Remote Labs Meet Computational Notebooks: An Architecture for Simplifying the Workflow of Remote Educational Experiments

Oswaldo Vanegas Guillén, Pablo Parra Rosero, Javier Muñoz Antón, Johanna Zumba Gamboa, Carlos Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Online laboratories and computational notebooks have established themselves as essential tools in the fields of engineering and science education, significantly enhancing the teaching and learning experience. Despite the benefits of remote laboratories, and although architectures, models, and tools have been proposed to facilitate the work involved in their implementation, challenges remain in the development lifecycle. This paper proposes a novel architecture that simplifies the development and management of remote experiments using a publisher-subscriber communication paradigm to securely and efficiently integrate WebAssembly computational notebooks. This approach eliminates the need for additional infrastructure for communication at the lab stations. It also avoids the need for servers to deploy notebooks, because all operations, calculations, and data processing run locally in the user’s web browser. To achieve this, a remote laboratory management system (RLMS) interoperable with virtual learning environments was designed and implemented, including notebook-based authoring, learning scenarios, and grading tools. As a case study, remote experiments were developed to characterize and evaluate the performance of heat exchangers using a thermal fluid systems test bench built for this project. Several quality criteria categorized into technical, educational, and adaptability groups were quantitatively evaluated using the responses of 70 participants from two different universities. The analysis highlighted both the advantages and challenges of the proposal, with a significant emphasis on interaction, scalability, reusability, interoperability, and accessibility. The results confirmed the effectiveness of the notebooks in each phase of the remote experiments, demonstrating an increase in students’ active and autonomous participation and exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132496-132515
Number of pages20
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
2023 The Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.


  • Architecture
  • computational notebook
  • engineering education
  • online experimentation
  • online laboratory
  • remote laboratory
  • thermal fluids


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