FORGE Toolkit: Leveraging Distributed Systems in eLearning Platforms

Jourjon, Guillaume; Marquez-Barja, Johann M.; Rakotoarivelo, Thierry; Mikroyannidis, Alexander; Lampropoulos, Kostas; Denazis, Spyros; Tranoris, Christos; Pareit, Daan; Domingue, John; DaSilva, Luiz A. and Ott, Max (2017). FORGE Toolkit: Leveraging Distributed Systems in eLearning Platforms. IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing, 5(1) pp. 7–19.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TETC.2015.2511454

Abstract

While more and more services become virtualised and always accessible in our society, laboratories supporting Computer Science (CS) lectures have mainly remained offline and class-based. This apparent abnormality is due to several limiting factors, discussed in the literature, such as the high cost of deploying and maintaining computer network testbeds and the lack of standardisation for the presentation of eLearning platforms. In this paper, we present the FORGE toolkit, which leverages experimentation facilities currently deployed in international initiatives for the development of e-learning materials. Thus, we solve the institutional challenge mentioned in the ACM/IEEE 2013 CS curricula concerning the access and maintenance of specialised and heterogeneous hardware thanks to a seamless integration with the networking testbed community. Moreover, this project builds an ecosystem where teaching and educational materials, tools and experiments are available under open scheme and policies. We demonstrate how it already meets most of the requirements from the Network and Communication component of CS 2013 and some of the labs of the Cisco academy. Finally, we present experience reports illustrating the potential benefits of this framework based on first deployments in four post-graduate courses in prestigious institutions around the world.

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