Shared Community Insights on Engineering Remote Labs

Emerging Insights on Navigating Remote Labs (June 2020 ASEE Webinar)

This webinar, facilitated by AnnMarie Thomas (University of St. Thomas), Margot Vigeant (Bucknell University) and Julian Yamaura (University of Washington) and partially supported by the National Science Foundation, explored emerging strategies for navigating remote engineering labs, including insights on adapting practices used by K-12 colleagues, replicating educational objectives remotely, and using video modules to educate and engage students. Below is a collection of insights on remote labs shared in the chat pod by webinar attendees.

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Products and Software

  1. ADALM1000 and ADALM2000 evolution boards (for electrical engineering)
  2. Analog Discovery 2 – Be aware of supply chain issues/waiting lists
  3. ATmega328p – Microcontroller, recommended for educational purposes
  4. Code Composer Studio – Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  5. Custom Hardware Teaching Aid for Undergraduate Microcontroller Laboratory Class (requires access to Springer)
  6. Discord – Streamkit, overlay for OBS and XSplit
  7. Mikroe EasyPicPro v7 – Development board/kit, used for embedded systems
  8. MSP430 LaunchPad – Development board/kit, used for embedded systems
  9. MSP432 Launchpad – Development board/kit
  10. NI ELVIS III – Lab device (recommended to use with Quanser, Texas and Emona addon boards, good for chemical engineering)
  11. PIC microprocessor simulator for Linux
  12. Solidworks – CAD software
  13. Studica – Lab kits
  14. Teensyduino software – “My bioengineering students have very little computer skills and no previous electronics, but have not had trouble installing it… They haven’t had to program, though, just install PteroDAQ (note – config challenges many MECH students)
  15. Teensy LC – Microcontroller, noted as faster and better ADC than the Adafruit ItsyBitsy
  16. Tinkercad – Online 3D modeling software (good for electronics labs, recommended by multiple people, but does not have two-channel oscilloscopes)
  17. TI TM4C123 Launchpad – Microcontroller
  18. Waveforms (for AD2s) – “good free software, but doesn’t provide a way to use fake data (other than their limited demo mode)”

Teaching Tools

  1. CircuitLab – Online circuit simulator and schematics
  2. EveryCircuit – To create, simulate, share, and explore electronic circuits (good for C/C++ programming)
  3. Falstad Circuit Simulator app – Online circuit simulator application, excellent for electronics design (Paul Falstad is the developer)
  4. iCircuit – App, circuit simulator and designer
  5. LabView – Lab simulations
  6. LabsLand – Offers variety of labs, all remote, some prerecorded
  7. MATLAB – Offers software for making animations in mechanical engineering labs
  8. Multisim – Lab simulations
  9. National Instruments (NI) Engineering Teaching Resources
  10. Pignat – Offers range of remote labs (e.g., unit ops, heat exchangers, process control)
  11. Teaching a lab class online (University of Washington)
  12. University of Toronto Undergraduate Aerospace Studies
  13. Ward Science – Lab kits and other resources

Tips for Mitigating Safety Concerns

  1. “We plan to install the plexiglass separators between benches, and then we have to switch position with the students to check the circuits, it will take longer. That’s why we hope to give each student a kit to work on the labs and then share debugging experiences through videos, etc.”
  2. “Using zoom screen sharing of a phone allows a close up look through the phone camera from the student end…you can buy macro lenses for smart phones if you need that close.”

Tips for Shipping Materials

  1. “Some of our labs in the spring shipped AD2s with return-mail labels for shipping them back.”
  2. “Check your local rates. Canada Post is about the same 0-5kg.”
  3. “Box dimension also affects cost!”
  4. “Also, think about export controls if shipping abroad.”
  5. “A colleague referred me to PirateShip as the cheapest way to ship (for the same reason of shipping to students)”

Tips for Video Modules

  1. Adobe Rush and Adobe Captivate
  2. Cell phone – For recording
  3. Clips on iOS – for closed captions
  4. DaVinci Resolve – offers fully functional free version and works across Windows, Mac, and Linux
    1. “…Cross platform of Resolve is nice if others in your department will be doing video editing as well, common interface for peer-support across platforms”
  5. EdPuzzle
  6. iMovie – Particularly for editing
  7. Modern Document cameras, like IPEVO
  8. MS Stream – for closed captions
  9. PowerPoint – for generating captions if you record a presentation
  10. Surface Pro 4 – for use as whiteboard
  11. Windows Camera – “very easy to edit and upload to the college media space”
  12. YouTube – for free ADA-compliant captions

Virtual Communities of Practice (VCPs)

  1. AIChE Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for labs
  2. ASEE ChemE Division (CHEG) Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) on thermo labs – Contact CHEG Officers, contact your chair/directors and request they get this going…