A Web Application Dedicated to Online Practical Activities: the Case of System and Network Experiments

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In this paper, we describe a web application composed of a set of tools and graphical user interfaces. This application aims at simplifying learning design and enhancing effective learning of distant lab work activities, in the field of computer education. This work is based on the educational concepts of the social constructivism theory, which focuses on the crucial role of collaboration and tutoring during online learning activities. Experiments’ design and deployment are supported by an intuitive web application that graphically builds their components and features. Another web interface dedicated to education and based on the “Cockpit” model was developed. Learners and tutors are able to remotely control the whole experiment as well as each of its components, while being aware, both in real and delayed time, of the activities performed by others. Additional controls are provided to tutors in order to allow them to quickly identify difficulties and blocking situations that learners are facing. This web application is well integrated and available in a learning management system, as any traditional learning activity.
Practical learning, Remote computer experiments, Learning management system, Learning design, Distant tutoring, Distant collaboration, Human-machine interface