Key Factors for Determining the Suitability of Converting a Fluid-Mechanics Laboratory to Remote-Access Mode

By Anwar, A. H. M. F.; Lindsay, E. et al. | Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Key Factors for Determining the Suitability of Converting a Fluid-Mechanics Laboratory to Remote-Access Mode


Anwar, A. H. M. F., Lindsay, E., Sarukkalige, P. R., Australasian Journal of Engineering Education


1 INTRODUCTION

Laboratory classes are an essential part of the education of undergraduate engineers. Laboratories provide the opportunity to acquire a range of skills and knowledge that are not available through other avenues (Feisel & Rosa, 2005). Providing these opportunities can be very expensive in terms of equipment and consumable costs, as well as the time and energy of academic staff required to prepare, supervise and assess these laboratories. As the size of engineering cohorts has grown, providing laboratory experiences to all students has become more challenging, with purchasing more and more equipment no longer a feasible solution.

One alternative solution is to provide web-based remote access to laboratory hardware. Remote access to the hardware can relax many of the constraints of the in-person experience: scheduling, supervision and directness of control can all be achieved much more easily when students can connect remotely via the internet, rather than requiring synchronised attendance in a physical laboratory

Remote laboratories were first introduced in 1996 (Aktan et al, 1996) and since then remote laboratories have become a relatively mature technology. The field has developed to the point where the literature contains reviews of remote laboratories (Ma & Nickerson, 2006), and the challenges have moved from technical implementation through to pedagogical design and frameworks for interinstitutional sharing of equipment.

The focus of remote laboratory development is now moving towards more sustainable models. Rather than individual academics custom building equipment for their specialised subjects, remote laboratory development is increasingly being carried out by multi-institution consortia such as the Australian Labshare (2011) project. These groups allow academics considering remote laboratories to take advantage of pre-existing tools to implement their experiments, rather than having to begin from scratch.

Even with this support for development, however, some kinds of equipment are more prevalent in the literature on remote laboratories. Topics dealing with control theory, such as proportional-integralderivative or programmable logic controllers, seem common. Simple mechanical systems like pendula or linked masses also appear often. The domination of the field by some kinds of laboratories raises questions. Are these laboratories more prevalent because they are better suited for remote conversion? Is there some combination of attributes of these experiences that makes them better suited for use in the remote mode? Or is it that the academics who teach these classes are more likely to be the kind of people who want to build remote laboratories?

There are pedagogical arguments to support the shift from an in-person experience to a remote-access mode, and the literature contains a number of references to the evaluation of student learning in the remote mode. The earliest evaluations, which only compared marks, found the modes to be equivalent for learning (Ogot et al, 2003), however, more fine-grained evaluations have found differences in outcomes for the students. Lindsay & Good (2005) showed that some learning outcomes can be enhanced through a transition to a remote mode, while other learning outcomes will be degraded. There are frameworks for evaluating the learning outcomes of remote laboratories (Mohtar et al, 2008), for example, however, the emerging consensus is that "direct comparison [between modes] is not appropriate or productive" (Hanson et al, 2009).

Depending on the balance of which outcomes are desired from a laboratory, it may be that remote access will provide a superior learning opportunity. To determine this, a range of factors - the type of learning required, the nature of the experiment and the willingness of the instructor - must be considered. By considering these factors, it should be possible to provide a metric for determining whether a particular laboratory experience is suitable for the remote-access mode, or whether it must be performed in the face-to-face environment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Key Factors for Determining the Suitability of Converting a Fluid-Mechanics Laboratory to Remote-Access Mode
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.