Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type



Computer Science

First Advisor

Jane Turk


This capstone paper is a compilation of the information we discovered during our research on the topic of distance lab environments for online computing courses. We provide our research, our findings, and our supporting evidence to answer the following question: How can La Salle University deliver a comparable hands-on learning experience for its online student population without requiring the students to attend on-campus? Initially, our research suggests a solution for the Economic Crime Forensics (ECF) courses; however, it will benefit all lab related computing courses at La Salle University.

This paper will show: (a) that the goal of using a distance lab for the Economic Crime Forensics (ECF) courses is obtainable, and how it will benefit students by completing the lab assignments in the computing courses; (b) our literature review; (c) and our research findings from several sources. Our research includes discussions with La Salle University Faculty; sample sessions with three public cloud computing services: CloudShare ProPlus, Skytap, and Amazon Web Services (AWS); and implementations from schools using a private cloud service on-campus with the IBM Virtual Computing Lab Initiative (VCL) Model including how Higher Education is using commercially available virtualization software from VMWare (VCloud) on top of their own architecture.