Go-Lab Specifications of the Lab Owner and Cloud Services (Final) – M30

Abstract : This deliverable details the final specifications of the solutions devised for integrating remote labs in the Go-Lab infrastructure. The infrastructure comprises many services supporting students and instructors for inquiry learning with online labs. Using the Specifications of Lab Owner and Cloud Services presented in this document, lab providers should be able to create/adapt and smoothly deploy their labs in the Go-Lab infrastructure. In this document, a decoupled Client-Server architecture is proposed for remote laboratories, where the Client is the user application enabling to operate the lab at distance and the Server offers services enabling communication through the Internet with the physical lab and its instrumentation. This architecture topology is based on the Smart Device paradigm presented in later sections of the deliverable. Relying on this schema, the specifications provide lab owners with a way to build new labs or adapt existing ones in conformity with the Go-Lab requirements. The resulting labs are able to interact with the Go-Lab booking system (see D4.2 of M18, and the final version D4.6 upcoming in M33), the learning analytics services (see D4.2 of M18, and the final version D4.6 upcoming in M33), and specific applications provided by Go-Lab (for example the Data Viewer App which displays data from the sensors of a lab). The core of the deliverable is divided in two main parts: sections 2 & 3 which respectively detail the specifications for new and legacy (or existing) labs. For new remote labs, the required services, protocols, and data formats for communication between the Client and the Server are presented, together with guidelines for internal functionalities. The Smart Device paradigm on which relies the Client-Server architecture conceptualizes and embeds the lab-owner services. Compared to the initial version D4.1(R2), the main changes in this deliverable affecting the Smart Device specifications deal with the modification of the metadata, and adding more recommendations for lab providers developing labs for Go-Lab. In section 2.3.3, a new field is added to the metadata describing a sensor: the type field. This modification is meant to make sensor representation more descriptive. Additionally, lab owners are advised to require an authToken even for observers when they are accessing labs. This modification was the result of many use cases discussed with members of the Go-Lab project. Additionally, a compact version1 of the specifications was accepted and presented at the REV20152 conference. For existing labs, the Smart Gateway paradigm is proposed, which aims at making legacy labs compatible with the Go-Lab requirements. Due to the large technological variety of legacy remote labs, the Smart Gateway approach offers different compatibility levels through its different adaptation mechanisms. The Smart Gateway paradigm conceptualizes and embeds the cloud services. A double goal of this deliverable is to maximize the number of remote labs available for teachers by federating external laboratories as well as to maximize the performance of the usage of these laboratories. This leads to an important trade-off: the more labs supported, the smaller is the subset of common features or requirements which can be imposed on them to be integrated with the rest of the ecosystem. This is the reason for providing two complementary approaches (Smart Device and Smart Gateway). The Smart Device paradigm is implemented by any new laboratory and requires particular formats and technologies that guarantee a high integration with the rest of the project. The Smart Gateway provides different tools to integrate existing labs in Go-Lab, with different levels of integration. These labs are called legacy labs in this deliverable to emphasize that this is applied to external existing laboratories rather than to new laboratories that should use as much as possible the Smart Device paradigm. In regards to the Cloud Services section, the main addition compared to the initial version D4.1(R2) is the support of a new logging mechanism for user actions (Section 3.6). Essentially, the Smart Gateway previously provided two levels of integration: a full integration and a low level integration. The full integration is supported by a protocol translator, which requires significant development efforts: the remote lab developer would re-implement the user interfaces and protocols. For the low level of integration, a simple Smart Gateway plug-in needs to be developed, and the lab provider only needs to secure the connection between the user and the laboratory. The second integration level was found more attractive for lab owners, since it is more convenient in time constraints. However, its main drawback is its lack of support for integration with the rest of the Go-Lab ecosystem. For example, it is not possible to benefit from the Learning Analytics features developed in other tasks of the project. In this final version of the specifications, we introduce a lightweight approach to support the user action logging feature without requiring to support the rest of the protocol translator or the Smart Device paradigm. The final release of the Go-Lab specifications as provided in this deliverable is used as a draft standardization document for the IEEE P1876 Working Group on Networked Smart Learning Objects for Online Laboratories and will be discussed in the upcoming meeting, which will be held at the Exp.at’15 Conference on June 1st, 2015.
Keywords : Cloud services
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Rapport
[Research Report] Go-Lab Project. 2015
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Wissam Halimi, Sten Govaerts. Go-Lab Specifications of the Lab Owner and Cloud Services (Final) – M30. [Research Report] Go-Lab Project. 2015. 〈hal-01274997〉

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