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Inexpensive, Scalable and Transparent Open Source Classroom Management for Linux-based Laboratories

  • Alessio Gaspar
  • Sarah Langevin
  • William D. Armitage

Abstract

Many courses in the computing curricula (CS, ITℓ) can benefit form hands-on pedagogical activities in the form of laboratory components associated with the lectures. While the benefits of such hands-on learning sessions is agreed upon, some courses offer a non-trivial challenge to instructors (and sometime even institutions) interested in providing this kind of experience to their students. Operating systems, system administration and networking are all examples of laboratories for which students need root access to be able to experiment with the concepts and implementation studied in the lectures. With this constraint comes the need for a more flexible classroom management strategy. This paper explores how some open source virtualization and clustering technologies can be deployed to provide students, as well as instructors, with such an environment. We focus on providing solutions which can integrate transparently to any campus without involving significant changes to the classroom computers. This enables us to integrate Linux-based courseware even on campuses exclusively using proprietary software without actually requiring Linux to be installed in the classrooms. We also emphasize the scalability aspect by providing a highly cost-effective solution which can be easily scaled up as the number of students or the requirements of the course in terms of computational power increase.

Keywords

Operating systems System Administration Networking Classroom Management Undergraduate Laboratories Linux Open Source Computer Science Information Technology 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessio Gaspar
    • 1
  • Sarah Langevin
    • 1
  • William D. Armitage
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Florida (USF)LakelandUSA

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