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LEARNING ELECTRONICS THROUGH A REMOTE LABORATORY MOOC

Gabriel Díaz, Félix García Loro, Mohamed Tawfik, Elio Sancristobal, Sergio Martín and Manuel Castro
Dto. Ingenieria Eléctrica Electrónica y Control UNED – Spanish University for Distance Education

2014, February 10

Gabriel Díaz (gdiaz@ieec.uned.es)

Contents
1. 2.

3.

4. 5.

Introduction VISIR: Virtual Instrument Systems in reality Learning objectives, course structure and practices Positive and negative results Some conclusions
EMOOCs 2014, Lausanne 13/02/2014

Contents
1. 2.

3.

4. 5.

Introduction VISIR: Virtual Instrument Systems in reality Learning objectives, course structure and practices Positive and negative results Some conclusions
EMOOCs 2014, Lausanne 13/02/2014

Introduction
• Recent emergence of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is promoting different lifelong learning experiences and continuing education models and allowing free access to learning resources at any time and from everywhere • However, a significant challenge exists for the provision of real laboratory work online along with the theoretical contents inside MOOCs • Also, the practical and the theoretical contents must be designed to support an indeterminate number of users from around the world and with different time zones

EMOOCs 2014, Lausanne

13/02/2014

Introduction • • A first approach to this problem is clearly the use of simulators and virtual labs But they are still a bit far from bringing to student the real performance and features of equipment under real-life operation conditions We consider all these issues and present a novel approach that integrates remote-accessed real experiments into a MOOC on basic industrial electronics • • The MOOC’s evaluation and activities spin around the remote laboratory and the objectives and evaluation are focused on the handling of the instruments and measurements EMOOCs 2014. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .

Can the physical limitations of a real remote lab. be managed for allowing many concurrent sessions with a good performance? 3.Is this approach enough for everybody attending the MOOC? 4.Can we obtain ideas for better deployments? EMOOCs 2014.Some research questions 1. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . as VISIR.Could a practical oriented MOOC for gaining knowledge in electronics circuits be a good approach for a wide audience? 2.Is it possible to do a good “learning analytics” study for a continuous improvement? 5.

3. 4. 2.Contents 1. 5. Introduction VISIR: Virtual Instrument Systems in reality Learning objectives. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . course structure and practices Positive and negative results Some conclusions EMOOCs 2014.

Lausanne 13/02/2014 . a remote lab for electric and electronic circuits experiments. developed at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) in Sweden and in use in several universities all around the world • The main advantage of VISIR when compared with traditional electronic laboratories lies in its availability that has neither temporal nor geographical restrictions EMOOCs 2014.VISIR • The experiments included in the MOOC are based on the remote laboratory platform Virtual Instrument Systems in Reality (VISIR).

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Lausanne 13/02/2014 .EMOOCs 2014.

EMOOCs 2014. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .

EMOOCs 2014. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .

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Lausanne 13/02/2014 .The intrinsic limitations of a real laboratory such as VISIR collide with one of the most relevant features that any MOOC should achieve: scalability . .The maximum concurrent users’ queue VISIR can handle is up to 60 (depending on the circuit).Some limitations of VISIR . not compatible with MOOC platform EMOOCs 2014.VISIR has also its own reservation system.

Contents 1. 4. 5. 3. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . course structure and practices Positive and negative results Some conclusions EMOOCs 2014. 2. Introduction VISIR: Virtual Instrument Systems in reality Learning objectives.

“Bases de circuitos y electrónica práctica” . as one of many in UNED COMA platform EMOOCs 2014. since May to September 2013. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .The first edition of the MOOC has been running five months.

• Gaining practical competences in lab equipment used in electronics laboratories.General learning goals of the MOOC • Experimental verification of the laws governing the behavior of electric and electronic circuits. • Improving the knowledge for designing electric and electronic circuits. EMOOCs 2014. • Increasing the use of simulation tools used in the process of electronic circuits design. • Gaining practical competences in basic electric and electronic circuits. • Wider knowledge of the real behavior of basic electronics components. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .

supplementary materials are provided. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . in each module of the MOOC. are interested in following the course or need to refresh the knowledge because of disused. in order to facilitate the understanding of the behavior and circuits for those participants who. fulfilling only part of the requirements. on analyzing electrical and electronics circuits and the ideal electrical characteristics of most common components are necessary requirements for participants…but this is an OPEN course However. at least theoretical.The knowledge. EMOOCs 2014.Prerrequisites…or not? .

