Exploration of a Collaborative Virtual Computer Laboratory (CVCLAB) to Enhance Distance Learning in Information Security

Project: Research project

Project Details


Five campuses of the Pennsylvania State University system partner to explore a Virtual Computer Laboratory (VCL) that has been specifically designed for cybersecurity education. The overall goal of the project is to enhance information security education by using VCL, with a particular focus on distance learning, and to research the effectiveness of this approach.

The main motivation of the project is to investigate whether quality distance learning can be achieved in a field such as cybersecurity which requires a significant amount of hands-on learning and teamwork. The project proposes innovative ways to share a virtual computer laboratory across multiple institutions to enhance student learning in different settings. The main research hypotheses are: (a) student learning can be improved at a higher degree when collaborative learning is supported by a VCL and (b) if proper interventions are implemented, distance learning students can benefit from collaborative hands-on learning mediated by a VCL. The outcomes will be assessed by: (i) measuring increased student interest and motivation; (ii) evaluating the impact of collaborative hands-on learning on distance learning students; and (iii) documenting increased hands-on learning at the participating institutions, due to the adoption of the Collaborative Virtual Computer Laboratory (CVCLAB).

CVCLAB is being shared and tested by a broad range of institutions. The proposed resource-sharing partnership model is transferable to smaller campuses and community colleges with limited financial and technology resources. The outcomes of the formulated research on collaborative distance learning using VCLs have the potential to improve the quality of distance learning in cybersecurity.

Effective start/end date10/1/119/30/14


  • National Science Foundation: $154,151.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.