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A VIRTUAL LABORATORY FOR THERMAL ENGINEERING PRACTICES

Along these last years we have realized that a big number of our students in Thermal Engineering have serious difficulties in comprehending the fundamental subjects in this area. Taking this consideration into account we decided to start an innovative project in the Department of Thermal Engineering at the University of the Basque Country in order to solve those difficulties and therefore to improve the lecturing activities.

The path taken and developed in this research tries to improve the practical activities using specialised software with which the students could interact and investigate using dynamic models representing the subjects of study.

As a main goal we have tried to avoid the high percentage of students who abandon when they face the first difficulties. We try to improve the interest and to shine the practical aspects which are going to be useful once they start to develop their professional careers. This toolkit has to be an instrument to deepen the interest in those subjects. To attain those goals the project has the following characteristics:
a) It has been designed and built up as a working space, programmed and interactive, with the possibility to access to it via internet.
b) One can test and evaluate about the quality and its different characteristics.
c) One can design improving actions to avoid the defaults which could have been detected and to develop the proposed corrections.