Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5304-5311
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
One of the most important aspects in the field of engineering education is practical training. Very clear examples of this are the laboratories for training in design, development and measurement of electronic systems. However, in other areas of engineering, as for example in the case of communications, where the main objective is the systems analysis and planning, analytical solutions, if is possible, either to the simulation through approaches and algorithms are typically used. From these procedures, in the case of design of systems where involved a large number of variables, often complex professional planning tools are developed.

Regarding the practical training in instrumental laboratories, when the number of students is very high, when resources to use are very expensive, or when you intend to use some form of e-learning training, a good solution can be using virtual or remote laboratories [1,2]. For the planning of complex systems and in particular for practical training in professional tools, is usual the acquisition of such programmes, normally with a very high cost, or the utilization of demo versions with reduced capabilities. In any case, the use of different functionalities in the tools and professional programs for planning and design communications systems, implies a important effort and high time of dedication, which brings a loss of perspective on the fundamentals on which you want to perform the actions of learning, as well as a lack of freedom in the modification of variables or in the proposal of new solutions.

We have developed a set of tools for improving the knowledge and skills in wireless communications systems planning, for students of telecommunications engineering of the “Universidad Politécnica de Madrid”. These tools are of relatively simple use, and they are designed with the intention of a gradual process in learning through the establishment of various educational objective levels. In the other hand, the use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) as an element of support and follow-up of learning, allows the use of virtual applications that can easily be downloadable or executables on the Internet. In the case of universities with face-to-face teaching, the use of this type of solutions is spreading as reinforcement through "blended learning" techniques: classroom and on-line, [3]. Elaborate applications are based on Applets in Java, Excel spreadsheets and programs developed in Matlab. Detailed explanation of developed solutions and analysis of its use by students are presented in the communication.

[1] Mosterman, Pieter j., et al., "Design and Implementation of an Electronics Laboratory Simulator", IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 39, n. 3, pp. 309-313, August 1996.

[2] Grimaldi, D., and Rapuano, S., "hardware and software to Design Virtual Laboratory for Education in Instrumentation and Measurement", Measurement, vol. 42, n. 4, pp. 485-493, May 2009.

[3] Drigas, A.S., Tagoulis, a. Vrettaros, j., Development of asynchronous e-learning systems with the use of Java technology. Information and Communication Technologies, 2006, ICTTA 06. 2nd vol. 1, pp. 36-41 April 2006.
virtual laboratories, b-learning, planning tools, excel, java, matlab.