A virtual laboratory for data communications
University(CQU), formerly Capricorn Institute of Advanced Education(CIAE). Throughout this period, staff have struggled to meet the challenge of creating an engaging educational experience that can be delivered to all students. In an effort to transport the classroom to the external student we have developed a set of multimedia resource materials, appropriate for flexible delivery, to be distributed to students studying Data Communications in their second year of a Bachelor of Information Technology or Bachelor of Information Systems. In recent years internal students have been exposed to physical materials in the lecture and tutorial environment. Their reaction has been very positive and outcomes include enhanced understanding and reasoning. In contrast, external students have little or no opportunity for this type of exposure through their distance study program. The objective of the project we have undertaken is to provide all students, especially external students, with a virtual laboratory environment where they can be exposed to the physical and technical aspects of electronic communications equipment. Many of the other virtual laboratories or classrooms that have been developed by other Australian or overseas Universities have been developed to be delivered via the Internet and sometimes include interactivity , or simulations/animations . The majority of topic areas that have been transformed into virtual laboratories have come from the areas of Science, Engineering or Mathematics. In these areas the ability to test theories or perform experiments is crucial to knowledge formation and assessment. The project is constructed of a menu based Multimedia presentation to be distributed on CD-ROM that leads students through photographs, audio and video that would normally be seen in lectures, laboratories and tours enabling us to effectively disseminate this otherwise inaccessible experience to all students. Our attempt is to replace impersonal textbook illustrations with real-life static and dynamic footage of a data communications networking environment.