Virtual and remote labs in higher education distance learning of physical and engineering sciences
Physical Sciences in general constitute a core of knowledge essential to any modern science or engineering curriculum. The use of laboratories is necessary for better understanding of natural laws, but also for the development of critical thinking and experimentation. However, researchers have marked that practical exercise in laboratories presents some restrictions. Distance education can be an important solution to this problem in the context of Higher Education, both for conventional Universities as well as for Institutions of Open and Distant Education. Modern computer technology and communications offer new opportunities to develop virtual and/or remote laboratories. We performed an investigation concerning published papers in scientific journals as well as papers published in proceedings of international conferences. We selected to present representative applications that present some particular interesting aspects. The accent was given in those that stress points of planning and designing the educational materials and equipment both from a technical point of view but also from a pedagogic point and which include also reports from the application of the discussed laboratories. © 2013 IEEE.