A Virtual Learning Environment for Real-World Networking

Bruce Kneale, Ilona Box
InSITE 2003  •  Volume 3  •  2003
Virtual learning environments are a solution to some of the problems of providing an authentic learning environment. We encountered problems such as lack of funding and physical space, and risks and threats to our network environment when we contemplated providing a real, physical specialist laboratory to teach computer networking. We solved most of our problems by developing Velnet, a virtual environment for learning networking. Velnet consists of one or more host machines and operating systems, commercial virtual machine software, virtual machines and their operating systems, a virtual network connecting the virtual machines, and remote desktop display software. Our first experiment with Velnet was in a standalone configuration, without remote desktop display. The initial pilot had students connecting to Velnet via our institution’s network. Velnet performed well under this restricted access environment. We are developing a virtual reality overlay of Velnet to be able to present computernetworking concepts. We are also investigating the changes we can make to our instructional design and assessment strategies, and the consequent learning experiences of the students.
virtual learning environment, Velnet, computer networking
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