HP Catalyst Project
We are addressing these issues/challenges by establishing a technology-based learning environment that can support fully online program delivery and remote accessibility to laboratory resources (equipment/software tools) 24x7. The implementation of the VRLE lab project is being carried out in three phases.
- Phase I - Remote Computer Networking & IT Laboratory (Deployment Complete). Remote access to real computer networking hardware and other IT resources. The lab is being currently used in two online computer networking courses.
- Phase II - Remote Computer-aided Design Laboratory (Testing Complete). Remote access to the rapid prototyping (RP) equipment in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing lab. Work has to be done to develop a scheduling/reservation system to streamline the process of sending completed CAD design files and generating prototypes.
- Phase III - Private Cloud-Computing Infrastructure (In-Progress). Develop a high-performance private cloud-computing infrastructure that allows students to access expensive engineering software and design tools, provides a virtual workspace for collaborative design projects, repository for student work/portfolio, conducting virtual experiments and testing design scenarios that are not possible in a physical lab environment.
At this time, the project team is looking into additional funding to complete the deployment of private cloud and develop a secure cloud-based virtual workspace that will allow student groups to share and collaborate remotely on engineering (CAD, Electronic Circuits and Enterprise Network) design projects. The collaborative workspace will also allow students to invite others to collaborate, communicate ideas, and discuss their design projects with industry experts (anywhere in the world) and receive feedback.
The implementation schematic diagram for the proposed virtualized and remote laboratory environment for hands-on blended/online learning is shown in Figure 1.