Putting fundamentals of electronic circuits practices online


Fundamentals of electronic circuits' practices have a central role in all the electrical engineering education disciplines. They teach the student the basics of electronic circuit's components and the adjustment of electrical instruments, and allow him to wire and build circuits in order to realize and monitor measurements. Unfortunately, and despite the importance of this type of practices, they are not usually available at many universities owing to geographical, cost, and time constraints. With the evolving of communication and computer technologies, and the advent of E-Learning, it was possible to vanish these constrains by the powerful tools provided by E-Learning, among them the remote laboratories. Thus, recently, many universities have shifted from traditional hands-on laboratories to remote laboratories in order to tackle these constrains bringing fundamentals of electronic circuits practices on-line to students. This has allowed students to access the lab at any time and from anywhere and to design, wire and measure electronic circuits remotely, achieving a significant increase in the lab availability and cost reduction. This paper reports on the current trends in remote laboratories for fundamentals of electronic circuits practices, pointing out significant projects such as Virtual Instrument Systems in Reality (VISIR), NetLab, and remote labs based on NI ELVIS II, which have been successfully adopted at many universities and deployed in the electrical engineering curricula. The paper, also, addresses other common independent approaches based on Data Acquisition Systems (DASs) in combination with measurement and control environments, such as LabVIEW and MATLAB.