The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
The Modern Containerised Learning Interface and Delivery Infrastructure project developed and deployed a modern online learning environment and the required delivery infrastructure. The technical solution developed within the project made heavy use of existing open-source technologies and protocols. The core element of the solution is the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE), which is based on a Docker container and contains all the software and data that the student requires to undertake their studies. The VCE can then either be run locally by the student on their own hardware or via an online hosting setup that was based around multiple Jupyter Hub installations. By basing the project on existing technologies, the project managed to go from initiation to testing in two months and into a live deployment within a further eight months. Over the duration of the project more than 1500 students were successfully supported, with only 28 students experiencing issues with the infrastructure. This clearly demonstrates the success of the project. The solution developed within the project has now been rolled out as the “Open Computing Lab”, providing access to this kind of provision to any module in the STEM faculty.