SIT Alemira Virtual Lab basic concepts

Created by Ekaterina Zayats, Modified on Mon, 19 Sep 2022 at 03:56 PM by Boyko Cholakov

SIT Alemira Virtual Lab is a platform that enables a course instructor to create practical tasks for students and students to learn from practice by doing exercises in their personal environments. It can be used to train company staff to perform work tasks or to teach academic students.


Labs configured in SIT Alemira Virtual Lab can be of the following types:



  • Virtual Machines (VM) based — labs that use virtual environment in which students complete lab tasks

  • SaaS based — browser-based labs that do not require dedicated virtual environment

  • Coding lab — labs that use a separate application, a coding server, for students to exercise in programming


The following entities are used in a lab:



  • API objects grouped in API object libraries
  • Images
  • Lab life-cycle actions
  • Variables
  • Virtual Machines
  • Task assessment criteria


API objects and API objects libraries


API objects are used to set templates for lab life-cycle actions. Life-cycle actions then are configured in a lab to describe the sequence of its automated steps.


API objects are grouped into libraries, each library is used for a particular product and describes a particular lab. See Adding API libraries and Adding API objects.


Images


An image is a VM disk with an OS installed. An image is used as a starting point to create a VM for a student.


Images are configured depending on the purpose of a course. For example, an application can be installed on a VM, in which students will be trained to work.


The following base images are pre-configured in SIT Alemira Virtual Lab by default:


  • Ubuntu 20 with Selenium
  • Ubuntu 20.04
  • Windows Server 2012 with Selenium
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019


Based on these images, you can create custom VM images for your course. See Adding custom VM images.


Life-cycle actions


A life-cycle action is a basic element of a lab. A set of life-cycle actions configured in a lab in a particular order describes the lab flow.


A life-cycle action allows you (as an instructor) to automate repetitive actions that may be executed manually, and to save time when creating a lab.


A life-cycle action is a custom script that executes an action associated with a condition. For example, a life-cycle action might be used to create individual product credentials for students at the beginning of a lab, and another action might be used to delete those credentials at the end of the lab.


One life-cycle action typically consists of several template actions. The list of template actions for life-cycle actions is configured by API objects.


For the information about how to add life-cycle actions to a lab, see Configuring life-cycle actions.


Variables


Variables are used to refer to values through different sets of data collected from life-cycle actions without entering values themselves each time they are required.


The following two types of variables are used in SIT Alemira Virtual Lab:



  • Input variables (first-level) that are used to substitute separate parameter values. Such variables are set within API objects.

  • Output variables that are used to substitute entire output JSON structures. Such variables are set within life-cycle actions.


Input variables


The following common input variables exist in SIT Alemira Virtual Lab by default:



  • $vle_vm_session_id — this variable stores the identifier of a student’s session.

  • $$username — this variable stores the username of a student.


Other variables can be set when configuring API objects (see Adding custom input variables).


Output variables


Output variables are configured within lab life-cycle actions and define a response that should be received after executing a respective action. See Configuring life-cycle actions.


Virtual Machines


A Virtual Machine (VM) is a virtual environment that emulates a real computer system.


Each VM-based lab can have one or several VMs. VMs that students use in a lab are created based on the configured images.


Task assessment criteria


SIT Alemira Virtual Lab provides automated assessment of students' lab tasks. Assessment criteria can be configured either using scripts or through API. See Adding an assessment script to a lab task.


 


To get an idea about a step-by-step process of a lab creation, see A lab creation walkthrough.


 


 


 

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