In response to the COVID pandemic, many of our undergraduate students were supplied with custom development kits to undertake their electronic laboratory activities at home. Following our return to on-campus teaching, we plan to combine on-campus laboratory sessions with at-home experiments taking advantage of both on-campus and at-home experimental work while avoiding some of the limitations experienced during remote teaching. The goal is to embed active learning as a key part of a long-term strategy to enable students to better manage their learning and to maximise the analytical engagement with lecturers in a hybrid blend of on-campus and remote activities.
In this paper, we report on three generations of the at-home laboratory kit developed by the author's institute and partners in the Erasmus+ project “Home Electronics Laboratory Platform (HELP)”. The HELP kit comprises a portable signal generator and measurement instrument and a custom electronic board, which includes several functional blocks alongside the usual breadboard for assembling circuits with discrete components. The motivation for the design of each generation is introduced and the desired functionality and its implementation are described.
The impact and user experience with the kits have been assessed through student surveys and staff focus groups in the HELP consortium partners. The main themes associated with take-home electronics laboratories have also been explored in a workshop with HELP partners and contributors from other universities across Europe and the USA. This work is summarised and future potential technical and pedagogical developments are outlined.
Hill, M., Murray, M., O'Mahony, T., Onet, R., & Neag, M. (2023). HELP – Home Electronics Laboratory Platform –Development And Evaluation. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/PPAR-8859
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