Mixing the real and the virtual
Why do we call our system of learning Integrated Virtual RealitySM (IVR)? Because we have blurred the line between virtual and actual reality by integrating aspects of “actual” reality into the “virtual” world. Part of the students’ labwork is performed in the simulated environment and for the rest, students venture out into the real world. We integrate elements of the real world into our virtual one in order to ensure that the real-world “feel” doesn’t remain limited to a feeling. IVR is explained in more detail below.
IVR offers the best of both worlds. In order to gain the most benefits from trial-and-error in hands-on learning, some tasks are better performed in a safe simulated environment where no real-world consequences will occur. Examples of such tasks abound in networking, security and even some hardware manipulations. Shutting down an entire network, locking all users out of a server, or destroying costly computers are not an option when furthering one’s education!
On the other hand, many tasks can be safely performed in the real world, in actual files or folders, on secured or unsecured websites, FTP sites and elsewhere. Whenever that can be done it is clearly valuable, as the more real-world skills students gain, the better prepared they will be. Therefore, IT_LabWorks integrates those two methods and lets students go back and forth between the virtual and real worlds as needed in order to achieve the highest educational benefit attainable.
Examples of IVR elements
Although the Bonanza Mining Corporation is a fictional company, it's website is very real. The URL is www.bonanza-mining.com and the site comes complete with company History, product lines, community involvement and even the executive bios of Paul Robertson's work collegues. Several exercises involve the usage of this website.
BMC has its own dedicated (physical) Server: A Lenovo TS130 with 16 GB of memory and a 1 TB hard drive. It has domains set up for BMC's San Francisco and Philadelphia offices. This opens up an almost unlimited amount of possibilities for highly relevant and engaging labs.
BMC has several more attributes that belong to the real world enabling us to offer the student interesting, engaging and very relevant exercises.