Online Laboratory Consortium and its Role in Promoting a Global Cloud of Cyber Physical Laboratories Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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