MANHASSET, NY MIT's iLAbs has expanded its remote laboratory program to include three African universities for students to perform real engineering and science experiments over the Internet.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has received an $800,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to disseminate the use of educational technology developed at MIT to Africa.
Makerere University (Uganda), the University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), and Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria) join five other remotely accessible labs, ranging from a heat exchanger to a shake table for earthquake engineering.
The iLabs have been used by students at MIT and from universities in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Sweden, Greece, and Taiwan.
Jesus del Alamo, co-principal investigator on the Africa project and a professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science originally introduced a way for students to test and probe fragile microelectronic devices over the Internet from dorm rooms and other convenient locations 24 hours a day.
New iLabs will be selected and developed by the African partners in collaboration with MIT to develop new content in several graduate and undergraduate courses in electrical engineering and physics.
In addition, MIT will send six undergraduate or graduate students to the three African universities to join their respective iLab development teams and support their efforts for two months. In exchange, the African universities will each send two graduate students or staff members to MIT to join MIT's own iLab effort and learn iLab technology along the way.
"The project is likely to have multiplicative effects in the form of revamped curricula and the broader use of computers by students and teaching staff in engineering education," said del Alamo.
iLabs is an initiative of the MIT iCampus program, which is funded by Microsoft Corporation. To try one of the labs, go to the OpeniLabs site.