Title: Developing a virtual laboratory for a communication and computer networking course

Authors: Ahmed Musa, Ayman Al-Dmour, Fares Fraij, Virgilio Gonzalez, Rafeeq Al-Hashemi

Addresses: Department of Computer Engineering, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, P.O. Box 20, Ma'an 71111, Jordan. ' Department of Computer Information Systems, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, P.O. Box 20, Ma'an 71111, Jordan. ' Department of Software Engineering, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, P.O. Box 20, Ma'an 71111, Jordan. ' Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, Engineering Annex, Room A333, El Paso, Texas 79968, USA. ' Department of Computer Science, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, P.O. Box 20, Ma'an 71111, Jordan

Abstract: Educational institutions face financial challenges in maintaining and upgrading traditional physical laboratories. Moreover, university students have challenges in understanding the theoretical issues involved in communication and networking courses. This paper presents a new computer-aided laboratory to help the students to enhance the practical view of communication and networking systems using computer modelling and simulation and to replace a physical laboratory. The new laboratory was build using a component-based approach that integrates modelling and simulation tools, namely MATLAB, SIMULINK, VPI and OPNET. These components were integrated through the development of graphical user interface. Through this interface, the student navigates through experiments of the laboratory. The new laboratory curricula and interface were tested on students and their feedback showed that the students were satisfied. The students gave comments and suggestions for future improvements.

Keywords: computer-aided instruction; educational technology; computer modelling; simulation; virtual laboratories; online laboratories; internet; world wide web; communication courses; computer networking; financial challenges; building maintenance; physical laboratories; upgrading; ICT; information technology; communications technology; universities; higher education; theoretical issues; component-based approaches; integration; MATLAB; SIMULINK; VPI; OPNET; matrix laboratory; graphical user interfaces; experiments; navigation; curricula; student feedback; student satisfaction; University of Texas; El Paso; UTEP; United States; USA; Al-Hussein Bin Talal University; Jordan; continuing education; engineering education; life-long learning; electronic competence; e-competence; lecturers; academic staff.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2010.037054

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2010 Vol.20 No.3/4/5, pp.390 - 406

Published online: 22 Nov 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article