The European network RE-OPEN (REmote labOratories for Practical Experiments on renewable energies at EU uNiversities), co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme, has successfully concluded the first meeting (26, April 2021) to launch the project and start defining the methodology to implement the standardized remote laboratories at EU universities.
EU Higher Education Institutions have had to cope with the digital transformation and the challenges created by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many universities have suddenly moved their lessons online leaving aside other activities usually performed in presence, such as laboratories. Practical experiences are crucial for STEM subjects for the students’ further employability and to acquire pivotal technical and social skills, and experimental abilities (set up an experiment, measure the performance of real equipment, process the acquired data and derive technical insights from the laboratory activity). Software enabled virtual labs and simulations that mimic a lab setting are useful but they cannot include every real situation. Remote laboratories are a solution allowing students to remotely access physical labs to experience the challenges associated with practical experimentation.
RE-OPEN project will run for 2 years (2021-2023) and is made up of a consortium of EU universities and companies. There are 5 participating universities from 5 Member States, specialized in training in energy technologies that have already adopted innovative training methodologies. The participating EU universities are: Universitá degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi from Italy as coordinator, Fachhochschule Technikum Wien from Austria, Munster Technological University from Ireland, Norwegian University of Science and Technology from Norway, the University of Huelva from Spain. Additionally, the project includes the ICT company VJ Technology from Italy.
The main project activities are: mapping of the hands-on/remote labs in EU universities, designing standard ICT-based learning solutions and pedagogical models of AR (augmented reality) remote laboratories, setting up a remote lab ICT system and learning management system (LMS) and developing experimental modules/projects on renewable energy. The developed methods and modules will all be tested and validated in each partner university.