Generic integration of remote laboratories in learning and content management systems through federation protocols


Educational remote laboratories are a software and hardware tool that allows students to remotely access real equipment located in universities as if they were in a hands-on-lab session. Their integration in Content and Learning Management Systems (CMSs or LMSs) has been an active research topic for years, supporting mainly ad hoc solutions. A notable exception has been the use of federation protocols -commonly used for sharing laboratories from one university to other-, for actually sharing laboratories from a remote laboratory system to a C/LMS. This approach opened new doors in the simplification of the process, since it did not require the remote laboratories to make any type of change. The focus of this contribution is to provide a solution to decrease the number of functionalities required for creating an integration by providing a software component that reuses them. As shown in the contribution, this component has been implemented and two remote laboratory management systems (which provide access to multiple remote laboratories) are already supported, and a third one is under development. In the C/LMS side, all the LMSs supporting IMS LTI are supported, and HTTP APIs are provided for being supported by other systems. Indeed, the contribution describes its support in the Joomla CMS and in the Moodle 1.9 and dotLRN LMSs which do not support IMS LTI. The solution, called gateway4labs, is an open source initiative which targets to be used in production.