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Remote Laboratory Work: A Must in the Engineering Education - By : Vahé Nerguizian, Radhi Mhiri, Mamane Moustapha Dodo Amadou, Maarouf Saad,

Remote Laboratory Work: A Must in the Engineering Education


Vahé Nerguizian
Vahé Nerguizian Author profile
Vahé Nerguizian is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS. His research focusses on bio-engineering, cancer cell detection, microfluidic systems, MEMS and telecommunications.

Radhi Mhiri
Radhi Mhiri Author profile
Radhi Mhiri is Full Professor of electrical engineering at the Faculty of Sciences of Tunis and consultant for innovation projects in technological education at ÉTS.

Mamane Moustapha Dodo Amadou
Mamane Moustapha Dodo Amadou Author profile
Mamane Moustapha Dodo Amadou is a lecturer in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Automated Production at ÉTS. His research interests include modeling, simulation and control of power grids.

Maarouf Saad
Maarouf Saad Author profile
Maarouf Saad is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS. His research focuses on nonlinear control and optimization applied to robotics, avionics, and electrical networks.

Laboratoire à distance

note3en

Professors of the Electrical Engineering Department have developed a new method based on the flipped classroom, the Multimodal Mobile Learning, to convey knowledge to the students. This article presents the different steps of the method, particularly the remote laboratory work, which represents an indespensable innovation. It follows A Promising Leadership: the MML or Enhanced Flipped Classroom.

Introduction

The basic principle of the flipped classroom in the course of analog electronic circuits, ELE200, at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), led the teaching staff to develop the concept of multimodal mobile learning (project FODAR 2014-2015).

Multimode Mobile Learning

Flipped pedagogy is a teaching strategy in which the lecture portion of the course is indirectly assigned to the students in the form of video lessons, homework, projects, or reports, to develop in teams before the classroom session with the teacher. In the classroom, the subject of the course has already been investigated, and the session is rather devoted to fine-tune the initial investigation, to provide more details, to discuss the applications of the theory, to process problems, etc.
In the FODAR 2013-2014 project on ICT and the flipped classroom we began groundbreaking work in developing the flipped classroom for science and engineering education, while trying to integrate laboratory work in this strategy. The experience was very interesting, but it took a lot of effort with regards to development and implementation. Although this work had its limits in terms of time and means, we discovered the true impact that this approach might have on the quality of learning and skills developed by the students.

Figure 1 outlines the different modes of multimodal mobile learning (MML).

 The Multimode Mobile Learning Model (MML)

Figure 1 The Multimodal Mobile Learning Model (MML)

 

The various steps are summarized in Figure 2, showing the details of the training work made by the students before class. It also identifies the tutorial and laboratory work activities done during the course.

 Multimodal Mobile Learning

Figure 2 Multimodal Mobile Learning Model (MML) (Enhanced Flipped Classroom)

 

The results of this experiment are encouraging and the developed model could be considered one of the few tangible and original experiments integrating laboratory work.

Remote Laboratory Work: A Must

The remote laboratory work (RLW) requires additional effort on the part of the students, as technical problems may sometimes disturb the completion of their task. The RLW nevertheless is a very practical implementation of laboratory work with regard to potential savings and ease in terms of time and space. One single set of laboratory equipment can replace 20 laboratory tables fully equipped with appliances and measuring instruments. The space occupied by an entire lab is replaced by a simple table supporting the single laboratory equipment and a PC connected to the Internet. Instead of occupying a large space during certain time slots, as is the case in conventional laboratories, RLW requires only a simple Internet connection to provide round-the-clock access to the device. This is why we firmly believe that in the near future, RLW will become one of the main training components in science and engineering. The ÉTS pioneered this solution through its network development project with three CÉGEPs, together with the TÉLUQ.
In the classroom, according to the MML model, the subject of the course has already been investigated, and the session is rather devoted to fine-tune this initial investigation, to provide more details, to discuss the applications of the theory, to process problems, etc. This model addresses the main concerns of modern education, such as:

  • contextualization of learning
  • learning enabling resources adapted to students’ individual style and pace
  • strong connection between theory and practice
  • student-centered direction, fully active in all the different stages
  • appropriate use of ICT for learning activities and quiz assessments
  • opportunity to develop various skills such as problem solving, team work, autonomy, etc.

Conclusion

The implementation of this model has created a totally new atmosphere in the classroom. The teachers witness a stronger participation from the students – a noticeable time-saving feature in covering the entirety of the course. As to the students, despite the fact that this approach requires extra work and disrupts their comfort zone, they recognize the resulting benefits. They appreciate the contextualization of the subject matter, and the knowledge verification tests. They find that RLW gives more meaning to the theoretical concepts, and gives them more confidence in their learning curve. We truly believe that this approach has a future and that it will encourage the development of a new culture for both the students and the teachers.

 

Vahé Nerguizian

Author's profile

Vahé Nerguizian is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS. His research focusses on bio-engineering, cancer cell detection, microfluidic systems, MEMS and telecommunications.

Program : Electrical Engineering 

Author profile

Radhi Mhiri

Author's profile

Radhi Mhiri is Full Professor of electrical engineering at the Faculty of Sciences of Tunis and consultant for innovation projects in technological education at ÉTS.

Program : Electrical Engineering 

Author profile

Mamane Moustapha Dodo Amadou

Author's profile

Mamane Moustapha Dodo Amadou is a lecturer in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Automated Production at ÉTS. His research interests include modeling, simulation and control of power grids.

Program : Electrical Engineering  Automated Manufacturing Engineering 

Author profile

Maarouf Saad

Author's profile

Maarouf Saad is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS. His research focuses on nonlinear control and optimization applied to robotics, avionics, and electrical networks.

Program : Electrical Engineering 

Research laboratories : GREPCI – Power Electronics and Industrial Control Research Group 

Author profile


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