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This paper describes Ciclope, a free software project designed to solve the problem of the lack of practical assignments in technical universities due to scarce resources and to the design of the educational system. Ciclope offers software and content to replicate the educational Web labs that the authors have designed, and whose architecture and work methodology are intended for teachers who want to create new Web labs. The biggest advantages of these kinds of laboratories are that users can work through the Internet as if they were present in the lab, but without space or time restrictions. Furthermore, teachers can have full control of what students do, since all operations are registered in a database which helps them to evaluate the students. Ciclope proposes a modular structure based on software components that are easy to install, configure, and extend according to teachers' needs. So far, various Web labs have been built to carry out practical assignments in astronomy, automatic control, chemistry, image processing, robotics, and real-time operating systems. The software, documentation, and content developed in this project are free, under GNU (a recursive acronym meaning GNU is Not UNIX) licenses, and as in all free projects, the authors welcome all collaboration from the educational community.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2007