The 5

th
International Conference on Virtual Learning
VIRTUAL LEARNING – VIRTUAL REALITY


Phase II - Period 2010-2020: e-Skills for the 21st Century
www.icvl.eu | www.cniv.ro
ICVL 2010 Awards – Sponsored by Intel Corporation
Excellence Award "Intel®Education" – USD 1000
Special Award "Intel®Education" – USD 500

The ICVL Award is offered in recognition of ICVL papers published within in "Proceedings of the
International Conference on Virtual Learning"





















ICVL and CNIV Coordinator: Dr. MARIN VLADA


The printing of Proceedings was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Research and
Innovation, National Authority for Scientific Research, ROMANIA
Proceedings of the 5
th

International Conference
On Virtual Learning



October 29 - October 31, 2010


MODELS & METHODOLOGIES, TECHNOLOGIES, SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
Phase II - Period 2010-2020: e-Skills for the 21st Century

















, 2010
ICVL and CNIV Partners:
Grigore Albeanu, Mircea Popovici, Radu Jugureanu, Olimpius Istrate
www.icvl.eu www.cniv.ro







© Bucharest University Press
Şos. Panduri, nr. 90-92, BUCUREŞTI – 050663; Tel.Fax: 021 410.23.84
E-mail: editura@unibuc.ro, Web: www.editura.unibuc.ro














Tehnoredactare computerizată: Meri Pogonariu









ISSN: 1844-8933









M MO OT TT TO OS S



„ „The informatics/computer science re-establishes not only the unity between
the pure and the applied mathematical sciences, the concrete technique and the
concrete mathematics, but also that between the natural sciences, the human
being and the society. It restores the concepts of the abstract and the formal and
makes peace between arts and science not only in the scientist' conscience, but
in their philosophy as well. .” ”
G Gr r. . C C. . M Mo oi is si il l ( (1 19 90 06 6- -1 19 97 73 3) )
Professor at the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Bucharest,
Member of the Romanian Academy,
Computer Pioneer Award of IEEE, 1996
http://www.icvl.eu/2006/grcmoisil


”Learning is evolution of knowledge over time”

Roger E. Bohn
Professor of Management and expert on technology management,
University of California, San Diego, USA,
Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
http://irps.ucsd.edu/faculty/faculty-directory/roger-e-bohn.htm





GENERAL CONTENTS


About ICVL 2010 ................................................... 15


Section M&M
MODELS & METHODOLOGIES .................................................... 25


Sections TECH
TECHNOLOGIES ........................................................................ 261


Sections SOFT
SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS ............................................................. 359


Section Intel® Education
INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH ............................ 453


Authors Index ..................................................................... 529


C O N T E N T S


Paper
No.
PAPER TITLE AND AUTHOR(S)
Page
No.
Section Models & Methodologies
1
2010: Year of Mathematics in Romania and Centenary of Romanian
Mathematical Society. An unique Journal in the world: Mathematical
Gazette at 115 anniversary

Marin Vlada
27
2
The Potential of Collaborative Augmented Reality in Education

Marin Vlada, Grigore Albeanu
38
3
Serious Games in the Life Long Learning environment.
Games and Learning Alliance Network of Excellence

Alessandro de Gloria, Ion Roceanu
44
4
Visual Identity of a Business

Doina Muntean
51
5
OER - craving for success in a timeless, border free zone

Maria-Magdalena Popescu
54
6
Impact of Internet Use in Teaching
and Classroom Management Process

Roxana Enache
59
7
Competencies, roles and responsibilities of teachers
in terms of new informational technologies

Roxana Enache
65
8
Assessment of Blended Learning Education – Students’ Opinion

Margarita Pehlivanova, Zlatoeli Ducheva, Snejana Dineva
72
9
Accepted Strategy for the Further Development of Blended
E-Learning: Tk-Yambol Case Study

Snejana Dineva, Veselina Nedeva
79
10
Educational software. Types of soft

Valeriu Ştefănescu
85
11
New Connections between Modernity and Tradition
in the Teaching Process
New Connections between Different Fields of Science

Silvia Moraru, Ioana Stoica, Cristina Miron
90
The 5
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2010

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12
Interactive Conceptual Maps Part of Constructivist Environment for
Advanced Physics Teaching

Florentina Iofciu, Cristina Miron, Stefan Antohe
95
13
Understanding digital divide as a form of cultural
and social reproduction

Silvia Făt
101
14
Development of Foreign Language Learning System Focusing on
Speaking and Evaluation
of the Effectiveness

Ikuo Kitagaki
107
15
A Use Case Analysis for Learning in 3D MUVE:
A Model Based on Key e-Learning Activities

Indika Perera, Colin Allison, Alan Miller
114
16
A new didactical model for modern electronic textbook elaboration

Elena Railean

121
17
Ontology Learning from Text Based on the Syntactic
Analysis Tree of a Sentence

Andreea-Diana Mihiş
128
18
Ontology for an E-learning model

łolea Enikö Elisabeta, Costin Aurelian Răzvan
135
19
E-Counselling. Study Case for Romania

Stan Emil, Eftimie Simona Georgiana, MărgăriŃoiu Alina
141
20
Computer modeling in Physics’ experiments

Carmen – Gabriela Bostan, Ştefan Antohe
147
21
An Approach to Ontology
Development in Human Resources Management

Anamaria Szekely
153
22
Developing Pedagogical Competence Students Through Blended
Learning

Margarita Pehlivanova, Zlatoeli Ducheva
160
23
Sounds experiments by using
Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007

Mihaela Garabet, Cristina Miron,

Florin Popescu
166
24
Learning from the Stream. An "M" Case Study:
M for microblogging, m(y)-conference/m(y)-event,
and micro/m(y)-learning

Gabriela Grosseck, Carmen Holotescu
172
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
10
25
Balancing Dynamic Overload in Moodle
E-Learning Servers by Virtual Means

Eduard Mihailescu
179
26
A method of measuring the complexity of a web application from the
point of view of cloning

Doru Anastasiu Popescu, Catrinel Maria DănăuŃă, Zoltan Szabo
186
27
Usage of the Artificial Neural Networks in the
Intelligent Tutoring System

Gabriela Moise
191
28
Promotion of Educational Services – Challenge or Necessity?

Viorica Scobioală, Dorin łifrea, Mihai Dragomir
199
29
Learning styles in technology enhanced education:
latest trends and a case study

Elvira Popescu
206
30
Role of the Movie Maker program in Physics experiments

Cătălin ChiŃu, Cătălin Măciucă, Ştefan Antohe
214
31
Some aspects of the global IT learning solutions and international
certification opportunities in the Republic of Moldova

Sergiu Tutunaru, Eng. Vitalie Boico
221
32
An agent-based serious game for entrepreneurship

Mario Allegra, Giovanni Fulantelli, Manuel Gentile, Dario La Guardia,
Davide Taibi, Gianluca Zangara
226
33
Methodological aspects of pedagogical e-tests

Tudor Bragaru, Ion Craciun
231
34
The king is dead! Long live the king!

Elena Liliana Danciu
238
35
Blended Learning Environment in Vocational Education

Mehmet Şahin
244
36
Virtual Training Centre for CNC:
An Accomplished Cooperation Case

Süleyman Yaldiz
253
Section Technologies
37
ABBYY recognition technologies – ideal alternative to manual data
entry. Automating processing of exam tests.

Marin Vlada, Ivan Babiy, Octav Ivanescu
263
The 5
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2010

11
38
MEDIAEC Platform.
Digital Television for Education and Research

Diana Chihaia, Adrian Istrimschi
269
39
Overcome Disadvantages of E-Learning for Training English
as Foreign Language

Veselina Nedeva, Emilia Dimova, Snejana Dineva
275
40
Ontological Library Generator for Hypermedia-Based
E-Learning System

Eugen Zaharescu, Georgeta-Atena Zaharescu
282
41
GiSHEO: On-line Platform for Training in Earth Observation

Dana Petcu, Silviu Panica, Marian Neagul, Marc Frincu,
Daniela Zaharie, Dorian Gorgan, Teodor Stefanut, Victor Bacu
290
42
Towards Educational Animation as a Service

Liviu Beldiman, Nicolae Jascanu
297
43
Learn about finding jobs from digital storytelling and ePortfolios
through the L@JOST project

Simona Sava, Laura Malita
304
44
Prospective Topography of Mobile Learning Solutions

Veronica Ştefan, Ioana Stănescu, Ion Roceanu, Eugenia Mincă,
Antoniu Ştefan
311
45
A Comparative Study of Three Speech Recognition
Systems for Romanian Language

Daniela Şchiopu
318
46
Intelligent CMDS Medical Agents with Learning Capacity

Barna Iantovics, Marius Marusteri,
Roumen Kountchev, Constantin-Bala Zamfirescu, Bogdan Crainicu
325
47
On the Using of CAD Tools in Teaching
Computer Organization Courses

Abdakarim Awad
332
48
Enhanced Online Learning
with Simulations and Virtual Worlds

Ioana A. Stănescu, Antoniu Ştefan, Felix G. Hamza-Lup,
Veronica Ştefan
339
49
Virtual Collection of Minerals

Simona Marilena Ilie, Gheorghe C. Popescu, Antonela Neacsu,
Loreta Munteanu
346
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
12
50
Creation of a Graphic Data Base for the Students’
Education in Clothing Technology

Magdalena Pavlova
352
Section Software Solutions
51
Artificial Intelligence Applied in Computer-Assisted Students
Evaluation

Mihaela Oprea
361
52
Online Collaborative Education Management Tool

Adrian Florea, Arpad Gellert, Anghel Traian, Delilah Florea
367
53
Sink web pages of web application

Doru Anastasiu Popescu, Zoltan Szabo

375
54
Selecting an Optimal Compound of a University Research
Team by Using Genetic Algorithms

Florentina Alina Chircu
380
55
Evaluating research projects using a knowledge-based system

Florentina Alina Chircu,

Elia Georgiana Dragomir
386
56
Teaching Performance Evaluation Using Supervised
Machine Learning Techniques

Elia Georgiana Dragomir
390
57
Efficient Management of Medical Image Databases,
Based on Inverse Pyramid Decomposition

Roumen Kountchev, Barna Iantovics, Roumiana Kountcheva
395
58
Visual Basic Applications to Physics Teaching

Catalin Chitu, Razvan Constantin Impuscatu, Marilena Viziru
403
59
The Optimal Refactoring Selection Problem –
A Multi-Objective Evolutionary Approach

Camelia ChisăliŃă-CreŃu
410
61
The Refactoring Plan Configuration. A Formal Model

Camelia ChisăliŃă-CreŃu
418
61
Second game - the spirit of adventure
(Joc secund aventură a spiritului)

Coman Florin Alexandru, Avădănei Andrei, Adoamnei Andrei, Giorgie
Vlad Daniel, Costineanu Raluca, Chira Liliana, Carmen Popa
425
The 5
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62
Online Visual PHP IDE

Coman Florin Alexandru, Avădănei Andrei , Adoamnei Andrei, Giorgie
Vlad Daniel, Costineanu Raluca, Chira Liliana, Carmen Popa
431
63
Web Security Platform (W.S.P)

Coman Florin Alexandru, Avădănei Andrei , Adoamnei Andrei, Giorgie
Vlad Daniel, Costineanu Raluca, Chira Liliana, Carmen Popa
437
64
New Database Manipulation Tools
in the Easy Learning on-line Platform

Radu Rădescu, Andrei Davidescu
443
65
Security and Confidentiality
in the Easy Learning on-line Platform

Radu Rădescu, Andrei Davidescu
449
Section Intel® Education
66
Using statistical software and Web Technologies in analyzing
information on detection and monitoring of somatic and psycho-
behavioural deficiencies in children and adolescents

Marin Vlada, Adriana Sarah Nica
455
67
Increasing teachers’ creativity through Game-Based Learning

Bogdan Logofatu, Anisoara Dumitrache, Mihaela Gheorghe
467
68
The Physics Laboratory between Modernity and Tradition: Virtual
Experiments and Modern Methods of Acquiring Data

Ioana Stoica, Silvia Moraru, Florin Popescu
471
69
Aspects Related to Learning Content Management Systems

Iuliana Dobre
478
70
PyAlg: An Algorithm Learning Platform

Radu Drăguşin, Paula Petcu
485
71
The use of e-learning platforms, the way to increase quality
and efficiency in studying Physics

Luminita Dinescu, Maria Dinica, Cristina Miron, Emil Barna
491
72
The promotion of active and creative learning within the context of using
information technology

Maria Dinica, Luminita Dinescu, Cristina Miron, Emil Barna
498
73
Advantages of using the software facilities in the study
of design - based engineering courses

Raluca Maria Aileni, Mioara Cretu
505
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
14
74
3D shape recognition software used for classification
of the human bodies

Aileni Raluca Maria, Ciocoiu Mihai
508
75
Supervised Learning Techniques for Virtual Military Training

Elena Şuşnea
511
76
About virtual interactions with real objects

Mihaela Garabet, Ion Neacşu
517
77
Modern Perspectives in using LMS

Radu Cătălin
520
78
Mobile Learning: A 21st Century Approach to Education

Radu Cătălin, Stănescu Ioana
524
About ICVL 2010

ICVL Project – www.icvl.eu

2010 – TOWARDS A LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY – 2030
VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
C
3
VIP: "Consistency-Competence-Clarity-Vision-Innovation-Performance"





© Project Coordinator: Ph.D. Marin Vlada, University of Bucharest, Romania
Partners: Ph. D. Prof. Grigore Albeanu, Ph. D. Mircea Dorin Popovici,
Prof. Radu Jugureanu, Prof. Olimpius Istrate
Institutions: The Romanian Ministry of Education Research and Innovation,
SIVECO Romania, Intel Corporation
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
16
ICVL 2010 is held under the auspices of:
– The European INTUITION Consortium
– The Romanian Ministry of Education and Research
– The National Authority for Scientific Research
Conference Organisation

• General Chair Dr. Marin Vlada, Professor of
Computer Science, University of Bucharest, Research
Center for Computer Science (Romania), European
INTUITION Consortium member

• Technical Programme Chair Dr. Grigore Albeanu,
Professor of Computer Science, Spiru Haret University,
Research Center for Mathematics and Informatics
(Romania)


• Associate General Chair Dr. Dorin Mircea Popovici,
Professor of Computer Science, Ovidius University of
Constanta (Romania), CERV- European Center for
Virtual Reality (France)


• Associate General Chair Prof. Radu Jugureanu, AeL
eContent Department Manager, SIVECO Romania SA,
Bucharest, Romania



• Associate General Chair Prof. Olimpius Istrate,
University of Bucharest, Romania, Education Manager,
Intel Romania Bucharest, Romania



The 5
th
International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2010

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October 29 – October 31, 2010 – TÂRGU MUREŞ, ROMANIA
Location: University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Târgu Mureş, ROMANIA
Organizers: University of Bucharest, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of
Târgu Mures, Siveco Romania, Intel Company


Scientific Committee/Technical Programme Committee / Executive reviewers

Dr. Grigore
Albeanu
Professor of Computer Science, Spiru Haret University,
Research Center for Mathematics and Informatics, Romania
Dr. Adrian
Adascalitei
Professor of Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, Technical
University "Gh. Asachi", Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Iasi,
Romania
Dr. Michael E.
Auer
Professor of Electrical Engineering, Carinthia University of
Applied Sciences, School of Systems Engineering, Villach,
Austria
General Chair, ICL – Interactive Computer aided Learning,
http://www.icl-conference.org/
Dr. Angelos
Amditis
Research Associate Professor (INTUITION Coordinator,
http://www.intuition-eunetwork.net/), Institute of
Communication and Computer Systems, ICCS- NTUA
Microwaves and Optics Lab, ATHENS, GREECE
Dr. Grigore
Burdea
Professor of Applied Science (Robotics), Rutgers – The State
University of New Jersey, Director, Human-Machine Interface
Laboratory, CAIP Center, USA
Dr. Pierre
Chevaillier
LISYC – Laboratoire d'Informatique des Systèmes Complexes,
CERV – Centre Européen de Réalité Virtuelle (European Center for
Virtual Reality), France, European INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Mirabelle
D' Cruz
Virtual Reality Applications Research Team (VIRART), School
of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering
(M3),University of Nottingham University, U.K., European
INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Steve
Cunningham
Noyce Visiting Professor of Computer Science, Grinnell
College, Grinnell, Iowa 50112, USA Department of Computer
Science
Dr. Ioan Dzitac
Professor of Computer Science, Executive Editor of IJCCC,
Agora University,Oradea, Romania
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
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Dr. Victor
Felea
Professor of Computer Science, “Al.I. Cuza” University of Iasi,
Faculty of Computer Science, Romania
Dr. Horia
Georgescu
Professor of Computer Science University of Bucharest, Faculty
of Mathematics and Computer Science, Romania
Dr. Radu
Gramatovici
Professor of Computer Science University of Bucharest, Faculty
of Mathematics and Computer Science, Romania
Dr. Felix
Hamza-Lup
Professor of Computer Science at Armstrong Atlantic State
University, USA
Dr. Angela
Ionita
Romanian Academy, Institute for Artificial Intelligence
(RACAI), Deputy Director, Romania
Olimpius Istrate
Intel Education Manager, Bucharest, Romania
www.intel.com/education
Prof. Radu
Jugureanu
AeL eContent Department Manager, SIVECO Romania SA,
Bucharest, Romania www.siveco.ro
Dr. Bogdan
Logofatu
Professor at University of Buchares, CREDIS Department
Manager, Bucharest, Romania www.unibuc.ro
Dr. Jean-Pierre
Gerval
ISEN Brest (école d'ingénieurs généralistes des hautes
technologies), France, European INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Daniel
Mellet-d'Huart
AFPA Direction de l'Ingénierie Unité Veille sur la Réalité
Virtuelle MONTREUIL, European INTUITION Consortium
member
Dr. Marius
Măruşteri
Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of
Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu - Mureş, Romania
Dr. Mihaela
Oprea
Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of Ploiesti,
Romania
Thomas Osburg Intel Education Manager, Europe www.intel.com/education
Dr.
Harshada(Ash)
Patel
Virtual Reality Applications Research Team (VIRART)/Human
Factors Group Innovative Technology Research Centre, School
of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering,
University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, U.K.,
European INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Dana Petcu
Professor at Computer Science Department of Western
University of Timisoara, Director at Institute e-Austria
Timisoara, Romania
Dr. Dorin
Mircea Popovici
Professor of Computer Science, Ovidius University of
Constanta, Romania / CERV– European Center for Virtual
The 5
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2010

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Reality (France, European INTUITION Consortium member)
Dr. Ion Roceanu
Professor of Computer Science, Director of the Advanced
Distributed Learning Department, "Carol I" National Defence
University, Bucharest, Romania
Dr. Maria
Roussou
Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Lab., Department
of Computer Science, University College London, U.K.,
European INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Ronan
Querrec
CERV – Centre Européen de Réalité Virtuelle (European Center for
Virtual Reality), Laboratoire d'Informatique des Systèmes
Complexes, France
Dr. Luca-Dan
Serbanati
Professor of Computer Science, University "Politehnica" of
Bucharest, Romania and Professor at the "La Sapienza"
University, Italy, European INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Doru
Talaba
Professor, “Transilvania” University of Brasov, Product Design and
Robotics Department, Romania, European INTUITION
Consortium member
Dr. Leon
Tambulea
Professor of Computer Science, "Babes-Bolyai" University, Cluj-
Napoca, Romania
Dr. Jacques
Tisseau
CERV – Centre Européen de Réalité Virtuelle (European Center
for Virtual Reality), LISYC – Laboratoire d'Informatique des
Systèmes Complexes, France, European INTUITION
Consortium member
Dr. Alexandru
Tugui
Professor at “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iasi, FEAA, “Al. I.
Cuza” University Iasi, Romania
Dr. Marin
Vlada
Professor of Computer Science, University of Bucharest, Faculty
of Mathematics and Computer Science, Romania, European
INTUITION Consortium member


Participate
The Conference is structured such that it will:
• provide a vision of European e-Learning and e-Training policies;
• take stock of the situation existing today;
• work towards developing a forward looking approach.
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
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The Conference will consider the perspectives and vision of the i-2010 programme and
how this will stimulate the promotion, and development of e-Learning content, products
and services and the contribution of these to lifelong learning.
Participation is invited from researches, teachers, trainers, educational authorities,
learners, practitioners, employers, trade unions, and private sector actors and IT industry.
Research papers – Major Topics

The papers describing advances in the theory and practice of Virtual Environments for
Education and Training (VEL&T), Virtual Reality (VR), Information and Knowledge
Processing (I&KP), as well as practical results and original applications. The education
category includes both the use of Web Technologies, Computer Graphics and Virtual
Reality Applications, New tools, methods, pedagogy and psychology, Case studies of
Web Technologies and Streaming Multimedia Applications in Education, experience in
preparation of courseware.
Thematic Areas / Sections
• MODELS & METHODOLOGIES (M&M)
• TECHNOLOGIES (TECH)
• SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS (SOFT)
• "Intel® Education" – Innovation in Education and Research (IntelEdu)
Objectives
2010 – Towards a Learning and Knowledge Society – 2030
At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, Heads of State and Government set an
ambitious target for Europe to become "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-
based economy in the world" by 2010. They also placed education firmly at the top of the
political agenda, calling for education and training systems to be adapted to meet this challenge.
Relevant topics include but are not restricted to:
• National Policies and Strategies on Virtual Learning
• National Projects on Virtual Universities
• International Projects and International Collaboration on Web-based Education
• Dot-com Educational Institutions and their Impact on Traditional Universities
• Educational Portals for education and training
• Reusable Learning Objects for e-Learning and e-Training
• Testing and Assessment Issues of Web-based Education
• Academia/Industry Collaboration on Web-based Training
• Faculty Development on Web-based Education
• Funding Opportunities for Projects in Web-based Education
The 5
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2010

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Learning and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (I&CT) will
be examined from a number of complementary perspectives:
• Education – supporting the development of key life skills and competences
• Research – emerging technologies and new paradigms for learning
• Social – improving social inclusion and addressing special learning needs
• Enterprise – for growth, employment and meeting the needs of industry
• Employment – lifelong learning and improving the quality of jobs
• Policy – the link between e-Learning and European / National policy imperatives
• Institutional – the reform of Europe’s education and training systems and how
I&CT can act as catalyst for change
• Industry – the changing nature of the market for learning services and the new
forms of partnership that are emerging

General Objectives
The implementation of the Information Society Technologies (IST) according to the
European Union Framework-Programme (FP6, FP7)
• The implementation of the Bologna Conference (1999) directives for the Romanian
educational system.
• The development of a Romanian Framework supporting the professional and
management initiatives of the educational community.
• The organization of the activities concerning the cooperation between the educational
system and the economical companies to find out an adequate distribution of the
human resources over the job market.
• To promote and implement the modern ideas for both the initial and continuing
education, to promote the team based working, to attract and integrate the young
graduates in the Research and Development projects, to promote and implement
IT&C for initial and adult education activities.

Particular objectives
The development of Research, projects, and software for E-Learning, Software and
Educational Management fields
• To promote and develop scientific research for e-Learning, Educational Software
and Virtual Reality
• To create a framework for a large scale introduction of the e-Learning approaches
in teaching activity.
• To assist the teaching staff and IT&C professionals in the usage of the modern
technologies for teaching both in the initial and adult education.
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
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• To improve the cooperation among students, teachers, pedagogues, psychologists
and IT professionals in specification, design, coding, and testing of the educational
software.
• To increase the teachers' role and responsibility to design, develop and use of the
traditional technologies and IT&C approaches in a complementary fashion, both
for initial and adult education.
• To promote and develop information technologies for the teaching, management
and training activities.
• To promote and use Educational Software Packages for the initial and adult education.


Thematic Areas/Sections

Models & Methodologies (M&M):
• Innovative Teaching and Learning Technologies
• Web-based Methods and Tools in Traditional, Online Education and
Training
• Collaborative E-Learning, E-Pedagogy,
• Design and Development of Online Courseware
• Information and Knowledge Processing
• Knowledge Representation and Ontologism
• Cognitive Modelling and Intelligent systems
• Algorithms and Programming for Modelling

Technologies (TECH):
• Innovative Web-based Teaching and Learning Technologies
• Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) technologies
• Web, Virtual Reality/AR and mixed technologies
• Web-based Education (WBE), Web-based Training (WBT)
• New technologies for e-Learning, e-Training and e-Skills
• Educational Technology, Web-Lecturing Technology
• Mobile E-Learning, Communication Technology Applications
• Computer Graphics and Computational Geometry
• Intelligent Virtual Environment

Software Solutions (SOFT):
• New software environments for education & training
• Software and management for education
• Virtual Reality Applications in Web-based Education
• Computer Graphics, Web, VR/AR and mixed-based applications for
education & training, business, medicine, industry and other sciences
• Multi-agent Technology Applications in WBE and WBT
• Streaming Multimedia Applications in Learning
• Scientific Web-based Laboratories and Virtual Labs
• Software Computing in Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence
• Avatars and Intelligent Agents
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2010

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Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

Virtual Environments for Learning (VEL):
• New technologies for e-Learning, e-Training and e-Skills
• New software environments for education & training
• Web & Virtual Reality technologies
• Educational Technology and Web-Lecturing Technology
• Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) technologies
• Innovative Web-based Teaching and Learning Technologies
• Software and Management for Education
• Intelligent Virtual Environment

Virtual Reality (VR):
• Computer Graphics and Computational Geometry
• Algorithms and Programming for Modeling
• Web & Virtual Reality-based applications
• Graphics applications for education & training, business, medicine,
industry and other sciences
• Scientific Web-based Laboratories and Virtual Labs
• Software Computing in Virtual Reality

Knowledge Processing (KP):
• Information and Knowledge Processing
• Knowledge Representation and Ontologism
• Multi-agent Technology Applications in WBE and WBT
• Streaming Multimedia Applications in Learning
• Mobile E-Learning, Communication Technology Applications
• Cognitive Modelling, Intelligent systems
• New Software Technologies, Avatars and Intelligent Agents
• Software Computing in Artificial Intelligence

Education solution towards 21st Century challenges (IntelEDU):
• Digital Curriculum, collaborative rich-media applications, student
software, teacher software
• Improved Learning Methods, interactive and collaborative methods to
help teachers incorporate technology into their lesson plans and enable
students to learn anytime, anywhere
• Professional Development, readily available training to help teachers
acquire the necessary ICT skills
• Connectivity and Technology, group projects and improve communication
among teachers, students, parents and administrators








S e c t i o n


MODELS & METHODOLOGIES




Models and Methodologies (M&M):
• Innovative Teaching and Learning Technologies
• Web-based Methods and Tools in Traditional, Online
Education and Training
• Collaborative E-Learning, E-Pedagogy,
• Design and Development of Online Courseware
• Information and Knowledge Processing
• Knowledge Representation and Ontologism
• Cognitive Modelling and Intelligent systems
• Algorithms and Programming for Modelling
2010: Year of Mathematics in Romania and Centenary of
Romanian Mathematical Society. An unique Journal in the world:
Mathematical Gazette at 115 anniversary

Marin Vlada

University of Bucharest, Department of Mathematics and
Computer Science, 14 Academiei Street, RO-010014, Romania
E-Mail: vlada@fmi.unibuc.ro

Abstract
This paper presents some aspects regarding the development of mathematics education in
Romania at the centenary of Romanian Mathematical Society (RMS / SSMR). 2010 was
declared "Year of Mathematical Education in Romania" with the slogan "Everything is
correct thinking is Mathematics" (Grigore Moisil). In the 115 years of developing,
Mathematical Gazette (“Gazeta Matematica” Journal is founded in 1895) contributed and
continues to contribute to the training of specialists, conscience and character. Students,
teachers of various disciplines, mathematicians, engineers, economists and researchers who
do, at school, college or university, Mathematical Gazette problems or issues proposed and
articles published in Mathematical Gazette, were animated by a passion for Mathematics for
creative thinking, for demonstration and argument. This passion was encouraged by a
stimulating and motivating framework of collaboration Mathematical Gazette. From the
appearance, in 1895, and until now, the journal was an important landmark and a true
Romanian mathematics school and has contributed to the formation of many generations of
young fans of mathematics, from which many mathematicians have emerged Why do credit
Romania worldwide. Mathematical Gazette is the most famous mathematical journal in
Romania for youth to develop and strengthen math education. Mathematical Gazette is an
unique Journal in the world.

Keywords: Romanian Mathematical Society, Mathematical Education, Mathematical Gazette,
creative thinking

1 Introduction and Motivation
Motto: "All what is correct thinking is either mathematics
or feasible to be transposed in a mathematical model.”
Grigore C. Moisil (1906-1973), President of the first
International Mathematical Olympiad (1959, Romania);
“You are never sure whether or not a problem is good
unless you actually solve it.”
Mikhail Gromov (Abel Prize, 2009)

Mathematical School in Romania was developed under the influence of
European education system. In Iassy, in the year 1795 is printed the
first book in Romanian mathematics by Amfilohie Hotiniul (Arithmetic
elements, translated and adapted after Arithmetic by Italian Alessandro
Conti). Amfilohie Hotiniul was Roman scholar, bishop of Hotin who
campaigned to replace the teaching of Greek to Romanian. Of philosophical interest is “Gramatica
de la învăŃătura fizicii” (The Grammar of Learning Physics) – 1796, which handled an Italian
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
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encyclopaedia of sciences from the 18th century, which contained not only well known for that
time considerations regarding philosophy as the study of matter, but also astronomical,
geographic, zoological, chemical and anatomical facts. The activity of Amfilohie Hotiniul as
popularizer of sciences did not come into opposition with his theological vocation, because he
considered the subjects of sciences as divine creations (http://www.romanian-philosophy.ro). After
concluding the Russo-Turkish war (1828 - 1829), the Peace of Adrianopol (1829) was introduced
in the Romanian Principalities an "Organic Statute”. Public education was organized in four
stages: beginner schools, human schools, complementary teachings, and special courses.
Schools for special courses were three sections of which one was for applied mathematics where
teaching trigonometry, differential and integral calculation, mechanical, etc. Of these schools later
developed Romanian universities. Between 1835 - 1847 worked in Iassy Mihaileana Academy, the
first Romanian high school in Moldova, established under the reign of Mihai Sturdza. In this
contribution had Gheorghe Asachi, Eftimie Murgu and others. In 1860 Prince Alexandru Ioan
Cuza signed the decree the establishment of the University of Iassy and in 1864 by the University
of Bucharest.
In 1864 Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza signed the law to introduce compulsory primary
education (four years) and secondary (seven years). In 1898 Spiru Haret divides education into
three cycles of four years: primary, secondary and high scool. In 1881 was founded "National
School of Bridges and Roads” of Bucharest. In 1920 it becomes the "Polytechnic School”, now the
“Polytechnic” University of Bucharest. At that time began to be noted for enthusiastic
personalities of Romanian school mathematics learning progress.
NOTE: Journal of scientific recess – “The first the furrow “- http://www.
recreatiimatematice.ro, "Review of Scientific recess is the first scientific journal in the country to
address issues of youth in all branches of science, but with a predominantly mathematical content"
is the first time in Iassy, 15 January 1883 until 1888. Resumes his appearance in 1999 all in Iassy.
Appears today.

2 About beginnings and initiatives

Motto: “Thinking, knowledge, life, and the pursuit of happiness - all that matters.”
M. Vlada, 2010

Foundation of Mathematical Gazette Journal

In October 1894, five young engineers Victor Balaban, Vasile Cristescu, Ion Ionescu, Mihail
Roco, and Ioan Zottu (founders believe GM), graduates of the School of Bridges and Roads of
Bucharest (now Polytechnic University of Bucharest), have proposed a Romanian journal of
mathematics to "our high school students”. Journal name was chosen "Mathematical Gazette"
(Gazeta Matematică). The first issue of the Mathematical Gazette came with 16 pages on 15
September 1895, the day after it has been tested and verified with a heavy train, bridge at
Cernavoda. This bridge was built under the leadership eng. Anghel Saligny and construction was
the largest of its kind in Europe at that time.
The aims of Gazeta Matematică, as stated in its first issue (September 15, 1895), were:
• to publish original papers in mathematics;
• to develop the appetite for the study of mathematics and for doing original research.
In the 115 years of developing, Mathematical Gazette contributed and continues to contribute to
the training of specialists, conscience and character. Students, teachers of various disciplines,
mathematicians, engineers, economists and researchers who do, at school, college or university,
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Mathematical Gazette problems or issues proposed and
articles published in Mathematical Gazette, were animated
by a passion for Mathematics for creative thinking, for
demonstration and argument. This passion was encouraged
by a stimulating and motivating framework of
collaboration Mathematical Gazette (Vlada 2010a).
From the appearance, in 1895, and until now, the journal
was an important landmark and a true Romanian
mathematics school mathematics has contributed to the
formation of many generations of young fans of
mathematics, from which many mathematicians have
emerged Why do credit Romania worldwide.
Mathematical Gazette is the most famous mathematical
journal in Romania for youth to develop and strengthen
math education. Journal said in its first appearance that is a
mathematics journal for youth and strengthen math
education.

Foundation of Mathematical Gazette Society

In 1909 the editors of the Mathematical Gazette (“Gazeta Matematică”) met and decided to set up
the Mathematical Gazette Society. The members of the new Society are listed in the first issue of
volume 15 of the Mathematical Gazette. The Society became a legal entity in the following year
when its statutes were accepted and King Carol I promulgated the law establishing the
Mathematical Gazette Society by Royal decree No. 3798/1910.
The Society managed to continue to publish the Gazeta Matematica, despite the loss of their
headquarters and library, operating from private houses from four years before the Faculty of
Mathematics of the University of Bucharest gave them two rooms from which to run the Society.

Romania, initiator of the International Mathematical Olympiad

The annual mathematical contests organised by the Society became National Olympiad
competitions in 1949. In 1959, Professor Tiberiu Roman, general secretary of SSMF, had the idea
of organizing the first International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Brasov. Grigore C. Moisil
(1906-1973), President of SSMF at the time, organized the first IMO (1959, Romania). “After that
the Fifth Congress of the Romanian Mathematicians organized by the Romanian Society of
Mathematical and Physical Sciences, it was proposed that an International Mathematical
Olympiad competition be set up. The Society organized the International Mathematical Olympiad
competition in Romania in 1959, 1960, 1969, 1978 and 1999 ”. (Berinde M. and Berinde V. 2001)
“What is the IMO?” The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World
Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students. The first IMO was held in
1959, hosted by Romania, with seven countries participating: Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland,
Czechoslovakia, East Germany and USSR. Since then, the participating countries have taken turns
in hosting it. The number of participating countries increased to 97 countries from all continents in
the 49th IMO (http://www.imo2009.de).
“The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics
Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country. The first IMO
was held in 1959 in Romania, with 7 countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over
100 countries from 5 continents”.
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Source: http://www.imo-official.org/ and http://www.imo-official.org/organizers.aspx
Note: Bulgaria is initiator of the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) (1989, Pravetz) -
http://ioinformatics.org/index.shtml.


The 50th International Mathematical Olympiad,
2009, Germany

The 51st International Mathematical Olympiad,
2010, Kazakhstan

“As a creator and promoter of the IMO, Romania’s scientific
benefits are significant. If we use the data collected in [3] for
the period 1959-2003, more than two thirds of former Romanian
IMO contestants are or were involved in academia or research,
in Romania or abroad.” (Berinde V. and Păcurar M. 2009).
We mention here a few names, accompanied by the year
when they have first competed in the IMO: V. Barbu (1959), S.
Strătilă, C. Năstăsescu and T. Zamfirescu (1960), G. Lusztig and
L. Bădescu (1961), L. Zsido (1963), D. Voiculescu and E. Popa
(1965), D. Ralescu (1967), Al. Dimca and R. Gologan (1970),
D. Timotin (1971), M. Pimsner (1972), A. Ocneanu (1973), M.
ColtŃoiu and D. Vuza (1974), Al. Zaharescu and V. Nistor
(1978), M. Mitrea (1981), L. Funar (1983), P. Mironescu and D.
Tătaru (1984), A. Moroianu and A. Vasiu (1987), F. Belgun and
T. Bănică (1988), S. Moroianu, M. Crainic and D. Iftimie (1990).

3 Why Mathematics?

Mathematical Gazette fate is composed of "ups and downs" as it is with a man's life. Weather
difficulties were defeated with the help of fans Mathematical Gazette, and were not few. And
young and older should know this, so that lessons went through Mathematical Gazette to extract
those that lead to progress, development and knowledge. If Mathematics was not, nothing would
be was no wheel and no computer, no pattern and no phone, no Informatics or Cybernetics. But to
all these entities materials invented by man, Mathematics helps man to think about life, create and
imagine, to love nature and his fellows, to be emotional and brave, to be consistent and orderly to
dream and be happy.
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Primordial role in promoting mathematics among young people plays a math teacher. It must
fulfill its mission of teacher education and teaching methods using the most appropriate
mathematical discovery by studying as many students. Teacher should not see in his students
"good students" and "weak students", but "students" must be guided to discover the knowledge and
skills are encouraged to go through “step by step" learning and discovering secrets scientific
knowledge (Vlada M. 2010c).
Student being Acad. Professor Miron Nicolescu (1903-1975) recalls that has subscribed to the
Mathematical Gazette urging his teacher of mathematics. Here's what he said to this effect: "My
first contact with this magazine was not easy. It seemed to me that I will never understand
anything. The ice was broken only when I saw that I can solve a problem proposed by others. Then
followed a moment I will never forget: when I saw one of my mathematical notes, printed in the
journal. Then came an article, and other items. The road had been traced. From the beginning I
knew I could climb higher in mathematical research working hardy" (“Academician Professor
Miron Nicolescu” by Marcus Solomon, Mathematical Gazette, no. 11, 1975). In this note Professor
Solomon Marcus remembers teacher what told Miron Nicolescu “Until proven otherwise, any man
is good for me and give confidence”.
Today, the mathematics teacher must adapt to new conditions imposed by the new
development of Romanian society. It is said by pupils, students and parents that "Math is hard,
that is arid and that is too abstract and theoretical". Educational Ministry, professional
associations, committees of teachers of mathematics and must be based on this analysis and
definition of educational reform programs.
Currently, the European Union is operating various research and development programs that
are based on scientific knowledge and technological world. For example, in 2009 the European
Year of Research and Innovation (European Year of Creativity and Innovation), the slogan
"Imagine. Create. Innovate", has defined the promotion of creative and innovative approaches in
different sectors of human activity. It was aimed to promote education in mathematics, scientific
and technological skills of basic and advanced conducive to technological innovation, and promote
closer links between arts, organizations, schools and universities (http://create2009.europa.eu).
In Romania, in 2009, were held scientific events ICVL (The 4
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Vrtual Learning) and CNIV (The 7
th
National Conference on Virtual Learning). They were held
under the auspices of the European Year of Research and Innovation (Vlada 2009).
ICVL and CNIV Projects are scientific events that promote innovative technologies and
methodologies in education, research and continuous improvement, both in education
environments, namely university and in business. Structured and organized according to European
principles and international standards, the two projects encourage and promote work on projects,
collaborative activities, methods and scientific experimentation, creative thinking and intuition,
reasoning and demonstration.

4 Beginnings - Founders and "pillars" Mathematical
Gazette

In October 1894, five young engineers Victor Balaban,
Vasile Cristescu, Ion Ionescu, Mihail Roco and Ioan
Zottu (founders believe GM), graduates of the School of
Bridges and Roads of Bucharest (now Polytechnic
University of Bucharest), have discussed poor results
obtained by candidates in entrance examinations that
year. In conclusion, he proposed a Romanian journal of
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mathematics to "our high school students”. Name the Journal "Mathematics Gazette" was
proposed by Victor Balaban. It will not see his dream come true because seriously ill and died at
the age of 25 years. The first editor of the magazine consisted of five young engineers (Victor
Balaban has been replaced by Constantza Pompilian fresh degree in mathematics from Bucharest
and Paris), in which engineers have added Emanoil Davidescu, Maurice Kinbaum, Nicolae
Niculescu, Tancred Constantinescu and mathematician Andrei G. Ioachimescu with degree in
mathematics from Paris.
The first issue of the journal Mathematical came with 16 pages on 15 September 1895, the day
after it has been tested and verified with a heavy train, Cernavodă Bridge (Podul de la Cernavodă
- built under the leadership eng. Saligny), the largest construction of its kind in Europe at that time.
The same year he joined the editorial mathematician Gheorghe łiŃeica (Editorial remained until
his death), graduated in that year of the Faculty of Bucharest. Followed Davidoglu A. (1902), C.
Popovici (1903), Traian Lalescu (1905), and N. Abramescu (1907).
• Mathematical Gazette motto "enthusiasm, harmony, unselfish work, continuous sacrifice"
is the work of engineers and mathematicians.
• In 1901 the journal Mathematical Gazette Library collection opens with the publication of
"directory arithmetic problems, algebra, geometry and trigonometry”, authors are I.
Ionescu, A. Ioachimescu, Gheorghe Titeica, V. Cristescu, which will be printed in Honor.
• "Pillars" Mathematical Gazette are considered: Ion Ionescu, a professor at Polytechnic
School, the famous mathematician Gheorghe Titeica, professor of mechanical engineer
Andrei Ioachimescu and Vasile Cristescu (authors collection ITIC).
• In 1909, an editorial board meeting held at Valea Calugareasca, decided the establishment
Society Mathematical Gazette (Gazette editorial on September 1, 1909 was converted
Mathematical Society).
• In 1910 the Chamber of Deputies voted Mathematical Gazette Law Society recognition
and King Carol I promulgate the law on recognition of the Mathematical Gazette Society
by Royal Decree no. 3798. The time is early history of Mathematical Sciences Society in
Romania (SSMR). This year, in September 2010 SSMR centennial anniversary.
The first year there were 144 subscriptions, and then the annual number of subscriptions has
increased constantly. Circulation increased rapidly, reaching more than 50,000 copies in 1974 and
around 80 years is published in Mathematical Gazette 120000-140000 copies (Trifu 2005).
The following three journals are published by the RMS (Berinde V. 2010):
1. Bulletin Mathematique de la Societe des Sciences Mathematiques de Roumanie, which is
a quarterly research journal (4 issues a year). It was founded in 1896 and the current
volume is 53 (or 101 – old series) in 2010;
2. Gazeta Matematică, seria B, which is a monthly journal (12 issues/volume) devoted to
elementary mathematics (primary, secondary and high school students and teachers). It
was founded in 1895 and has been published continuously in this format. The current
volume is 115 (2010);
3. Gazeta Matematică, seria A, which is a quarterly journal (4 issues/volume) devoted to
teachers of mathematics. The current volume is 107 (or 28 – new series) in 2010.
5 Evolution of Mathematical Gazette
Readers (problem solvers) few at the beginning - 90 peoples in 1950 - is constantly growing,
reaching several thousand in 1974. Each issue of the journal contained several pages of finely
written solvers name, ordered alphabetically by locality. Contents Gazette is enriched with new
items constantly, from articles, notes math exam issues, bibliographies, on request, Miscellaneous,
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problems solved, issues proposed, Box solvers. Are almost all fields
of mathematics: arithmetic and number theory, algebra, geometry
(synthetic, analytic, differential, descriptive), trigonometry, calculus,
mathematical logic, etc.. Since 1980 it introduced a new column
"computer problems". Also since then appeared in several journal
articles and the scale of computer science (informatics) and interest of
young people for informatics and computer use. This journal's success
and attracted many students, teachers, mathematicians, engineers and
researchers. In addition, however, managed to rank Editor solving
problems in its annual review and award many students. This
represents the recognition and consideration for the work of
mathematics teachers in Romania schools (Vlada 210b).
Should highlight the importance Mathematical Gazette editorial on
the organization of all activities related to journal: publication of the proposed issues and articles,
check the solutions sent to the editor, published the names of problem solvers, publishing data
from various problems of mathematics exams or competitions, publishing solutions issues,
publishing articles and issues regarding the improvement of teachers in maths, mathematical notes,
publishing materials on the activities of members of the Society for Mathematical Sciences, today
Society for Mathematical Sciences in Romania (SSMR). The year 1950 is a very difficult year for
Mathematical Gazette editorial because the state takes abuse and violence, without a title or any
other formality buildings Mathematical Gazette Society, respectively Mathematical Gazette
Society House 144 (Calea GriviŃei 144) and “House reading Ion N. Ionescu” from . Str. Răsuri
no. 25. This act of culture was destroyed physically “Library of Mathematical Gazette Society"
(See "History of Mathematical Sciences Society in Romania" Trifu 2005, Vlada 2010b)
• In 1949 the unification of the Mathematical Gazette Society and Romanian Society of
Sciences incurrence of Mathematical Sciences and Physical Society of Romania, who
inherits property under a new status of the two society. President of the new society was
Acad. Grigore C. Moisil. Mathematical and Physical Sciences Society of Romania
organizes National Mathematics Olympiad. Mathematical Gazette's annual contests were
a national expansion. With financial support from the state math competitions were held
in three stages: local, regional, national.
• In 1964, the detachment, the establishment of Mathematical Sciences Society (SSM).
Mathematics Gazette editorial during 1950-1999 was coordinated by the next chief editors:
1956-1968, Sacter O.; 1969-1974, Ionescu-łiu Constantin; 1974-1980, Pârşan Liviu; 1980-1995,
Teodorescu Nicolae; 1996-1999, łena Marcel. Management Society of Mathematical Sciences in
Romania to establish: 1949-1973, acad. Grigore C. Moisil -president; 1973-1995 acad. Nicolae
Teodorescu - president; since 1995 acad. Petre Mocanu – president; since 2004 prof. dr. Dorin
Popescu – president; since 2007 prof. dr. Radu Gologan – president.
After 1989, the Mathematical Gazette editorial occurred several changes. The circulation began
to decline. In 1995, in the 110 th year of its appearance, Series B, Mathematical Gazette was
printed in 8000 copies and Series A in 700 copies. Magazine appearance was possible by attracting
sponsors. Today, the journal and the promotion of mathematics is supported by the company
Softwin. They use several ways of communication and information processing for all activities
related to the magazine. All these forms attempt to cope with various negative aspects appeared in
the interest of young people towards mathematics, and generally to teaching and education.
In fact, if you make a more thorough analysis can be inferred that there is probably the same
negative conditions caused by the five young founders of the Mathematical Gazette in 1895, to
consider an initiative on the youth culture of high school mathematics in Romanian. Today, there
are obvious many more ways of initiative, but it should be noted that some young enthusiasm and
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will could not be planned and may not be searched or checked. In conclusion, solutions are found
throughout the events, attitudes and initiatives of our young people and others-colleagues, friends,
organizations, governors have an obligation to support them and encourage them. Nowadays, the
use of IT technologies and Web is different ways of attracting young people in problem solving
activity: http://www.olimpiade.ro/, http://www.viitoriolimpici.ro/, http://www.concurs-euclid.ro/,
http://www.cangurul.ro/, http://www.arhimede.ro/, http://www.experior.ro/ .
6 TOP 100: Creative work at the Mathematical Gazette (1895-2005)

Creative work at Mathematical Gazette: Problems and articles
published in GM (period 1895-2005) by students, teachers,
mathematicians, engineers and researchers (Vlada 2010a).
NOTE: Information on the number of proposed problems and articles
published in GM during 1895-2005 are taken from the electronic edition
of the Mathematical Gazette SSMR and company Softwin. Application
offered “The authors list”. Data were taken manually and automatically
processed by sorting “Total” of proposed problems and articles (SSMR
2005).


No First and Last Name Problems Article Total
1 Ionescu-łiu Constantin D. 2289 16 2305
2 Ionescu Ion 635 421 1056
3 BătineŃu-Giurgiu Dumitru 681 62 743
4 Buicliu Gh. 462 191 653
5 ChiriŃă Marcel 349 169 518
6 Panaitopol LaurenŃiu 479 18 497
7 Pârşan Liviu C. 460 15 475
8 Linteş Ioan Gheorghe 274 140 414
9 Szıllıssy Gheorghe 368 3 371
10 Simionescu Gh. D. 279 42 321
11 Doboşan Aurel 284 1 285
12 Safta Ion 263 1 264
13 łena Marcel 230 31 261
14 Ghermănescu M. 206 51 257
15 Tomescu Ioan I. 230 24 254
16 łiŃeica Gabriela 145 108 253
17 Thebault V. 131 112 243
18 Teodorescu Nicolae 95 146 241
19 Rotaru Florin 238 0 238
20 Bencze Mihaly 172 62 234
21 Ioachimescu Dumitru 187 40 227
22 Abramecu N. 166 57 223
23 Atanasiu Ionel 199 0 199
24 Mihăileanu Nicolae N. 148 46 194
25 Pavelescu Nicolae 179 14 193
26 Constantinescu Laura 187 1 188
27 Teodorescu Ioan St. 153 28 181
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28 Nicula Virgil 153 13 166
29 Andronache Marian 160 5 165
30 Cristescu V. 105 59 164
31 Motrici Cristinel 150 7 157
32 Andreescu Titu 146 11 157
33 Sergescu Petre C. 74 83 157
34 Ionescu-Bujor Constantin Th. 94 62 156
35 Maftei Ioan 148 4 152
36 Apostol Constantin 150 1 151
37 Pop Valer 147 0 147
38 GhiŃă RomiŃă 146 1 147
39 GhiŃă Ioan 142 1 143
40 Acu Florin Dumitru 127 16 143
41 Ghioca Adrian P. 134 7 141
42 Stoenescu Alexandru 90 49 139
43 Lalescu Traian 82 56 138
44 Achim Gh. 137 0 137
45 AngheluŃă Th. 100 37 137
46 Ene Aurel 136 0 136
47 Tudor Ionel 135 1 136
48 Lascu Mircea Mihai 127 8 135
49 MiheŃ Dorel 129 4 133
50 łino Ovidiu 97 36 133
51 Predescu Ioan Z. 130 0 130
52 Firu Doru 128 0 128
53 Focşăneanu Mihail I. 76 50 126
54 Gheorghiu Şerban A. 92 33 125
55 Anca Dorinel 119 4 123
56 Costachescu Cezar 117 5 122
57 Radu Dan 120 1 121
58 Cojocaru Daniel 118 0 118
59 Ursărescu Marian 117 1 118
60 Ghergu Marius 111 6 117
61 Săvulescu D. 114 1 115
62 Alexe Ştefan 110 4 114
63 CoşniŃă Cezar 103 9 112
64 Florescu Ioan B. 67 45 112
65 MiculiŃă Mihai 105 6 111
66 Vulpescu-Jalea Florin 101 10 111
67 Becheanu Mircea 89 21 110
68 Smarandache Ştefan 108 0 108
69 Şerbănescu Dinu 103 5 108
70 Vlada Marin 99 5 104
71 Brânzei Dan 90 14 104
72 Grecu Cristian 102 0 102
73 Caragea Constantin 99 3 102
74 Pop Ovidiu 99 3 102
75 Ilie Romeo 100 0 100
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76 łifui Stefan 99 0 99
77 Zidaru Vasile 99 0 99
78 Barisien E.N. 93 6 99
79 Sacter Octav 82 16 98
80 Popoviciu Tiberiu 64 34 98
81 Georgescu Corneliu 90 7 97
82 Andrica Dorin 83 12 95
83 Zapan Grigore C. 76 19 95
84 Gheorghiu Gheorghe Th. 67 28 95
85 Vicol-Turcanu Gheorghe 93 0 93
86 Iacob Eugeniu St. 79 14 93
87 Marnescu Damian 92 0 92
88 Bostan Gh. 90 2 92
89 SireŃchi Gheorghe 84 8 92
90 Roşu Alexandru 66 26 92
91 Cocea Th. Gheorghe 84 7 91
92 Secleman Dan 89 0 89
93 Molea Gheorghe F. 88 1 89
94 Niculescu Liliana 87 2 89
95 Abasohn Ernest 77 12 89
96 Nicolau Constantin H. 79 9 88
97 Ottescu Constantin 79 9 88
98 Zapan Gheorghe 67 20 87
99 Adam Mircea 65 22 87
100 Bebea Nicolae 85 0 85
101 Voicu Ioan 83 2 85
102 Matrosenco Valentin 84 0 84
103 Savu Ion 79 5 84
104 Ştefănescu Emil 74 10 84
105 Nedelcu Ion 83 0 83
106 Piticari Miahai 77 6 83
107 Rădulescu Sorin 80 0 80
108 Panaitopol Maria 76 4 80
109 Eckstein Alfred 80 0 80
110 Musta Ştefan 72 7 79
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Marcus S. (2004): Mathematics in Romania, Editura CUB PRESS 22, Baia Mare.
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technologies. In Proceedings of The 1st International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2006,
Bucharest University Press, pp 69-82.
Vlada M. (2009): Creative and innovative technologies in virtual education - ICVL and CNIV Conferences
(Tehnologii creative şi inovative în ÎnvăŃământul virtual – ConferinŃele CNIV şi ICVL),
http://topub.unibuc.ro/?p=558, online, access sept. 2010
Vlada M. (2010a): Mathematical Gazette at 115 anniversary, http://www.descopera.ro/stiinta/6067449-
gazeta-matematica-115-ani-de-aparitie, online, access sept. 2010.
Vlada M. (2010b): Gazeta Matematică la 115 ani de apariŃie. Apărut în: Elearning.Romania, Bucureşti,
Elearning.Romania, 2010-02-08, TEHNE- Centrul pentru Dezvoltare şi Inovare în EducaŃie,
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la-115-ani-de-aparitie.
The Potential of Collaborative Augmented Reality in Education

Marin Vlada
1
, Grigore Albeanu
2


(1) University of Bucharest, Romania
E-mail: vlada@fmi.unibuc.ro
(2) Spiru Haret University, Bucharest, Romania
E-mail: galbeanu@gmail.com

Abstract
The role of augmented reality (AR) in education was already proved by the large collection of
existing projects that address various fields and teaching/training levels. The recent
developments in IT&C make possible collaborative activities and the usage of collaborative
augmented reality systems/services in education and research. After presenting the state of
the art in augmented reality for education and proposing a taxonomy of educational AR based
systems, this paper describes the collaborative paradigm and its impact on using AR for
increasing the presence of new technologies in education.

Keywords: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Education

Introduction

Part of the Mixed Reality Continuum of the (Milgram & Kishino, 1994), Augmented Reality is
such a technology involving the overlay of computer graphics on the real world. According to
(Azuma et al, 1997), a system based on augmented reality hardware and software “supplements
the real world with virtual (computer generated) objects that appear to coexist in the same space as
the real world”. Five terms are considered by Milgram & Kishino (1994): Real Environment (RE)
containing real objects and is not based on computer assistance, Virtual Environment (VE) being
completely computer assisted and modelled, Augmented Reality (AR) referring to some real
environment augmented with virtual information, Augmented Virtuality (AV) referring to a virtual
environment augmented with real objects, and Mixed Reality (MR), a mixture of real and virtual
information to form the environment. More specific, Azuma (1997) consider that AR combines
real and virtual, refers to spatial registration and an AR system in interactive in real time.
The Milgram’s continuum was extended with a “mediality axis” by S. Mann (2002) in order to
obtain Mediated Reality and Mediated Virtuality, and any combination of them. Benford et al.
(1998) define the shared spaces in a two-dimensional plane of transportation, artificiality, and
spatiality. The T-Transportation concept corresponds to the Virtual Reality immersion concept:
“transportation allows the possibility of introducing remote participants and objects into the local
environment that then becomes augmented rather than excluded.” The A-Artificiality refers to the
extension of the physical world to a synthetic word (computer generated). Four basic words are
used to describe better the two-dimensional plan TA: local (remain in the physical world), physical
(generated from the real world), synthetic (generated by computer), and remote. These make
possible the following particular spaces: Physical Reality (local, physical), Tele-presence (remote,
physical), Augmented Reality (local, synthetic), and Virtual Reality (remote, synthetic).
Viewing the term AR on the Milgram’s continuum, as mediated reality or a particular space,
the following characteristics remain important: 1) Any AR system is a 3D registered combination
of real and synthetic parts (objects, attributes) interacting with users or other environments in real
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time, according to Azuma; 2) AR interfaces have to “allow users to see the real world at the same
time as virtual imagery attached to real locations and objects” as Billinghurst (2002) said; 3) AR
supplements the reality with synthetic entities (graphics, sound, feel and smell, etc.)
Recently, Ford and Höllerer (2008) identified the usage of the AR systems in workspaces, and
proved that AR is also a Knowledge Management Tool following the AOD model: acquires
knowledge, organizes the collected information in an organizational memory, and make available
to users the information by a distribution mechanism. Moreover, AR can be used to create modern
Online Communication Tools (OCT) based on specific displays (HMD – head mounted display,
HHD – handheld display, SD – spatial display), trackers (digital cameras, optical sensors, wireless
sensors, GPS etc.), input devices (pointing devices, gloves, etc.), small-sized computers (wearable
computing devices), and appropriate software for realistic graphical and sound generators, etc.
In the following the presentation considers education as an important field where AR systems
can be used in order to create augmented laboratories for teaching different fields of science. The
second section deals with positive experience in usage Augmented Reality systems for education,
and the third section describes the collaborative paradigm applied for e-Learning systems based on
Augment Reality technology. Concluding remarks are provided in the end.
Classes of Augmented Reality Systems for Education

As mentioned by Mann (2002), the term “virtual reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier (1989) to
bring a wide variety of virtual projects under a single rubric. Also the term “augmented reality”
belongs to Tom Caudell (1990), introduced at Boeing while working together with David Mizell,
and researching ways to superimpose diagrams and markings to guide workers on a factory floor.
It is important also to mention the project Sensorama (1957-1962) – a simulator providing visual,
sound, vibration and smell. However, the superposition of computer graphics onto a view of the
real world was initially proposed and explored at Harvard University when Ivan Sutherland
invented the head-mounted display (1966). These devices, and the algorithms developed for
graphical primitive generation, prove that the exploration of the reality-virtuality continuum, of the
two-dimensional plane of virtuality-mediality, or of the shared space defined by transportation,
artificiality and spatiality was started by the creator of computer graphic, Ivan Sutherland in a
University by a professor and his students, and now the actual systems (hardware, software,
knowledge data management methodologies) are useful entities in modern education using
computer based teaching/training/learning.
As described by Albeanu et al. (2010), the modern virtual learning systems have to interoperate
and the portability has to be an important issue. Due to the specific interfaces to be used this
objective is difficult to be obtained. The technologies integrated in AR systems are represented by
a heterogeneous group including: displays, client-server architectures, wireless communication,
image recognition, video compression and 3D modelling and positioning related to a reference
system.
Various AR systems depend on specific displays (technology still in development) or tracking
devices. The most used AR displays are: Optical See-Through HMD, Virtual Retinal Systems –
VRD, Video See-Through HMD, Monitor based, and Projector based.
An Optical See-Through HMD shows the virtual environment directly over the real world
using a transparent HMD, placing optical instruments (combiners) in front of the user’s eyes. The
real world can be seen unchanged through optical instruments. The system has also a head tracker
and a scene generator module (Vallino (2002): Figure 7). For educational purposes, small
prototypes have to be attached to conventional eyeglasses.
Video See-Through HMD uses an opaque HMD to present merged video of the virtual
environment and the view from cameras on the HMD. The system is composed by head tracker,
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
40
scene generator, and video compositor (Vallino (2002): Figure 6). The video camera captures
information from the physical world. Based on the user’s location and orientation (established by
the head tracker or any positioning system) and using the captured image then a combined scene is
generated.
The Virtual Retinal Displays is a visual display that scans modulated laser light onto retina of
the viewer's eye producing a rasterized image. The image is on retina but the user has the illusion
of seeing the image on a screen. The VRD consists of five basic elements: a light source, a
modulation mechanism, horizontal and vertical scanners, delivery optics and controlling
electronics.
The monitor based AR systems use merged video streams displayed on a conventional monitor
or hand held display. The system configuration (Vallino (2002): Figure 5) includes the graphical
system, the video merging module (combining video of real scene and virtual objects generated by
the graphical system), display able to process the augmented video.
The projection display uses real world objects as the projection surface for the virtual
environment.
AR systems can be based on mobile devices, like PDAs which present a set of functionalities
like any portable or ultra-portable computer.
Important applications of AR systems can be found in military training (Brown et al., 2004),
robotics and telerobotics (Jara et al., 2009; Albeanu et al., 2010) engineering design,
manufacturing, maintenance and repair (Henderson and Feiner, 2007), entertainment (Vallino,
2002; Cheok et al., 2009), medicine (Vallino, 2002), different workplaces (Ford and Hollerer,
2009), education (ICVL: 2006-2009; Billinghurst, 2002; Haller , 2004, Kaufmann et al.: 2003,
2006, 2008), learning (Hedegaard et al., 2006; ICVL: 2006-2009; Krauss et al., 2009) and training
(Brown et al., 2004; Christian, 2006).
Some authors consider AR learning environments when refer to pedagogical and psychological
aspects. The AR educational system has to be simple and robust providing clear and concise
information, support an easy and efficient interaction between the teacher/instructor, students and
teaching resources (educational software).
AR based systems are suitable as OCT systems for training, education, design and display at
different workspaces as Ford and Höllerer (2008) have proved. The KARMA project was related
to training for printer maintenance and repair. Other projects are: ARVIKA, SAR, the Augmented
Reality Kitchen, Magic Meeting, cAR/PE!, ARTHUR, etc.
A large collection of projects using basic level of augmentation is represented by the ISE (the
Romanian Information Educational System) educational software base (described by some ICVL
papers). Some projects with increased level of augmentation are described by (Kaufmann and
Meyer, 2008) and (Hedegaard et al., 2007) without making a complete inventory, but only to show
that there are some levels of augmentation. We can identify descriptive educational software (AR
is not embedded), small AR-based, medium AR-based and strong AR-based educational software.
By small AR-based educational software we identify that material which includes the simulation
of the phenomena under study including those based on Web3D (Liarokapis et al. 2004), by
medium AR-based educational software we refer to material based on VR interfaces, and by strong
AR-based educational software we refer to collaborative educational software based on VR
interfaces and supporting remote access and control. Even there is interactive web-based
educational software, without VR interfaces this class belongs to small AR-based educational
software. Existing educational software belongs to this class in large measure. In the next section
we consider the collaborative AR systems for education.
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Collaborative Augmented Reality Systems/Services in Education and Research

The classroom environment can be implemented in many ways: the Virtual Round Table model
providing collaborative augmented multi-user interaction (Broll et al., 2000), mixed reality
learning spaces (Müller et al., 2007), AR classroom (Núñez et al., 2008), distributed AR set-up
(Krauss et al., 2009), collaborative remote laboratories (Albeanu et al., 2010).
Traditional classroom is based on face-to-face settings allowing pedagogic communication.
The AR based systems enhances the users’ perception and improves the intuitive interaction with
the real world according to (Azuma, 1977). While in VR immersion the user cannot see the
physical world, in the case of AR approach the user can see the real world with virtual objects.
Medium AR educational items are represented by the MagicBook, the Augmented Reality
Volcano Kiosk, the S.O.L.A.R system, as Haller (2004) describes.
As proved by Müller et al (2007) the collaborative task solving between remote sites is
possible. Working collaboratively with real and virtual systems, some parts being remotely
distributed was implemented using Web service paradigm. A Mixed Reality server is responsible
to processes HTTP requests and manages the sessions of all remote users as described by the
collaborative mechatronic laboratories project discussed by Albeanu et al. (2010). In this way
VR/AR Remote Laboratories “offer a great number of advantages such as remote practices and learning
in a free and flexible way”, as Jara et al. (2009) remarked. Introducing the collaborative requirement
the cost and complexity of VR/AR Remote Laboratories used in modern consortium based education
will be managed accordingly, the resource sharing being the most important value obtained.
The Construct3D, detailed by Kaufmann and Schmalstieg (2006), is a collaborative system that
permits to teacher and student to work together. Construct3D is completely different from CAD
systems supporting two collaborating users wearing stereoscopic see-through HMDs providing a
shared virtual space.
The Virtual Round Table (VRT) is an interesting location independent model providing
individually adapted stereo view of the virtual world artefacts for each user, efficient as a
collaborative group environment. See-through projection glasses are used in order to superimpose
3D stereo visualization of a synthetic scene with the physical world. Mainly, VRT is based on
augmentation of the current environment, support collaboration between multiple users and
provides intuitive interaction with 3D objects.
Many educational projects are based on games. As shown by Kirner et al. (2006), developing
games using augmented reality is possible, hence AR based educational systems exploiting
learning through games will be feasible in an agile component-based development methodology.
Learning through role playing is another approach. The projects described by Klopfer et al.
(2005), also exploiting games metaphors, are based on handheld computers. All AR systems
described support collaboration within groups, but only the new games taking into account time
dependence, cascading events and distinct player roles are able to support collaboration between
groups.
The technological advances supporting wireless remote communication and mobile computing
provide new ways to growth the class of AR based computer-supported collaborative learning
systems by distributed collaboration with augmented reality. The ARiSE system described and
evaluated by Krauss et al. (2009) consists of a stereo-capable video projector that extends the
conventional desktop environment. A light pen was developed to support remote AR
collaboration. The application content can be local or distributed, and group collaboration is
possible.
Combining Web3D, service oriented architectures, virtual reality interface, augment reality
methodologies and software tools, the researchers are able to design strong AR educational
systems with impact in many fields of industry, business, and science.
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş
42
The future AR collaborative laboratories will be the next generation of remote laboratories
supporting distance education on subjects in engineering fields. To implement such systems new
protocols and services will be necessary to be designed, but the dream will come true in near
future.
Concluding Remarks

Educational systems based on ICT including VR interfaces and methodologies represent a new
wave in educational area. The paper described a classification of the existing AR educational
systems based on the augmentation level and pointed out that collaborative AR educational
systems represent the best choice when consider the pedagogical and psychological aspects.
Educational systems based on full VR interfaces and methodology represent an interesting
approach with increased psychological impact, but those based on AR permit the presence of
physical world (objects, actors) in such a way that people “feel the ground” when learn and/or
experiment.

