“PEARL’s a singer” – Success for IET/KMi/Science project

Yet another successful EU project proposal:

Martyn Cooper (Research Lecturer in IET/KMi) is now completing the detailed contract for an EU funded project called PEARL (Practical Experimentation by Accessible Learning), after the proposal received a favourable evaluation. It is anticipated that the contracts will be signed by the end of October and that the project will start on the 1st January 2000 and last for 3 years.

PEARL will research and develop a system to enable students to conduct real-world experiments as an extension of computer based learning (CBL) and distance learning systems. The objectives being to give high quality learning experiences in science and engineering education by bringing the teaching lab to the students, giving flexibility in terms of time, location and special needs. Particular attention is being paid to the needs of disabled students who are under represented in these subject areas.

The project will extend Internet course delivery to accommodate collaborative working in practical experimentation. It will develop and integrate a collaborative working environment with accessible user interfaces, a modular system for flexibly creating remotely controlled experiments, and an educational software framework based on templates and tutor guidelines that will enable the ready development of experimental programmes using this system. The project will research the pedagogic impact of this approach, validating its developments in different educational contexts and subject areas including:

– Foundation Level Physical Science (The OU’s S103 course)

– Cellular Biology (At University of Dundee)

– Manufacturing Engineering (At Trinity College – Dublin)

– Digital Electronics – design and test (At University of Porto)


The project is funded under the EU’s Information Society Technologies Programme (IST):

# Key Action III – Multimedia Content and Tools

* Action Lines III.3 (Education and Training)

– III.3.1 Open platforms and tools for personalised learning

– III.3.2 The flexible university

The maximum available Commission funds is EURO 1,700,000 (~ £ 1,088,000) over the 36 months with about EURO 510,000 (~ £ 326,000) allocated for the OU’s role.

Whose Involved?:

The project is being co-ordinated by the OU and is being led by Martyn Cooper. The other named participants here are Eileen Scanlon (IET) and Stuart Freake (Science – Course chair S103, which will be the OU’s test-bed for the developments). The project will fund 2 full time research posts one in IET and one in KMi and a part time Project Manager.

The other partners in the project are:

* OU Worldwide Ltd.

* University of Dundee

* Trinity College Dublin

* Faculty of Engineering University of Porto

* Zenon SA – Industrial Automation (Athens, Greece)

For further information contact Martyn Cooper



Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1908 653800

Fax: +44 (0)1908 653169

Email: KMi Support


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