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Creating a browser-based virtual computer lab for classroom instruction

Ramalingam Saravanan
Texas A&M University


With laptops and tablets becoming more powerful and more ubiquitous in the classroom, traditional computer labs with rows of expensive desktop computers are slowly beginning to lose their relevance. An alternative approach for teaching Python is to use a browser-based virtual computer lab, with a notebook interface. The advantages of physical computer labs, such as face-to-face interaction, and the challenge of replicating them in a virtual environment are discussed. The need for collaborative features like terminal/notebook sharing and chatting is emphasized. A virtual computer lab is implemented using the GraphTerm server, with several experimental features including a virtual dashboard for monitoring tasks and progressively fillable notebooks for ensuring step-by-step completion of a sequence of tasks.


virtual computer lab, notebook interface, cloud computing, browser-based terminal

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