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Serious Games in the Life Long Learning environment.
Games and Learning Alliance Network of Excellence

Alessandro de Gloria
1
, Prof. dr. Ion Roceanu
2

(1) Full Professor of Electronic Engineering, Director of Teaching of the Bachelor
and Master Degree in Electronic Engineering, University of Genoa
(2) Romanian Advanced Distributed Learning Association
iroceanu@adlnet.ro

Abstract
This paper will describe in a short way the one of very interesting FP7 project, GALA which
start on 1-st of October this year, coordinated by the University of Genoa, Department of
Biophysical and Electronic Engineering. The project involved 31 institutions around the EU
including the Romanian Advanced Distributed Learning Department. The main objective of
the GaLA NoE is to shape a scientific community and build a European Virtual Research
Centre (VRC) aimed at gathering, integrating, harmonizing and coordinating research on
Serious Games (SGs), and disseminating knowledge, best practices and tools as a reference
point at international level. The VRC will act as a real, live competence centre, where
virtuality is intended as a way to effectively integrate skills, knowledge and tools coming from
multiple disciplines and physical locations, in order to favour scalability, flexibility and
exchange efficiency.


1 Short introduction to Serious Games

The “serious game” term as we intend today was firstly used in 2002, with the start of the Serious
Game Initiative lead by David Rejeski and Ben Sawyer in the US, and taken up in Europe by the
formation of the Serious Games movement including the Serious Games Institute in the UK. The
SG Initiative focuses “on uses for games in exploring management and leadership challenges
facing the public sector. Part of its overall charter is to help forge productive links between the
electronic game industry and projects involving the use of games in education, training, health,
and public policy”.
SGs were initially conceived to train people for tasks in particular jobs, such as training army
personnel, or training insurance salesmen. These tasks were characterized by their specificity and
applicability for particular work-related purposes and are typically targeted at a captive audience.
More recently, a number of games have been developed specifically for non-entertainment
purposes. In 2005, the World Food Programme developed “Food Force”, which seeks to take
advantage of the popularity of computer games to educate children about hunger and the work of
the aid agency. The “Hazmat: Hotzone” game designed with the help of the New York Fire
Department aims at training fire fighters on how to deal with conventional, environmental,
biological and terror-based incidents while functioning as a team where the players play the game
through networked computers communicating through headsets to complete cooperative tasks
(Entertainment Technology Centre and Carnegie Mellon University, 2005). In this same line, in
2006 Delft University of Technology (partner of GaLA) developed, the SG “Levee Patroller”,
aimed at training levee inspectors, adding a practical component to the theoretical education of
professional and voluntary levee inspectors of Dutch Water Boards. The game is designed to make
levee inspectors learn about the ways dikes can fail or breach, and how failures can be recognised
in the field at an early stage.
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Serious Games Interactive has developed “Global Conflicts: Palestine”, an Samples include
America’s Army and Full Spectrum Warrior immersive fully 3D role-playing simulation that gives
the player the chance to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict first-hand. Through the diverse
stories students engage within the game they learn about issues related to the conflict like
terrorism, human rights and media’s role. The University of the West of Scotland has worked with
schools that had historic religious conflicts between them located within an area that had serious
alcohol problems to collaboratively develop a computer game, called “ThinknDrinkn?”, that
teaches about the problems associated with underage alcohol abuse. The Elios Lab has developed
for the Liguria Region Government a SG for road safety and a multiplayer online serious game for
the safety at the sea. Moreover the Elios Lab has leaded a Culture Programme EU project for the
development of a Serious Virtual World (“Travel in Europe”) for the promotion Cultural Heritage
in Europe.
The MIT Education Arcade latest document discusses a number of examples of learning
games, such as Zoo Scene Investigators, Palmagotchi, Racing Academy, Ayiti, Gamestar
Mechanic, The Calm and the Storm, Mind Rover, Lure of the Labyrinth, the Federation of the
American Scientists’ Immune Attack. The document shows that uses of SGs now “span everything
from advancing social causes to promoting better health to marketing. The class of games known
as Games for Change (www.games4change.org) are being designed with a social or political
agenda to get people to consider particular issues. Members of Games for Health
(www.gamesforhealth.org) design games for both patients and practitioners with a medical
purpose in mind. Advergaming is a popular form of advertisement that delivers commercial
messages through games”.
A number of Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) games are also being used for education.
Richard Van Eck argues that integrating COTS in the learning process is promising for education,
since it is more cost-effective than developing SGs ad-hoc designed to support specific curricular
activities. The paper provides many examples of COTS games already being used in the
classroom, including Civilization (history), Age of Empires II (history), CSI (forensics and
criminal justice), The Sims 2 (making complex social relationships), Rollercoaster Tycoon
(Engineering and Business Management), and SimCity 4 (Civil Engineering and Government).
For some of them there is a clear match between their explicit content and the classroom content.
For others, the match is between a course aims and skills and the underlying strategies and the
game play. In any case it is important to be able to “easily augment the game with instructional
activities that preserve the context (situated cognition) of the game (e.g., by extending the goals
and character roles of the game into the classroom)”. Prensky has put together a list of five
hundred “serious” games that can be used to teach different content , and his new book and
accompanying Web site provide even more guidance on using games for learning. Given the
many different and varied applications of SGs there is little or no report on SGs as knowledge
bases for engineering design and product manufacture. Yet SGs can play an important role in these
highly iterative and precise product development environments. The management of knowledge,
i.e. how it is captured, used and maintained is crucial for ensuring maintenance and future
development programmes can be executed when personnel change and when training is required.
All these aspects and modalities of use need to be discussed at the light of more detailed tests and
analyses, also in Europe. And it is important to provide scientists, practitioners, stakeholders and
users with tools that support a systematic exchange of high-quality data and information and
presentation/dissemination of results/achievements/theories.
New types of gaming/leisure environments also include Virtual Worlds (VWs). “The success,
and wide reporting, of Second Life has helped to highlight the wider use of immersive worlds for
supporting a range of human activities and interactions, presenting a wealth of new opportunities
for enriching how we learn, how we work and how we play”. Sara de Freitas, of the Serious Game
University of Bucharest and University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu-Mureş

46
Institute, prepared for the JISC e-Learning Programme a scoping study on the use of Serious
Virtual Worlds (SVWs) to support learning and training.
The report includes a review of the field, case study examples (Active Worlds Educational
Universe, SciLands, Croquet Community, Project Wonderland, Forterra OLIVE’s Platform) and a
typology classification. The study stresses the opportunities given by the participation of learners
in constructing spaces, content and activities and the blending between virtual and real spaces and
experiences. Related challenges for improvement are identified in particular a need for common
standards for interoperability (e.g. of user profiles, player avatars, 3D objects) and the validation of
assessment and evaluation techniques. A debate between developers, educators and designers is
considered as necessary to ensure that these challenges are met positively, and to ensure quality in
all areas of academic and educational practice. The paper concludes that “although virtual worlds
have been around for over 20 years, it is only really in the last five years that the real potential for
virtual worlds has been recognized, and the next 20 years could bring about a virtual world
revolution that has the capability to radical shift how we learn. To ensure that this revolution is
successful at engaging students and supporting the development of higher order thinking skills it is
vital that we work together as a community and integrate our plans so that the learners of the
future have an educational system that gives them an enriched learning experience, does not suppress
creativity and helps to create a cohesive community that works together for the greater good”.
An important innovation enriching gaming/leisure environments is the use of Brain Computer
interfaces (BCI). A brain-computer interface (BCI) is a system that connects the brain directly
with the computer and vice versa. The BCI translates electrophysiological signals into an output
that reflects the user’s intent. Thus, it can provide people with severe motor disabilities, such as
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injury or brainstem stroke, with a new non-
muscular channel for basic communication and control . It is already possible, to control basic
games with the sole use of brain activity. Furthermore, BCI can also serve to monitor the player’s
emotive state as well as general arousal during playing, which can then be used to adapt the
behavior of the game to the needs of the player. Arousal is reflected in the rhythmic activity of the
brain. In general, faster frequency bands, such as beta, represent activated states, whereas the
slower frequency bands, such as theta, represent a low activated state in a person.
The use of a BCI also involves learning, as the user has to learn to modulate his/her brain
activity by means of feedback of performance. The success of a BCI depends on how correctly and
efficiently these two adaptive controllers - the user and the system – interact. The learning
involved in BCI is closely related to operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is widely used in
behavior modification procedures described a treatment for children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These children were trained to enhance the mu rhythms in order
to suppress motor activity but still to stay attentive.
Furthermore they should also enhance the low beta rhythms in order to enhance the cortical
excitation of the under-aroused children with ADHD. With the aid of clever designed serious
games, the training of enhancement or suppression of specific frequency bands could further be
used to help induce, during playing, a mental state that facilitates learning.

2 Concept and objectives

The GaLA motivation stems from the acknowledgment of the potentiality of Serious Games (SGs)
for education and training and the need to address the challenges of the main stakeholders of the
SGs European landscape (users, researchers, developers/industry, educators). A foundational fault
issue in this context is the fragmentation that affects the SG landscape.
GALA aims to shape the scientific community and build a European Virtual Research Centre
(VRC) aimed at gathering, integrating, harmonizing and coordinating research on SGs and
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disseminating knowledge, best practices and tools as a reference point at an international level.
The other two key focuses of the project are (1) the support to deployment in the actual
educational and training settings and (2) the fostering of innovation and knowledge transfer
through research-business dialogue.
The NoE organizations aim to integrate their activities and resources in a long-term view
structuring the activities along 3 major axes:
 Research integration and harmonization.
o Strong integration among leading researchers, users and business;
o Strong concern on the current standards of education, in order to favour a real uptake and
scaling of the educational games initiatives.
o Address sustainability.
 Joint research activities.
o Identify key issues and address them through multidisciplinary teams (putting always the
users – learners and teachers – and stakeholders in the centre of the focus) that will be
iteratively explored;
o Promote Research and Development team forces – organized in thematic areas – that will
do focused research (e.g. joint PhD and MSc projects on hot SG research projects, joint
project proposals) and continuously inform the project about the latest developments in
technology and education;
 Spreading of excellence.
o Dissemination of the NoE achievements as a flagship EU initiative in the TEL area
o Strong coordination with EU TEL activities, offering a specialized focus and expertise on
SGs.
The potential of SGs is huge, because a large and growing population is familiar with playing
games, that can present users with realistic and compelling challenges, highly stimulating their
information processing capabilities and capturing their concentration span for long duration. SGs
provide appealing experiences (also involving multiple players) and are highly cognitive
demanding. Exploiting the latest simulation and visualization technologies, SGs & SVWs are able
to contextualize the player’s experience in a stimulating and realistic environment. “Games
embody well-established principles and models of learning. For instance, games are effective
partly because the learning takes place within a meaningful (to the game) context. What you must
learn is directly related to the environment in which you learn and demonstrate it; thus, the
learning is not only relevant but applied and practiced within that context. Learning that occurs in
meaningful and relevant contexts is more effective than learning that occurs outside of those
contexts, as is the case with most formal instruction. Researchers refer to this principle as situated
cognition and have demonstrated its effectiveness in many studies over the last fifteen years.
Researchers have also pointed out that play is a primary socialization and learning mechanism
common to all human cultures and many animal species”. Don Menn claims that students can
only remember 10 percent of what they read, but almost 90 percent, if they engage in the job
themselves, even if only as a simulation , and this assertion has been supported by evidence from
recent studies on the effectiveness of game-based learning.
Good SGs & SVWs challenge players sense immersive situations, providing concrete,
compelling contexts where the player gets concretely involved. This is important also to show the
concrete relevance to everyone’s life of subjects (eg. maths and physics) that are frequently
considered as cold and abstract, but whose applications to improve our understanding (and
prediction) of the world and its processes are surprising and give satisfaction to students.
Moreover, SGs can provide an excellent context not only to acquire and test knowledge and skills,
but also to closely examine an environment without the barriers of time and space (and any other
type of costs), thus can be gyms where new knowledge, practices and solutions can be developed.
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Play, in fact, supports players in exercising five kinds of freedom (freedom to fail, experiment,
fashion identities, of effort and interpretation), that are rarely possible in traditional schooling and
can complement it by encouraging learners “to come up with new and varied solutions rather than
regurgitating the "right answer." The freedom to fail eliminates the penalty for making mistakes
that most schools impose. The fear of failure shuts down the brain's ability to think creatively”.
Finally, SGs can be multiplayer online, favouring team-building and cooperation in facing
issues, shaping real communities of learners. In order to achieve these results, SGs require the
study and implementation of a complex mix of advanced technologies that are, in a broader sense,
key in the global competition. These include but are not restricted to: Artificial Intelligence,
Human-Computer Interaction, networking, computer graphics and architecture, signal processing,
web-distributed computing, neurosciences. These technologies are to be developed and exploited
in a target-oriented multidisciplinary approach that puts the user benefits at the centre of the
process.
For quality control and to enhance effectiveness, the development of SGs and SVWs should be
firmly grounded in educational theory, as well as in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. It
should employ methods and insights from cognitive neuroscientists and educators to scrutinize and
monitor the specific type of learning involved in playing SGs.
Learning is phylogenetically old and ubiquitous, but also a very diverse ability. Different types
of learning range from implicit learning (conditioning and motor learning) to declarative learning
(verbal facts or figurative contents). Different types of learning are subserved by very different
neural structures, follow different trajectories and require different learning environments to be
optimally efficient. Different neuroscientific methods can be used to track learning related changes
in the brain. First, BCI can be used to monitor learning during playing and to evaluate the learners’
mental state. Second, recently developed brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI) allow locating the areas within the human brain that change their level
of activation due to learning.

3 The role of the Romanian Advanced Distributed Learning Department

The Ro ADL Department was invited to take part in this project consortium based on its
experience in the ADL field and SCORM development, as well as. Since the Ro ADL Department
is recognized as a ADL partnership Lab by the USA ADL Initiative it is represent a pole of
experience and capabilities in the eLearning field oriented to the adult learning area and especially
to the military domain. The Ro ADL Department started couple years ago to use different SG in
the training curricula oriented to the military contingents which are deployable into different war
theaters such as : Afghanistan, Iraq , Kosovo and so on. For example, the course “Cultural
Awareness - Afghanistan – pre deployment course” opens with a look at the definition of culture
and introduces Afghanistan (including history, climate and geography). The majority of the course
centres around six visually appealing, interactive scenarios in which the learner must make
decisions in a variety of culturally tense situations. Like real life, there are no absolutely right or
wrong answers. Learners receive feedback through a cultural risk meter that indicates if their
choice has increased or decreased cultural tensions. To support them in making the best choice,
learners have access to content specific material that provides easily understood information about
key cultural areas, such as the treatment of women or the importance of honour and shame in
Afghan culture.
The mains role of our department in this projects are around two objectives:
• SG metrics
This task will concern the development of a taxonomy and metrics for SG, in order to allow an
effective assessment and priority definition, which are perceived as an urgent need by the research
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community. Metrics will concern: educational effectiveness of games (segmented in terms of user
typologies, educational domains, degree of student cooperation, etc.), usability, appropriateness of
technologies for specific targets, entertainment, ability to appeal to users (segmented in terms of
user types), ability to capture user attention and keep their concentration, types of solicited skills,
ability to shape users cognitive abilities, etc. Curricular and 21st Century skills will be considered
and assessed. The work will consider different types of games and users.
• Interoperability and semantics
One of the more important negative aspects of using the games in the formal education and
training is given by the impossibility to track user activity within 3D games environments. While
the linear content is standardized and most of the well known LMSs are compatible with
standards, 3D games are not based on standardization. Our principal task will be focused to find a
SCORM solution (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) conformant 3D serious game for
Learning Management Systems. This aim will be fulfill by research methods for enabling
interoperability, accessibility, and reusability of SCORM compliant learning content in 3-D virtual
worlds.
Around this subject are some essential questions which need an answer: Can games be broken
down into reusable objects? What components of games should be considered an object (e.g.,
multimedia assets; subroutines for interactions, animations and simulations)?
Developing those objectives y deeply research we will have in attention 4 major things.
First – Standards. In the government and defense, configuration management and architecture
compliancy spell life and death for software and hardware. The gaming industry has no uniform
standards, but more importantly, the government has not published a standard for the importation
of serious game applications into its network infrastructure – either classified or unclassified. For
the market to continue to grow, government and industry must agree on a policy and standard. As
in the case of an innovation market, there are different engines, interfaces, and operating systems
vying for market space etc. – eventually it will come to a head.
Second -- Price. The costs of quality games are prohibitive. Until costs go down – without
sacrificing quality -- I think the market will always have limitations. Costs of $1M or more for a
“game” are hard to sustain, although not unprecedented. We all know there are some applications
being produced much more cheaply, but from what I have seen they may work in the early
markets, but won’t be sustainable because of their overall limitations in network deployability,
upgrades, and sheer lack of behavioral sophistication.
Third – Procurement. Most serious games have been developed through Research,
Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funds sponsored by research organizations (i.e.
DARPA, ONR, etc.) to promote the exploration of gaming applications. It’s been a tremendous
investment. However, once the gaming “mystique” or “novelty” has been quenched, the bulwark
of funding will move towards the Other Procurement (Navy, Air Force etc.) (OP) which eliminates
developmental or prototype designs – it is this money that buys games and does the acceptance,
test and evaluations from industry.
Fourth- Classifications: Serious (military) games are just analogous enough to escape the
issues of classification. They are often restricted in access and distribution (Like Ambush!), but
eventually, copies of a serious game will make it onto the internet be found on a terrorist's laptop
and then the party is seriously over. Additionally, games, in my mind, can be divided into two
areas: functional or cognitive (training).

4 Conclusions

GaLA aims at integrating the participants activities and capacities. The NoE tool allows reaching
an operational and collaborative critical mass of research that will provide benefits to the overall
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SG and TEL domains. In particular, GaLA will operate to systemize the research and education
activities and indicate a roadmap based on the working experience of an integrated body of
excellences that cover all the competence fields involved in design, development and deployment
of SGs. Such a systemization will promote typically European specificities (creativity,
collaboration, team-building and human-centered culture and sensitivity) and pedagogical
approaches (deductive and strongly theoretically-founded learning) in a field, such as that of the
SG, that is currently biased by the American inductive approach.


References

Life Long Learning Programme: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learningprogramme/doc78_ en.htm.
F.Bellotti, R.Berta, A.De Gloria, L. Primavera, Adaptiv Experience Engine for Serious Games", accepted for
publication on IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games
Jarvis, S., de Freitas, S. (2009). Evaluation of a Serious Game to support Triage Training: In-game Feedback
and its effect on Learning Transfer. Proceedings of 2009 Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for
Serious Applications, IEEE
W. L. Johnson, “Lessons learned from games for education”, in Proc. ACM SIGGRAPH 2005 Educators
program, July 31-August 04, 2005, Los Angeles, California
Network of excellence (NoE) proposal ICT Call 1 FP7-ICT-2007-1 Games and Learning Alliance GaLA Part
B documentation
Visual Identity of a Business

lector univ. dr. Doina Muntean

Academia Comercială – Satu Mare
d_muntean_ro@yahoo.com

Abstract
In an era when online has shown that the success of a good business knows no limits,
Commercial Academy of Satu Mare, based on at least three key reasons for the
competitiveness of any organization: the strict control of costs, eliminate losses, obtaining
performance comes with a sustainable development strategy visual identity of a business.
Www.infogold.ro site is a portal dedicated mainly companies operating in the northwestern
region of Romania.

Keywords: The Internet, global economy, business portal, web

1. Introduction

Motto: "Any company, old or new, that does not
consider this technology (the Internet) as important as
breathing, may be his last breath."
Jack Welch

More and more companies, generally those working in the IT & C, they found potential business
growth through the Internet. There are several ways to promote, but the basic requirement is to
build your site in order to potentiate other means of promotion using the Internet.
The exponential growth of Internet businesses and business people are in a situation struggle to
create a powerful online presence not only to give an added value of traditional brand image but
also enable them to make note in a market increasingly crowded.
The Internet has become a highway of information for the consumer public. Many people
prefer easy transactions on the Internet can offer. As a consequence, the Internet has become one
of the best selling tools. Promoting the Internet provides a cheap and simple way to make small
companies to increase their distribution network of products and services. For example, the use of
portals can create a new marketing channel orientation or allow new ways to access products to
customers.
Compared with other forms of marketing, online promotion has the advantage of a low budget,
a minimum storage space, compared with printing brochures, advertising clips and directing a
production center for telemarketing. Provides a quick and cheap way to penetrate new markets.

2. Online Marketing Tools

Marketing is the means any contact or company has with anyone who influence its business. Also,
marketing can be considered truth (Company) turned into something fascinating. Unfortunately, in
practice there is often the truth and everything else is marketing
Marketing is (or should be) the art of changing thoughts and / or feelings that make people to
change their minds.
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Marketing is an opportunity to generate profit through business conducted a chance to
collaborate with others in the community and a process for establishing lasting relationships.
Marketing will first have to make money, benefits, create costs.
Online promotion process (web design, web development, SEO, online advertising) is a means
employed in web marketing / online marketing / e-marketing.
Online promotion is the most common and most used part of the marketing mix of this
environment. Unlike offline advertisement, (outdoor, TV spots, radio, etc.) Online that offers a
range of benefits that traditionally can not be obtained.
A first advantage offered by an online advertising campaign is that it allows precise focusing
on target group of interest. You can choose a small or very large public, online advertising allows.
The second advantage: the measured response. It is important to express an investment that we
do can be measured in terms of results that it generates. Online promotion, if done by
professionals, allowing data: how many users have visited the site, where they arrived, many were
transformed to customers or if they have recommended to others sites. Also, due to its flexible,
online promotion, an opportunity to change the message that is intended to be forwarded to the
target group, offers, in order to create a clear picture on campaigns had the best results and reasons
on generated them.
Fast feedback that can benefit from online advertising campaigns, is again an advantage
compared with traditional methods. Online advertising method in control on actions are taken.
Again, advantage: high efficiency. Precisely because the choice just the group target flexibility,
if well done, online advertising campaign can bring truly effective results, results that traditional
methods can not offer the same response.
Finally, the most valuable advantage is the flexibility that defines the online promotion.
The Internet offers a chance to send personalized offers to each potential customer to see what
tools have had an impact and a better result, then be exploited by investing in them for a sustained
future success.
Considering the effects that they generate and the impact it has, online advertising is no longer
an option, but rather a necessity that must be satisfied if it wants a strengthening of brand image,
obtaining positive results and ensure a steady. Whether the budget is a small or conversely, to
promote online can be a safe option even in times of crisis.
3. Infogold.ro - Business Portal

Www.infogold.ro portal was launched as an online business portal for the business community in
northwestern Romania, where companies can freely present their products, services and contact
details to receive a greater promotion .
Infogold.ro Business Portal was developed under the project entitled “Programme to improve
border management in SMEs", financed by Phare CBC 2006/018.449, the Neighborhood Romania
- Ukraine from 2004 to 2006.
More than an online portal to infogold.ro visitors will be able to participate actively in
community inclusion and can share their experiences online. Show products by categories /
subcategories, products advanced search opportunity, photographs, detailed presentations, pricing,
compatibility and other extremely useful information.
Scholarship is intended to highlight the free play of market forces, without any intervention
outside economy and any trend from outside or inside market manipulation market variables,
namely price. Therefore it can be argued that scholarship is the mechanism that most closely
approximates the theoretical model of pure and perfect markets, providing pricing that is
established based on the report at any time between supply and demand and constantly reflecting
economic reality.
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Infogold.ro was born of a desire to provide a viable alternative for obtaining fair prices and
direct dealings between producer and customer, both financially and in terms of quality.
The portal is divided over three sections: catalog companies, products and services, business
opportunities. There his viewing option in Romanian, in English and Ukrainian.


Figure 2. Login / Create Account

Only by creating a user account can have all the facilities offered infogold.ro portal.
Http://www.infogold.ro/login.php site is simple, easy way, consists of two forms to be filled with
data login / registration.
After registration and validation of email account personal user account can access:

Menu bar consists of 10 buttons: Home, My
Account, Company data, opportunities offered,
products or services, messages, looking for
opportunities; Find products or services, Search
firms and Logout.
4. Conclusions

The global economy has been marked by many
changes, both in the form of streams and
dynamism, influenced by technological progress, but also by measures imposed on rational use of
environmental resources, in the context of a sustainable development. In these conditions,
technology transfer and information are essential elements in ensuring the development of skills
needed in international competition, to achieve the performance and fulfillment of innovations.
Support to small and medium enterprises must be a key priority for the Romanian economic-
social environment, they being important contributors to growth, competition and innovation and
thus employment and the productivity of the Romanian economy as a whole.
The small and medium businesses can grow even in this crisis period. When the financial
resources become more and more inaccessible, the entrepreneurs need to think about new ways to
promote the utility business.

References
[1] P. Bran, Economica valorii, Editura ASE, Bucureşti, 2002
[2] P. Drucker, Technology, Management and Society,Editura Heinemann, London, 1970
[3] E. Nicolau, Ingineria cunoaşterii, Editura Albatros, Bucureşti, 1985
[4] http://e-manageri.ro
[5] http://www.ideideafaceri.ro

Figure 1. Portal interface infogol.ro

Figure 3. User Account
OER - craving for success in a timeless, border free zone

Maria-Magdalena Popescu, Assoc. Prof. PhD

Foreign Languages Department, Carol I National Defense University, Bucharest,
Romania, magdap[at]adlunap.ro

Abstract
"If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you" as R.
Kipling said and even more, if you can dare thriving in difficult times by engaging any and
every means that keeps ignorance at bay, then, my fellows, shall we florish as nations, as
individuals.Collaborative learning fights against all odds to keep knowledge going and
gaining ground. OER is but one of the inordinate variations to give our students, enabling
them to fully realize their potential.The present paper looks at how open educational material
can be stored and presented,it states implications for copyright and IPR, quality control
measures and issues of trust for faculty and students to encourage collaborative working.

Keywords: collaborative learning, open educational resources, education.


1 21st Century Education

”There is no use trying, said Alice; One can’t believe impossible things”
L. Carroll- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

We have been well into the 21st Century for 10 years now but words like ”ït is impossible, it won’t
work” are still there, even though growing concerns like famine, poverty, global warming along
with other thorny environmental and social issues are at stake.
We have been living through all dramatic technological revolution, but most of us still stumble
on welcoming the new, the unknown, the challenge as a key to open doors.
The living manifesto here is for the global, whole, complete individual, prepared for living his
life everywhere and anywhere with everybody and at all times, in a context of permanent
informational bulletting, of endless discoveries.
In ”The Global Achievement Gap” Tony Wagner advocated for seven survival skills among
which one would hardly ever skip critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration across
networks, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written
communication, accessing and analyzing information, curiosity and imagination.
In this context, to tailor one for these skills, not only should the student be different but also the
educator and the educational environment per se. Formation is outrun by information, outcomes
prevail for the teaching activities themselves, the center disintegrates itself and migrates to the
margin of the educational circle, core breaks into pieces and spreads itself, be it student or teacher
or info-cluster, to migrate, flow and mingle, to generate skills, competences. What is more, the
info-cluster, the educational chunk that had to be swallowed in the past with lots of water is now
sugar-coated to stirr interest, create experiences, generate hands-on/ first-hand practice and
immediate work and social integration. ”Student” is now a general term encompassing an
individual from kindergarten to retirement. We no longer appeal to memory and mnemotechnics,
yet we give raise to tallent, gift, passion, interest, to peer evaluation and international, authentic
real-world assessments. The newly emerged student is media-multicultural-emotional-ecological-
financial-cyber-skilled. He grew into this type soon after the dawn of the 21st Century by
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collaboration, working hard and together with his peers for a borderfree, better world. Information
Technologies were but the cutlery for the whole, endless portions of collaboration that solve issues
coming up around the world.

Collaborative Learning
Collaborative Learning refers to an instruction method in which learners at various performance
levels work together toward a common goal. The learners are responsible for one another’s
learning as well as their own. The active exchange of ideas within small groups not only increases
interest among the participants but also promotes critical thinking. Shared learning gives learners
an opportunity to engage in discussions, take responsibility for their own learning and thus become
critical thinkers.
Collaborative learning as a concept stays valid for lifelong learning inasmuch. It can be
collaborative learning for Students of all ages guided by teachers or it can be CL for teachers that
both teach others and learn from one another simultaneously; and since time no longer waits for
anyone these days as the second keeps shrinking, to move to different dimensions, great
importance has been laid to online CL lately.

Open Educational Resources
Speaking of collaboration one cannot but bring into light OERs as materials and resources freely
accessible for use and –to a certain extent- for improvement and distribution, including learning
content, tools and intellectual property licences.
We should be very specific though with the differences between OA materials and OER. Open
Access materials refer to sharing content of a scholarly nature, but not necesarily with a licence,
while OER comprise of educational content shared under open licence. We are focusing on OERs
currently.
It is a fact that academics are giving more and more credit to the shareable learning content,
yet at a slower pace I might say than it should be. Since all kinds of OERs have benefited large
communities of teachers and teaching staff all over the world, not the same can be said for the
Academic world.
Would it be lack of trust or academic pride, or maybe fear of getting lost? Could it be the
innability to cope with competitiveness on a free challenging market? All of the above if we are
objective and none whatsoever should we go with a public answer.
It is a growing concern that while countries in the west have long adopted this Modus Operandi
for a better lifelong learning or inclusion education, or simply for the benefit of an improving
global university, there still are countries which lag in this only due to mentality and behaviour,
maybe also because of a poor legal frame.
My intention here is to stand up for the beneficial and harmless use of OERs.It is only when we
develop OERs that Higher Education develop, as through their academic staff developing OERs
institutions can bring their contribution to the global information or knowledge space, can share
new ideas and –most important of all- raise the standards of teaching as well as give prominent
public voice to individual academics.
Institutions accross UK have taken up the OER idea and fully harvest now. I here refer to
Joint Information Systems Committe (JISC) that launched an OER program to help institutions
publish course materials, Jorum Open- open national resource bank of teaching materials, then
Slideshare comes along or Connexions.
The University of Southampton has launched Humbox, „an online space for sharing
Humanities rsources managed by four subject centres- Language & linguistics, English, History,
Philosophy & Religion.” One can share handouts, exercises, podcasts, videos and there are
already more than 1000 learning resources published to the Humbox repository. The idea was
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warmly welcomed as hard sciences were over –represented at a point in time. Romania is proud to
be part of this program with materials uploaded, therefore shared with other universities in the UK,
both for language and linguistics as well as for English.
Yet, I dare say Romania is hardly implementing this kind of educational manner for higher
education. We do have eLearning, we do have Distance Education, OA portals, but scarcely
OERs for the academic field.
Since we have eLearning and Distance Education, why cannot we have OCW and OER
extensively for the academic field ? Faculty could get recognition, publish and promote their
resources, connect with other collaborators, extend their reach and visibility. Are they fearsome for
the quality? Well, quality can be settled by the number of visitors one gets for his materials. If you
are not good, you are not looked for. Comments, hit counters, ratings, and another identity can be
engaged to count for quality. The value of resource is given by the number of visitors. We must
accept, as teachers and authors, that our materials can be judged by others, and they can be used or
slightly altered for reuse provided they are good quality.
The fear of being competitive is a fear of giving away what we consider important. We believe
our materials are the most valuable asset of our endeavour as a teacher. Yet, what could we say
about the methods engaged in making use of that material, personal assets like charisma and
enthusiasm, and not the least- reputation. Why are people afraid of sharing expertise and curricula
with other innstitutions so that the better of the two prevails? It is because old habits die hard.
What is it that we can store? It is such a nice array of educational items, from courses to slides,
to electronic and print media. You can, beyond recognition, connect with other researchers;
students as well can participate in helping with publishing content. Curriculum is thus improved
with a multitude of info; by visualising the number of viewers one can create new curricula
according to students’ best interest (the most viewed item-concept).
Why do we fear acknowledging that most of the learning nowadays all round the world takes
place online? A vast array of techniques makes possible for us to communicate and share
experience, thus having us also learn while teaching others. We can upload series of lecture slides,
interviews, handouts, chapters from reasearch papers, etc. Through a constant use of web materials
into teaching we can both reduce the strain of teaching and begin to teach our students about
quality sources of information on the web. The viewers of our materials bank can leave comments,
feedback or simply tell us how they used our materials. It is great to see how people you might
even not know use and appreciate your work- that gives its true objective value.
An important issue here that is to be considered and feared most, and for which all opponents
of the OERs have their point is the copyright issue. People feel reluctant as to not knowing what
copyright laws apply with online materials. Neither institutions nor individual academics fiind
support in the legal frame providers.
Should we start from a common sense rationale like respect someone else’s work, give
attribution , etc, we should then call Creative Commons regulations into action. By attribution you
let others copy, distribute and use your work as well as other derivatives might emerge based on
your work itself, on condition the user gives credit the way you request it. Share alike is one of the
licence conditions by means of which you allow others distribute derivative works under a licence
common to the one that governs your work. Noncommercial means one is allowed to copy and
distribute, display and use in case they do not get money for it. No derivatives imply that one is
allowed to use your work but not modify it, so no derivatives will there be based on your
materials.
While talking about OER we feel personal challenges burning up inside, we must admit we are
not all digital natives and unfortunately most of the academic staff has no time available for
experimenting with new technologies. That is where falling behind starts. At a certain time in their
life people feel reluctant to new and to getting new skills; it is more difficult to set off on a
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winding alley and start thinking outside the box, yet in an ever-changing world natural selection is
being made. Quality and multi-tasking, along with multi-skilled, prevail.

2 OERs in the future
There is an outstanding movement to promote and develop what OER represents and does for the
comunity of the educational environment. It is just by mere mentioning about the existence of
portals like Curriki that is best tailored for undergraduates, or Internet Archives where famous
contributors like the Hewlett Foundation or MIT or Monterey Institute keep the ball rolling for
Higher Education environment, and lectures, colloquia, texts or audio excerpts are free to use for
the benefit of teaching purposes.
This movement has been going on since 2002, when the term OER was first coined in July, at
the UNESCO-hosted Forum on the impact of Open CourseWare for Higher Education in
Developing Countries.

„The open provision of educational resources, enabled by information and communication
technologies, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for commercial
purposes”- this is how they defined the OER at the above mentioned meeting.

Since then toolkits have been created, bank resources have come up, yet people have to
understand that „learning resources” differ in approach from one culture to another; hence,
something should be done to meet this challenge as well. There are also differences in accessing
and reusing the same materials, things which are triggered by cultural differences.
Opponents of OER might feel redundant after the appearance of MIT and UK Open University
or banks like Jorum, Humbox, etc have emerged. We need though to understand that OERs are the
future. A couple of years ago Central and Eastern Europe had a tiny participation of 3 % in the
OER community members compared to Western Europe (30%) to give the least, and this came
mostly from Universitites and Distance Learning contributions.( 2006).
In coutries with a poor development of OER, awareness raising is the biggest priority and then
census gives information on capacity development as coming second in importance, along with
technology tools and learning support services.Research and policies come next as this speaks of
the importance a supportive environment holds for the OER development in countries with
limited resources.
Among actions to be taken by UNESCO like raising awareness and networking there is an
importnat step that falls under the „developing capacity” requirement, and that is a DIY resource-
that is Do-It-Yourself- that could help people better understand the impact different cultures have
on OER sharing, along with stirring them to get involved and start contribuing with technology
software or pedagogical approach issues.
By the time this project gets going though, it would be great if UNESCO continued with its
leadership role but also if OER initiatives proliferated, so that participants could just pool in
information out of their locally created and culturally customized learning resources. As solid
evidence that i mportant international bodies still have their say we must mention the MetaOER
project that „facilitates progress and promotes OE movement around the world” . The MetaOER is
the project coordinated by the UNESCO chair in eLearning, and it is meant to become a repository
with resources about resources as a valuable tool for reserchers, as well as a place where
professors would deposit their materials for share and reuse , respecting the CC concepts. The
repository is hosted by the Open University of Catalonia and it is expected to be one of the
„predominant open repository in the world”
Another important example that OER is becoming a force that hopefull will influence the
developing countries to a greater extent is the OPAL international network which mitigates for
innovation and quality in education by means of OER for higher and adult education. OPAL (
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Open Education Quality Initiative) is currently running a consultation process about open
educational practices and it is also producing a quantitative study on the use of OER and OEP in
higher education as well as in adult education. Should you consider stating your point as it is
drops that oceans are made with, please refer to www.unipark.de/uc/OPAL-project/f861.
I hope the day when local OER initiatives bring together producers from various institutions to
join efforts into creating and evolving learning resources is not too far !


References

1. Bonk CJ, Kirkley JR, Hara N. & Dennen N. (2001)- Finding the instructor in post-secondary online
learning, in J. Stevenson (Ed.), Teaching and learning online. Pedagogies for New technologies,
London.
2. Johnstone SM (2005) Open educational resources serve the world EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 28,No 3,
pg 15-18
3. W.& F. Hewlett Foundation (2005). Free online, open content initiatives announced. News release: Nov
2005
4. D’Antoni S. & Savage C. (Ed.) – (2009) OER- Conversations in cyberspace, UN Educational, Scientific
&Cultural Organization, Paris, France
5. Wagner T. (2008)- The global achievement Gap, Basic Books, New York
http://oer-quality.org/ vistited on 08.20.2010
Impact of Internet Use in Teaching
and Classroom Management Process

Roxana Enache

Teachers Training Department, Petroleum - Gas University Ploiesti,
Bdul Bucuresti 39, 100680, Romania
E-mail: rocatare@yahoo.com

Abstract
Training or self-training of teachers should be based on both the acquisition of technical
skills, of Internet user, but also the pedagogical skills that focus on how to use these resources
to render the teaching process more effective. From teaching experience, teachers who took
part in this research consider that in order to introduce Internet in the teaching process
teachers go through three stages of professional maturity. The first step is to acquire the
technical skills, introduce new technologies to conduct lessons but have no confidence and a
fear of possible technical and pedagogical problems that may occur. The second stage is the
maturity, the fear disappears, the teacher uses more Internet and computer resources to
conduct lessons and improve the teaching process. The last step is where the teacher can make
an assessment of how new information and communication technology resources can be used,
can draw conclusions and prepare other colleagues in this field, in other words, can multiply
innovation.

Keywords: Internet, Teaching, Classroom management, Competencies teachers


Introduction

Education system must evolve to meet new social needs and individual to cope with change,
innovation. Those economic changes, political and social causes need to reorganize the education
system to improve efficiency, performance, to make it more efficient and to fold new economic
and social demands. Progress in information and communication technologies, promise us new
solutions to these problems. Appropriate use of these new technologies will make education
system more effective and efficient, whether in its willingness to accept and make some necessary
changes, and the first segment should be the subject of reform of teacher education. Given that
technological innovation promotes economic transformation and that anything that causes social
adjustments necessary, it is the key to reorganizing all you need to accept the educational system.
Use an increased range and better integration of microinformatic, multimedia, internet and other
telematic innovations may be a start to reform and streamline the educational methods of learning.
Using new information technologies in education can develop and enhance skills and teaching
skills. Only to realize their potential within education teachers must know very well use them
effectively. Teacher training courses should include information technology, computer assisted
instruction, etc. in which they acquire knowledge, but especially to train and develop computerial
skills. To become an effective mediator in the relationship of learning, using computers, especially
Internet services in turn requires specialized training. This initial and ongoing training should
include a balanced skills: conceptual, technical and human. Technical skills in education are
considered: knowledge of methods, techniques, equipment involved in teaching, marketing, etc..,
Skills required to perform a specific task (to design and write computer programs, expanding
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educational documents, statistical analysis of any way to write documents, design plans, programs,
strategies, etc.).. Regarding training of school education, technical skills are identified as a
separate category, is targeting the training more personal and less the methodological integration
of information and communication technologies in teaching process. In this paper we consider
several categories of competence surprise (methodological, information and communication,
psychosocial) in both teaching and in the management. Summarized the findings of research
conducted over two years (2006-2008) for conducting training programs The Magister and
European Educational Management. As coordinator of these programs (from 2004 to present) and
Director of Teacher Training Department can confirm these assumptions and conclusions based on
observation, analysis work products (portfolios, projects, etc..) Questionnaires, surveys case etc..
Say that the research methods were used to analyze educational policy documents, curriculum
documents (curricula, educational programs, documents produced by the National Staff Training
in school education, analysis and direct observation of teaching activities, projects lesson, but also
interviews, questionnaires, etc.).. The target group was composed of ~ 350 teachers participating
in these training programs, both women and men (women predominated), rural and urban (the
urban prevailed), aged between 25 and 54 years (have dominated the category 30-40 years).

2 Methodological Skills Necessary for Teachers to Use Internet

To quickly adapt to social, economic and political changes, the teacher must be prepared to
acquire the skills for effective use of Internet in teaching:
a. The teacher must decide when using Internet is beneficial to achieving the objectives /
skills training in a particular discipline or age range and when Internet use is less effective or
inappropriate. It is then necessary to know:
- how the Internet can help teachers to demonstrate, explore and better explain certain aspects
of teaching and learning of their discipline;
- how the Internet can provide students and teachers with access to cutting-edge information;
- how the activities can easily be changed due to the temporary / editable charaacter of the
information stored, processed and presented by the Internet;
- how the interactive nature of information stored, processed and presented offers teachers and
students the psibility to:
• to examine existing models;
• communicate with other people easily and effectively locally or over long distances;
• research and compare information from different sources;
• using facilities to transmit information in different ways depending on the nature of the
audience.
b. Specific objectives of each discipline, using the Internet requires:
- use of Internet as an effective means of achieving goals and not only for motivating students,
or as a reward and sanction for a particular behavior;
- avoid the use of the Internet for small or routine tasks that would be much better achieved by
other means;
- the knowledge that where the Internet should be used it must exist adequate preparation
equipment, content and methodology;
- avoid transmitting the idea that the presentation quality is more important than the content;
- structuring activities so that students focus on relevant issues and maximize the time and
resource requirements, such as student learning that when accessing the Internet they should have
a clear task to search and not browse randomly;
- clearly explain the connections between:
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• Internet and the discipline taught;
• Internet and its impact on the environment and society.
- Web applications using appropriate objectives.
c. To develop and strengthen students' skills in Internet usage in the context of the discipline
they teach, it is necessary for the teacher to:
- discuss explicitly and, where necessary, teach computer skills and applications corresponding
to the taught discipline;
- use appropriate terminology correctly and adequately;
- use the Internet in order to give students examples of good practice.
d. For those aspects of lessons where the Internet is to be used, it is necessary for the teacher
to identify:
- the way in which the Internet will be used for teaching and learning objectives;
- key questions and occasions when the teacher can intervene to stimulate and direct student
learning;
- assessment methods of existing content on the Internet and to be used in teaching process;
- methods for evaluation and recording the progress made by students in both discipline and
Internet usage (working with the Information Technology teachers);
- criteria in order for the assessing of students' achievements and progress in that discipline not
to be prevented due to the Internet;
- the impact Internet use has on the organization of the lesson.
e. Classroom management. The goal of using Internet in the teaching process is to improve
teaching - learning of every subject. For this reason, the teacher should:
- to decide how to use the Internet: with the entire class or just with one particular group of
students and how to ensure that all students cover all aspects of the subject’s key conceptual items;
- to know how to organize students, pairs or groups of students when they work with Internet
resources to ensure that each student will participate in activities, that the joint effort is well
balanced and that teacher intervention and student responses take place at the right time.
f. To assess the contribution that Internet has had in teaching and learning of the discipline,
the teacher will:
- monitor students’ progress by:
• a clear vision on the objectives of teaching and Internet use in accomplishing those;
• teacher supervision and intervention in students’ activities using Internet in order to
monitor and support the progress made by students in accomplishing planned objectives;
• questionning students forcing them to reflect on the necessity of Internet use;
- setting learning standards for the taught discipline when Internet means are used:
• by identifying criteria by which students can show what they learned through the use of
Internet resources and insisting that students should discover the role of using information sources
in their work;
• the way one determines the contribution of each student when the application achieved is
the result of group collaboration, by observing students' work, by recording the results, by teacher
intervention and student-teacher dialogue;
- the use of training methods, diagnostic and final verification to assess progress made by
students at the discipline for which Internet was used.
g. Teachers must recognize the specific contribution of Internet in learning development in
children with SEN - special educational needs - in the core activities of the class (access the
curriculum in the appropriate manner for the needs, identify ways in which the Internet specificly
supports the discipline)
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h. Teachers should select and effectively use the Internet in reaching teaching - learning
objectives and responsibly and criticaly choose Internet applications corresponding to the
appropriate discipline.

3 Computer and Communication Skills Necessary for Teachers to Use Internet

Changes brought by using the Internet to conduct teaching and learning require specialized skills
from the teacher regarding the use of Internet for effective communication with students,
colleagues, parents; obtain information and training materials necessary to prepare lessons and for
personal professional development; preparation, presentation and publication of materials in the
most professional manner possible; improve teaching efficiency.
Adequate training of teachers in Internet use requires two steps of training: first in which one
will proceed to technical training, knowledge of Internet environment and its resources, building a
simple Web page while the second step will put more emphasis on how Internet resources can be
exploited in the teaching process.

4 Psychosocial Competencies Teachers Must Possess when Using Internet

Teachers’ perception about the role they adopted during classes matches the observer’s perception.
It may be said that the teachers went from the information facilitator role to the following roles:
• Fellow student. Teachers accept the idea that students may outsmart them in some fields
and accept that they can learn from their students especially concerning the use of new information
and communication technologies. This collaboration brings benefits in the development of ITC
competencies for both parts involved.
• Instructor: If teaching means providing support along the constructivist process of learning,
change is necessary and the teacher’s role will switch from the one who teaches and transmits the
information to the one who guides and creates the framework for the teaching process as well as
introducing the duties and work tasks. Among the responsibilities of the teacher there is
identifying a media rich in information in order to prompt children to think, explore and build new
meanings. The search for a theme is easy enough for students, with them being able to download
materials, merge them with others indiscriminately and with no advantage in learning. If this
happens, the teacher must have the ability to supervise the development of the desired skills –
analysis and presentation – a necessary element in activities based on digital education – while
avoiding the “Cut & Paste” action.
A way to diminish the search time is the for the teacher to conduct the work activity directly
towards a specific web site, which implies a considerable lesson preparation – locating, tracing and
downloading the web site – as well as decision regarding the use of the chosen material.
The extra activity is accounted for only when the novelty or actuality of the website as
compared to other available alternatives brings “extra value” to the learning experience.

5 Conclusions

Instead of exclusively teaching the information in a structured way, teachers must prove a deep
and vast understanding of the subject, to use a great variety of teaching methods, to ensure support
for students by creating projects that can prompt learning, to offer support and timely answers for
groups and individuals, to orient students towards key concepts and problems raised by the
gathering of information, processing and using them and to adapt flexible forms of formative and
summative evaluation.
Thus, as instructor (tutor), there are three roles:
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• instructor as shaper which involves a person that stimulates the students to create materials
and active learning situations;
• instructor as coach, consultant, referent, evaluator;
• instructor as support which represents more than a guide or a mentor, bringing together the
abilities and skills of a manager, supplier or broker.
But he can also be:
- Collaborator: many of the activities based on information technology and communication
reside on a project-oriented didactic strategy. In this type of activities, the teacher participates
alongside the students, as team member, at the solving of the tasks proposed and agreed by the
group.
- Developer: In order to teach, the teacher develops teaching materials that can be under the
form of printed or digital materials.
- Researcher: it is the natural tendency of every teacher if we consider his or her innovations
in the field of didactics. Using new IT&C as innovation in the teaching process offers to the parties
involved the possibility to obtain results and reach conclusions that can was valued by their
colleagues in curricular planning.
- Self-educated in IT&C: Basic notions in IT&C use represent the first step in teacher
training. Teachers involved in introducing innovations benefit from self-instruction in IT&C
methodology for educational use, both pedagogically and technically.
- Member of the teacher team: Activities that use new technologies require often team
activities because abilities, skills and knowledge of each one can contribute to accomplishing the
work task (ex. Collaborative projects, website-building projects etc.).
Teacher and student’s roles are independent from one another. Whilst the teacher is a
moderator, a tutor, the student becomes self-confident, active researchers to obtain information.
Thus, the responsibility of the students regarding learning increases.
A new paradigm replaces training with the permanent professional education of teachers. This
approach includes at least three dimensions:
• Initial training offers teachers a solid knowledge base; competences in teaching, classroom
management and skill selection; mastering the subject they teach and knowledge in the use of
various educational resources, including technology.
• Working sessions, seminaries and short courses that offer structured opportunities to gain
new teaching skills as well as the development of the IT use in classroom and career development
skills.
• Unceasing support both pedagogically and technically for teachers when they face daily
challenges and responsibilities of this new instruction method.
Teachers’ professional development is essential in order to efficiently used technology in
school. Thus, spending resources on hardware and software without financing the proper
professional development is a great loss. Introducing new technologies in education will reduce
the time consumption and repeatability of tasks offering teachers the possibility to spend more
time on evaluation, individual training, and designing lessons in a new and competitive form. We
believe that this profession will become more interesting but also more exigent. Focusing attention
on developing skills involves the existence of special abilities among teachers.
To rapidly adapt this changes the teacher must be prepared to acquire competences to
efficiently use Internet in the didactic process.


6 References
Bîrzea, C., (1992), Curriculum reform in Central and Eastern Europe – Curriculum Development in Europe,
strategies and organisation. UNESCO, Bucureşti.
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Becta (British Educational Communication And Technology Agency, (1999), Connecting Schools,
Networking People. ICT Planning, Purchasing and Good Practice for the National Grid for Learning.
Clark, R.E., & Sugrue, B. M., (1991), Media in teaching. Handbook of research on teaching. Media in
teaching. New York, Editor M.C. Wittrock.
Gray, D., (1999), The Internet in school. Londra, Editura Cassel, p. 63-64.
Haddad, E., Draxler, A., (2002), Technologies for Education. Potentials, Parameters and prospects.
Iucu, R., Păcurari, O. (2001), Formare iniŃială şi continuă. Bucureşti, Editura Humanitas.
Jager, A.K. & Lokman, A.H. (1999), Impact of ICT in education. The role of teacher and teacher training,
www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00001201.htm.
Jalobeanu, M., Popescu, E., Predescu, C, Voicu, E. A, (1999), Developing an Internet Learning Center for
the continuing professional development of teachers. Cluj Napoca, C.C.D.
Noveanu, E., Navigarea pe Internet. Primii paşi spre un demers conştientizat, în
http://pedagogica.gq.nu/resurse/disted/constient.htm
xxx. (2003), Information Society. National Action Plan.2002-2010, MCTI
xxx. (August-1999), Internet as a vehicle for teaching. Romanian Internet Learning Workshop.
xxx. (2001), Learning to change: ICT in schools. OECD.
xxx. (1997), Formarea continuă a cadrelor didactice în Uniunea Europeană şi în statele AELS/SEE.
Bucureşti, Editura Alternative.
www.top.pefri.hr, Hypermedia in education-Interactiv learning and teaching.
Competencies, roles and responsibilities of teachers
in terms of new informational technologies

Roxana Enache

Teachers Training Department, Petroleum - Gas University Ploiesti,
Bdul Bucuresti 39, 100680, Romania
E-mail: rocatare@yahoo.com

Abstract
A teacher`s responsibilities can be summarized by distinguishing more professional roles: the
interpersonal role, the pedagogical role, the organizational role, the role of an expert in
subject matter and teaching methods, sometimes even the role of director of school
organization. The teacher fulfils these professional roles in more different types of situations,
which are characteristic of a teacher`s profession: work with students, colleagues, the school`s
working environment, with him/self, with organization members and even school community.
The latter refers to his/her own personal development. The connection of more professional
roles with more types of situations generates a framework for the description of a teacher`s
competence with some minor differences for three types of education (primary, secondary,
vocational etc.).

Keywords: Roles, Key teacher competencies, New IT&C technologies, Internet

1 Introduction

New skills, roles and responsibilities incumbent upon teachers in the context of using information
and communication technologies. The main competent to be transformed under the impact of new
information technologies are: interpersonal competence, pedagogical competence, subject
knowledge and methodological competence, organizational competence, competence for
collaboration with colleagues, competence for collaboration with working environment,
competence for reflection and development, management competence etc.
Interpersonal competence. The teacher must create a pleasant living – and working climate in
his/her group(s). That is the teacher`s responsibility, and in order to take this responsibility the
teacher must be interpersonally competent. An interpersonally competent teacher gives proof of
good leadership. He/she creates a friendly and cooperative atmosphere and stimulates and achieves
open communication. He/she encourages the students` autonomy, and in his/her interaction seeks
the right balance between guidance and counselling, steering and following, confrontation and
reconciliation, and corrective measure and stimulation. Competent to practice these new
information technologies can play an important role in facilitating the development of
psychosocial relationships, streamlining communication and stimulating cooperation.
Pedagogical competence. Use new information technologies can improve teaching skills. The
teacher must help the students become independent and responsible persons, who have a pretty
good idea of their ambitions and possibilities. In order to be able to fully take this responsibility
the teacher must be pedagogically competent. A pedagogically competent teacher offers his/her
students, on the basis of a safe learning – and working environment, a structure to hold on to when
they must make choices, and he/she stimulates their further personal development.
Subject knowledge and methodological competence. The teacher must help students acquire the
subject content of a certain subject or profession and get familiar with the ways in which they can
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be used in everyday life and in working situations. Furthermore he/she must help them get insight
into society and into what they can expect in the practice of their professions. In order to be able to
fully take this responsibility the teacher must have sufficient knowledge of subject matter and
teaching methods. Competent in developing this new information technologies can improve
teaching approach methodically speaking, teachers can improve their performance in training
specialist, if used in teaching, new technologies can improve student performance.
Organizational competence. The teacher takes care of all organizational tasks pertaining to
his/her educational practice and to students` learning process within the school and at the work
place. In order to take this responsibility the teacher must have organizational competence. A
teacher with organizational competence creates a well-organized and task-oriented learning
environment for his/her students. Are practicing, develop and improve organizational skills by
using new information technologies, communication is easier to establish relationships, to be
transmitted more efficiently specific rituals and values the school organization using these new
technologies.
Competence for collaboration with colleagues. The teacher must make sure that his/her
colleagues. She/he must also contribute to a well functioning school organization. In order to take
this responsibility the teacher must be competent in collaborating with his/her colleagues (within
the school) and using new information technologies. A teacher who is competent in collaborating
with his/her colleagues makes a contribution to a good pedagogical learning climate in the school,
to a good mutual cooperation and to a good school organization, which means that he/she:
communicates and cooperates effectively with his/her colleagues; makes constructive
contributions to meetings and other types of consultations within the school, as well as to activities
that have to be performed to run the school well; makes a contribution to the development and
improvement of his/her school.
Competence for collaboration with the working environment. The teacher must keep in touch
with the students` parents or guardians, and with colleagues of work placements and institutions
his/her school collaborates with. He/she must make sure that his/her professional actions are in
line with those of others outside the school. Furthermore he/she must contribute to a good
development of collaboration between his/her school and the institutions concerned. That is the
responsibility of the teacher in secondary and vocational education, and to take this responsibility
the teacher must be competent to collaborate with the school`s working environment. In
consultation with the student he sees to a good communication and tuning between the school, the
student and the companies or institutions the student is involved in, he/she makes effective use of
the school`s professional network, where the student`s education or welfare is concerned. He/she
handles these contacts with the school`s environment, which he/she maintains on behalf of the
school with care and responsibility.
Competence for reflection and development. The teacher must permanently work on his
personal and professional development. That is his/her responsibility, and in order to take this
responsibility the teacher must possess competence for reflection and development. A teacher who
is competent in terms of reflection and development gives regular thought to his/her professional
views and competence. He/she keeps his/her professional practice up to date and improves it.
He/she: knows what is important in his/her professional practice and what the underlying
standards, values and educational views are; has a pretty good idea of his/her own competences,
strengths and weaknesses; works on his/her professional development in a systematic way; gears
his/her personal development to the school policy and use the opportunities the school offers for
his/her personal development.
There is an interdependent relationship between teaching skills and new technologies. All these
skills of teachers can be developed effectively using new information technologies in teaching, in
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practice their roles and responsibilities in relationships with students, colleagues, members of
school organization, with parents or community. Also we can say that these skills, roles and
responsibilities of teachers turn, another important gains under the impact of new communication
technologies and information.
2 New roles and responsibilities

Most information and communication technologies are helpful in gaining independence, creativity
and self-regulation only if there is a controlled learning environment with enough equipment and
trained teachers. Analyzing the roles of teacher education in perspective, following their personal
reflections, it was found that their role has changed major. Teachers not only provide information
but focuses on the following responsibilities and tasks:
• catalyst / inspiration: the actions are aimed to arouse students' curiosity through their work
together, to suggest content areas that students might investigate both during and outside working
hours;
• explorer: researching new spheres of knowledge and prepare an appropriate training path;
• consultant and adviser: Notes and, together with the student, examine individual students
learning processes, respond to and stimulate performance improvement;
• instructor: explaining and teaching to the needs of students;
• mentor and teacher: present, discuss and justify the values, seek moral support power costs;
• moderator: shares and supports content-oriented discussions and disputes;
• arbitrator and facilitator: acting as a court to conflicts and helps students to solve the problem
alone;
• "devil's advocate" solutions contests too easy, too quick solutions or superficial opinions
coming from students, requires explanation and justification of the students;
• appreciation and current element means an authority acceptable to students, evaluate their
suggestions together with other students, check if students still remain in the sphere of influence of
learning objectives.
Teachers considered that the use of new information technologies in teaching process and to
assume roles above need adequate training and preparation have set the following areas required:
• correct use of new information technologies and resources available to it;
• assessing existing resources of new information technologies in order to select the
appropriate teaching;
• classroom management in situations where information is used technologies November;
• effective communication in collaborative activities;
• techniques for assessing the activity of specific activities involving students using new
information technologies.
If the teacher's role is changing and we can talk of a student's changing role is perceived by
teachers as an advantage in that the student is placed in the center of the educational act as an
active participant in the production of new information and the teacher becomes a facilitator and
participant with students in this process. Teachers believes that special attention should be paid
lesson planning and preparation for students taking any of the roles that can be entrusted with
using new information technologies in the development of teaching approach:
• solved problems creatively: to be able to define the problem situation by analyzing a
particular situation by specifying objectives and identifying discrepancies between actual situation
and desired situation, to use prior knowledge to create new knowledge together and to propose
solutions to assess the side effects that may occur, analyze the results after understanding a
proposed solution, to use new knowledge to improve (improve) other problem solving processes;
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• project coordinator: The student should be able to develop a project to determine the stages in
its realization and control the action, make decisions and take responsibility for success or failure
of his business;
• presenter: The student should be able to present ideas, knowledge, opinions or solutions to
problems in an understandable and interesting to other students;
• author of the documentary: The student should be able to document a problem solving
process in an understandable way and make it accessible to other students;
• auto-interrogator: to improve understanding of own and others by the sound of deep
questions;
• valuing and rational analysis: to assess their own and other solution to the problem in terms
of objectives, methods and quality criteria, to reflect critically on its own attitudes, goals, actions
and perceptions.
• expert and disseminated: to acquire technical knowledge in a particular area, to transmit this
knowledge and other students.
Effort to support the above is necessary if we consider the advantages gained from using new
information technologies for students and teaching activities, because this technology facilitates
and supports self-regulation, independence and constructivist learning, thus improving its quality .
Analyzing their work teachers technologies new information is considered a useful means for
renewal in specialized knowledge that enables communication with other colleagues, that is a
useful resource for making hours attractive to motivate and to stimulate students , allows more
efficient publication of educational materials, facilitates better communication with students
outside the classroom, facilitate good communication with parents where teachers are masters
through the regular school results, allow participation in projects research, etc..

3 Impact of New Technologies in the Activity of the School Principal

Modern educational management approaches focus on the concepts of efficiency, progress,
scheduling, etc. Manager are required to provide organization and training, monitoring and
evaluation skills and competencies. To effectively achieve these objectives the manager can
delegate responsibilities to competent people, but he/she can improve his/her own performance so
as to streamline the work of the entire school organization. Using the new technologies facilitates
activities specific to educational management. Thus to draft projects, the education manager can
use the new technologies to find legal information, curriculum, assessment etc., consult fastly and
efficiently the ministry regulations and proposals used for drafting the school curriculum on the
application of national curriculum and regional development / local curriculum, drafting the
project for extracurricular activities (extra-class and school) and school competitions, the draft
budget and draft purchases of the unit. The educational manager may use the new technologies to
identify sources of extrabudgetary funding, may get inspiration and may make effective proposals
for documentation for school construction and repairs. The new informatical technologies supports
the dissemination of information, communication and even facilitates the development of human
resources for both teachers and non-teaching staff as well. With new technologies a manager can
identify the educational needs of the local community and opportunities to meet the existing
framework and available resources by consulting the websites of institutions in the field.
Dissemination of educational establishment needs, students, teachers and even parents’ needs and
their accomplishments by supervising and managing the school website.
Regarding the organization work the educational manager uses the new technologies for
selecting and even rapid procurement of official curriculum documents, textbooks, curricular aids
(exercise notebooks, collections of texts and problems, plans, maps, slide sets, etc.. ), library books
and ancillary equipment through online orders. He/she can use some applications for statistical
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analyses and can use email to transmit information rapidly. The decision making may involve
consulting with authorized personnel located in different geographic areas via e-mail or by
videoconferencing. He/she can support and organize competitions and other selection forms
according to the methodology set out at national, county or own level. The educational manager
can use the Internet, us new technologies, for guidance and vocational couseling of children and
youth, healthcare insurance and labor protection, working with elected local authorities (County
Council, Local Council and City Hall). Regarding the allocation and use of funds for operation,
maintenance and repair of school units, in concluding contracts with businesses, NGOs and other
organizations on mutual provision of services without being physically present in those
institutions, the manager can be efficient by resorting to various Internet services.
In the operational leadership the education manager uses the new technologies to: oversee the
conduct of extracurricular activities and school competitions consulting documents prepared by
teachers and sent by e-mail, by disseminating schools’ educational management documents of
educational institutions to both teachers and higher institutions (School Inspectorates, ministry
etc..), through effective time management avoiding unnecessary meetings, using the Internet to
transmit data services, information, etc.. (job descriptions / role descriptions for staff, disciplinary
procedures, dismissal procedures, redundancy and retirement, etc.). Education manager’s
operational leadership activity is facilitated by new technologies for establishing links with local
authorities, businesses, national and regional institutions of culture, church and other concerned
institutions to increase educational supply adequacy of the school unit at concrete request of
projects and dissemination of their programs and to further increase the school outbreak of
civilization, establishing formal links with police, firefighters and public guardians to ensure the
body guards and student safety and to prevent and combat juvenile delinquency.
The operational leadership activity of the educational manager is facilitated by new
technologies in order to establish connections with local authorities, business agents, national and
regional culture institutions, church, other interested institutions to increase the adequacy of the
educational offer of the educational institutions, to disseminate own projects and programs and in
order to increase school’s importance as civilization focus, to establish formal connections with
police, fire departmernts and public guards in view of ensuring security and protection of students
and to fight and prevent juvenile delinquency.
Using Intranet at school level allows access of teachers, auxiliary personnel and school
managers to the Informational System for Educational Management. Using specialized devices
like PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) alloes Internet access from any classroom, lab etc. to the
school network and implicitly to ISEM or other educational websites.
In the control/evaluation activity, the educational manager renders his/her actions more
efficient by using new technologies in consulting and acknowledging other educational offers, by
communicating with abilitated institutions via Internet, by disseminating educational offer
evaluation and educational performances based on monitoring and evaluatoin criteria and/or on
performance indicators set by curriculum or development projects set up following an inspection.
Educational managers can elaborate proposals regarding national curriculum modifications and
regional and national development and can present and disseminate them via webpages. They can
signal institutions that are able to give financial aids and support concerning some projects.
National exams like baccalaureate can be organized and attended via Internet for the benefit of
children with difficulties or with special needs in the same safe and efficient enviroment.
Transmission of documents and current and special thematic reports requested by School
Inspectorates, Teacher Resource Centres, Ministry of Education and local authorities and the
consultation with specialists in various fields via chat, videoconference, e-mail etc. Archiving,
storing and transmission of educational, financial, legal documents concerning official human
resources, material and informational management can be accomplished in a safe, ergonomic and
cheap manner using Internet.
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It should not be neglected the role of the manager to motivate staff, and often this should be
done differently, individually. An effective way is to send personal assessment to a teacher, parent
or student via e-mail.
Regarding the involvement / participation of leadership, direction and control personnel of pre-
university education level, the education manager can use the new technologies to encourage
people to record and transmit from school teachers to those in right, the local curriculum
developments and proposals for improving the national curriculum. Ensuring transparency of
budget preparation and execution by publishing information on the website of the financial
department. Ensuring the institutional framework for staff participation in decision-making by
teams and their existing collective bodies: the collectives of the chairs, Professorial Board and
Council by requesting opinions, ideas on solving urgent problems and transmiting resolutions
using the Internet. Establish a quick, efficient and transparent internal communication system
using the Internet. Fostering an organizational culture that promotes open communication,
participation and innovation through communication networks etc.
In terms of training / professional and personal development the education manager can use
the new technologies for advice on matters of curriculum implementation for teachers (e-mail,
discussion lists for school managers, videoconferencing), advice on financial and administrative
staff. The efficient dissemination of information and communication can be achieved by using the
new technologies to provide general and specific guidance for all staff, online participation
programs of (self-) training in educational management and updated information in the field.
Educational managers can use the Internet to form groups / develop teams by involving and
empowering collective Chairs and project teams - depending on the needs of the unit and planned
activities in carrying out local, national and European educational projects.
To achieve negotiation / conflict resolution educational managers can use new technologies to
establish communication networks in schools, in the local community etc.
Given that to acquire and develop these skills educational managers attend training programs
periodically, the expectations of the community are high in terms of qualitative leaps that will be
recorded by the educational institution whose director calls frequently upon and renders more
efficient the management of an educational institution through new informatical technologies.