Lausanne 13/02/2014 .Detail of one of the videos at MOOC EMOOCs 2014.

EMOOCs 2014.MOOC’s reservation system for VISIR The remote laboratory reservation system has been integrated in the platform of the MOOC in order to ease the identification and registration process for both participants and administrators. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . so it has been necessary to modify the Measurement server code and to create a resource in the MOOC platform for this purpose.

Details of reservation system EMOOCs 2014. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .

Lausanne 13/02/2014 .EMOOCs 2014.

The settings used during the MOOC allow: 16 simultaneous users per turn.With these settings.Constraints for the reservation system . 60 minutes per turn. 14 turns per course. . Lausanne 13/02/2014 . VISIR allowed up to 384 students to experiment with any of the designed practices of the MOOC every day. EMOOCs 2014. 2 simultaneous turns booked.

a payment is required. outside Spain where a network of collaborating centres is established.The in-person certificate will take place in one of the 61UNED study centres in Spain and. the students have to complete satisfactorily the MOOC and request the certificate. . . The students will have to take an exam from a battery of questions based from the experience obtained from the experimentation and the competences acquired EMOOCs 2014. on demand.UNED COMA offers two more official certificates: online certificate and in-person certificate. . For obtaining any of both.In the online certificate. Lausanne 13/02/2014 - .Certificates Students get a course badge by accomplishing that the global grade exceed the cut-off grade point established (80 over 100).

• Teacher: the teacher is accessible for helping with basic problems related with electronics and answering doubts about the activities and theoretical contents. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . but there are two different support roles: • Curator: the Curator is continuously tracking any possible issue with the reservation system and helping the students to resolve any problem related with the documentation and the tools in the MOOC and general questions. • VISIR teacher: The VISIR teacher is responsible of attending the students’ doubts about VISIR and supervising VISIR errors.MOOC platform roles • The MOOC is almost completely based on self-learning and peer to peer collaboration. EMOOCs 2014. The Curator is in constant contact with the teachers.

etc. The means employed for obtain the previously mentioned information are the non-evaluative exams (two non-evaluative compulsory exams throughout the course) and surveys (three optional surveys during the course) Block 2: The main idea behind this module is to give the students a work philosophy on how to prepare laboratory practices. training information. labor situation. level of knowledge to address the learning outcomes effectively. etc. country of origin. training. EMOOCs 2014.MOOC structure Block 1: The purpose of this block is to gather some information: basic data such as age. The purpose of this goal is to restrict the access to the remote lab for those students with a minimum knowledge in the field in which the MOOC relays Block 3: This block is where the students interact with the remote laboratory VISIR and where the designed practices take place. genre. Another objective of this block is to disenchant and/or to cause the “MOOCaholics” dropout. previous experience in any kind of laboratories. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .

To perform an analysis of the circuit using a simulation tool with the purpose of monitors the time-dependent signals. . etc. . This work philosophy proposes the students these sequential steps: . Lausanne 13/02/2014 . EMOOCs 2014.To compare the limitations. differences.Block 2 This block aims to provide students with a work philosophy to follow in the subsequent modules.To complete the practices within a real environment (laboratory). advantages.Theoretical analysis of the circuit. between three methods. .

Voltage divider EMOOCs 2014.Some details of labs •Module III: Working with resistors. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . Ohmic values.

Lausanne 13/02/2014 . RL. RLC & RC circuits EMOOCs 2014.Module IV: RLC circuits.

Mean value. Zener diode as clipper. Differences between 1N4007 & BAT42. Construction of the current-voltage characteristic curve Module VIII: Operational amplifier. Inverting differentiator. Inverting amplifier EMOOCs 2014.Module V: Working with diodes. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . load regulation and line regulation. Halfwave rectifier. Zener diode as voltage regulator. Voltage drops on diode Module VI: Low-pass filter. Module VII: Zener diode. voltage ripple. Non-inverting amplifier.

