Abstract—Methods for educating students in biotechnology require intensive training in laboratory procedures. Laboratory procedures cost Universities in terms of equipment and experienced guidance which often come short in many developing countries. Universities need revitalizing approach and well-adapted curriculum especially in terms of laboratory practice. For enhanced education at the level of University-level laboratory courses such as those in biology or biotechnology, one of the key elements is the need to allow the student to familiarize laboratory techniques in par with regular theory. The Sakshat Amrita virtual biotechnology lab project focusing on virtualizing wet-lab techniques and integrating the learning experience has added a new dimension to the regular teaching courses at the University. Establishing virtual labs requires both domain knowledge and virtualizing skills via programming, animation and device-based feedback. This paper reports a cost-effective process used in virtualizing real biotechnology labs for education at Universities. The major challenge in setting up an effective knowledge dissemination for laboratory courses was not only the scientific approach of biotechnology, but included the virtualization aspects such as usage/design scalability, deliverability efficiency, network connectivity issues, security and speed of adaptability to incorporate and update changes into existing experiments. This paper also discusses an issue-specific case-study of a functional virtual lab in biotechnology and its many issues and challenges.
Index Terms—virtual lab, e-learning, biotechnology virtuallabs, virtual neurophysiology, sakshat amrita.
S. Diwakar is with the Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), Amritapuri, Clappana P.O., Kollam, Kerala, 690525 India (Corresponding author, phone: 91-476-2803116; fax: 91-476-2899722; e-mail: shyam@ amrita.edu).
K. Achuthan is with School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), Ettimadai, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, 641105 India.
P. Nedungadi is with School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), Amritapuri, Clappana P.O., Kollam, Kerala, 690525 India.
B. Nair is the Dean of Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), Amritapuri, Clappana P.O., Kollam, Kerala, 690525 India.
Cite: Shyam Diwakar, Krishnashree Achuthan, Prema Nedungadi and Bipin Nair, "Enhanced Facilitation of Biotechnology Education in Developing Nations via Virtual Labs: Analysis, Implementation and Case-studies," International Journal of Computer Theory and Engineering vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-8, 2011.