4 Conclusions

Self instructing teacher training should be based on both the acquisition of technical skills, user of
Internet resources but also the pedagogical skills that focus on how these resources using facilities
for effective teaching process. In terms of teaching experience, teachers who took part in
innovative research consider that the introduction of Internet in the teaching process goes through
three stages of professional maturity. The first step is to acquire the technical skills, introduce new
technologies to conduct lessons but there is no confidence and they fear possible technical and
pedagogical problems that may occur. Stage two is the maturity, the fear disappears, the teacher
uses more resources to conduct lessons aided by computer and Internet to improve the teaching
process. The last step is where the teacher can make an assessment of how resources can use new
information and communication technologies, they can draw conclusions and prepare other
colleagues in this field, in other words, they replicate innovation.
From the theoretical analyses and the concrete educational aspects approached in the paper one
can draw the following conclusions:
1. Education and instruction bring the most important contributions to the economical
development defending the need to better understanding the way in which education influences
resource gathering to a rapid adaptation to the new kind of society.
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2. The new IT&C technologies lead to important social changes and restructure the economic
world. It also increased the request for new, specialized skills. We can assert that education was
considered as a key element of people is adjusting process. This accounts for, and requires, serious
investments in the introduction of new IT&C technologies in education so as everybody could
have access to it and to avoid exclusion and social polarization.
3. Introducing innovation in education by use of the new IT&C technologies requires a
change in teacher professional training curricula.
Introducing new IT&C in education is not devoid of legislative consequences. There is a new
way to allocate funds, a new school curriculum, new laws regarding the wage system to encourage
the introduction and support of innovation in education, an “IT&C legislation” to address the
problem of copyright, data protection, and ethics in the virtual space.


5 References
Becta (British Educational Communication And Technology Agency, (1999), Connecting Schools,
Networking People. ICT Planning, Purchasing and Good Practice for the National Grid for Learning.
Gray, D., (1999), The Internet in school. Londra, Editura Cassel, p. 63-64.
Haddad, E., Draxler, A., (2002), Technologies for Education. Potentials, Parameters and prospects.
Iucu, R., Păcurari, O. (2001), Formare iniŃială şi continuă. Bucureşti, Editura Humanitas.
Jager, A.K. & Lokman, A.H. (1999), Impact of ICT in education. The role of teacher and teacher training,
www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00001201.htm.
Jalobeanu, M., Popescu, E., Predescu, C, Voicu, E. A, (1999), Developing an Internet Learning Center for
the continuing professional development of teachers. Cluj Napoca, C.C.D.
Noveanu, E., Navigarea pe Internet. Primii paşi spre un demers conştientizat, în
http://pedagogica.gq.nu/resurse/disted/constient.htm
xxx. (2003), Information Society. National Action Plan.2002-2010, MCTI
xxx. (August-1999), Internet as a vehicle for teaching. Romanian Internet Learning Workshop.
xxx. (2001), Learning to change: ICT in schools. OECD.
xxx. (1997), Formarea continuă a cadrelor didactice în Uniunea Europeană şi în statele AELS/SEE.
Bucureşti, Editura Alternative.
www.top.pefri.hr, Hypermedia in education-Interactiv learning and teaching.
Assessment of Blended Learning Education – Students’ Opinion

Margarita Pehlivanova
1
, Zlatoeli Ducheva
1
, Snejana Dineva
1


(1) Technical College of Yambol, Gr.Ignatiev str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
margopehlivanova@abv.bg, zl.ducheva@abv.bg, sbdineva@abv.bg

Abstract
In the activities of College part of professors used elements of classical training classroom
learning programs, a Computer-aided Learning and Web-based training in MOODLE. Part
of the main topics, subjects, seminars and other exercises are conducted in classic mode.
Some of educational disciplines are fully developed in the form of e-courses, which contain
the majority of the components for work in MOODLE-environment. Computer-aided learning
is used as a supplement to traditional ways of students training. It makes it possible to
provide guidance in implementation of curricula and to conduct of certain exercises. This
type of training is carried out under-equipped computer labs in the college, but also on a
personal computer at home with common software. The aim of our investigation was to
compare the preferences of the students and to estimate student’s opinion about the blended
learning ant traditional learning – positive and negative sites of e-learning. The results show
that students appreciated integrated combination of face-to-face traditional with web based
online teaching and learning activities.

Keywords: e-learning, blended learning, virtual learning environment


1. Introduction

The Internet has created a new paradigm of learning which can allow teachers and students to teach
and learn collaboratively via web-designed courses (Al-Fadhli, 2009). A typical student normally
spends more time searching on the Internet than attending lectures. He/she also reads articles,
forums and participates in conversations with other students who share similar interests (Paliokas
I., 2009). The results of some investigations show that most students use the Internet on daily basis
routine not only for academic purposes but also for social activities (Paliokas I., 2009, Luisa
Soares et all, 2010). Students prefer to work with information and communication (ICT), that is
why very often they are more open to the new models of learning, including in that virtual learning
environment (VLE).
Blended learning appears today more realistic than pure online web based learning according
to students responses (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004). The online training environment enables
learners to undertake ‘any time, any place’ customized training. Moreover, information technology
allows both trainers and learners to be decoupled in terms of time, place, and space (Fazlollahtabar
and Yousefpoor, 2009). In order to clarify the nature of the blended learning model authors gave
different definitions and focused on certain components. According to Rossett, Douglis, & Frazee,
(2003) a blended learning integrates or blends learning programs in different formats to achieve a
common goal. Most often, blended learning programs integrate classroom and online programs or
materials in different formats. Rossett, Douglis, and Frazee (2003) observe that anything can be
blended in blended learning, whether it be classroom and e-learning, two or more types of
e-learning, or two or more types of off-line learning. Some researchers believe that incorporation
of new pedagogies, learning theories, and instructional methods transform conceptually models of
teaching and learning in blended learning environments (Carman, 2005; Rossett, Douglis, &
Frazee, 2003).
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The aim of paper is to conduct investigation and to gather a student opinion about the
implementation of blended learning process in some obligatory disciplines as a possible first step
to carrying out further distant on-line education.

2. Material and Methods

In the College activity, Moodle represents VLE design, which is well known in the academic
community. The architecture of Moodle is compatible with the hardware and software of
Technical College – Yambol (Nedeva, 2005). Moodle platform is software of the “open-source”
category, which constitutes a considerable advantage. The teacher creates all processes necessary
for studying a subject (study unit contents, practical exercises, lectures, tests, supporting materials
for student’s information, etc).
Students can take over the whole educational activity and work through the materials in the
independent mode, including going through lectures, practicing the exercises at the agreed timing
(activities can be planned for particular calendar days), then the feedback is provided to the student
as to how well he/she scored in a particular activity.
The development of information technologies has contributed to growth in online training as an
important education method (Fazlollahtabar and Yousefpoor, 2009). As a result of our project
work the foundations of a technical and informational data for future distant learning took place:
virtual library with didactic materials has been created (http://tk.uni-sz.bg/edutk/) - lectures and
exercises; multimedia sources; tests; glossaries; links to other web-base on-line resources etc.
(Dineva S., Nedeva V. 2009).
In order to improve e-learning environment in the field of Microbiology we carry out that
investigation. Participants were our students – one part of them attended full-time regular
education in department Food Technology; the second group are students from the same
department, but enrolled extramural form of education. А survey was conducted to identify
field data related to students' opinion that concern learning support components in blended
learning model. The survey of students enrolled in blended mode course of General
Microbiology was conducted with 15 closed end questions and one open ended question. A
five-point scale was used, with categories rated from 1 (absolutely disagree) to 5
(absolutely agree).
Data was analyzed and results are reported.

3. Results and Discussion

At the web-site for on-line training, the information can be less or more detailed as one part of the
students that have regular form of study, attend traditional face-to-face learning activities every
week. The other part of the participants that follows extramural form of study have one week
classroom meeting in which they received instructions for their further on-line work.
Students require the information to be very well structured, clearly and logical developed, and
also to have the opportunity to links to vocabulary and other resources, which shortens the time
that they needed to study and coverage the problem. On the questions that concern the quality of
the information: comprehensible, useful, adequate and available, more than half of the students
(about 75%) from both groups gave positive responses (fig. 1 and fig. 2).
Students didn’t meet problems obtaining didactic materials that cover the study subject most of
the participants regular form of education responded that the information is very much available
(70,31%) or absolutely available (23,44%). Some of them have no opinion (6,25%), but in regular
form of education students attended lectures face-to-face every week, so that the problem for them
really doesn’t exist. Participants from extramural form of education are more vulnerable
concerning that problem, but their answers are also positive (88,88%), as 44,44% of them
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answered that the information is very much available and the other 44,44% percent responded
absolutely available. Without clear point of view is small part (11%) of the group extramural study
(fig. 2).
0 0 0 0 0,00%
3,13%
0 0
6,25%
10,94%
12,50%
18,75%
70,31%
53,13%
56,25%
39,06%
23,44%
32,81%
31,25%
46,63%
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
absolutly no not neutral very much absolutly yes
available comprehensible useful adequate

Figure1. Student’s Assessment about the quality of Information in Course
General Microbiology published on the Web-Site of TK-Yambol (Regular
Studies)

0 0 0 0 0,00% 0,00%0 0
11,11%
25,00%
18,75%
10,52%
44,44%
31,25%
37,50%
31,57%
44,44%
43,75% 43,75%
47,37%
0
0,05
0,1
0,15
0,2
0,25
0,3
0,35
0,4
0,45
0,5
absolutly no not neutral very much absolutly yes
available comprehensible useful adequate

Figure2. Student’s Assessment about the quality of Information in Course
General Microbiology published on the Web-Site of TK-Yambol
(Extramural Studies)

The e-course of Microbiology contains 40 topics from the field of General
Microbiology. Generally, the text information is supplemented with tables, diagrams, charts,
presentations, videos or films. On the question how they comprehended the information
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approximately all students from the group regular study reported that they had no
difficulties to deal with material, the information is comprehensible (85,94%) for them
(fig.1). The extramural study students coop easy with the information also (75%, fig.2).
The lesson is followed by an e-quiz, which help students in their cognitive process.
Question database has been created and used for making quizzes. The data-base of each e-test
contains about 25 questions that cover the topic, or there are about 1000 questions. The quiz
purpose is to check the level of learning the introduced information. In each e-test
approximately 75% percents from the questions in the quiz are from the new topic, the rest
part of the questions have the aim to review and refresh the related knowledge’s to that
topic. On the question how useful and adequate is the information there were no negative
responses (fig. 1, 2). Absolutely useful is the opinion of 31,35% from the students regular
form of education and 43,75% from extramural. With grade very much useful answered
56,25% students full-time regular study and 37,50% extramural form.
In most cases, blended learning is designed with the use of synchronous and asynchronous
web-based technologies, such as chat rooms, wikis, threaded discussions, virtual classrooms,
instant messaging, conferencing tools, bulletin boards, computer conferencing, blogs, etc (Graham,
2006). The choice of a blend is usually determined by several factors: the nature of the course
content and instructional goals, student characteristics and learning preferences, instructor
experience and teaching style, online resources and others (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2005). In
the training process of Microbiology, web-based learning is applied to conduct not only the lecture
sessions but also all activities that are common for blended learning. The questions and answers in
the quiz could be rearranged in random manner that created enormous varieties for the
examination of acquire knowledge’s. Regarding how much the information is adequate to the
need of their training process, the responses were similar for both groups 46,62% and
47,97% answered absolutely adequate from regular an extramural form of learning
respectively. With estimation very adequate were 34,63% - regular study group and 41,51%
extramural. There were no negative responses only some percentage with neutral range.
In order to be able to follow their workshops activities and study schedule, students also
needed adequate computer skill. On the question that related to their computer abilities more than
half of the students from extramural type of education responded that they have absolute (42%) or
very good (25,31%) computer skill (fig. 3).

1,56%
0
6,25%
0
26,56%
31,57%
60,94%
26,31%
3,12%
42,10%
0,00%
10,00%
20,00%
30,00%
40,00%
50,00%
60,00%
70,00%
absolutly no not neutral very much absolutly yes
regular extramurally


Figure 3. Level of Computer Skills – Self-Opinion from Students in
Regular Full-Time and Extramural Forms of Study
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The students from regular form of study also feel themselves comfortable using PC devices
have very good computer abilities (60,94%), or medial (26,50%), only a small part of them
reported that they didn’t have enough computer skill (6,25%) or they are perfect (3,12%) in that
(fig.3). Anyway a sizable number of students report that they are not satisfy (6,25%) from their
abilities to work on-line and communicated through the PC, or felt themselves not enough
comfortable (26,56% - regular group; 31,57% - extramural group). Those facts should be taken
under consideration for future implementation of on-line learning.
The data from our studies show that all respondent students adopted positive blended learning
(fig.4 and fig.5). According to them the use of the possibilities of web-based training makes
learning and activities at the College much more interesting (87,5% - regular group of study;
77,36% - extramural group), because the content is written in a friendly manner, well structured
and illustrated with an opportunity to connect to other resources. The developed courses in
Microbiology are created conditions for independent work and assignments that involve them in
the learning process and made them partners in the education.

0 0 0
1,88%
0 0
20,75%
9,26%
11,32%
58,49%
59%
60%
18,87%
31,48%
28,30%
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
absolutly no not neutral very much absolutly yes
interesting practical useful

Figure 4. Students Assessment for Blended Learning
(Regular Study)


The feedback with teachers gives the opportunity for the use of his expert opinion by
asynchronous and synchronous communication. The students receive individual tasks, enabling
them to implement utilized knowledge and skills. The developed database of questions with open
and closed responses, e-tests for current and final control promoted skills for self-introspection of
the students.
The estimation regarding how much blended learning mode is practical and useful, students
attending course of General Microbiology regular group of study accepted that learning model as
very much useful (59%) and practical (60%, fig. 4).
To make blended learning more powerful, educators can blend various media delivery types,
for instance, classroom trainings, seminars, web-based courses, CD-ROMs, video, computer
simulations, books, study guides, the Internet, PowerPoint slides, etc (Bersin, 2003). The students
from extramural group of study also think that blended learning model as very much useful (50%)
or absolutely useful without doubt (37,5%) and practical very much (29,41%) or absolutely
practical (52,94%, fig. 5).
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0 0 0 0,00%0 0
12,50%
17,65%
12,50%
43,75%
29%
50%
43,75%
52,94%
37,50%
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
absolutly no not neutral very much absolutly yes
interesting practical useful

Figure 5. Students Assessment for Blended Learning
(Extramural Study)

Blended learning is about a mixture of instructional modalities, delivery media, instructional
methods, and web-based technologies (Graham, 2006). Blends of instructional modalities usually
include a balanced mixture of onsite, web-based, and self-paced learning (Rossett, Douglis, &
Frazee, 2003). Despite preferences and the willingness for the expansion of blended learning and
further introducing of distance on-line learning, respondents indicated that they haven’t enough
time for the implementation of communication with the professors and colleagues by e-mail, chat-
forums and more, as the students in extramural studies, the rate is more than 60%. In spite of
introduction the computer equipments and information technology 21% of the students in
extramural studies are cited as a problem insufficient rapid and secure Internet connection, a
10,5% lack of a computer equipment.

4. Conclusion

Students prefer integrated combination of face-to-face traditional with web based online teaching
and learning activities.
According to student estimation the advantages of implementation of web-based learning
materials are that:
1. Blended learning encourages the collaborative work of students and teachers, and permit
introduction of innovative forms, approaches and methods of organization and conduction
of vocational higher education;
2. Blended learning are more flexible and allow students to choose the time and pace of self-
preparation that developed practical skills of manager there free time and study process;
3. Blended learning courses with a wide and precise information in electronic format and
quizzes are more attractive to the students that lead to more effective learning;
4. Blended learning allows development of critical thinking and self-decision-making of the
students.
The implementation of web-based courses and quizzes has positive influence on the prosperity
of the students, but students still have some difficulties when deal alone with web-based learning
didactic materials.
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1. More often if the students meet some problems, they prefer to report to the tutor directly
for that (in traditional manner) during their meeting at classroom, instead to use on-line
resources: e-mail or chat.
2. Some of the Students didn’t have Internet at home or have no computer.
3. Many students report that they have lack of time.


5. References

1. Al-Fadhli, Salah Kuwait University, Kuwait Instructor Perceptions of E-learning in an Arab Country:
Kuwait University as a case study, е-Learning Volume 6 Number 2 2009 ISSN 1741-8887,
http://www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/content/pdfs/6/issue6_2.asp#1
2. Bersin, J. (2003). What works in blended learning. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from
http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/bersin.htm
3. Carman, J. M. (2005). Blended learning design: Five key ingredients. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from
http://www.agilantlearning.com/pdf/Blended%20Learning%20Design.pdf
4. Dineva S., Nedeva V. (2009). Development Interactive Courses of Education in Microbiology Based on
E-Learning System Applying in Technical College of Yambol. The 4th International Conference on
Virtual Learning ICVL 2009, University of Bucharest and “Gh. Asachi” Tehnical University of Iasi,
рр.231-238.
5. Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (2004). Blended learning. ECAR Research Bulletin, 7.
Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erb0407.pdf
6. Fazlollahtabar Hamed, Yousefpoor Narges, Cost Optimization in E-learning-Based Education Systems:
implementation and learning sequence, Mazandaran University Of Science & Technology, Babol, Iran,
е-Learning Volume 6 Number 2 2009 ISSN 1741-8887,
http://www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/content/pdfs/6/issue6_2.asp#1
7. Garrison, D. R., Kanuka, H. (2004) Blended Learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher
education. Internet and Higher Education 7, 95-105.
8. Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J.
Bonk and C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs.
San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.
9. Luisa Soares, Filipa Oliveira, Carla Vale Lucas, Liliana Roque, Loneliness Levels Influence the Use of
New Technologies In 1-st Year College Students? Guide International Workshop 2010, New challenges
for e-learning in cultural, scientific and socio-economic development, Università degli Studi
“Guglielmo Marconi” 18-19 March 2010, Rome – Italy.
10. Nedeva V., The Possibilities of e-learning, Based on Moodle Software Platform, Trakia Journal of
Sciences, Vol. 3, No.7, pp 12-19, 2005.
11. Paliokas I. (2009). Mapping the Spaces of Virtual Learning Environments. The 4th International
Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2009, University of Bucharest and “Gh. Asachi” Tehnical
University of Iasi, рр.83-90.
12. Pehlivanova M., Ducheva Z., Dineva S. (2009). Advantages of the Web-Based Training for the
Increasing Quality of Preparation and Self-Preparation of Students from the Specialty “Food
Technology”, The 4th International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2009, University of
Bucharest and “Gh. Asachi” Tehnical University of Iasi, рр. 239-246.
Rossett, A., Douglis, F., & Frazee, R. (2003). Strategies for building blended learning. ASTD Learning
Circuits Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/rossett.htm
Accepted Strategy for the Further Development of Blended
E-Learning: Tk-Yambol Case Study

Snejana Dineva, Veselina Nedeva


(1) Technical College of Yambol, Gr.Ignatiev str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
sbdineva@abv.bg, vnedeva@tk.uni-sz.bg

Abstract
The e-learning and multimedia presentations allow tremendous visualization in the field
of study as well as unlimited access to the training materials at any possible time. Many
investigations showed that the performance of e-learning system improved the quality of the
acquire knowledge. Virtual learning becomes an important topic for academic institutions
and for researchers. In our investigation we gave the assessments of the current stage of
development the VLEs in our institution as well as further strategy for successful expansion
and introducing the distance learning.

Keywords: e-learning, quality of the education, e-learning based lessons and quizzes


1. Introduction

The concept of blended learning is rooted in the idea that learning is not just a one-time event -
learning is a continuous process. Blending provides various benefits over using any single
learning delivery medium alone (Singh H., 2003). Research from institutions such as Stanford
University and the University of Tennessee have given valuable insight into some of the
mechanisms by which blended learning is better than both traditional methods and individual
forms of e-learning technology alone. This research gives confidence that blending not only offers
the ability to be more efficient in delivering learning, but more effective (Dean, et al, 2001).
At the simplest level, a blended learning experience combines offline and online forms of
learning where the online learning usually means “over the Internet or Intranet” and offline
learning happens in a more traditional classroom setting. The choice of a blend is usually
determined by several factors: the nature of the course content and instructional goals, student
characteristics and learning preferences, instructor experience and teaching style, online resources
and others (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2005).
In the context of optimizing organizational performance while engaging the learner, Yoon and
Lim redefine blended learning as Strategic Blended-Learning and Performance Solutions. They
suggest that this type of blended learning is: “…a purposeful mix of delivery media (particularly
face-to-face and various forms of technologies) to improve learning/performance solutions which
are derived from the goals and needs of an organization” (Yoon and Lim, 2007). In our
investigation we gave the assessments of the current stage of development the virtual learning
environment in our institution as well as further strategy for successful expansion of blended
learning and introducing the distance learning.

2. Material and Methods

As a result of many project works the foundations of a technical and informational data for future
distant learning took place: virtual library with didactic materials has been created (http://tk.uni-
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sz.bg/edutk/) - lectures and exercises; multimedia sources; e-tests; quizzes; glossaries; links to
other web-base on-line resources etc. There are about 40 disciplines, 30 of them compulsory,
optional 6 and elective four. Some of the courses are fully developed with lection lessons,
multimedia presentations and workshop materials, other are represented only by quizzes for
examination and self-preparation.
Two methods were used to collect and analyze students' data.
o First - Records of 103 students enrolled in that programs were analyzed to collect
overall profile of the students and their performance.
o Second - А survey was conducted to identify field data related to students'
satisfaction and the learning support components in blended learning model. The
survey of these students was conducted with 15 closed end questions and one open
ended question. A five-point scale was used, with categories rated from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). In all 92 % students responded to the survey.
Data was analyzed and results are reported in following section.

3. Results and Discussion

Organizations exploring strategies for effective learning and performance have to consider a
variety of issues to ensure effective delivery of learning and thus a high return on investment
(Singh H., 2003). The complete production and implementation process of e-learning needs
to be defined by the institution itself, the institution implementing e-Learning needs to
develop capacity in all steps involved (Horfurter A., 2010):
E-Learning strategy development;
E-Learning management;
Instructional design;
Content development;
Tutoring and facilitation.

E-Learning strategy development: It must know the advantages and disadvantages of
different approaches and technologies, about the potential and risks. In the College activity,
MOODLE represents VLE design. The architecture of Moodle is compatible with the hardware
and software of Technical College – Yambol (Nedeva, 2005). The usage of MOODLE for e-
Learning implementation is already an important decision on this stage. Moodle platform is
software of the “open-source” category, which constitutes a considerable advantage.
Yoon and Lim (2007) design a conceptual framework that considers five interrelated phases
that form a strategic connection between the goals and needs of an organization, performance
solutions and delivery methods (instructional and non-instructional).
The five procedural phases include:
1) Strategy and needs analysis - In this phase long term business and human resource
strategies are reviewed, along with tasks, employee needs, work systems, costs and benefits and
existing technology infrastructure.
2) Performance solutions – Both instructional and non-instructions modes of learning
reinforcement are considered at this phase. Non-instructional techniques might include feedback,
reward systems, resources or institutional support. Based on the performance objectives of the
organization; learning theories and component display theory point to the balance of face-to-face
vs technology that should be employed in the blended learning strategy.
3) Delivery media – It is at this point of the process that the specific e-learning technologies
and face-to- face learning design techniques are identified. The authors use the e-learning
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structures identified by Driscoll (Driscoll, 2002) and Rossett (Rossett et al, 2003) to determine the
right mix of approaches.
4) Strategic blending - Instructional effectiveness, budget, frequency of need, and learner
expectations are considered at this phase in the context of the organization’s performance goals.
5) Evaluation and improvement – In this phase, the inputs and outputs of the strategic
blended learning activity are evaluated. The solution would be evaluated on efficiency,
effectiveness, cost and the ultimate achievement of the performance outcomes (Yoon and Lim, 2007).
E-Learning management: related to the management of a blended learning program, such as
infrastructure and logistics to manage multiple delivery types. Delivering a blended learning
program is more work than delivering the entire course in one delivery type. The management
dimension also addresses issues like registration and notification, and scheduling of the different
elements of the blend.
Program and project managers who are responsible for e-Learning implementation must
be able to allocate appropriate human and tangible resources and develop project plans. In
our College we have already accepted team responsible and working on the content and
development of the web-based learning materials. Many projects have been accepted that
have the goal to created and developed suitable data-base for implementation of blended
learning programs. There are several projects that built preconditions for the development
of e-learning education in Technical College – Yambol: “Distance education. Possibilities
and conditions for application in Technical College Yambol”, “Innovative technologies in
professional education”.
Instructional design: should be first of all driven by pedagogical considerations, but
also must be knowledgeable about possibilities and limitations of the software, which can
be used to produce and distribute e-learning. The instructional design of e-Learning is the
core process of its implementation, since it decides about quality and motivational aspects
in the learning process.
The Interface Design dimension addresses factors related to the user interface of each element
in the blended learning program. One needs to ensure that the user interface supports all the
elements of the blend. The interface has to be sophisticated enough to integrate the different
elements of the blend. This will enable the learner to use each delivery type and switch between
the different types. Issues like content structure, navigation, graphics, and help also can be
addressed in this dimension. In our survey 60% from the students responded that the didactic
materials on the web-page for e-learning help very much in their cognitive activities, 31%
responded absolutely helpful for their training, 7% answer as neutral, and 2% responded
negatively. That 9% from negative and neutral responses mean that it should be down more work
in the future to improve and satisfy all students in their needs.
Content development: There is а wide range of MOODLE tools, which can be used to
produce the actual e-Learning content. Many of those tools are easy to use, which allows
institutions after а short learning phase to produce their own e-Learning content without
employing media production experts. According to the database 17 % of the students under
investigation access as very well the possibilities to use the electronic tests; 34 % - responded as
absolute. That means that half of the inquired students appreciated the advantages, objectiveness
and impartiality of evaluating their knowledge’s by electronic tests (Pehlivanova and all, 2009).
Students may study online and then attend a lecture with the professor. The blended learning
course should allow students to assimilate both the online learning and the lecture equally well. On
the questions that concern the quality of the information: comprehensible, useful, adequate and
available, more than half of the students (about 75%) gave positive responses. As a result from the
project „Concept design, testing and application of methodology for e-learning at Technical
College Yambol”, we have a learning guidance for training the tutors in creating their own courses.
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Tutoring and facilitation: MOODLE e-Learning platform bear numerous possibilities
for the tutoring and the facilitation of learning processes. Thus tutors and facilitators need
next to strong (virtual) communication skills and instructional skills, also some knowledge
about the potential and the usage of these tools. The skills needed for open source based e-
Learning implementation differ not only on the technological side from e-Learning
implementations based on commercial e-Learning software, but also in any of the other e-
Learning related skills.
Virtual learning environment of the first generation were created around databases of
learning material. Today VLEs are based on learning objects and metadata to deliver
information and integrated learning services in a structured way. Students have access to
multiple learning resources and under the support of the instructor they participate in
content creation to make possible independent learning (Graham, 2005). In our investigation
75% students responded that the materials on-line are very useful for their self-preparation
for the exam. Around 15% are not sure and about 10% are absolutely sure that that content
is very useful and proper for their acquiring of knowledge.
We are researching new trends in the e-learning and blended education with
implementation of intellectual technologies base on the project “Intellectual Information
Systems and technologies in e-learning” (Nedeva V., D. Nedev 2008; Nedev D., V. Nedeva,
2008).
Technical implementation: Technical requirements, such as the server that supports the
learning program, access to the server, bandwidth and accessibility, security, and other hardware,
software, and infrastructure issues are addressed.
Our eDuTK VLE is based on MOODLE open source software. Our version is updated to 1.9.5.
This version uses UTF-8 Unicode (utf8) UTF-8 is a specific encoding of Unicode used by many
applications. Moodle uses UTF-8 encoding to be able to support different languages. We use
private web hosting on Linux OS, Apache web server software, PHP scripting language and
MySQL database.
Institutions which base their e-Learning implementation on MOODLE tools, must also
build some in house capacity for supporting and implementing these tools on the technical
level. Teaching with VLEs includes the use of a wide range of software tools, personal computers
and PDAs, curriculum design, management of student’s profiles.
Electronic access being а major requirement for online interaction can be of two types:
o synchronous - student and teacher both are online at the same time and at а common
space.
o asynchronous - asynchronous instruction are carried out using а common web space
but performed at convenience of both students and teachers.
Student's access is dependent upon ICT infrastructure, associated ICT devices, quality
of service and its costs to an individual. Many traditional asynchronous technologies such
as: printed material, audio/video cassettes through postal service were used in the past.
These are now being progressively replaced by web based material down loads through
Internet.
Many synchronous communication technologies such as:
o Internet,
o Video Conference,
o Tele-conference and
o Mobile systems
are also used by distance learning institutions (DLI). А widely used TV broadcast
technology could provide mass access. However, it is too costly for two way interactions
between active participants in class (Gao & Zhang, 2009).
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As alternate, multimedia instructional CDs, video cassette could be delivered to students.
These are cost effective in delivery but require heavy investment in preparation and
maintaining content. Mobile technologies are also used in education; however, these
require extensive instruction design practices. Electronic interaction methods used by any
DLI are carefully designed depending upon common ICT devices and services used by
students.
Like most LMSes, it make extensive use of the Internet, with features such as discussion
forums, chats, journals, automated testing and grading tools, and student tracking. We have
successful ended project for intranet optimization and wireless Internet connections, based on
MikroTik. It is a Linux-based operating system known as MikroTik RouterOS. It lets users turn a
selected PC-based machine into a software router, allowing features such as
firewall rules, VPN Server and Client, bandwidth shaper Quality of Service, wireless access point
and other commonly used features for routing and connecting networks together. We use system to
serve as a captive-portal based hotspot system. This is results of the project “Development of
Wireless Network in Technical College – Yambol”.
Conversely, survey respondents indicated that their top five obstacles to implementing blended
learning were lack of budget, choosing the right strategy, lack of senior management buy-in,
inability of developers and/or trainers, and inadequate technical infrastructure (The Learning
Guild, 2003).
However, there may be some components of learning which may not be better
accomplished at distance or in online mode. For example, laboratory/ field work or learning
of some physical skills my require some face-to-face access to workshop, laboratories or
field. Therefore, blended learning is often practiced by universities for better learning
(Draffan & Rainger, 2006; Кеnnу et аl, 2005; Power 2007). Our survey reveals that 25% from
the students like very much and support the introduction in the future on-line distance learning,
39% are absolutely sure that they will prefer e-learning vs regular, 30% have not opinion, negative
responses gave 5% and absolutely negative 1%.
According to a 2003 survey of “Blended Learning Best Practices” by The Learning Guild, over
85% of organizations are using blended learning for the creation and/or delivery of educational
content. The experience of respondents has been positive, with more than 76% saying blended
learning was more effective than classroom training, and 73% suggesting that blended learning
had a higher learner value/impact than non-blended processes. Over 36% of the respondents used
6 to 10 different components in their blended program. The top five components were classroom
instruction, interactive web-based training, email communication, self-paced content, and threaded
discussion (The Learning Guild, 2003).

4. Conclusion

The current stage of development the virtual learning environment in our institution is well
accepted from the students. Nevertheless, blended learning appears nowadays more realistic than
pure online web based learning according to students responses. The same results are obtained
from other authors also (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004; Sangi, 2010). Sangi (2010) reveals in his
study that 91% students agreed or strongly agreed with blended model, students’ majority (68%)
were also satisfied with overall implementation of blended model of education.
Due to combining the blended learning program with practical work on institutional e-
learning projects, our participant helps many of the future e-learning implementers to gain
experience, to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different online technologies and
learning methods. As a further strategy we planed to enlarge the capacity of tutors engage with
blended learning process by training programme for developing their own data-base, introducing
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the new subjects to out data-base, expansion of the data-base by creation the new compulsory
disciplines courses, full mobile access to the learning materials, as well as introducing the
distance learning.

5. References

1. Draffan, Е. А., & Rainger, Р. (2006): А model for the identification of cha//enges to bIended learning.
ALT-J, Research iп Learniпg Techп%gy, 14 (1), 55-67.
2. Driscoll, M. (2002): Web-based training: Creating e-learning experiences. 2nd Edition. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.
3. Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (2005): Higher education, blended learning and the
generations: Knowledge is power – no more. In J. Bourne and J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of Quality
Online Education: Engaging Communities. Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education.
4. Gao, Р., & Zhang, R. (2009): Moving from TV broadcasting to e-Iearning. Campus-Wide
Iпformatioп 5ystems, 26(2), 98-107.
5. Garrison, D. R., Kanuka, H. (2004): Blended Learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in
higher education. Internet and Higher Education 7, 95-105.
6. Graham, C. R. (2005): Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C.
J. Bonk and C. R. Graham, (eds): Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs.
San Francisco, CA.
7. Graham, C. R. (2006): Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C.
J. Bonk and C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs.
San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.
8. Nedev D., V. Nedeva, (2008): Aspects Of Multi-Agent System Application In E-Learning, International
Scientific Conference Computer Science’2008, 18-19 Sept.2008, Kavala, Greece, P.1022-1028.
9. Nedeva V., (2005): The Possibilities of e-learning, Based on Moodle Software Platform, Trakia Journal
of Sciences, Vol. 3, No.7, pp 12-19, 2005.
10. Nedeva V., D.Nedev, (2008): Evolution In The E-Learning Systems With Intelligent Technologies,
International Scientific Conference Computer Science’2008, 18-19 Sept. 2008, Kavala, Greece, P.1028-
1035.
11. P. Dean, M. Stahl, D. Sylwester, & J. Peat (2001): Effectiveness of combined delivery modalities for
distance learning and resident learning; Quarterly Review of Distance Education, July/August 2001.
12. Pehlivanova M., Ducheva Z., Dineva S. (2009): Advantages of the Web-Based Training for the
Increasing Quality of Preparation and Self-Preparation of Students from the Specialty “Food
Technology”, The 4th International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2009, University of
Bucharest and “Gh. Asachi” Tehnical University of Iasi, рр. 239-246.
13. Power, М. (2007): From distance education to e-learning: А multiple case study on instructional
design problems. E-Learпiпg, 4(1), 64-78. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www
.ords.co.uk/elea/content/pdfs/4/issue4 1.asp
14. Rossett, A., Douglis, F., & Frazee, R. (2003): Strategies for building blended learning. ASTD Learning
Circuits Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/rossett.htm
15. Sangi N. A. (2010): Delivery Issues in Blended Computer Science Education at AIOU. Guide
International Workshop 2010, New challenges for e-learning in cultural, scientific and socio-economic
development, Università degli Studi “Guglielmo Marconi” 18-19 March 2010, Rome – Italy.
16. Singh H., (2003): Issue of Educational Technology, Volume 43, Number 6, Pages 51-54.
17. The Learning Guild (2003): The Blended Learning Best Practices Survey. Retrieved May 19, 2008
from http://www.elearningguild.com/research/archives/index.cfm?action=viewonly2&id=10&referer=
http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eelearningguild%2Ecom%2Fsearch%2Ecfm
18. Yoon, S-W and Lim, D.H. (2007): Strategic blending: a conceptual framework to improve learning and
performance International Journal on E-Learning, 6(3), 475-489.
19. Кеnnу, R. F., Zhang, Z., 5chwier, R. А., & Campbell, К. (2005): А review of what instructional
designers do: Questions answered and questions not asked. Caпadiaп Jourпa/ of Learпiпg aпd
Techп%gy, 31(1). [Online Journal]. Retrieved July 4, 2006 from http://www.cjlt.ca/content/
voI31.1/kenny.html
Educational software. Types of soft

Valeriu Ştefănescu

University of Bucharest, Physics Faculty, România
E-mail:stefanescuvaleriu@gmail.com

Abstract
Placing computers in all fields influenced the education system. For students to be prepared
to work in a computerized society, they must learn to use this technique. The calculator can
intervene directly through educational software in organizing learning situations, as we talk
about computer aided instruction (CAI). Computer use in training activities leading to
development of organizational forms of training not possible using traditional means and
methods. Computer processing capabilities, recording and retrieving information for
introducing situations in which the student acquires the knowledge and skills in an
autonomous manner, in accordance with their interests and aspirations. Educational software
is a program specifically designed to be used in training activities. It is a means to provide
training by computer in an individual way, interactive and guided. Software developed by the
predominant aspect of verification, testing knowledge, the more complex issues, providing
meaningful contexts for learning, thus altering the area of teacher activities both
quantitatively and qualitatively.

Keywords: Educational software, learning, classification, computer assisted instruction

1. Introduction

Since 2001, a European Commission report showed that the incorporation of ICT into European
education systems is a process that in the long term, will have major implications for learning and
teaching organization. Most experts view that, at present, research efforts should focus on the
potential offers education and education in general, computers and virtual environments created
for them:
- an accuracy of operations performed;
- an ability to provide multiple presentations and dynamic phenomena;
- an interaction, in general, but also to interact in a consistent and differentiated with each
student / user basis.
Software developments, the predominant aspect of verification, testing knowledge, the more
complex issues that provide meaningful contexts for learning, change the scope of activities the
teacher quantitatively but also qualitatively. Here's a new element of pressure on schools which
have to rethink their approaches to teaching approach. One of the major changes to the
intervention of computers in education is the paradigm shift from teacher-centered to student-
centered. The spread and diversification of the CAI, the teacher's role change. Gradually relieve
the teacher from routine activities, but his task is amplified by the fact that we must develop and
implement programs tailored small that teaches discipline and adapted well, and teaching
requirements.
In this way, there are already elements of decentralization, the teacher no longer the "center"
irradiation of information, education move their dominant emphasis from teaching to learning.
Learning focuses on active participation of students to build their own system of knowledge at
their own pace and on their own learning becomes strategii.Dominanta individualization, is
increasingly given up on standardization.
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Student-centered learning focused on individual characteristics associated with learning
(heredity, experiences, perspectives, training, talents, abilities and needs) to focus on teaching
understood as a new way of sharing knowledge (selecting the best and latest information, stimulate
motivation to ensure accumulation of knowledge by all students). The new learning environments,
all students have access to the same sources of information that can be expected to ensure equal
opportunities for education.

2. Educational software

To achieve these goals is used in the educational practice educational software.
Educational software is a program designed for use in teaching - learning - assessment is an
interactive training tool that provides scope for individualisation. Is made according to certain
educational requirements (specific content, target group characteristics, behavioral objectives) and
certain technical requirements ensuring individual interactions, the feedback sequence and
formative assessment).
Educational software is presented as a package that includes:
- software-product;
- documentation (methodical and describe the computer which can be implemented);
- other material resources.
After priority function that can perform in the course of training, educational software can be
divided into:
2.1. Interactive software for teaching and presentation of new knowledge. This is the most
complex type of pedagogical point of view, because, through adaptive interaction to achieve the
aims by the user, the educational objectives. Having incorporated a strategy that allows feedback
and permanent control, determine a course of individuation, according to the preparedness of the
matter.
Such software creates a dialogue (similar to the teacher and student), between student and
program. Interaction / dialogue can be controlled by computer (tutorial dialogue) or by the student
(dialogue investigation). The corresponding, software that in turn are classified into:
a) software tutorials / lessons guided the student computer guides you, step by step leading him
to acquire new knowledge or skills training as a strategy set by the software designer;
b) investigative software, the student himself seeking to obtain information necessary for
solving the proposed task based on a set of rules. In this way, the path length for the extraction of
information depends on the knowledge of the learner and his particular learning style.
2.2. Software exercises (Drill and Practice). Are not designed to teach new knowledge, but
occur as a supplement to the lesson in class. They are designed to strengthen specific skills to a
limited number of school subjects, by sets of repetitive tasks, always followed by assessment of
student answer. There are two ways of achieving their IT:
- student applications to be presented are stored in computer memory, where they are extracted
in a premeditated or random order;
- there are applications such as computer memory, but it is generated in accordance with in
accordance with a specific algorithm.
They allow each student to work in its own pace for the acquisition of specific skills. Are
designed so the student can always check the correctness of the answer. Is a complement, a
supplement to classroom lessons, as a means of achieving individual learning.
2.3 Simulation software allows students to observe the monitor screen controlled
representation of a phenomenon or a real process, based on a simplified model. The simulation
aims at training students mental models of phenomena, processes or systems, real or training to
enable them understand their operation. By design, the software allows modification of
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parameters, the student can see how it changes the behavior / response system. In some cases,
interactive model can replace the real experiment, especially if the experiment is dangerous and
requires expensive equipment (a laser operation moving planets and artificial satellites, operating a
nuclear reactor, etc.). Interactive models provide a time savings in preparing lessons and during
lessons. With their teacher can this phenomena, processes, etc.., more intuitive and can
demonstrate some features of phenomena and processes. This leads to increased student interest in
physics and a deeper understanding of their favors.
Virtual Physics program produced by the firm Nahliksoft is the collection of programs
simulating physical phenomena. They can be used as demonstration tools at school or for
individual studies and experiments at home. The most exiting feature of Virtual Physics is that you
can perform and observe many experiments you can never see either in nature or in the school
laboratory, eg. stars moving on their orbits or the motion of the molecules of gas. Figure 1 presents
the generation of electric field.
2.4. Computer models simulating the laboratory work by students in laboratory work. Unlike
simulation software, they have electronic tables for evaluating the results of performing the
experiment, sub construction schedules, results processing, electronic registry where students
passing grades for work done automatically. Figure 2 presents an image of the lesson "Ohm's Law.
Comparison resistor circuit "and" Ohm's Law for a portion of the circuit ", where eighth graders
can see on the monitor screen of virtual experiment.(The image was taken from AEL platform,
Physics, Class VIII).
AeL Educational is an integrated and complete eLearning solution, designed entirely for
improving the education system is produced by Siveco România.
2.5. Thematic software, which presents topics (themes) in various areas of curriculum. The
main aims of extending the horizon of knowledge. There Thematic software designed for the kind
of skills training. Because the software in this category is not based on a particular teaching
strategy, how effective is determined by the teacher.
2.6. Software testing / evaluation of knowledge, designed and used for an objective
assessment, knowledge and skills / practical skills of students in different stages / phases of
training (in the beginning, during or at the end). Depending on the items used, regardless of
discipline of study, tests test students' knowledge, assessing their responses in a given time frame.
Most software testing and even displays the score and the scores achieved.
2.7. Software tools. Are tools designed to cover a wide range of activities, from routine and
repeating characters (dictionaries, spreadsheets, tables, formulas, technical tables), to the creative
nature (text editors, editors formula mathematics). occupies a special place encyclopedias that can
be used in multiple ways depending on the talent of the teacher and can be tailored to the different
age levels and training of students. In general, allow a dialogue encyclopedias investigation, the
user can navigate by clicking on keywords. Encyclopedias can be used for presentation of images,
to enhance knowledge, integrated and interdisciplinary activities for discovery learning.
Physics 101 SE version 7.2 is a software product company Praeter Software that contains
tools and solutions enabling ease of mathematical calculation channel our attention on physical
phenomena, providing us with accurate and rapid answers the perfect solution for physics students
and teachers everywhere.Figure 3 shows calculation models are presented in Chapter kinematic
2.8. Software games that are educational, as a player achieve a goal is teaching. Wisely applying a
set of rules, the student chooses one way among many that is offered to solve the problem
proposed.
It is noted that information called educational software products can not be assigned on a
"solid" in one of the categories listed, in fact, depending on the talent and ingenuity of the
designer, but the teacher and the user can perform multiple roles and education and training
complex.
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Using educational software in lessons, facilitate computer-assisted instruction to students'
understanding of phenomena by using visualization: graphics, animation, simulation. Also,
teachers are forming an accurate picture of student progress because of the educational software
evaluation of items developed with the goals set out in curriculum and educational interaction
focus moves to what must be the student, to organize a focused approach student, which facilitates
learning, knowledge construction by students

3. Figures And Tables



Figura 1



Figura 2

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Figura 3


4. References

Books:
AdăscăliŃei, Adrian (2007), Computer assisted instruction. Teaching computer Polirom Iasi.
Cerghit, John (2002), Alternative and complementary training systems. Structures, styles and strategies, Ed
Aramis, Bucharest
Malinovschi, V. (2003), Teaching physics, Didactic and Pedagogic Publishing Bucharest RA.
Garabet, M., Voicu, A.; Logofatu, M. (2003), Information and communications technology in education,
Credis Publishing House, Bucharest

Internet Surse
www.nahliksoft.com
http://advancedelearning.com
www.praetersoftware.com/physics
New Connections between Modernity and Tradition
in the Teaching Process
New Connections between Different Fields of Science

Silvia Moraru
1,2
, Ioana Stoica
1,2
, Cristina Miron
1


(1) Physics Faculty, Bucharest University
RO-077125, Bucharest-Magurele, Romania
(2) Tudor Vianu National High School of Computer Science
RO-011392, Bucharest, Romania
E-mail: istoica4143@gmail.com

Abstract
This paper stands up as an argument for a paradigm shift in the science teaching process.
The main goal of the authors is to point out ways of achieving learning excellence by usage of
modern educational means. This bold aim can be reached by resorting to educational
software within the teaching and evaluation processes. We study the way how we could create
new connections between different fields of sciences and how we could improve the science
curriculum. We make our point by appealing to a number of specific educational software,
among which The Science of Music, Mechanical Oscillations, Fluid Mechanics, and Special
Relativity. This kind of projects can develop links between physics and mathematics, physics
and chemistry, physics and biology, or even between physics and music, providing
outstanding results in the teaching process. We study the impact made by these school
projects upon the progress achieved by the students.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Educational software, Modern teaching-learning process

Interdisciplinary curriculum units, a must for a quality teaching-learning process

In a modern educational process, there should be less emphasis on developing science programs at
different grade levels independently of one other. Instead, more emphasis should be put on
coordinating development of the 9-12 grade level science programs across grade levels. Physics
should not be treated as a subject isolated from other school subjects, yet it must be connected to
other school subjects as mathematics, chemistry, biology, and even social studies (AAAS, 1998).
An interdisciplinary view is a must for a modern teaching-learning process.
Curriculum that is truly interdisciplinary reflects the emerging consensus definition of
interdisciplinarity and addresses its core elements. These elements include:
• addressing a complex problem or focusing on questions that cannot be resolved by using a
single disciplinary approach;
• drawing on insights generated by disciplines, interdisciplines, or schools of thought,
including non-disciplinary knowledge formations;
• producing an interdisciplinary understanding of the problem or question
(www.findarticles.com).
Integrating these elements into curriculum at all levels should reduce much of the semantic
evasiveness surrounding the term "interdisciplinary", foster integrative learning, and enhance
meaningful assessment of interdisciplinary courses and programs. Designing interdisciplinary
curriculum, therefore, requires familiarity with the extensive literature on interdisciplinarity.
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When planning interdisciplinary curriculum units, teachers should consider the following
questions:
• How valuable is the organizing central idea for students to think about and assimilate into
their way of looking at the world? (big picture-rich)
• How important to those subjects are the concepts that teachers have identified within
mathematics and science? (content-rich)
• How does the interdisciplinary curriculum reflect the philosophical orientation of the
community?
• To what degree might the students learn the concepts better than if they had been taught
separately? (connections-rich)
• To what degree does the curriculum contribute to broader outcomes – that is, the learner's
overall approach to knowledge and his or her development as a person? (creative and critical
thinking-rich)
• How is the school board involved/informed about the curriculum process?
Suggestions for implementing trandisciplinarity in the Romanian curricula
Generalities
Science content must be embedded in a variety of curriculum patterns that are developmentally
appropriate, interesting and relevant to student’s lives. The program of study in science should
connect to other school subject, but, in the same time, the science curriculum should be orientated
to throwing anchors in different fields of sciences. The curriculum must put more emphasis on
connecting science to other subjects, such mathematics, chemistry, biology, even music, and less
emphasis on treating science as a subject isolated from other school subjects. The modern science
curriculum should be coordinated with the mathematics curriculum, in order to enhance the
student’s usage and understanding of mathematics in the study of science (Wilkinson and
Patterson, 1983).
Links between physics and biology
Computers offer the power to perform computations that are very long. The computers’ graphic
capabilities make them useful in designing devices and in simulating complicated processes (Cobb
et al, 1997).
In this paper, we will provide an example of links between physics and biology, using the
Fluid Mechanics educational software.
The Fluid Mechanics is an interactive program that contains such notions as hydrostatic
pressure, Pascal’s Law, Arhimede’s Law, Bernoulli’s Law, and Poiseuille’s Law, as well as
notions about sanguine pressure. The human circulatory system is presented as a game. In the 9-12
grades, the students can understand better the workings of the human body circulatory system,
using, for instance, the Fluid Mechanics educational software.
The software is useful for those who study biology and/or physics. Its main objectives are:
• acquiring interdisciplinary transfers in the study of fluids and biology;
• developing a proper use of formal languages (mathematics, physics and biology);
• establishing connections between various specific physical quantities, mathema-tical
expressions and theoretical biological notions;
• revealing mathematical regularities behind the dynamics of flowing phenomena;
• investigating patterns and symmetries present in the real world, but visible only with the eyes
“of the mind” – namely, physical laws (Stoica et al, 2010).
The educational software allows the investigation, in the virtual lab, of some physics
phenomena encountered in the human body.
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Figure 1. Two Screenshots from the Fluid Mechanics Educational Software

Links between physics and mathematics

The Oscillations educational software is designed for students studying this mechanics
phenomenon, with the intent to present them with an analogous mathematical model and with a
broader view on oscillations extended to optical and heat phenomena. The software conveys
information on harmonic oscillatory motion, and examples of oscillatory motion, chosen from all
the fields of classical physics: optics, electricity, mechanics, and thermodynamics. This
educational software is entirely interactive. Its main plus is the quality of the simulations, which
include the actual oscillator moving accurately according to the parameters specified by the
student. For a better under-standing of the phenomenon, the simulation can be paused at any
moment (Stoica, 2004).
The student can easily correlate between physical parameters, having the liberty to compose
his or her own representation, thus involving him or her into the learning process, an optimal
possibility for the student to learn while playing, by varying parameters in a rigorous,
mathematical way (Tanner, 1997).



Figure 2. Two Screenshots from the Oscillations Educational Software
Links between physics and music
We are interested to establish links not only between different fields of sciences, but even between
physics and art – in this case, between physics and music. We will illustrate a possible connection
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between the regularities that appear in music and physics, using an educational software,
developed in “Tudor Vianu National High School of Computer Science”.
Science of Music is an educational software which offers a journey in the world of music,
guided by the laws of physics, thus managing to observe the regularities that appear. The starting
point for this project was a passage from a book written by the well-known physicist Richard
Feynman, The Character of Physical Laws. After reading what Feynman said, the idea of showing
how harmonies recorded by our senses can be translated into mathematical equation came to us.
The application is designed for those who study physics, music, or both, and it’s useful also as
an auxiliary material for student class preparation. It is structured so that the user fully understands
the mathematical laws and practical applications of physics in music. It is divided in six sections:
theory, piano, guitar, other instruments, game and test. The Theory section is divided in two types
of lessons: a „classical lesson”, which consists of mathematical demonstrations and physical laws,
and an „unconventional lesson”, which presents the link between physics and music in a funny
way (Moraru et al, 2007).
The visual support enables the understanding and fast connection between the physical and
musical phenomena. The application is entirely interactive, being attractive even for those who are
not really interested by any of the two subjects.
The software contains a virtual piano and a virtual guitar. It enables the user to interact with
this kind of musical instruments. He or she can see how the musical notes are distributed on the
piano, hear them while playing the piano, and understand the science behind both the physics and
the music (Brodahl et al, 2007; Hadjerrouit, 2008).


Figure 3. Two Screenshots from the Science of Music Educational Software
Conclusions
By using educational software, the student is provided with sequences which can be lesson stages,
tests, and so on, but, more important, he or she can get an encompassing view not only over
physics, but also over different another fields. Through these sequences, he or she can access
information (libraries, internet), can receive a mark, or can contact other students who work in the
same environment.
The teacher who has access to educational software can choose certain lesson stages which are
in accordance with topics from the school curriculum, but he/she can also establish links between
sciences, or can create sequences based on the feedback received from a certain group of students,
or on the strategies that he/she uses.
The greatest advantage is represented by the opportunity to receive feedback from all the
students in the class, who, in their turn, can work independently, according to their level or
abilities; thus, the educational process can be shaped directly on the group of students the teacher
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is working with, the flexibility and adaptability of the educational teaching content being a
necessary condition in order to improve the learning results.
We suggest this type of lessons based on interactive conveyance of information and broadening
of the area of interest, as it leads to a better students’ motivation and to an improvement of the
learning skills. The student will learn by reading, discovering and solving numerous reasoning
exercises, which make reference to theoretical physics concepts, involved in different topics of the
curriculum. Navigating through lessons and fields is easy and intuitive. Each lesson contains a
help section specific to that particular lesson.
The main teaching advantage of these lessons is represented by the fact that they implement a
well-thought teaching methodology resorting to an interactive working strategy, the taught subject
being presented in a varied way with the help of specific programming techniques. These
techniques appeal to and trigger specific skills of the student, which enable him/her to learn more
easily. Among these skills one can mention discovering, exploratory observation, demonstration,
modeling, thus the students having to deal with a variety of questions and tasks aimed at those who
are learning.
This way, the student becomes more self confident and more prepared for a new step in his life,
and he can extend his knowledge beyond the school. This kind of interdisciplinary approach
allows the students to restructure their knowledge and acquire more easily new knowledge,
increasing their level of sophistication (AAAS, 1993; Luehrmann, 1994).


References

Books:
AAAS. (1998): National Science Education Standards. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
AAAS (1993): Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Oxford University Press, New York.
Book Chapters:
Wilkinson, A. C. and Patterson, J. (1983): Issues at the Interface of Theory and Practice. In A. C. Wilkinson
(Ed): Classroom Computers and Cognitive Science. Academic Press, New York.
Luehrmann, A. (1994): Computers: More Than Latest in Ed-Tech. In J. J. Hirschbul (Ed): Computers in
Education.: The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., Guilford, CT.
Journal Articles:
Cobb, P., Boufi, A., McClain, K., and Whitenack, J. (1997) Reflective discourse and collective reflection.
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 28(3), 258-277.
Conference Proceedings:
Stoica, I., Moraru, S., and Miron, C. (2010): An argument for a paradigm shift in the science teaching process
by means of educational software. In Second World Conference on Educational Sciences (WCES 2010),
Istanbul, 4407-4411.
Stoica, I. (2004): Mechanics: Oscillations. In 1st International Conference on Hands on Science, Ljubljana,
111-113.
Moraru, S., Cherciu R., Stoica, I. Susnea, A., and Carlanaru, M. (2007): Science of Music. In 1st
International Conference on Hands on Science, Ponta Delgada, 188-189.
Manuscripts And Working Papers (Unpublished Material):
Tanner, H. (1997): Using And Applying Mathematics: Developing Mathematical Thinking Through Practical
Problem Solving And Modeling. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Wales, Swansea.
Newspapers Or Magazines:
Brodahl, C., Fagernes, M., and Hadjerrouit, S. (2007): Applying and evaluating understanding-oriented ICT
user training in upper secondary education. Informing Science and Information Technologies, 4, 473-490.
Hadjerrouit, S. (2008): Using a learner-centered approach to teach ICT in secondary schools: An exploratory
study. Informing Science and Information Technology, 5, 239-256.
Internet Sources:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3325/is_1_11/ai_n29356488/
Interactive Conceptual Maps Part of Constructivist Environment
for Advanced Physics Teaching

Florentina Iofciu
1
, Cristina Miron
1
, Stefan Antohe
1


(1) University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics
405, Magurele Str. Atomistilor, 77125, ROMANIA
E-mail: florentina.iofciu@gmail.com

Abstract
A great challenge for a physics teacher nowadays is to respond to students’ demand to
explain advanced science notions used in everyday life to a very young public. The
introduction of new and advanced knowledge is enhanced by the creation of constructivist
learning environments. It is a fact that students don’t like to study in the way their parents
did, so one solution can be a great change in the methods used during physics class,
combined with informatics tool created by the teacher. This paper describes how conceptual
maps are projected as informatics tools for constructivist environment. They are made using
advanced Power Point 2007 notions, combining different type of animation, slide transition
and hyperlinks between pages or with external folders. In the same time it is shown how these
sequences of learning units can be integrated in lessons and also some examples of combined
tools for demo. All those informatics tools can be used as to apply constructivist methods in
physics teaching.

Keywords: Constructivism, Informatics tools, Conceptual maps, Physics teaching

Introduction

Unprecedented science and technology development necessitate permanently acquiring of new
information and also their thoroughgoing study in a very short time. This fact is perceived both by
adults and children. Obviously, there is the psychologists’ job to study the impact of new
technologies on human mind, but for us, the teachers this is a real challenge. It is well-known that
increasingly younger students are pressing to a point home that science teacher trashes out
concepts to be study in college or high school. Some frequently questions may be:”What is a
LASER or a LED?” What is Magnetorezitence?” or “How an economic bulb works?” These are
only a few questions science teachers are aggregated demand to answer. Ten to one that the
answer cannot be evasive, indistinct, misty or vague. By no means will the student be advised to
wait till these concepts will be taught in school! Obviously the historical approach of science
teaching due to national curriculum is proving unsatisfactory for young generation of students
keening on learning quickly and effortless. One solution can be a different approach of science
teaching using graphic organizers.
Constructivist approach

We may consider conceptual maps as different forms of diagrams projected to provide visual
languages, like a natural language text in that they can be subject to syntactic and semantic
constrains with a capacity of representation range from fairly informal to extremely formal
(Gaines and Shaw, 1995).
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Concept comprehensions

Pedagogical research (Varela et al, 1992) relieves that concept comprehension has to be realised
due to a strict independent activities system. These stages are: an initially approach of the concept,
the highlight of the main distinctive characteristics; particularising of the characteristic of the
concept; the dissent of the concept – the collate of main characteristic of the concept with those
previously taught; determining of the concept’s links and connections with others already taught;
classifying of concepts; incarnation of concepts.
Applying of concepts by different task solving including creativity ones.
Each of these stages has an essential role in concept forming. Teacher’s task is to organize the
contents of knowledge as to simplify information acquisition proper to a certain field as to
promote and facilitate knowledge building (Esiobu and Soyibo, 1995).
A proper scientific concept assuming depends on the folowing conditions: bringing into being
the necessarily bases to introduce new concept; bringing into being problem situations to convince
students of the necessity of approaching of new concept, for understanding and explanation of a
phenomena; the right selection of facts and their analyzing as the students to be able to build in
their own knowledge system the new concept; educational packages selection according to
students’ thinking level; learning conducting and organizing in all stages; increasing of
development and applying of new taught concept.
The increasing of students’ learning results can be assured by the teacher, organizing the
contents logically as to confer them meaning and allows them to recognize and analyze some
information’s particular characteristics as to use then in beating out the meaning achievement.
In order to develop students’ skills for understand and use conceptual maps at physics classes,
there are two directions to follow: learning contents selection and using during different lesson
moments conceptual maps models realized by the teacher.
Learning contents selection is necessarily because any conceptual map for teaching use is made
for a special subject of a lesson (Ausubel and Fitzgerald, 1962).
Constructivist environment

For the best results in using constructivist methods is vital to design a specific learning
environment connected with instructional design.
Wilson identifies that the role of instructional design theory then is to provide a set of
principles or concept models to assist teachers and designers in these environments. (Wilson,
1996). He defines a constructivist learning environment as “a place where learners may work
together and support each other as they use a variety of tools and information resources in their
guided pursuit of learning goals and problem-solving activities” (Wilson, 1996).
The great advantage of these models is that they can be replicated over time in a number of
instructional contexts (Lefoe, 1998).
The main characteristics of a constructivist environment are that it is inclusive, interactive and
responsive and that there is continuous dialogue between teachers and students. The role of the
teacher is to facilitate learning rather than to be the source of it. Such an environment engenders
cooperative learning and, as far as possible, reflects a democratic organization and management
structure that allows students and teachers to share responsibility and decision-making (Aitken and
Deaker, 2008).
This constructivist approach maximizes student learning and allows teachers to enhance
students' development to become autonomous and questioning thinkers (Fosnot, 2005).
The exogenous interpretation of constructivism emphasizes the role of direct instruction to help
the learner to form their own mental model of the ideas to be learned, supported by activities that
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allow the learner to test and further tailor their knowledge representation. These activities could be
carried out using a virtual environment that simulates part of the knowledge domain.
In some knowledge domains such as science physics the concepts to be learned are abstract and do
not correspond to directly to material objects (Winn and Jackson, 1999). Suggest that virtual
environments “are most useful when they embody concepts and principles that are not normally
accessible to the senses”. Exogenous interpretations of constructivism also emphasize the use of
cognitive tools, which help the learner to develop an understanding of concepts. Categories of such
tools include concept mapping and graphing tools (Dalgarno, 2002).
Graphic organizers in constructivist learning environments

For visualization of information processing of abstract notions in physics is recommended to use
graphic Organizers (GO). They are dignifying the layout of different relationships between terms,
ideas, problems, factors, causes-effects in a problem rationally needed to approach, how in
formations processing is visualized. Graphical representation is the problem’s global image, as an
artifact of building and understanding related to the task. These graphic Organizers can be
converted in rational, scientific learning procedures in didactic tools facilitating and sustaining the
achievement by the student guided by the teacher (Joita, 2008).
Cognitive and then constructivist approach progressively developed numerous variants of
graphic organizers for mental knowledge organizing, enforcing the role of mental structure,
indicating the pigeon hole ranking and then advancing of a concept, task, problem. These graphic
Organizers become useful tools for understanding, independent or in a group student’s teaching
(Joita et al., 2008). Bibliographical references show that there are a lot of models and typologies of
organizers and graphical representations for cognitive architecture connected to concepts, theories,
learning tasks, and relations between concepts: descriptive, comparative, analogical, diagrams,
web layouts, conceptual maps.
Conceptual Maps for advanced physics concept teaching

Most of the high school physics teachers are asked to answer some questions over curriculum
because the students are very curious to know everything about up to date science discoveries.
They don’t have the time to wait until that concept would be taught at the class, so the teacher has
to use the most uncommon methods to be understood. A good results solution may be using
constructivist environments and cognitive-constructivist methods. Conceptual Map method is
designed for knowledge management in the basic teaching-learning process. For illustrating the
method we will consider Charge Carrier Transport Phenomena Conceptual Map used to approach
and explain advanced physics concepts.
Designing a Conceptual Map

Once the subject is established nominating the relevant problem for the students, the teacher is
building the objectives as the students acquire interdisciplinary abilities. Then, the main concepts
are selected and included in a first level conceptual map, as it is shown in Fig. 1. The title is the
main concept to focus on. In this stage we classified the charge carrier transport phenomena and
enumerate them. As this will be the interface with the users and the appearance is very important.
We decide for a multilevel concept organizing using different colours allotted to the itemized
phenomena. The arrows are highlighted using the colour assigned for the concepts in order to
conduct students’ logical thinking following the way suggested by the teacher. The layout of this
first interface offers the possibility that the users have a general view of the complexity of those
phenomena and to be curious to activate the next level.
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Figure 1 First level Conceptual Map Figure 2 Second Level Conceptual Map

For each of Thermoelectric, Thermo magnetic and Gavanomagnetics Phenomena we designed
a second level Conceptual Map, as it is shown in Fig. 2. This time the layout interface contains all
Galvanomagnetic Effects: Hall Effect, Gauss Effect, Nerst Effect and Ettinghausen Effect. Each
arrow has a label specifying the way to a short definition, to the physics conditions and to the
coefficient formula. It is very important to associate different colours on arrows, concepts, labels
and formulas. This layout offers the opportunity to visualize all those concepts with the linking
between them.
For a deeper understanding of the concepts we designed third level conceptual maps. The
layout in Figure 3 illustrates Hall Effect with all definitions, formulas, figures needed for a better
understanding of the concept.


Figure 3 Third Level slide as an explanatory content of the Hall Effect

All those examples are made using Microsoft Power Point 2007. The slides can be projected or
printed for each student or can be adapted each time it is necessarily.
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Interactive Conceptual Maps

To make a usually conceptual map an interactive one is only a matter of creativity, imagination
and no advanced programming skills need, only MS Power Point. The conceptual map can be used
as a computer interface providing links to, and control of, other materials. Is very important the
consistent use of colours as to enhance the visual appearance. The nodes and concepts provide
links to other level conceptual maps and files attached as a database. We organized all conceptual
maps as different slides in a MS Power Point Show connected with hyperlinks. In Fig.4 is shown
how is made the link between the main slide, as first level conceptual map “Charge Carrier
Transport Phenomena” and the second level conceptual map “Galvanomagnetic Phenomena” and
back. Figure 5 layouts how are made the links between the third level conceptual map “Hall
Effect” and both of first and second level of the interactive conceptual map as the hyperlinks
between the slides in MS Power Point Presentation. The teacher may also attach files from an
external data base such are documents, videos, pictures or other formats.



