Archive of European Projects

Development of an open access remote photovoltaics laboratory and associated open educational resources for online training and education.
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 01 Sep 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project suggests the development of an open access remote PV laboratory for educational purposes. The remote PV laboratory will be installed outdoors at the facilities of the TEI of Athens - Greece, which is in a geographical region characterized by a large number of annual sunshine hours, allowing the users to perform real-world tests and experiments with photovoltaic panels over the internet, in real time. At the same time, the student can have a live view of the systems through a web camera, offering him/her a sense of personal presence in the place where the experiment takes place. The system should be accessible by everyone on the planet with an internet access and will be offered in at least five different languages. It also should be accompanied by appropriate educational material, for several target groups, such as students, postgraduates, professionals and educators, allowing it to be used by a broad variety of users directly. Moreover, the remote laboratory could help students with disabilities, to increase their participation in a laboratory environment. During the development of the remote PV laboratory, open educational resources (OERs) will also be adapted and developed to accompany it. These OERs include educational texts, tests and documentation developed for various types of users, from high-school students to professionals seeking to expand their field of knowledge. In addition to open educational material, a series of experimental exercises will be developed on photovoltaic systems, using advanced information and communications technologies, which could be adapted for courses currently present in higher education curricula and based on the innovative remote photovoltaics laboratory. A specialized website will be created to communicate the users with the remote laboratory in order to perform the experimental exercises. These remote experiments could be used for distance education, professional training and part time study. Thus, students from Europe and around the world, whose institutes/schools do not have laboratories, or their countries do not have a high annual number of sunshine hours, can perform experiments and then analyze the results according to the taught theory. Classroom courses can also benefit from this system by letting the teachers demonstrate the behaviour and analyze the characteristics of a photovoltaic panel in real conditions. This approach opens new ways in the teaching and educational process by giving students the feel of an almost direct experience with the experimental device and providing an excellent context for developing remote collaboration skills that will be important in their future careers. The experimental exercises and educational material will be integrated into a global remote laboratory gateway. This gateway will be a specially designed web-portal for worldwide higher education, and it will act as the basis of all educational and training activities. Five well-recognized European Universities are involved in the project as well as the Technical Chamber of Greece. All the partners have their specific role in the project and the expertise of each partner provides the means to a successful complementary collaboration between the partners. A number of workshops will be organized to disseminate the project and train the interested parties. Seminars will be provided to local professional organizations, such as the Technical Chamber of Greece, so as for their members to be informed of, use and provide feedback on the proposed system. The system and some of its capabilities will be presented in relevant peer-reviewed scientific conferences, in order to disseminate the system towards other scientists with expertise on the fields of online/remote education and for the opportunity to receive feedback from them. The duration of the project will be three years. The first two years will be devoted to the design, sizing and installation of the remote pv laboratory as well as for the development of open educational resources and experimental exercises. The last year, the system will be evaluated as adopted module within the curricula of the partner universities studies. The proposed remote PV laboratory combined with an ample open access educational material can be integrated in the curriculum studies, and in related distance learning and eLearning programmes of any educational institution worldwide, allowing the enhancement of the educational quality of such programmes and making education and training in photovoltaic systems accessible for the benefit of humanity.
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