Virtual and remote laboratories as a mean to provide experimentation activities in distance and blended learning scenarios

Dnia 2016-10-11 o godzinie 12:15 w sali 2011 odbędzie się seminarium, na którym dr Luis de la Torre Cubillo z National Distance Education University (UNED), Madrid, Spain wygłosi referat pt:

Virtual and remote laboratories as a mean to provide experimentation activities in distance and blended learning scenarios

Education is changing. On the one hand, distance learning has become more and more popular in the recent decades, with the appearance of distance and online universities such as the OU from UK or UNED from Spain. On the other hand, new learning frameworks have emerged to complement the traditional face-to-face education with online academic training. While some theoretical aspects on education can be fulfilled with today’s Internet resources, engineering and scientific studies face the challenge of designing Internet based tools to cover the experimental part of their teaching.

Web-based or online labs are an answer to this specific need. These labs make possible to illustrate scientific phenomena that require costly or difficult-to-assemble equipment and may consist of two different and complementary parts: 1) virtual Labs, which provide computer based simulations that offer similar views and ways of work to their traditional counterparts and 2) remote Labs, which use real plants and physical devices that are teleoperated in real time.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are software for web applications oriented for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of e-learning programs. The philosophy of many LMS includes a constructivist and social constructionist approach to education, emphasizing that learners (and not just teachers) can contribute to the educational experience.

Virtual and remote laboratories and LMS offer different but fundamental educational tools to both teachers and students. However, these resources are complementary and, therefore, an e-learning program should offer both kind of tools to be considered a complete experience for students. In such scenario, it would be possible to build and prepare e-learning programs based on: 1) experimentation (thanks to the use of the virtual and remote laboratories) and 2) theory documentation provision, social interactivity and easy management (thanks to the use of the LMS).

UNILabs is a network formed by a large number of universities that share their laboratory resources in form of online laboratories in many different areas: physics, electronics, control theory, etc. UNILabs, lead and extensively used by UNED, gathers together virtual and remote labs and LMS, enabling a complete education in science and engineering fields in the context of distance and blended learning.

Some physics virtual and remote labs from UNILabs will be presented in this talk, such as those that serve for studying: the photoelectric effect, the diffraction of light, the focal length of thin lenses or the light in isotropic media. Issues including how to build, find, deploy and use these kind of labs will be addressed.