Case-based drilling curricula using integrated HIL simulator and remote collaboration center

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Hoss, Ashton Ashkan

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The university educational system has raised many concerns in recent years regarding the effectiveness of its curricula and implementation. The focus on course-based training in engineering programs does not provide students sufficient opportunities to apply the attained knowledge and skills to demonstrate their competency. To address this deficiency of academia, industry spends millions of dollars building development programs and on-the-job training. This creates an opportunity for the universities to address this deficiency and increase their students’ marketability, while also addressing problem solving in their curricula. Inspired by a successful program developed and offered at Harvard Business School, the advantages and disadvantages of the case-based method was investigated. It was concluded that the students can benefit the most from a combination of existing educational and case-based curricula elements. Further research expressed the engineering students’ interest and positive feedbacks towards utilization of this method supported by statistical analysis. The aviation industry experienced a great training cost reduction and eliminated the on-the-training accidents after adopting simulators to train their workforce. This encouraged the Drilling & Automation team at University of Texas at Austin to develop the existing surface simulator further and utilize it as a tool to train the next generation of engineers to carry out the appropriate performance at the time of failure and emergencies. By considering various effective skills development methods such as Triadic method and Kolb’s Four-Stage Learning Cycle, ten case-based laboratories were designed and proposed. These open-ended student-led laboratories provide the opportunity for students to experience life-like challenges associated with drilling operations using a realistic up-to-date virtual drilling simulator. Students are divided in teams and assigned to different roles (drilling engineer, remote supervising engineer, etc.) where they are required to make decisions and communicate with one another. This creates a realistic work environment where depending on difficulty of each case, different amounts of stress are experienced. To implement the proposed laboratories, down-hole physics models were identified and developed. These mathematical models were then simulated in MATLAB programing language and integrated with one another to form the down-hole simulator. An Application Program Interface, API, was developed to access the surface simulator data and to connect the surface and the down-hole simulators. The integrated developed simulator has potential for future research including automated rig design.


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