CoHE Virtual Laboratory Project Introduced
October 21, 2020 / Ankara
The "CoHE Virtual Laboratory Project", which was shared with the public for the first time by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Opening Ceremony of the 2020-2021 Academic Year on October 15, 2020, was introduced at the meeting held at CoHE.
CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç headed the project introductory meeting. CoHE Executive Board members, TUBITAK representative, the 18 rectors of universities, including Ardahan University, Artvin Çoruh University, Bingöl University, Bitlis Eren University, Bursa Technical University, Erzurum Technical University, Eskişehir Technical University, Gümüşhane University, Hakkari University, Hitit University, Iğdır University, Konya Technical University, Munzur University, Muş Alpaslan University, Siirt University, Şırnak University, Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa University and Yozgat Bozok University, attended the meeting. These universities are a part of the “Digital Transformation in Higher Education Project” and are chosen for the project.
- Virtual laboratories were created for courses for the first time
With the transition to distance education at universities last March due to the global pandemic, the search for solutions for courses requiring laboratory applications started. The project prepared by CoHE helped determine two laboratory courses with the most intense laboratory applications, which are general chemistry and general physics laboratory courses. Academics working in chemistry, physics and distance education in the leading Turkish universities and software developers from TUBITAK took part in the project.
The project, which was developed by CoHE in cooperation with TUBITAK, will allow the general chemistry and general physics laboratory courses in various programs of universities, especially science and engineering faculties and vocational schools, to be conducted through the virtual laboratory. Under the project, CoHE will be responsible for the determination and preparation of the laboratory contents, access to the application through the e-Government Gateway, and the provision of the necessary support for universities to use the software. TUBITAK will be responsible for the development of the virtual laboratory software and the provision and accessibility of the server where the application will run.
The virtual laboratory courses are planned to start on October 26. It is also planned that approximately 15 thousand students enrolled in various faculties at 18 universities, including universities that are involved in the digital transformation project, will benefit from the virtual laboratory courses.
- The Digital Transformation in Higher Education Project made a significant contribution
In his opening speech, CoHE President Prof. M. A Yekta Saraç stated that they, as CoHE, had implemented many new and innovative projects and practices, which are first in the history of higher education.
Saraç underlined that they started to seek for solutions for courses requiring laboratory applications because of the transition to distance education that took place at universities last March due to the global pandemic and emphasized that the actions implemented under the Digital Transformation in Higher Education Project, which was initiated before the pandemic, had significant contributions.
He drew attention to the fact that the main concept that shape the view of the New CoHE on higher education and determine its actions is continuous development and said, “With this idea in mind, we determined general chemistry and general physics laboratory courses, where laboratory applications are the most intense. This project should also be considered as a continuation of CoHE’s new and innovative initiatives on basic sciences.”
- The project was offered to nearly 15 thousand students at 18 universities in the first stage
CoHE President Saraç added that academics and experts from 11 universities took part in the project and continued his speech by saying, “Recently, the operators of the universities included in the CoHE Virtual Laboratory Project and the faculty members that will teach the courses were trained. As of October 26, 2020, the CoHE Virtual Laboratory Project will be offered to approximately 15 thousand students enrolled in various programs of the Science and Engineering Faculties and Vocational Schools at 18 Turkish universities, which take part in the Digital Transformation Project. We are planning to increase the number of universities gradually starting from the next term. Users will login to the system via the e-government portal and the operators that are notified to CoHE by the universities are authorized to login to the system via the same portal. These operators will accept the registration of the academic staff who will teach the relevant courses at the university, and the academic staff will accept the students who will take the courses.”
- A project created with the "collaboration model"
Saraç emphasized that this project set a good example of a “collaboration model” and pointed out that 24 academics from different universities also volunteered to take part in the project. “TUBITAK has made a great contribution to the realization of this project. Besides, 24 academics from different universities took part in the project. The only motivation of these academics for their contributions is the importance they attach to their profession. In other words, they showed us that there were idealist academics in the academia,” he said.
- The number of universities in the project will increase and the project will continue to be carried out after the pandemic
Saraç noted that the rectors of the universities, whose students will benefit from the project, attended the meeting and said, "We are planning to increase the number of universities in the project gradually starting from the next term. The Virtual Laboratory Project is not limited to the pandemic. It was designed to increase the quality of education and to be used after the pandemic. It will have a structure suitable for continuous improvement.”
- New projects will be announced in the upcoming period
President Saraç stated that CoHE continues to realize new and innovative initiatives and that it is planning to implement the "CoHE Career-Merit Project" in the near future. He concluded his speech by extending his thanks to TUBITAK and the academics who contributed to the project.
Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç. (In Turkish)
Following the speech of President Saraç, CoHE Executive Board member Prof. Naci Gündoğan made a presentation about the project.
- 24 experiments in physics and chemistry can be conducted in a virtual environment
Prof. Naci Gündoğan shared the details of the project and the visuals of the experiments that can be conducted in the virtual laboratory. He stated that six experiments in chemistry and four experiments in physics were completed under the project and that they aimed to complete 14 experiments in chemistry and 10 experiments in physics by the end of this year. He also added that lectures, experimental applications and evaluation studies will take place in the virtual laboratory.
After the presentation, the meeting continued with a question and answer session. The participants exchanged ideas on the details of the project.
Click for the sample video of the CoHE Virtual Laboratory Project.
Click for sample photos of the CoHE Virtual Laboratory Project.