Remotely Accessed Labs: Challenges Beneath the Surface of Success

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Presented by Dr Arash Khatamianfar

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UNSW Staff can access this Connections seminar via the Connections Moodle site (self-enrolment key: unswconnections). Alternatively, all registrants will receive the direct guest link via email on the day of the presentation. If you are having issues with access please email pvce.events@unsw.edu.au

Remotely Accessed Labs: Challenges Beneath the Surface of Success

With the arrival of the pandemic, every major educational institution was forced into online and remote delivery on very short notice. Transitioning of courses with practical and hands-on laboratories proved to be the most challenging task, particularly the logistics behind implementing a feasible and effective mode of online or remote delivery of such laboratories as they are a crucial component of engineering courses. Realising the features of Microsoft (MS) Teams, we devised a plan to develop fully remote laboratories for Control Systems course for Term 2 2020, which was adopted by several other courses in EET in the same term.

The infrastructure in our EET labs enabled the development to go ahead with minimal cost (including software licences and hardware). Our aim was to make sure that students receive similar hands-on experience as they would have if they were physically in the lab to use the equipment and conduct the experiments. An incredible effort was put in place to redesign the entire experiments to fit them for remote operation, as well as other logistical challenges. The implementation of such remote labs with the use of MS Teams was a huge success based on students’ record-breaking feedback. However, the true measure of how much students learned the concepts behind the application of theory in practice by conducting the experiments remotely, understanding the technical challenges in control system engineering, and maintaining a healthy social interaction among each other and lab demonstrators were the biggest challenges to tackle, no matter how sophisticated the remote labs are.

In this seminar, I will discuss the vital “connections” between the design of remotely accessed laboratories and the students learning experience through proper implementation and assessment strategies, taking into account the mental health of students during COVID-19 pandemic.

About Dr Arash Khatamianfar

Dr Arash Khatamianfar is an education-focused academic in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications. His is keen in using new and innovative teaching technologies and pedagogies to adapt them for the engineering education so that he can improve students learning experience Particularly in Control Systems and Robotics. He is also interested in doing research on novel approaches in assessment design and strategies in engineering disciplines to guarantee true learning.

Can't make the session in person?

UNSW Staff who cannot attend this online seminar are able to view the recording it via the Connections Moodle site (self-enrolment key: unswconnections)

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