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ShareMe: Running a Distributed Systems Lab for 600 Students With Three Faculty Members

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6 Author(s)
Kerer, C. ; Vienna Univ. of Technol., Austria ; Reif, G. ; Gschwind, T. ; Kirda, E.
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The goal of the distributed systems (DS) laboratory is to provide an attractive environment in which students learn about network programming and apply some fundamental concepts of distributed systems. In the last two years, students had to implement a fully functional peer-to-peer file sharing system called ShareMe. This paper presents the approach the authors used to provide the best possible support and guidance for the students while keeping up with ever-rising participant numbers in the laboratory course (approximately 600 last year), as well as managing budget and personnel constraints. The learning environment is based on Web and Internet technologies and not only offers the description of the laboratory tasks but also covers electronic submission, a discussion forum, automatic grading, and online access to grading and test results. The authors report their experiences of using the automated grading system, the amount of work required to prepare and run the laboratory, and how they deal with students who submit plagiarized solutions. Furthermore, the results of student feedback and evaluation forms are presented, and the overall student course satisfaction is discussed. Detailed information about the DS laboratory is available at

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 3 )