Using virtual laboratories in control engineering education
The twin pressures of the need for students to learn a wider variety of concepts, ideally in a self-learning mode, and the reduction in class contact time has led to the use of increased levels of information technology in control engineering education. At DIT, Kevin Street, the teaching approach has evolved from a traditional didactic lecture and laboratory course, with associated assessments, to the implementation of a more learner-centred approach over the past two academic years. This new approach has been made possible by the appropriate use of real case studies, information technology tools, and web-based virtual laboratories. Assessment methodology has also evolved. An improvement in learning outcomes has been noted using the new approach; formal student feedback has also been positive. The author is committed to deepening the learner-centred approach in the future, with, for example, the further integration of virtual laboratories in the modules, the inclusion of further industrial case studies, and the progressive implementation of the modules in an e-learning environment.