Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computational Modeling & Simulation Engineering


Modeling and Simulation

Committee Director

Yuzhong Shen

Committee Member

Zhanping Liu

Committee Member

Frederic McKenzie


In the past, only students who studied on campus were able to access laboratory equipment in traditional lab courses; distance learning students, enrolled in online courses, were at a disadvantage for they could learn basic lab experiment principles but could never experience hands-on learning. Modeling and simulation can be a powerful tool for generating virtual laboratories for distance learning students. This thesis describes the design and development of a virtual laboratory for automation control using mechanical, electrical, and pneumatic components for an automation and control course at Old Dominion University. This virtual laboratory application was implemented for two platforms — Windows personal computers and Android smartphones. The virtual lab serves as pre-lab session for on-campus students and a virtual lab tool for distance-learning students to gain some “hands-on” lab experience. Utilizing the virtual learning environment as a supplement to engineering-based laboratories is also beneficial for students to prepare for the physical experiment and obtain a “hands-on,” practical lab experience without the hazards present in the physical lab. Such a methodology can also be applied to experiments in different fields such chemistry, etc.


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