Deakin University

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Novel design of a renewable energy remote laboratory

conference contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Liam LyonsLiam Lyons, Matthew JoordensMatthew Joordens
BACKGROUND OR CONTEXT: Current work in remote laboratories focuses on student interaction in a setting that can be at times disconnected from real world systems. Laboratories have been developed that show models of a working system, focusing on a single aspect, but very few laboratories allow the user to see the outputs of a working system that interacts with the real world as would be expected outside of a laboratory setting. It was aimed with this paper to show a design of a novel approach to building a remote laboratory that would be able to interact with a fully functional renewable energy system, and to show the students the outputs of such a system in real time. It allows for the user to be presented with information in a new context.
PURPOSE OR GOAL: With this research it is hoped to achieve a remote laboratory that will be able to present students with the data from a renewable energy system live, as it is generated as well as all the logged date generated. It is aimed with this novel approach to building a remote laboratory to assist the students in learning about renewable energy systems while allowing the student to access real data, instead of simulated data. Links to increased motivation due to realism in data given as well as change in student perception on learning in remote laboratories mean that a system such as this could change the way students approach learning about renewable energy generation systems. This will require further research however.
APPROACH: This remote laboratory required gathering data from an already established system. The live results were not recorded, and a log file was generated daily, however this was not fast enough to give to students as it was generated, so a system that could maintain communication between all systems, while also polling for data itself was required. In addition to this, the system had to communicate to a server that would give students access to the live data. The server was set up in such a way that students were not required to install any programs on their computer, multiple students could access the data at any given time, and a wide range of devices, including mobile devices, could all access the remote laboratory.
DISCUSSION: Key outcomes include the design of the remote laboratory, including screenshots of data acquisition from the renewable energy system from different devices. The design is split into two sections, one covering the server side architecture while another covers the data acquisition architecture. A very brief discussion on students’ initial interaction is also undertaken. RECOMMENDATIONS/IMPLICATIONS/CONCLUSION: Research has shown that the degree of realism in remote education can have an effect on students’ behaviors/motivation in a remote laboratory. By allowing students to knowingly access a real system that is currently being used to generate power from renewable energy sources, the methods and motivations that students use when approaching renewable energy systems may change.



Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (26th : 2015 : Geelong, Vic.)


1 - 11


Deakin University & AAEE


Geelong, Vic.

Place of publication

Geelong, Vic

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2015, AAEE


A Oo, A Patil, T Hilditch, S Chandrasekaran

Title of proceedings

AAEE 2015 : Blended design and project based learning. Proceedings of the 26th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference

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