Figure 5 Hyperlinks connecting slide level 3
with first and second level Conceptual Maps
Slides
Integrating Conceptual Maps in constructivist environment

This tool as it is designed by the teacher may be used in a collaborative environment that allows
constructivist methods to be putted in practice. The interactive conceptual map tool is an open
architecture for integrating with other systems and supports collaborative development both in
local area and wide area networks. One of the advantages of using this tool is that any teacher or
student can develop a conceptual map for their domain of interest and link between them or with
associated materials (Gaines and Shaw, 1995a). Web 2.0 tools may be used. For example a wiki
allows to all users to visualize, to critiques and to develop conceptual maps. On the other hand
students may use it as many times are necessarily to approach a concept.
Conclusions

The introduction of new advanced notions in science, particularly in physics as a part of
experiential and assimilative process is enhanced and encouraged by the creation of constructivist
learning environments. Such an environment engenders cooperative learning witch allow
Figure 4 Including hyperlinks connections
between level one and two slides
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incorporating constructivist activities to allow for a “meta-knowledge” in the subject area, to be
more inclusive to all students, not to those who have a great interest in the topic. Interactive tools
can be used in teaching, learning and evaluating process and also can be integrated in web 2.0 or
multimedia. Conceptual maps have been demonstrated to be an effective means of representing
and communicating knowledge. When concepts and linking words are carefully chosen, these
maps can be useful classroom tools for observing nuances of meaning, helping students organize
their thinking, and summarizing subjects of study. From an educational perspective, a growing
body of research indicates that the use of concept maps can facilitate meaningful learning (Coffey,
Carnot et al., 2003). Conceptual maps have also been shown to be of value as a knowledge
acquisition tool during the construction of expert systems (Ford, Coffey et al., 1996) and
performance support systems (Coffey, Cañas et al., 2003), and as a means of capturing and sharing
experts’ knowledge (Coffey, Hoffman, et al., 2002).
References
Aitken, R. & Deaker. L. (2008). Creating the conditions for constructivist learning, 33
rd
International
Conference on Improving University Teaching Transforming Higher Education Teaching and Learning
in the 21st Century, July 29- August 1, Glasgow, Scotland.
Ausubel D. P., Fitzgerald D. (1962) Organizer, general background, and antecedent learning variables in
sequential verbal learning. Journal of Educational Psychology 53, 6, 243-249.
Coffey, J. W., Cañas, A. J., Reichherzer, T., Hill, G., Suri, N., Carff, R., Mitrovich, T., & Eberle, D. (2003).
Knowledge Modeling and the Creation of El-Tech: A Performance Support System for Electronic
Technicians. Expert Systems with Applications, 25(4).
Coffey, J. W., Carnot, M. J., Feltovich, P. J., Feltovich, J., Hoffman, R. R., Cañas, A. J., & Novak, J. D.
(2003). A Summary of Literature Pertaining to the Use of Concept Mapping Techniques and
Technologies for Education and Performance Support (Technical Report submitted to the US Navy
Chief of Naval Education and Training). Pensacola, FL, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.
Coffey, J. W., Hoffman, R. R., Cañas, A. J., & Ford, K. M. (2002). A Concept-Map Based Knowledge
Modeling Approach to Expert Knowledge Sharing. Paper presented at the Proceedings of IKS 2002 -
The IASTED International Conference on Information and Knowledge Sharing, Virgin Islands.
Dalgarno, B. (2002). The Potential of 3D Virtual Learning Environments: A Constructivist Analysis.
Electronic Journal of Instructional Science and Technology, 5(2).
Esiobu, G. O., Soyibo, K. (1995) Effects of concept and vee mappings under three learning modes on
students' cognitive achievement in ecology and genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 32, 9,
971-995.
Ford, K. M., Coffey, J. W., Cañas, A. J., Andrews, E. J., & Turner, C. W. (1996). Diagnosis and Explanation
by a Nuclear Cardiology Expert System. International Journal of Expert Systems, 9, 499-506.
Fosnot, C.T., (2005). Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives and Practice, Second Edition Teachers College
Press, Columbia University, New York.
Gaines, B.R. and Shaw, M.L.G., (1995a): Collaboration through Concept Maps, In Proceedings of CSCL95:
Computer Supported Cooperative Learning Conference, Bloomigton, USA.
Gaines, B.R., Shaw, M.L.G., (1995) Concept maps as hypermedia components, International Journal of
Human-Computer Studies, 43, 3, 323-361.
Joita, E. (2008): A deveni professor constructivist. EDP, Bucuresti.
JoiŃa, E, (coordonator), Ilie, V., Frăsineanu, E., Mogonea, R., Mogonea, F., Popescu, M., Ştefan, M., Boboilă,
C., (2008): Formarea pedagogică a profesorului. Instrumente de învăŃare cognitiv-constructivistă.
EDP, Bucuresti.
Lefoe, G. (1998): Creating constructivist learning environments on the web: The challenge in higher
education. In ASCILITE ’98 Conference Proceedings. University of Wollongong: ASCILITE ’98.
Varela F. J., Thompson E.T., Rosch E. (1992) The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human
Experience. MA: MIT Press, Cambridge.
Wilson, B. G. (1996). Constructivist Learning Environments: Case Studies in Instructional design.
Educational technology Publications, Englewood Cliffs NJ.
Winn, W. and Jackson, R. (1999). Fourteen Propositions about Educational Uses of Virtual Reality.
Educational Technology, July-August 1999.
Understanding digital divide as a form of cultural
and social reproduction

Silvia Făt

University of Bucharest, Department for Teacher Training
silvia.fat@elearning.ro

Abstract
This paper presents When it comes to the digital divide, Europe is a mixed bag. The digital
divide touches all regions of the world and threatens the goal of an all-inclusive information
society. This paper examines a few aspects of the digital divide, such as social factors,
including but not limited to income, education and literacy. The article shows the impact of
symbolic-capital theory of Pierre Bourdieu proposing an analytical framework for statistic
data supposedly related to the concept of digital divide. Finally good practices are discussed.

Keywords: social reproduction, inequality, education, inclusion

1 Introduction

Education through ICT subsequently has turned into the most fundamental resource a nation can
offer to its citizens. But technology in education is not always an advantage. Digital divide
describes this disadvantage and explains the difference in access to and practical knowledge about
the use of information technology, specifically the Internet.

2 Research Findings about Digital Divide

The origin of the concept dates back to the 1990s and it gained publicity through a series of
surveys conducted by the American National Telecommunication and Information Administration
which were presented in the “Falling through the Net” reports (1995, 1998, 1999, and 2000).
Other studies have taken a more specific perspective, such as Keil (2005), who explores the divide
in terms of a digital generation gap. The second perspective is related to spatial variations. Such
research may focus on the rural–urban dimension. Warren (2007), for example, investigates how
the Internet influences social marginalization of disadvantaged groups in rural areas of the UK and
reaches the conclusion that a new media structure can be followed by social exclusion. The use of
technology is an approach that is also visible in other geographical approaches to digital
technology. Graham (2005), for example, explores how surveillance technology contributes to the
social segregation.
For identifying and measuring differences that exist within the digital divide, the main
indicators have typically been private ownership of computers and the use of Internet (for
example: Bradshaw et al. 2005; NTIA 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000; Tien and Fu 2008; Tiene 2002).
Another research has been made by Wilson (2006), who identifies eight aspects of the divide:
physical, financial, cognitive, design, content, production, institutional, and political access.
Another approach has been to focus on the concept of digital literacy and by so doing the aim is to
gain a deeper understanding of ability to handle digital technology (Livingstone 2004). Others,
such as Warschauer (2003), have criticized the concept for its technological determinism and
argues that the inequality that exists is social not digital. However, many researches show that,
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particularly within lower-incomes populations, ethnicity is still related to less frequent use of the
Internet. While economic structures related to class are crucial in limiting access to media, both in
theory (Mosco, 1998) and in recent empirical work (NTIA, 1999; Strover and Straubhaar, 2000),
culture, as indicated by ethnic differences, is also still very important. Researchers have addressed
the intersection of technology and social groups. Most of these groups fall under general
categories like: the socially excluded; the extreme poverty groups; the marginal and
geographically remote; the indigenous population; the linguistic and ethnic minorities; the groups
with special needs and disabilities.
Badagliacco (1990) discussed the intersection of gender and racial factors in impacting the
disposition towards the use of computers. Using mail questionnaires at a large public university in
New York City, he illustrated that men and Whites had both the most computer experience and
positive attitudes towards computers, and that computer-related practices are perceived as white
and male-dominated activities.
The breadth of this digital divide literature was recently illustrated in a comprehensive
systematic review of 192 English-language research reports by Liangzhi Yu (2006). This analysis
confirmed the following factors as emerging from the recent literature as associated with the non-
use of ICTs within countries:

1. Income/socio-
economic status

Lower levels of income are consistently shown to be associated with digital
divides concerning access to and use of a range of ICTs
2. Education Lower levels of education are also shown to be associated with digital
divides concerning access to and use of a range of ICTs.
3. Family structure Family composition, adult caring responsibilities (ie for an older parent) tend
to be associated with less contact with ICT. Conversely, the presence of
school-age children within the household tend to increase contact with ICT.
4. Age Increased age is associated with decreased levels of access, limited modes of
use and patterns of connecting. Age differences are especially pronounced in
those individuals aged 60 years and over.
5. Race Some US studies report lower levels of access and use amongst African-
American and Latino populations. However, many studies report that then
racial differences in ICT use disappear when issues of income and education
are taken into consideration.
6. Gender Whilst gender differences were associated with digital divides during the
1990s, more recent academic research seems to indicate declining gender
differences in ICT access and basic levels of engagement
7. Geography/
rural-urban location
Levels of ICT use generally less in rural and inner-city areas, although often
differences are not evident once other socio-economic variables are taken
into account.
8. Culture/social
participation
Communities and individuals with higher levels of social contacts tend to
make more use of ICTs.
Table no. 1. Digital Divide Factors
Source: Key Data on Information and Communication Technology in Schools in Europe, 2004, Eurydice.

3 Associated Concepts to Digital Divide
Despite the increasing attention and academic literature on the digital divide, many concepts are
not so clear, so we mention in this article a few:
1. Digital Inequality: A new form of inequality springing from the digital divide in which those
denied access to or practical knowledge of information technology suffer from political, social, or
economical disadvantages as a consequence of that exclusion.
2. The Demographic Digital Divide.
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Although it is important to recognize the possibility of an expanding digital divide comprised
of the information “haves and “have not’s”, some studies show that the digital divide is actually
decreasing with time. This makes sense from the standpoint of market economics.
3. Social Position: Social position describes a person’s place in the social hierarchy and plays a
significant role in determining one’s employability, employment, and income.
4. Socioeconomic Status (SES): Social position measured by income, education level, and
occupation.
5. Stratification: Stratification can be described as the structural hierarchy on which education,
class, and other class and social hierarchies are constructed.
6. Tracking: Tracking can be described as the separation of students into hierarchical learning
groups based on perceived or measured ability.

4 Cultural Capital-Economic Capital

The poverty and social class issues can be described in terms of access to cultural capital or
symbolic capital, a theoretical conception originally formulated by French sociologist
Pierre Bourdieu (1986). Cultural capital is defined as the possession of certain cultural
competencies, bodies of cultural knowledge that provide for distinguished modes of cultural
consumption. Bourdieu argues that in modern societies, the accumulation of cultural capital
requires a long-term investment of time and education. Although they are not reducible to each
other, economic and cultural capital is convertible to one another (Johnson, 1993).
According to Bourdieu’s theory, members of a lower social class have little or no opportunity
to acquire the traits, habits, or information necessary to accomplish a rise in status, income, class,
or livelihood. In case of the digital divide, a lack of cultural capital would make it much harder for
children born into low social classes to gain the knowledge necessary to command information
technology. The discussion of the digital divide so far has taken a structural point of view.

5. Measuring the Digital Divide- Romania in Statistics

The so-called “digital divide” raises a number of questions. Where does it occur and why? How is
it to be measured? What is its extent, that is, how wide is the digital divide? These questions have
only recently been raised, and it is not possible, as yet, to answer all of them with any certainty.
Because of the current interest in these issues, both among governments and the public, the
OECD has begun efforts to measure the digital divide. One of the key findings from a recent report
by the OECD (2009) was that "the digital divide that separates those with the competencies and
skills to benefit from computer use from those without.” The OECD warning about a 'second
digital divide' is perhaps not noteworthy in 2010 for its novelty or newness.
An IEA study explores the relationship between achievement and the use of ICT, is the
mathematics part of TIMSS-1995. A quite peculiar finding from TIMSS-1995 was that it appeared
that students who used computers frequently for mathematics learning had lower scores than the
students who hardly or never used computers for this purpose. Pelgrum and Plomp (2002) showed
that these achievement differences could amount to an equivalent of 2.3 years of schooling (see
Table 2).

Country High ICT -Low ICT
Upper grade–Lower

Years behind
Canada -50 33 1.5
Cyprus -48 28 1.7
Denmark -23 39 0.6
Greece 43 44 1.0
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Iran, Islamic Rep. 33 29 1.1
Japan -8 34 0.2
New Zealand -66 37 1.8
Philippines -31 13 2.3
Romania -15 27 0.6
Sweden -65 36 1.8
Thailand -13 25 0.5
England -56 31 1.8
Scotland -45 35 1.3
United States -47 22 2.2
Table no. 2. Differences in achievement between groups with high and low ICT use, and upper and lower
grade, and number of years high ICT use group
Source: Achievement score difference (Pelgrum&Plomp, 2002)


Let me illustrate now the characteristics of our endeavors through briefly describing the
essential features of the Swedish and Romanian model for the dispersion of ICT culture. In
Sweden, you find no significant differences between the number of computers possessed by
university degree holders and blue collar workers. In Romania, however, the level of education
will define if you own a PC or not. Digital culture, apparently, may increase or decrease social
differences and thus bridge or widen the social – cultural – digital divide. Through its EURO200
programme, the Romanian government has concentrated efforts on getting poorer school children
pupils from families with low income equipped with computers at home. So far more than 150,000
pupils have bought a computer under the programme. Since Romania acceded to the EU in
January 2007, the government sees ICT as an essential component in helping to modernize the
country’s economy.
Researches shows that among 16 to 24 year olds the proportion of computer or Internet users is
three times higher than among persons aged 55 to 74. A similar degree of inequality is observed
when comparing persons with higher education with the less educated. In many European
countries in the year 2000, pupils aged 15 attended a school that on average had at least one
computer for 20 pupils. Seven countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, the United
Kingdom, Liechtenstein and Norway) are characterized by a ratio even lower than 10. On the other
hand, in Bulgaria and Latvia, there are at least 30 pupils per computer and in three countries
(Greece, Portugal and Romania), over 50.
Another statistics are useful:
Today all students in OECD countries are familiar with computers
On the whole, less than 1% of 15 year-old students in OECD countries declare not to have used
a computer at all. In the light of the progression done since 2000 it may well be expected that this
remaining 1% will have faded by now. The percentage of families connected to the Internet is
always lower than that of families with a computer.
Frequency of use at home is unparalleled by school use.
In most OECD countries more than 80% of them are using computers frequently at home,
while when it comes to school use the majority of students do not use them –with the exception of
Hungary. The increase since 2003 has been equivalent both in home and school use, but the
difference remains significant.
Despite increasing investments in ICT infrastructure in schools, ratios can be still
regarded as a handicap for higher ICT use in schools.
School computer rations have not improved since 2003. The OECD average ratio of students
per computer is 5. This ratio has dropped by 50% since 2000, when the ratio was 10 students per
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computer. Moreover, this raises the issue of the difficulties associated with the lack of data about
expenditure on technology in education.
Digital media are increasingly used as educational resources, but there are large
disparities across countries.
As access to digital media at home increases, the importance of books as tools for coursework
decreases. Interestingly enough, this does not seem to favor educational software at all, but rather
the Internet. In most countries educational software is the least frequent resource at home.
The prevalent use of computers is related either to the Internet or to entertainment.
Word processing and information search facilities are also used by children to a lesser extent.
These two categories present rather similar percentages (31.5 % and 33.6 % on average
respectively). For these two types of computer use, the highest rates are observed in Greece, Italy,
and the United Kingdom. As regards information searching, the lowest rates are in Iceland,
Norway, Latvia, Romania, and Slovakia. However, the rates lie above 20 % in all those countries.
(Source: OECD, PISA 2000 database)
There is a variety of student profiles regarding technology use.
This fact takes into account not only in relation to student’s gender or socio-economic status
but also to some of their individual characteristics such as self-confidence doing computer-based
activities and performance in the PISA science test.
ICT familiarity matters for educational performance.
Performance differences associated with the length of time students have been using a
computer hold once accounting for socio-economic background. Compared to students who have
only been using a computer for less than a year and once accounting for ESCS, on average in
OECD countries there is a 30 score points advantage for students who have used computers for
one to three years, a 51 score points advantage for students who have used computers for 3 to 5
years and a 61 score points advantage for students who have used computers for more than 5 years.
When ICT is included in the core curriculum, two main approaches may be distinguished. It
may be taught as a separate subject in its own right, or used as a tool for other subjects and in some
cases both. In addition to its use as a tool, ICT is a separate compulsory subject in a few countries,
namely the Netherlands, the United
Kingdom (with the exception of Northern
Ireland), Iceland and Poland. In Romania, it
is included in the curriculum solely as a
subject in its own right.
Separate subject
Used as a tool for other subjects
Both
Not included in the compulsory
minimum curriculum
Data not available


6. Conclusions

• Looking at the degree of urbanization, penetration by computers and Internet remains lower
in thinly populated, rural areas of the EU.
• The presence of children in a household is a major factor in access to ICTs: the proportion of
homes with a personal computer is 50% higher among households with children than for childless
households.
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• Despite increasing levels of ICT usage in all sections of society, the divide is not being
bridged.
In this context, a few measures are necessary: to adopt holistic policy approaches to ICT in
education; to adapt school learning environments as computer ratios reduce and the availability of
digital learning resources grows; to promote an increase in computer use at school and
experimental research on its effects.
A new understanding of digital divide is needed-one that provides adequate socio-cultural
context and confers dedication to equity in education. So, eliminating the digital divide is one of
current era’s defining equity issues in schools.

References
1. Demunter, C. (2005). The digital divide in Europe, Statistics in focus, no. 35.
2. Fat, S., Gabureanu, S., Novak, Toma, S. (coord). (2009). Intruirea în societatea cunoaşterii: Impactul
programului Intel Teach în România. Raport de cercetare. Editura Agata, Bucureşti, ISBN 978-973-
7707-65-9.
3. Gorsky, P., Clark, C., (2003) Turning the Tide of the Digital Divide: Multicultural, Education and the
Politics of Surfing, Multicultural perspectives, 5 (1), 2003.
4. Intel Report, (2008). Closing Europe’s digital divide, Economist Intelligence Unit.
5. Links, S. (2009) Assessing class. Education, 9 Ebsco Publishing Inc.
6. McMahon, M. (2009). Social Aspects of Technology in Education, Society & Technology Ebsco
Publishing Inc.
7. OECD Report (2004). Regulatory Reform as a Tool for Bridging the Digital Divide.
8. OECD Report, Karpati, A. (2003). Promoting equity through ICT in Education: Projects, Problems,
Prospects.
9. Pick J., Rasool A. (2002) Global Digital Divide: Influence of Socioeconomic, Governmental, and
Accessibility Factors on Information Technology, Information Technology for Development.
10 Salwyn, N., Facer, K. (2007). Beyond the digital divide. Tethinking digital inclusion for the 21 st century,
Opening Education.
11. Sinclair, N. (2009). Stratification & the Digital Revolution, Ebsco Publishing Inc.
12. Stingl, A. (2009) Knowledge bades-Economy, Ebsco Publishing Inc.
13. Stingl, A. (2009). Progress of the Postmodern Society, Ebsco Publishing Inc.
Development of Foreign Language Learning System Focusing on
Speaking and Evaluation
of the Effectiveness

Ikuo Kitagaki

Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University
2-12-1, Kagamiyama, Higashi-hiroshima, JAPAN 739-8512
kitagaki@hiroshima-u.ac.jp

Abstract
This is a report on a learning system aimed at improving foreign language speaking skills
through memorization of short sentences. The method of the system is as follows:
1. A short sentence in the learner’s mother tongue is either displayed on a computer monitor,
or is communicated by audio. 2. The learner translates the sentence quickly. 3. The system
displays the correct answer. 4. The system then selects and displays another short sentence
from the collection.
The above steps are repeated. The learner is to memorize all translations.
We evaluated the learning effectiveness of the system for improving speaking skills by asking
few participants to use the system. We created short sentences and equally divided them into
Set A and Set B. Set A contained sentences that are be learned, and Set B contained sentences
that are not to be learned. The participants were subjected to pre-test and post-tests
containing sentences from both sets. The participants’ vocal answers for both pre and post
tests were evaluated in terms of fluency. The evaluation revealed that not only did the
participants improve their speaking skills for the sentences in Set A (direct effect), they
showed improvements toward sentences in Set B (indirect effect). More specifically, indirect
effects were observed for 7 out of 9 sentences as a statistical significance.

Keywords: E-learning, Language education, Evaluation, Speaking skill

Introduction

This paper deals with a learning system designed to improve speaking skills of the students in a
foreign language. In this learning system, the goal of the students is to memorize all English
translation of short Japanese sentences in accordance with the method described below.
First, a computer selects a short sentence from a collection of sentences in a particular
theme and the presents it to the student (either visually on a monitor or through audio). The
computer then encourages the student to answer in English. The computer will then display the
correct answer (either on monitor or using audio) upon request from the student. The student then
tries to memorize the correct answer. Through these basic autonomous steps, the system aims to
help the student achieve fluent command of foreign language expressions.
This paper discusses the design principles behind the randomized selection of the short
sentences used in the system as well as the learning effectiveness through memorizing the
sentences using the learning system.
There are many perspectives on language speaking skills. Some argue that there is a direct
correlation between memorization of short English sentences (Kitagawa, 2003), and others argue
that speaking skills ought to include an ability to interact with others on top of pure linguistic
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skills(Nakamura, 1993). This research is closer to Kitagawa’s (1993) since we see memorization
of short English sentences as a method of improving one’s speaking skills. It is also similar to the
perspective of Pawley et al.(1983) that states that memorizing numerous clauses and phrases will
lead to fluency.
Principles of the System Design and the Learning Contents

In this research, we have randomly selected the sentences to be memorized. We had decided to
utilize computers to make random selection easy. Here, we will discuss the reasoning behind
adopting randomly selected sentences.























The first reason is that we considered the students` motivation to learn. In a normal printed
learning material, the sequence of example sentences is fixed. However, randomization of the
sequence of the subject sentences heightens the students’ sense of anticipation, which hopefully
leads to higher learning motivation. It is said that heightening spontaneous motivation is important
Figure 2. Display screen
Pre test Post test

Learning of

task set A
Task
set A
Direct
effect
Indirect
effect
Task
set A
Task
set B
Task
set B
Figure 3. Direct/indirect effect of learning
2. To translate
it into English
3. To display
the correct
answer
4. To memorize
the correct
answer
Computer
1.To displayed A short
sentence in Japanese
Learning task set
Random
selection
Figure 1. Learning flow
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to language studies. Randomization of the sequence of sentences can potentially heighten the
spontaneous motivation of the students (Deci, 2002; Little, 1995).
The second reason is the fact that sequence of conversation is rarely fixed in real life
interactions. A real life situation always has incidental and unpredictable occurrences. This
corresponds to randomization of the sentences. In a conversation, one often talks about things that
they just happen to remember. Also, it is expected that speakers answer unexpected questions
without being thrown into confusion. Therefore, a learning style that creates incidental situations
and forces students to deal with those situations is logical.
The third reason is that the students have an option to let the computer system sequence the
available learning subjects semi-randomly. Students can register their attribute values according to
their attributes like their sex and age prior to starting the learning process. Also, each learning
subject ischaracterized based on such attributes, and the system developers can set attribute values
to each learning subject according to their contents. Computer then compares attribute values of
the student to that of the learning subjects to set the probability of displaying a sentence from a
particular learning subject. Using this method, a student increases the selection probability of a
learning subject that are more relevant to the students. In addition to the above described time-
independent attributes, the learning system also has time-dependent attributes. Using time-
dependent attributes, the system adjusts probability of selecting a certain sentence from a certain
learning subject according to the season the students access the system, or the time of the day the
students use the system. In other words, the system can select learning subjects by considering
each student’s attributes (randomized selection was used in the experiment with human subjects
described later).
Based on the above discussed principles, we opted to randomly select the sentences as shown
in Fig. 1. As an example of the display, Fig. 2 shows the display when the answer is shown (step 3
of Fig. 1). The area in the middle displays the sentences and answers. Hints also get displayed in
the same area. The left hand side of the display is the command area, where listen to the answer
and read the answer buttons are located. On the bottom of the screen is the area where users can
type texts. Fig. 2 shows the display after clicking on the read the answer button to display the
English translation of the Japanese sentence shown.
The Japanese short sentences were written based on the central theme of an international
conference. Approximately 100 conversational sentences were written based on experience of the
authors. The sentences were divided into 5 levels, from level 1 to level 5. The level designations
were done based on sentence length and complexity of the sentence structure. Most of the
sentences are accompanied by explanations of the situations. English translation and narrations in
Japanese and English were done by professional translators and narrators. From the 5 levels, we
used levels 1, 2, and 3 in this research. Examples of the learning sentences are shown below.
Situations are described in parenthesis.
Level 1:(When I was asked at the get-together party held by the scientific society, which
university am I working for?(Last year I resigned from my university.
Level 2:(One scene of presentation of a paper.(We repeated the experiment many times, but
the major results are shown in this chart.
Level 3:(I made a humorous comment as the moderator.(We are already in the 3rd evening
of the conference, and everybody must have become tired. If you feel tired, I do not mind that you
may fall asleep, but I’d like to have your cooperation in not having any snoring.

Experiment Design and Analysis

For this experiment, evaluation standards for such things like fluency was set based on evaluation
standard for English speaking skills utilized by Baba et al.(2003) . We will discuss the experiment
design for measuring learning effectiveness and data analysis.
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Preparation of Experiment and Method of Learning

[Preparation of the Sentences] Fig. 3 shows the framework of the experiment. Group A, which are
to be memorized, and Group B, which are not to be memorized, were both utilized for pre and post
tests. The sentences in levels 1, 2, and 3 as discussed previously were divided into Group A and
Group B. The central theme used for the group is an international conference as mentioned before.
Also, because it was predicted that memorization of the sentences would be extremely difficult,
the number of sentences were limited to 13 sentences for both Group A and Group B. The
displaying of sentences for pre and post tests was done within the learning system.
The increased score in post test compared to that of pre test can be attributed to the
effectiveness of randomization using the system to improve fluency. Hereafter, we will refer to the
increase in score on Group A as the direct effect, and the increase in score on Group B as the
indirect effect.
[Participants] Five university students (referred to as a, b, c, d, and e)
They all claim to be highly motivated, but have difficulties with speaking English. Their
TOEIC scores range from 500 to 600.
[Experiment] The experiment was conducted in the sequence described below.
1. As a pre test, they were shown Japanese sentences from Group A and Group B that were
classified as level 2, and then they were asked to recite them in English. Twenty six sentences
from Group A and Group B were shown to the participants alternately from each group.
2. Whether sentences from level 2 were at an appropriate level for memorizing for a particular
participant was decided during the test (or after the test completion) with discussions with the
participants. If the participants decided that the level 2 sentences were too difficult for them, level
1 sentences were given to the participants as pre test. All verbal answers were recorded.

Table 1. Evaluation of English speaking
A: learning task set for direct effect measuremnet
B: learning task set for indirect effect measurement
***:p<0.001, **:p<0.01, *:p<0.05 (one side test)

 ,
s
p
: average score of pre test
s
q
: average score of post test
: distribution of pre score
: distsribution of post test score

(a)
case
(b)evaluation object
(day of the administration)
(c)
task
set
(d)s
p
(e)s
q
(f)Z-value
A 1.23 3.38 -9.14*** 1 Subject a, task level 2,studied 2 days in a row
B 1.31 2.08 -2.25*
A 1.23 4.00 -14.33*** 2 Subject a, task level 3,studied 4 days in a row
B 1.23 2.15 -3.21***
A 1.92 4.08 -8.14*** 3 Subject b, task level 3,studied 2 days in a row
B 1.85 2.31 -1.48
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A 1.39 4.08 -10.7*** 4 Subject b, task level 3 (6 days. However, studied
for 4 days straight, took 1-day break, and then
studied 2 days in a row again)
B 1.54 2.00 -1.89*
A 2.31 4.69 -10.04*** 5 Subject c, task level 1,studied 2 days in a row
B 2.15 2.92 -2.62**
A 2.54 4.69 -8.85***
B 2.54 3.00 -1.65*
6 Subject c, task level 2,studied 4 days in a row
B’ 1.88 2.54 -2.00*
A 2.23 4.77 -12.8*** 7 Subject d, task level 2,studied 2 days in a row
B 2.39 3.08 -1.92*
A 2.15 4.77 -9.09*** 8 Subject e, task level 2,studied 2 days in a row
B 2.00 2.39 -1.21

3. The Group A for the level determined in step 2 were given to the participants to memorize.
It was told to the participants that the goal is for them to be shown Japanese sentences and be able
to recite them in English. The students were also instructed to dedicate 30 to 60 minutes to
studying daily, but they were to decide how, in the time, they would study. It was explained to the
participants that the learning system consists of Japanese audio function, English audio function,
and typing input function in the text input field. The participants were given freedom to use
specific aspects of the learning system.
As a reference material to determine whether to discontinue the learning, the participants were
asked to self-evaluate the degree of memorization for each subject sentence from 1 to 5, and
record this self-evaluation on a given sheet.
4. The participants were asked to study the level mentioned in step 3 for a few days. After few
days of studying, we determined whether the participants should continue to study the next day
based on their self-evaluation of their learning progress.
5. If it was determined that a participant should discontinue studying in step 4, post test was
administered right away. The contents of the post test was same as the pre test. Because the
learning display would show both sentences that the participants studied and the sentences that
they didn't study, the participants were told that they can verbally answer sentences that they have
memorized, or sentences that are easy for them to say. All verbal answers given by the
participants were recorded.
6. After completing the post test, some participants were asked to go through tasks 1 through 5
for sentences that are one level higher.
[Recording & Learning Environment] Since the material to be learned are related to speaking,
the participants were asked to study in a private room to aid their concentration. Equipments used
for playing the learning subject sentences and recording are described below.
# Play back: Epson Endeavor NA101(Windows XP), SOTEC Multi Media Speaker System
Model JSS31-G1
# Recording: SONY F-U420(Microphone), Marantz MODEL PMD671
(Digitalrecorder

Organization of Verbal Answers

Three participants a, b, and c studied 2 levels.
Participant a and b studied levels 2 and 3, and participant c studied levels 1 and 2. The cases 1
through 6 in Table 1 corresponds to these results. Participants d and e studied level 2 only. These
results are shown as cases 7 and 8 in the same table.
Column (b) in the table shows the number of days that the participants required to complete for
each case.
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Case 6 in Table 1 shows B' in the Subject Group column. This is a group of sentences related
to indirect effect. The number of sentences are recorded as 26 for the below described reasons.
Participant c took pre test for level 2 prior to studying level 2 material. However, it was
determined that level 2 is too advanced for the participant. Hence level 1 was chosen as the
learning subject for the participant. The participant then took pre test for level 1, memorized level
1 material, and then took level 1 post test. After that, the participant took pre test for level 2 once
again prior to advancing to level 2 material. Therefore, the participant took level 2 pre test (26
sentences) prior to studying level 1, as well as after studying level 1 material. As a result, these 26
sentences would have had an indirect effect on level 1 measurement.

Evaluation and Analysis

Improvement in fluency was evaluated quantitatively using the verbal answers as described in the
previous section. The evaluator was an American engineering postgraduate student. Evaluation
standard as described below were shown to the evaluator, and the evaluator was asked to follow
the standard. The evaluator was asked to evaluate fluency of the participants as non-native English
speakers between the scores of 1 and 5. The evaluation results are shown in Table 1, (d) through
(f). Z-score is a statistical value that is used to test differences in means. The test result is shown in
the right most column in the table.
The table shows significant direct effect for all cases. Also, there are significant indirect effect
in 6 cases, namely cases 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of Group B.
The experiment showed significant improvement in fluency by memorizing English translation
of specific Japanese sentences using the learning system presented in this study (direct effect). Not
only that, improvement in fluency was detected for those sentences that were not in the group for
memorization (indirect effect). This result suggests that memorizing English translation of specific
sentences help facilitate improvement in speaking skills in much broader sense. The breadth of
such effect should be researched through further studies.
Additional evaluation was made from a perspective of sense of similarity of contents in
addition to fluency through verbal responses. The sense of similarity of contents referred to here
represents if the answers given by the test participants contain the same information in the correct
answers in a just-proportion. The similarity referred to here does not concern grammatical
structure or vocabulary. However, only 2 cases out of 8 cases shown in Table 1 showed significant
improvement (1 case each was determined significant with p<0.001 and p<0.05).

Discussions

In this research, we were able to obtain results of using the learning system that supports
memorizing English sentences for purpose of improving English speaking skills.
Let us discuss the differences and similarities between this learning method relative to other
learning methods.
One of the characteristics of this system is memorization of short English sentences. Necessity
of memorizing vocabulary and phrases for language learning have been show experimentally.
With that, several learning systems based on memorizing individual words have been
developed(Ma, 2006; Nakamura, 1993). However, it is difficult to find past research examples for
studying memorizing sentences. There is a case of using the memorization technique from the civil
service examination in imperial China to memorize relatively long sentences(Kitagawa, 2003).
The paper discusses very interesting memorization method through personal experiences, but the
paper does not study the method empirically. On the contrary, some computer systems support
practicing speaking through responsive reaction(Yoshida et.al., 2008).
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From above, we can say that current method for practicing speaking a foreign language either
emphasize memorization[10][12] or reaction [13]. This research would be grouped with the
former.
Another characteristic of this system is the randomization of sequence of learning subject
sentences. Section 2 discussed that one reason for adopting randomization is for student's
motivation to learn. The section also discussed that computer was used to make randomization
easier. Future research should compare learning systems that use computers with systems based
only printed material.


References

Deci,E., Ryan, R.. (2002): Handbook on Self-Determination Research: Theoretical and Applied Issues. New
York: University of Rochester Press.
Little,D.(1995): Learner Autonomy 1: Definition, Issues and Problems. Dublin: Authentik.
Baba, T(ed.)(2003): English Speaking Theory, pp.46-47. Kagensha, Tokyo (in Japanese).
Ma, Q., Kelly, P.(2006): Computer assisted vocabulary learning: Design and evaluation, Computer Assisted
Language learning, Vol.19, No.1, pp.15-45.
Nakamura.Y, (1993): Measurement of Japanese College Students’ English Speaking Ability in a Classroom
Setting. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, International Christian University.
Kitagawa, T. (2003)Learning skill of intelligent English, Gakken, Tokyo(in Japanese).
Pawley, A. and Syder,F.H. (1983): Two Puzzles for Linguistic Theory: Nativelike Selection and Nativelike
Fluency, In J.C. Richard and R.W.Schmit(eds), Language and Communication, London, Longman.
Yoshida, H., Matsuda, K., Uemura, R. And Nozawa, K. (2008): Foreign Language Education Using ICT,
pp.55-80, Tokyo Denki University Publishing, Tokyo(in Japanese).
A Use Case Analysis for Learning in 3D MUVE:
A Model Based on Key e-Learning Activities

Indika Perera
1
, Colin Allison
1
, Alan Miller
1


(1) School of Computer Science, University of St. Andrews,
North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9SX, Scotland, United Kingdom
E-mail: indika@cs.st-andrews.ac.uk

Abstract
Virtual learning has already become a mainstream educational methodology, making
academic institutions to use a variety of virtual learning techniques with different scales to
fulfil their requirements. E-Learning is the major form of virtual learning methodology, which
has been widely used to improve the learning processes, ranging from primary education to
university and research based education. However, there have been strong criticisms on the
e-Learning competence to cater for societal and human needs within the context of learning,
backed with behavioural, cultural, and pedagogical constraints. 3D Multi User Virtual
Environments (MUVE) show a promising future as better platforms for diverse virtual
learning activities, in which some of those would not have been possible with existing
methods, including e-Learning. Despite being used as dynamic and engaging environments
for learning, 3D MUVE are also capable of complementing blended learning methods with
collaboration. However, the present use cases of learning in 3D MUVE are not well defined,
and educationalists tend to practice and expect the exact e-Learning use cases in 3D MUVE,
creating inconsistencies and loosing the significance of 3D MUVE for learning. This paper
proposes a novel approach to consider effective 3D MUVE learning use cases. The use case
analysis has been done on a blended perspective of virtual learning. Moreover, the paper
critically argues about ineffective learning activities in 3D MUVE that are better off with e-
Learning. Security management models for learning in 3D MUVE will be developed based on
this use case analysis as the future work of this research.

Keywords: e-Learning issues, learning in 3D virtual worlds, learning use cases, Second Life,
Open Simulator, learning environment integration

Introduction

3D virtual worlds are getting into various segments of our society day by day. Virtual worlds with
simultaneous interactions of thousands of people in a shared 3D space, show frontier and critical
implications for business, education, social and technological sciences, and society at large
(Messinger et al., 2009). The world’s leading universities have been researching on how to use this
novel technological medium for their learning processes. They provide more intuitive activities for
learning complex and advanced concepts. In fact, virtual worlds are likely to become a mainstream
feature of UK education (Kirriemuir, 2008). They are particularly appropriate for educational use
due to their alignment with the Kolb's (Kolb et al., 2001) concept of experiential learning, and
learning through experimentation as a particular form of exploration (Allison et al., 2008).
Dalgarno (et al. 2009) described how researchers have argued that interactive 3D virtual
environments demonstrate a great educational potential due to their ability to engage learners in
the exploration, construction and manipulation of virtual objects, structures and metaphorical
representations of ideas.
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Accordingly, many higher education courses when looking for novel and engaging approaches
to conduct their practical coursework are interested in the potential of virtual worlds in academia.
With the interest for extensive use of 3D MUVE for learning, we believe that the understanding of
appropriate learning use cases is essential for its success. As a result, in this research we have
focused on identifying key use cases for learning with 3D MUVE supported learning
environments. For our research and learning activities, we choose Second Life (Linden Labs,
2003) and Open Simulator (2007) MUVE; more details about the work we have done with these
environments will be discussed later. Furthermore, as an e-Learning solution, we consider Moodle
(Moodle, 2004) for this research.
This paper is arranged into the following sections: in section 2 we describe background details
along with our experiences on learning in 3D MUVE; section 3 explains the high level model we
use to analyse 3D MUVE supported learning in the context of existing learning methods. Section 4
elaborates appropriate learning use cases for 3D MUVE learning while considering the research
environments we have used as preliminary studies. Section 5 describes the relevance of findings
for security policy development as the future research work, before concluding.
Background and Related Work

Despite the advantages of using e-learning, which anyone would agree without a doubt, there have
been criticisms on using e-learning as a mainstream method of education. In fact, this was highly
examined and commented by Graf and Kinshuk (2009), through their work on e-Learning adaption
to standard learning styles. Teo and Gay (2006) have mentioned that trying to map traditional
models of learning into e-learning has resulted in few weaknesses that we experience with today’s
e-learning solutions. Importantly, monotonous ways of interacting students, without their preferred
personalization has resulted to poor engagement to learning activities. McGill and Klobas (2009)
have studied on e-Learning impact for successful learning activities using an approach of task-
technology fit. They have found the perceived benefits of e-learning utilization are higher than that
of the actual outcome in the form of student grades. They argue that the technical constraints and
underutilization of the possible use cases could have resulted in such observation, through poor
collaboration and irrational learning methods, due to overwhelming technology perception of the
users. Moreover, technological limitations to provide learning content and activities in rich formats
with 3D support can play a significant role for a failure of a learning activity.
Weippl (2005) has also considered an extensive set of factors and use cases for e-Learning
security management, which has been used for this analysis in a blended approach. Rich
collaboration and user friendliness are expected norms on multiple platforms in blended learning
(Brenton, 2009). Blended learning refers to instructional approaches with multiple learning
delivery methods, including most often face-to-face classroom with asynchronous and/or
synchronous online learning. It is characterized as maximizing the best advantages of face-to-face
and online education (Wu et al., 2010). This indicates the possibility of incorporating 3D MUVE
as a complementary learning platform with existing learning environments, as we have shown in
this paper. However, the new blended learning paradigm should only consist of key learning use
cases of 3D MUVE to avoid redundancies and suboptimal practices.
Previous Work

Various educational projects at the University of St Andrews have used virtual environments in
their course delivery. These include LAVA (Getchell et al., 2007) and WiFiSL (Sturgeon et al.,
2009). MMS, the Module Management System, is an online learning management system which
interoperates with Second Life in order to maintain an association of institutional and virtual world
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identities as one of its many features. The Laconia Acropolis Virtual Archaeology (LAVA) project
allows students to engage with a simulated archaeological excavation, and then explore a
recreation of the site in Second Life. The WiFi Virtual Laboratory in Second Life project
(WiFiSL) aids teaching and learning about wireless networking by using virtual world interfaces
to collaboratively explore and visualise simulations of wireless traffic. Further, we have
successfully used Second Life (Perera et al., 2009) and OpenSim for teaching Human Computer
Interaction (HCI). Recently, Second Life network traffic has been examined as a validating study
of previous researchers' findings and to offer new insights of traffic management. It was performed
as a client side measurement, considering Second Life users' actual experiences (Oliver et al.,
2010).


Figure 1: Students’ coursework for HCI in Second Life and OpenSim – Dijkstra’s shunting
yard algorithm simulations, and interactive door systems for enclosures.

The university is in the process of introducing Moodle for its course management in replace of
WebCT. Once the transition is completed, the Single-Sign-On based Moodle-MMS e-learning
platform will provide a seamless course management service for teaching. With the experience on
using 3D MUVE for teaching, we suggest that incorporating 3D MUVE along with existing
blended learning environments would generate better outcomes for students and teachers.
Learning with 3D MUVE – Strategic View

The following abstract model indicates learning environment approaches and possible technology
applications with a high level perspective. The model is used to analyse how 3D MUVE fit into
the existing learning environments, and to evaluate feasible solution stacks to form a productive
learning environment. This model analysis will be considered for the use case analysis, later in this
paper.

Figure 1: High level model to analyze 3D MUVE
integration with learning practices
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The model uniquely identifies three core areas of learning methods: traditional learning
methods, e-Learning methods and 3D MUVE learning activities. According to the model, for a
productive blended learning experience, 3D MUVE should be introduced in a complementary
nature to the existing e-Learning and traditional learning system suites. Let us briefly discuss
typical characteristics and issues on each of the different combinations that teachers can practice
along with selected system environments. Moreover, for this analysis, we presume the individual
methods, i.e. traditional learning or e-learning or 3D MUVE learning alone, would only provide
suboptimal learning experience; hence trivial to understand and shall not elaborate the issues
associated with each case.
Most of the present virtual learning supported educational activities can be seen as
complementary approaches of e-Learning and traditional learning combinations. Unless for a pure
e-Learning based distance learning activity, all the other learning practices have traditional
learning methods such as classroom teaching, in person interactions, practical and laboratory
projects, assessment and feedback. Even though e-Learning methods provide learning process
optimization through automation and usable content reusing approaches, it cannot entirely replace
traditional learning activities that require user collaboration and physical engagement. On the other
hand, beyond video content support, e-Learning does not provide simulation facilities to
streamline 3D aspects to the virtual learning experience. A learning environment with MOOLDE
support can be considered as an example scenario for this category.
No doubt traditional learning is benefited by using 3D MUVE as a supportive tool for 3D
simulations and user engagement. Specially, when it comes to explaining complex concepts such
as computing algorithms, natural and physical science phenomena, and 3D modelling, 3D MUVE
provide unequal features for traditional learning. Moreover, 3D MUVE can be used as an
alternative simulation tool to train students virtually, before their actual laboratory experiments. In
some instances, this can be the only possible option due to various constraints on real experiments.
However, we do not see a comprehensive integration with the learning processes, as 3D MUVE
are used as supportive tools. Second Life or Open Simulator virtual region based learning support
can be considered as example scenarios for this.
Thirdly, the combination between 3D MUVE and e-Learning also show better results, but it
misses the important aspects of traditional learning such as classroom participation, examination
and physical engagement. The data consistency and content integration between the two
environments have made this option the most effective out of the three, yet it is not the optimal
scenario. SLOODLE (2007) integration between Moodle and Second Life/OpenSim is the best
example for this type. However, we will further discuss certain inappropriate use cases designed in
SLOODLE, which could have been practiced productively with e-Learning systems than in 3D
MUVE.
Therefore, it is understandable that for a successful learning experience, there should be
complementary facilitation of these three learning environments; we further analyse effective use
cases for 3D MUVE learning with that stand, in the next section.
Use Case Analysis for 3D MUVE Learning

Comprehensive use case analyses on virtual learning have not been performed in a larger scale, so
far. The main reason for that may be the intrinsic properties of virtual learning use cases that
directly map with the pedagogical and traditional learning processes, which have resulted in
researchers to consider those as they are. However, this lack of analytical understanding on
appropriate use cases for a given learning environment creates difficulties for integrating 3D
MUVE with existing learning environments. Furthermore, it results in educators to expect
inefficient activities from 3D MUVE, and often makes them to practice such use cases in a
meaningless manner.
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The following table 1 summarises the default user roles in the Moodle e-Learning environment
while indicating the appropriate corresponding roles from Second Life and OpenSim 3D MUVE.
It shows the abstract user role definition in 3D MUVE, compared to Moodle or similar e-Learning
systems, results in poor granularity on defining learning use cases in 3D MUVE. Learning activity
management for complex use cases with distinct roles can be a challenging task to achieve in 3D
MUVE. Furthermore, access control and permission models in 3D MUVE are designed for 3D
content and land access (Perera et al., 2010), which may not be possible to map directly with e-
Learning system access control models. This creates further discrepancies when users expect exact
e-learning use case behaviours in 3D MUVE.

Table 1: The comparison of default user roles in Moodle with 3D MUVE
Moodle Role Description Second Life OpenSim
Administrator system administration (all courses) Linden Labs System Owner
Course creator
create courses, teach in them
Land owner /
Resident user
Land owner /
Resident user
Teacher
teach in and modify assigned courses
Land owner /
Resident user
Land owner /
Resident user
Non-editing teacher teach in assigned courses Resident user Resident user
Student
resource access and course
participation Resident user Resident user
Guest observation only Visitors Visitors

Although we can consider all major user roles in the table 1, due to the limited space, let us
consider only the student role for the use case analysis, here. In fact, for 3D MUVE, beyond
administration tasks of the system and the virtual environment, most of the other use cases are
common to different roles; hence the common user role would be ‘Resident User’ in the virtual
region. Therefore, default student role is taken as a resident user, and considered common use
cases available for a resident user in default, which are compared in the figure 3 with the Moodle
student role.


Figure 3: The comparison of learning use cases for the student role in Moodle (version
1.9.9) and generic 3D MUVE. (UML 2.0 use case standard)

With the system support for rich text based content management and integration, e-Learning
environments such as Moodle can incorporate a diverse set of student activities as shown in the
figure 3. Moreover, these activities can be extended easily with additional functions to form
comprehensive end-to-end learning processes. On the other hand, 3D MUVE user activities are
more abstract and emphasis on 3D simulation and dynamic nature through programming than
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advanced textual features. The 3D MUVE student use cases shown in figure 3, indicates this
abstract nature and gives a clear view on how difficult to achieve e-Learning use cases as they are,
in 3D MUVE.
This validates the proposed blended learning model and the arguments, as 3D MUVE should
be incorporated with its competent learning use cases, whilst e-Learning and traditional learning
practices being considered for the rest. Moreover, inappropriate use case integration between e-
learning systems and 3D MUVE can result to inconsistent data and critical security issues on role
based access control. The following section elaborates the use case comparison with a set of
unproductive learning features implementation in 3D MUVE through the one-to-one mapping of
e-Learning use cases.
Unproductive practices in 3D MUVE

These practices can be seen in two types. First, the popular use cases of using 3D MUVE for
trivial learning activities such as mere gatherings or to impose 3D flavour on existing 2D learning
contents. However, these activities do not induce additional inefficiencies to learning process, but
variety and dynamism, although the learning activities are not practiced to the optimum potential.
On the other hand, the second type of unproductive practices is somewhat crucial and can obstruct
the other activities, even though these practices are becoming popular.
SLOODLE learning features include 11 activities to map selected Moodle activities such as
chat, forum, glossary, choice and content display. Synchronised user communications and Moodle
content display in 3D MUVE are rational features that add value to learning. However, using 3D
MUVE chat channels to publish student compositions in Moodle forum, glossary and wiki, can be
a question as those entries supposed to be with rich text and content, which cannot be supported
through 3D MUVE interfaces, at present. Furthermore, asking students to participate in quizzes,
assignments and text based learning activities in 3D MUVE instead of Moodle can introduce
further difficulties to student work. In most of the instances, students require re-login to Moodle
afterwards of their initial submission, to enrich the entries that have been done while they were
inside 3D MUVE.
Therefore, trying to achieve all learning use cases of e-Learning systems in 3D MUVE is not
advised for serious learning requirements. Moreover, students should be encouraged to use the e-
Learning environment for its competent functions while the 3D MUVE for its best functions, in a
mutually independent manner. The system infrastructure should ensure the seamless data
integration between the environments underneath for a smooth learning experience.
Conclusion and Future Work

Identifying appropriate use cases for learning in 3D MUVE will support the future work of this
research. 3D virtual worlds have a great potential for engaging students in innovative, immersive
learning environments. With this research, we are looking forward to provide comprehensive
security management policies for generic learning requirements in 3D MUVE. The proposed
security policy models will be implemented at the application level, independent of the underlying
platform constraints to ensure seamless customization and reuse, as required.
This paper has briefly, yet comprehensively, rationalized the use case issues associated with
learning in 3D virtual worlds, when users expect identical use cases as they practice with e-
Learning activities. Either the situational approaches for utilizing 3D MUVE for learning, or
forceful integrations of inappropriate use cases of e-Learning systems with 3D MUVE, would not
yield sustainable solutions; this paper has introduced a strategic model to analyze these issues
considering prime aspects. The brief analysis on use case comparison here would only guide the
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pathway, but further research is encouraged for standardizing and applying productive use cases
for various learning requirements with 3D MUVE.
Acknowledgement
This research is supported by the UK Commonwealth Scholarship programme and the Scottish
Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA). Second Life region rental was supported in
part by the University of St Andrews Fund for Innovations in Learning, Teaching and Assessment
(FILTA). The Higher Education Academy for Information and Computer Sciences (HEA ICS)
supported part of the work on OpenSim.
References

Allison, C., Miller, A., Getchell, K., and Sturgeon, T., (2008): Exploratory Learning for Computer
Networking, Advances in Web Based Learning – ICWL, 331-342,
Brenton, S. (2009): E-learning - an introduction, Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. and Marshall, S. (Eds): A Handbook
for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Routledge
Dalgarno, B., Bishop, A. G., Adlong, W. and Bedgood Jr., D. R., (2009): Effectiveness of a Virtual
Laboratory as a preparatory resource for Distance Education chemistry students, Computers & Education,
53, 3, 863-865,
Graf, S. and Kinshuk, (2009): Advanced Adaptivity in Learning Management Systems by Considering
Learning Styles, In Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web
Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology, IEEE, 3, 235-238
Getchell, K., Miller, A., Allison, C., Kerbey, C., Hardy, R., Sweetman, R., Crook, V. and Complin, J., (2006):
The LAVA Project: A Service Based Approach to Supporting Exploratory Learning, In Proceedings of
the ADIS International Conference WWW/Internet, Spain
Kirriemuir J., (2008): An autumn 2008 "snapshot" of UK Higher and Further Education developments in
Second Life, Virtual World Watch, Eduserv, 2008-2
Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R.E. and Mainemelis, C., (2001): Experiential Learning Theory: Previous Research
and New Directions, J. Sternberg and L. F. Zhang, (Eds): In Perspectives on Thinking, Learning and
Cognitive Styles, Lawrence Erlbaum: Mahwah, 227
Linden Labs (2003): Second Life, http://www.secondlife.com
McGill, T. J. and Klobas, J. E. (2009): A task-technology fit view of learning management system impact,
Computers & Education, 52, 2, 496-508
Messinger, P. R., Stroulia, E., Lyons, K., Bone, M., Niu, R. H., Smirnov, K. and Perelgut, S. (2009): Virtual
worlds - past, present, and future: New directions in social computing, Decision Support Systems, 47, 3,
204-228
Moodle community (2004): Moodle, http://www.moodle.org/
Oliver, I. A., Miller, A. H. D. and Allison, C. (2010): Virtual worlds, real traffic: interaction and adaptation,
The 1
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annual ACM SIGMM conference on Multimedia systems, MMSys'10, ACM, Phoenix, Arizona,
306-316
Perera, I., Allison C. and Miller A. (2010): Secure Learning in 3 Dimensional Multi User Virtual
Environments – Challenges to Overcome, In Proceedings of the 11
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PGNet symposium, Liverpool
Perera, I., Allison C., Nicoll, J. R. and T. Sturgeon (2009): Towards Successful 3D Virtual Learning – A Case
Study on Teaching Human Computer Interaction, In Proceedings of 4th International Conference for
Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST-2009), IEEE, London, 159-164
Sloodle community (2007): Sloodle, http://www.sloodle.org/
Sturgeon, T., Allison, C. and Miller, A. (2009): 802.11 wireless experiments in a virtual world, SIGCSE
Bulletin, ACM, 41, 3, 85-89
Teo, C. B. and Gay, R. K. L. (2006): A knowledge-driven model to personalize e-learning, Journal on
Educational Resources in Computing, 6, 1, 3
The Open Simulator Project (2007): Open Simulator, http://www.opensimulator.org/
Weippl, E.R., (2005): Security in E-Learning, S. Jajodia, (Eds.): Advances in Information Security, Springer, 16
Wu, J., Tennyson, R. D. and Hsia, T. (2010): A study of student satisfaction in a blended e-learning system
environment, Computers & Education, 55, 1, 155-164
A new didactical model for modern electronic textbook
elaboration

Elena Railean

Center of Information and Communication Technologies in Education, Chisinau,
MOLDOVA, E-mail: elenarailean@yahoo.com

Abstract
Electronic textbooks (ET) constitute the main component of modern didactical tools. Design,
development and management of ET are determined by rapid evolution of information and
communications technologies. These processes are accompanied by globalization - a
phenomenon that transforms all pedagogical systems in one global education system. “The
education system became more open” (Frick, 2004). The open educational system is
government by other laws and psycho- pedagogical principles, which can understood through
metasystems approach. Metasystems approach indicate to a new didactical model of
elaboration the ET that will describes the process of learning through correlation “personal
aim → curricula objectives → competence”. This correlation can be achieved through
knowledge management chain: information → understanding → implementation →
evaluation. The new model is validated by GAE paradigm and can be applied for the process
of elaboration the didactical, dogmatic, declarative and monographic ET. The new didactical
model represents the transition of pedagogical / didactical goal into personal aim through
dynamic and flexible education strategy seems as learning strategy. The learning strategy
has two dimensions: epistemological and methodological and need algorithmic and heuristic
methods, that result in self – regulated competence. The aim of this paper is to describe the
new didactical model for modern ET development.

Keywords: globalisation, metasystems approach, open educational system, electronic
textbooks, new didactical model


1 Introduction

Electronic textbooks are the main component of modern didactical tools (Polat, 2004). These tools
are developed for the open educational systems that are globalisated and include powerful learning
environments. As was point by Midoro (2005) the learning environment is in close connection
with the emergence of ICT use for educational purpose, new paradigm of knowledge and with new
pedagogy. Learning environments include different real, but learning situations characterized by
activities taking place between teacher and pupils in a framework that comprises a number of
structural factors consisting of new resources and new roles. The structural factors are open, very
flexible and dynamic (Pullen, 2010) as result of new characteristics of the educational system,
which became “more open and flexible systems” (Frick, 2004).
Learning in a globalisated educational system is a relatively permanent change in the capacity of
an organism to make a response to the real tasks provided by the learning environments. These
phenomena “revise” the psycho- pedagogical principles of the instructional design and emphases
the learning design principles. These principles have three main characteristics: “process - oriented
teaching” (Bolhus, 2003); “personalizing e-learning” (Bollet and Fallon 2002) and “learner -
centered assessment” (Huba and Freed 2005). As result, the content of ET elaboration taking into
account the learning design principles, can be tailored to each student (Pascoe and Sallis 1998) and
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include hermeneutic communications (Rasmussen, 2002). Hermeneutic communication, realisated
through ET content, refers to the realisation of the dialog between author of the electronic text
(writer) and author of the understanding the electronic texts (reader). In terms of pedagogical
computer - mediated – communication, the quality of ET content depends on the learner’ level of
interpretation, understanding the concepts, inclusion the learner in the self, group, peer and other
colaborative processes that require own point of view / own domain of interests and immediate
feedback.
Schwier, Campbell and Kenny (2004) noted that “much of the extensive work describing
theoretical models of instructional design has not been drawn from the practice of the instructional
designer and consequently, instructional design theory is not grounded in practice”. These studies
note challenges for learning design based on metasystems approach of constructivism the learning
environments, validated through research the psyhopedagogical principles of the elaboration the
electronic textbooks. “The use of meta model in the support of transformation and expression of
design metrics is demonstrated“(Sorenson and Remblay, 2006). The other reason in favour the
metasystems approach is the emphases to knowledge management, which is view as essential for
the knowledge management systems and learning design. This term is used primarily in
corporative settings, and used in describing approaches to manage intellectual capital, social
capital and other learning resources specific for the modern learning environments.

2 The pedagogy of competences and personalized ET content

The main reason to develop ET for the open globalisated educational system with powerful
learning environments is to give the learner a modern tool for building his /her own competence.
The problem is that competence has an integrative structure with three main components “savoir –
dire, savoir – faire and savoir – etre” (Minder, 2005). The first component savoir –dire
(equivalent to savoir) represents theoretical and verbal knowledge. The second savoir – faire
describe the methods, techniques, procedures, learning strategies that can be used by learner in the
process of building competence and the savoir – etre component - wishes, affectivity, emotions
and motivations. The first component can be see as equivalence to Bloom cognitive taxonomy, the
second – to Simpson taxonomy of psychomotor domain and the third – to Krathwohl’s taxonomy
of affective domain.
The structure of competence, building and developed through personalized ET content, is
characterized by complexity, dynamicity and flexibility. The complexity represents the succession
of stages “knowledge → competence → expert level” resulting from preceding the managerial
chain “information → understanding → application → evaluation” at the level of knowledge,
affects and psychomotor skills. The dynamicity represents the integration of managerial chain with
managerial levels. The flexibility validate the idea that each structure of competence is individual
and is formed only after personal inclusion of each individual in own learning process.
From the three-dimensional perspective XYZ, using the topographical method, the competence
structure is represented by vectors OA, OB and OC , whose maximum length corresponds to
the taxonomic level. For example, the length of the vector OAequals 6 (corresponds to 6 Bloom’s
taxonomical levels); OB vector equal with 7 (corresponds to 7 Simpson’s taxonomical levels);
OC length equal with 5 (corresponds to 5 Krathwohl taxonomical levels). So, the length of the
vectors are the following: ) 0 , 0 , 6 ( = OA ; ) 0 , 5 , 0 ( = OB , and ) 7 , 0 , 0 ( = OC . The length
of OE is equal to the sum of vectors OA, OB and OC with coordinate: ) 7 , 5 , 6 ( = OE .
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Such interpretation provides a theoretical base for the new didactical model of elaboration the ET.
The first assumption is for future authors: ET has two levels of writing: professor level (P) and
learner level (I). Level P corresponds to teaching level and needs correspondence to curricula. The
level I is similar to learner level and needs correspondence to learner’ a priori knowledge, skills
and competence. The EM content developed in consistency with this new didactical model reflects
the pedagogical (or didactical) aim achieved through the personalized goal. This means the
modern ET are individual for each member of the learning process and must have the personalised
content. The methodology of design the ET content is based on Web 2.0 technology. In such
context, the three-dimensional structure of competence is a real solution for building the functional
structure of competence through achieving the educational ideal of globalization: professionalism,
planetary thinking and cultural pluralism (figure 1).

Figure 1. The dynamic and flexible structure of competence

The learning design of personalised ET content is based on the idea that pedagogical /
didactical aim need to be incorporated into personalized aim through individual learning
processes. Such processes will be produced at double levels: a) in terms of pedagogical /didactical
goals – through curricula objectives realized by assimilation the main concepts (included in the P
content) and b) in terms of personalized goal – through computer based self - instruction and
computer based self – assessment (developed and realisated by the learner on the base on P
content). These doubled processes have a real contribution to the production of the learner
personalised content of ET. Such contents are very different and can be viewed only in learner
new behaviour (cognitive structures / schemes / scenarios) or in portfolios.

2.1 The learning strategy realisated through personalized ET content

The learning strategy realisated through personalised ET content represent a complex of teaching
and assessment strategies. The teaching strategy is included in the P content; in which teacher is
expert in specific domain, but only in identification the main concepts. What are important to
understand are the needs to establish a strong interdependence between concepts and that each
concept represents a node of knowledge graph. A knowledge graph provide a model for initiate the
actions in order that learner will have a collection of tasks (questions), data (concepts and / or


O
X
1
2
3
Z
Y

A
B
C
E
savoir - faire
savoir -vivre
savoir
savoir-etre
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definitions), data analyses (immediate and delayed feedback) and will develop own action plan.
So, at the beginning the teacher provides all necessary information (first level of Bloom’
taxonomy), describe the action plan (first level of Simpson’ taxonomy) and teach the methods of
learning (first level of Krathwohl’ taxonomy).
The assessment strategy is a dynamic and flexible educational strategy that employs:
1) communication / discovery strategies – the learner plays a central role in learning by
personalization the content from the educational environment, guided by the professor as the manager;
2) cognitive activity strategies – the learner gains theoretical-applicable knowledge and learns
methods, procedures and techniques for individual, collaborative and cooperative working;
3) assessment strategies – the learners are involved in computer based assessment and receive
immediate feedback or delayed feedback (through computer based assessment).
The dynamic and flexible educational strategy has an epistemological and methodological
dimension. The epistemological dimension describes the specifics of the pedagogical
communication through personalised ET content. So, learning processes will be achieved through
cognitive, affective and psychomotor actions. Assessment strategies determine the correspondence
between the educational ideal and the educational finalities materialised in personalised ET content.
The common formula for achieved the dynamic and flexible educational strategy is Y = D (X),
where D indicates the determinism of the personalised goal, as an embodiment of the
pedagogical/educational goal into a personalized goal. For this case the role of the assessment
strategies in learning process is maximal. But, the assessment strategies employ the self-regulation
function related to cognitive, affective and psychomotor human potential. The human potential can
be increased through balancing the external influence of different factors (cognitive, psychomotor
or affective).
According to the deterministic mechanism, the core of proposed structure of the competency
represent the transition of ET content into human cognitive system at the level of goal-oriented
influences and decisions. These actions initiate the cognitive, affective and psychomotor processes
as transitory processes from one psychological state (initial quantic level) to the potential
psychological state (intermediate or final quantic level). All psychological dimensions (perception,
imagination, language, etc) are involved in these processes. The complexity of the
psychopedagogical processes is determined by the multi - level nature of the behavioural actions.

2.2 The methodological dimension of learning strategy

Methodological dimensions represent a way of including the teaching and assessment activities
into functional structures of competence through actions. Knowledge management demonstrate
that learning have a hierarchical structure with levels, stages, etc. So, at the initial stage (M1) the
ET content includes reproductive tasks, at the intermediate stages (M2, M3) – applied tasks, and at
the final stage – productive tasks. The problem is that each student learn using own learning style
and, in this case, the reproductive → applicative → productive tasks can be include in one content,
but the learner will process the task according to own learning styles.
The methodological actions are projected through algorithmic-heuristic methods. The method
promotes the gradual development of the heuristic activities by simultaneously reducing the
algorithmic activities. The algorithmic activities are implemented through reproductive tasks that
correspond to the development of reproductive and cognitive skills, and the heuristic activities are
implemented through productive tasks and correspond to development of behavioural skills.
At the cognitive level the ratio of the assimilation the content can be achieved by verification
the action verbs, that correspond to the Bloom, Simpson and Krathwohl taxonomies. On the other
hand, the coefficient of assimilation depends of the learner inclusion in the learning process. This
level can be diagnosed through computerized based assessment, in the case when assimilation
coefficient is related to formula:
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p
K
α
α
=
(1)
where
α
K
is the assimilation coefficient,
α
is the number of test operations executed correctly
and
p
is the total number of test operations. A test operation corresponds to one psychological
operation needed for solving one task.
α
K
is stabilized within the range 0≤
α
K
≤ 1. The teaching
process is considered completed in case of
α
K
≥ 0.7. The self-regulated competence is obtained
when
α
K
≥ 0.7. This result is view as indicator that the teaching process is finalized and the self-
regulated learning process is initiated. If the K ≤ 0.7, the teaching process can be corrected through
intelligent and adaptive tutoring. These results can be obtained, if the emphasis is put on:
The type of the instruction elements – parameter that characterizes the multi - level manner of
introducing the object in the ET personalised content.
1. Abstraction - parameter that defines the degree of abstraction of the content of the ET as
follows: at a phenomenological level the content is elaborated by using the everyday language; at a
qualitative level the content includes scientific data; at a quantitative level the educational
finalities are estimated through the content; and at an axiomatic level the cognitive activity
processes are predicted through the content.
2. Assimilation – parameter that defines the assimilation level of the content. The assimilation
level can be reproductive (the content is represented from memory) and productive (the learner
creates a new cognitive activity product). Therefore, the assimilation level can be:
1
α - the learner
assimilates the knowledge presented in logically structured manner;
2
α
- the learner can be
involved in cognitive activity processes (for example, through immediate feedback or interactive
content);
3
α - the learner is involved in learning guided linearly, branched or mixed; and
4
α
- the
learner is involved in the personalized construction of the content.
3. Automation – parameter that defines the time to assimilate the content of the ET. The
assimilation pitch is established within the range 0 ≤ K ≤ 1 (where 0 represents the minimal time
and 1 represents the automation level necessary, especially for disciplines that form the “fluent”
characteristic). The value K = 0.5 corresponds to the disciplines that do not require the “fluent”
characteristics, and -1 corresponds to disciplines that require this characteristic.
4. Assimilation awareness (γ) – parameter that defines the quality of the assimilation with
regard to the levels: γ1 – knowledge from the studied domain is needed for rationalizing/reasoning
with information; γ2 – knowledge from similar domains is needed for reasoning with data; and γ3
– interdisciplinary knowledge is needed for reasoning.

3. Research protocol

This study was constructed as an inquiry based on metasystems approach, and the research
protocol was designed to actively engage learner in own learning process viewed as a complex of
teaching and assessment processes. The personalised ET methodology was used in this study
because we acknowledged:
1) That learning designer acts on the basis of integration the cognitive, affective and
psychomotor parts of dynamic and flexible structure of competence.
2) The need to ground the new didactical model in data in order to fully explain the complexity
and variability of the globalisation as phenomena that affect both: educational system and learning
process.
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3) The teacher has the main role in identification of concepts and in construction of ET
knowledge graph.
4) That learner takes an active role in building personalized ET content.
While dynamic and flexible educational strategy was used in this study, the theoretical and
practical perspectives constituted a starting place for exploring the globalisated process of learning
through personalised ET content.

