A Hybrid Testbed for Educational Purposes – Transformation of a Computer Science Lab for Master's Students
von Julia Scharsich
Hasso-Plattner-Institut an der Universität Potsdam | 15. August 2022
Experiments allow observations and measurements for testing and learning purposes which cannot be achieved with theoretical models. However, as they come with limitations, e. g., high costs or lack of space, this thesis suggests introducing a testing environment including hardware and software components, a hybrid testbed, into the experiment-based master’s course Embedded Software Lab.
In the didactic concept for the course, content is mapped to concrete, previously set learning objectives. In groups of five to 15, students explore embedded software develop- ment with a (virtual) ATmega328P MCU. The flipped classroom approach supports the self-regulatory learning process and interactivity. Tools for media-aided teaching, such as video conferences and a learning management system, support the flow of information and communication along with time flexibility.
For the architecture of the software components, the author proposes a scenario existing of a user, a virtual MCU and a management interface. In an implementation approach, the QEMU tool virtualizes the ATmega328P MCU and is extended with a GPIO module. POSIX functions serve to share access to the relevant memory regions to the management interface. The management interface, as the point of contact for the user, offers a graphical representation, e. g., of controllable LEDs, and for pin and LED control via shared memory. The suggested software is free, open-source software and chosen for portability and universality. All didactic and technical considerations rely on the requirements derived from fundamentals, related work, and studies’ contextualized findings and fulfill them for the most part. The resulting procedure permits a hybrid conduct of the course. Still, with the proposed conc