We are not sure what the laws of physics were before the Big Bang. In a sense, I could argue that the Bing Bang gave us these laws, along with a physical playground to research and experiment. Following this logic, I could argue that EJSApp is Moodle’s Big Bang. But unlike the cosmic one, we know a little of what happened before we could play with physics on Moodle.

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It all began when the Open Source Physics project launched, before Moodle, in 2003. A joint venture of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the National Science Foundation and the National Science Digital Library, a US Government funded OER with a focus on STEM content. Open Source Physics became the launching pad for the visualization and simulations about dynamic states of matter, oftentimes for educational purposes. Upon this initiative, a free authoring tool saw the light: Easy Java/JavaScript Simulations, or EJS for short.

EJSApp names a family of plugins that allows teachers to develop physics playground applications in Moodle using EJS. This includes virtual laboratories, which are simulations using local or server resources; but they also extend to remote laboratories, which use actual labs and experimentation devices and allow remote operation from the EJS client on Moodle.

The six plugins are listed below.

EJSApp Activity is half the core of EJS functionality in Moodle. It allows:

  • Deployment of labs written on EJS.
  • User access management to labs, both real and simulated.
  • Display configuration of Java applets.
  • Backup and restore.

The other half is EJSApp File Browser. It allows Java applets to be included in Moodle’s file structures, to store them and set user access permissions. Both the EJSApp Activity and File Browser plugins are necessary and sufficient to make EJS work on Moodle.

EJSApp Collab Sessions adds synchronous collaboration to the applets.

EJSApp Booking System is for scheduling remote laboratory (non-simulated) sessions. EJS can be connected to lab equipment control software such as Simulink. That way, research teams anywhere in the world can access specialized laboratories that are online.

Remlab manager increases remote lab management capabilities. Despite being launched last month, EJSApp Booking System requires Remlab to access scheduled remote lab sessions.

OSP Repository gives Moodle access to the OSP & Compadre library of EJS applications. It is a great way to become acquainted to the framework and functionality, before delving into EJS app creation.

Find out more about how remote labs work in Wikipedia.

Find out more about the EJSApp family in the official Moodle documentation. It includes installation and setup instructions.

Check out the EJSApp family in the Moodle plugin directory for links to each plugin and their Moodle version compatibility history.

To see a list of what EJS can do, visit compadre.org for examples catering to all levels of physics education. For a view of what EJSApp on Moodle can look like, sign up for free at UNILabs’ Moodle site. And don’t miss UNILab’s YouTube Channel for more EJS videos.

Are you a physics teacher? What are you planning on doing with your remote lab time slot? Tell us in the comments!

Moonami LogoThis Moodle Technology related post is made possible by: Moonami a company that provides a full range of Moodle services that combine the flexibility, scalability, and power of Amazon’s world-leading cloud platform (AWS) with fanatical Moodle support. Click here to learn more.


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