4. The didactical model of elaboration the modern electronic textbooks


Psihic and behavior actions
Processes of cognitive activity
Cognitive, affective and pshymotor levels
Cognitive schemata
Cognitive, affective and psyhomotor
scenarious
COGNITIVE ACTIVITY
S
T
R
A
T
E
G
Y


criterions



AIM
Personalized
AIM
Adaptation and
acomodation at
globalisated
AGE
T
H
E
A
C
H
I
G

Didactical
Pedagogical Curicula objectives
GENERAL DIDACTICAL MODEL OF ELABORATION THE
ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS
Functions
of information
of formation
of assessment
of integration
of cognition
of self -regulation
Pshypedagogical
principles
psihopedagogic
didactical
Criterions of
diagnosis
competence
tehnological
L
E
A
R
N
I
N
G
actions
teaching
assessment
A
S
S
E
S
M
E
N
T
C
O
N
T
E
X
T
technological aspect
emotive aspect
social aspect
Cognitive aspect
A
C
T
I
V
I
T
I
E
P
E
+
+
-
-
-

G L O B A L I Z A T I O N A G E
metodologicae

E

D
U

C

A

T

I

P

N

A

L


I

D

E

A

L
s
+
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The didactical model is a part of personalised ET content. So, the quality of ET can be
analysed through indicator of quality, that represent an average of data value obtained by experts
and learners. The formula is:
2
... ...
|
¹
|

\
|
m
Sc + Sc + Sc
+
n
Ec + Ec + Ec
= Ic
m 2 1 n 2 1

where Ic – indicator of quality of ET content, Ec – the value of indicator established by experts, Sc
– the value of indicator established by the group of learners at the final stage of buiding the
competence through ET , n – the number of experts and m – the number of learners. The indicator
of quality can be analysed after learning proces.

5. Acknowledgement

I would like to express my gratitude to my scientific advice Gheorghe Rudic which provided
me with the necessary resources to develop a new didactical model for elaboration the modern
electronic textbooks; and to the very helpful and professional advises and resources provided by
Donatella Persico and Djuliana Detorri from Jenova Institute of Didactical Technologies (Italy)
that permit me to stress the role of the self –regulated learning for the effective didactical
processes in powerful learning environment. Extra special thanks must be extended to Felix
Hamsa –Lup from Amstrong University, who assisted me in the editing process, suggested
corrections, and played a significant role in ensuring that the finished article was of a throughout.

6. References

[1] Bolhus, S. (2003). Toward process-oriented teaching for self -directed lifelong learning: a
multidimensional perspective. Learning and instruction. 13: 327 – 347.
[2] Bollet, R., Fallon, S. Personalising e - learning. Educational Media International. International Council for
Education Media. 2002: 545.
[3] Frick T. Restructuring Education Through Technology. http://education.indiana.edu/
%7Efrick/fastback/fastback326.html#journey
[4] Huba, M., Freed J. (2005). Learner - centred assessment on college campuses: Shifting the focus from
teaching to learning. Needhman Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
[5] Midoro, V. (2005). A common European framework for Teachers’ professional profile in ICT for
Education. Edizioni: MENABO Didactica.
[6] Minder M.(2003). Functional dydactics: objectives, strategies, assessment. (in Romanian). Cartier
EducaŃional: Chisinau.
[7] Pascoe R., Sallis A., A. Pedagogical Basis for Adaptive WWW Textbooks. 1998. North American Web
Developers Conference. http://cqpan.cqu.edu.au/davidjones/Reading/html_papers/pascoe/index.html.
[8] Polat E. (2004): Theory and practice of distance learning. (in Russian). Academia, Moscow.
[9] Pullen, D. L.(2010). Multiliteracies and Technology Enhanced Education: Social Practice and the Global
Classroom”. IGI global.
[10] Rasmussen J. Textual interpretation and complexity - radical hermeneutics. http://www.udel.edu/
aeracc/papers/02/RamussenHermeneutics02.htm.
[11] Schwier R.A, Campbell K., Kenny R.(2004). Instructional designers' observations about identity,
communities of practice and change agency. In Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(1),
p. 69 -100.
[12] Sorenson, P. G., Tremblay J. P. (2006).

Using a metasystem approach to support and study the design
process. In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Studies of Software Design. Springer Berlin.
Heidelberg.
Ontology Learning from Text Based on the Syntactic
Analysis Tree of a Sentence

Andreea-Diana Mihiş
1


(1) University “Babeş-Bolyai”, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science,
Kogălniceanu Street No. 1, RO-400084, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA
E-mail: mihis@cs.ubbcluj.ro


Abstract
The Semantic Web is based on the understanding of the web by the machine. The best way
identified and used is through ontologies, since they aren’t only a collection of concepts, but
they also embeds the relations between the concepts. Ontologies were constructed above Web
pages, some are embedded in Web pages, or hidden behind Web pages. But, even if the usage
of different ontologies increases continuously, the users, humans, prefer natural language
texts. And when the users interact with the Web, they wish to do this in natural language also.
Until now, the search in the Web is done by using keywords. A better way will be through an
ontology. So, can a natural language text be transformed into an ontology? The answer must
be positive, since the words in a text are characterised by their part of speech and their part
of sentence, and from every sentence a syntactic analysis tree can be developed. From this
tree, triples (concept predicate object) can be obtained, and the triples are the smallest
building-block for an ontology. This article proposes a method based on the syntactic analysis
tree of a sentence to obtain an ontology from a natural language text.

Keywords: Ontology, Natural language text, Syntactic analysis tree

Introduction

In the last decade, the efficacy of the Web activity improved, due to the rising importance of the
Semantic Web (Segaran et al, 2009). The Semantic Web facilitates the understanding of the Web
by the machine, by the computer. And in this process, an important role is hold by the ontologies,
since they contain concepts and relations between concepts. But, as much as we want, the role of
natural language in the Web activity cannot be diminished, since there are a lot of pages written in
natural language, without any semantic support, “that human beings cannot possibly organize it
all” (Pollock, 2009).
Also, in the field of natural language processing, the accuracy of some natural language
processing methods has improved, but not to all. Some still have an accuracy less than 70%, such
as the text entailment relationship (Bar-Haim et al, 2006). But there are a lot of tools capable of
identifying the correct part of speech (POS) of words from sentences, with an accuracy more than
95% (Toutanova et al, 2003). In the field of grammatical analysis of a sentence also a lot of work
was done, and there are available free tools capable to analyse from the syntactic point of view a
sentence, such as the online tool developed by the Stanford Natural Language Processing Group
(**STO), with an accuracy of more than 87% (Klein and Manning, 2003), tool which is updated
continuously (***STS). The result of the grammatical analysis of a sentence is usually represented
as a tree. Or, between the words of a sentence, dependence relations can be identified (de Marneffe
and Manning, 2008), relations which are astonishing similar to the RDF triples, the simplest way
to represent an ontology.
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In the following is discussed the way in which the result of the grammatical analysis of
sentences can generate an ontology or can help in the association of an ontology to a text.
Related work
In the process of ontology learning, it was recognized the importance of syntactic analysis of text.
But the grammatical relations were used only as recognition patterns in (Cimiano and Voelker,
2005; Maynard et al., 2009), or as constrains for the identification of relations between ontology
concepts in (Kawtrakul et al., 2004). In this paper, the natural text grammatically analysed is
transform directly into semantic information.
Ontology learning from text based on the syntactic analysis tree of a sentence
Ontology
An ontology is a rigorous and exhaustive organization of some knowledge domain that is usually
hierarchical and contains all the relevant entities and their relations (***WNt), or, “An explicit
specification of a conceptualization.” (Gruber, 1993). Although an ontology is supposed to have a
formal form, a form which a computer can use easily, the first ontologies appeared long before the
computer science was borne. In fact, the word ontology is an ancient word, with greek origins,
belonging to the philosophical domain. Ontology (from the Greek ν, genitive ντος: of being
(neuter participle of εναι: to be) and -λογία, -logia: science, study, theory) is the philosophical
study of the nature of being, existence or reality in general, as well as the basic categories of being
and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as
metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist,
and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to
similarities and differences. (***WOn)
Not surprisingly, the first ontologies used in the computer science domain were defined using
natural language. These kinds of ontologies were called informal ontologies. But the most formal
ones have the most applicability (Davies et. al, 2002; Bennett, B. and Fellbaum, 2006). Today, the
backbone of the Semantic Web is consisted by the OWL (Web Ontology Language) and RDF
(Resource Description Framework) (Pollock, 2009). They represent the best language for
modelling an ontology, but, before them, different XML (eXtensible Mark up Language) formats
were used, as well as object oriented and database formats (Pollock, 2009). Although in OWL and
RDF can be defined concepts, individuals, relations and different restrictions, the simplest
building-block is represented by a triple concept – predicate – object (Allemang and Hendler,
2008). So, if is possible to extract triples, then an ontology can be extracted also.
Syntactic Analysis of a Sentence
In every language, a sentence can be analysis from the grammatical point of view. The result of
the analysis is the annotation of every word from the sentence with its corresponding part of
speech. But the result of the analysis is more complete if the relations between the words are
emphasised, and this can be done by the sentences analysis tree, or by identifying the
dependencies between the words. In a sentence, the subject and the predicate are mutual related.
Attributes and complements depend on another word, and in a similar way, whole sentences
depend on other sentences or words in a phrase. Sometimes, between words or sentences exists
only the simple relation of succession.
The Stanford Parser (***STS) is a tool capable of performing the grammatical analysis of
sentences, in several languages, including English, the language considered in this paper. The tool
is capable to grammatically analyse a text, and construct the syntactic analysis tree of a sentence
(of up to 40 words). In the same time, it POS-tags of the words (the output can be displayed
separately), and can provide a list of words dependencies, and of the collapsed dependencies
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(some dependencies which break the tree structure, and the collapsed dependencies of content
words obtained by collapsing dependencies involving prepositions, conjuncts, as well as
information about the referent of relative clauses. In (***STD) the dependencies are defined, is
given their hierarchy, and the way in which they are collapsed is explained in detailed. The first
dependency “dep” is used when the parser cannot identify clearly the existing dependency, but
recognize the existence of a dependency.
An example
To explain more clearly the principle used in the extraction of triples from the syntactic analysis of
a text, let’s consider the following example. If it is to consider the first paragraph from an
Wikipedia article about human resources (***WHR) see Figure 1.

Figure 1. The analyzed text

By subjecting it to the Stanford on-line Parser (***STO) or the downloadable version from
(***STS), the syntactic tree of the sentences, the typed dependencies and the collapsed typed
dependencies were obtained. The syntactic tree of the last sentence (the smallest tree) can be seen
in Figure 2. The tree was drawn by another free on-line tool (***PST).
The typed dependencies and the collapsed typed dependencies are the same for the tested test.
The dependencies obtained for the last sentence (the last sentence is preferred because of its size)
can be seen in the Figure 3.
In the dependencies, the words are supplementary identified by their number from the sentence
which they belongs to. From the dependencies, a graph can be obtained (see Figure 4).

Figure 2. The syntactic tree of the last analyzed sentence



Human resources is a term used to describe the individuals who comprise the workforce
of an organization, although it is also applied in labor economics to, for example, business
sectors or even whole nations. Human resources is also the name of the function within an
organization charged with the overall responsibility for implementing strategies and policies
relating to the management of individuals (i.e. the human resources). This function title is
often abbreviated to the initials 'HR'.
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det(title-3, This-1)
nn(title-3, function-2)
nsubjpass(abbreviated-6, title-3)
auxpass(abbreviated-6, is-4)
advmod(abbreviated-6, often-5)
det(initials-9, the-8)
nn(HR-11, initials-9)
prep_to(abbreviated-6, HR-11)
Figure 3. The identified type dependencies of the last analyzed sentence
Figure 4. The graph obtained from the type dependencies
The triple identification
As can be seen in the Figure 3, the type dependencies are triples. And an idea is to use them as
triples in the ontology too, and this can be good, if in the ontology is well to have grammatical
dependencies as predicates. But usually these triples cannot be used in the ontology. And neither
the syntactic analysis tree in the current form.
A more viable idea is to use the graph obtained from the dependencies. The graph is
directional, but the directionality cannot be considered, since for instance the subject dependency
has in the left the predicate (***STD). And not all the words from the graph are important and
usually appear in an ontology. Concepts, predicates and objects which constitute a triple are
usually nouns and verbs. Anyway, the stop words must be eliminated. So, from the Figure 4, “the”
is the first word which disappear. And the general dependency, dep, can be eliminated also,
because, as previously explained, the accuracy of the Stanford Parser, as other natural processing
tool isn’t 100%, and this partially identified dependency is the most error pronoun. If it is to solve
anaphora, then “This function title” must be replaced by the compound proper noun “Human
resources” as arise from the previous sentence. If the anaphora is solved, the accuracy will
improve also.
The first proposed method of triple extraction is the triple extraction from the dependencies
graph. The method is simple. From the dependencies graph, or from the dependencies list directly,
are searched dependencies with common words. The common word will become the predicate,
and the other words the concept and the object. But because the elements from an ontology triple
are often nouns or verbs, only those triple which are composed by nouns and have verbs as the
predicate will be kept. The method can be synthesized by the algorithm from the Figure 5.

@eliminate all the dependencies in which the predicate is “det”
for @every dependency D
1

for @every dependency D
2
different then D
1

if @D
1
and D
2
have common words
if @the common word is a Verb and the distinct words are Nouns
@add the triple (distinct word from D
1
, common word, distinct word from D
2
) to the triple_list
Figure 5. The triple extraction from the dependency graph algorithm
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For instance, in the considered example, the following pair of two dependencies has a common
word: nn(title-3, function-2) and nsubjpass(abbreviated-6, title-3), so, applying the algorithm, the
triple (function, title, abbreviated) might be inferred, if the last condition also stands. But by
applying the last requirement, only the triple (title, abbreviated, HR) and its reverse (HR,
abbreviated, title) are kept.
The second proposed method of triple extraction is the triple extraction from the syntactic
analysis tree. A triple is composed from a concept, a predicate and an object. It looks so much as
a simple sentence composed from a subject, a predicate and an object. As it can be seen from the
tree from the Figure 2, there appear noun phrases (NP) and verb phrases (VP). They correspond to
the subject – predicate structure. The object is bounded to the subject trough the predicate (usually
a VP is composed from a VB and a NP). This method identifies the concept as being a noun phrase
or a noun, the predicate – the conjunction of the following verbs, and the object the following
noun phrase or noun. The adverbs, propositions and so on are ussualy ignored. If a subordinate
sentence is identified, then inside it the process is repeating, by identifying the subject, the
predicate and the object. If in the subordinate sentence the subject is missing, then it must be taken
from the sentence to which the current sentence is subordinated to. If in a sentence, instead of the
subject or the object is a subordinate sentence, then the subject from the subordinate sentence will
replace the missing element. In the case in which a concept or an object is composed from a
conjunction or disjunction of terms, then a triple will be generated for everyone. If a predicate is a
disjunction of verbs, then a triple will be generated for everyone. If a noun phrase or a verb phrase
doesn’t contain a subordinate sentence, then is treated as one element. The method can be
synthesized by the algorithm from Figure 6.
If the output of the second proposed method is considered to be too detailed, then it can be
restricted only to nouns, some common words as “is” can be ignored, and also, the stop words
(“a”, “the”, …) can be eliminated.
Figure 6. The triple extraction from the syntactic analysis tree

In the considered sentence, the first noun phrase is “This function title”. If it is to consider the
previous sentence, by anaphora resolution, “This function title” can be replaced by the “Human
resources”. From the following words are kept only the verbs: “is abbreviated”, and the last noun
phrase is the object: “initials HR”. So, the triples obtained following the algorithm are: (function,
is abbreviated, initials HR) and (title, is abbreviated, initials HR), but, after the anaphora
resolution, a better triple is obtained: (Human resources, is abbreviated, initials HR).

Subalgorithm IdentifyTriple(S @a sentence) is
@read symbol SB
if @SB is NN, then @the concept from the triple is the following word
if @SB is NP then @analyze the constituents
if @SB is S then IdentifyTriple(@new S) @and take the concept as the concept of the new S
@read symbol SB
if @SB is VB, then @the predicate from the triple is the following word
if @SB is VP then @analyze the constituents
@read symbol SB
if @SB is NN then @the object from the triple is the following word
if @SB is NP or ADJP then @analyze the constituents
if @SB is S then IdentifyTriple(@new S) @and take the object as the concept of the new S
@in the “analyze the constituents”, a similar process takes place read a symbol and identify it until
current branch of the tree is finished, but, if a conjunction or a disjunction is identified (for concepts
and objects, or only a disjunction for predicates), then every element of the conjunction will be taken
separately, and as a result, not a triple, but a series of triple will be obtained
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The two proposed methods were implemented as two small C++ applications which have as
input the Stanford parser output, and as output the triplets which synthesise the natural language
information. Even if the process is automated, a human user must check the output for
inconsistencies.
Of course, from a single sentence cannot be inferred an ontology, but can be checked if an
ontology contains the inferred triplets, or triplets similar to the inferred triplets. If there is a text
which is known to correspond to a given ontology, or to not correspond to a given ontology, then
the check can constitute a viable evaluation method. Of course, is useful to solve anaphora before,
because, in this approach the grammatical analysis is done sentence by sentence.
Evaluation
To evaluate the proposed methods, the first four paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about
Small Business (***WSB) were considered (16 long sentences), and also the triples with the
concept business from the free online thesaurus WordNet (***WNB), triples which have as
predicate the relations: “is a kind of”, “has members”, “has particulars” and “is a part of”. The nine
senses of the word “business” are: business concern, business enterprise, business sector, business
activity, worry, job, aim, stage business and clientele, so, the triplets belongs two nine ontologies
around the concept business. The first ontology contains 19 triples, the second 37 triples, the third
2 triples, the fourth 5 triples, the fifth 4 triples, the sixth 31 triples, the seventh 5 triples, the eighth
8 triples and the ninth one triple. The reason behind of the choice of these test dates is because the
ontologies are free, the base concept is written in the same way but has different senses, so only
one ontology must match the text, and in the Online WordNet thesaurus the concept Human
resources (corresponding to the first analyzed text) is missing.
The similarity used to match triplets was a very simple string match based similarity, simply, if
an element, seen as a string was included into another (and the prefix isn’t negative), the two
elements to which the words belongs were declared to be a partial match (the stop words, as “a”,
“the”, “of”, “is” from the list (***SPW) weren’t considered, and also the word “business” which
appear in all the triplets from the ninth ontologies).

Method/Ontology first second fourth sixth
I 0/0
2+2(reversed)/1
0/0 0/0
II 2/2 2/3 1/1 2/2

Table 1. The partially match triplets inferred from the text/belonging to the ontology

The result of the evaluation can be seen in the Table1. Because the most triples partially match
the triples from the second ontology, for both methods, the tested small business article is
identified as matching the ontology in which the business is business enterprise (the expected
answer).
Conclusion
In this paper were proposed two methods of converting the result of a grammatical analysis of a
natural language text into ontology triples. The first proposed method provides fewer and more
concise triples, closer to the computer, and the second one can provide more human-readable
triples. They emphasize the role which grammar can play in an ontology construction or matching.
In the following, I wish to lessen the restrictions from the first method, to refine the second
method, and to test the methods on more appropriate test data.
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Acknowledgements
This work was supported by ANCS-CNMP, project number PNII – 91037/2007.
References
Allemang, D. and Hendler, J. (2008) Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist. Modeling in RDF, RDFS and
OWL, MA: Morgan Kaufmann, Burlington.
Bar-Haim, R., Dagan, I., Dolan, B., Ferro, L., Giampiccolo, D., Magnini, B. and Szpektor, I. (2006) The
Second PASCAL Recognising Textual Entailment Challenge, Venice.
Bennett, B. and Fellbaum C. (2006) Formal Ontology in Information Systems, IOS Press, Amsterdam.
Cimiano, P. and Voelker, J. (2005) Text2Onto - A Framework for Ontology Learning and Data-driven
Change Discovery, in Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Applications of Natural
Language to Information Systems (NLDB), Alicante, Spain.
Davies, J., Fensel, D. and van Harmelen, F. (2002) Towards the Semantic Web: Ontology-driven Knowledge
Management, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, New York.
Gruber, T. R. (1993) A translation approach to portable ontology specifications, Knowledge Acquisition 5, 2,
London, pp. 199–220.
Kawtrakul, A., Suktarachan, M. and Imsombut A. (2004) Automatic Thai Ontology Construction and
Maintenance System, Workshop on Papillon 2004, Grenoble, France,
http://www.moac.go.th/knowledgebase/uploadfile/42808973.pdf
Klein, D. and Manning, C. D. (2003) Fast Exact Inference with a Factored Model for Natural Language
Parsing, in Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15 (NIPS 2002), Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 3-10.
de Marneffe, M.-C. and Manning, C. D. (2008) The Stanford typed dependencies representation, in COLING
Workshop on Cross-framework and Cross-domain Parser Evaluation, Manchester, United Kingdom,
http://nlp.stanford.edu/pubs/dependencies-coling08.pdf.
Maynard, D., Funk, A. and Peters W. (2009) Using Lexico-Syntactic Ontology Design Patterns for ontology
creation and population, in WOP 2009 – ISWC Workshop on Ontology Patterns, Washington.
Pollock, J. T. (2009) Semantic Web for Dummies, Wiley Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Segaran, T., Evans, C. and Taylor J. (2009) Programming the Semantic Web, O’Reilly Media, Sebastopol.
Toutanova, K., Klein, D., Manning, C. D. and Singer, Y. (2003) Feature-Rich Part-of-Speech Tagging with a
Cyclic Dependency Network, in Proceedings of HLT-NAACL 2003, Edmonton, Canada, 252-259.
***PST Drawing syntax trees made easy http://ironcreek.net/phpsyntaxtree/
***SPW “Probably the most widely used stopword list”
http://www.lextek.com/manuals/onix/stopwords1.html
***STD de Marneffe, M.-C. and Manning, C. D., Stanford typed dependencies manual,
http://nlp.stanford.edu/software/dependencies_manual.pdf
***STO The Stanford Natural Language Processing Group, Stanford Parser,
http://nlp.stanford.edu:8080/parser/
***STS The Stanford Natural Language Processing Group, The Stanford Parser: A statistical parser,
http://nlp.stanford.edu/software/lex-parser.shtml
***WHR A Wikipedia article about Human Resources, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_resources
***WNB The definition of the noun business http://www.wordnet-online.com/business.shtml
***WSB A Wikipedia article about Small Business http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_business
***WNt http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=ontology
***WOn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology
Ontology for an E-learning model

łolea Enikö Elisabeta, Costin Aurelian Răzvan

Babes Bolyai University
Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration
eny_tol@yahoo.com, costin9razvan@yahoo.com

Abstract
This papers purpose is to debate the opportunity of creating ontology for an e-learning
system. The E-Learning system consists of a planned teaching-learning experience; it is
organized by an institution that provides material to be treated by students in their own way.
We have planned to create the architecture for this ontology and describe its structure in
detail. Ontologies are used to capture knowledge about some domains of interest and in ower
case, it is used to capture knowledge about an e-learning system.
More than a new type of distance education and training, an eLearning system is a business
solution, a successful option for institutions offering training. Thus we decided to create an
ontology to be able to describe a model for e-Learning.

Key Words: Ontology, E-Learning, Knowledge Representation, Ontology Architecture,
Classes.


1. Introduction

Ontology is the clue in integrating data/knowledge base objects with distributed objects systems in
diverse integrative collaborative applications. It decreases semantic ambiguities in knowledge
sharing and reusing (Niculescu, 2002).
Ontology allows us to express the formal rules for inference. When software reads our
ontology, it should have all the information necessary to draw the same conclusions from our data
that we did. When the actions of software are consistent with the rules expressed in the ontology,
we say that the software has made an ontological commitment (Segaran et all, 2009).
This article is structured as follows:
1. In the first part: Problem content and statements, we will debate what ontology is, which
the most common definitions are and we will give some other information about
ontology.
2. In the second session: Proposed Model, we will describe the architectural solution of this
model along with design and implementation details.
In order to discuss about its development we need to know which the needed requirements are.
After our research we conclude that these requirements should include:
1. Defining classes
2. Defining attributes and relationships
3. Defining some interrogations and see how the created ontology responds to them
4. An analysis of what we created and how it is functioning.
The impact of e-learning platforms is largely due to media technologies used to achieve them.
The benefits of their use are represented by consumption reduction, the possibility of adapting
programs which are customized to accommodate with rapid change and new knowledge in various
fields, expanded opportunities for interdisciplinary education and, not least, significant reduction
of educational costs.
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2. Problem, Context and Statement. Related Works

Database experts are more comfortable with the notion of OWL classes as sets, but they have to
resist the temptation to normalize (as in second or third normal form) the data model using keys
and instead focus on modelling accurate object hierarchies to represent the informational model
(Rey, Pollock, 2009).
A widely accepted definition for the concept of ontology given us the first time by T. Gruber
(1993), says that ontology is "an explicit specification of a conceptualization."
He defines the term conceptualization by referring to objects, concepts and other entities,
which are presumed to exist in a particular area of interest and relationships that keeps them all
together. Note that this definition uses the traditional description of the conceptual database
scheme, but differs in at least three essential elements: objective, scope and content (Andone
2005/2006).
E-learning requires a computer and a network to enable transfer of skills and knowledge. E-
learning refers to all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching systems, which have
a procedural character and aim to the construction of knowledge. E-Learning systems reference to
individual experience, practice and knowledge of the learner. Information and communication
systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process
(Tavangarian et all, 2004).

2.1 Definition for e-Learning
Learning using electronic systems means the acquisition of knowledge and skill using electronic
technologies such as computer- and Internet-based courseware and local and wide area networks.

2.2 What is proteje?
Protege is a free, open-source platform to construct domain models and knowledge-based
applications with ontology.
Ontology evolves from taxonomies, classifications and databases schemas to fully axiomatized
theories.
Ontology is now central part to many applications such as scientific knowledge portals,
information management and integration systems, electronic commerce and web services.
Ontology is used to capture knowledge about some domain of interest. Ontology describes the
concepts in the domain and also the relationships between those concepts. Different ontology
languages provide different facilities. The most recent development in standard ontology languages
is OWL from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-guide/).

3. Statement

In what follows we will propose a system that manages an e-learning model. If we add this
structure to a classical learning model we offer a wider range for those who want to study. This
type of study, namely e-learning comes to fill in studies that are currently on the market (low-
frequency studies, distance learning).
We propose this e-Learning system as nowadays, the daily routine is monopolizing more time
and leaves a small space for those who want to study but have no time. Therefore this method
enables study for these people.

4. Proposed model. Design Details

We propose an e-learning model that includes the following: Users, Evaluation, Online Tests,
Personal Profile and Resources for courses. Ontology graph is described in Figure 1. It includes all
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the sections mentioned above. The sections are defined as classes and all of them are subclasses of
the super class named Thing. Thing Class is a predefined Class and it is considered that all used
classes are “Things”.


Figure 1 Graph for Ontology

After defining classes we moved further and added some properties to these Classes. The first
used property between classes was the Disjoin Property. In order to ‘separate’ a group of classes
we must make them disjoint from one another. This ensures that an individual which has been
asserted to be a member of one of the classes in the group cannot be a member of any other classes
in that group (Horridge et all, 2009).
The next step was to create subclasses for the already defined classes such as for the Class
Users we have four subclasses namely: Teachers, Students, Master_Of_Science and
Phd_Candidate. This subclasses of Class Users are disjoint to each other.
Up to this point, we have created some simple named classes, some of which are subclasses of
other classes. The construction of the class hierarchy may have seemed rather intuitive so far.
However, what does it actually mean to be a subclass of something in OWL? For example, what
does it mean for Students to be a subclass of Users? In OWL subclass means necessary
implication. In other words, if Students is a subclass of Users then all instances of Students are
instances of Users, without exception — if something is a Student then this implies that it is also a
User (Horridge et all, 2004).

4.1. Implementation Details
Further on, we are going to describe more deeply over ontology. This ontology as can be seen
comprises several sections. Above in Figure 2 we added to the subclasses of the class Users some
Individuals (Persons represent users of this ontology).

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Figure 2 Individuals of Users Class

For PersonalProfile class we defined other properties as it can be seen in Figure 3. We defined
for Personal Profile the following subclasses: Address, FirstName, LastName, Email and
PersonalId. For each of them we defined the type of Data Properties included in this class.


Figure 3 DataProperties for Personal Profile
Each object property may have a corresponding inverse property. If some property links
individual A to individual B then its inverse property will link individual B to individual A. For
example the property hasCalification and its inverse property isCalificationOf as it can be seen in
Figure 4.
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Figure 4 Object Properties – Inverse Properties
A restriction describes an anonymous class (an unnamed class). The anonymous class contains
all of the individuals that satisfy the restriction – i.e. all the individuals that have the relationships
required to be a members of the class.
Existential restrictions are by far the most common type of restrictions in OWL ontology. An
existential restriction describes a class of individuals that have at least one (some) relationship
along a specified property to an individual that is a member of a specified class Figure 5.


Figure 5 Class descriptions View
All the mentioned restrictions are just a small part of the entire project. Other restrictions and
OWL functionalities will be analysed as the project will grow. At this moment we are in the stage
of studying existing projects that are considered representative for this domain.

5. Evaluation- SWOT analysis













- developed relations between concepts;
- quick responses to interogations and semnatic
interfaces;
- semantic adnotations (RDFa);
- ontology is „opened world”, easy to extand.

- users must define adnotation elements;
- users and developer always collaborate;
- can botbe used by user on his own;

- semantic capabilities for software;
- converts relational databases in triplets;
- permits easy future development of the systems;
- lack of trust of organizations in knowlege
based systems;
- relationa databases direct concurent;
- unclear benefits for managers.

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6. Conclusions

In the educational systems, especially in the web based educational systems, ontology is used by
different applications: multi-agent based applications, collaborative environments and web
services.
Through eLearning students can learn at their own place, which has been shown that increases
knowledge retention factor by 50 per cent against teacher-led trainings. E-words are very modern
and more and more used by all of us. The impact of internet on our life is increasing so E-Learning
is not an invented concept but a normal developed one. Why not learn from home? Why not take
advantage of the benefits offered by Internet? These two questions have no answer. When we will
pass our traditional believes we will permit new concepts enter our live and why not e-Learning as
well.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by ANCS-CNMP, project number PNII – 91037/2007.


References

Andone Ioan I.(2005/2006), Ontologies and Enterprise’s Information Modelling, Analele ŞtiinŃifice ale
UniversităŃii "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" din Iaşi - Ştiinte Economice, 2005/2006
Horridge Matthew, Nick Drummond, Simon Jupp, Georgina Moulton, Robert Stevens, (2009) A Practical
Guide To Building OWL Ontologies Using Protege 4 and CO-ODE Tools Edition 1.2, The University
Of Manchester, 2009
Horridge Matthew, Holger Knublauch, Alan Rector, Robert Stevens, Chris Wroe,(2004) A Practical Guide
To Building OWL Ontologies Using The Protege-OWL Plugin and CO-ODE Tools Edition 1.0, The
University Of Manchester, Stanford Universitym
Jey Jeff, T. Pollock, (2009) Semantic Web For Dummies, Wiley Publishing
Niculescu Cristina (2202), Perspective ontologice în modelarea sistemelor informationale de colaborare ale
organizatiilor virtuale, Revista Informatica Economică, nr. 3(23),
Segaran Toby, Evans Colin (2009), and Jamie Taylor, Programming the Semantic Web, O’Reilly Media
Tavangarian D., Leypold M., Nölting K., Röser M.,(2004). Is e-learning the Solution for Individual Learning?
Journal of e-learning, 2004
http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-guide/
E-Counselling. Study Case for Romania

Stan Emil, Eftimie Simona Georgiana, MărgăriŃoiu Alina

Petroleum – Gas University of Ploiesti, Bd. Bucuresti, n. 39,
Ploiesti, Romania
e-mail: simone_eftimie@yahoo.com

Abstract
In a changing world, with a more pronounced dynamics on labour market, our society
requests new methods for the counselling relationship. In this context, our approach is part of
an effort analysis of e-counselling process in Romanian universities.

Keywords: e-counselling, online counselling, counselling centre


1. Introduction. Theoretical Review

In a changing world, with a more pronounced dynamics on labour market, our society requests
new methods for counselling relationship (psychological, vocational or career counselling).
If until now, specialists were focused on face-to-face counselling relationship, nowadays
realities (for example, overcrowding, crushing tradition, race with itself, receptivity to
indoctrination etc. described so relevant by K. Lorenz) request less traditional methods for
counselling process.
This issue represent a recent concern for specialists; we could mention here an international
Leonardo da Vinci project focused on distance counselling. It has included many European
countries (Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Poland, Romania,
Slovakia, Switzerland) and started from a German study that revealed a significant request for
telephone counselling, e-mail counselling or other distance counselling forms (Jigău, Chiru, 2004).
The interest on distance counselling research has grown up lately: “Throughout the world,
online counselling services have been provided and expected to increase in the future.” (Tanrikulu,
2009)
Specialty literature (Jigău, Chiru, 2004) describes few forms of distance counselling:
• by phone – which allows direct contact with an expert;
• by electronic contact – the beneficiaries are allowed to access web pages in order to
discover a long range of information or the client could interact on line with the expert;
• by correspondence – the information are accessible by mail.
Our interest is focused mostly on e-counselling counselling process, described like
“asynchronous and synchronous distance interaction among counsellors and clients using e-mail,
chat, and videoconferencing features of the Internet to communicate” (National Board of Certified
Counsellors [NBCC], 2001, apud Tanrikulu, 2009).
Online counselling is described in specialty literature (Jigău, Chiru, 2004) as a particular form
of distance counselling which involve a different training for the counsellors who practice it (they
use special methods and approaches). In this situation, nonverbal communication process is
missing, so that both client and counsellor have to pay more attention to verbal communication
(more precisely in formulating requirements and responses). More, there is a very limited feed
back process and more difficult to clarify some misunderstandings.
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There are also many advantages for this counselling form as the rapidity of information
transfer (as attachment, by e-mail or web site etc.), the accessibility (easy to establish contacts –
for employees, people with disabilities), saving time and money, the possibility to reflect and
review the information, the client partial anonymity, the flexibility of the communication process
(both for counsellor and client).
After the analysis of specialty literature we have identified some nuances of definition; there
are differences between online and Internet counselling. If online counselling process (by e-mail,
chat, and videoconference) implies mostly synchronous communication, Internet counselling (by
e-mail, web sites) is an asynchronous process.
Researchers’ interest was also aroused by the attitude / effects on beneficiaries of the
counsellor – client relationship’s form. For example, they have considered the influence of
personality type (Harrington, Loffredo, 2009) and their conclusion was that „a statistically
significant majority of Introverts prefer online college classes while a majority of Extraverts prefer
face-to-face college classes”.
A researching group (Chang, Yeh, Krumboltz, 2001) has also studied the implications of ethnic
identity on online counselling process; they have not identified significant posttest differences
between the online support group and control group in ethnic identity or collective self-esteem.
Another conclusion was that the group participants felt supported, comfortable and connected to
other group members, and preferred using aliases instead of their real identities (there is such a
possibility in online counselling, when the client does not feel comfortable using his real identity).

2. E-Counselling in Romania

In Romanian educational system, online counselling is developing, unfortunately, with very small
steps, so that this issue represent a challenge for all educational actors involved in this process
(both in schools, high schools or universities).
Our research has focus on analysis of Romanian universities’ offer concerning online
counselling. Known as well as cyber counselling, online therapy or internet counselling, it has a
wide area of application: anxiety disorders (Kenardy, McCafferty and Rosa, 2003), depression
(Christensen, Griffiths and Jorm, 2004), marriage and family counselling (Pollock, 2006), tobacco-
cessation program (Mallen, Blalock and Cinciripini, 2006) (apud Tanrikulu, 2009); suicidal
phenomenon (Barak, 2005), sexual dysfunctions (Vizzari et al. 2008) or career development
(Herman, 2009) (www.sciencedirect.com).

3. Research methodology

Our invesrtigation research goal is to shape an objective representation regarding the visibility
and the accessibility of universities’ sites concerning counselling services for students in order to
improve e-counselling process in Romania and providing a theoretical and practical framework for
counselors. Subsequently, we also intend to continue our investigation by interviewing interested
persons (counsellors, students, and teachers) about their attitude towards a counselling relationship
through Internet environment.
Sample and methodology
Our sample consists in 29 universities from Romania, both state and private ones, randomly
selected. Using documents’ analysis, we have studied the information posted on investigated
universities’ sites in order to verify the existence of a psychological / career counselling centre and
the possibility to initiate and develop a counselling relationship online (by e-mail or chat or even
videoconference type).

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Findings
In Romania all universities are required to create such centres, and, as we can see in table
below, many universities investigated posted on their sites information about their career guidance
or counselling centre. Although, there are still some universities about which we could not access
any information about the existence of such a centre.

Table1. Investigated universities from Romania

Nr.
Crt.
University / Counselling Centre Possibility to initiate online
contact (an email address)
Services
1 “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba
Iulia / Information and Career
Counselling Department
marioaraludusan@yahoo.com Information
Documentation
Counselling
2 “Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad /
Career Counselling and Professional
Guidance Department
doina.cheta@ uav.ro There are no
specifications on
this issue.
3 “Vasile Goldis” West University of Arad
/ Prognosis, Planning, Human Resources
Development and Permanent Education
Department
abraica@uvvg.ro

There are no
specifications on
this issue.
4 “Vasile Alecsandri” University of Bacau
/ Professional Counselling Department
dcp@ub.ro Information –
job offer
5 “George Bacovia” University of Bacau /
-
- There are no
specifications on
this issue.
6 “Babes Bolyai” University of Cluj /
Career Center
cariera@staff.ubbcluj.ro

Information
Documentation

7 “Dimitrie Cantemir” Christian
University of Bucharest / Information,
Counselling and Career Guidance Centre
rectorat@ucdc.ro There are no
specifications on
this issue.
8 West University of Timisoara / Career
Counselling Centre
ccpoc@socio.uvt.ro Information
Documentation
Personal
development
9 “Petru Maior” University of Targu
Mures / Information and Professional
Counselling Centre
- Information
Consulting

10 “Constantin Brancoveanu” University of
Targu Jiu / Centre for Information,
Counselling and Career Guidance of
Students
cicocs@yahoo.com Information
Documentation
Consulting
Manpower
recruitment
11 Valahia University of Targoviste /
Counselling and Career Guidance Centre
http://ccoc.valahia.ro There are no
specifications on
this issue.
12 “Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava
/ Counselling and Career Guidance
Centre
bujorl@usv.ro
teodorescud@usv.ro
Information
Documentation
Consulting

13 “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu /
Career Guidance Department
dep.docs@ulbsibiu.ro Information
Documentation
Consulting
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14 “Eftimie Murgu” University of Resita /
Guidance and Retraining Centre
corp@uem.ro Information
Documentation
Consulting
15 Petroleum – Gas University of Ploiesti /
Counselling and Career Guidance Centre
consiliere_upg_ploiesti@yahoo.co
m
Information
Documentation
Consulting
16 University of Pitesti / Counselling and
Professional Guidance Centre
contact@dppdpitesti.ro There are no
specifications on
this issue.
17 University of Petrosani / Centre for
Admission, Guidance and Professional
Integration of Students
nnitescu@upet.ro

Information
Documentation

18 University of Oradea / Career Centre csc@uoradea.ro
egoplus@uoradea.ro

Information
Documentation
Consulting
19 “Petre Andrei University” of Iasi /
Human Resources Centre
- There are no
specifications on
this issue.
20 “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iasi /
Information, Career Guidance and
Placement Centre
alma.andrei@uaic.ro Information
Documentation
Consulting
21 Danubius University of Galati /
Information, Counselling and Career
Guidance Centre
- There are no
specifications on
this issue.
22 Dunarea de Jos University of Galati / - - There are no
specifications on
this issue.
23 Ovidius University of Constanta /
Educational and Professional
Counselling Centre
ccep@univ-ovidius.ro Information
Documentation
Consulting
24 “Spiru Haret” University of Bucharest /
Counselling and Career Guidance Centre
- There are no
specifications on
this issue.
25 “Titu Maiorescu” University of
Bucharest / Psychological Consulting
and Career Guidance Centre
consiliere@utm.ro Information
Consulting
26 Politehnica University of Bucharest /
Counselling and Career Guidance Centre
centru_consiliere@rectorat.pub.ro Information
Consulting
27 Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary
Medicine University of Bucharest /
Counselling and Career Guidance Centre
- Information
Consulting
28 Academy of Economic Studies of
Bucharest / -
- There are no
specifications on
this issue.
29 Transilvania University of Brasov /
Information, Counselling and Career
Guidance Centre
cicoc@unitbv.ro Information
Consulting

By analysing the information about career guidance / counselling centre posted on universities’
sites we have arrived to the following findings:
• sometimes the counselling / career guidance centre is presented as part of Teacher
Training Department, another time is considered an independent department;
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• sometimes is posted only this information – that there is a centre / department which has
the mission to offer counselling services (psychological, career guidance etc.); and
another times we can access useful information, contact addresses, guidelines for
employment interview, making of a resume, tests, recommendations and information
about labour market and even useful links about an updated job offer. For example, the
most informative sites concerning career guidance or counselling services offered details
about how to conceive a resume (for example, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba
Iulia), training, useful links, manual about conceiving a resume or a letter, how to find a
job, a data base for students that are looking for a job, information about the most wanted
fields or jobs for 2010 etc. (“Constantin Brancoveanu” University of Targu Jiu / Centre
for Information) etc.
• some sites are characterised by a lack of visibility concerning the information about
contact address, mail, telephone for the counselling / career guidance centre (for example
“George Bacovia” University of Bacau, Dunarea de Jos University of Galati);
• also, we have found that some universities’ sites are difficult to use – we have to consider
that not all the potential clients are experts in informatics’ field, so that all the information
should be more accessible (for example, is difficult to believe that Academy of Economic
Studies from Bucharest does not offer career guidance / counselling services, but it was
difficult for us to discover information about the existence of such a centre);
• if online counselling could be made by e-mail, chat or videoconference, our findings
revealed that the most popular type proposed by Romanian universities’ sites imply
initiating a counsellor – client relationship first by e-mail (or telephone), followed by face
to face meeting in a specialized office.
So, we could conclude that in Romania, online counselling is mostly used to initiate a contact
between counsellor and (potential) client and often the universities’ sites only refer to services
offered inside counselling office.

3. Conclusions

So, our investigation identified a lack of visibility and accessibility in Romanian universities’ sites
concerning the possibility to receive online counselling services (psychological or career
counselling). From those 29 universities randomly selected, none explicitly proposed online
counselling relationship.
More, online counselling is mostly used as a preliminary stage to a face to face counselling
meeting. Many of the investigated centres give to potential clients only the possibility to initiate
online (by e-mail contact) a counselling relationship.
Nowadays realities characterised by the explosion of information, and by the speed with which
information became obsolete, potential clients of a real or virtual counselling centre need more
guidance. Online counselling could be a complementary service in order to develop virtual labour
market. This is why we consider absolutely necessarily that specialist to develop functional online
counselling services.
But, it is gratifying that there are still universities centres that represent a real help for their
sites’ users, offering useful information for career guidance (for example, how to make a resume, a
letter, updated lists with job offer etc.).
Yet, we have to pay attention to the possible consequences of an extended access to online
counselling: reduced demand for direct counselling or, on the contrary, a greater demand (because
the contact obstacle is removed); persons / groups which has no access to technology or has no
skills for computer (for example, people with disabilities from Romania which are not the
beneficiaries of special computer programs) could be excluded from this kind of service etc.
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References

Barak, A. (2007) Emotional support and suicide prevention through the Internet: A field project report,
Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 2, 971-984.
Chang, T., Yeh, C., Krumboltz, J. (2001) Process and Outcome Evaluation of an On-Line Support Group for
Asian American Male College Students, Journal of Counselling Psychology, 48, 3, 319-329.
Harrington, R., Loffredo, D.A. (2010) MBTI personality type and other factors that relate to preference for
online versus face-to-face instruction, The Internet and Higher Education, 13, 1-2, 89-95.
Herman, S. (2010) Career HOPES: An Internet-delivered career development intervention, Computers in
Human Behavior, 26, 3, 339-344.
Jigau, M., Chiru, M. (coord.) (2004). Consilierea la distanŃă. Manual, Bucureşti.
Lorenz, K. (1996) Cele opt păcate capitale ale omenirii civilizate, Bucureşti, Ed. Humanitas.
Tanrikulu, I. (2009) Counselors-in-training students’ attitudes towards online counseling, Procedia Social
and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 785–788, World Conference on Educational Sciences 2009.
Vizzari, V., Napoli, M., Garofalo, L., Simonelli, C. (2008) T08-O-22 Internet counselling: the ISC model,
Sexologies, 17, 1, S112.
Computer modeling in Physics’ experiments

Carmen – Gabriela Bostan
1
, Ştefan Antohe
2


(1) Institute for Educational Sciences, Bucharest, Ştirbei Vodă nr. 37, 010102
(2) University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics, Physics Doctoral School, 405
Atomiştilor, P.O.Box: MG-11, Măgurele-Ilfov, 077125, România
E-mail: cagabosro@yahoo.co.uk, s_antohe@yahoo.com

Abstract
Computer has revolutionized how people find other people, and many students now look for
teachers on the Internet. Politicians at European level have recognized that education and
training are essential to the development and success of knowledge society. A
transdisciplinary vision of education requires long life education and the computer revolution
transforming learning in leisure and recreation in learning. The new interactive aids of
teaching/ learning emphasize the role of technology-enhanced environments in science
learning: such environments allow learners to observe and explore scientific phenomena
interactively on the computer. The multimedia educational resources have an important
impact on the teaching-learning process of Physics. The Computer Assisted Instruction
stimulates visual and hearing memory and transposes the students in the middle of the
Phenomena and completes their knowledge. Teaching/learning physics has evolved from
traditional transposing methods - demonstrations on the black board and laboratory
experiences - to computer modeling or e-learning platforms that facilitate a distance
teaching/learning. I propose an outline of the lesson plan and illustrate how the teacher can
by integrating multimedia educational resources on instruction at various stages of learning
units. The paper is important because it presents modern aids used in teaching/ learning
physics in class and in the laboratory - supplementing traditional teaching process with
simulations/ computer modeling, experimental data processing and graphics obtained
through specialized software.

Keywords: Virtual physics laboratory, Information Technology, Multimedia tools, teaching/
learning physics.


Introduction
Physics laboratory has for a long time an important tool of school physics education process and it
must still remain in any physics curriculum at primary, secondary, high-school and academic level,
too. In addition, in last time, the informatics technologies (IT) known an explosive development
and the students at any level, are fascinated by these. Particularly, the Multimedia tools have an
important impact for the teaching – learning process of Physic, and they could be successfully
integrated as MM activities in school work, home-work and in distance learning, respectively. The
realism of dynamical pictures, the video joined with the sound and the motion, the possibility to
recreate the physical reality with digital technique make the didactics simulations the most
important teaching tools. The informative and technologies society needs important changes in
educational programs. Learning physics is difficult for many students and, by using the
Technologies of Information and Communication, introduces Physics in a modern and attractive
way. Computers are used in different ways to teach Physics and can affect drastically the way of
teaching Physics.
Multimedia tools, the computer and Internet have revolutionized the school education.
Politicians at European level have recognized that education and training are essential to the
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development and success of knowledge society. National government, educational system –
universities and schools are responsible for education and training; high quality pre-primary,
primary, secondary, higher and vocational education and training are the fundament for Europe's
success. Lifelong learning must become too a reality across Europe. (European Commission,
Education & Training)
“The eLearning initiative of the European Commission seeks to mobilize the educational and
cultural communities, as well as the economic and social players in Europe, in order to speed up
changes in the education and training systems for Europe's move to a knowledge-based society.
(European Commission, Education & Training)”
According to Jan Figel, ex-commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism,
“Globalization, new technologies and demographic developments constitute an enormous
challenge; one of the answers to this problem is the access to lifelong learning. (European
Commission, Education and Training)”
A vital component of lifelong learning policies is learning for all, child and adult learning,
because is essential to competitiveness and employability, social inclusion, active citizenship and
personal development across Europe. (European Commission, Education & Training)
In the last years, the developing of a new technologies meet unrecorded progress, forcing us to
adapt to these challenges, whose main characteristic is complexity. To cope with continuous change
and uncertainty characteristic of market economies, students need strategic skills, such as the ability
to learn how to learn, skills to solve problems, assessment skills.
In schools, information technology and communication can be more than just a means of
education; can become a concept to make radical changes in education. Its potential to improve the
quality and standards of performance of participants in the educational process is significant.
The computer can become a tool for all those who wish to find in him a friend and the mysteries
will turn into knowledge. This tool is equally useful to student and teacher. Computer used in class
aims to develop skills related to communication, procurement, presentation and transmission of
information in forms as varied. The Yenka program allows simulation of experiments that cannot be
completed in class, completion of laboratory experiments, to realize animated graphics, contributing
in this way to develop skills to organize specific information and use it to produce new knowledge.

METHOD

Theoretical Background
Basic electric circuits - Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Rules are teaching to eigth grade to the
students of 15 years.
Two resistors are connected to a battery in parallel, and results that both have common
connections. When resistors are connected in parallel to a source, the voltage drop across each
resistor is the same.
[1]
2 1
U U U = =

Figure 1

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[2]
I
U
R = , resistance
[3]
2 1
1 1 1
R R R
p
⋅ = ,
p
R is equivalent parallel resistance, is value of a single resistor that
could replace all the resistors, and maintain the same current

[4]
R
U
I = , Ohm’s Law
The current through each resistor is
[5]
1
1
R
U
I = ,
respectively
[6]
2
2
R
U
I =
Substituting for each current, we obtain
[7]
2 1
I I I + =

Experimental Background
We will be use the experimental electrical kit. The experiment is carried out on front or groups of
pupils.

Computational Background
The software that will be used is Yenka, dedicated simulation software for mathematics and
sciences experiments.
The simulation will be in front, the teacher will present it on the electronic board or video
projector. If the school has a physics lab with a computer on each table, the experiment can be
practiced by each student.


Didactical Methods
Teaching methods used are: explanation, conversation, experiment, demonstration, discovery,
computer modeling.

LESSON’S PLAN

The unit by learn: Electrokinetic
The form (gradual level): the class-8th grade (the student’s age – 15 years old)
The name of lesson: Basic electric circuits
The type of the lesson: thoroughgoing study
The didactical tools: experimental kit and after, completed with simulation on the computer
(Yenka)
The didactical intention: to experimental study Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Rules
Instructions for teacher and the students:
- The teacher will verify the knowledge, which the students must learn.
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- The teacher will make connection with the new lesson.
- The teacher starts a practical activity. Activities include electrical kit and the students must
observe, practice and draw conclusions.
- The teacher must guide the students to draw conclusions, to generalize their observations.
- The teacher starts a simulation on the computer (Figure 2).
- The teacher writes on the board the equations on the board, draw the diagrams and the
students write it in their notebooks.
- The students identify application for Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Rules.


Figure 2

[8] mA I 78 . 736
1
=
[9] mA I 200
2
=
[10] mA I I I 78 . 936
2 1
= + =
[11] V U U U 20
2 1
= = = is true

Figure 3
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If the switch K
2
is open, we can observe in figure 3 that
[12] mA I I 78 . 736
1
= = , because
[13] mA I 0
2
=


DISCUSSION
On computer simulation for Ohm’s Law reveals as follows:
- Working of a simple electrical circuit;
- Diagrams ) (U f I = ,
Advantages:
- To gain time;
- Completing and fixing the knowledge acquired through classical experiment;
- Experimental data more accurate.
Disadvantages:
- Passive participation in front simulation;
- Internet connection can be interrupted
Computer simulation of physics experiments is well come as a complement to classical
experiments on laboratory, together leading to a deep learning, for the duration.

CONCLUSIONS
The computer can become a tool for all those who wish to find in him a friend and the
mysteries will turn into knowledge. This tool is equally useful to student and teacher. Computer
used in class aims to develop skills related to communication, procurement, presentation and
transmission of information in forms as varied. Physics is par excellence an experimental object,
but many of the phenomena are too fast to be studied and understood fully, or it can not be done in
a laboratory school. Via computer it can be simulated and presented these phenomena so that they
can be pursued by each student. On the other hand it is known that the possibility of understanding
of material is different from one individual to another, not all students can understand it. The
computer gives everyone the opportunity to adjust the learning of new knowledge in their own
pace and the quality of learning and deep understanding of the phenomena will increase
incontestably.
Introduction of the computer in the didactical activities going to increase students motivation in
learning physics, offers alternative suggestions for the teaching-learning, the approach to issues of
physical phenomena, encourages creative and critical thinking, and the students will be develop
skills for processing and presenting of information. Modeling is fundamental too, in the process of
teacher development, as a language to approach, describe, interpret and analyze phenomena.
The lesson will prove to be successful if the students understand the concepts and use them in
exercises and problems. The teacher can avoid improvised or useless activities and stimulate his
students to progress gradually, by avoiding boredom and lack of interest, wasting time and effort.
The lesson must contribute to their systematic knowledge and to their maturity. The information
they learn must be used in everyday life, so that teaching and learning can connect with their life.


References

Books:
Jinga, I., Vlăsceanu, L., (1989), Pattern, Strategy and Performances in Education, Editure Academy.
Malinovschi, V. (2003), Didactics of Physics, E.D.P., R.A. Bucureşti.
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Nicola, I. (1994), Pedagogy, E.D.P., Bucureşti.
Pearson International Edition, (2007), Sixth Edition College Physics, WILSON BUFFA LOU, Pearson
Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Popa, M. (2005), Interdisciplinarity Evaluation, Piteşti; Editure Delta Cart EducaŃional.
Tereja, E. (1994), Teaching Physics’ Methods, Iaşi; Editure University „Al. Ioan Cuza”.
UNESCO, (1983), Interdisciplinarité et sciences humaines, UNESCO, (ouvrage collectif), vol. I.
Văideanu, G. (1985), Interdisciplinarity Promotion in the Pre-University Level, Iaşi; Editure University „Al.
Ioan Cuza”.

Journal Articles:
Almeida Barretto, S.F., Piazzalunga, R., Guimaraes Ribeiro, V., Casemiro Dalla, M.B., Leon Filho, R. M.
(2003), Combining interactivity and improved layout while creating educational software for the Web,
Computers & Education, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp. 271-284, April.
de Jong, T. (1999), Learning and Instruction with Computer Simulations, Education & Computing, 6, pp.
217-229.
Esquembre, F. (2002), Computers in Physics Education, Computer Physics Communications,147, pp.13-18.
Institute Pedagogical Sciences, (1970) Interdisciplinary Research in Education.
Iskander, M. F. (2002), Technology-Based Electromagnetic Education, IEEE Transactions on Microwave
Theory and Techniques, V.50, no. 3 pp.1015-1020, March.

Internet Sources:
http://www.yenka.com/
European Commission, Education & Training, http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-
policy/doc64_en.htm
An Approach to Ontology
Development in Human Resources Management

Anamaria Szekely

Babes Bolyai University,
Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration
E-mail: b_ana_sz@yahoo.com
Abstract
The evolution from resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy has essential
implications in the Management, Marketing, Artificial Intelligence, etc. and also in the Web
field. Due to this evolution we can speak today of Semantic Web and everything that involves
this concept. In this paper, we propose to explore the benefits that may have in practice the
application of Semantic Web technologies for the systematic organization of knowledge,
which may occur in human resources domain by developing a specific ontology. This
ontology will provide support for modeling a common vocabulary for those who will share
information about human resources by defining concepts, attributes and relationships
between those concepts. The ultimate purpose of this ontology development will be the
augmentation of effectiveness in the applied field.

Keywords: Semantic Web, ontology, human resource management


Introduction

Even though the web has appeared for two decades, its expansion is still overwhelming. At first,
the web was seen as a way to connect people, specifically to inform them about different things
through the published documents and the web pages. The Web offered to the people new
opportunities for learning and communication, with the click of a mouse.
Search engines continually index Web documents, so providing a few keywords, the searched
information can be provided quickly. But this information has meaning only for a human being;
computer or another software application cannot give a meaning to this information - a task that
people can ordinarily do quite well but is a tall order for computers, which cannot tell if "head"
means the leader of an organization or the thing on top of a body (Frauenfelder, 2001). The web in
its current form has very little metadata and no means to encode semantics. So the Semantic Web
idea is not only to furnish linked documents to each other but also to recognize the semantic of the
information in those documents and to provide connected data (Frauenfelder, 2001).
To model the semantic level of knowledge, which may occur in human resources management,
for an IT company which works on projects, we use an ontology, the main subject of this article.
This ontology will provide support for modeling a common vocabulary for those who will share
information about human resources, will align human resource development with company goals,
will identify and make use of employee competencies, by defining concepts, attributes and
relationships between those concepts.
Human resources constitute the main element of work within organizations; they decisively
influence the effectiveness of using the material resources, the financial resources and the
informational resources. Human resources management is a complex activity targeted by the
efficient use of personnel in the organization, aiming to achieve both, company objectives and
employee needs (Cornescu et al, 2004).
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In this document in section 2 will be presented the problem context and statement, which
contains a brief introduction in semantic web field and the advantages that has in practice the use
of ontology in the human resources management. In section 3 will be introduced the design details
for the proposed ontology, followed by the presentation of implementation details. And then in the
following sections the evaluation, conclusions and future work of this paper.

Problem Context and Statement

Context
Nowadays the organizations are focused more on the human capital for a harmonious economic
development. Human resources management refers to efficient use of human resources to enhance
organizational performance (Cornescu et al., 2004).
The Semantic Web is like a bridge between silos of disconnected standards. “The Semantic
Web isn’t just a fancy software vocabulary: It’s a foundational data language upon which any
other data language can be built”, specifically is a language for metadata - provides an accurate
way to describe and define data by using more data. In business software systems, these new
formats provide a way to more easily connect and exchange data with many systems, and the
Semantic Web also provides new ways to model complex data environments that can be more
simply maintained over time. (Pollock, 2009)
The Semantic Web idea was to provide an open infrastructure that facilitates the
communication between software agents. This infrastructure is based on formal domain
representations (ontologies) that are linked to each other on the Web. These formal representations
provide the applications with a common terminologies and understanding. The W3C has
developed the Web Ontology Language (OWL), which is a standard that allows the ontologies to
be represented on the Web (Knublauch, 2004).
Ontologies have become the cornerstone of the Semantic Web. As described in (Buraga, 2004),
the subject of ontology is the study of categories of things that exist or may exist in a particular
area of interest. The result of such a study, called ontology, is a catalog of types of things that are
assumed to exist in a domain of interest. In other words an ontology describes the concepts in the
domain and also the relationships that hold between those concepts.
A similar ontology, is presented in (Schmit and Kunzmann, 2007), where is elaborated a
reference model for ontology-based approaches to competency-oriented human resource
development. This conceptual model is one that is in the center with the idea of integrating
management competencies and offering learning opportunities for employees. Other significant
references with similar ideas can be found in (Niculescu and Trausan-Matu, 2009), (Dorn et al.,
2007) and (Gómez-Pérez et al., 2007).
A lot of research papers and books about semantic web and ontologies were found. For
example in (Berners et al., 2001) are presented and described the basic concepts,
that govern the world of semantic web.

Statement
Semantic web technologies used for adding semantics to data are eXtensible Markup Language
(XML), the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL).
XML allows the creation of tags for everyone. These tags can then be used for different
applications, but the person who develops the application that uses the XML document must know
the meaning of each tag. ”RDF has a model framework based on the idea of a triple”. A complete
RDF triple, or statement, must have the thing the statement describes, the properties of the thing
the statement describes, the values of those properties the statement describes. OWL is build on
XML and RDF standards and extend these standards with an larger vocabulary that provide more
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terms for describing the concepts, attributes and the relationships between those concepts.
(Pollock, 2009; Berners et al., 2001)
Using semantic web technologies to develop an ontology for human resources management,
several benefits appear in the applied field. This ontology will provide a common vocabulary for
specialists who deal with human resource management, will provide a common understanding of
the structure of information among people or software agents will offer the possibility to reuse the
domain knowledge and also to separate domain knowledge from operational knowledge.
An ontology representation of the Human Resource Management in the OWL would allow
developers to combine it with other OWL ontologies, and would provide the benefit of being able
to access generic reasoning tools. By describing the meaning of information about human
resources and their logic separately from the underlying data and applications they allow for the
creation of highly flexible and dynamic solutions. The knowledge contained in ontology can be
shared and reused as well as enhanced or modified anytime.

Design Details
To illustrate all the submissions made so far, it is necessary to develop a prototype for the desired
ontology; therefore we will continue to present the proposed model for an ontology that provides
facilities to cope with human resources management in an IT company, which works on projects.
For developing the application was chosen, the Protégé-OWL environment, which is one of the
most widespread today.
Protégé-OWL is based on a different logical model which makes it possible for concepts to be
defined as well as described. Complex concepts can therefore be built up in definitions out of
simpler concepts. Furthermore, the logical model allows the use of a reasoner which can check
whether or not all of the statements and definitions in the ontology are mutually consistent and can
also recognize which concepts fit under which definitions. The reasoner can therefore help to
maintain the hierarchy correctly. (Horrodge et al.,2007)
Basic ontology requirements are essentially the following: has to describe the basic concepts
used in human resources management by an IT company working on projects, has to allow the
querying of data stored in the knowledge base, and has to be able to match the right person for a
job.
To achieve the proposed ontology, were consulted several
ontology development methodologies proposed by various
authors: (Buraga, 2004; Horrodge et al., 2007; Fernández
López, 2002). There were indicated a number of common
steps.
First was realized the ontology capture, which means that
the necessary hierarchy of concepts for the human resource
management in the IT domain was identified. It was established
that the basic classes for the ontology are: the departments of
the company, the education required for a job, the jobs
available in the company, the employees of the company, the
projects handled by the enterprise and the necessary skills for
the employees to hold a job, which are presented in Figure 1.
It is not so important the words chosen for representing the
concepts, but the concepts as such. After this first step, were
identified the relationships between concepts (synonymies,
equivalent) and was created the properties hierarchy and these
properties were linked with the relevant concepts. In OWL are
two main types of properties: object properties and data type

Figure 1. Ontology Basic
Classes
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properties. Object properties represent relationships between individuals and data type properties
represent relationships between individuals and data values. For example we identified the
fallowing object properties for modeling the management of an employee:
• “hasEmployee”, which can be used to achieve that a department or a project;
• “hasJob”, which assign that a employee has a specific job;
• “isPartOf”, which emphasizes the relationship of belonging, of a class to another class;
• “hasEducation”, which record for a person the appropriate domain of education, etc.
A next step would be to establish property characteristics (functional, inverse, symmetric,
transitive), establish relationships between properties (Inverse Properties, Disjoint Properties etc.),
and define restrictions. These restrictions dictate which individuals get included in or excluded
from a class.
The development of an ontology is generally a cyclic one, because anytime you can add, delete
and modify concepts.
After the ontology capture was finalized the next step is to coding the ontology. This step
consist of the explicitly representation of the concepts identified previously in a formal language,
in our case OWL-DL (Web Ontology Language – Description Logic).

Implementation Details

Protégé OWL editor: enables the creation of ontologies for the Semantic Web and provides an
intuitive and friendly interface. The class hierarchy (Figure 2.) was the first created. It presents the
basic concepts that are relevant for approached domain.
OWL is built on RDF and RDFS (RDF Schema). It extends the RDF and the RDFS by adding
more vocabulary terms for describing the concepts. For example when are created the classes,
within the Classes Tab of Protégé OWL, “Functional_Job” (which is a subclass of “Job”) and its
subclass “Tester”, this are created as RDF. And accessing the RDF/XML encoding available in
Protégé OWL we can see that the classes are created as follows:

<!--http://www.hr-ontology.com/ontology/hr.owl#Tester -->
<Class rdf:about="&hr;Tester">
<rdfs:subClassOf rdf:resource="&hr;Technical_Job"/>
</Class>

<!--http://www.hr-ontology.com/ontology/hr.owl#Technical_Job -->
<Class rdf:about="&hr;Technical_Job">
<rdfs:subClassOf rdf:resource="&hr;Job"/>
</Class>

The first code specifies that “Tester” is an rdf class and has the URI “http://www.hr-
ontology.com/ontology/hr.owl#Tester”. RDFS describe the property
“subClassOf”, which is a build-in property and is specified that “Tester” is the “subClassOf” the
resource <!--http://www.hr-ontology.com/ontology/hr.owl#Technical_Job
--> (i.e. the class “Technical_Job”).
In OWL the classes of individuals are defined by the relationships that those individuals
participate in. For this reason we have to define the related restrictions for each concept. For
example to describe the class “Administration_Manager”, some existential restrictions were
created (Figure 3.).
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An existential restriction describes the class of
individuals that have at least one kind of
relationship along a specified property to an
individual that is a member of a specified class
(Horrodge et al.,2007). For our example this means
that for an individual to be an instance of the class
“Administration_Manager” it is necessary to have
interpersonal skill, technical skill and cognitive
skill. Also it is necessary to speak English at an
advanced level, to have experience more than 3
years. This instance may have more other
properties, but this are required to be part of this
class.

Evaluation
Evaluation of human resource management
ontology is a quite difficult stage. An ontology can
be evaluated against many criteria: coverage area
addressed in the ontology, complexity and granularity of that coverage area, the consistency and
completeness of the ontology and the representation language in which the ontology was modeled.
Using ontologies in practice has several benefits, due to the usage of Semantic Web
technologies for the ontology development. The prototype proposed by us has the fallowing
strengths: may represent the basis for communication between people and/or between software
agents, represents and organize the knowledge base of the company. The ontology also enables the
Figure 3 The class hierarchy
Figure 2. Class description for
Administration Manager
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knowledge sharing within and between domains, provides support for searching and retrieving
data from the knowledge base, allows easier software development and knowledge maintenance,
and contributes to the semantic interoperability between applications.
Because the ontology, was developed in OWL-DL the ontology can be processed by a resoner.
The resoner has tested whether a class is a subclass of another class, and thus makes an inferential
hierarchy of classes contained in the ontology. Also, the developed ontology is consistent,
because, the reasoner verifies this automatically.
Another important strength is that the OWL ontologies, and implicit our ontology is based on
the open-word assumption. This means that we “cannot assume something does not exist until it is
explicitly stated that it does not exist”. The ontology can distinguish between data facts that are
provable and those that are satisfactory. A satisfactory query result can be useful to an application
because it tells the application that there’s some uncertainty in the answer.
Like any software development the presented ontology has some limitations. An ontology is a
good choice for solving problems having to do with the reusability, portability, and expressiveness
of data languages, but aren’t suited for solving a complete software problem. Any ontology based
on OWL has scalability limitations, so our ontology will be limited to a maximum number of
triples (300-500 million), the inferring process of data can take minutes or hours if the ontology
will be enriched with fact and implications. (Pollack, 2009)

Conclusions

The Semantic Web idea is to extend the web of linked documents with metadata and to enrich the
information’s with semantic for making data easier to work with.
The major objective of this paper consist in the development of a reliable ontology which will
provide support for modeling a common vocabulary for those who will share information about
human resources, will align human resource development with company goals, will identify and
make use of employee competencies, by defining concepts, attributes and relationships between
those concepts. This goal was achieved step by step by development of an human resource
management ontology for an IT company, which provides a knowledge base for the applied field,
offer possibility to query the employees implied in a project, to query the employees according to
their job, skills, etc., to select the right person for a particular job, to replace an employee of a
project with another employee that meets the needs of the project job.
This ontology is a prototype and there are several directions that can be investigated in future
research:
• Ontology development to store knowledge about the efficiency and performance of each
employee, for a reward, more faithful to their work;
• Ontology integration with other related ontologies, such as one which offers learning
opportunities for the employees and keep track of every passed lesson tacked by the
employee.

