Development of information technology has led to use of internet for virtual learning. Virtual lab environments providing access to software are very popular and have attracted millions of users across the globe. Accessibility to use of hardware’s in virtual labs is in great demand among students both from rural and urban areas. Providing access to students on use of industry standard hardware and software resources online, with timely feedback, evaluation and certification will open up huge business opportunities as well as benefit student’s community. With market potential of more than 1 million students and business opportunity of 10 crores, the Real Time Virtual Lab Product from E-Soft will revolutionize education sector.
Traditionally, online courses were heavily weighted towards lecture and paper assessments, this was justified due to lab hardware cost, lab availability, and inability to objectively measure student lab performance. While cost remains a factor in any course with a lab component, implementing new technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing has mitigated and in some cases completely removed ancillary lab issues. Different virtual lab approaches, centralized or decentralized, have been tested or implemented in many educational institutions. One of the key challenges in online electronics engineering education is related to the use of hands-on labs that are essential for effective education in this area. Hands-on laboratories are the oldest and most widespread form of laboratory education. Hands-on labs have been used generally for demonstrating how theory can be applied in practice and for the acquisition of hap-tic skills, design skills, and instrumentation skills. Hands-on labs are usually taught as one single demonstration due to economical and logistical reasons. However, it has been observed that forming and understanding concepts require more than one single demonstration. Despite their constraints, hands-on laboratories promote the most important aim of using laboratories - that is the realism. Online learning is fast becoming a preferred medium of learning. Online learning in technical education is primarily delivered through pre-recorded videos. While research has shown that these types of videos may be positively received by students and they feel like they are learning and become more confident in their answers, but what is critically lacking is an ability to practice and get real time feedback on the practice outcomes. Practice alone provides ability for the learner to achieve higher cognitive abilities in a specific subject.
With the development of technology, evolution of single board computers for industrial, medical and defense applications are being made available in the market for industries to choose and develop applications with reduced design time. The development kits that are available in the market are expensive and hence not affordable by students to access and hence they lack the industrial experience before taking up job opportunities.Also many of the colleges are remotely located from and each student is unable to take up additional course during their study. This product will provide students an easy access to all the development kits in real time for them to design, model and evaluate their applications. The virtual access to hardware kits are for the first time being made available to students in India. Most of the virtual labs provide access to software simulators.
Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum under the leadership of Dr. Maheshappa – Vice Chancellor, initiated a noble program “Mission VTU Empower 10K”. MSEC is the nodal centre for VLSI Design and Embedded Systems Design. Two programs have been successfully completed under this initiative and have trained 120 students with placements in companies like Robert Bosch, IBM, TCS, Tata Elxsi, Continental, Systems Control etc.,. The course was successful but scaling up to meet large number of deserving students across the state was one of the challenges. In order to reach students and to provide access to students on industry standard tools and hardware resources, Virtual lab has been developed by MSEC with support from VTU, Belgaum.