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Flexible Cis Laboratory Environment Employing Multi Boot And Virtual Computing

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

DELOS Best Paper Nominations

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.593.1 - 15.593.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Dawn Spencer Colorado State University, Pueblo

author page

Nebojsa Jaksic Colorado State University, Pueblo Orcid 16x16

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Flexible CIS Laboratory Environment Employing Multi-boot and Virtual Computing


This work describes an innovative flexible multipurpose laboratory environment designed to support a large variety of laboratory exercises in a Computer Information Systems (CIS) curriculum. The environment employs multi-boot and virtual computing. Although it may be ideal to have separate labs for each course, this is often not feasible, and a single set of computers has to be used in different ways throughout the day; perhaps with networking, programming, PC repair, server administration, security, web design, operating systems and other courses all sharing the same resources. Virtual computing allows a single workstation to host many different operating system (OS) instances all running on a uniform, stable, base OS. This is an ideal environment for a flexible lab. However, some software, like EnCase and other computer forensics applications, is unable to function properly within a virtualized environment, usually because more direct access to hardware is required. In these situations, workstations can be configured to use dual or multiple booting to start up the desired OS for a course without interfering with other courses. This combination of technologies is successfully implemented to support many of the CIS courses at our institution. The success of this laboratory environment is assessed and evaluated through Faculty discussions as well as student performance on standardized certificate examinations. Results demonstrate an effective multi-course CIS laboratory environment.


Computer Information Systems (CIS) and Computer Science (CS) programs are constantly adapting to new technologies and software to keep current and competitive. Consequently, these programs have a large number of laboratory courses requiring that students spend numerous hours in labs honing computer skills. Space requirements, hardware requirements, and software requirements including maintenance are often considered bottlenecks in program expansions, or just in keeping these programs current. When limited space or funds confine the lab environment, a stable, yet flexible, laboratory environment that can quickly be configured for new or updated courses becomes a necessity.

CIS, CS, and other technology-based programs rely heavily on computer laboratories to serve as the major resource for implementing active and project-based learning in a university setting. The literature reviewed shows positive results such as increased student enthusiasm towards their programs of study, perceptual and actual increases in students’ knowledge, and development of design and team skills1- 5. Furthermore, “scaffolding” is a method claiming that new knowledge is assimilated best when it is linked to previous experience6, 7. The discussed multipurpose laboratory was developed with the benefits of active learning and scaffolding in mind.

Spencer, D., & Jaksic, N. (2010, June), Flexible Cis Laboratory Environment Employing Multi Boot And Virtual Computing Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16930

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