Acknowledgment
This work was supported by ANCS-CNMP, project number PNII – 91037/2007.

References
(Berners et al., 2001) Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J. and Lassila, O. (2001): Scientific American Magazine. The
Semantic Web, 17 May.
(Cornescu et al., 2004) Cornescu, V., Marinescu, P., Curteanu, D. and Toma, S. (2004): Managementul
resurselor umane. In L. Popescu (Ed): Management -de la teorie la prectică. University of Bucharest,
Bucharest.
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(Fernández López, 2002) Fernández López, M. ( 2002): Overview Of Methodologies For Building
Ontologies,available on-line at http://www.lsi.upc.es/~bejar/aia/aia-web/4-fernandez.pdf.
(Frauenfelder, 2001) Frauenfelder, M. (2001): MIT Technology Review. A Smarter Web, November.
(Gómez-Pérez et al., 2007) Gómez-Pérez, A., Ramírez J. and Villazón-Terrazas B. (2007): An Ontology for
Modelling Human Resources Management based on standards. In Proceedings of The 11th
International Conference on Knowledge-Based Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, Osaka
Institute of Technology and Setsuan University, Vietri Sul Mare, Italy, 534-541.
(Horrodge et al., 2007) Horridge, M., Jupp, S., Moulton, G., Rector, A., Stevens, R., Wroe, C. (2007): A
Practical Guide To Building OWL Ontologies Using Protege 4 and CO-ODE Tools, The University Of
Manchester.
(Knublauch, 2004) Knublauch, H.(2004): Ontology-Driven Software Development in the Context of the
Semantic Web: An Example Scenario with Protege/OWL, abailable on-line at
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.83.430.
(Niculescu and Trausan-Matu, 2009) Niculescu, C. and Trausan-Matu, S. (2009): An Ontology-centered
Approach for Designing an Interactive Competence Management System for IT Companies. Informatica
Economică, vol. 13, no. 4/2009
(Pollock, 2009) Pollock, J. T. (2009): Semantic Web for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Indianapolis.
(Schmit and Kunzmann, 2007) Schmidt, A. and Kunzmann, C. (2007): Sustainable Competency-Oriented
Human Resource Development with Ontology-Based Competency Catalogs Ontology-based
Competence Management for Healthcare.
(Segaran et al., 2009) Segaran, T., Evans, C. and Taylor, J. (2009): Programming the Semantic Web. O’Reilly
Media, Sebastopol.
Developing Pedagogical Competence Students Through Blended
Learning

Margarita Pehlivanova
1
, Zlatoeli Ducheva
1

(1) Technical College of Yambol, Gr.Ignatiev str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
margopehlivanova@abv.bg, zl.ducheva@abv.bg

Abstract
The modern school is seen as vital space, where teachers should create optimal conditions for
the development of intellectual, social, emotional and other components of the personality of
students. It’s changing the nature of the activities of teachers, increasingly they fall in
different socio-educational situations, which require teamwork and highly developed
vocational educational and individual skills. Training in Pedagogical practice of students
carries out the connection between theoretical knowledge and the formation of an individual
pedagogic style and behavior in a real school environment. Questionnaire research with
graduates, teachers and interviews with the students indicate that blended learning as a
flexible type of training improved students e-skills, developed the communication skills and
skills in team work, reflection, critical thinking, making effective and adequate decisions in
educational process. Integrative nature of the blended learning enables an adequate
preparation of students - future teachers for- adjustment to pedagogical community and
activities to reduce stress situations.

Key words: blended learning, Pedagogical practice, e-learning for teacher’s education


1. Introduction

Studies of various authors and a review of the literature shows that since the mid 90's to present
days have observed an accelerated development of various models and forms of education –
traditionally, e-learning, blended learning. The international experience, and the results of our
research over the past five years show that lecturers and students prefer blended learning as a new
type, which expands possibilities for connection between lecturers and students, diversified school
environment, provide more choice to search for information and use of traditional and interactive
teaching methods. The most common definition of blended learning is a combination of face-to-
face instruction combined with computer-mediated instruction to facilitate interactive and
reflective higher-order learning (Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. 2004; Graham, 2006).
Blended learning is about a mixture of instructional modalities, delivery media, teaching
methods, and web-based technologies (Graham, 2006). Blends of instructional modalities usually
include a balanced mixture of onsite, web-based, and self-paced learning (Rossett, Douglis, &
Frazee, 2003).
We accept, that in this type of training a substantial part of the activities are moved online, and
the time, traditionally spent in-class is reduced, but not completely eliminated. The purpose of
these hybrid courses is to join the best characteristics of teaching in class with the best features of
online training for the promotion of active, self-directed learning opportunities for students with
added flexibility (Garnham & Kaleta, 2002).
Computer-based technologies can be used to selectively present case studies, development of
lessons, self-analysis of different types of lessons. The involvement of students in this type online
school activities show that changed character of the work in school from presentation format to
interactive methods of learning also (discussions, debates) (Mayer, 2003 ).
The combination of training modalities usually include balanced elements of learning in place
with self-dependent pace and web-based learning (Rossett, Douglis,& Frazee, 2003).
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2. Organization and Analysis of the Research

For evaluation of the quality and importance of blended learning for the professional and
pedagogical realization of students we use questionnaire for the quality of training in the Technical
College - Yambol. Were tested 60 graduate students in 2009 and 104 graduates in 2010 regular
and extramural studies. The questionnaires were not anonymous. Respondents have sufficient
knowledge and social experience, to respond objectively. In presentation we put the accent on the
attitude and willingness to continue learning, assessment of the developing character of the
training at the College and the quality of the preparation for professional realization. We are
analyzed results for Subject Motor Transport and Agricultural Machinery (on a regular and
extramural studies), separately since all receive Pedagogical qualification and are realized and as
lecturers instructors for preparation of drivers of motor vehicles.
The school educational practice of students is integrative discipline, which carries out the
connection between theory and practice, the construction of pedagogical competencies in a real
and virtual school environment. The traditional training face to face developed oral speech, skills
for the interpretation of non-verbal expressive resources and emotions. In the process of business
and interpersonal communication in class students acquire skills not only for speech and non-
verbal communication. They used different behavioral reactions in various situations, form skills
for self-reflection, control and improvement of body postures, gestures and facial expression.
Future teachers will be implemented in centuries of information and communication
technologies, which require the construction of the e-skills. The change of the nature and character
of the teaching, in which shall be carried out learning through experience and use of social
experience required from the teacher critical thinking, empathy and communication skills. Because
training in school required and presumed focus on the individuality of each student, students must
develop management skills. They will identify the objectives, ways and means of interaction, will
comply changing conditions of the educational environment and will carry out continuous
monitoring and self-control on the training quality.
In the blended learning in Educational practice are developed modern approaches and
technologies for individualized and interactive process. We use educational situations, aimed at
certain specific needs of lifelong learning, for the assessment of the training and learning ecology
(Wenger and Ferguson, 2006; Moebs S., St. Weibelzahl, 2006).

Studying Learner Self-Navigation Practicing
Books, articles, guide
References
White Papers
Asynchronous content
Job aids
Glossaries
FAQs
Authentic tasks
Role play
Projects
Case studies
Peer discussion
Discussion forums
Classroom lectures
Synchronous content
Demonstrations
Reviews/discussions
Videoconferencing

Experiences
Diagnostic labs
Practice labs
Mentoring/Tutoring
Experiments




Content
Delivery
Focus





Teaching Guided Navigation





Experience and
Practice Focus





Coaching
Figure 1. Learning Ecology Matrix (Wenger & Ferguson 2006)

For this purpose in design of the lessons in the Pedagogical practise, we use elements of
Learning Ecology Matrix. The base-teacher and the lecturer specify with students the time, the
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place, the conditions and the topic from the educational content. The base-teacher inform students
via e-mail or face to face about the place of the topic, didactic purpose and tasks, the type lesson,
didactic materials and tools described in the annual distribution.
Indicate the role and importance of the topic and lessons for developing of knowledge and
skills of students and the relationship with the previous and following topics and lessons. The
lecturer provides examples of variations in the structure of lessons with the necessary scientific,
psychological, pedagogical and methodological literature. In the first independent development of
plan-conspectus, where the student has a lower level of autonomy, a lecturer submit sent ready an
indicative plan-conspectus, who also serves as an algorithm used for the work of students. In the
discussions face to face in a virtual environment the goals are operationalized, are considered
typical for the training and of the school life pedagogical situations and the model of
communication and behaviour by which they can be resolved. We use authentic pedagogical cases
and scenario of a school’s life, simulation games and work in team headed by professor. The
professional role of the University lecturer will definitely continue to enrich and change in
conditions of online and mixed school environment. It is necessary to develop skills for
instruction, numerous styles for teaching, the organization of the school environment, includes
increased the importance of teachers.
In the preliminary activities include students - and another double, which will perform the role
and functions of an observer, an analyst and controller. In this way are being developed at least
two scenarios for the implementation of the lesson. Students are formed skills for different
approaches to the same topic, an opportunity for comparison of different combinations of
activities, methods, and other pedagogical techniques.
Since the results and the quality of training in school depend on the work of pedagogical team,
we form at the students skills for partnership and cooperation. The initial development of a plan-
conspectus and scenario would be sent to the base-teacher, lecturer and the other two colleagues.
In this way training and trainees can work with its own pace, to make additional consultation on
scientific problems, pedagogic theories and to consider further in-depth its advice and
recommendations.
In support of a more effective and interactive training in Pedagogical practice, to improve skills
for guiding discussion, giving opinions and estimates developed on the assignments of other
participants in the group not only through e-mail, but directly - in the chat-forum. This will
facilitate the formation of skills in a team work, which implies general purpose, achieved through
the efforts of the whole group and individual assignments and responsibilities of each member.

69,23% 70,83%
18,27%
31,25%
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27,08%
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25,96% 25,96%
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8,33%
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20,00%
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40,00%
50,00%
60,00%
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.s
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ills
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2009

Figure 2. Development of important skills through blended learning
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(opinion of graduate students)
The graduates understand new necessitis and expectations of society towards profession of
teacher. They realize that the new roles of expert, mentor and counselor, vocational adjustment
and career development require lifelong learning. There is a positive trend in the majority students
of the both graduates to acquire a higher educational degree. Is a relatively small percentage of the
Willingness in 2009 to change their specialty, and in 2010 there is no graduates, which shall be
reoriented to another profession.

79,80%
83,33%
0,00%
4,17%
8,65%
10,42%
0,00%
10,00%
20,00%
30,00%
40,00%
50,00%
60,00%
70,00%
80,00%
90,00%
subject anot her sub. no
2010 2009

Figure 3. Willingness of students to continue education

More active use of asynchronous and real-time discussion will enable more shy students to be
more actively involved and to overcome their discomfort. Blended learning allows students to
improve their knowledge and skills to work in a virtual environment to develop skills for critical
analysis of information and situations allowing them to formulate and take tactical and strategic
decisions in their professional activities.
The different variants of a communication reflect some of the individual characteristics of
students, associated with temperament, the level of communication skills and the willingness /
unwillingness to be included in the discussions or business, active pedagogical communication. In
discussions, part of the students expressed their preference to express their views or to discuss in
oral form, as can further refine the statements and to report non-verbal means of communication.
Others who are more worrying, they prefer communicating by e-mail as they consider better
position and its response to seek additional information and then send it to the lecturer and other
participants in the group. Other prefer to work in a small group/team, because, when express their
views it go on behalf of the group and the responsibility to the correctness is shared by all.
In addition to greater individualization, blended learning encourages increased affiliation, co-
operation and connectedness. Strong side to the blended learning is that connects partners,
activities and events. This type of training is a key tool for building of shared pedagogical
understanding on a global basis. The nature of Pedagogical practice requires jump of practical
educational activities, which prepare and carry out the inclusion in a real educational activities. In
this type of training prepare a portfolio of the Work materials of each student in the group. In this
way we developed skills for self- analysis and formation of an adequate and objective self-
assessment of educational results. The evaluation is done with the preliminary specified and
commended on such proposals criteria and indicators. The use of blended learning in Pedagogical
practice improves the main competence of students and e-skills, which are obligatory prerequisite
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and condition for employment in the modern school. Appling of a combination of traditional and
e-learning improve the quality of training and developing professional and personal competence
among future teachers. Possibilities of e-training apply as a priority in the preliminary preparation
for lesson, the training in classroom in the form of role play and subsequent analysis make easier
the formation of an adequate and individual pedagogic style in a real situations.

0 0 0 0
2,63%
11,11%
42,11%
33,33%
55,26%
44,45%
0
11,11%
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
no rather not definitely largely completely con`t
2010 2009

Figure 4. Role of the training for professional realization
(graduate students, subject Motor transport and agricultural machinery)

Observations and assessments of the current educational practice shows that students develop
better options on the plan-conspectus, increase the written culture, achieve a higher quality of the
lesson project and lead more meaningful discussions on educational content and pedagogical
technology.
We accept the opinion of Sands (2002) and Spika (2002) that in the blended learning, lecturer
integrates online and work in audience. Graduate students indicate that increased opportunities for
time management and independent choice of method and style of teaching work.
Part of the students does not have skills for the organization and distribution of the teaching
time, which makes it difficult to develop in time final version of conspectus. Others find it difficult
to work with new technologies and a third part does not take a final decision, because they are
afraid of opinion of colleagues and lecturer’s assessment.
Thus ongoing Pedagogical practice prepares students to take an active part in training, to build
skills for enhanced interaction with colleagues, lecturers and students, opportunities for continuous
improvement and work in a real and virtual educational environment. Systematic observations, the
combination of traditional and e-training, show enrichment of knowledge and development of
professional conduct of students.
In the conduct of preliminary preparation, the development of a plan-conspectus and scenarios
of the lessons we use mainly asynchronous ways of communication. After pre-reading and
analysis of the student’s proposals and specified recommendations is possible to use and
synchronous communication through ICQ or SKYPE.
In the implementation of Pedagogical practice with the students in extra-mural training we and
the students prefer blended learning, since the educational content, the aims, the place of conduct
and trained and pedagogical style are different for each student. This requires take into
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consideration with the various pedagogical situations and school environment, opportunities for
interaction lecturer - students, formation of its own pedagogic style, application of new flexible
models of teaching and learning.
The video and conference links are difficult applicable at this stage because of technical and
technological problems. The data from surveys show that part of the students do not have
sufficient skills and Internet, in order to increase the proportion of synchronised communication.

3. Conclusions and Recommendations

In our activities we are witnessing, that the blended learning students easier learn and apply
pedagogic concepts, and develop their written language culture and choice of an optimal
combination of educational purposes, methods, tools and techniques.
In our future work will maintain contacts with workers as teachers for the exchange of
innovation and good practices.
Will improving teachers and students skills for e-learning and technology.
Will promoting synchronous and asynchronous communication and discussions on issues of
educational activities.
Will improving the technical and technological equip of teaching.

4. References

Dziuban C., P. Moskal, J. Hartman, Higher Education, Blended Learning and the Generations: Knowledge is
Power no More, 2004 from http://www.sc.edu/cte/dziuban/doc/blendedlearning.pdf
Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J.
Bonk and C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs.
San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.
Garnham, C., & Kaleta, R. (2002). Introduction to hybrid courses. Teaching with Technology Today, 8(6).
Retrieved October 3, 2006, from http://www.uwsa.edu/ttt/articles/garnham.htm
Meyer, K.A. (2003). Face-to-face versus threaded discussions: The role of time and higher-order thinking.
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(3), 55-65.
Moebs S., St. Weibelzahl Towards a Good Mix in Blended Learning for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
– Outline of a Delphi Study
http://www.easy-hub.org/stephan/moebs-up2uml06.pdf
Rossett, A., Douglis, F., & Frazee, R. (2003). Strategies for building blended learning. ASTD Learning
Circuits Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/rossett.htm
Sands, P. (2002). Inside outside, upside downside: Strategies for connecting online and face-to-face
instruction in hybrid courses. Teaching with Technology Today, 8(6). Retrieved October 3, 2006, from
http://www.uwsa.edu/ttt/articles/sands2.htm
Spika, P. (2002). Approximately "real world" learning with the hybrid model. Teaching with Technology
Today, 8(6). Retrieved October 3, 2006, from http://www.uwsa.edu/ttt/articles/spilka.htm
Vaughan Norman, Perspectives on blended learning in higher education
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Perspectives+on+blended+learning+in+higher+education-a0159594390
Wenger, M.S. & Ferguson, C. (2006). A learning ecology model for blended learning from Sun
Microsystems.
Sounds experiments by using
Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007

Mihaela Garabet
1,2
, Cristina Miron
1
,

Florin Popescu
1

(1) Faculty of Physics, University of Bucharest
405, Atomistilor Street, Măgurele, Ilfov, ROMANIA
(2) Grigore Moisil High School
33, Timisoara Bvd, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: mihaela.garabet@gmail.com

Abstract
The paper describes a lesson about sounds which was developed a few months ago. The
participants were teachers, engineers and network administrators, a number of 54 students
from the 11th grade of the Grigore Moisil High School from Bucharest, a police patrol, some
parents and some spectators. We have to mention that this lesson was transmitted on-line via
Moisil Live, on http://portal.moisil.ro. Our goal was to develop and conduct (from a
distance!) experiments like measuring the speed of sound in the air by using data acquisition
systems, measuring the sound level in two crossings from Drumul Taberei district of
Bucharest, investigation of the piano components and its mechanism during playing,
modelling the sound propagation with domino pieces, observing some standing waves and
making home-made musical instruments. The Physics teacher was situated with the spectators
in the school amphitheatre and the students were divided in three mobile teams and two great
groups located in the two Physics labs of our school. One mobile team of 4 students tooled
with a sound level meter, a net book with mobile Internet access and assisted by the police
patrol. They measured and transmitted the sound level in the Razoare crossing. Another team
of the same type assisted by one of the mothers (as a driver!) measured and transmitted the
sound level in the Plaza Mall crossing. The third mobile team was investigated the piano on
the school hall. The rest of the students worked in the Physics labs assisted by the lab
engineer and another teacher of Physics.

Keywords: Collaborative learning, E-learning paradigm, Personalisation of learning,
Blended learning, Virtual community


Introduction

Our main goal was to synthesize the understanding of acoustics and sound in a broad sense,
including generation, transmission and propagation of sound, human sound perception, electronic
systems for measurement, processing and analysis of sound, reproduction of sound (music),
measurement of noise, audio systems etc. We have tried these learning outcomes with
videoconferencing, a powerful tool for delivering interactive learning activities to students remote
from the delivery site.
During the traditional instruction, a teacher teaches all learners in the same way, despite the
fact that he is aware that each learner is an individual. Each student shows different level of
aptitude for different subjects, different prior knowledge, different learning styles, different kind of
memory, different motivation to learning, different family backgrounds, different habits when and
how to learn etc.
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New advances in communication technologies, which have already begun to have an impact on
education at schools, colleges, and universities (O'Sullivan, 2000), offer us means for study
personalisation. Collaborative learning, an increasingly utilized educational approach to teaching
and learning that builds knowledge through interaction, is supported by new and emerging
network collaboration technologies that have been promoted by many educational institutions
(McInnerney and Roberts, 2004).
On the other hand a great challenge was to break down the barrier of the classroom by using a
videoconference client Microsoft Office Live Net Meeting.
Why Microsoft Office Live Net Meeting?

Office Live Meeting is a conferencing solution that you can use to engage audiences in online
meetings, training, and events. So, you can connect with your students and colleagues and engage
them through real-time meetings, training sessions, and events, including audio, video
conferencing, uploading handouts for distribution.
This feature includes:
– Web client support for remote attendee flexibility
– Interactive application/desktop sharing and whiteboard tools
– Active speaker video switching, multi-party video, and multi-party VoIP audio
– Rich-media presentations, native video conferencing, high-fidelity recording, and Web-
cam capabilities
– Training and event management with event and class registration and virtual breakout rooms.
Why blended learning?

The method we have chosen is a blended learning one which combines face-to face instruction
with computer mediated instruction. The face to face model demonstrated its efficiency over
hundred years of education but expanding of the new technologies diversifies the possibilities of
communication and interaction.
As we can find there are many reasons why a teacher might pick blended learning over other
learning options. Were identified six reasons why one might chose to design or use a blended
learning system (Osguthorpe and Graham, 2003): (1) pedagogical richness, (2) access to
knowledge, (3) social interaction, (4) personal agency, (5) cost effectiveness, and (6) ease of
revision? In the blended learning literature, the most common reason provided is that blended
learning combines “the best of both worlds”. While there is some truth to this, it is rarely
acknowledged that a blended learning environment can also mix the least effective elements of
both worlds if it is not designed well. Beyond this general statement, Graham et al. (Graham et al,,
2005) found that overwhelmingly people chose blended learning for three reasons: (1) improved
pedagogy, (2) increased access/flexibility, and (3) increased cost effectiveness.
And why we have decided to teach and learn about Sounds by using blended-learning?
And why this included a mix of face-to-face teaching (happened before this action), web
conferencing, emailing, provision of resource materials and blogging?
The answer is that we intended to increase the interactivity of the students from different
groups. We have considered that we have passed out the phase of self-paced learning in order to
acquire background information. We have chosen to blend now face-to-face lab focused on
experiments with on-line support for transferring the learning out of the school.
The videoconference lesson happened in January 2010. It was a very cold weather. Some of
students were very ill, so they couldn’t come to school in those days. But they participated from a
distance and they accomplished some personalized tasks.
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On the other hand we have tried to deal with 54 students from two different classes. So, the
principal teacher of those students was pay once instead of two hours.
About videoconferencing teaching
We know that in a teaching process is very important to see facial expressions and body language,
to make eye-contact (even indirectly!). Videoconferencing is a very effective method of meeting if
teachers and students cannot come together at the same place. It gives a degree of flexibility in
delivery with regard to place. However, participants are still constrained by time - they must all
meet at the same time.
Clark (1999) identifies some reasons for using this tool in the educational process:
– Videoconferencing is another tool which can assist you in delivering quality teaching
and learning.
– It opens up possibilities for collaborative teaching and learning, to make best use of
resources.
– It can provide “live” support for students at remote sites.
– It can give access to expertise not available within the institution.
– It can provide students from other institutions and in remote areas with access to
specialist teaching and activities.
– It can provide students with opportunities to work with their peers from other
institutions and countries. This supports group work, collaborative and international
projects.
How can we act each other in such kind of conference? If we are seeing and hearing each other
we can display a close-up of pictures, graphs, maps, and small objects or play a DVD/CD or
display a PowerPoint presentation, or other computer files or record the session or collaborate on
computer data with others in the session.
We have chosen videoconferencing in our teaching scenario, because we intended to deliver to
two classes of students with more groups of students at the same time. We intended not only save
time and energy, but allow the students to interact with each other, and broaden the scope of the
class.
Actually the teachers can easily ask questions, get immediate feedback and have guest
presenters join from other sites. Students can ask questions to the teacher and other students and
get immediate feedback. They can make presentations and gauge their performance from visual
and aural cues.
The scenario of the lesson

A good planning is a prerequisite of any successful teaching and learning activity, so that after we
have established the objectives, we adopted the didactical strategy.
One specific problem was the adapting of the teaching strategy to the large group of implied
students. That is why we have divided them into smaller groups and we asked them to name a
spokesperson for each group. The students have to be prepared for this kind of interaction because
they need to know what is expected of them every moment. Another problem could be that
students have to be responsible for their own learning.
First of all, we designed the lesson and we established the tasks for all the groups. This was
one of the most important aspects of the project. The first four working tasks are described for the
mobile teams of maximum 4 students. They are all tooled with a net book (or a laptop) with
mobile Internet access, web cam and microphone, installed client for Microsoft Office Live
Meeting, and assisted by adults (a police patrol, a parent, the lab engineer, etc). The next working
tasks are designed for large groups of students, the rest of the two 11
th
grades (A and D) implied in
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this lesson. The last tasks are dedicated to the students that rested at their homes in that day and
they are individualized.
Working task 1.Monitor and register the sound level in the Răzoare crossing. Report the
registered values when the cars are stopped on the red colour of the traffic lights and also when
they are starting on green lights. What happens when you are measuring the sound level right near
the street and when you are distanced from the street?
Working task 2.Monitor and register the sound level in the Plaza Mall crossing. Report the
registered values when the cars are stopped on the red colour of the traffic lights and also when
they are starting on green lights. What happens when you are measuring the sound level right in
the crossing and when you are in the Lujerului subway?
Working task 3.Investigate the school piano’s mechanism; transmit the investigation with the
mobile web cam connected with your laptop.
Show us the keyboard, the system of levers responsible for throwing the hammer at the string
when the key is depressed, the damper (if you can!) designed to silence the strings when they are
not being played and the pedals that can be activated to affect the tone of the piano.
Working task 4. Investigate the reverberation - the collection of reflected sounds from the
surfaces in an enclosure like an auditorium- of the sports hall of the school. A room's reverberation
is the result of multiple reflections between opposite boundary surfaces. The time it takes for the
reverberation to die out is considered to be the room's reverberation time or Reverberation Time.
You will measure the "dying out" like the level where the strength of the reverberation has fallen
to 60dB below the strength of the original sound. So that you will transmit us how live, how
reflective is the sports hall of the school!
Working task 5. How does the acoustic sound level decrease with increasing distance? But the
sound intensity? You will use a sound level meter, a tape measure and a powerful electric engine
in order to make noise. You will distance from the engine meter by meter and you will notice the
sound level. After this you will make a graph sound level versus distance.
Working task 6. Measure the speed of sound in the air by using the data acquisition system
from the Physics Lab 1. Because sound waves travel very fast the measuring of the speed of sound
is a technical challenge. The method you will use would be to time an echo by using a microphone
connected to a computer and placed next to the opening of a hollow tube. When you make a sound
by snapping your fingers next to the opening, the computer will begin collecting data. After the
sound reflects off the opposite end of the tube, a graph will be displayed showing the initial sound
and the echo. You will then be able to determine the round trip time and calculate the speed of
sound.
Working task 7. You have to explain us what is a sound, how the sound propagates with
domino pieces and to show us some standing waves and some home-made musical instruments.
Working task 8. What is the sound level? And sound pressure? And sound intensity? Explain
us what”decibel” stands for? What is the difference between sound and noise?
Working task 9. Can you explain us how can the owls communicate themselves to great distances
than other birds? And why the sounds are able to reach behind the closed doors?
The results

As we all know, it is no secret that most current teaching and learning practice in education is still
focused on transmissive rather than interactive strategies. Some have seen blended learning
approaches increase the level of active learning strategies, peer-to-peer learning strategies, and
learner centred strategies used (Collis, 2003; Hartman et al, 1999; Morgan, 2002; Smelser, 2002).
Such experience as projecting and conducting this kind of a lesson was very interesting. We
believe that videoconference should be an important feature of teaching in the 21st century. The
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identified benefits, including the very positive feedback from students, justify the time and effort
invested. From the teacher’s point of view, we have to notice that the time we have allocated in the
schedule wasn’t enough for the all our objectives. But this activity provides an invigorating change
of pace from the day-to-day class routine.
In the students’ point of view, we have marked that they were very pleased of such teaching
and learning. After the first videoconference lesson, we have asked them verbal feed-back and
they described it to be very interesting, funny, exciting, amazing, realistic, and efficient.


Figure 1. Aspects during the activities (view from the lab and from Moisil live)

A short analyze of the accomplishment degree of the working tasks is presented in figure 2.



Figure 2. The analyze of the accomplishment degree
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The Working task 5 was cancelled from the beginning because it was -25
0
C outside and this
activity supposes that students work in the open air for a half an hour.
The other teams that work outside could stay in the cars and they accomplished their
objectives.
Practically, the learning outcomes were reached: measuring the speed of sound in the air by
using data acquisition systems, measuring the sound level in two crossings from Drumul Taberei
district of Bucharest, investigation of the piano components and its mechanism during playing,
modelling the sound propagation, creating some standing waves and making home-made musical
instruments.

References
O'Sullivan, P. B. (2000). Communication technologies in an educational environment: Lessons from a
historical perspective. In Issues in Web-based pedagogy: A critical primer, ed. R. A. Cole, 49-64.
Westport, CT:Greenwood Press.
McInnerney, J. M. and T. S. Roberts. (2004). Collaborative or cooperative learning? In Online collaborative
learning: Theory and practice, ed. T. S. Roberts, 203-214, Hershey, PA: Information Science
Publishing.
Osguthorpe, R.T., and Graham, C.R. (2003). Blended learning systems: Definitions and directions. Quarterly
Review of Distance Education, 4, 3, 227-234.
Graham, C.R., Allen, S. & Ure, D. (2005). Benefits and challenges of blended learning environments. In M.
Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of information science and technology, 253-259. Hershey, PA: Idea
Group.
Collis, B. (2003). Course redesign for blended learning: modern optics for technical professionals.
International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning, 13, 1/2, 22-38.
Hartman, J. L., Dziuban, C., & Moskal, P. (1999). Faculty satisfaction in ALNs: A dependent or independent
variable? Paper presented at the Sloan Summer ALN Workshops: Learning Effectiveness and Faculty
Satisfaction, Urbana, IL.
Morgan, K. R. (2002). Blended Learning: A Strategic Action Plan for a New Campus. Seminole, FL:
University of Central Florida.
Smelser, L. M. (2002). Making Connections in Our Classrooms: Online and Off. Paper presented at the
Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Chicago, IL.
http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/ltdi/vcstudies/p7.pdf
www.microsoft.com/online/office-live-meeting.aspx
Learning from the Stream. An "M" Case Study:
M for microblogging, m(y)-conference/m(y)-event,
and micro/m(y)-learning

Gabriela Grosseck
1
, Carmen Holotescu
2

(1) Western University of Timisoara, ROMANIA
E-mail: ggrosseck@socio.uvt.ro
(2) University Politehnica Timisoara, Timsoft, ROMANIA
E-mail: cami@timsoft.ro

Abstract
Even at first glance there seems to be only a linguistic connection between microblogging and
m(y)-conference/m(y)-event, the recent literature registered an upward curve in the number of
papers that analyse the usage of microblogging as a community event tool. While the vast
majority of studies are investigating the use of the most popular microblogging application
Twitter for group communication, the impact on group participants, quantitative analysis of
message types, and motivational aspects, there are few research and case studies that address
the use of microblogging for learning from informal conversational flow (learning from the
stream). In this context, this paper aims to examine: "How the micro-connection to a specific
event can enhance the learning experience of students enrolled in formal university courses?"

Keywords: microblogging, stream, higher education

1 Introduction

Even at a first glance there seems to be only a linguistic connection between microblogging and
conferences / events, the recent literature registered an increased number of papers that analyse the
usage of microblogging as a community event tool. The usage may fall in one of the following
categories:
• information interfaces (Sutton, 2010; Kwak et al, 2010; Mendoza et al, 2010)
• communication before, during and after the event (Balcom, 2007; Reinhardt et al, 2009;
Ebner and Reinhardt, 2009; Ebner et al, 2010) between participants, organizers,
presenters and audience
• monitoring the event for non-participants (reporting / online coverage the event) (Ebner et
al, 2010; Saunders et al, 2009)
• presentation (Mitchell, 2009)
• collaborative keynotes (Hart, 2010)
• participation / engaging audience (Atkinson, 2009; Harry et al, 2009)
• live-blogging session / instant discussions (Ebner and Reinhardt, 2009)
• live annotations of a broadcast media event (Shamma et al, 2009)
• official / quasi-official / unofficial back-channel (Ebner and Reinhardt, 2009)
• persistent / mobile / mobilizing backchannel (McNely, 2009)
• messages transcription / twitter subtitling (Du et al, 2010)
• back-chatting (Yardi, 2006/2008; Osmond, 2009), and even
• for evaluation (Ebner et al., 2010; Shamma et al, 2010),
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and may also belong to a variety of settings: professional, academical / educational, scientifical, or
for specific organisational purposes (McNely, 2009; Letierce et al, 2010).
These events use different digital / social media technologies / applications / platforms and
several formats (e.g., (un) keynotes, multi / poster sessions, workshops, roundtable discussions,
social events, etc.). Usually the participants use hashtags for the events / topics findability across
different social platforms.
1.1 Paper Contributions
While the vast majority of studies are investigating the use of Twitter for group communication,
the impact on group participants, quantitative analysis of message types, and motivational aspects,
there are few research and case studies that address the use of microblogging for learning from
informal conversational flow.
In this context, this paper aims to examine: "How the micro-connection to a specific event can
enhance the learning experience of students enrolled in formal university courses?" We will
answer this question by exploring the integration of the "PLE Conference 2010" information flow
into the microblogging platform cirip.eu.
2 Facilities of the microblogging platform Cirip.eu

Cirip.eu, a microblogging platform designed for education and business, was launched in the
spring of 2008, by Timsoft, a company specialized in eLearning and mobile applications, under
the coordination of the second author.
Besides the facilities of a microblogging platform, Cirip.eu provides the following (Grosseck
and Holotescu, 2010):
• Embedding multimedia objects in notes: images, audio and (live) video clips, live-
streaming, presentations, files, google docs and forms, cognitive visualizations as
diagrams, learning designs as mindmaps etc.
• Sending and receiving messages via the web, mobile, SMS, IM (Yahoo and Jabber), e-
mail, Firefox/Chrome extensions, API, Twitter, RSS, desktop and other 3rd party
applications, etc.
• Creating public or private user groups. Collaboration groups can be created between the
participants in an event, members of a class or university year, for a course enhancement
or in order to run an entire online course. Groups have an announcements section (Group
News), where moderators can post notes and materials such as SCORM/LOM objects, for
group activities.
• Domain specification for microblogs and groups. This simplifies the search for
microblogs or groups of a certain domain, for example educational microblogs or groups
used for online courses or workshops.
• Monitoring RSS feeds for sites, blogs, social networks or search feeds.
• Tagging the content.
• Creating and conducting polls and quizzes (which can be answered online or by SMS).
• Visualizing statistics and representations of the users/groups interaction networks.
The interface is provided in Romanian, English and German, facilitating an international
collaboration, around 8% of the 15000 users being foreigners.
Cirip.eu integrates a wide range of Web2.0 applications and social networks organized around
educational resources, many of them in Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009, compiled by Jane Hart
from Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. The Cirip.eu platform also features in this top.
The integration of Web2.0 applications and social networks is realized in order to encourage,
organize and simplify their usage by the members (teachers, trainers, students and other learners);
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we can say Cirip.eu offers an openness to OERs (Open Educational Resources). Thus, the
multimedia objects become part of the conversation/communication flow of the platform, and of
the members' microblogs/portfolios.
3 Learning from the stream. Case study

3.1 Framework
In the 2nd semester of the academic year 2009-2010, the two authors have run the following
courses in private groups: "Computer Assisted Instruction" with freshmen of the Pedagogy
Department of West University of Timisoara, respectively "Multimedia" with college juniors of
University Ion Slavici and "New Educational Technologies", a continuous training course for
teachers at University Politehnica of Timisoara.
Social Learning and Personal Learning Environments (PLE) were common topics of the three
courses curriculum, and related materials were presented in the courses groups. Also, six students,
divided in two working teams, taking part in the "Multimedia" course, had to develop
collaborative projects related to PLE.
During the semester the first PLE Conference was planned out, and eventually took place in
Barcelona during the month of July. The two authors decided to use in their courses, for
documentation and research the conference-related content and informal interactions on different
social networks.


Figure 1. The first message in the PLE group, source: http://cirip.ro/status/2180463

On January 8
th
, 2010, when the first call of papers for the PLE Conference
(http://pleconference.citilab.eu) was launched, the PLE / PLE Conference in Barcelona group was
open on cirip.eu (Figure 1), at http://cirip.ro/grup/plebcn and will remain active until the last echo
of this event will fade away.
The members of this group facilitated by the two authors are students, and also teachers,
practitioners in education, trainers, and other persons interested in the PLE domain (Figure 2).
The aims of the group were:
• to be a source of real-time information, connections with practitioners worldwide
• to constitute a framework for learning / communication / sharing in the PLE domain for
the students in our courses, but also for other members interested in this domain
• to offer an environment for strengthening knowledge in this domain and new PLE related
experiments for the authors
• to offer access to all the group content, visualizations and statistics for future reflections
and studies.

3.2 Content for student activities
The group messages consist of:
• tweets referring to the PLE Conference, imported using the Twitter search API (the
searched terms are PLE_BCN OR "PLE Barcelona" OR "PLE Conference" OR
pleconference.citilab.eu),
• blogs posts which mention the conference, found using the Twingly search engine API,
by searching “PLE Conference Barcelona”
• multimedia notes sent by the cirip members who joined this group (Figure 3).
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This way the group is a backchannel of the PLE Conference and its messages reflect the
interaction/debate on cirip.eu and in a worldwide community concerning PLE and conference.
The actual number of messages on twitter and blogs could be higher than the ones imported,
the difference could be explained by Twitter and Twingly APIs limitations, but also by the
specificated search terms.
Figure 2. Group statistics and Feeds related to PLE

The content of the group and its information flow on PLE were enlarged with:
• specific requirements for students' activities and materials related to PLE posted by the
facilitators in the group Announcements section;
• feeds/search feeds on PLE topic monitored by the group members using the platform
corresponding facility; they are delicious.com feeds with ple, pln, ple_bcn tags, also the
feed corresponding to the collection built by the group members, using the ple_Cirip tag
(Figure 2).

3.3 Students' activities
Students' activities related to documentation and collaborative projects were organized in five
stages and were hosted online by the PLE group, and by the private spaces of the two working
teams; a few activities were also discussed face-to-face (f2f) in the laboratories. In completing
their tasks, the students used the advanced facilities of cirip.eu.
Because the semester ended prior to when the conference was held, participation in the PLE
group during and after the conference was an optional activity, performed especially by students
interested in the fields of PLE and social learning for diploma thesis. Thus, once again, it was
proved on cirip.eu that learning communities continue their collaboration after the course ends.
Students' activities were grouped in five stages ((M) are specific activities for Multimedia
course):
a. preliminary documentation – online and f2f
• preliminary documentation related to PLE and task understanding - information published
by authors in the News section of the PLE group
• familiarisation with the PLE group, understanding the stream integration
• open private groups for the two working teams (M);
b. documentation and interactions in the PLE group - online
• follow group messages (online or by SMS), identify key experts, main discussion topics,
types of messages and resources - for these activities the group sections Messages,
• Members, TagCloud, but also statistics and search facilities came in useful (Figure 4)
commenting interesting posts and resources
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Figure 3. Message sent by a student, embedding a slideshare presentation


• send (multimedia) messaging containing new resources
• interact with colleagues, facilitators, other group members
• track specific feeds described above - online or by SMS
• participate in a survey related to possible definitions of PLE (M) - online or SMS reply
• each team has closely followed two key actors, identifying their work, entering virtually
in their "research laboratories" (M);
c. collaborative work – online and f2f (M)
• comment a video related to PLE by sending messages in the two teams' groups; the
messages were exported as a .srt file by the specific facility of cirip.eu, and used to
subtitle the video published on dotsub.com
• final projects published as collaborative Google docs, embedded in messages; the projects
evaluated a few multimedia resources, and the work of the followed experts;
d. activities evaluation – online and f2f
• conclusions related to the value of the PLE resources discovered
• discussions on how students' own PLEs were developed and enlarged during the
interaction with the stream;
e. optional activities - online
• interactions and documentation during and after the conference.

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Figure 4. Group Tagcloud and search facility
4 Conclusions
By using the cirip.eu platform, we proposed and facilitated a new and challenging form of social
learning, a new dimension of openness: learning from the stream, integrating a conference stream
in higher education courses. The aim of our study was to make a preliminary evaluation, our
findings can only lay the foundation for the elaboration of further and more thorough research.
However, our explorative study leaded to several positive results.
Students taking part in different courses from three different universities have interacted with
the stream, having common activities; thus this experiment is an affirmative answer to the
question "their tweets can reach other communities, in addition to their own?" (Letierce et al,
2009).
Stream integration in the PLE group allowed an uniform interaction, with the same
communication mechanisms used by the students in the course group. Continuous facilitation and
communication with our students were needed because we could not estimate a priori the
development of the ongoing stream volume, dynamics, and content.
Our students appreciated that learning from the stream proved to be a novel and efficient
method for documentation and research on PLE, meaning an openness to real-time and valuable
content, resources, and also an opportunity to follow experts and practitioners, being an
illustration of open and social learning.
The scenario of learning from the stream was presented as a mindmap in the learning design
group (Holotescu and Grosseck, 2010); the discussions with teachers, students, practitioners
revealed other educational contexts in which such stream integration can be achieved, but also
alternative and additional applications that can be used for integration.
The archived content and interactions, statistical data, and visualisations, limited here by the
paper length, can be accessed at http://cirip.ro/grup/plebcn, and used in future courses,
documentation, and studies. Therefore, the group can be considered not only a time capsule of
the worldwide practitioners' interaction concerning PLE and the PLE Conference, but also a
learning experience, important in PLE documentation. Moreover, we can speak about a learning
serendipity, which may provide substance for further research projects.


5 References

Atkinson, C. (2009). The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing
Presentations Forever. New Riders Press.
Balcom Group. (2007). http://www.thebalcomgroup.com/node/124.
Du, H., Rosson, M., Carroll, J. M., and Ganoe, C. 2009. I felt like a contributing member of the class:
increasing class participation with classcommons. In Proceedings of the ACM 2009 international
Conference on Supporting Group Work (Sanibel Island, Florida, USA, May 10 - 13, 2009). GROUP
'09. ACM, New York, NY, 233-242.
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Ebner, M., Mühlburger, H., Schaffert, S., Schiefner, M., Reinhardt, W., Wheeler, S. (2010). Getting Granular
on Twitter Tweets from a Conference and their Limited Usefulness for Non-Participants. Proceedings
of the WCC 2010 conference (track “Key Competencies in the Knowledge Society”).
http://www.wcc2010.org.
Ebner, M., Reinhardt, W. (2009). Social networking in scientific conferences – Twitter as tool for strengthen
a scientific community. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Science 2.0 for TEL
(2009).
Grosseck, G. & Holotescu, C. (2010). Microblogging multimedia-based teaching methods best practices with
Cirip.eu. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2 2010. (pp. 2151-2155). WCES
2010 Conference: Innovation and Creativity in Education. Istanbul, 4-8 February 2010.
Harry, D., Green, J., Donath, J. (2009). backchan.nl: Integrating Backchannels in Physical Space. CHI 2009,
April 4–9, 2009, Boston, MA, USA.
Hart, J. (2010). Using Twitter in a face-to face workshop, Retrieved from
http://janeknight.typepad.com/socialmedia/2010/05/using-twitter-in-a-facetoface-workshop.html.
Holotescu, C. & Grosseck, G. (2010). Learning to microblog and microblogging to learn. A case study on
learning scenarios in a microblogging context. The 6th International Scientific Conference eLearning
and Software for Education Bucharest, April 15-16. 2010.
Kwak, H., Lee, C., Park, H., Moon, S. (2010). What is Twitter, a Social Network or a News Media? WWW
2010, April 26–30, 2010, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
Letierce, J., Passant, A., Decker, S., Breslin, J.G. (2010). Understanding how Twitter is used to spread
scientific messages, Web Science Conf. 2010, April 26-27, 2010, Raleigh, NC, USA.
McNely, B. (2009). Backchannel Persistance and Collaborative Meaning-Making. SIGDOC’09, October 5-7
2009. Bloomington Indiana, USA, ACM.
Mendoza, M., Poblete, B., Castillo, C. (2010). Twitter Under Crisis: Can we trust what we RT? In 1st
Workshop on Social Media Analytics (SOMA 10), KDD '10 Workshops, ACM, Washington, USA
(July 25, 2010).
Mitchell, Olivia, 2009, How to Present with Twitter (and other backchannels),
http://www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/wp-content/uploads/Twitter.pdf.
Reinhardt, W., Ebner, M., Beham, G., Costa, C. (2009). How People are Using Twitter during Conferences.
Published in Creativity and Innovation Competencies on the Web, Hornung-Prahauser, V., Luckmann,
M. (Ed.). Proceeding of 5 EduMedia Conference. p.145-146. Salzburg.
Saunders, N., Beltrão, P., Jensen, L., Jurczak, D., Krause, R., Kuhn, M., Wu, S. (2009). Microblogging the
ISMB: a new approach to conference reporting. PLoS Comput Biol 5(1): e1000263.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000263.
Shamma, D., Kennedy, L., Churchill, E. (2009). Tweet the Debates. Paper presented at WSM‘09 October 23,
2009, Beijing, China.
Shamma, D., Kennedy, L., Churchill, E. (2010). Twetgeist: Can the Twitter Timeline Reveal the Structure of
Broadcast Events? Paper presented at CSCW 2010, February 610, 2010, Savannah, Georgia, USA.
Sutton, J. (2010). Twittering Tennessee: Distributed Networks and Collaboration Following a Technological
Disaster. Proceedings of the 7th International ISCRAM Conference – Seattle, USA, May 2010.
Balancing Dynamic Overload in Moodle
E-Learning Servers by Virtual Means

Eduard Mihailescu
1


(1) Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology,
Technical University of Iasi, 11, Carol I Str., 700506, Iasi, ROMANIA
E-mail: meduard@etti.tuiasi.ro

Abstract
This paper summarizes a PhD research project that has contributed towards the use of virtual
means for balancing hardware and software overloads of elearning servers (i.e., Moodle),
when coping with extended computational tasks in science simulation environments.
We provide experimental surveys and design methodologies. The theory we support is
endorsed by an elearning project, which employs Moodle LMS and in-house tailored
modules, for networking and biomedical engineering at the Department of Computer
Networks and Distributed Systems at "Gh. Asachi" Technical University of Iasi. This project
has been in progress for since 2008 and is due to be completed in the first half of 2011.

Keywords: LMS (Learning Management Systems), Moodle, Server Management, Virtual
Means.

Introduction

The past twenty years have seen a marked increase in research around elearning and web-based
teaching at various levels. As described in literature, LMSs (Learning Management Systems)
provide support for the mainstream infrastructure of computer aided education. Recent
developments in broadband internet and the employment of FOS (Free and Open Source) learning
tools gain momentum and a comprehensive approach, binding teaching, learning, assessing and
student management seems to emerge. Yet, technical surveys and feedback from server
management staff emphasize drawbacks and restraints in the usage of elearning, mainly due to
data surges and circumstantial overload of the software and hardware networks, especially when
coping with simulation environments.
Theoretical perspectives

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are widely encountered in the daily activities of education
by computer means. Most of them, basically, attempt to integrate collaborative teaching, class
attendance, student project management and individual learning data from a school or university
into a single computer system that can serve all the particular needs of the ones involved. Students,
professors and staff on different organizational levels process the same information (hierarchical
clearance on a need-to-know basis is required) and can update it. When one educational
department finishes with the information, it is automatically routed via the LMS system to the next
department in the university’s chain of activities. LMSs connect with different other programs
from third-parties (virtual libraries, Ministry of Education’s network, partner universities
worldwide etc) and achieve integration of data and educational activity. Dating from midst of the
90’s “(Dougiamas and Taylor, 2003)”, LMSs have evolved out in the educational software
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environment and are derived from content management tools (CMS, Content Management
Systems). Modern systems have reached to cover almost all aspects of the teaching procedures:
curricula management, class attendance management, student’s homework and projects, embedded
communication means like instant messaging, email and video conferences, various testing and
quizzing tools and others. These learning platforms typically handle the teaching, learning,
assessing and student accounting for an educational institution or even government organizations.
Sometimes, LMSs are referred as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). For integration and
standardization purposes, some basic features that a LMS should comply to are briefly accounted
hereafter: a) administration: the learning software must allow administrators to manage user
registrations and profiles, define roles, set curricula, chart certification paths, assign tutors, author
courses, manage content; b) coherent adherence to learning standards: the LMS has to comply to
major e-learning standards like SCORM “(SCORM)” and the ones issued by IEEE LTSC
(Learning Technology Standards Committee) “(IEEE)”; c) modular architecture support: although
this is not compulsory for a LMS platform, it is desirable to have the possibility to natively
integrate modules like: an evaluation engine that enables authoring within the product and includes
assessments as part of each course, class management, embedded communications and others.
A rapidly growing force in the software world is that of Open Source Software (OSS), where
the propriety and usage of the computer program is covered by an Open Source license such as the
popular GNU Public License (GPL). Unlike typical commercial software, OSS licenses explicitly
allow anybody to freely use, modify, redistribute and even sell the software under the condition
that the open source license is maintained. In general this means that user modifications are
absorbed into the main software project, and so the software evolves to embody the values of user
community, even as that community itself evolves. This type of system has already proven very
successful in developing much of the basic software that makes the Internet possible (Linux,
Apache, Bind and Sendmail are among the most well-known examples of the thousands that exist)
“(Dougiamas and Taylor, 2003)”.
As emphasized in a previous paper “(Mihailescu, 2009)”, Moodle in on the edge of the open
source wave and leads among non-proprietary learning management systems. Is the acronym for
Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment and was first released several years ago
by Martin Dougiamas, who developed the system, and Peter C. Taylor, who built the first web site
running this LMS, both from The Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia “(Dougiamas
and Taylor, 2003)”. Nowadays, Moodle is continually being improved upon by various groups of
researchers and developers worldwide. Moodle has been conceived to be compatible, flexible and
easy to modify. It has been written using the widely accepted PHP language, which runs smoothly
on most computers with a minimum of effort. “Moodle is built in a highly modular fashion and
uses common technologies such as shared libraries, abstraction, and Cascading Style Sheets to
define the interfaces (while still working on old browser technology” “(Dougiamas and Taylor,
2003)”.
Project-related perspectives

At the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunication and Information Technology from the
“Gheorghe Asachi University” from Iasi there is a pilot project going on which implements
Moodle for the biomedical and networking engineering laboratories, coordinated by Prof. H.N.
Teodorescu, m.c. The engineering approach consists of a Red-Hat enabled server which runs
VMWare Virtual Server and a LAN (Local Area Network) of GUI – operated (Graphical User
Interface) workstations which access educational data from the elearning server. An instance of the
control panel of the elearning application is shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1. Basic Control Panel for Course Management
We have also developed specific interfaces for different levels of users of the elearning
platform, which basically are the following:
a. the programmer interface deals with all the technical issues of the software environment
and is not to be used by the teachers or students
b. the teacher’s interface allows each teacher to customize the course and laboratories to the
certain need of his/hers students, very user-friendly; provides assessment and class attendance
tools; does not require advanced knowledge of software engineering, thus being used also by
teacher of other specialities; not to be used by the students (Figure 2)
c. the student’s interface provides tools for individual learning, project management and
other related instruments.
The software experience that I would like to share is from the perspective of hardware and
software management of the network resources using virtual means (virtualization of computers
inside computers). In the last decade, schools and universities willing to purchase/implement an
elearning software system could not decide for certain hardware modules, due to the fact that on-
the-shelf LMSs were delivered as a core and poorly customizable. It is obvious that an engineering
learning platform requires different software tools (i.e. mathematical simulation software) in
comparison with software dedicated to the history department (i.e. databases and library blocks).
An educational entity was compelled to purchase the entire bundle of programs and the
appropriate high expensive hardware; nevertheless, many modules remained not used and put
weight on the university’s computer infrastructure. On the opposite, in certain situations, for
instance when a large number of students are using a science simulation environment (Figure 3),
there is a certain overload and a computational surge on the elearning server that hosts Moodle
LMS, which frequently leads to computer crash and loss of working instances and educational
data.
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Figure 2. Principles of Design of the Course Management Section of Elearning Server
“(Mihailescu 2010)”


Figure 3. Science Simulation Environment Module Included In Elearning Server
Elearning server management using virtual means

To overcome this drawback, the project team has developed a non-expansive and versatile
approach, which basically consists in deploying the elearning server in a virtual environment
QUESTIONS- EMBEDDED- IN- COURSE MODULE
PRE-DEFINED ANSWERS TEST MODULE
REAL TIME ANSWERS TEST MODULE
STUDENT AUTHENTIFICATION MODULE
CURRICULA & SYLLABI MANAGEMENT MODULE
MAIN INTERFACE MANAGEMENT MODULE
COURSE MANAGEMENT
SECTION
NUMERICAL ANSWERS TEST MODULE
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called “virtual server” and dynamically balance the overload of computational power through the
redistribution of hardware resources inside the virtual machine. This goal has been achieved using
the VMware Server, a widely accepted reference in computer virtualization. According to
literature “(VMware Server 2)”, it is a hosted virtualization platform, which is being installed like
a common application on the existing server hardware. It works in the manner that it partitions a
physical server into multiple virtual machines. “A virtual machine is a tightly isolated software
container that can run its own operating systems and applications as if it were a physical
computer” “(VMware Server 2)”. A thin virtualization layer partitions the physical server so one
can run multiple virtual machines simultaneously on a single server. Computing resources of the
physical server are regarded as a common bench of resources that can be allocated to virtual
machines on controlled basis. VMware Server isolates each virtual machine from its host and other
virtual machines, leaving it unaffected if another virtual machine crashes. Your data does not leak
across virtual machines and your applications can only communicate over configured network
connections. VMware Server encapsulates a virtual machine environment as a set of files, which
are easy to back-up, move and copy “(VMware Server 2)”.
Research methodology

In order to quantify the overload of data and measure the surge in computational power that occurs
when a large number of users use simulation tools in elearning serves, we have employed ab-
Apache HTTP server benchmarking tool. “ab is a tool for benchmarking your Apache Hypertext
Transfer Protocol (HTTP) server. It is designed to give you an impression of how your current
Apache installation performs. This especially shows you how many requests per second your
Apache installation is capable of serving” “(ab)”.
Our research employs an interpretive methodology that automatically provides easy-to-read
graphs and charts, as shown hereafter (Figure 3).



Figure 4. Benchmark Environment for Measuring Virtual Management of
Elearning Servers “(Mihailescu, 2010)”
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Visual Outcomes
For a clearer image, we hereafter present screen footage with the behaviour of the elearning server
before and after being overloaded with computational requests.


Figure 5. Benchmark Records for Memory before Virtual Elearning
Server Being Overloaded


Figure 6. Benchmark Records for Memory before Virtual Elearning
Server Being Overloaded


Figure 7. Benchmark Records for Processor Load before Virtual Elearning Server
Being Overcharged
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Figure 8. Benchmark Records for Network Traffic after Virtual Elearning
Server Being Overcharged
Conclusions

The key aim of this paper is to present an affordable solution to manage elearning server overloads
when coping with large amounts of computational requests, consequently to the extended usage of
science and engineering simulation tools. It is not a solution – especially in these days, when
financial means are on a high stake – to employ and pay large hardware infrastructure in
educational environments just in case there will be a need someday. Our project is emphasized on
employing freeware simulation tools that allow the balancing of dynamic overload in Moodle
LMS by virtual means, thus achieving a proper management of the educational network and focus
on further educational goals.
Acknowledgement
The author would like to thank to Prof. H.N. Teodorescu m.c. and to all other colleagues involved
in the Moodle project for the coordination and the support provided.
References
Journal Articles
Dougiamas, M. and Taylor, P.C. (2003): Using Learning Communities to Create an Open Source Course
Management System (Moodle). National Key Center for Science and Mathematics Education, Curtin
University of Technology, Australia, EDMEDIA
Mihailescu, E. (2009): An Overview of Open Projects in Contemporary E-Learning: A Moodle Case Study,
Studies in Computational Intelligence, Volume 217/2009, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
Conference Proceedings:
Mihailescu, E. (2010): Developments In Modular Architecture Of Learning Management Systems (LMSs), A
Moodle Case Study, The 3
rd
International Conference on Telecommunications, Electronics and
Informatics, Chisinau, R. Moldova
Internet Sources:
ab - Apache HTTP server benchmarking tool: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/programs/ab.html
IEEE: http://www.ieeeltsc.org:8080/Plone
SCORM Standards: http://www.adlnet.gov/Technologies/scorm/default.aspx
VMware Server 2: A Risk-Free Way to Get Started with Virtualization
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/VMware-Server-2-DS-EN.pdf
A method of measuring the complexity of a web application from
the point of view of cloning

Doru Anastasiu Popescu
1
, Catrinel Maria DănăuŃă
2
, Zoltan Szabo
3

1
Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Sciences
University of Piteşti, ROMANIA
E-mail: dopopan@yahoo.com
2
School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, United Kingdom
E-mail: cd4g09@ecs.soton.ac.uk
3
High School “Petru Maior”, Reghin, ROMANIA
E-mail: szabozoliposta@yahoo.com

Abstract
In this paper, we will present a method of measuring the complexity of a web application by
using the comparison among the web pages. This comparison will be realised with the help of
a defined relation, named “cloning”. Experience tells that, in a web application, there are
several similar components from the point of view of the way they have been constructed. The
described method can be used for any web application which contains static web pages.

Keywords: Method, Relation, Web Application, Equivalence Classes

Introduction

Lately, several scientific papers have presented approaches of measuring the complexity of the
components of a web application, for example [7.2], [7.4] and [7.5] or of measuring the
navigability in a web application, for example [7.2], [7.3] and [7.6]. The purpose of this paper is to
introduce a new measurement criterion for the complexity of a web application which, together
with the existing ones, will lead to a better measurement of the quality of the web pages. The
criterion that is to be presented in the following sections is based on defining the “cloning” relation
(used by the authors in [7.1]) between two static web pages (by considering only the tags in their
source codes). This relation is practically telling if two web pages are one cloned, in other words if
each one of them can be constructed from the other one by adding or eliminating only texts and
simple tags (which are elements of a given tags set T). In section 3, we will present an algorithm
which verifies if two pages are in the relation of “cloning” and in section 4 we will define the
degree of cloning and we will present an algorithm of determining this degree for a web
application.
Defining the “cloning” relation

Let P = {p
1
, p
2
,..., p
n
} be the set of web pages in a web application and Tg be a set of unimportant
tags. For example, Tg could contain the tags <BR>, </BR>, <P>, which frequently appear in texts.
Tg can even be the empty set.
For a web page p
i
, let T
i
be the sequence of tags from p
i
which are not in Tg (by sequence, we
understand that the tags are in the order they appear in p
i
).
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Definition
For two web pages p
i
and p
j
, we say that p
i
and p
j
are in the relation of “cloning”, written p
i
C
p
j
, if T
i
=T
j
.

Note
I can be easily shown that the “cloning” relation is an equivalence relation on the set of web
pages P.

Using the above note, we can obtain a partition of P with the equivalence classes, each
equivalence class containing, by definition, only the pages that are bounded by the “cloning”
relation.

Definition
Let the “cloning” degree of a web application WA be the number n-k, where n is the number of
web pages from WA and k the number of equivalence classes that the “cloning” relation generates.
We write C(WA)=n-k.

Example
Take a web application WA formed of 8 web pages, written p
1
, ..., p
8
, with the “cloning”
relation represented in the following figure:


From the above figure, we have: C(WA)=8-3=5.

Note
The smaller the set Tg used for defining the “cloning” relation, the more the “cloning” degree
increases.
Algorithm of verifying the “cloning” relation
We will now consider two web pages p and q of a web application and a set of unimportant
tags Tg. The algorithm we will present will go through the source codes of p and q only once,
sequentially and simultaneously. More precisely, we have:


foundtrue

while (not end of file p) and (not end of file q) and (found) do
Determine in variable Tp the current tag in file p, which is not in Tg
Determine in variable Tq the current tag in file q, which is not in Tg
p
1

p
8

p
3

p
6

p
2

p
5

p
7

p
4

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if Tp≠Tq then
foundfalse
end if
end while

if (there is a tag in p’s source code that has not been verified) then
foundfalse
end if

if (there is a tag in q’s source code that has not been verified) then
foundfalse
end if
if (found) then
write ”p and q are in the relation of <<cloning>>”
else
write ”p and q are not in the relation of <<cloning>>”
end if


Note
The complexity of the algorithm is O(u·v), where u is the number of characters in file p and v
the number of characters in file q, respectively.
Algorithm of determining the “cloning” degree for a web application
Let P = {p
1
, p
2
,…, p
n
} be the set of web pages in a web application and Tg be a set of unimportant
tags.
Using the algorithm from the previous section, we can construct a Boolean method, named
cloning, which has as parameters two web pages p
i
and p
j
(practically, we can only have as
parameters the indexes i and j) and returns true or false, depending on the result of the verification
of the “cloning” relation.



for i=1,n do
class[i]i
end for

for i=1,n-1 do
if class[i]=i then
for j=i+1, n do
if cloning(i,j) then
class[j]=i
end if
end for
end if
end for

CloningDegreen

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for i=1,n do
if class[i]=i then
CloningDegreeCloningDegree-1
end if
end for


Note
The complexity of the algorithm is O(u·n
2
), where u is the maximum number of characters of a
web page from web application.

Implementation
Using the algorithms presented in sections 4 and 5, I have realised a Java program which, for a
folder given as a parameter and a file which contains the tags in Tg (from the definition of the
“cloning” notion), determines the degree of the web application in the given folder. The program
creates a file with the equivalence classes, the total number of files, the number of files with the
extensions .htm and .html and with the degree of the web application.



Web Application (WA)

The
total
number
of files
in WA
The
number of
files with
the
extension
.htm or
.html (n)

The number
of the
equivalence
classes(k)

The
degree of
“cloning”
C(WA)
http://www.dopopan.ro/ 206 60 19 41
http://www.greceanu.ro/125ani/ 226 22 19 3
http://www.greceanu.ro/126ani/ 258 87 4 83
http://www.greceanu.ro/onig2010/ 896 165 7 158

In the last and the third line of the table, we have obtained greater values for the “cloning”
degree because the each of these web applications contain a photo gallery, where there are,
obviously, more cloned web pages.

Conclusions and future work

Generally, it is advisable to apply the “cloning” criterion to the same category of web applications,
for example: presentation, training, journal web sites etc., which have to solve problems of the
same type. If this criterion needs to be applied to a larger class of web applications, then we
consider that it should be combined with another criterion that could give information about the
components’ structure and the complexity of the links to other components (notions used in [7.2],
[7.4] and [7.6]). In the future, we intend to combine and compare several evaluation criteria for the
web applications and realise a static study on many categories of web applications.

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References
Conference Proceedings:
Catriniel Maria DănăuŃă, Doru Anastasiu Popescu, (2009), Method of reduction of the web pages to be
verified when validating a web site, Buletin ŞtiinŃific, Universitatea din Piteşti, Seria Matematică şi
Informatică, Nr. 15, pg 19-24.
Conference Proceedings:
Doru Anastasiu Popescu, (2009), Testing web application navigation based on component complexity,
Buletin ŞtiinŃific, Universitatea din Piteşti, Seria Matematică şi Informatică, Nr. 15, pg 107-118.
Journal Articles:
G. Sreedhar, A.A. Chari, V.V. Ramana (2010), Measuring Qualitz of Web Site Navigation, Journal of
Theoretical and Applied Information Technology, Vol. 14, Nr. 2.
Journal Articles:
Mao Cheng-ying, Lu Yan-sheng (2006), A Method for Measuring the Structure Complexity of Web
Application, Wuhan University Journal of Natural Sciences, vol. 11, No. 1
Conference Proceedings:
M. H. Qureshi, M. H. Samadzadeh (2005), Determining the Complexity of XML Documents, Proceedings of
the International Conference on Information Technology: Coding and Computing (ITCC’05), New York,
IEEE Press
Journal Articles:
ZHAO Cheng-li, YI Dong-yun (2004), A Method of Eliminating Noise in Web Pages by Style Tree Model
and Its Applications, Wuhan University Journal of Natural Sciences, vol. 9, No. 5
Usage of the Artificial Neural Networks in the
Intelligent Tutoring System

Gabriela Moise

Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, no. 39, Blvd. Bucuresti, Ploiesti, Romania
E-mail: gmoise@upg-ploiesti.ro

Abstract

The intelligent tutoring systems are complex adaptive systems that model the instructional
processes in order to maximize the outputs of the instructional systems, the marks of students.
There is used a blend of artificial intelligent techniques in order to obtain intelligent systems:
Bayesian networks, intelligent agents, knowledge representation techniques, artificial neural
networks, etc.
In this paper, there are presented applications of the artificial neural networks in the
instructional systems. Artificial neural networks are structures inspired by the biological
systems and they used in different domains: forms recognition, images processing, business
modelling, robotics, medicine, learning and teaching processes modelling

Keywords: artificial neural networks, e-learning, adaptive system

Introduction

The main role of an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) is to provide assistance during the
instructional process deployment to the learner. These software programmes using AI techniques
intend to assume the role of the teacher in the classroom. The first “intelligent” machine built to be
used in the teaching activities was build by Sydney Presley in 1926. The term of Intelligent
Tutoring System was specified by Sleeman and Brown who classified these learning systems as
follows: computer-based, problem-solving monitors, coaches, laboratory instructors and
consultants. (Sleeman and Brown, 1982) There were used different terms to catch the usage of AI
in computer-assisted instructions.
Wenger considers suitable the term of Knowledge Communication Systems. He presented the
evolution of the learning systems from computer-assisted instruction to intelligent tutoring
systems. (Wenger, 1987) Some researches prefer to use Adaptive Tutoring Systems or Flexible
Tutoring Systems. In fact, all these terms try to reflect the personalized tutoring that uses AI and
adapt to the instruction context. The main role of an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) is to
provide assistance during the instructional process deployment to the learner.
In fact, all these terms try to reflect the personalized tutoring that uses AI and adapt to the
context of learning process. (Moise, 2007)
Nwana stressed the differences between computer-assisted instruction and an intelligent
tutoring:
“(1) ITSs provide a clear articulation of knowledge for a limited domain;
(2) ITSs have a model of student performance which is dynamically maintained and is used to
drive instruction;
(3) the ITS designer defines the knowledge and the inference rules, but not the teaching
sequence, which is derived by the program;
(4) ITSs provide detailed diagnostics of errors rather than simply drill and practice;
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(5) students can pose questions to an ITS (this is the main characteristic of 'mixedinitiative
tutors').” (Nwana, 1990)
In the author’s view, the really intelligent system is the tutoring system able to learn and to
provide reasoning. It is a hard work to build a good ITS, because ITS takes the place of a human
teacher. The architecture of any ITS comprises at least four modules: student model module,
domain model module, pedagogical model module, and interface module. The challenge for
researches is the way in which a human learns in order to deliver customized instruction. Within
the present paper, we take in consideration the instruction context referred as mental context (MC),
social context (SC), technological context (TC), knowledge context (KC), emotional context (EC),
classroom context (CC). (Moise, 2007)
Artificial intelligence techniques allow the development ITS solutions: Bayesian networks,
intelligent agents, knowledge representation, etc.
Usage of Neural Networks in ITS

Neural networks are structures composed of interconnected computing units. The origins of these
networks are the networks from the human brain consisting in neurons and synapses. The main
element of a neural network is the artificial neuron. Some indexes of neural networks’
development are: Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts proposed the model in 1943 and it has still
remained the fundamental unit of most of the neural networks. (McCulloch and Pitts, 1943) In
1958, Frank Rosenblatt added the learning abilities and developed the model of perceptron.
(Rosenblatt, 1958) In 1986, David Rumelhart, Geoffrey Hinton and Ronald Williams defined a
training algorithm for neural networks. (Rumelhart, Hinton, Williams, 1985) The diagram of a
neuron with d inputs and one output is presented in figure 1.

