Title: Grid-based interactive virtual scientific experiments for distributed virtual communities

Authors: Ioannis T. Christou, Thanassis Tiropanis, Sofia Tsekeridou, Konstantinos Roussos

Addresses: Athens Information Technology, 19 km, Markopoulou Ave., P.O. Box 68, Peania 19002, Greece. ' Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK. ' Athens Information Technology, 19 km, Markopoulou Ave., P.O. Box 68, Peania 19002, Greece. ' Naoussa, Paros, 84400 Greece

Abstract: Today, distance learning classes are commonly offered from many leading universities around the world. A major challenge in such distributed classrooms is the formation of active virtual communities among the participating students. Shared virtual laboratories offer such a possibility as students form lab teams to run the same interactive simulation and in the course of such experiments learn to interact and understand each other better. A virtual scientific experiment architectural framework on top of a grid infrastructure for running interactive virtual laboratory experiments for such distributed student communities with visualisation capabilities was designed and implemented, using web services standard protocols such as WSDL and WS-notification as implemented in the WSRF specification. This paper reports on results from running such simulations on a local grid infrastructure. System evaluation results from a distributed pool of students show the added value of the system in enhancing distance-learning programs and virtual classes with extensible collaborative and interactive virtual laboratories sessions.

Keywords: virtual scientific experiments; VSEs; virtual communities; web services; grid-based virtual laboratories; distance learning; collaborative learning; distributed computing; network simulation; shared virtual laboratories; online communities; web based communities; grid computing; virtual classes; e-learning; electronic learning; online learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2010.037786

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2010 Vol.20 No.6, pp.443 - 464

Accepted: 01 May 2009
Published online: 30 Dec 2010 *

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