Remote experiments, re-versioning and re-thinking science learning

Scanlon, Eileen; Colwell, Chetz; Cooper, Martyn and Di Paolo, Terry (2004). Remote experiments, re-versioning and re-thinking science learning. Computers & Education, 43(1-2) pp. 153–163.



Science and engineering students’ involvement in practical work contributes to the development of their understanding of the concepts and processes of science. The Practical Experimentation by Accessible Remote Learning (PEARL) project aimed to develop a system to enable students to conduct real-world experiments at a distance using a computer. We explored methods of extending the flexibility of laboratory teaching in terms of time and location, and of meeting the requirements of students with special needs. This involved the development of remote experiments at four Universities. This paper uses one of the four experiments, spectroscopy for introductory science in a distance learning setting, to illustrate the process of developing remote experiments. We describe the evaluation work leading to refinement of the design, and an assessment of the learning experience for students. This paper presents the findings of the validation phases of the project which have established the feasibility of the remote experiment approach.

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