Using remote laboratories to extend access to science and engineering

Colwell, Chetz; Scanlon, Eileen and Cooper, Martyn (2002). Using remote laboratories to extend access to science and engineering. Computers and Education, 38(1-3) pp. 65–76.



This paper will describe an approach to the provision of laboratory experience using communications
and control technology. This approach provides the possibility of extending access to laboratory work for
students who are unable to attend a conventional laboratory for a variety of reasons, such as disability,
caring responsibilities, or part-time study. A remote experimentation system is under development for
students to conduct a range of experiments in science and engineering education. It will be seen that laboratory work is an important aspect of learning in these disciplines, although there are constraints on its provision, including the specific barriers facing people with disabilities. The PEARL project seeks to overcome many of the existing constraints. The paper presents the design for the system and its specific features, and discusses its use in an educational context. In order to illustrate how PEARL will support people with disabilities, this paper also presents an overview of the assistive technologies currently in use.

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