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IEEE Education Society’s ‘2014 Best Transactions on Education Paper’ was awarded to ‘The VLAB OER Experience:Modeling Potential Adopter Student Experience’, published in IEEE Transactions on Education.
The paper is co-authored by Amrita faculty members Dr. Raghu Raman, Dr.Krishnashree Achuthan, Prof. Prema Nedungadi, Dr. Shyam Diwakar and IIT Delhi faculty Dr. Ranjan Bose. The award was announced by the IEEE Education Society at the Frontiers in Education Conference 2015 and was received by Rema Menon on behalf of the authors.
This paper emphasizes on Virtual Labs (VLAB), a multi-institutional Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative, exclusively focusing on lab experiments for engineering education. This project envisages building a large OER repository, containing over 1650 virtual experiments mapped to the engineering curriculum. VLAB is a paradigm shift in engineering education considering it is being introduced in an educational system that is slow to change. Treating VLAB as an educational technology innovation, its adoption by potential-adopter engineering students modeled based on Roger’s theory of perceived attributes. Research questions were- Is there a significant improvement in student performance using virtual labs? How does the performance improvement using virtual labs on desktops and tablets compare with the performance improvement at the physical lab? Is gender a significant factor in determining performance?Multiple regression and factor analysis were used to analyze the data.
The study observed that using OER (such as VLAB) on desktops and low-cost tablets had similar effects in student performance to using physical labs. This has interesting implications for education policy-makers who are looking to reduce the digital divide.