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Harbin Institute of Technology Develops Interest in EE with Remote Teaching Lab

Jianqiang Wu, National Teaching Master, Director of National E.E. Experimental Teaching Demonstration Center, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) in China has led an effort to develop a three-pronged approach to remote teaching at the Institute. The primary objectives for the teaching lab are to 1) generate student interest in Electrical Engineering using an interactive flash tool, 2) allow for remote access to engineering test equipment and labs, and 3) provide a mechanism for professors to monitor students’ progress and track results.

Interactive Flash Courseware Generates Student Interest

As part of a pre-study, EE students at HIT familiarize themselves with an Keysight DSOX2004A scope graphical user interface (GUI), control panel and functions, and features such as Auto Scale, Zoom In/Out, and Horizon/Vertical Control. Since the student is running an interactive flash on their PC and not on an actual instrument, it provides the ultimate flexibility for the student and also does not tie up valuable instrument resources in the lab. And most importantly, the staff at HIT note that this approach stimulates the students’ interest to learn at a time that is convenient for them.

Remote Oscilloscope Lab

Each year, HIT engineering students study the basic operation of oscilloscopes and perform remote EE experiments using 4 Keysight DSOX2002A 70 MHz 2-channel scopes. The Keysight scope networking capabilities provide HIT with a very flexible remote access platform for students to learn basic scope operation and EE fundamentals.
The Harbin Institute of Technology has developed seven different EE labs that meet their teaching requirements and take advantage of the Keysight instrument functions. Topics include basic and advanced application, circuit design, and much more. Each lab includes detailed documents and specific measurements, ensuring that students fully understand the technical basis of each topic.

The remote lab consists of four Keysight oscilloscopes, each connected to a specific experiment kit. The experimental kit configuration changes during the semester as new teaching topics are introduced.

Teaching Management System

The HIT campus network enables access to the teaching system by all professors and students, and even other public users. Students can book their time for remote pre-study sessions or experiments in advance. Professors can easily access the system remotely at any time to check on students’ progress on their studies and experiments.

Benefits to the Students

Using this approach to remote learning, students can study electrical engineering (EE) at any time that is convenient for them. In addition, it overcomes a perennial challenge for most universities – that is, how to provide adequate access to limited test hardware resources in the lab.

Benefits to Professors

The HIT remote teaching implementation provides some key advantages for professors as well. The HIT staff can easily access the system at any time to monitor student progress during both the pre-study phase and during lab experiments. The program also automatically generates a tracking spreadsheet and will populate it with each student’s learning progress in the EE courses.

Keysight Support for the HIT Lab

Keysight Technologies sponsored 60 Educator Training Kits (DSOX-EDK) at HIT for the teaching lab. Each Keysight scope includes a set of built-in training signals which can be used in the EE learning process. The kits also include lab guides, tutorials, and a slide-set that professors and lab assistants can use as a pre-lab lecture on scope fundamentals. Keysight also provided incremental project funding and technical support to HIT during the development of the remote lab management system.

Additional Keysight equipment used in the lab includes the 33220A Function/Arbitrary Waveform generator and the U1252A Handheld Digital Multimeter.

Solid Results

Using this novel teaching approach, the Harbin Institute of Technology had 1200 students complete their EE courses during the 2013 calendar year. As additional networking and equipment resources are added in the future, those numbers will likely rise. In the meantime, HIT has an effective teaching program that motivates their students to learn key engineering concepts in a flexible and timely manner.

Harbin Institute of Technology Resources (in local language):

Keysight Resources: