Lab-As-A-Service (LaaS): A Middleware Approach for Internet-Accessible Laboratories
[Work in Progress] The proliferation of cloud computing and web-based technologies have made it possible for universities to expand their academic networks reaching a wider range of students. In an effort to expand offered services while reducing costs, universities began exploring the use of distributed software platforms and middleware infrastructures to make laboratories accessible over the Internet. However, there are major challenges in the way these platforms enable students to effectively interact with a remote laboratory environment. In this paper, we introduce a remotely-controlled middleware infrastructure called Lab-as-a-Service (LaaS) that is based on cloud computing and service-oriented architecture (SOA) concepts. LaaS aims at providing educators with the necessary tools to deploy course lab components over the Internet more efficiently while enabling students to productively complete lab material remotely. Throughout the paper, we discuss the overall architecture of LaaS, use cases and implementation details. We further use our LaaS framework to provide insights on improving the remote laboratory experience and interactive online learning models. © 2018 IEEE.