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An Architecture for a Truly On-line Classroom

Author Dr Fergus Toolan, Dr Pavel Gladyshev and Professor Joe Carthy
Abstract Currently, there is a shift from standard classroom-based teaching to focus on novel delivery methods. A common technique employed in recent years is that of E-Learning or Web-Based Training. Normally e-learning technologies are used as part of a blended learning approach, where the learning takes place in the classroom / laboratory and the learning management system (LMS) is used simply as a means of communication with the students. Many users of e-learning technology use the LMS merely to store notes. Others use it for discussion forums and assignment submission. All of these tasks can be accomplished very easily using a standard web site. In the Centre for Cybercrime investigation in University College Dublin, the M.Sc in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation is being taught entirely online. All lectures are delivered online and are available through a Moodle server. Students and facilitators meet using virtual meeting room software and freely available applications such as Skype. Finally the students are able to access a virtual laboratory in which all of the software that they need is available. The students access all of these resources through the Moodle web interface. In the past two years more than 50 students have used this technology. The results have been overwhelmingly successful, from both the teacher's viewpoint and the student's. To date the 47 students have come from 13 separate countries across four continents. The majority, 14, have been Irish, however, students from the USA, Hong Kong, UAE, and Denmark have taken (or are taking) the course. In a survey conducted recently, the majority of the students were delighted with the course. The main reason was for its flexibility, the online nature of the course allows them to more easily balance work, personal life, and college.
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Published In ICEP Proceedings 2009
Date 2009
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