Figure 1. Neuron with d Inputs and one Output

Each input has associated a synaptic weight, noted with
w
. This weight determines the effect
of a certain input on the activation level of the neuron. The balanced sum of the inputs
j j
i w Σ (called net input) defines the activation of the neuron. The function f represents the
activation function and θ represents the bias.
The output ( o ) is calculated using the following formula:

[1]
|
|
¹
|

\
|
− =

=
θ
d
j
d d
w i f o
1

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The activation function can have one of the following forms: step function ( )
¹
´
¦
>

=
0 , 1
0 , 0
s
s
s f ,
signum function (used by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts) ( )
¹
´
¦
>
≤ −
=
0 , 1
0 , 1
s
s
s f , linear
function, ( ) s s f = , sigmoid function ( ) 0 ,
1
1
>
+
=

k
e
s f
ks
, or generalized sigmoid function
( ) 0 ,
* 1
1
>
+
=

b
e a
s f
bs
.

There are two fundamental structures for the neural networks (NN): feedforward NN and NN
with reaction. In the model from the current paper, we use a feedforward neural network. (figure 4)
Considering a feedforward NN with input layer (with 2 units), a hidden layer (with 4 units),
output layer (with 2 units) and the activation function ( ) net net f = , the output of the NN can be
expressed as in formula 2.
[2] ( ) ( )
2 12 1 11 2 12 1 11 1 1
i w i w i w i w f net f z ∗ + ∗ = ∗ + ∗ = =
( ) ( )
2 22 1 21 2 22 1 21 2 2
i w i w i w i w f net f z ∗ + ∗ = ∗ + ∗ = =

( ) ( )
2 32 1 31 2 32 1 31 3 3
i w i w i w i w f net f z ∗ + ∗ = ∗ + ∗ = =

( ) ( )
2 42 1 41 2 42 1 41 4 4
i w i w i w i w f net f z ∗ + ∗ = ∗ + ∗ = =

4 14 3 13 2 12 1 11 1
z v z v z v z v o ∗ + ∗ + ∗ + ∗ =

4 24 3 23 2 22 1 21 2
z v z v z v z v o ∗ + ∗ + ∗ + ∗ =

The NN are information processing adaptive systems. The most used learning algorithm is the
backpropagation algorithm and it works in the following usage: it computes the error as the
difference between the desired output and the current output. The error is delivered back to the
input of NN. The algorithm minimizes the error using the decreasing gradient method.
The weights’ set that minimizes the error is the solution to the problem. The training of the NN
can be realized till the error decreases below an acceptable value or till reaches a maxim
predefined epochs.
Mota uses the neural networks to design two types of adaptability in an e-learning system:
adaptive presentation and adaptive navigation. (http://paginas.fe.up.pt/~prodei/DSIE08/
papers/35.pdf)The student model is defined considering Kolb learning styles inventory: Reflector,
Theorist, Pragmatist and Activist student. The adaptation strategy uses SCORM 1.3 learning
objects. The architecture proposed by Mota contains a Multilayer Perceptron trained with back
propagation learning algorithm. The neural network is integrated in an intelligent unit, called
CeLIP - Cesae eLearning Intelligent Player. Learners will have associated suitable learning objects
according to their learning styles, user preferences and performance.
In (Seridi-Bouchelaghem, Sari, Sellami, 2005), there are used two neural networks: the former
to select the appropriate basic units (“a basic unit is a multi-media document having intrinsically a
teaching quality, i.e. which can be used within the framework of the knowledge transmission”) for
the learner and the latter neural network is used when the learners do not pass the post-test and
select base units having reinforcing roles.
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A Neural Network Based Adaptable e-learning System

The system proposed in the present paper uses a conceptual map based representation of an
electronic course and a neural network based intelligent engine to adjust the unfolding of the
learning-teaching process to the learner.
Let’s consider a conceptual map (or semantic network) with k nodes to represent an electronic
course. (figure 2) (Moise, Dumitrescu, 2003; Moise, Ionita, 2008)


Figure 2. Conceptual Map of an Electronical Course
Each node has associated more pedagogical resources (for a node
i
, we note the number of
pedagogical resources with
i
npr ). There can be generated

=
k
i
i
npr
1
teaching models. The core of
the system is the neural network, which has the goal to provide for each learner the proper
teaching model. The neural network is trained, therefore an input vector involves a certain output.
The operating general schema of NN is presented in figure 4.

Figure 3. A General NN to Adaptable e-learning System

We choose the structure of the neural network consisting in an input layer, a hidden layer and
output layer and the standard connection (all neighbour layers are connected). The input layer has
a number of units equal with the number of inputs. The input vector is defined by the instruction
context (MC, SC, TC, KC, CC). Each context factor is defined by a set of parameters.
Generalizing, the input vector is defined as:
( )
CC KC TC SC MC
cc cc kc kc tc tc sc sc mc mc Κ Κ Κ Κ Κ , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1

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The output layer has more units (corresponding to the teaching models which conduct to
maximal performance). The desired goal is to associate to each instruction context the proper
model teaching. The number of units from the hidden layer can be chosen using a heuristic method
or we can adjust it during the folding of the teaching process in order to increase the complexity of
the network.
For instance, if we consider an NN with d inputs and e outputs, we can select
e d ∗

hidden units.
The neural network has to resolve the following problem: the association of an instruction
context sacred to a learner with a teaching model obtained through the composition of the teaching
models of each node from the conceptual map.
Often, the architecture of the NN remains fix and the values of weights are changed.
A study case of using the NN in the instructional adaptive system is presented in figure no 5.
We suppose that there are four teaching models (TM).
|
|
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
0
0
0
1
- TM no.1
|
|
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
0
0
1
0
- TM no. 2
|
|
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
0
1
0
0
-TM no. 3
|
|
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
1
0
0
0
- TM no. 4

The inputs have the following forms:
|
|
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
d
i
i
i
Κ
2
1
, where { } 1 , 0 ∈
k
i . For instance
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
0
0
1
represents the visual learning style,
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
0
1
0
auditory
learning style,
|
|
|
¹
|

\
|
1
0
0
kinesthetic learning style,

Figure 4. The Architecture of NN to Adaptable e-learning System
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The training set contains p pairs { } output desired input knwon , , hereupon we add
perturbed inputs.

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,
0
0
0
1
,
0
0
0
1
Κ
Κ
Κ Κ Κ
H



The error associated to the training set computed according to the formula:
( )

=
− =
4
1
2
2
1
i
i i
o t E , where
i
o is the current output and
i
t is the desired output. The output of
the NN is computed as in formula 3.

[3] |
¹
|

\
|
∗ =

=
3
0
1 1
i
i i
z v f o , where
|
|
¹
|

\
|
∗ =

=
d
j
j j i
x w f z
0
1
for 3 , 2 , 1 = i and 1
0
− = z .

1
0
− = x and
j
x are binary vectors. If 3 = d , then the number of the hidden units are 3.
To adjust the weights, we use the backpropagation algorithm to train NN presented in figure 5.

Conclusions

The trends in the e-learning system development are to replace the human teacher. There are deep
preoccupations in this regard, but we cannot say that this desideratum has been achieved. In this
paper we propose a model based on neural network to intelligent tutoring system. The future work
will be concentrated to develop different prototypes of ITS (based on different AI technologies)
and to compare their performances.









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Figure 5. The Backpropagation Algorithm


N=1
(N= number of iterations)
Init the weights ( v w, )
Apply the input form (the known
input H ) and compute the outputs
Compute the error ( )

=
− =
4
1
2
2
1
i
i i
o t E
E<=ε
STOP
N>=N
max

STOP
Compute ( ) ( )
p
j j
p
j
p
j
p
j
net f o t
'
∗ − = δ (for output layer)
Compute ( )

∗ =
n
nj
p
n
p
j j
p
j
w net f δ δ
'
(for hidden layer)
Update weights

∗ = ∆
ip
p
j ji
p
o w
~
δ

1 + ←n n

YES
YES
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References
Journal Articles:
McCulloch, W., S., Pitts, W. (1943): A logical calculus of the ideas immanent in nervous activity, Bulletin of
Mathematical Biophysics, 5, 115-133.
Nwana, H. S. (1990): Intelligent Tutoring Systems: an overview, Artificial Intelligence Review, 4, 251-277.
Rosenblatt, F. (1958): The Perceptron: A Probabilistic Model for Information Storage and Organization in the
Brain, Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, Psychological Review, v65, No. 6, 386-408.
Seridi-Bouchelaghem, H., Sari, T., Sellami, M. (2005): A neural Network for Generating Adaptive Lessons,
Journal of Computer Science, 1 (2), 232-243.
Sleeman, D., & Brown, J. S. (1982): Introduction: Intelligent Tutoring Systems. In D. Sleeman & J. S. Brown
(Eds.), Intelligent Tutoring Systems, New York: Academic Press, 1-11
Wenger, E. (1987): Artificial intelligence and tutoring systems: computational and cognitive approaches to
the communication of knowledge, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA.
Conference Proceedings:
Moise, G., (2007): A Rules Based on Context Methodology to Build the Pedagogical Resources, Proceedings
of the 2nd International Conference on Virtual Learning, 97-105.
Moise, G., Dumitrescu, S., (2003): Applications of visual knowledge representation in instruction models,
Computer Based Learning in Science, 575-586.
Moise, G., IoniŃă L., (2008): Educational Semantic Networks and Their Applications, Science and
Technology in the Context of Sustainable Development, Bulletin of PG University of Ploiesti, MIF, Vol.
LX, No. 2., 77-86.
Technical Reports:
D. E., Hint, G. E., Williams, R. J., (1985): Learning Internal Representations by Error Propagation, ICS
report.
Internet Sources:
Using Learning Styles and Neural Networks as an Approach to eLearning Content and Layout
Adaptation, Jorge Mota, http://paginas.fe.up.pt/~prodei/DSIE08/papers/35.pdf
Promotion of Educational Services – Challenge or Necessity?

Viorica Scobioală
1
, Dorin łifrea
2
, Mihai Dragomir
3

Technical University of Moldova
1
, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
2,3
E-mail: vioricascobioala@gmail.com
1
; dorin.tifrea@muri.utcluj.ro
2

mihai.dragomir@muri.utcluj.ro
3

Abstract
When addressing the quality of educational services not as a distant trend perspective but as
a necessity, appropriate management strategies are necessary. In order to bring the higher
education services to a competitive level, a paradigm shift in universities is required.
Furthermore, the perpetually changing environment represents another factor that implies
change. In the following, the authors present a case study on the development process of a
quality engineering masters programme, by means of modern management instruments such
as Force Field Analisys.

Keywords: educational services, development, force field analisys


1. Introduction

Higher education institutions are going through difficult times, like many other economic units
during the economical crisis. Both Republic of Moldova and Romania deal with accessibility
problems in higher education as well, facing multiple obstacles in maintaining and reconfirming
the credibility and the status through the values that are promoteed. This process is influenced by a
series of both external and internal organization factors, that need to be taken into consideration
when developing new educational programmes.

2.The Current State Regarding Educational Services Demand

The mission of the university is largely directed towards its insertion environment (social,
economic and academic), but its fulfillment is conditioned mainly by the internal potential
(institutional culture, leadership, staff capability, responsibility and involvement, financial and
infrastructure resources…)[1]. University educational services represent the educational functions
set which contribute to the orderly conduct of educational activities that will fulfill the mission.
Their aim is to facilitate personal education, adapt and generate collective and personal knowledge
that will later be used in economy and society remodeling [7]. Like any market, educational
services market is driven by demand, offer, price and competition.
The educational market trends towards diversification led to the launch of many university
programmes with resonant titles but often far from the real demands of the economy. In the actual
demographic evolution it is important to develop viable and sustainable educational programmes,
in order to provide useful competences demanded by the economic environment.
In the beginning, the main factors that influence the intake of the high school and university
graduates to higher education programmes have to be determined. As it is specified by [3], there
are eight main factors that have an impact on candidates when it comes to choose a certain
educational programme, presented in Figure 1:
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1. Demographic factors;
2. Social factors;
3. Economical factors;
4. Specific marketing mix factors;
5. Personal factors;
6. Cultural factors;
7. Legal and political factors;
8. Psycological factors.

From the factors presented above, the authors considered the first four to be the most important
for the undertaken analisys. The demographic trend is important because it directly influences the
input “quantity” for the higher education programmes. Also, another reason why the demographic
evolution is reckoned as a prime factor is represented by it’s negative trend observed by studies [2]
unwound over the last 15 years. Analysis of demographic factors in the birth rate indicates the
conspicuous findings for the period of 1999-2009 – the generations that are today's and tomorrow's
students of higher institutions. The situation and it’s evolution in the future is presented in Figure 2.
Another factor linked to the demographic evolution is the migration, as one of the oldest social
phenomena. Migration is expression of unbalanced social relations between the less developed
areas and developed areas of the world [7] which includes brain drain. A major migration was
noted in R. Moldova after years ‘90. Official sources show that they have size of 20% [5, 4] data
which could be more exceeded, with the likelihood that it will vary according to unofficial sources
between 30-40% of the population. Initially temporary migrants, mostly women, about 70-80%,
have looked for ways and opportunities to ensure stability of their presence in developed countries
where they went. With the legalization of their stay they started to take children with them. There
are no precise estimates that could reveal the number of children of different age groups who have
gone abroad: pre-school, primary, secondary, high-school, post high-school. Thus, the risk for the
educational institutions, including universities, not to find customers is incrasing with the negative
evolution of migration. To this, add the extension of the number of private educational institutions
that grew after 1990. In these circumstances, during recent years, a pronounced struggle is
observed inside educational institutions, and will become even more severe in next years.
Figure 4 Main factors that influence the access in higher education
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6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
Birth rate in Romania
Birth rate in Moldova

Figure 5 Evolution of birth rate in Romania and Moldova from 1985 to 2009
The social factors are referring to media – as a communication instrument – and generally
accepted trends in the professional development. This factor is considered by the authors of this
paper to be linked to the cultural factor. The economical factor represents another influence that
has to be taken into consideration when it comes to take strategic decisions in higher education.
Both Romania and Republic of Moldova have a free education system, a fact that can be, at the
same time, for and against development and change in higher education. Even if the education
system is being free, thus facilitating the access in universities, at the same time it is becoming a
source of pour financing of development strategies because of reduced cash flow in universities.
The importance of marketing mix is justified by the “4P”, adapted to educational institutions:
• Product: the educational programme;
• Price: the price that a student has to pay for the educational programme;
• Place: the infrastructure and resources needed to deliver the knowledge;
• Promotion: the marketing strategies, advertising, P.R. used for the educational
programmes.
By taking into consideration the above mentioned factors, applying new measures to stimulate
demand for educational services is needed in order to ensure the interest even for graduates of less
attractive high school specialties, however necessary for national economy development.

3. Arrangements to Incentive Educational Services Demand

Stimulating demand for educational services involves undertaking specific measures by the higher
education institutions. These measures focus on the following four directions:
• Adapting/developing the educational programmes
• Marketing/promotion regarding the benefits of the programmes
• Informig/counseling the graduates (both high school and university)
• Finding alternatives to financially support students whlile attending educational
programmes
The first direction implies developing new educational programmes in order to satisfy a
dynamic labour market’s needs. At the same time, the old specializations must be adapted in order
to deliver the appropriate competences to the economic environment and, at the same time, keep
the famous specializations up to date with the latest changes in the domain. The marketing is also
important in order to assure an appropriate influx of candidates that will assure sustainability of
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the adapted specializations. Also, informing the graduates about the competences they will achieve
and about the importance of higher education represents an important activity direction. Finally,
one of the best ways to encourage the youth to attend higher education programmes is to offer
them financial aid in that purpose.
In order to analyze the impact of the factors detailed in the previous chapter, the authors
propose the use of Force Field Analisys management tool. The purpose is to observe the influence
of the above mentioned factors on the main directions of change established before.

4. Case Study – a Quality Management and Engineering Masters Programme

The following case study analizes the influence of demographic evolution, social and economic
factors and the marketing mix elements on the strategies that were adopted in the development of
one of the masters programmes from by Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. The aim was to
transform a one-year advanced studies programme in quality managmenet in a international
masters programme that will deliver appropriate competences to the economic environment. In
table 1, the desired outcomes of the four strategies on the masters programme are explained.
In order to observe the implications of the factors mentioned before on these directions, a
Force Field Analisys was carried. The sores presented in the Table 2 represent the measure of the
influences that each of the factors have pro and against a certain measure that is planned to be
taken. The scale used is between 0 and 5 for the forces strength and from -5 to 5 for the final
result.
For example, the demographic factor has a strong negative influence towards adapting and
diversifying the educational offer, because of the decreasing number of total students that will be
available for higer education programmes – thus the chance of not having enough candidates for a
programme that took a a lot of effort to be developed.

Table 1 The purpose of the four major directions of intervention
No. Direction Purpose
1. Adaptation/Diversification
Reduce the gap between the competences required on the
labour market and the ones delivered to graduates;
Increase the knowledge insertion in the economic
environment.
2. Marketing/Promotion
Atract more graduates;
Encourage competition between candidates.
3. Informatio & Counseling
Encourage the access of graduates with non-engineering
background (ie. Economists, Physicists etc.);
Deliver appropriate information about the topics that are
studied.
4. Financial support
Ease accesss to the programme from the financial
perspective

But there are also reasons for this measure to be undertaken, such as sustainability: a masters
programme that wil deliver the competences demanded by the labour market and that will deliver
highly qualified graduates to the economic environment will most probably be considered
successful on the long term. Also, the social factor represents a strong reason why the
diversification should be taken into consideration because the quality management domain
represents a modern approach in businesses all over the world. Furthermore, the programme can
be also easily accessed by students with other background than engineering. From the economic
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perspective, the cost of transforming the advanced studies into an up to date masters programme is
a substantial one – more classes must be assigned to highly specialized professors. On the other
side though, the resources consumption can be regarded as a long term investment: a strong
programme will attract more and more students each year and economic benefits can emerge from
this. Also, a modern curricula will generate knowledge useful for the economic environment, and
it can generate incomes for the university from research contracts.
Regarding the marketing mix, the authors evaluated this development direction from the “4P”
factors. Obviously, the “product” improving will make the programme more desirable for the
graduates. The “price” is considered to have a negative impact, because the diversification and
adaptation costs. The “promotion” of the newly developed programme will be easier to be done –
so there is also a positive influence of the marketing mix. The the “placement” is considered to
have no influence on this direction. The Table 2 shows the entire analisys process for each four
directions considered by the authors to be important in the masters programme developing process.
In the end of this analisys, the resulting chart (Figure 3) furnishes the general perspective on the
way that the four factors influence the activities planned for the implementation of the new
masters programme.

Table 2 Force field analisys – case study
Factor
Forces
Pro

Direction of
intervention

Forces
Against
Final
Score
Demgraphic 1 3 -2
Social 5 1 4
Economic 3 2 1
Marketing Mix 4
Adapting/diversifying
the educational offer
1 3
Demgraphic 4 0 4
Social 4 0 4
Economic 3 3 0
Marketing Mix 4
Marketing/Promotion
1 3
Demgraphic 3 1 2
Social 4 1 3
Economic 1 3 -2
Marketing Mix 3
Information/Conseling
2 1
Demgraphic 3 1 2
Social 4 0 4
Economic 4 3 1
Marketing Mix 3


Financial support


3 0

As it can be observed, the biggest positive support for changing the programme is given by the
social factor, all of the forces being positive and having high values – the mean calculated value is
3.75. This can be explained by the inclination of the society towards modern educational
programmes, with a high absorbtion of their graduates by both national and international labour
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204
markets. On the other side one can observe that the “weakest” part of the development and the
implementation process is given by the economic factor, which has a neutral score of 0. This can
be explained by the consistent financial effort thet the university has to put in the transformation
process. Surprisingly, the demographic problem is not as big as one expeted it to be: the final score
is above 0, having a mean value of 1.5 out of 5, which means that overall the demographic
evolution is also a “pro” factor regarding the improvement of the quality management educational
programme. Finally, the marketing mix represents also an encouraging force, with a score of 1.75.
From the analisys carried by the authors of this papes, several consequences derived. The first
one and the most important regardins the “weakest” point of the transformation process, namely
the economic factor. Therefore, an alternative source for financing the improvement of the
programme was found in the structural funds offered by the European Union for the development
of human resources.

Figure 6 Force Field Analisys - Results
The quantum obtained through the programme named “Development and implementation of a
Bologna master programme, with an international opening, in the Quality Management and
Engineering domain, according the labour market demands” was used to counter balance the weak
economic factor. Also, a part of the financial aid was used for both marketing and information
activities and, at the same time, another fragment of the budget was allocated to scholarships for
the students with high study performances. The programme is currently in the second year of
implementation and it is considered by now one of the most successful master programmes in the
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. The second ”tough” point is represented by the demographic
evolution, which has both strong positive and negative forces acting upon it. But even so, the
overall direction has a final degree of 1.5 out of 5, which makes the demographic factor to act as a
”pro” for the strategies that have to to be implemented.

Conclusions

The educational market is represented by manifested or latent needs of pupils and students, family
and society, by youth education concomitant with endowment with skills and knowledge useful to
modern society. In pursuit of market relations are involved four environmental agents: the school,
the recipient undertaking workforce, labor owners and state [6].
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In order to assure the sustainability of an educational programme, decisions that regard change
must be taken based on data analisys. At the same time, the influence of the main factors cannot be
ignored when developing and planning the change. As this paper shows, the influence of these
factors can vary for each of the strategies but, in the end, a general trend is shown, providing
information about the areas that may require intervention. The masters programme presented in
this paper as a case study is now one of the most successfull programmes in the university,
validating the analisys carried by the authors of this paper and serving as an example for other
universities from Romania and Republic of Moldova that may want to reengineer their educational
programmes.


References

1. Popescu S., Munteanu R., Popescu D., A structured approach to academic staff evaluation, 4
th

International Seminar on Quality Management in Higher Education, Sinaia, Romania, June 2006.
2. INSSE, Anuarul statistic 2010 .
3. Brătucu G., Brătucu T-O: Analiza sistemului de factoricare influineŃează comportamentul consumatorului
individual, In Management şi Marketing, 2 (2) Braşov, 2007
4. Cătoiu, I. , Teodorescu N: Comportamentul consumatorului, Teorie şi practică, Ed. Economică, Bucureşti
1997.
5. Gotişan, I, EvoluŃii, tendinŃe şi pronosticuri referitoare la piaŃa muncii din R Molodva în apropierea
acesteia de standardele europene, Raport în cadrul proiectului AsocaŃiei pentru DemocraŃie
Participativă ADEPT şi EXPER-GRUP, „Planul de acŃiuni Uniunea Europeană – R Moldova”.
6. Insitutul de Politici Publice, TendinŃe şi pronosticuri referitoare la piaŃa muncii din Republica Moldova,
Chişinău, 2009.
7. Olteanu, V. Cetină, I.: Marketingul serviciilor, Bucureşti, Editura Expert, 1994.
Learning styles in technology enhanced education:
latest trends and a case study

Elvira Popescu
1


(1) University of Craiova, Software Engineering Department
13, A.I. Cuza Street, 200585 Craiova, ROMANIA
E-mail: popescu_elvira@software.ucv.ro

Abstract
The accommodation of learning styles in technology-enhanced learning has been proven to
increase the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the educational process, as well as students'
satisfaction. Thus, in the last several years, there has been a proliferation of such learning
style-based educational systems, which aim at identifying the learning style of the students
and/or providing courses tailored accordingly. The paper has several purposes: i) provide a
synthesis of the most recent initiatives in the area of learning style-based adaptive
educational systems; ii) illustrate it with a case study of such a system developed and
experimentally validated in a Romanian university; iii) discuss the effect of learning styles on
students' acceptance of Web 2.0 tools in education, as well as some future trends in the
context of social and adaptive learning environments.

Keywords: learning style, adaptive educational system, learner model, Web 2.0

Introduction

Learning style represents a distinctive and habitual manner of acquiring knowledge, skills or
attitudes through study or experience (Sadler-Smith, 1996). It includes many different preferences
related to perception modality, processing and organizing information, reasoning, social aspects,
etc.; e.g., a student may prefer the learning material to include many graphical representations as
well as a lot of practice opportunities (simulations, experiments), while another student may learn
better when hearing the course and may need time to reflect over the material before trying hands-
on experiences (Popescu, 2009).
During the past 30 years, there have been proposed a wide range of learning style models,
which differ in the learning theories they are based on, the number and the description of the
dimensions they include. During the past decade, learning styles have also started to be used in
technology-enhanced learning, with encouraging results: according to the literature, there has been
reported an increase in the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the educational process, as well as
learner's satisfaction (Popescu, 2010a).
This paper aims at providing a bird's eye view of recent educational systems that accommodate
learning styles and then go into a more detailed presentation of a particular in-house system called
WELSA (Web-based Educational system with Learning Style Adaptation). Sections 2 and 3 are
devoted to these purposes respectively.
In the past couple of years, learning styles have started to be considered in conjunction with
Web 2.0 and social tools in education. Section 4 provides a glimpse into these latest trends,
investigating the correlations found between learning styles and students' preferences towards
these emergent tools. Finally, the paper concludes with some future trends related to the use of
learning styles in the e-learning 2.0 context.
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Overview of Learning Style-based Adaptive Educational Systems (LSAES)

The adaptation process in LSAES implies two stages: i) identifying the learning style of the
student (learner modeling); ii) applying the corresponding adaptation rules (adaptation
provisioning).
As far as the creation of the learner model is concerned, there are two possible approaches:
i) use a dedicated measuring instrument (e.g., psychological questionnaire) associated to the
learning style model. This method is called "explicit", since it requires direct input from the part of
the student, who has to explicitly specify her/his learning style by filling in the questionnaire. This
way, a static learner model is created at the beginning of the course and stored once and for all.
ii) analyze student's interaction with the system (behavioral patterns) and/or knowledge test
results to infer her/his learning style. This method is called "implicit" since it is based on already
available feedback information, without having to ask for additional effort from the part of the
students. This may also have the advantage of being more accurate, overcoming the psychometric
flaws of the traditional measuring instruments (Popescu, 2009). Additionally, a dynamic modeling
approach can be envisaged, with the learner model being continuously updated during the learning
process.
As far as the adaptation techniques are concerned, one of the most widely used is fragment
sorting, i.e., presenting the educational resources in an order considered most suitable for each
student; so, basically, all the students are presented with the same learning resources, just ordered
differently. Alternatively, only the learning object (LO) that best suits the learning style of the
current student is included in the learning path, i.e., adaptive selection of learning objects; the
selection takes place among the set of equivalent LOs (from the point of view of the domain
concept that they explain). Other (less flexible) approaches include the customization of the
system's interface according to students' preferences or the use of conditional text and predefined
page variants to present the information in different styles.
The first attempts at accommodating learning styles in educational systems date back to 1999,
with the notable examples of CS383 course (Carver et al., 1999) and Arthur system (Gilbert and
Han, 1999). Other noteworthy systems from the beginning of the last decade include: iWeaver
(Wolf, 2002), (Bajraktarevic et al., 2003), INSPIRE (Papanikolaou et al., 2003), AES-CS
(Triantafillou et al., 2003). An important characteristic of these first generation systems is that they
focus mostly on the adaptation provisioning stage, while the learner model is generally created in
an explicit way, by means of dedicated questionnaires. The only exception is Arthur system, which
assesses student's learning style based on her/his success at knowledge tests, after following a
course fragment presented in a particular style.
In what follows, we give a short overview of the latest papers, published in the past 5 years.
While some of these systems still use explicitly created learner models (Sangineto et al., 2008;
Wang et al., 2008; Limongelli et al., 2009), most of them use implicit methods for diagnosing
students' learning style (Cha et al., 2006a; Stash, 2007; Graf et al., 2009a). Furthermore, there are
some works which are only focused on the dynamic learner modeling stage, without providing
adaptivity (Garcia et al., 2007; Stathacopoulou et al., 2007; Özpolat and Akar, 2009). Table 1
gives a summary of the implicit modeling techniques used by these systems, while Table 2 focuses
on the adaptivity methods applied.

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Table 1. Overview of recent trends in learning style diagnosis

Paper Learning style model Learner modeling technique
(Cha et al.,
2006a)
Felder and Silverman
learning style model
(FSLSM) (Felder and
Silverman, 1988)
Analyze student behavioral patterns using Decision Tree and
Hidden Markov Model approaches.
(Garcia et
al., 2007)
FSLSM Analyze student behavioral patterns using Bayesian Networks.
(Stash, 2007) Verbalizer versus
Imager style; Global
versus Analytic style;
Activist versus
Reflector style
A so-called "instructional meta-strategy" tracks student’s
learning preferences by observing her/his behavior in the
system: repetitive patterns such as accessing particular types of
information (e.g., textual vs. visual format) or navigation
patterns such as breadth-first versus depth-first order of
browsing through the course. These meta-strategies are
defined by the course authors, who can therefore choose the
learning styles that are to be used.
(Stathacopou
lou et al.,
2007)
Biggs’ surface vs. deep
student approach to
learning and studying
(Biggs, 1987)
The student diagnosis is done by means of a neural network
implementation for a fuzzy logic-based model. The system
learns from a teacher’s diagnostic knowledge, which can be
available either in the form of rules or examples. The neuro-
fuzzy approach successfully manages the inherent uncertainty
of the diagnostic process, dealing with both structured and
non-structured teachers’ knowledge.
(Graf et al.,
2009a)
FSLSM Analyze student behavioral patterns using a rule-based
approach.
(Özpolat and
Akar, 2009)
FSLSM The learners are clustered based on their selection of preferred
learning objects, using NBTree classification algorithm in
conjunction with Binary Relevance classifier.
Table 2. Overview of recent trends in adaptivity techniques

Paper Adaptivity technique
(Cha et al.,
2006b)
The interface is adaptively customized: it contains 3 pairs of widget placeholders
(text/image, audio/video, Q&A board/Bulletin board), each pair consisting of a primary and
a secondary information area. The space allocated on the screen for each widget varies
according to the student’s FSLSM dimension: e.g., for a Visual learner the image data
widget is located in the primary information area, which is larger than the text data widget;
the two widgets are swapped in case of a Verbal learner.
(Stash,
2007)
The system uses an XML Learning Style Adaptation Language, called LAG-XSL, which is
a high level language, including adaptation actions such as: selection of different
representations of concepts (media, level of difficulty, type of activity) and sorting of
concepts. By means of these actions, authors can define their own adaptation strategies for
their own learning styles. However, there is a limitation in the types of strategies that can be
defined and consequently in the set of learning preferences that can be used (e.g. Verbalizer
versus Imager style, Global versus Analytic style and Activist versus Reflector style).
(Sangineto
et al., 2008)
Each LO is manually annotated by the teacher using IMS Metadata Standard. Each of the
possible "Learning Resource Type" metadata values (i.e., "Exercise", "Simulation",
"Questionnaire", "Diagram", "Figure", "Graph", "Index", "Slide", "Table", "Narrative
Text", "Exam", "Experiment", "ProblemStatement", "SelfAssesment") is classified with the
help of pedagogic experts according to the Felder and Silverman's teaching styles. First, the
system finds the set of necessary domain concepts to be taught to the current student, based
on the domain ontology and student's knowledge level. Next, for each domain concept, the
set of LOs that explain it are found; the system selects one of these LOs taking into account
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the value of the attribute "Learning Resource Type" and trying to minimize the distance
between the learning style and teaching style (interpreted as Euclidian distance).
(Wang et
al., 2008)
The adaptation criteria are represented by the 4 VARK learning styles (Visual, Audio,
Read/write, Kinesthetic) (Flemming, 1995). The system uses an extended ant colony
optimization algorithm for recommending the optimal learning path to each student,
according to her/his learning preferences. The learning objects must be initially annotated
with the corresponding VARK style by the course authors.
(Graf et al.,
2009b)
The adaptation criteria are represented by three FSLSM dimensions (Active/Reflective,
Sensing/Intuitive, Sequential/Global). The authors propose an add-on for Moodle Learning
Management System, which supplies the required adaptation. More specifically, it provides
an individualized sequence and number of learning objects of each type (i.e., examples,
exercises, self assessment tests, content objects).
(Limongelli
et al., 2009)
Each learning object is annotated by the teacher with a set of weights corresponding to its
suitability for each of the 4 FSLSM dimensions. First, the system automatically generates a
personalized learning path by means of a planner which takes into account the student's
knowledge level and her/his FSLSM score. At each step, the system can output a new
Learning Object Sequence, in case the student model has changed. For each knowledge
item on the learning path, the system selects the associated LO which is the most suited for
the learning style of the student, based on the assigned weights (i.e., having the smallest
Euclidian distance from the student's learning style).

WELSA Case Study

In what follows we give a short overview of our own in-house system (WELSA), which was
developed and tested at the University of Craiova, Romania. Please note that a detailed
presentation of WELSA can be found in (Popescu et al., 2009). WELSA uses an implicit modeling
method, combined with adaptive sorting and adaptive annotations techniques. Furthermore, it is
based not on a single learning style model (as all the systems included above), but on a complex of
features extracted from several such learning style models, called ULSM (Unified Learning Style
Model). More specifically, ULSM includes preferences related to: perceptual modality, way of
processing and organizing information, motivational and social aspects (e.g., Visual / Verbal,
Abstract / Concrete, Serial / Holistic, Active experimentation / Reflective observation, Individual
work / Team work, Intrinsic motivation / Extrinsic motivation) (Popescu, 2009).
Figure 1 provides an overall view of WELSA system, illustrating the interactions with the two
main actors (the student and the teacher), as well as the process workflow. As can be seen in the
figure, a typical scenario includes the following steps:
1. The teacher creates the course content, by means of the dedicated authoring tool (Course
Editor). The tool automatically generates the appropriate file structure, i.e., XML files describing
the course and chapter structure, LO metadata files as well as the actual LO files.
2. The students interact with the course and all their actions are monitored and recorded by
the system (learner tracking).
3. The Modeling Component preprocesses and aggregates student actions to yield
behavioral patterns (e.g., time spent on each type of learning resources, order of accessing the
resources, level of involvement with the communication tools etc.). Next, it analyses these patterns
to identify the ULSM preference for each student, based on the built-in modeling rules; the learner
model is consequently updated. It should be noted that the teacher can set certain parameters of the
modeling process (by means of a configuration option), so that it fits the particularities of their
own course.

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Fig. 1. WELSA overall architecture (Popescu, 2010c)
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4. The Adaptation Component queries the learner model database, in order to find the
ULSM preferences of the current student. Based on these preferences, it applies the corresponding
adaptation rules and generates the individualized (adapted) course page, by automatically
composing it from the sorted and annotated LOs. The annotation is based on a "traffic light"
technique, discriminating between recommended LOs (with a highlighted green title), standard
LOs (with a black title) and not recommended LOs (with a dimmed light grey title). Thus, the LOs
are placed in the course page in the order which is most appropriate for each learner and enhanced
with visual cues (as can be seen in the WELSA screenshot at the top of Fig. 1).
The system was validated experimentally both from the learner modeling and the adaptation
provisioning point of view, as reported in (Popescu, 2009) and (Popescu, 2010a) respectively.
Learning Styles in E-learning 2.0 Context

In the last few years, Web 2.0 tools (also known as "social software tools", e.g., blog, wiki, social
bookmarking systems, media sharing tools) gained a lot of attention and started to be used in
educational settings (Grodecka et al., 2009; Homola and Kubincova, 2009; Popescu, 2010b), with
encouraging results with respect to student satisfaction, knowledge gain and/or learning efficiency.
Grodecka et al. (2009) present practical guidelines for the use of Web 2.0 technologies to support
teaching and learning, illustrating them with actual pedagogical scenarios. Blogs, for example, can
be seen as a means for students to publish their own ideas, essays and homework and as a space
where they can reflect on their learning process (i.e., a kind of "learning diary"). Furthermore,
posting comments to blog articles represents a means of social interaction, as well as an
opportunity to provide critical and constructive feedback. Also, blogs help create a sense of
community among students with similar interests ("educational blogosphere"). A comprehensive
review of papers reporting actual applications of Web 2.0 technologies and tools in formal
learning settings can be found in (Homola and Kubincova, 2009).
In this new e-learning 2.0 context, researchers have started to investigate the connections
between learning styles and students' preferences towards these emerging tools. Saeed and Yang
(2008), for example, discovered several significant relationships: intuitive learners (who,
according to FSLSM, prefer discovering possibilities and relationships and are always ready to try
out new things), preferred blogs; visual learners preferred vodcasts (not surprisingly, taking into
account their preference towards pictures, diagrams, flow charts etc.); sequential learners preferred
podcasts (since they tend to gain understanding in linear steps and follow logical stepwise paths,
so they could run the sequence of lectures at their own pace over and over again to get a better
understanding of the course content).
The authors performed also a second study (Saeed et al., 2009), in which they investigated the
effects of cognitive style (adaptors versus innovators) (Kirton, 1976) on learner acceptance of
blogs and podcasts. The results showed that students with innovative cognitive style are more
likely to perceive blogs and podcasts as useful and easy-to-use as compared to their adaptor
counterparts. Furthermore, innovators perceive podcasts as more useful than blogs whilst blogs as
more easy-to-use than podcasts.
Another study performed by (Derntl and Graf, 2009) showed that FSLSM learning styles do
not have a broad impact on observable blogging behavior. Nevertheless, several significant
differences were observed: i) active learners tend to post more frequently to their blogs than
reflective learners; ii) reflective learners’ ratio of reading other blog postings vs. posting to their
own blogs is significantly higher than that of active learners; iii) sequential learners tend to write
longer posts than global learners.
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Conclusions

The paper presented a synthesis of LSAES developed in the past 5 years, followed by a more
detailed case study of WELSA platform. One limitation of all these systems is that they don't take
into consideration the social aspects of learning. The communication and collaboration means
between students are limited (mainly chat and forum). In the light of recent findings regarding the
use of Web 2.0 tools in education, steps have started to be taken for the inclusion of a social
dimension in LSAES. An example is the proposal made in (Popescu, 2010c), advocating the
introduction of social tools in WELSA, outlining the extensions that have to be performed to this
end. Another example is the use of a Kohonen network for learning style identification in a Web
2.0 collaborative learning platform, as reported in (Zatarain-Cabada et al., 2009).
These endeavors will lead to the development of social and adaptive learning environments,
following modern educational theories such as socio-constructivism; these environments will
enable students to learn in a personalized way, constructing knowledge by interacting and
collaborating with their teachers and peers.
Acknowledgment
This work was supported by the strategic grant POSDRU/89/1.5/S/61968, Project ID 61968
(2009), co-financed by the European Social Fund within the Sectorial Operational Program
Human Resources Development 2007 – 2013.

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Cha, H. J., Kim, Y. S., Lee, J. H., Yoon, T. B. (2006b): An Adaptive Learning System with Learning Style
Diagnosis based on Interface Behaviors. In Workshop Proc. of Intl. Conf. E-learning and Games
(Edutainment 2006).
Derntl, M., Graf, S. (2009): Impact of Learning Styles on Student Blogging Behavior. In Proc. ICALT 2009,
IEEE CS Press, 369-373.
Felder, R. M., Silverman, L. K. (1988): Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education. Engineering
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Detecting Students Learning Styles. Computers & Education, 49(3), 794-808.
Gilbert, J.E., Han, C.Y. (1999): Adapting Instruction in Search of ‘A Significant Difference’. Journal of
Network and Computer Applications, 22(3), 149-160.
Graf, S., Kinshuk, Liu, T.-C. (2009a): Supporting Teachers in Identifying Students' Learning Styles in
Learning Management Systems: An Automatic Student Modelling Approach. Educational Technology &
Society, 12(4), 3-14.
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Graf, S., Lan, C.H., Liu, T.-C., Kinshuk (2009b): Investigations about the Effects and Effectiveness of
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Grodecka, K., Wild, F., Kieslinger, B. (2009): How to use social software in higher education, iCamp
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Homola, M., Kubincova, Z. (2009): Taking Advantage of Web 2.0 in Organized Education (A Survey). In
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Role of the Movie Maker program in Physics experiments

Cătălin ChiŃu
1,2
, Cătălin Măciucă
2
, Ştefan Antohe
1

(1) University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics, P.O.Box. MG-11, Bucharest,
Romania
(2) Energetic High School, Campina, Romania
E-mail: catalinchitumail@yahoo.com

Abstract
To be considered, a physical phenomenon can be reproduced in the laboratory. This process
depends on many variables that make him the distinction in certain circumstances. Recording
the experiment with webcam, especially when it involves the existence of mechanical
movements, is important to help the analysis and interpretation of data acquired. This study
presents the role of software computer programs Media Smart Webcam and Movie Maker to
observe physical phenomena, to processing the film captures and interpretation of
experimental data respectively. It is analyzing a real oscillation phenomenon to elastic
oscillator. We appreciate the contribution made by using one computer during the training
that is beneficial to increase the quality of the experiment and correctness of the
interpretations in Physics discipline.

Keywords: Laboratory experiments, Movie Maker program, Oscillation phenomenon,
Physics discipline.

Introduction

Windows Movie Maker is video creating/editing software, included in Microsoft Windows Me,
XP, and Vista. It contains features such as effects, transitions, titles/credits, audio track, timeline
narration, and Auto Movie. New effects and transitions can be made and existing ones can be
modified using XML code.
Windows Movie Maker is also a basic audio track editing program. It can apply basic effects to
audio tracks such as fade in or fade out.
The audio tracks can then be exported in the form of a sound file instead of a video file
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_Maker).
The Windows Vista version of Windows Movie Maker support to importing video captures by
webcam (video capture device) via Media Smart Webcam software program. This program stoked
video-captures which are used to create the projects by Movie Maker program.
Software is available to allow PC-connected cameras to watch for movement and sound,
recording both when they are detected; these recordings can then be saved to the computer
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webcam).
After capture, any clip can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the timeline. Once on the
timeline, clips can be duplicated or split and any of the split sections deleted or copied using the
standard Windows keyboard shortcuts or clicked and dragged to another position. Right-clicking
any clip brings up the range of editing options. An Auto Movie feature offers predefined editing
styles (titles, effects and transitions) for quickly creating movies
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_Maker#Windows_Vista).
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Edit video catches obtained during the laboratory experiment is, in some cases, very necessary.
Thus, at certain times of the laboratory experiment, the evolutions of physical parameters deviate
from the theoretical model accordingly.
Therefore, to determine these parameters need to consider and analyze the parts of the
phenomenon evolution which correspond and which verify the theoretical model. Experimenter
will choose those portions of the video capture that meet these considerations. Deviations from the
theoretical model will also be monitored and analyzed, providing interpretations of the limits of
validity of that physical model.
Training using video means necessary when certain phenomena and experiments are difficult
to reproduced in laboratory conditions. Thus, after the video filming, these phenomena can be
easily observed, analyzed and interpreted. In this way the teacher will choose and will edit those
videos which are in accord with the objectives of the lesson (Malinovschi, 2003). Can be
determined, too, physical parameters which are impossible to measured in the absence of video
capture.
Considering that each student has a preferred learning style, training with video catches to
experimental activities help students to develop video skills and digital skills.
Training result in Physics discipline will be in accord with educational profile of students
(Florian, 2004; Gardner, 2005; Gardner, 2006, Miron 2008).
Training using the Movie Maker program can be completed using computer software. With
them, users have to provide graphical interfaces (GUI) for the fast calculation of indirect
experimental physical parameters. We estimate that this software is useful, too, to the evaluation
studies of the efficiency of learning process.
Theoretical contents

Using to the physics lesson of audio and video files edited with Movie Maker program, enhance
the quality of laboratory experiment.
In this article we present stages of a publish project to the experimental theme: "The
phenomenon of real oscillations”. Elastic behaviour of an oscillator is analyzed in laboratory
conditions. The article presents also the results obtained in laboratory experiment (A. V. SRL,
2000).
We made a video recording phase using a webcam, webcam with Media Smart software. Video
Catches were stored in computer memory. For processing, the video file is accessed with the
Windows Movie Maker - Vista version 6.0, using the button "IMPORT MEDIA”.
On computer screen will appear the project title and video capture imported (imported video
file). Will select this file, and by the "drag and drop" method, the file is inserted in the "Timeline”
to begin its processing.
When the video material is running, by pressing the "Split" button are cut sections of the
project. Unnecessary sections will be eliminated using „Remove" instruction.
If the recording contains background noise, it can be eliminated by selecting the "Audio
Levels" from the "Timeline". It will move the cursor to the right in this case.
The operator can attach a sound comment to the video recording using the "Start narration"
button. Also, using the "Import Media" button in the menu bar can be added to the project in
progress, music videos and other files belonging. These files will appear on the home page of the
project, and by the "drag and drop" method will attach them to the original file, in the following
sections: "Video” or "Audio / Music" of the editor (http://www.windows-vista-tips-and-
tricks.com/vista-movie-maker.html).
Both the video and audio sequences can be attached to certain positions of the editing project.
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After completing editing, audio video file must be saved. This is done by selecting the option
"Publish Movie" from "File". At this point the operator has several options, depending on the
chosen location to save the file created: Computers, DVD, Recordable CD, e-mail and digital
video camera.
After editing and saving the audio-video file, it can be used for educational purposes.
Also, the whole project for editing audio and video file can be saved by selecting "Save
Project" instruction from "File". Thus it will be possible to modify it later, depending on training
requirements.
Analysis of oscillatory phenomenon is based on the behaviour of small oscillations in
laboratory conditions. Small oscillations phenomenon and the real oscillations phenomenon can be
thoroughly studied using video.
In the real oscillations phenomenon we have a friction force proportional and contrary to the
direction of movement of the mass m of the oscillator. The friction force has the formula (Hristev,
1984; Yavorski, 1986):
[1] const r y r
dt
dy
r F
v
= − = − = , &
The parameter “r” is called the proportionality constant of the friction force.
By introducing the parameter named damping coefficient we obtained:
[2]
m
r
2
= β

[3]
v m
dt
dy
m F β β 2 2 − = − =


This relationship shows that the amplitude of the damping oscillations decreases in time with
the attenuation coefficient β , according to the law:
[4] ( )
t
Ae t A
⋅ −
=
β


Theoretically, this behaviour of the amplitude is an exponential decrease in time.
The rate of decreasing in time of the damped oscillations amplitude is given by the dimension
called logarithmic decrement of damping.
The logarithmic decrement of damping (D) is defined by the natural logarithm of the ratio
between the place at a period of time equal to the T period of elongations or the oscillation
amplitude taking these oscillations (Hristev, 1984):
[5]

T
T t A
t A
T t y
t y
D β =
+
=
+
=
) (
) (
ln
) (
) (
ln
The formula of the energy of the really oscillator is:
[6]
t
m
r
t
e E e E A m E
⋅ −
⋅ −
= = =
0
2
0
2 2
2
1
β
ω
Energy is seen to exponentially decrease in time with the attenuation coefficient
m
r
= β 2
.
Theoretically, the expression of the total energy at linear oscillator on elastic and gravitational
fields is:
[7]

) (
2
) (
) ( 0
2
) ( ) (
) ( n
n n d
n
A A mg
A l k
E − +
+ ∆
=
Using the energy sum up for the damped oscillatory motion made by the elastic oscillator, the
following equation can be obtained:
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[8]

dissipated f i
W E E + =
The equation of the energy sum up will be the basis for the study of the free linear elastic
oscillator.
In fact, in the case of the real linear oscillations the variation of the total energy of the
oscillator is equal to the mechanic work of the dissipative forces.
The elastic constant measurement of the oscillator by a dynamic method means to take out the
elastic pendulum from the equilibrium position.
In this case an arbitrary number of complete oscillations are timed several times, writing down
the paired values each time (Popescu et al., 2006).
The elastic dynamic constant of the spring is calculated for each case starting from the
oscillator period in the situation of small oscillations:
[9]

d
k
m
N
t
T π 2 = =


from which the value of the elastic constant is [5]:
[10]

2
2 2
4
t
mN
k
d
π
=

With Windows Movie Maker in Windows Vista 6.0 version, we edited the video capture file of
the experiment.
The oscillations occur with high frequency which does not allow direct measurement the data.
However, analysis of video capture, sequence to sequence, made possible the extraction of
experimental data.
First, it was measured by the static method, the elastic constant of oscillator under conditions
of static equilibrium (ks). The value of this parameter is required for the initial moment of the
laboratory experiment. The dynamic elastic constant of oscillator was measured by dynamic
experimental method. Certain parameters such as: variable amplitude of oscillations, duration of
each set of oscillations, etc. are determined by the dynamics method. Consider mass m=40g. Video
analysis allows for fine measurements: the period of oscillation, recovery times, and forces of
inertia at the ends of elongations, movement speeds and accelerations (Panaiotu et al., 1972). We
determinate, using theoretical calculations, the total energies of oscillator and the dissipated
energies by friction in the external environment.
Experimental results
This study characterized some of the physical parameters to real oscillations. A capture of screen
about experimental measurement can be seeing in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Screen capture from experimental work
using edited file by Movie Maker program
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The experimental data for representing the behaviours of the amplitude, the logarithmic
decrement, energies and the dynamic elastic constant of real oscillator are in the Table 1. In this
table, K
S
is the static elastic constant of the elastic oscillator.

Table 1. The experimental data to real oscillations from elastic oscillator














The measurement of the amplitude of the damped oscillations during teaching laboratory
experiment, as a function of numerical groups of oscillations, shows an approximately exponential
decrease of the amplitude (see Figure 2) (A. V. SRL, 2000; Origin Lab Corporation, 2002).
The evolution of the logarithmic decrement to the real elastic oscillator is presented in Figure
3. In this diagram it is applied fitting by a Boltzmann function.
The evolution of the total energy to the real elastic oscillator is presented in Figure 4. In fact,
with every oscillation, a part of the oscillator energy is dissipated outside as process energy
(Popescu et al., 2006).


Figure 4. The evolution of the
energy of the elastic oscillator



In agreement with theory, the experimental graphic diagrams show a more pronounced
decrease of the total energy of the real linear oscillator in comparison with the decrease of its
amplitude during the time (Origin Lab – Corporation, 2002).
N
(oscillations)
K
S
(N/m)
A
0
(cm)
A (cm) t (s)
0 22,77 2,50

0,00
22 1,50

7,68
44 1,00

15,32
66 0,70

22,88
88 0,60

30,48
110 0,55

38,08
132 0,50

45,64
154 0,45

53,20
176 0,40

60,76
198
2,50

0,35

68,36
Figure 2. The evolution of the
amplitude of oscillations
Figure 3. The evolution of
the logarithmic decrement
of oscillations
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The dissipative energy can be measured using the equation of balance energy. According to
this value, the dissipative mechanic work is the result of the variation of the oscillator total energy
for the initial and final states of oscillation (see Figure 5).
In accordance with the graph from Figure 5, it can be seen that the rate of the energy dissipated
outside by the linear elastic oscillator decreases with the increase of the number of oscillations.
Decrease of the oscillator velocity correlates with the decrease in the dissipative force are
contributes to the decrease of the dissipative energy exchange with the outside environment
(Popescu et al., 2006).
The evolution of the dynamic elastic constant of the oscillator is presented in Figure 6.


Figure 6. The evolution of the
dynamic elastic constant of
the elastic oscillator

The time dependent progress of the dynamic elastic constant shows its increase correlated with
the increasing of the number of small oscillations (Figure 6). As the number of oscillations
increased above 100 it is observed a slope change of dynamic elastic constant due to small plastic
deformations of the elastic spring.
Conclusions

In cases when physical phenomena are difficult to be reproduced in laboratory conditions, the
catches of image and sound are essential for understanding these phenomena.
Using the files edited with Movie Maker program increases the number of physical parameters
measured during teaching laboratory experiment. Are thus stimulated, knowledge transfer
processes, directing the learning partners for scientific research.
Also, training will increase efficiency, directing students learning by visual means.
We estimate that programs use video and audio editing catches lead to useful projects to
improve the quality of laboratory experiment. Students will be connected to those training
activities that cover the entire spectrum of teaching-learning-assessment styles: visual, auditory
and practical.


References

A. V. SRL. (2000): Modul of Practical Laboratory Devices. Alfa Vega SRL, Satu Mare
Florian, G. (2004): Differentiated instruction to students in physics. Else Publishing, Craiova
Gardner, H. (2005): The Disciplined Mind. Sigma Publisher, Bucharest
Figure 5. The evolution of the
dissipative energy of the elastic
oscillator
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Gardner, H. (2006): Multiples Intelligences. Sigma Publisher, Bucharest
Hristev, A. (1984): Mechanics and Acoustics. Didactic and Pedagogic Publishing House, Bucharest
Malinovschi, V. (2003): Teaching Physics. Didactic and Pedagogic Publishing House R.A., Bucharest
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Yavorski, B., Detlaf, A. (1986): The Physical Dictionary. Mir Publishers, Moscow
Some aspects of the global IT learning solutions and international
certification opportunities in the Republic of Moldova

Dr. Sergiu Tutunaru, Eng. Vitalie Boico

Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova
tutunaru@ase.md

Abstract
This paper offers a number of important issues on the development of e-learning technologies
and their implementation in the education process of the Republic of Moldova and at the
Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (AESM), by the Center for Economic
Development from Chisinau in particularly. We are analyzing our experience gained during
the training process development by using the facilities provided by the course management
system „Moodle.” This system is actively applied in the continuous education process and at
the MS IT Academy Moldova project within the AESM. Two years ago we established the
MS IT Academy Moldova, based on international well known academic curriculums which
are enriched with real-world skills. The program connects students, instructors, schools and
IT businesses in Moldova while using so named blended approach: classical and e-learning.
There are many simulations, examples and case studies from practical business situations.
These elements are usually missing in the university courses, so they were introduced in the
study process of this program. Classes are offered in Romanian-English and Russian-English
languages. The most competitive students have the opportunity to obtain an international
online certification in English. We are a part of the Pearson-VUE and Prometric, both known
as superior technology and secure test center networks. We believe that an industry-leading
certification is a proof to employers that our students have the skills for a job in various fields
of activities and helps the young specialists obtain good jobs positions.

Keywords: e-learning, distance learning, MS IT Academy, course management system.


1 Introduction

Beginning with the fall of 2003 the Republic of Moldova took several steps on the
official governmental level towards the development of information society and
e-education in the country. Thus, in 2004 the Ministry of Education with the support of
the government started the SALT project. The goal set forward was to provide all
secondary schools in the country with Internet and computer laboratories. As it was
mentioned earlier “(Tutunaru, 2004)” in the system of higher education the situation was
and is better. Considerable results have been achieved since that time. However we are
still encountering financial difficulties, lack of teachers and IT specialists in order to
achieve the goal, especially in rural community. The e-learning facilities used in these
institutions can influence the country’s e-learning development in the education and
business fields by using IT technologies.

2 The IT learning solutions

The Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (AESM) is a leading institution of
economic education in our country. Starting 2003 year, several professors began to apply
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computer technologies in the study process based on course management system
“Moodle” and some national elaborated testing systems “(Tutunaru, 2009).” This system
became attractive for us as it is based on a free platform with an open source. In addition,
it can be modified by everyone, shaped according to each one’s needs. This fact really
motivates teachers and universities. Now this system is on high demand
(http://moodle.org/stats/). In February 2010 it included more than 3,206,200 courses,
about 32,783,000 users and 1,223,349 teachers. As for April 2009 the largest report
denotes 52,558 registered validated sites, 2,799,502 courses, 30,593,828 users and
1,785,059 teachers. Today in our Academy in the Moodle system are registered more
than 90 different courses elaborated by our teaching staff.
Moodle in Moldova is promoted by enthusiastic and progressively thinking professors.
In the nearest future we plan to organise the development of this process in a more
structured way, according to the necessities of Academy’s faculties and departments.
In this context, we can certify that our university possesses all necessary equipment
and IT skilled professionals for such kind of education process. From a technical
viewpoint, there are many facilities that could help us introduce these technologies more
efficiently today. We have special technical IT department which supervises the support
for stable functionality of the computer network and computer classes and takes care of
the used software. AESM has built a powerful information system that includes more
than 1,200 computers installed in 28 classrooms, the Scientific Library, three teaching
staff rooms and student dormitories. The computer classrooms run two shifts. About
1,100 computers have Internet access. Computers are monitored by 11 servers, 28 hubs
and approximately 15,000 meters of cable which provide network links. There are 25
Multimedia slide projectors and 50 notebooks used in class and research activities. In
2005, the Academy opened the “Mediateca” multimedia centre for individual work for all
students and professors of the academy, which is open from 8 AM till 8 PM free of
charge. The existence of such a kind of structure provides new opportunities for students
in navigation of Internet resources, preparing different papers practical assignments and
performing researches.
We understand that the economy of the 21st century is driven by information
technology. Employees who possess ICT skills are better prepared to step out of low-
wage, low-skill jobs into the higher-paid jobs that require technology proficiency. That is
why when starting its activities in 2005 the Center has focused its activities in IT fields,
having organized different conferences, workshops on national and international levels.
The Center for Economic Development and Public Affairs (CDEAP) at AESM launched
Microsoft IT Academy in September 2008 (http://www.msit.ase.md).
Establishing well set connections between businesses’ needs, modern IT soft, hard
development and study process is a high priority in our days. As it was mentioned in
Microsoft instructions for IT Academies, it is not an easy task for academic institutions to
provide the relevant and engaging computing courses that students need in order to
expand their life skills and enhance their employment opportunities. Academic
institutions are centres of the skills development ecosystem, working with communities,
education stakeholders and local industries to transform learning into real-world
employment skills in a way that resonates with today’s students.
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As an example of the potential efficiency of this kind of educational collaboration
provided by MS IT Academy, we will analyze the experience of the CDEAP at ASEM in
implementing e-learning based strategies. The Microsoft IT Academy Program evolved
under the guidance of educators with the core mission of establishing academic
institutions and offering world-class computer technology curriculums enriched with real-
world skills.

3 Education process

Organizing our education process in MS IT Academy Moldova as module structure
learning, we use the Microsoft Course e-learning experience based on principles:
• Learning what you want;
• Learning when you want it;
• And in the way you want to learn it.
Microsoft IT Academies are provided to craft the right course offerings, align to
industry hiring needs and deliver a dynamic learning experience to a diverse community
of students. It is all happening in the context of the most cutting-edge Microsoft
technologies in demand today. According to the Microsoft policy, only certified
instructors with solid practical experience are involved in the teaching process.
For the members of the MS IT Academy the project offers special manuals, namely
Academic Textbooks (MOAC - Microsoft Official Course) and professional courseware
(MOC – Microsoft Official Course). We provide the electronic versions for these
materials for internal use for our students.
Using facilities provided by the course management system “Moodle” and special e-
learning facilities, exclusively elaborated by Microsoft for its MS IT academies, our
certified Microsoft instructors can:
1. Provide provision for e-learning access to students;
2. Set up classrooms as “learning groups”;
3. Send group e-mails, e.g. assignment notifications;
4. Access reporting on student use and assessment scores, etc.
The study process of the IT Academy is managed by an IT Administrator. He registers
the instructors and students in e-learning process benefits having admin key to Microsoft
distance learning system.
As MS IT Academy we received subsidised learning materials from Microsoft Official
Learning Curriculum. Benefits of Academic Course Materials are:
• Personalised service from ITCert or Wiley for your course needs;
• Examples below from ITCert.
We obtained access to a selection of Microsoft’s award-winning e-learning courses,
specifically chosen for their alignment to technology courses, which are typically taught
at Microsoft IT Academies. Our benefits of Microsoft e-learning are:
• Over 260 titles of desktop, server, and developer titles, including Windows 7 and
Office 2007;
• Content is aligned with Microsoft Certification Exam objectives.
Microsoft certifications are demanded and respected endorsements in the industry,
stressing both technical knowledge and real-world experience. Therefore at the end of
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each module the participants are taking an internal exam. After that they have online
examinations in special testing center placed in our Center for Economic Development at
AESM, under Prometric education testing service standards accreditations. (For more
details see please access https://www.prometric.com)
Benefits of Microsoft Certification: (http://itacademy.microsoftelearning.com/)
• Validates technical knowledge and skills;
• Provides a leading edge in the job market;
• Offers visible demonstration of commitment to the IT profession;
• Demonstrates a reliable benchmark in addition to a certificate or degree;
• Enables a career development path for ongoing advancement of Microsoft
technology skills.
The next example of the global education projects realized in Moldova is Cisco
Academy. It provides our students with opportunities to improve one’s qualification. The
main aspects of education in the Academy are the following
(http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/netacad/index.html):
• Comprehensive Learning Program;
• Program Evolution;
• 21st Century Career Skills;
• Global Partnerships;
• More Than 900,000 Students Worldwide;
• Delivery Method;
• Corporate Social Responsibility.

Currently in Moldova there are six Cisco Academies:
• Association DNT (Regional Academy DNT);
• CFBC (Financial and College);
• IDSI (Institute for the Development of Information Society);
• ULIM (Free University of Moldova);
• USM (State University of Moldova);
• UTM (Technical University of Moldova).

The largest Academy is Regional Academy DNT. The following courses are held
there on a regular basis:
• CCNP;
• Linux;
• CCNA Security;
• CCNA Exploration.

More than 20 instructors work in Cisco Academies in Moldova. By this time more
than 1,000 students have completed education within these programs. Microsoft IT
Academy in Moldova worked with four certified instructors, who had trained around 200
persons for the IT sector in a period of two years.
The quality of education acquired in MSIT and Cisco Academies is being tested in
Prometric and Pearson VUE test centers, which are the two largest internationally
recognized testing networks, with locations in Chisinau as well. Testing network
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Prometric includes over 160 countries, and is available in more than 7,500 locations. The
Pearson VUE provides a full suite of services, where all package of services is included:
developing tests, delivering online exams and comprehensive data management. Test
centers are located in 165 countries.
Student can estimate the level of courses and knowledge obtained going through this
video and audio recorded examination online process. Through these trainings students
get internationally recognized certificates. They are expensive for Moldavian citizens, but
this investments is worth making, as the best students are secured with working places in
the leading companies on local and international job market, because the employers have
access to the online profiles of the participants.
The next example is referred to continuing education which includes traditional
national elaborated courses, as well as globally recognized courses mentioned above. The
new specialty “Firm Finance and Accounting” was started by the CDEAP in October
2010. In this project we have used so named blended approach facilities provided by the
distance learning technologies in higher education. The duration of study is 18 months
which includes more than 20 different subjects. All necessary theoretical materials,
lectures and practical exercises are placed on Moodle (http://stc.ase.md/moodle19/
login/index.php). Special trainings were organized for teachers, staff and students
involved into this model of education. This project shows that we can make a significant
step to full e-learning process. During a short time period (about one year) an
infrastructure for faculty studies specifics was adopted, because the Moodle system was
used in ASEM by the professors and teachers enthusiastic only for their own courses.
Just now this process was organized on faculty requirements level. Comparison with
traditional methods of educations shows many advantages of this blended approach.
These examples show us as that in our specific economic conditions based on modern
e-learning facilities, we can provide high quality education and world known online
certification. Undoubtedly, this fact demonstrates the importance and perspectives of the
latter for our students in achieving their career goals.

References

Conference Proceedings:

Sergiu Tutunaru. Some aspects and peculiarities of the information society development and e-education in
the Republic of Moldova. Tendencies of the information society development. International conference,
Chisinau, December 9-10, 2004, p.124-126.
Sergiu Tutunaru. Development and opportunities of e-learning in the Academy of Economic Studies of
Moldova. The 33 Annual Congress of the American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences (ARA).
Sibiu, Romania, June 02-07. Polytechnic International Press, Montreal, Quebec, 2009, p. 358-359.

