This virtual collaboration project was established to the need of a NSF TUES Type2: “Dissemination of Microprocessor Courses through Classroom and Interactive Cyber-Enabled Technologies”, and later the improvement of communication mechanism through the second NSF I-Corp L: “Transform the Innovated Design and Development of an Embedded Design Training System and Associated Support Curricula into a Commercial Available Product”. In 2- and 4-years institutions, faculty members usually work isolated within their own subject domain and have limited opportunities to collaborate with others simple because they are the only faculty in that particular subject area. The need of collaborations among faculty members from different institutions was addressed and supported by the NSF projects. The virtual collaboration platform was designed and created by the team and hosted via a commercial web hosting company as an academic community platform that allow faculty from different institutions to communicate through the Internet and share/collaborate project ideas without the limitation of geographical locations.
This virtual collaboration platform consists of three major areas, a web portal, project tutorials, and Learning Management System (LMS). The web portal, http://www.ucdistancetraining.org, distributes general information to all users about the common project hardware platforms, completed project videos, workshops conducted, industrial partners, project community, FAQ, contact information, and resource downloads. 3D Rover tutorials with step by step instructions were posted as a sample project collaborated between institutions. Finally, the curriculum center for project sharing consists of an online LMS where faculty can request a login user name and password to access instructional materials and lab manuals contributed by other members. Faculty members can than adopt and customize the materials as their own and provide feedbacks to the project team members for continuous improvement in better teaching and learning.
At the current status, the LMS design is dedicated to faculty members only. As part of the continuous improvement, the project team plan to expand the concept and currently is working toward including an online resource center for students where faculty members can direct their students to this resource center for updated microcontroller information and mechatronic project ideas.
This presentation will address the following highlights:
• The need of the virtual collaboration
• The information available at the web portal
• The Army Educational Outreach Mechatronic project – 3D Rover tutorials
• The Learning Management System for virtual collaboration opportunities
• The online student resource center
Topic Areas: 1. Distance Learning in ET
2. Application Projects Collaboration in ET
3. Research Community of Teaching and Learning
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