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Board 88: Support Remote Collaboration in Virtual Computer Labs

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

6

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32451

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32451

Download Count

118

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Paper Authors

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Xiaolin Hu Georgia State University

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Dr. Xiaolin Hu is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department and Director of the Systems Integrated Modeling and Simulation (SIMS) Lab at Georgia State University, USA. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Arizona in 2004. His research interests include modeling and simulation theory and application, complex systems science, agent and multi-agent systems, and advanced computing in parallel and cloud environments. His work covers both fundamental research and applications of computer modeling and simulation. He was a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award recipient

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Hai Le Georgia State University

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Hai Le, a native of Vietnam, is a PhD student in the Computer science at Georgia State University at Atlanta. He is one of the members of collaborative virtual computer lab developing team. His current research focuses on Agent-Based simulation and modeling, particularly on emergent behaviors. His future goals include working as a professor and focus on Simulation and Modeling research topics.

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Yuan Long Georgia State University

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YUAN LONG is affiliated with Georgia State University. Her research interests include machine learning, big data analysis, and high-performance computing. Her email address is ylong4@gsu.edu.

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Anu G. Bourgeois Georgia State University

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Anu G. Bourgeois is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Georgia State University. She received her Masters and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Her research interests include parallel and distributed computing, wireless networks, security and privacy, fault tolerant computing, and STEM education. She is a senior member of the IEEE.

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Yi Pan Georgia State University

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Dr. Yi Pan is a Distinguished University Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University. He is also a visiting Changjiang Chair Professor at Central South University in China. Dr. Pan received his B.Eng. and M.Eng. degrees in computer engineering from Tsinghua University, China, in 1982 and 1984, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh, USA, in 1991.

Dr. Pan's research interests include parallel and cloud computing, wireless networks, and bioinformatics. Dr. Pan has published more than 330 papers including over 150 SCI journal papers and 50 IEEE Transactions papers. In addition, he has edited/authored 40 books. He has received many awards from organizations such as IEEE, NSF, AFOSR, JSPS, IBM, ISIBM, IISF and Mellon Foundation. Dr. Pan has served as an editor-in-chief or editorial board member for 15 journals including 7 IEEE Transactions and a guest editor for 12 special issues for 10 journals including 2 IEEE Transactions. He has organized numerous international conferences and workshops and has delivered over 40 keynote speeches at international conferences around the world.

Dr. Pan is a "Great Master Face-to-Face" Series Speaker (2012), an IEEE Distinguished Speaker (2000-2002), a Yamacraw Distinguished Speaker (2002), a Shell Oil Colloquium Speaker (2002), and a senior member of IEEE. He is listed in Men of Achievement, Who's Who in Midwest, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Education, Who's Who in Computational Science and Engineering, and Who's Who of Asian Americans.

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Abstract

Computer labs are commonly used in computing education to help students to reinforce the knowledge learnt in classrooms and to gain hands-on experiences on specific learning subjects. While traditional computer labs are based on physical computer centers on campus, more and more virtual computer lab systems have been developed that allow students to carry out labs on virtualized resources remotely through the Internet. Virtual computer labs make it possible for students to use their own computers at home instead of relying on computer centers on campus to work on lab assignments. However, they also make it difficult for students to collaborate, due to the fact that students work remotely and there is a lack of support of sharing and collaboration. This is in contrast to traditional computer labs where students naturally feel the presence of their peers in a lab room and can easily work together and help each other if needed. Funded by NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education, this project develops a collaborative virtual computer lab (CVCL) environment to support collaborative learning in virtual computer labs. The CVCL environment leverages existing open source collaboration tools and desktop sharing technologies and adds new functions unique to virtual computer labs to make it easy for students to collaborate while working on computer labs remotely. It also implements several collaborative lab models to support different forms of collaboration in both form and informal settings. We have developed the main functions of the CVCL environment and established a web portal for students to use the environment. To evaluate the developed environment, we incorporate it in three classes of the System Level Programming course in the 2018 fall semester. This course requires students to practice Unix commands and C programming in a Unix/Linux environment. We identified multiple ways of using the CVCL environment to support computer labs associated with this course. These include: 1) class-affiliated virtual study room that offers a common virtual space for students of a class to discuss and propose solutions for practice problems posted by the instructor; 2) virtual tutoring center where students can have real-time one-to-one interactions with tutors in designated tutoring hours (similar to what happen in a physical tutoring center); 3) virtual computer lab where students carry out computer labs under the guidance of a lab assistant; 4) ad-hoc virtual study room where students can reserve virtual study rooms and invite classmates/friends to study together whenever they want to. We have incorporated these functions in the System Level Programming course and are collecting evaluation data in this semester. This paper will describe the CVCL environment and report preliminary evaluation results regarding how effective the CVCL environment can support remote collaboration in virtual computer labs.

Hu, X., & Le, H., & Long, Y., & Bourgeois, A. G., & Pan, Y. (2019, June), Board 88: Support Remote Collaboration in Virtual Computer Labs Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32451

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