Internet Sources:

http://moodle.org/stats/
http://www.msit.ase.md
https://www.prometric.com
http://itacademy.microsoftelearning.com/
http://stc.ase.md/moodle19/login/index.php
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/netacad/index.html
An agent-based serious game for entrepreneurship

Mario Allegra
1
, Giovanni Fulantelli
1
, Manuel Gentile
1
, Dario La Guardia
1
,
Davide Taibi
1
, Gianluca Zangara
2


(1) Italian National Research Council
Institute for Educational Technologies
Via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, ITALY
E-mail: {allegra, fulantelli, gentile, laguardia, taibi}@itd.cnr.it

(2) Italian National Research Council
Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology "A. Monroy"
Via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, ITALY
E-mail: zangara@ibim.cnr.it

Abstract
Serious games can create models of the real word, allowing students to enter
lifelike environments and conditions which they would otherwise be unable to access, to
gain experience of complex situations, reacting to specific and dynamic input they receive as
they are playing. In this kind of environment they can assume a role, test their abilities and
acquire new competences.
When designing a serious game, one of the first questions to ask is: “How realistic does the
model have to be?”. A high level of reality is not always the best choice for learning. To
reproduce complex situations may not be appropriate for a beginner, so it may be better to
start with a level at which the user interacts with only a few of the components, adding others
later. Besides, reality can refer to a variety of aspects: people, activities, objects, skills and
places. A simplified model can be more effective for learning, if it focuses on specific content
and/or skills at any one time. After the mastering of specific contents/skills by the user, the
model can introduce a higher level of reality and integrate several components. For these
reasons the system presented in this paper is based on a step-by-step approach which
increases in complexity, with the aim of simulating an enterprise environment that allows
students to learn business dynamics.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial mindset, Multi Agent System, Serious game

Introduction

Problems related to the employment perspectives of young people have always been taken into
consideration by the leading economies. The cause of these problems is often attributed to a lack
of entrepreneurship skills among young people who, at the end of their studies, have to cope with
their first work experiences.
From this point of view, it is important to provide young people with methodologies and tools
to stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset. In particular, our project aims to help students in learning
the dynamics at the basis of enterprise environments.
Only some specialized schools include subjects related to the enterprise environment in their
curricula, but simulations or analysis of real-world contexts that can help students in practical
situations, are not often considered.
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In this paper we present an agent based serious game that we are going to develop; it models an
entrepreneurship environment using intelligent software agents. The game will be integrated in a
training path involving enterprises, schools and universities.
Our system is based on a step-by-step approach which increases in complexity, with the aim of
simulating an enterprise environment that allows students to learn business dynamics.
Many studies (McDowell et al, 2006; Pannese et al, 2007) argue that this type of simulation
environment, in which students learn in contexts similar to the real world is useful and effective
for dealing with similar situations that may occur in reality.
The intelligent software agent approach is useful to model a complex environment such as that
of an enterprise. Every agent can be modelled with its own behaviour, that may differ in its
complexity and in adherence to reality. The interaction of the single agents produces the evolution
of the whole system.
We have designed two types of agents: autonomous and semi-autonomous. Autonomous agent
behaviour is established at design time and cannot be directly modified by the user, while semi-
autonomous agent behaviour can be controlled at game-time according to player choices.
The game can be accessed via a GUI integrated in Facebook as a web-browser game; it is
aimed at developing students' entrepreneurial skills and to increase awareness of their own
abilities.
State of the art

The field of simulation gaming research has been studied in depth by numerous researchers in the
last few years, and special consideration has been given to the economic sector. The use of
business strategy games which aim to develop entrepreneurial skills is well documented in the
literature (Schreier and Komives, 1976) and it has led to the development of very sophisticated
systems (Faria, 2001).
The design of games and simulation environments requires careful attention to the definition of
rules and functionalities that the “decision engine” has to follow in order to generate real scenarios
according to specific learning objectives. A typical approach in the design of the “decision engine”
is to use a centralized architecture based on numerical techniques or rules systems. Using this
approach, designers have to deal with the problem of complexity management. The studies carried
out in (Cannon, 1995) affirm that complexity is a fundamental characteristic in this kind of
learning environments if it is to simulate reality and be effective.
On the other hand, high complexity involves other problems such as a lack of transparency in
the relationships of cause and effect in the actions undertaken by the players during the game
(Cannon et al, 2009). Moreover, the more complex the system is, the greater will be the delay in
obtaining feedback regarding the actions taken by a player (Dobson et al, 2004).
The result is an intrinsic difficulty for players to assess the quality of their actions, and
consequently poor support of the processes of reinforcement learning that these tools are aimed to
activate.
From a technological point of view, the evolution of artificial intelligence techniques and the
consequent development of new programming paradigms, such as agent programming, are
opening up new scenarios in the development of business strategy games.
The studies carried out (Dobson et al, 2004) state that agent technologies are suitable for the
design and development of this kind of learning environment, in order to overcome the problems
of the current platforms. First of all, this paradigm allows a designer to model the system in terms
of the entities that operate within it, providing a natural description of the system.
This bottom-up approach facilitates the design and the development of a more flexible system;
users can add new agents or tune their complexity.
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For example, it is possible to construct a simulation with increasing levels of difficulty, thus
adapting the environment to a student’s abilities in accordance with the curiosity-gap theory
(Loewenstein, 1994).
Moreover, it is possible to model the system even when the level of description of agent’s
behaviours is not defined beforehand.
Finally, agent based systems capture emergent behaviours, even simple interactions between
agents can generate complex behaviour patterns.
System Architecture

The game is based on a business simulation environment, in which the main actors are enterprises,
suppliers and customers. We use the agent-based simulation (ABS) to validate the design model
and to test the automatic behaviours of the agents. In the game we identify two kinds of agents:
autonomous and semi-autonomous agents. Customers and suppliers are examples of autonomous
agents. Instead, semi-autonomous agents have some responsibilities in the management of the
company, and include: production manager purchasing manager, inventory manager.
Semi-autonomous agents play a dual role within the game. At starting levels, these agents are
autonomous; during the game, as the user gradually reaches more advanced levels, he should be
able to cope with the events that may occur in each sector; and finally they can replace the expert
agents in taking critical decisions.
At this point the semi-autonomous agents will monitor user activities, allowing assessment of
user behaviour. In fact the user can compare his decisions with the optimal behaviour "suggested"
by the agent.
The behaviour of an agent is encapsulated in the code that defines the agent, in this way
relations between different software modules are reduced. The agents can change their behaviour
without requiring radical changes in the whole system.
Agent based architecture is distributed; agents can be resident on different servers, thus
balancing hardware resources. A well defined protocol is used to manage communication between
agents “living” in different servers. In this way, agents can communicate with each other,
independently of their localization.
In the following sections the main scenarios of the game are described.
Production Management

The production department is the area of the enterprise that transforms raw materials into products.
In our model it is characterized by the number of employees and the machinery, these elements
characterize the production capacity. On the one hand, increasing the number of employees and
machinery increases the production capacity of the company; but at the same time thisentails
higher costs for maintenance and repairing machinery, and salary costs for employees.
Therefore the production manager agent has to balance these parameters, depending on the
available resources and market requests. The availability of more machinery and employees makes
it possible to diversify the number of products and increase the production level. It is necessary to
have skills in scheduling techniques to manage all these parameters in order to maximize profits
and meet the objective of obtaining the minimum delay in orders, reducing delivery delays that can
cause/ lead to loss of money. The manufacturing process should also take account of the resources
available in the inventory management, thus influencing product supply, too.
Complex dynamics also affect the employees. The employee is an autonomous entity that
evolves over time. Our environment intends to model the skills of employees, their qualifications,
productivity and training level. Employee skills increase with experience over time or through
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participation in training courses, while their productivity in general varies with the age of the
employee.
The model we are designing, also takes into consideration an employee’s request for a higher
salary as he gains qualifications or experience. If the user doesn’t accept the request, the employee
can decide to accept a job offer from another company.
Purchasing materials

One of the key sectors in the management of a company is the purchasing area. This area controls
the sourcing of materials necessary for production. Management of this sector is in the hands of
the purchasing agent who is responsible for finding suppliers and managing the business
relationships with them. The purchasing agent responds to needs identified by the inventory
manager.
The search for suppliers may be carried out using the service directory facilitator (DF)
provided by the JADE agent platform (Bellifemine, and Rimassa, 2001). The DF agent does not
explore the entire market of suppliers, but rather the subset of providers who have decided to
publicize their activities through the DF.
Moreover, using this mechanism, the purchasing agent does not have any parameters for
evaluating and selecting the suppliers.
Instead, during the game the supplier selection is made using the model suggested by (Pi and
Low, 2006) that allows an assessment of the supplier on the basis of different parameters (quality,
price, on-time delivery). These parameters may be derived from personal experience or from the
information obtained by companies belonging to the same social network.
The purchasing agent implements the FIPA-Iterated Contract Net Protocol (shown in Figure 1)
to negotiate with the supplier agents.
The supplier agent may follow a policy of
customer loyalty; for example, when a supplier
agent does not receive orders from a loyal
customer, it could adopt a policy of discounts for
that company.
Customer Agent

Customer agents represent the entities that buy
the products. In our model customers can
simulate two types of behaviour related to b2c or
b2b relationships.
In the b2c scenario the agent simulates a
habitual/an ordinary customer who buys the
product in small quantities at the price fixed by
the user, instead in the b2b scenario, agents make
an order for a product which involves contracting
the price, the delivery and the quantity. In the
latter case the user can decide to accept the order
or refuse it, considering the resources available to
his enterprise. The production of a huge quantity
of products requires the employment of many
machines and workers in order to respect the pre-
established deadline.

Figure 1. Iterated Contract Net Protocol
(Fipa Specification)
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Users should be able to balance the employment of resources with the need to obtain the
maximum profit from the order. Users can also consider sharing the order with other users. The
reasons that may lead to this solution are for example:
• The user considers the order to be favourable but he does not have the required resources
to produce that quantity of product.
• During the production phase the user realizes that he cannot deliver on time, so he
involves other users in order to meet the deadline.
As happens on the best-known sites for online transactions, at the end of the transaction the
agent gives feedback on the user. The parameters of the feedback are related to time and quantity.
The customers will take into account the feedback received by the user to place new orders. The
B2C scenario also takes different factors into consideration. In this scenario the user has to
consider investment in advertising for his products. The choice of a customer agent will be
influenced by the advertising.
Conclusions

In this article we have described a serious game whose purpose is to foster an entrepreneurial
mindset in young people.
A key aspect of the model presented in this paper is the creation of an environment where users
acquire competence in business dynamics and management concepts.
The approach presented in this paper focuses on modeling such a complex environment
through the definition of simple software agent behaviors. This approach has a dual aim: from a
modeling point of view to make the designed environment close to reality and from a pedagogical
point of view to provide users with the necessary feedback to improve their learning paths.
References
Bellifemine, F., Rimassa, G. (2001) Developing multi-agent systems with a FIPA-compliant agent
framework. Software,Practice & Experience 31(2), 103-128.
Cannon, Hugh M. (1995) Dealing with the complexity paradox in business simulation games. Developments
in Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises 22, 96-102.
Cannon, Hugh M., Daniel P. Friesen, Steven J. Lawrence, and Andrew H. Feinstein (2009) The simplicity
paradox: Another look at complexity in design of simulations and experiential exercises. Developments in
Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises 36, 243-250.
Dobson M., Hyrylov V. and Kyrylova T. (2004): Decision training using agent-based business strategy
games. In Proceedings of the 7th IASTED International Conference on Computers and Advanced
Technology in Education, Kauai, Hawaii, 66-71.
Faria, A. J. (2001) The changing nature of business simulation/gaming research: A brief history. Simulation
and Gaming 32, 97-110.
FIPA Specifications Web Site. Available from: http://www.fipa.org
Jennings, N.R., Wooldridge, M. (1995) Intelligent Agents: Theory and Practice. Knowledge Engineering
Review 10(2), 115-152.
Loewenstein, G. (1994) The Psychology of curiosity: A review and reinterpretation. Psychological Bulletin
116:1, 75-98.
McDowell, P. Darken, R. Sullivan, J. Johnson E. (2006) Delta3D: A Complete Open Source Game and
Simulation Engine for Building Military Training Systems. The Journal of Defense Modeling and
Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology 3(143)
Pannese, Carlesi, Riente, (2007): Mettersi in gioco: Serious Games e apprendimento esperenziale per la
fomazione in azienda, http://www.imaginary.it/opencms/export/sites/default/imaginary/IT/_
allegati/Papers/Pannese_Carlesi_Riente.pdf
Pi, W. N., Low, C. (2006) Supplier evaluation and selection via Taguchi loss functions and an AHP, The
International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 27 (5-6), 625-630.
Schreier, J., Komives, J. (1976) Assessment of entrepreneurial skills using simulations. Computer Simulation
and Learning Theory 3, 53-60.
Methodological aspects of pedagogical e-tests

Tudor Bragaru
1
, Ion Craciun
1


(1) State University of Moldova
60 Mateevici str., Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
E-mail: tbragaru@usm.md, ioncraciunn@yahoo.com

Abstract
Types of recommended items, destinations, life cycles, characteristics differ essentially for
docimology and self-assessment tests. For docimology tests there are multiple theoretical
researches about the main characteristics, requirements and practical recommendations for
their development, there also are centers of expertise and accreditation etc. But authors test
problems are treated much less, these problems are intended for self-assessment/
autocontrol/autotrening at the endings of themes/modules, used primarily in self-learning
processes, mass developed by ordinary teachers without specialized expertise and
accreditations. But also such tests are very important in contiguous self-assessment terms
throughout the life and increase of requirements towards knowledge standardization. The
paper presents the summary of author’s experience in computerized testing of Moldova State
University students putting questions concerning methodology and technology of pedagogical
e-tests.

Keywords: Auto evaluation, Moodle, Computerized items and tests, Formative tests,
Docimology tests, Self-assessment tests, Characteristics, Methodology.


Introduction

In 2007 by the authors was launched initiative about implementation of new forms of distance
learning, inclusive open learning in Moldova State University.
In 2008 two projects were launched to support the given initiative:
The project 08.815.08.04A "Elaboration and application of innovative methods in distance
learning", State Program "Elaboration of scientific and technological support in building the
information society in Republic of Moldova;
Master Degree Program at the distance "Network Technologies”, supported by Hewlett-
Packard Innovative Education Grant.
Within the project 08.815.08.04A (Scientific Reports, 2009) the webpage "Open Distance
Learning” was launched, and conceptual framework and the distance learning regulations were
adopted (http://idd.usm.md).
Within the program supported by Hewlett-Packard Innovative Education Grant computer-
based testing methodology was developed (Bragaru, 2009a), information resources development
methodology for distance learning (Bragaru, 2009b) and digital educational resources for eight
disciplines according to Master Degree program.
Two tools to prepare items in MS Word and import them into Moodle were adapted at the
Moldova State University requirements and modified by the authors:
Pattern moodle_quiz_v09.dot, downloaded at the http://moodle.org/mod/data/ view.php?d=
13&rid=578&filter=1 and adapted for a more efficient loading in distance learning system based
on Moodle Platform (Bragaru et al, 2009c);
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Pattern GIFTTemplate.dot, downloaded at the http://dlnsk.pochta.ru/flashcard/ gift/
giftwithimg_for_v19.zip, improved by the addition of the possibility to introduction of tests
categories, removal of operational errors, and product documentation (Bragaru et al 2010a).
As a result of research and experimentation of methodology elaborating/developing items,
technologies and afferent instruments their updating is required to meet new knowledge and
realities.
The main problem consists in elaboration of different methodologies and technologies for
items and formative (educational) and docimology tests.

Classification problem

There is a wide variety of forms and modification of teaching tests methodologies. To determine
the value of the tests, of items characteristics and the overall relations between the different test
methods and rules of development, we need an overview over the various teaching tests.
For example, Avanesov (2010) introduces the concepts of „traditional” test, which includes
„homogeneous”/„ heterogeneous” tests and “nontraditional” test, which includes the testing of
integrative, adaptive, multilevel and with interpretation of the criteria-oriented results.
Morev (2004) writes about „Seven classification criteria and twenty types of teaching tests”
according to: theme items (homogeneous, heterogeneous, adaptive and integrative) display
method (mixed with increasing complexity, adaptive), number of respondents (individual / group),
form of tasks presentation (standard, multimedia secret, game) ; analysis procedure of results (on
paper, computer) information security procedure of information (without variations, multivariate,
randomized), scope (evaluative, formative, verification of remaining knowledge).
Radu I. (2008), Gorbanescu M. (2010) and others define, to highlight the diametrically
opposite difference, pairs of tests such as: initial / final, objective / subjective test of knowledge /
skills, criterial / normative, formative / summative, punctuated/ integrative etc.. Often they are not
all disjoint, they do not cover all levels of classification criteria: i.e. instead of the initial / final
would be the initial / intermediate / final; the objective / subjective would be objective / semi
objective /subjective etc..
The main conclusion drawn from this study is that in specialized literature a single
classification, full of teaching tests does not exist. In fact there can neither exist in the diversity of
teaching goals. However, a synthesis of the most important classification criteria, a rigorous and
complete definition of tests types for the most important criteria, a grouping of synonymous terms
– this would more facilitate practical approach to testing methodology. Although, regarding a
significant volume, it is the subject of a separate work. Further on, we will address briefly only the
author / non-standard tests, in opposition with the standardized tests, though being the fact that the
methodology, technology of development, their qualities and usage differ essentially. For luxury
details see the sources of references.

Authoring Tests (non-standardized) and standardized Tests

According to the designing, testing can be standardized and non-standardized (authoring, in
formative basis). However this classification is based, in addition to procedure of elaboration /
development, and procedures for conducting, on processing and results analysis, which are
standards for standardized tests. According to this standardized tests may be normative when
comparing results with those of the respondent in relation to a reference group, or criterials, in
case of comparing results of respondents in relation to performance criteria established
downstream. In fact one can see how we slipped slightly from a simple classification criterion
(design mode), to a complex one: the design and processing procedures of results.
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Both the authoring and the standardized tests are the knowledge tests, measure the specific
content already covered, covering knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities related to that
content. But standardized tests are based on certain norms (internal, external), respondents results
being evaluated in accordance with those of a reference group. Formative tests are mainly criterial.
Items selected for their inclusion in standardized tests should cover the most important part of
the content of exam and meet quality requirements. Items included in the formative tests usually
cover the entire matters.
Standardized tests are developed in specialized institutions, by the profile team, according to
approved technologies; they are used at various levels (institution, region, country); have superior
technical skills, being systematically certified and developed; use single procedure, standardized
test , evaluation and processing test results, are accompanied by instructions of usage.
In essence, these are docimology tests - part of standardized tests, which continue and extend
the specific assessment to the actual granting of a qualification, a final mark and which
hierarchies, classifies respondents by the obtained performances. They are used in competitions,
final exams, promotion etc.
Functionality of standardized and docimology tests depends on a number of stringent
conditions of scientific and technical nature, their quality (identity, validity, fidelity, consistency,
reliability, homogeneity, amplitude, sensitivity, standardization, calibration, useful, inexpensive)
being determined on the basis of analysis. Its detailed examination creates the subject of one
separate study. Here we only emphasize that their insurance fulfills laborious work to develop
standardized and normalized tests by cyclic attending of several phases: a) Objectives Identification
– realization of agreement between these and learning content; b) Scientific documentation –
identification and usage of sources that lead to a better understanding of the concerned issues;
c) The advancement of hypotheses by designing or selection of representative problems of entire
contents over which the checking process is realized. We must keep in mind both the verified
content, determined by the specific of each learning discipline as well as opportunities of the target
group of respondents; d) Test experimentation on representative samples to ensure the necessary
qualities; e) Statistical analysis and improving of test to ensure the necessary quality
improvement.

Principles, requirements for non-standard/authorized Tests

Authoring, non-standard tests are developed individually, practically by any teacher in limited
resource conditions, including temporal, financial, technological, as a result - often have lower
technical quality, they use mostly local, often within some faculties / departments, and developed
only by personally administered groups.
Generally, authoring tests are formative tests / school progress (instructive, punctually or
integrative, continuous self-evaluation, intermediate, diagnostics) pursuing academic progress
regularly in relation to performance criteria established previously, providing necessary feedback
that teacher and those who are trained to help them prepare for docimology tests / exams.
According the administering non-standard test point of view, distinguish the following types:
pretest (initial, entry, predictive), current (formative, instructive, self-evaluation, intermediate),
used throughout the process of (self-) learning, posttest (final, summary output, graduation), often
called and docimology. But using authoring non-standardized tests as docimology tests raises the
question of inequality levels and knowledge requirements in the various faculties and institutions,
resolution that leads to normalized tests, standardized
However, formative test content refers to specific thematic objectives, and should cover all the
content destined for learning.

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Superior advantages of formative tests:
- allow continuous assessment throughout the all matter, not just fragmentary;
- essentially reduced teacher time and the trained necessary for evaluation;
- reduce subjectivity in evaluation;
- lead to increased integral quality the training process, and more.
In developing of authoring test should be considered several phases and stages. In (Bragaru,
2009) are proposed seven steps, grouped into four phases (1. Planning; 2. Items elaboration;
3. Test verification / approval; 4. Exploitation and Development). (Gorbanescu, 2010) names,
without describing them, eight stages of development: 1. Determining the type of test; 2. Design
specifications matrix; 3. Defining assessment objectives; 4. Items construction; 5. Developing
Grading Scheme; 6. Piloting and revision tests and grading scheme; 7. Test administration; 8.
Correction and analysis of results. Without going into details below we describe briefly some
important steps and activities.

Number planned / forms of items on theme / modules

In the developed methodology (Bragaru, 2009) is recommended quantitative minimum standards
for items depending on the number of hours allocated to the course, and unique identification of
items which allows random generation of tests monitored bank. Typically, the number of
collections meets the number of themes / modules. Collections meet all forms of items. It is very
important the total coverage of learning content according to the learning objectives. Each
objective must meet several items
Also, each item should have the following features:
- to correspond exactly to the objectives (knowledge, comprehension, application) and
levels;
- have correctly and properly defined as the score and level of complexity.
Items planning starts from the curriculum, grouped by themes / modules, under which is
extracted the list of elements content that should be tested. Typically, there are used two strategies:
a) control the whole material or b) only the most important chapters. Both are applicable, provided
storage content validity (the measure in which test covers uniform content elements items they will
be tested). It should also take into account that the most important objectives need to be covered
with several items.
Levels of items can have four values:
1) superficial identification skills, knowledge, recognition of objects;
2) reproductive abilities (from memory) of information (formulas, laws, etc.);
3) cognitive abilities– knowledge application in known condition (solving tasks according to
models);
4) knowledge transfer skills – application in new condition, synthesis more knowledge etc.
Forms items correspond to the four canonical forms (open, closed, coordination and ordering
of elements) with variations. In Moodle are presented 10 forms, but their number can be expanded
according to the needs of discipline and control objectives. Each form has its advantages /
disadvantages and recommendations for the use (Bragaru, 2009), which can be continuously
improved.
The item score is one of its important features, but poorly treated in the specialized literature.
In vision of the authors, one approach would be welcome formalized by mathematical formulas.
For example, in the simplest case, if we take as a basic value 1 for items of type binary (B), for
which only two alternatives exists to answer Yes /No, True / False, etc., then for single response
items could be number of points determined by the formula:
M = [N/2],
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Where N - the number of variants of answers, and M - the maximum number of points.
Thus, an item with selecting a single correct answer between 2-3 variants, with the probability
to guess the correct answer of ½ or 0.33could be evaluated with a point; between the four / five
variants, the probability to guess correct response could be evaluated from 0.20 to 0.25 with 2
points, etc.. Obviously, this is only for guidance, the teacher leading and informally assigned
points using some coefficients.
Similarly, should be established formulas for items with multiple responses, ordering, and
combination of elements, semi open with placing a missing word, a formula / values that are more
sophisticated and are not placed from the limitation of space.
Level of complexity may be small, medium, and large. Items of type binary (B), single
response (S) almost always will have the lowest level of complexity. Multiple-choice items (M),
with the introduction of answer (L), coordination (C) and ordering of items (O) can have any
degree of difficulty, determined by the author after necessary time, the number of needed
operations, how students also resolved items, if they had similar items in previous tests, etc… It is,
however, note that complexity does not take of form as the item content.

Unique identification of items of bank items

Because formative tests can be launched unlimited, their fixed content could be stored
mechanically. However, when tested in classrooms with many stations (computers) neighboring
students can "cooperate" in answers formulating, since many systems allow free navigation
between test items, i.e. to synchronize with another test.
To not allow such a thing, formative tests / self-assessment would be generated by random
selection of items from the bank of items (random selection from item pool). But such tests should
be equivalent generated by number, type, form items, total score, etc.
This requires developing a unique item identifier, which includes as many features of it. But, as
I seized above, any classification may not be complete. That is code-item identifier would need to
be "open" to leave place for any necessary author grouping, imposed by tradition, internal norms,
etc.
At the same time, to monitoring the random selection of needed items to the test, in the
respective software can be provided, the possibility of filtration. Authors have modified the
Moodle platform by implementing regular expression with possibility of filtering/ selection of
items collection in a test. It should be mentioned that in Moodle the collections have hierarchical
structure / inclusion. As a result, a filtering operation can be applied simultaneously on several
subordinate collections.

Tests speciffication and develop the inclusion matrix

Making of a good formative test starts with establishing its specifications. The more they are
determined more precisely, that contains several factors to be taken into consideration, the test
result can be considered best. Establish one correct specification keeps internal traditions, the most
important factors were: test type open / closed, the total number of items in the test, with/ or
without time limit (per item, per test), test duration, method of administration (nr. launches limited
or not), method of scoring and other. As a result, it aims to obtain a list specification of tests (Table
2), where as columns is containing the desired characteristics of the test values.
For composition / generate random tests of content collections is important to know the
characteristics, specifications collections of items (Table 1): number of items by forms, level of
complexity scores and any other desired characteristics of items, covering an objective, a theme/
module and inclusion matrix of items in the test according to the needs specified above (Table 3).
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Table 1 The structure of bank items

According to the forms of the themes
According to the level of
complexity

Binar Singular Multiple ... Low Medium High

Nr.
theme,
module
Nr.
hrs
Total
Items
Nr. % Nr. % Nr. % Nr. % Nr. % Nr. %
1 2 60 20 33 10 17 18 30 ...
… … .. … … … … … … …
Total 20 1200 100 12 240 20 480 40 … 360 30 50 240 20


Table 2 Characteristics specification of planned tests
Nr.
Dis.
Naming Test type
goal/
objective
Nr.
Items
A
s
s
o
c
i
a
t
.
m
a
t
t
e
r
s

A
s
s
o
c
i
a
t
C
o
l
l
e
c
t
i
n
T
e
s
t

D
u
r
a
t
i
o
n
Promot.
threshold

Grading
mode

0 Admission Admission Diagnose 15 1 1 15-20 30 Automatic …
1 Theme 1 Intermediate Formative 20 1 1 20-40 50 Automatic
… …
10 Finale Summative Evaluation 40 4 4 45-60 70 Automatic …

Table 3 Matrix for detailed specification for test.......
According to the forms
of themes
According to the
objective
Complexity Level ..
Bin. Sing Mult …
Know-
ledge
Under-
stand
Appli-
cation
Without 1 2 3 … …
Nr.
Dis.
Naming,
Test type
Total
items
Nr. %
Nr.
%
Nr.
%
Nr.
%
Nr./ % Nr./ % Nr./ % Nr./ %
Nr.
%
Nr.
%
Nr.
%
Nr.
%

1 …
.... …
Total …

Answers statistics and collections of items correction

After each period, according to statistics the collections of items needs to be reviewed. Too simple
items (in which almost all respond correctly) and too complicated items (that no one answers)
must be removed or corrected.

Feedback

It is reasonable to provide at least two forms: current feedback to each item, with comments of
answers and reference on the insufficient studied materials for incorrect answers, feedback on the
final test session of the full test. The first type of feedback is useful only in the formative test, the
second - for any type of test.

Conclusions

The problem of computer-assisted assessment is very ample; many worldwide scholars are
concerned with theory and practice of docimology tests, their statistical analysis, measuring the
characteristics of validity, reliability, differentiability etc. and items and tests quality assurance.
Providing and measurement of educational testing characteristics remain the agenda of modern
computer based testology.
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Another important direction of research in the testology and docimology field keeps the
intellectualization and tests efficiency (adaptive tests, dynamic, intelligent) as well as making
processes, leading to methodological and technological boundaries to differential treatment testing
methodology and technology training and docimology.
Since the formative test do not pass expertise and accreditation, that are mass elaborated,
practically by all teachers for the various materials, for relatively small groups of respondents, and
with a short period of life - assurance of items quality and educational testing should be performed
and designed on the basis of construction. In this context there are presented some solutions of
coding, scoring and selection of items in formative and docimology tests.
It should be mentioned that methodological, teaching, technological aspects of electronic
evaluation are still ongoing debate topics in the world. More important is the development and
establishment of practical and scientific methodologies, tools and technologies to support the
development and management processes of various types of educational tests and items.


References

Books:
Bragaru T. and Craciun I. and Cirhana V. (2009a): Computer-assisted testing. Methodology. SUM, Chisinau.
Bragaru T. and Craciun I. and Cirhana V. (2009b): Develop information resources for distance learning.
Methodology. SUM, Chisinau.
Morev I. A. (2004): Educational Informational Technologies. Part II. Teaching changes. Manual.–
Vladivostok, Dalinevostok. univ. –174 s., available online http://window.edu.ru/window/catalog?
p_rid=40905
Radu I. T. (2008): Evaluation in didactical process. – Bucuresti, Didactics and Pedagogy Ed. – 288 p.

Scientific Reports:
08.815.08.04A project (2009): Development and application of innovative methods în distance learning.
SUM, Chisinau.

Journal Articles:
Bragaru T. et al. (2009c): Practical Guide for the authoring tests in MOODLE. University study series,
“Mathematics Informatics and Economy” 7(27), Chisinau pag. 71-75.
Bragaru T. et al. (2010a): Preparing items in MS Word and import into MOODLE. University study series,
“Mathematics Informatics and Economy” 2(32), Chisinau, pag.87-92.

Conference Proceedings:
Bragaru T. (2007): E-testing in higher education. International Conference on Microelectronics and
Computer Science, Technical University of Moldova, Chisinau, pag. 131-134.
Bragaru T. and Craciun I. (2008): Methodological and didactic aspects and practical recommendations for
assessment, in the AEL environment. CNIV-2008, Constanta, 231-237 pag.
Railean E. (2008): Psycho-pedagogical principles of computerized test development. CNIV-2008, Constanta,
77-83.

Internet Sources:
Avanesov V.S. (2010): Theory and Methods of Teaching Changes,
http://testolog.narod.ru (accessed at 02.08.2010)
Gorbanescu M. (2010): Written tests. http://www.didactic.ro/files/4/testelescrise.doc (accessed at 02.08.10)
Moodle, official documentation (2009): http://docs.moodle.org
Regulation of distance learning in MSU (2008): http://idd.usm.md

Computer Programs:
GIFTTemplate.dot: http://dlnsk.pochta.ru/flashcard/gift/giftwithimg_for_v19.zip
Moodle instalation kit (2010): http://download.moodle.org
Moodle_quiz_v09.dot: http://moodle.org/mod/data/ iew.php?d=13&rid=578&filter=1
The king is dead! Long live the king!

Elena Liliana Danciu

West University of Timisoara, Faculty of Sociology and Psychology
Department of Educational Sciences
4 Bd Vasile Parvan, 300223 Timisoara, ROMANIA
E-mail: liliana.danciu@gmail.com

Abstract
A generation „against” or an impatient generation, who knows how to ask many questions
but has no time to listen to the full answers, the students today are trying to attract energies
that can take them out of the unknown, routine and boredom without too much effort.
Therefore, as a teacher, the only way is to be close to them in order to know them, understand
them and help them in their still chaotic way to find themselves and to select the most efficient
ways, procedures and strategies that can lead them to their goals. From the point of view of
informational technologies, the e-mail, long forgotten because of the last minute novelties,
has always been at hand, and we tried to transform it into a into an efficient evaluation
instrument, of the teaching learning activities and of personal competencies. The way in
which all the methodological fields of outlining an evaluative strategy have been carried out,
the results obtained on a personal and professional level, in the communication relationship
and self-knowledge, the barriers and their way of solving things represent the subject of this
paper.

Keywords: E-Mail, Evaluative Techniques, Emotional Factors, Informational Strategies,
Competencies

Introduction

A generation „against” or an impatient generation, who knows how to ask many questions but has
no time to listen to the full answers, the students today are trying to attract energies that can take
them out of the unknown, routine and boredom without too much effort. Therefore, as a teacher,
the only way is to be close to them in order to know them, understand them and help them in their
still chaotic way to find themselves and to select the most efficient ways, procedures and strategies
to do that..
Because most of the time they think that they hold the absolute truth, and they have more
energy than the ones necessary for an usual activity, they cannot adapt to the classic rhythms of
teaching/forming and when they are in the position of being evaluated, they are suspicious about
the incorrectness of the appreciation of their competencies which makes them want something
completely different. This is why we tried to find an efficient evaluation way that can involve
them personally, and be modern enough to please them.
Although there is social media and the most sophisticated informational technologies like
blogs, micro-blogs, social networks and the ones of work collaboration known under the name
Web 2.0 are in trends; our students come to the university with a lower level of digital skills than
the world wide trends. The student knows to work on Yahoo Messenger, to perform simple
searches on Google, maybe work in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
The UNESCO and ISE statistics carried out in 2008 reveal the real situation of using ICT in
schools which gives us the possibility of finding some answers for out questions. For example,
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89,7% of the teachers claim that there are enough computers for students, but only 50% of the
teachers declare that schools ensures the necessary number of computers for the activity of 50% of
the students who use the computers in the informatics lab and 28,1% of them, in class. The
individual use by the students of a personal laptop is an unrealistic situation for the socio-
economical conditions in Romania. Nevertheless, over 80% consider it necessary to provide a
laptop for each student for facilitating the use, the possibility of personalizing the working space
etc. Insufficient equipments is one of the realities of our schools, which is why we can talk with a
certain scepticism about efficient instruction within the 21st century without involving
informational technologies.
The barriers in using ICT in the didactic activity have proven to be: the lack of access to
technology (hardware) 16, 2%, the lack of available funds for buying technology 22, 1%,
resistance inside the school 25%, lack of connections (internet, broadband etc) 23, 5%, the lack of
some proper contents / software for the teachers 30,9%, the lack of IT support in school which can
be used efficiently 19, 1%.
In the first year of study, the students attended a class called “Information and Communication
Technology” which was very helpful when they needed. When asked at the beginning of the
semester about the working means they prefer in the student – teacher relationship, the students
have chosen the e-mail both for evaluation and counselling. The students haven’t chosen platforms
or group addresses because these are usually used for informal discussion about formal subjects
and e-mail involves much more confidentiality.
From the point of view of informational technologies, the e-mail, long forgotten because of the
last minute novelties, has always been at hand, and we tried to transform it into a into an efficient
evaluation instrument, of the teaching learning activities and of personal competencies. In other
words, The King is dead! Long live the King!
Methodological alternatives

Being an essential component of the curricular management, the evaluation of the professional –
scientifically performances of the students is part of the coherent and interdependent succession of
the main actions that form the projecting – teaching – learning – evaluating process and it became
part of the pedagogic evaluation system of the educational processes and structures. The results
have always been a relevant source of information for the evaluation of the curriculum, of the
pedagogic activity of the teachers, of the efficiency of the teaching – learning process, of the
functioning of the academic structures and have been made part of the procedures of collegial,
monitoring and periodic evaluation analysis of the study schedules, representing a synthetic
indicator of the learning results. (Apostol, 2003, Stoica, 2001). For us, the evaluation represented
measuring / checking the students’ acquisitions, the interpretation and appreciation of the results
based on some unitary and objective criteria, the adaptation of the educational decision of
adjustment and efficiency of the instructive –educational process. The types of results expected
were:
• accumulated knowledge (concepts, definitions, phenomena, products, laws, principles,
theories);
• intellectual capacities (reasoning, divergent thinking, argumentation and interpretation
power, interdependence in thinking, creativity); (Manolescu, 2006),
• acting capacities, of using the knowledge (skills, abilities, competencies);
• personality features (attitudes, behaviours) (Albulescu and Albulescu, 2003) finally being
appreciated according to some performance standards or performance descriptors,
according to the aimed at goals, the level of the year, the possibilities of each student, the
existent level at the beginning of the instruction process.
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Through all these, the student found out about the expectations and the evaluation criteria of
the performances and as a teacher, I could adjust my didactic steps within the limits imposed by
these standards which allowed the highlight of the progress made (Meyer, 2004).
The exercise of the evaluation under this form started at the beginning of the semester at the
level of the 1st and 2nd years of the Faculty of Sociology and Psychology, the Department of
Educational Sciences. The students have been divided in micro – groups of 5 members and each
group has chosen a leader. Their formation was made:
• through counting until 5 (all the numbers 2, for example, formed the micro – group no 2,
all the numbers 4, the micro group no 4)
• according to literary preferences
• according to the year, month and date of birth
• according to famous couples and characters (for fun)
• titles of some novels and their authors
• renaissance painters and famous paintings.
The groups have changed their leaders within a three weeks term, so that each member got to
be a leader within a semester. For more special activities, the basic micro – group received another
member, so that all members could get involved better in working on stations, a very used method
within the teaching – learning process in the seminar type classes.
The formal leader has not always been the same with the informal leader but, working together,
they learned to complete each other, to help each other, to give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar.
His tasks consisted of:
• checking if the support materials, the bibliographies, the slides, the pps reach the
members of his micro-group in time and are complete
• to keep notes of the level of self evaluation of each member and of the evaluation of each
paper, essay, slide, pps, summary, reading file, docimology test etc. By each member of
the group so that the final evaluation was the sum of the self evaluations and the 5
evaluations done by each member of the group
• a permanent connection with the class holder (through email) and transmitting all the
information regarding support materials, supplementary information with text, visual or
audio – visual support and of the situations of evaluations and self –evaluations
• retransmitting all the instructions in detail regarding performing tasks, for the safety of
observing the working algorithms and avoiding methodological mistakes.
To be sure that the evaluation will not be subjective, positively or negatively, according to
friendships or antipathies, rivalries or unloyal competitions, each member of the study year
received a literary nominal symbol (Bela, Cerebel, Ronaldo, Sofia, Riga) and a graphic one which
he kept regardless of the micro-group he was part of, a symbol agreed upon together with the
teacher, and which reflected, if possible, a special characteristic of his personality. For example, at
the class of Game Psycho pedagogy, besides current evaluation, the students had to write two
thematic papers and a collection of games (only 10 games) in a special imagistic, audio, kinetic,
ergonomic and most importantly attractive presentation, interesting for the age level of the
children it was made for. The materials have been self evaluated (Stan, 2000) and sent through
email to the group leaders who also sent them to the members of their group to be evaluated
(together with the settled performance criteria), and then, to the other leaders that acted in the same
way. The results obtained and processed by the leaders were sent to the teacher who added his
grade and decided the final one. Both the self evaluation and the evaluations of the others were
accompanied by arguments according to the performance criteria previously settled. The best
paper was suggested to be presented from the Writer’s or Creator’s Chair for a public reward of
the student’s efforts.
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For maintaining the interest, we also applied the technique of forecasting the results in similar
tests.
Discussions

At the applied tests we evaluated:
• the completeness and correctness of the knowledge, the scientific or artistic character of the
paper
• the logic coherence, the fluency, the expressivity, the augmenting force
• the capacity of operating with the assimilated knowledge in intellectual complex activities
• the capacity of practically applying, in different contexts, the knowledge acquired
• the capacity of analysis, personal interpretation, originality, creativity
• the degree of assimilating speciality language and the capacity of communication
• the novelty and actuality of the bibliography used
• the diversity of the used informative materials
• originality
• interpretation level.
At the performance criteria mention above we also added criteria regarding attitude and
motivation aspects of the students’ activities like: consciousness, interest for individual study,
active participation to seminars, classes frequency etc (Stoica and Mihail, 2006). As objective
items we used:
• Items with dual choice – with YES/NO, true/false, correct/incorrect answers.
• Pair type items – which requested setting correspondences/associations between elements
placed on two columns.
• Items with multiple choices – which requested the choice of a correct answer / optimal
alternative from a list of solutions / alternatives.
Among the semi objective ones, we used:
• Items with a short answer – expression, word, number, symbol etc.
• Items of filling in – incomplete sentence which involves filling in blank spaces with 1-2
words that are part of the given context.
• Structured questions – more subquestiones connected through a common element.
Among the subjective ones, we used:
• Solving problems (problem situations) which evaluated elements of convergent and
divergent thinking, complex mental operations (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, transfer).
• Items of essay type – requested the students to build a free answer according to a set of
given requirements – structured / semi structurated essay, free essay (not structured) (Chis,
2005, Radu, 2000, Stoica, 2003).
Results

At the end of the evaluation period, after the appreciation differences between the students and
teacher decreased because of the exercise of observing the performance criteria, regardless of the
person in discussion, but, most importantly, after the students finally accepted, step by step that
they are not that invincible as far as information and competencies are concerned, the positive
effects of our intervention were soon to be noticed.
The students themselves admitted that:
• they learned to thoroughly think about things and then have an opinion
• they practiced correctly applying some evaluation algorithms and felt the responsibility of a
well done thing
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• the responsibility exercise made them grow and taught them to take seriously any task as
insignificant as it may be, because it is the only way to make progress
• the presence in the „Writer’s chair”, self-appreciation and the appreciation of other
colleagues, the observance of some compulsory rules for everyone, with the online
revelation of the values of appreciation created moments of positive emotions in which
each and everyone on them felt valued
• the students understood that correctness of each of them depends on the social values of
appreciating work
• the opinion of the other about them matters a lot even if they braved for a long time that
they do not care about what other people think about them
• within these activities, they learned what it means to be fair – play, to be consequent and to
openly admit the strengths of their colleagues, by being happy about them.
Conclusions

The exercise of the evaluation revealed among its positive elements and the existence of some
temporary barriers: if the steps of the evaluation algorithm are not clearly settled, the method
becomes macrophage – it takes a lot of time to evaluate each paper of the group members and the
personal paper (each member of the group has to correct 5 papers with his own). The evaluation
time was reduced when we established the temporal parameters for each sample and step of the
evaluation (a settled hour for sending the email):
• of the information by the teacher;
• of the results of the evaluation and self – evaluation by the student
• of the final results obtained from the average of the grades given by the colleagues, his own
grade and the grades given by the teacher
• comments regarding the quality and originality of the products carried out
Each course/seminar ended with the well known Notes which consisted either of two questions
like:
• What did you most like in the activity carried out within this course?
• What bothered you and what didn’t you like in the activity performed?
Or tasks like:
• Make at least one suggestion regarding the way of developing of the next course with the
theme ... (the support materials and selective bibliographies will be sent through email in
and attached file)!
• Give one to the following marks – Insufficient, Sufficient, Good, Very good, Excellent - to
the activities carried out during this course/seminar and give arguments for your choice!
• Find the appropriate word to characterize the activity carried out at this course/seminar!
• Sent a thought to the holder of this course!
The answers to each of these were sent by email, with a deadline, the day before the next
course/seminar. According to all these, we made all the necessary changes in the content,
interactive activities, organization forms, teaching – learning strategies etc. We received the most
interesting answers to this question:
• What meant for you using this type of evaluation in which electronic mail was involved?
o I think it was the most appropriate way to experience the apprenticeship of
evaluation on my own skin. Until I wasn’t correct with myself, the evaluation of
the others could not be done within the real parameters.
o I understood what it means to be impartial when you appreciate somebody else’s
work and I felt the bitter taste of the value judgements done by my colleagues
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regarding my own skills. It was a cold shower for my ego but it taught me that it
is difficult to reach the truth and it is even more difficult to keep it.
o It was an excellent exercise for the future teacher in me. At the beginning I
thought it was a bit complicated, time consuming, but I grew to really enjoying
it. And I loved the discretion with which the teacher imposed something to me,
which, in the end, I considered to be the best alternative for what we did in class
at that time.
o He made from a forgotten thing, a pertinent and finally efficient evaluation
instrument that we learned easily and liked because it made us know who we
really are and use our informatics knowledge.
Considering all the arguments presented, this form of evaluation could become a method in
itself if we elucidate all its elements. Blind evaluation, the existence of performance criteria and
the structure of the interpersonal teacher – student relationships will favour positive behaviours
and self – control building step by step a sense of reality and making the need for valuing more
permanent.

References

Albulescu, I. And Albulescu, M. (2000): Teaching and learning socio-human disciplines, Polirom Publishing
house, Iaşi.
Apostol, A. (2003): Alternative evaluation practices, Qim Publishing house, Iaşi.
Chiş, V. (2005): Contemporary pedagogy – competences pedagogy. Editura CărŃii de ŞtiinŃă Publishing
house. Cluj-Napoca.
Meyer, G. (2004): Why and how do we evaluate? Iaşi. Polirom.
Manolescu , M. (2006): School evaluation, method, techniques and instruments, Meteor Press Publishing
house, Bucharest.
Radu, I. (2000): Evaluation in the didactic process, E.D.P., Bucharest.
Stan, C. (2000): Self-evaluation and didactic evaluation, Presa Universitară Publishing house, Clujeană, Cluj-
Napoca.
Stoica, A. (2001): Current evaluation and exams, Prognosis Publishing house, Bucharest.
Stoica, A. (2003): The evaluation of school progress, from theory to practice, Bucharest Humanitas
Educational Publishing house.
Stoica, A. and Mihail R. (2006): Educational evaluation. Innovations and perspectives, Humanitas Publishing
house, Bucharest.
Blended Learning Environment in Vocational Education
*


Mehmet Şahin

Technical Science College, Selcuk University, Turkey
mesahin@selcuk.edu.tr

Abstract
Blended learning is becoming more and more prevalent and it is vital for higher education
and corporate training settings to create strategic plans and directions, focusing on
pedagogical techniques in blended learning to make use of this teaching and training model.
This is a qualitative research using interview technique with a trainer who applied blended
training model at a vocational organization. This qualitative research aims to find out
whether blended learning is effective in mechanical manufacturing training based on the
ideas of a trainer who applied blended training model at a vocational organization. The
research indicates that blended learning can play a vital role in training sessions of
vocational branches like mechanical manufacturing in the educational organizations and
workplaces. It is also not only a matter of higher education. It can be used for any vocational
training based on skill development for manufacturing and production at any level. The
implementation of blended learning model in a very specific field of vocational education like
mechanical manufacturing has shown that it can help training if it is designed well.
Keywords: Blended learning, vocational education, vocational training, mechanical
manufacturing


1. Introduction

It is an accepted fact that the model of blended learning is gaining widespread acceptance all over
the world but a generally accepted definition has not emerged yet. Scholars outside of education
have approached the meaning of blended learning from a scientific angle, drawing upon its title’s
connection to biology and botany. Sands (2002), for example, noted that since the word hybrid
refers to the offspring of two different genetically dissimilar parents, teaching and learning in this
framework must also involve the successful joining of opposing parts - online and face-to-face
methodology. Building upon this metaphor, Osguthorpe and Graham (2003:227) described
blended models as “pedagogies that change according to the unique needs of learners. Those who
use blended learning environments are trying to maximize the benefits of both face-to-face and
online methods - using the web for what it does best and using class time for what it does best.”
Therefore, according to the definition this study adopts, blended learning is a hybrid learning
concept integrating traditional in-class sessions and e-learning elements (Reay, 2001; Rooney,
2003) in an attempt to combine the benefits of both learning forms. Graham (2006:5) summarizes
three definitions of blended learning as the (a) combination of instructional delivery media, (b)
combination of instructional methods, and (c) combination of online and face-to-face instruction.
The combination of online and face-to-face instruction is the one according to which this research
has been designed since defining blended learning as the combination of online and face-to-face
instruction more accurately reflects “the historical emergence of blended learning systems.” The

* This is the preliminary form of a study titled “Blended Learning Model in Mechanical Manufacturing
Training”.
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criticism that online teaching-learning environments lack many advantages that face-to-face
environments have has led to the notion of blended learning.
Blended learning is described as “integrated learning”, “hybrid learning”, “multi-method
learning. However, "blended learning" is being used with increasing frequency in both academic
and corporate circles. For some authors, written language is the first example of “blended” as it is
the combination of language and paper. Printing press is the next stage. However, what we regard
as blended learning in this research is the definition by Flexible Learning Advisory Group (2004):
Blended learning is learning methods that combine e-learning with other forms of flexible learning
and more traditional forms of learning. Or, Blended learning (also called hybrid learning) is the
term used to describe learning or training events or activities where e-learning, in its various
forms, is combined with more traditional forms of training such as "class room" training (Stockley,
2005). Bersin, (2004) outlines the evolution of learning from the traditional classrooms of the
1950's through today's blended learning environment. The last stage is Integrated Blended
Learning: 2000-... which includes Web, Video, Audio, Simulation, ILT, and more.
Blended learning in this sense is a recent online innovation as a result of integrating
technology into education. Advances in technology and the changes in teaching and learning
approaches (from teacher centered to student centered one) facilitates the new models like blended
learning to come out. Watson (2008) suggested that blended learning involves a shift in strategy in
three areas: from teacher centered to student centered learning, from limited to high frequency
interactions between students and resources, and from intermittent to deliberate integration of
formative and summative assessments. In fact, Educators have been preoccupied with integrating
technology into the classroom for decades (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2004). The rapid change in
technology in our century has caused students and in general individuals and in special students to
change too. Technology and students are changing rapidly and individuals have the capacity for
this change, which implies that educators should be embracing “the new digital reality of the
online, computerized world” (Jukes, 2008:6). Young (2002) said: “Within five years, there will be
lots of blended models such as students going to school two days a week and working at home
three days a week. Another blended model…is where a student takes five face-to-face courses at
school and two virtual courses” (cited in Picciano & Seaman, 2009:5). In 2002, Prof. Bourne (as
cited in Young, 2002) said: “within five years, you'll see a very significant number of classes that
are available in a hybrid fashion …. somewhere in the 80-90-percent range.” Buckley et al. (2002)
and Tagg (1995) noted a paradigm shift in higher education leading to new models of teaching and
learning. Now, we are embracing rapid changes in Internet technologies that, in turn, demand that
blended learning becomes an integral component of education (King, 2002).
Blended learning may occur at different levels of instruction: (a) at the activity level, when a
learning activity contains both face-to-face and computer-mediated elements; (b) at the course
level—the most common—where both face-to-face and computer-mediated activities are included
as part of a course; (c) at the program level, when participants take both online and face-to-face
courses in a program; and (d) at the institutional level, with organizational commitment to
blending face-to-face and computer-mediated instruction (Graham, 2006). When designing a
blended learning environment, the first point to be decided is to design a part of the blended
subject matter as face-to-face and some as online. The more common blending technique is
usually half-and half. In other words, 50 percent consists of face-to-face activities in classroom
environment and the other 50 percent of activities performed in an online environment
(Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003). Rossett and Frazee (2003) suggest that instruction tools and
planning approaches are crucial components for a successful blending, and that all components of
the instruction method can be appropriately combined. A blended model usually includes certain
educational components. However, teachers have a wide range of options for blending and they
are not only limited to the applications and activities previously known and used. Education might
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be a combination of formal and informal approaches, technology and human-based activities,
independent and enjoyable activities or direct and exploratory materials. Reay (2001) stresses that
blended learning is not just adding online materials to a conventional training environment; BL
must be relevant, and demand a holistic strategy leveraging the best characteristics of all learning
interventions. The selected methods/techniques should be appropriate to the subject. The
successful implementation and use of BL requires understanding of the strengths of different
mediums; how learners engage in this type of learning process; how they use information from
each different medium and how they can handle online and the traditional (face-to-face) teaching
methods in a combined form (Mortera-Gutierrez, 2006). Three major components of BL that can
be blended/mixed in FTF and online environments are learning activities, the students, and the
teacher. As reported by Osguthorpe and Graham (2003), “If balance and harmony are the qualities
that are sought for in blended environment, one must first identify precisely what is to be mixed
together”.
Garrison and Kanuka (2004:97) noted that true blended learning lessons do not involve
supplementing with the Internet two or three times a week, merely layering repetitive online
content on top of face-to-face instruction, or dressing up old content in new clothes. In their
estimation, blended learning is a “reorganization and re-conceptualization of the teaching-learning
dynamic.” Elements from e-learning or in-class sessions should not be included arbitrarily, nor
should one form of learning simply accompany the other. There is no rule of thumb determining
the percentage of online and in-class phases in the concept (Reimer, 2004). Some fields are better
suited for in-class methods, others clearly benefit from the use of the new media (Lang, 2002). The
decisive factor in developing blended learning concepts is to combine the methods of in-class
learning and e-learning in a way that is appropriate to both pedagogy and current concepts of
learning (Lang, 2002). Based on the practical question of how to blend, three categories for
blended learning systems exist:
1. “Enabling blends” focus on addressing issues of access and convenience.
2. “Enhancing blends” incorporate incremental changes to existing pedagogy such as offering
resources and supplementary materials online while in a traditional face-to-face learning
environment.
3. “Transforming blends” allow a radical transformation of the pedagogy by taking full
advantage of the capacity offered by the technology (Graham, 2006).
Zukowski (2006) emphasizes five emerging ingredients as important elements of a blended
learning process, including live events, self-paced learning, and collaboration, assessment, and
performance support materials. Painter (2006) lists eight key steps to blended learning:
1. Prepare learners with essential skills and overall understanding to ensure success.
2. Inform learners about objectives, facts, and key concepts of the skills they are going to learn
and explain the value of learning them.
3. Demonstrate procedures, principles, concepts, and processes so learners can apply the skills.
4. Provide learners with opportunities to practice newly-learned skills and build long-term
retention.
5. Evaluate learners’ application of new skills and provide feedback.
6. Assist learners’ transfer of learning.
7. Provide tacit support of peers, mentors, or experts.
8. Allow learners to work collaboratively as a community to solve problems.
Singh and Reed (2001) characterized blended learning as “optimizing achievement of learning
objectives by applying the „right” blended learning technique to match the „right” personal
learning style to transfer the „right” skills to the „right” person at the „right” time (p. 2). Each of
these workplace definitions adhered to following principles: (a) a focus on learning objectives
rather than the mode of delivery, (b) a respect for learning styles in order to reach a broad
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corporate audience, (c) a desire to ease the overall competitiveness of the business organization
and build a sense of community, (d) an attempt to make work and learning inseparable operations
and (e) embed learning in all aspects of the business from hiring to sales to product development.
Although it is essential for blended learning teachers to articulate their teaching philosophies,
Kanuka (2008) argued that hybrid instructors must also be cognizant of three competing
psychological impressions of technology and their impact on the field of blended learning: user
determinism, social determinism, and technological determinism.

2. The aim and Importance of the Research

The aim of this research is to find out the opinions of trainers who train the students of mechanical
manufacturing on CNC Turning by blending face-to-face classroom environment, workshop and
an internet based virtual training environment.
Blended learning has been applied in higher education and workplace learning settings
throughout the world and may lead to improved pedagogy, increased access and flexibility, and
increased cost-effectiveness (Graham, 2006). It is a fact that mechanical manufacturing requires
use of technology and training in this field should be based on the use of educational technology.
Thus, blended learning may be used to “foster learning communities, extend training events, offer
follow-up resources in a community of practice, access guest experts, provide timely mentoring or
coaching, present online lab or simulation activities, and deliver pre-work or supplemental course
materials” (Bonk et al., 2006, p. 560). In the business world, the most important reasons for
developing blended solutions include the ability to match learning styles; to create individually
tailored solutions; to reduce class time; to improve the learning rate; and to exploit the investments
already made in re-usable training resources (Sparrow, 2003). In academia, the initial cost-saving
argument for e-learning (Gayeski, 1998; Wilson, 1999) has recently been replaced with a more
refined understanding of how to integrate technology into an overall learning strategy. This
research relates the technology used in manufacturing with the educational technology used for
training in a blended environment. In this case, the role and function of a trainer in such an
environment is of importance from that trainer’s perspective. Rather than the opinions of the
trainees (who are exposed to blended learning model), the opinions of the trainers are significant to
assess the place of blended learning model in a technical training lesson like mechanical
manufacturing on CNC turning. This model can be regarded as a novel training and learning
design. The opinions of a trainer who already sued this model can help educators to determine
what they should do more or what they should omit.

3. Material and method

This study is based on a case applied at the department of Mechanical Engineering of Technical
Science College, Selcuk University, Konya. In 2009, the college realised a LdV Development of
Innovation Project “Virtual Training Centre for CNC” (http://www.vtcforcnc.com). The Virtual
Training Centre (VTC) was set up on the Internet for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) training
based on virtual aids. The author of this study was involved in that project as coordinator and
researcher. After the project was completed, the training tool developed was applied at the
department as a part of blended learning model in the class Mechanical Manufacturing on CNC
Turning by a trainer who also worked in the same project as trainer. The trainer (Ph.D) was
experienced in mechanical manufacturing training using face-to-face teaching in the class
environment and workshop. The author suggested the trainer adding the Turkish version of Virtual
Training Centre for CNC to his training session. The trainer used classroom, workshop and the
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virtual training tool for two semesters in 2009-2010 educational year. The research is based on the
ideas of this trainer after applying blended learning for two semesters.
This is a qualitative research based on face-to-face in-depth interviewing. Kvale (1983:174)
defines the qualitative research interview as "an interview, whose purpose is to gather descriptions
of the life-world of the interviewee with respect to interpretation of the meaning of the described
phenomena". The data was collected with face-to-face interview. Thus, the synchronous
communication of time and place in the interview allowed the interviewer to have a lot of
possibilities to create a good interview ambience as well as to have a lot of time and cost. The
meeting room was quiet, comfortable, and free from outside distractions. The author asked a series
of open-ended questions from general to specific in order to get the interviewee’s opinions,
experiences, and suggestions. Interview was conducted by the author of the research and it was
tape-recorded with the permission of the interviewee as using a tape recorder has the advantage
that the interview report is more accurate than writing out notes. However, the interviewer took
notes while recording to check questions and answered recorded so that they could be used for
transcribing process. The information that the interview generated was coded and summarized for
analysis and discovery. The researcher read the transcript, grouped and phrased the data into
categories.

4. Findings and Discussion

The researches on blended learning are mainly on the use and advantages of blended learning from
the perspective of the students. This research poses a difference from them in that this one is based
on a blended learning case to train the students about mechanical manufacturing on CNC turning
lathe by using virtual training centre in addition to face-to-face teaching in the classroom and
practice in the workshop. In this research, the lesson is mainly based on application rather than
theoretical information. The transfer of theory to practice is important. In this context, the
categories formed from the interview are as follows:
- The aim of this lesson is to teach programming, not operation. If a student does not know
multiplication table, he can not know how a calculator works. At the first stage, the codes
to be used in CNC programming are to be learnt. The virtual environment used as a part of
blended model helped students to apply the programming commands on the simulations
and then they used these commands on the actual CNC lathe. Especially while teaching
such cycles as G00-G01 and G02-G03, the virtual environment contributed much to face-
to-face and workshop models. The students could make up a product by putting what they
learnt from the virtual environment and the theoretical information into practice on the
CNC lathe. This also increased the enjoyment of students. The professional skill of
teachers about what to blend and how to blend is crucial and the aim and approach of the
teacher who is to teach a lesson is the determinant factor. In this research, the trainer
preferred the Virtual Training Centre as an internet based virtual environment as the
trainer believed that this virtual training tool has ample amount of materials ranging from
abstract to concrete to make use of the materials presented in the blended environment.
For Graham et al. (2003), blended learning was developed for its potential advantages in
offering a more effective education, convenience, and access to teaching-learning
environments. Blended learning brings traditional physical classes with elements of virtual
education together (Finn & Bucceri, 2004). For Julian & Bone, (2001), “Blended learning
solutions deliver a comprehensive learning experience using various methods (e.g.,
instructor-led training, CD-ROM, or eLearning).” “Blended learning combines the best
attributes of electronic and traditional classroom experiences to present and reinforce
learning” (Anderson, 2001:12). For Osguthorpe and Graham (2003:227), “Blended
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learning environment is used to try to maximize the benefits of both face-to-face and
online methods- using the web for what it does best, and using class time for what it does
best”.
- The trainer found out that some students were not so efficient in learning some cycles and
commands. The trainer asked them to repeat the lesson in a different time to learn
efficiently. The virtual environment helped them to repeat and felt that they learnt in this
way out of class too. Thus, all the students had the same level soon with the help of
blended learning. Blended learning takes advantage of the power of technology to deliver
training "just in time," anywhere and anytime. It helps us to provide materials to all
students even if they are physically out of class. If a student can not attend a lesson, he or
she does not miss the lesson or materials. This helps the trainer to provide students the
same materials and to present the same lessons. But, everything depends on the student
and his or her interest in lesson. In blended learning model, learning can be more focused,
delivered bite-size, anytime, anywhere and unlimited distance is reached with flexible time
(Alvarez 2005; Thorne 2003). Kibby (2007) noted that one advantage of adopting a
blended stance is the ease of course revision and speed of replacing activities that are often
problematic in the live classroom.
- Interestingly, the rate of absence was lower than before. The trainer observed that the
students were more enthusiastic about getting involved in training and learning more. The
trainer claimed that the blended learning model contributed much to this thanks to the fact
that blended learning model eliminated the boredom and encouraged the students more.
Another advantage of blended learning is pacing and attendance. In most blended learning
classrooms, there is the ability to study whenever the student chooses to do so. If a student
is absent, she/he may view some of the missed materials at the same time that the rest of
the class does, even though the student cannot be physically in the classroom. This helps
students stay on track and not fall behind, which is especially helpful for students with
prolonged sicknesses or injuries that prevent them from attending school. These “self-
study modules” also allow learners to review certain content at any time for help in
understanding a concept or to work ahead for those students who learn at a faster pace
(Alvarez, 2005). In this model, learning materials are easily accessible and distance and
time pose no problem (Alvarez 2005; Thorne 2003). Aycock et al. (2002) report student
engagement and interactivity increases in the blended format. Blended learning
environment integrates the advantages of e-learning method with some advantageous
aspects of traditional method, such as face-to-face interaction.
- The students got the chance to learn as much as they wanted. Some students came to the
classroom and workshop after they learnt the content from the virtual environment used
fort his purpose. The students who worked at the same time in an office while they were
having training benefitted much from this model. In this way, the students learnt how to
learn as a part of lifelong learning. Readiness of the students increased the motivation of
all students and trainer too. Even if some students could not be present in some training
sessions, they completed their training using the internet based learning environment as a
compensating tool. Buckley (2002) and Barr and Tagg (1995) placed emphasis on student
centered learning paradigms, new technologies like internet and personal computers, and
new theories such as brain-based learning, cooperative learning and social constructivism
to work together to form the new models. Watson (2008) suggested that blended learning
involves a shift in strategy in three areas: from teacher centered to student centered
learning, from limited to high frequency interactions between students and resources, and
from intermittent to deliberate integration of formative and summative assessments.
- The trainer observed that the students worked together and produced something based on
coloration. Learning together and producing together increased the communication
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between the students and between the trainer and students. The trainer observed more
socialization during training. In this model, learners can interact with the tutor and their
peers (Alvarez 2005; Thorne 2003). According to Dziuban et al., (2004:3), “Blended
learning should be viewed as a pedagogical approach that combines the effectiveness and
socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active
learning possibilities of the online environment.”
- Since the virtual environment has the necessary training tools, the trainer did not spend
time to get prepared for the lessons. Blended learning environment supported the trainer
by presenting ready materials in the classroom and workshop environment. The trainer
remarked that student learnt how to train themselves in a short time and he was pleased to
experience that he didn’t need to spend much time to control the students thanks to the
blended learning. The students were so engaged in training that the role of the trainer was
only to guide them rather than lecturing the content.
- The trainer remarked that the number of the CNC lathes was limited and this caused
students to spend more time for practice on CNC lathe. It was clear that the number of
training tools was important for a qualified learning environment.
- The trainer complained about the number of students, which were about 40. According to
him, this number was too high to apply this model. When he tried to encourage all the
students to be engaged in the same task at the same time, it took longer time to use
blended model. He agreed that the more blended a model is, the fewer students should get
involved in it.
- The trainer should find a balance in using the each blended method not to make students
bored. When the trainer used the internet based learning environment longer, he observed
that students got sleepy and bored as a sign of their boredom. The trainer should be aware
of students’ concentration duration while teaching and learning. By combining online and
face-to-face formats, educators may achieve the inherent benefits of both types of
instruction through a harmonious balance of virtual access to knowledge and physical
human interaction; such an approach has been labelled as blended learning (Osguthorpe &
Graham, 2003).

5. Conclusion

According to Brown (2003), blended learning supports all the benefits of e-learning including cost
reductions, time efficiency and location convenience for the learner as well as the essential one-
on-one personal understanding and motivation that face-to-face instructions presents. Osguthorpe
and Graham (2003) identified six reasons why institutions and faculty would see added value in
creating blended learning environments: (1) pedagogical richness, (2) access to knowledge, (3) social
interaction, (4) personal agency, (5) cost effectiveness, and (6) ease of revision. These reasons are
best understood when grounded in the benefits and challenges of blended learning environments.
Access to education is one of the key factors which ensure development of distance education
environments. Ease of access has increasingly become more important as more mature students
with different external responsibilities are increasingly in need for more additional training.
Blended education environments are regarded as a way of increasing conveniences while
maintaining and balancing personal communication at the same time (Morgan, 2002; Collis, 2003).
As indicated in the research, there are several advantages when incorporating online learning
into various forms of blended solution, such as, learning can be more focused, delivered bite-size,
anytime, anywhere; learners can interact with the tutor and their peers; learning materials are
easily accessible; different techniques can be utilized by maximizing different technologies; cost
expenses decrease; unlimited distance reached; flexible time (Alvarez 2005; Thorne 2003).
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However, the blended learning is a new concept combining with e-learning, the information
is still being developed. If people are interested in blended learning, they need to know where to
get the right information. People do not know anything or not much about blended learning and
therefore, the blended learning potential is not being well-known (Thorne, 2003).
Thanks to “… blended learning becoming more and more prevalent, it is vital for higher
education and corporate training settings to create strategic plans and directions, focusing on
pedagogical techniques in blended learning” (Bonk et al., 2006). This research indicates that
blended learning can play a vital role in training sessions of vocational branches in the educational
organizations and workplaces. It is also not only a matter of higher education. It can be used for
any vocational training based on skill development at any level. The implementation of blended
learning model in a very specific field of vocational education (footwear design training) has
yielded positive results. To be sure of other vocational branches in which blended learning model
can be used, more researches should be carried out with emphasis on application and practice
rather than theoretical knowledge.

6. References
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Aycock, A., Garnham, C., & Kaleta, R. (March 20, 2002). Lessons learned from the hybrid course project.
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ttt/articles/garnham2.htm
Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (Nov/Dec 1995). From teaching to learning--A new paradigm for undergraduate
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Bersin, J. (2004). The blended learning book: Best practices, proven methodologies and lessons learned. New
York, NY: Wiley & