HP Catalyst Project

Department of Technology

Project Overview

VRLE Lab: Vitrualized and Remote Laboratory Environment for Hands-on Blended/Online Learning in Engineering and TechnologyPrograms

Principal Investigator: Kuldeep S. Rawat, PHD
Deparment of Technology

In 2011, Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) was selected as an Associate Member of the "Multi-Versity” consortium lead by Sloan-C. The "Multi-Versity” consortium is part of Hewlett-Packard’s Catalyst Initiative. The ECSU’s catalyst project - VRLE Lab project - is housed in the Department of Technology, within the School of Math, Science, and Technology.

The project at ECSU involves developing a virtualized and remote laboratory environment (VRLE) that facilitates 24/7 access to laboratory equipment and computation-intensive software tools anytime, anywhere via Internet. The VRLE lab will be used to (i) deliver blended and/or online courses that support broad range of learning outcomes, (ii) improve 21st century career skills, (iii) increase qualified educators to support these education efforts, and (iv) implement training/certification programs to prepare and retrain individuals on campus and surrounding community for high demand careers in technology. The VRLE lab facility will be made available to consortia members, thereby developing community support for instructors and students. The project team believes that the proposed "Multi-Versity” project has potential to serve as a model for other minority institutions in delivering web-accessible programs that are resource intensive (laboratory/computation) overcoming geographic boundaries.

In summary, as an Associate Member of the "Multi-Versity" consortium, the team at ECSU is working on a project that:

  1. Demonstrates cost-effective ways to deliver online lab-intensive engineering and technology programs.
  2. Develops technology-enabled learning environment, which can be easily scaled up and extended to the members of "Multi-Versity” consortium and other partnering schools. The private cloud can be easily scaled to include resources to support courses from other STEM disciplines within the campus and beyond.
  3. Explores ways to develop cloud-based learning and collaborative design environments for STEM disciplines, especially, Engineering and Technology programs.
  4. Has a strong possibility of higher regional impact and serve as a model for other minority serving institutions.
  5. Raise awareness about remote computing/instrumentation and cloud-computing technologies on campus.
  6. Encourages faculty members to redesign courses that foster 21st century skills such as remote collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.
  7. Enhances the department’s capacity to develop and offer at least 10 courses in Engineering Technology and Industrial Technology fully online.