c) You have data collection going on at a remote or dangerous location.
d) You want students to be able to access data from many different remote locations simultaneously.
e) You want your students to use the same hardware and have the same user interface but you have multiple platforms (Mac, PC, Linux).
f) You want students to do experiments that take longer than a typical 2.5 hr lab period.
h) You want to provide new and different kinds of lab exercises than are typically done in a student lab.
What most instructors have done initially when they consider using the Internet for pedagogical purposes is to simply put what they were previously handing out in class onto the Web. So as a first use of the Internet, we saw the proliferation of classroom lecture notes on the web. As the power of the internet became better understood notes became more interactive using Java applets, video clips, tutorials based on automatic feedback to student input and chat features. The possibilities for extended asynchronous collaboration and interactivity among many users is only now beginning to be tapped.
The current state of remote laboratory work on the Internet is still at the initial stages; we are beginning to see access to experiments offered on the web which are versions of experiments previously offered locally. But this does not yet use the full potential of the Internet. In addition to this older, standard laboratory work we should be thinking of new experiments and exercises which cannot be done without the Internet.For example, using an extended network of remote probes at many locations, extendied area studies of weather data is possible. Instead of only gathering barometric pressure, temperature and wind speed however, collaborating sites could agree to supply other kinds of data. For example seismographic data, ambient particulate contamination, air quality in different parts of a building or in an entire organization, solar intensity levels, changes in local magnetic flux, local radiation levels, CO2 levels, changes in local gravitational acceleration and oxygen levels over wide regions might also be interesting to monitor for varying periods of time. Individual groups among the participants in such a network might elect to collect and analyze different data sampled with the same networked equipment. A time-location study of radiation fallout from the recent nuclear tests in Pakistan and India become possible. The same techniques could be applied on a smaller scale inside an office building to monitor air quality. These kinds of projects would appear to require vast amounts of equipment and organization, however, by making use of the existing Internet as a single tool and with a minimum amount of cooperation at the collection sites, as we described here, it is possible to perform some of these measurements cheaply and efficiently.