If you can´t go to the lab, the MakerBIT brings the lab to you
by IT on 21-06-2020
The kit was designed with the purpose of presenting a solution that would be effective in assuring that the practical component of the course would not be compromised. (see more)
According to the International Association of Universities (www.iau-aiu.net), more than 1,5 billion students and youth across the planet were affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Addressing the challenge of carrying on with teaching and learning activities, while complying with social and physical distance measures, led academic institutions to adopt remote teaching as the new norm.
While distance learning solutions ensure that learning remains uninterrupted during this pandemic crisis, courses with a strong practical/lab component pose the biggest challenge: How to quickly adapt their programs in a way that makes distance learning possible without compromising their objectives?
With this in mind, IT, ISR and Mauser (mauser.pt) have collaborated in the development of the MakerBIT, a kit of materials assembled for the students of the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) Integrated Master in Biomedical Engineering (MEBiom), in the Signal Acquisition Instrumentation in Bioengineering (SAIB) course. “The list of materials included in the kit is quite extensive. I would say that the main advantage is the inclusion of the necessary components for learning and prototyping of custom biomedical sensors; other main components are the micro-controller, several types of motors, an LCD, and a diverse array of sensors (temperature, acoustics and proximity)”, explain João Sanches, from ISR, and Hugo Plácido da Silva, the IT researcher involved in this project, Professors of the SAIB course at the IST Department of Bioengineering (DBE).
The kit was designed with the purpose of presenting a solution that would be effective in assuring that the practical component of the course would not be compromised.
But does the students feedback correspond to that aspiration? “Creating projects with this kit is very educational. In a laboratory class we have all the instructions and material, in addition to the tutor's supervision, so, in principle, everything works. But having the freedom to experiment and do things for us (and at home) makes us begin to understand what each element of a circuit does and how we can reach a goal with the resources we have; is to use our creativity. I didn't get to try all the material, but it even made me want to do new projects during my free time and learn more about electronics”, said Rafael Silva, one of the students enrolled in the course.
The students are finishing their projects and, so far, it seems that the experience is being very positive and the MakerBIT is delivering what it promises.