Asee peer logo

Networks Security Lab Support: A Case Study for Problems Facing Distance Education Programs

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Emerging Computing and Information Technologies I

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Tamer Omar East Carolina University

visit author page

Tamer Omar is an Assistant professor with the department of Technology systems at East Carolina University. Dr. Omar earned his Ph.D. from the Electrical Engineering department at Iowa State University, USA and his MBA with emphasis on MIS from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Egypt and his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Ain Shams University, Egypt. Dr. Omar research interests include wireless networks architecture, resources allocation in wireless networks, heterogeneous networks, self-organized networks, big data implementation and analysis, RDBMS and decision support systems. Dr. Omar has 6 years of experience in academia and more than 10 years of industrial experience in different ICT positions.

visit author page


Philip J. Lunsford II East Carolina University

visit author page

Phil Lunsford received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is a registered professional engineer and is currently an Associate Professor at East Carolina University. His research interests include cyber security, network performance, and the cross-discipline application of technologies.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Creating, supporting, and administering online laboratory experiences has become important in the pedagogy of learning environments for online networking courses. A case study is presented for an online laboratory environment used in a fundamental network security course that covers the competencies of the CompTIA Security+ certification. The online lab environment consists of virtual machines connected in an isolated virtual network managed by VMware vCloud Director. This laboratory environment is used for both online and face-to-face courses offered during the same semester. The emphasis in this case study is the support provided to the students and the continuous improvement cycle used by instructors to improve the educational experience. Challenges facing the students include both problems with the technical aspects of the virtual environment (e.g. corrupted virtual machine files, virtual environment slowdown due to heavy loads, excess resource consumption by misconfigured virtual machines), and also questions about the academic material being taught (e.g. why an error message is being given after a specific instruction). Several methods are used to provide support to the students including discussion boards, online video conferencing, announcements and instructions provided via the learning management system, individual emails, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. Each of these methods of communication will be examined and feedback from students via a survey will be presented. The challenges of keeping laboratory exercises working and up-to-date will be examined and a list of suggested best practices for providing online support for students will be given.

Omar, T., & Lunsford, P. J. (2017, June), Networks Security Lab Support: A Case Study for Problems Facing Distance Education Programs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28702

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015