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Virtualisation and Visualisation – Improving Teaching and Learning in Computer Science Seán Duignan School of Science GMIT Tony Hall Education Department.

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Presentation on theme: "Virtualisation and Visualisation – Improving Teaching and Learning in Computer Science Seán Duignan School of Science GMIT Tony Hall Education Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 Virtualisation and Visualisation – Improving Teaching and Learning in Computer Science Seán Duignan School of Science GMIT Tony Hall Education Department NUIG

2 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Background The application of virtualisation technologies to enhance teaching and learning: –particularly in the subject areas of Operating Systems and E-Commerce Infrastructures. Significant scope for application to other areas of the computer science curriculum also.

3 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th What is Virtualisation? It’s not new! Quite simply – virtualisation is the abstraction of computer resources. Processor virtualisation (through time sharing) since Shared printers in office environments? The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) – development & execution environment - abstracts all of the underlying hardware.

4 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th What is Virtualisation? Virtualisation creates an external interface that hides an underlying implementation. Very useful for focusing on specifics.

5 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Abstraction is not always useful!! Sometimes it is better to be able to interact with the actual rather than the abstract: e.g: To see or visualise the component(s) for oneself. In a teaching environment though, this can be difficult to accommodate. e.g: Providing someone with a machine to configure (format a hard-drive, install an OS etc….) Destructive and expensive!

6 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Machine / Device Virtualisation …. through the use of virtualisation software products that provide for multiple virtual devices within a single physical device. At GMIT we used VMWare TM as a teaching and learning aid on a number of computer science programmes. Provides for multiple “virtual machines” to run in isoloation side-by-side on the same physical machine.

7 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Virtual Machines / Virtual Devices Each virtual machine has its own set of (virtual) hardware: CPU, RAM, Disk, DVD-ROM, Network Interface etc. ….. upon which an operating system (various) and applications can be loaded. Within each virtual machine, the operating system sees a consistent collection of hardware, independent of the actual physical hardware components.

8 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Some screen shots….. So you can visualise for yourself……. Loading a virtual device Device boot / start-up Device execution Device shutdown Virtualised networks

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11 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Appollo

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13 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Appollo

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17 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Loading another virtual machine Virtual machines are described in a configuration file. The actual virtual hard-disk is also stored as a “file” on the host machine. The two, together, make the virtual machine fully portable. Lets load another virtual machine - a Windows machine this time……

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19 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Thor

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21 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th maximises the screen!

22 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Virtual Networking….. …….with just one physical machine. Virtual machine can see, communicate with, log-in to, share etc… with the physical machine …… and vice versa. Very useful for teaching and learning n-tier architectures and distributed systems. Visualisation facilitated through virtualisation!

23 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Although there is only one physical machine - this network contains two machines PhysicalVirtual Both machines have full network access

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25 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Thor

26 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Multiple virtual devices….. No problem running multiple virtual devices. even with different Guest OS’s at the same time…..

27 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Appollo Thor

28 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Legacy Devices…. We built some legacy devices too….. Do you remember DOS 6 + Windows 3.1???

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32 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Sean Duignan - GMIT

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36 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Our Study…. We used VMWare TM as a core component on two undergraduate modules (year 3 and year 4). 35 Students in total. Motivated by a “learning by doing” philosophy of education. Students assigned challenging group projects to encourage socially cooperative and reflective learning.

37 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Student Experiences…. Feedback elicited through post-module surveys. Largely very positive: “We both found this assignment to be a worthwhile and interesting one, it gave us a real insight…….. We would recommend that this exercise be kept as part of the course for future 3 rd year classes. “I found I learned a lot about the workings of a computer and how different operating systems could affect the performance of a machine”

38 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Student Experiences….cntd… “Overall I found this to be one of the more interesting things I’ve done at college. I liked the practical aspect of it and I found it easier to put more time in to it because it did interest me.” “We encountered some problems and errors, which gave us a better understanding of the operating system and how to solve such problems.” “The assignment was very good, doing hands on work rather than just reading about it.”

39 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Lecturers experience…. Lots of interactivity and discussion. Students very engaged with the material. “Hands-on” skills greatly improved. Students appear to like the “secure sandbox” provided. Some real creativity too. Learning objectives / outcomes achieved???

40 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Conclusion Significant scope for virtualisation technologies within the computer science curriculum and beyond. Our experience has been positive, and in our opinion the exercises thus far have been very worthwhile. We plan to continue with this research theme going forward as well as investigating the potential for virtualisation technologies as an ePortfolio platform for computer science students.

41 EdTech 2007 – May 25 th Q&A and Contact Details Go raibh maith agat! Thank you for your time and attention. Questions? Contact Details: Tel: (091)


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