CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

James L. Parrish

Committee Member

Timothy J. Ellis

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

The problem explored in this dissertation report was that at the time of this study, there were no design principles or methodologies based on design science research (DSR) available to use for artifact construction, implementation, and effective evaluation of cloud-based networking lab environments that can be used to foster hands-on technology skills in students. Primarily based on Hevner’s 7 guidelines of DSR, Peffer’s design science research methodology (DSRM), and Gregor’s IS design theory, this study forms the groundwork for the development of procedures and specifications derived from DSR literature to facilitate the construction, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive cloud-based computer and information systems (CIS) laboratory artifact that is globally accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Secondarily, this study guided the construction and implementation of a prototype cloud-based lab environment using the procedures and specifications derived from DSR. The cloud-based lab environment was then evaluated based on the skill level attained by students enrolled in courses that leveraged the proposed system. Results of this study showed that the overwhelming majority of the students who participated in the experiment using the cloud-based lab environment showed statistically significant gains in pretest and posttest scores compared to the students who participated in the experiment using the classroom-based physical equipment. These results fully supported the first hypothesis for this study, that participation in the cloud-based lab environment would promote positive student outcomes. The second hypothesis also was supported. The majority of the experimental group students completed most of the labs and significantly spent more time on the system compared to the control group students using the traditional classroom-based physical lab equipment, which indicated the specifications derived from DSR positively influenced the use of the cloud-based system. An argument was made that the proposed study advances IS and education research through artifact construction and evaluation by correlating Hevner’s 7 steps of effective DSR theory, Peffer’s DSRM, and Gregor’s IS design theory to the problem statement, research questions, and hypothesis in order to develop guiding principles and specifications for building and assessing a cloud-based lab environment.