Providing equivalent learning activities with software-based remote access laboratories

Kist, Alexander A. and Basnet, Badri (2013) Providing equivalent learning activities with software-based remote access laboratories. International Journal of Online Engineering , 9 (S3). pp. 14-19. ISSN 1868-1646

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Laboratory-based learning activities are important components of engineering and surveying education and it is difficult to offering practical activities to distance education students. Remote Access Laboratory (RAL) systems are widely discussed as learning tools to offer students remote access to rigs or hardware. In some disciplines laboratory activities are purely software based and RAL systems can be used to provide access to software. As part of a larger study into the transferability of the remote laboratory concept to non-engineering disciplines this project evaluates the effectiveness of RAL based software activities in supporting student learning is investigated. In the discipline of Surveying and Spatial Science, RAL technology is used to provide Geographic Information System software access to distance students. The key research question discussed in this paper is whether RALbased software activities can address the same learning outcomes as face-to-face practical classes for software activities. Data was collected from students' discussion forums, teaching staff diaries and teaching staff interviews. The project demonstrates that students undertaking learning activities remotely achieve similar learning outcomes than student in practice classes using the same software. Ease of system access and usability are critical and the learning activity needs to be supported by comprehensive learning materials. This research provides a clear case in which the use of RAL technology has provided inclusive educational opportunities more efficiently and these general results are also applicable to experiments that involve physical hardware.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Article is an extended and modified version of a paper presented at the International Conference on Remote Engineering & Virtual Instrumentation (REV2012), held at Bilbao, Spain, July 4-6, 2012. Published as resubmitted by the authors 20 March 2013. Terms of use:
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2013 03:12
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2014 05:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: conceptual experimentation; geographic information systems; remote access laboratories; software experiments
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
Identification Number or DOI: 10.3991/ijoe.v9iS3.2541

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