A Virtual Laboratory CD-ROM for Distance Students

Renay Buchanan
Central Queensland University, Australia.

[email protected]


The CD-ROM experience consists of a menu based Multimedia presentation created using Macromedia Director 8. The presentation enables each student to view digital photographs, audio and video representing the sights and sounds that would normally be experienced in lectures, laboratories and tours. Packaging these features on a self-contained CD-ROM enables us to effectively disseminate this, otherwise inaccessible experience, to all distance students around the world without the need for them to access Internet technology that can be expensive and unreliable.

This CD-ROM is not meant to be an interactive virtual laboratory, nor a home study kit, nor a simulation of reality with predefined questions and answers, nor the static material presented in printed resource materials, textbooks or videotapes of lectures (Alhalabi, Hamza, Hsu & Anandapuram 1999). It is meant to be a combination of all of these, presented in a way that allows all students to access the experience from their homes, independent of time and without the additional expense of, sometimes unreliable, Internet access. It must be stressed that this CD-ROM is designed to be an extra resource, and was not designed to be an essential teaching or learning tool. Our aim is to transfer some of the experience and real life visual stimulus available currently to only a small portion of the students studying this subject.

 Keywords: Virtual, Laboratory, Distance, CD-ROM.