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IJIET 2024 Vol.14(1): 59-64
doi: 10.18178/ijiet.2024.14.1.2024

A Secure and Scalable Virtual Lab Platform for Computing Education

Richard Wing Cheung Lui1,*, Aiden Wen Yi Zhang1, and Philip Tin Yun Lee2
1. Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong
2. Hong Kong Shue Yan University, North Point, Hong Kong
Email: cswclui@polyu.edu.hk (R.W.C.L.); aiden-wy.zhang@polyu.edu.hk (A.W.Y.Z);
tylee@hksyu.edu (P.T.Y.L)
*Corresponding author

Manuscript received June 12, 2023; revised July 31, 2023; accepted August 5, 2023; published January 16, 2024

Abstract—With the increasing importance of online teaching and learning, conducting hands-on labs online brings a number of challenges, such as difficulties in setting up and maintaining consistent lab environments across different operating systems and compatibility issues with students’ local software and hardware environment. This paper aims to propose a secure and scalable virtual lab platform using container technology and open-source cloud-native technology. Instructors can configure and deploy customized lab environments in the cloud, and students may use web browsers to gain access to a sandboxed lab environment and live coding environment for online and self-paced learning. With the platform, students no longer need to install custom software on their computers and ensures the compatibility of the lab environment in online teaching and learning activities. A pilot study was conducted with 370 undergraduate and postgraduate students from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The platform demonstrated good scalability to support large classes of students to complete hands-on lab activities online. The survey results indicated that students perceived the platform as easy to use, helpful for learning online, and intended to continue using it beyond the course.

Keywords—container-based platforms, interactive learning environment, cloud computing, online learning


Cite: Richard Wing Cheung Lui, Aiden Wen Yi Zhang, and Philip Tin Yun Lee, "A Secure and Scalable Virtual Lab Platform for Computing Education," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 59-64, 2024.

Copyright © 2024 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Managing Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


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