Active laboratory experiment-interaction and problem-solving are considered essential parts of science and engineering education, because they enable direct acquisition of applicable knowledge for use in practical situations. Synchronous experimentation offers immediate feedback, rather than delayed. “Online (Remote) laboratories” report Auer, Edwards and Zutin (2011: 222) “available via internet” are therefore gaining importance. They define Online Engineering “as an interdisciplinary field utilising the areas of engineering, computing and telematics, where specific engineering activities like programming, design, control, observation, measuring, sensing, and maintenance are provided to both remote and local users in a live interactive setting over a distributed, physically dispersed network (for example: internet or intranet)”. They add that “high bandwidth internet connections world-wide and other derivative capabilities in the areas of real-time communication, control, teleconferencing, video streaming and others have made multi-site collaborative work, utilising state-of-the art equipment in remote laboratories across the globe a current reality”.
According to Auer, Edwards and Zutin (2011: 226) there are already a number of remote laboratories in operation and that the range of disciplines being catered for is growing as universities collaborate internationally. The portability and advancement of mobile technology further serve as powerful motivator for growth of online laboratory experiences.
Auer, M.E.; Edwards, A. & Zutin, D.G. 2011. Online laboratories in interactive learning environments, pp. 219-248. In N. Pachler; C. Pimmer & J. Seipold (eds). 2011. Work-Based Mobile Learning— Concepts and Cases. Oxford: Peter Lang.