I teach a discrete-event system simulation course in Fall 2020. As with most DES simulation courses, students have term projects that involve gathering real-world data and building stochastic input models that they can use to do a simulation study of the system.
In the past, students would frequently choose to study the operations of local restaurants (for example) or traffic intersections, primarily because the data was easy to gather. This fall, due to COVID-19, I am uncomfortable asking them to do this. Furthermore, some students may be attending from remote, and the local data sources may not be as rich as they usually are.
So I am looking for alternatives. For example, I have considered some of the many repositories of webcam's on the Internet that might be observed. I would like to avoid generating synthetic data; I would especially like to avoid students generating synthetic data (and then having to do input models of the data they just generated). There are simulation competitions (such as IISE/Arena), but I do not think it is feasible to have the whole class work on the same competition/competitions (and last year's IISE/Arena competition provided input models for the students, which meant that students choosing that experience were able to skip a major component of simulation modeling).
Does anyone here have any suggestions for real-world simulation activities appropriate for term projects for small groups of students who might be attending class virtually? Again, the goal is to not ask them to subject themselves to additional exposure risk just to complete the project.