Generic integration of remote laboratories in public learning tools: organizational and technical challenges


Educational remote laboratories are software and hardware tools that allow students to remotely access real equipment located in universities as if they were in a hands-on-lab session. Federations of these remote laboratories have existed for years, focused on allowing two universities to share their equipment. Additionally, the integration of remote laboratories in Learning Tools -LT- (Learning Management Systems, Content Management Systems or Personal Learning Environments) has been achieved in the past in order to integrate remote laboratories as part of the learning curricula, being part of the practice exercises or even as a tool of evaluation. An cross-institutional initiative called gateway4labs has been created to perform this integration through federation protocols. In this contribution, this initiative adds support for OpenSocial as a new protocol for Learning Tools (in particular, for EPFL Graasp), as well as for the iLab Shared Architecture (in addition to WebLab-Deusto and UNR FCEIA laboratories already supported). Supporting OpenSocial opens a number of new technical and organizational challenges since public labs should be supported without registering students, teachers or schools. The focus of this contribution is to show these challenges and how they are tackled in the proposed open source implementation.