Every activity is designed for different purposes. EMOOCs 2014. the course contains: • 42 videos • 55 standard multiple choice questions (including single-answer questions and multiple-answer questions) • 30 exams multiple choice questions • 4 documents covering all the theoretical contents of the course • Simulator and VISIR Manuals • Practice guide for modules I (simulation) and III to VIII (remote laboratory and simulation) • Designed over 30 activities for experiment with the different circuits conceived. so they have sub-activities associated. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . guides and videos are in Spanish. In total.Other details All documents.

4. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .Contents 1. 5. 3. 2. Introduction VISIR: Virtual Instrument Systems in reality Learning objectives. course structure and practices Positive and negative results Some conclusions EMOOCs 2014.

Only 37% are working.Only 8.Total number of participants: 3036 Pre-course survey data (1670 responses) : BASIC DATA . 33% among 26 and 35.9% are female . Lausanne 13/02/2014 . 26% out of the university . 24% < 26 years old . 20% studying at the university.43% > 36 years old. 6% colombians.73% spaniards.Only 12% declare they have a grade related with electric or electronics engineering EMOOCs 2014.17% are neither working nor studying . 4% mexicans… WORKING SITUATION .

20% passed .Only 900 participants ended the videos for module 2 . Lausanne 13/02/2014 .80% said the use of a real laboratory was one of the main factors to enroll the MOOC .More than 90% hoped to gain new skills and competences Other interesting data: Non evaluable basic electronics exam (920 responses).Only 356 did the assesments for module 2 .The number decreases to only 100 for the videos of the last module .Pre-course survey data (1670 responses) : . only 70 participants did the final exam and passed (2% of total) Great social activity during first weeks only EMOOCs 2014.The number decreases to only 70 for the last module .Finally.

Lausanne 13/02/2014 . Introduction VISIR: Virtual Instrument Systems in reality Learning objectives. 4. 2.Contents 1. 5. course structure and practices Positive and negative results Some conclusions EMOOCs 2014. 3.

Coming back to the research questions… 1. we can conclude that building a MOOC dedicated to real basic electronic practices is interesting for a large audience A second run of the MOOC has been running. with more than 1000 participants. Lausanne 13/02/2014 . with more or less the same results - EMOOCs 2014. since November until january.Could a practical oriented MOOC for gaining knowledge in electronics circuits be a good approach for a wide audience? Taking int accoun the number of participants.

As we have had not a real stress with many simultaneous VISIR users. we cannot be sure EMOOCs 2014. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .Apparently YES .Coming back to the research questions… 2. be managed for allowing many concurrent sessions with a good performance? .Can the physical limitations of a real remote lab. as VISIR.

the results indicate that this was not the case .We are working on a much more basic course for really beginners EMOOCs 2014.Is this approach enough for everybody attending the MOOC? . Lausanne 13/02/2014 .Coming back to the research questions… 3.Clearly NOT .Although we suggested the possibility of previously enrolling other more theoretical course (as 6.002x Circuits & Electronics MITx).

We cannot trace the activity of each student. the UNED COMA platform code must be changed to allow all these aspects or we must change our MOOCto another platform EMOOCs 2014.Clearly NOT . giving a better service to students .As aconsequence we cannot change “on the fly” some parts of the course.We cannot know the time dedicated to each module by student . to do personal recommendations .Is it possible to do a good “learning analytics” study for a continuous improvement? . Lausanne 13/02/2014 . of the assesments by student .Clearly.Coming back to the research questions… 4.We cannot know the success or fail. and how many times.

Coming back to the research questions… 5. in spanish and in english B) Doing a pre-course selection exam?  Not so open… C) Using the MOOC as a SPOC (Small Private Online Course) as another tool in a more classical blended-learning course  Not so Massive.. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .Can we obtain ideas for better deployments? A) Implementing a much more basic circuits course. D) Developing a MOOL (Massive Open Online Laboratory)  Not a course? EMOOCs 2014.

uned. Lausanne 13/02/2014 .Thanks a lot for your attention! Any question? Learning electronics through a remote laboratory MOOC Gabriel Díaz (gdiaz@ieec.es) EMOOCs 2014.