Title: From virtual machines to actual systems – realising the potential of virtualisation technologies for teaching, learning, and assessment in 'computing' education

Authors: Sean Duignan, Tony Hall

Addresses: Department of Mathematics and Computing, School of Science, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland. ' School of Education, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Abstract: The authors are motivated to provide engaging, meaningful situated learning experiences for their computing/information systems students. Traditionally, this requires dedicated laboratory resources so that students can utilise hardware and software unconstrained; a requirement that is difficult to realise as |teaching laboratories| become more interdisciplinary and as spatial and financial resources become scarcer. Consequently, we have found ourselves in the limited position of having to work within a constrained generic pedagogical environment while requiring an unconstrained exploratory one. This has led us to investigate the use of virtualisation technology for teaching, learning and assessment – technology that has made it possible for us to teach highly specialised courses in rudimentary laboratories, providing meaningful hands-on learning experiences for our students. In this paper, we describe our motivations, designs, implementations, assessment methods and outcomes. Additionally, we consider the potential for virtualisation technologies, particularly as an e-portfolio |container| within computing-related educational programs.

Keywords: technology enhanced learning; situated learning; virtualisation technology; virtual machines; computing education; information systems education; learning technology; teaching; assessment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2010.031614

International Journal of Learning Technology, 2010 Vol.5 No.1, pp.25 - 41

Available online: 15 Feb 2010 *

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