Physical and Virtual Environment for Automation Education of Engineers and Technicians, Part 3: Improvement of joint distant laboratory activities in process control and automation based on past experience

Jean-Sebastian Deschenes, Noureddine Barka, Pierre St-Onge, Mario Michaud, Denis Paradis, Jean Brousseau
2011 Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA)  
Current industrial software technology offers the possibility for the plant staff to operate production systems without an obligate need to be present on the production floor. Our project, which earlier phases were presented in the last CEEA conference, proposed joint learning activities related to this reality for the training of future engineers and technicians. It is a collaboration between the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) and the Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup (CEGEP), both located in
more » ... e eastern Quebec region. Activities were conducted under two different themes: (i) process control activities using a hydraulic training setup, and (ii) sequential automation activities using individual units of a mini-plant designed for recycling beverage bottles and cans. The third phase of the project, being the subject of this paper, was to improve the virtual environment and laboratory activities from past experience results, and evaluate the effectiveness of these modifications. To state a few modifications as examples, the activities contexts were modified from a customer-client relation between the teams to a more cooperative scenario, as distant and local implementation teams from the same service provider. The sequential automation activity was conducted on a more complete and operational mini-plant, and the student teams were involved in a more interactive work, involving exchange of files and sharing common work objectives. All activities started with a physical encounter between the student teams, which effectively helped to improve comradeship. Results once again showed that students from both institutions successfully worked and communicated together despite their different skills and backgrounds. Training objectives for this phase were successfully attained and the lessons learned were exploited to effectively enhance the training level and the studentacquired skills through the activities.
doi:10.24908/pceea.v0i0.3598 fatcat:xqynibenxjdvxfiphtjzl2x7rq