Starting March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused extensive restrictions. Even though further Learning Lab POW workshops (‘Print Your Own World’) weren’t held, students kept utilizing their know-how and realizing new products. Figures 1-3 show functional models and prototypes that were the outcome from various bachelor theses.
One important decision upfront is which prototype components should be printed and which ones should be bought. Components such as shafts or steel pins are cheaper and quickly acquired in DIY supply stores.
Below, two mechanical functional models integrating 3D printed components are displayed.
The name: Learning Lab. The idea: haptic technology experience in small groups. The scenario: 1 room, 1 instructor, 25 students. This is how the situation looked just a few months ago.
The Covid 19 pandemic confronted the Learning Lab, and with it Professors Dr. Holger Günzel and Dr. Lars Brehm from Munich University of Applied Sciences, with the task of adapting the Learning Lab workshops for online use.
Students that sit together at tables one next to another, vivid discussions and lecturers that look over their shoulders. What used to be the normal within universities is no longer possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic today. New educational as well as learning models are in demand in order to bridge distance and substitute presence classes.
The Learning Lab – whose core purpose is experiencing technology haptically within small groups- had to manage the challenge, too. The solution: The teams ‘met’ virtually via Zoom breakout sessions. Additionally, the webtool Nuclino was used for collaborative writing and exchanging information – something, that usually would be done with post-its, flipcharts and discussions. Instead of a Raspberry Pi as the local wordpress server, the student teams work on a Linux server hosted on the AWS Cloud (Amazon Web Services).
The required Linux servers are not set up individually/manually. Instead, they are setup automatically via scripting in Terraform. This way the infrastructure is easily adjustable as well as scalable (e.g. for 10 teams and beyond). Being able to start and stop the service at the push of a button, it is also saving costs.
With this technological premise the Learning Lab workshop “Digital Business Foundation” (DBF) moved into the virtual space. This way the established didactical approach also succeeds within the new group work from distance setting.
By the way: This virtual approach of the affected assignments and Terraform scripts is of course publicly available within the community. So, please utilize it to your benefit as well.