The Remote Web-Based Science Laboratory (RWSL) provides students and educators access to high-quality online labs in real time, both from home or in the classroom, when most convenient for them.
Students can view and control many types of equipment, including microscopes with camera and auto loaders, spectrometers with varying light sources and autoloaders, and air tracks/sleds.
The remotely-accessible scientific equipment available through RWSL removes barriers such as region, lab availability, or the cost of maintaining multiple labs, and provides students with equal access to high quality scientific experiences.
RWSL has been recognized internationally, winning silver at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Awards of Excellence in 2016 and placing second at the Wharton School of Business’ Reimagine Education Awards in 2014.
“In a lot of cases, [schools are] still not using equipment that’s this high end, even in face-to-face experiments, because schools can’t justify the expenditure for a piece of equipment they may only use once or twice a year, whereas the RWSL allows us to use it every week of the year, if we want to.
Where we see one of our biggest advantages is in labs that require very precise, high-quality data or very rare pieces of equipment that schools are just not able to afford or have access to. ”
Albert Balbon has pioneered distance education delivery at North Island College for 29 years. In 2002, Albert and Ron Evans created a system to allow distance astronomy students to explore the universe from the comfort of home using a remote telescope. That technology paved the way for development of the RWSL in 2004.
Today, Albert works with North Island College and the North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO) to further develop and share this technology with innovators.
Manager, Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation