The subtitle is “From Virtual Machines running locally or on IaaS, to containers on a PaaS, up to hypothetical ports of tools to WebAssembly for serverless execution in the Web browser”
Excerpt from the intro :
In this memo, we try to draw an overview of some benefits and concerns with existing approaches at using virtualization techniques for running Virtual Labs, as distributions of tools made available for distant learners.
We describe 3 main technical architectures: (1) running Virtual Machine images locally on a virtual machine manager, or (2) displaying the remote execution of similar virtual machines on a IaaS cloud, and (3) the potential of connecting to the remote execution of minimized containers on a remote PaaS cloud.
We then elaborate on some perspectives for locally running ports of applications to the WebAssembly virtual machine of the modern Web browsers.
This post is intended to document some elements of workflow that I’ve setup to manage videos produced for a MOOC, where different colleagues work collaboratively on a set of video sequences, in a remote way.
We are a team of several schools working on the same course, and we have an incremental process, so we need some collaboration over a quite long period of many remote authors, over a set of video sequences.
We’re probably going to review some of the videos and make changes, so we need to monitor changes, and submit versions to colleagues on remote sites so they can criticize and get later edits. We may have more that one site doing video production. Thus we need to share videos along the flow of production, editing and revision of the course contents, in a way that is manageable by power users (we’re all computer scientists, used to SVN or Git).
I’ve decided to start an experiment with Git and Git-Annex to try and manage the videos like we use to do for slides sources in LaTeX. Obviously the main issue is that videos are big files, demanding in storage space and bandwidth for transfers.
Designing a virtual laboratory for a relational database MOOC
Olivier Berger, J Paul Gibson, Claire Lecocq and Christian Bac
Keywords: Remote Learning, Virtualization, Open Education Resources, MOOC, Vagrant
Abstract: Technical advances in machine and system virtualization are creating opportunities for remote learning to provide significantly better support for active education approaches. Students now, in general, have personal computers that are powerful enough to support virtualization of operating systems and networks. As a conse- quence, it is now possible to provide remote learners with a common, standard, virtual laboratory and learning environment, independent of the different types of physical machines on which they work. This greatly enhances the opportunity for producing re-usable teaching materials that are actually re-used. However, configuring and installing such virtual laboratories is technically challenging for teachers and students. We report on our experience of building a virtual machine (VM) laboratory for a MOOC on relational databases. The architecture of our virtual machine is described in detail, and we evaluate the benefits of using the Vagrant tool for building and delivering the VM.
A brief history of distance learning
Virtualization : the challenges
The design problem
The virtualization requirements
Related work on requirements
Scalability of existing approaches
The MOOC laboratory
Exercises and lab tools
From requirements to design
Making the VM as a Vagrant box
Delivery through Internet
Availability of the box sources
Reliability Issues with VirtualBox
Student feedback and evaluation
More modular VMs
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I’ve been working on setting up a Docker container environment allowing to test the RuneStone Interactive server.
That’s the part which I wanted to be able to operate for test purposes. As it is a web2py application, it’s not exactly obvious to gather all dependencies and run locally. Well, in fact it is, but I want to understand the architecture of the tool to be able to understand the deployment constraints, so making a docker image will help in this purpose.