R. Salah1, G. Alves2, D. Abdulazeez3, P. Guerreiro1, I. Gustavsson4

1University of Algarve (PORTUGAL)
2Polytechnic of Porto (PORTUGAL)
3University of Duhok (IRAQ)
4Blekinge Institute of Technology (SWEDEN)
Online laboratories have been increasingly deployed in several universities and institutions around the world. Besides helping to leverage a number of educational developments, they have been enabling teachers and researchers to share their knowledge across institutional boundaries. It has been observed that online laboratories have a positive effect on students' skills acquisition because they promote collaborative work and allow students to perform physical experiments remotely usually 24/7. Today, one can find a wide range of online laboratories in the literature that are supporting many subjects in different engineering and sciences fields, especially in electric and electronic engineering, for instance, VISIR (Virtual Instrument Systems in Reality).

VISIR plays an important role in electrical and electronic engineering education by allowing both teachers and students to conduct real experiments with electric and electronic circuits, via the Internet. It also complements hands-on laboratories by serving thousands of students globally, as a result of being spread by several universities and institutes worldwide. Presently, VISIR is installed in eight HEI (Higher Education Institutions), in six different countries (Austria, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, India, and Georgia), and is the first remote lab in the world supporting a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). In addition, a number of experiments in VISIR can be freely accessed, using the guest user mode, depending on the institutions available resources.

In this study, we have used the data collection method focused on all scholarly papers that are related to the VISIR system, which allowed collecting references from many resources such as conference proceedings, book chapters, and journals.

The objective of the paper is to illustrate the researches, developments, and studies that contributed to making of VISIR the best remote controlled laboratory in the world, according to the GOLC (Global Online Laboratory Consortium). Our research included the following dimensions: a) courses and subjects that include experiments done in VISIR, from different universities and institutes; b) the number of scholarly papers and authors related to VISIR, with a reference to the publishing sources; c) the different technologies used to deliver the laboratory experiments; d) the total number (and its evolution) of users who have accessed the several VISIR nodes; e) finally, the collaborative work resulting from the use and share of the VISIR system. To conclude, the paper discusses the impact of VISIR in the role of the laboratory in Undergraduate Engineering Education, in particular in electrical and electronic engineering, and its contribution to the collaborative work observed among the academic staff, researchers and students who used it.