AN OPTICS VIRTUAL LABORATORY. DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION.

A. Pons Martí1, P. Andrés Bou1, J. C. Barreiro Hervás1, W. Furlan1, M. Martínez Corral1, J. A. Monsoriu Serra2, H. Navarro Fructuoso1, E. Sánchez Ortiga1, G. Saavedra Tortosa1, E. Silvestre Mora1

1Fac. de Física. Dpto de Óptica. Universidad de Valencia (SPAIN)
2Depto. Física Aplicada. Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
The here-presented work is a part of a project created to provide an on-line environment that complements of the traditional classroom and laboratory methods. Permanent access to educational material related to physical and engineering experiments involves a relevant advantage on the comprehensive process for the student. Digital simulations and real-time videos that benefit from virtual reality should substitute observable phenomena. We have developed an innovative material for autonomous learning based on optics laboratory experiences.
This online laboratory is programmed in standard HTML in order to be explored by Netscape, Internet Explorer and similar internet software. Several virtual experiences inspired in laboratory experiments are integrated in an online environment. The virtual experiences have developed to explore relevant topics including, the polarization properties of light, the interference and diffraction phenomena and some optometric instruments like the focimeter or the ophthalmoscope.
Also, these digital simulations are complemented with online tests. They allow the student to check the values of the physical parameters involved in the experience. These tests are reproducible, as many times the student needs to find the correct answer and to prove the perfect understanding of the acquired concepts.
Additionally, we present a list of theoretical and practical questions concerning the experiences and also links to websites including applets related to each subject.
In resume, this innovative web-based teaching strategy allows a 24 hours access to the laboratory, profiting from training without the presence of teachers.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This work has finantial support from the project “Diseño y puesta en marcha de un laboratorio virtual de óptica” from the Vicerectorado de Convergencia Europea y Calidad de la Universidad de Valencia.