eMersion: A New Paradigm for Web-Based Training in Mechanical Engineering Education
The Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology has launched in 2000 a new programme to promote the use of New Learning Technologies (NLT) at the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. The goal of this programme is to encourage a reform of traditional teaching through the innovative application of Information and Communication Technologies. In this framework, the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) has started the eMersion project, a multidisciplinary effort to deploy innovative pedagogical scenarios and flexible learning resources for carrying out virtual and real experiments via the Internet. The eMersion project aims at promoting a pedagogical trial-and-error paradigm by enhancing the opportunities for engineering trainees to carry out extensive experimentation in their education curriculum. The proposed approach relies on the benefits to be gained from alternative means of experimentation that allow the students to reinforce their understanding of physical phenomena in a framework where errors are neither penalized nor hazardous. The production of practice-oriented pedagogical components is directed toward the use of various existing tools to provide students with facilities to experiment through simulations, virtual and enhanced reality based manipulations as well as remote manipulations of laboratory setups. In the first part of this paper, the revised pedagogical scenarios that are envisioned for further deployments in automatic control, fluid mechanics and biomechanics are presented. Those three expertise domains of the Mechanical Engineering Department have been selected as trial candidates due to their respective needs for more flexible and practice-oriented facilities. In the second part of this paper, the NLT resources enabling the eMersion paradigm are introduced. The key components are Web-based documents describing the experimental setups and the protocols to be carry out, cockpit-like GUIs for running the virtual or real experiments in a highly interactive manner, and last but not least an original electronic journal shared by a team of students that collaborate to fulfill the hands-on sessions requirements.
Record created on 2004-11-26, modified on 2016-08-08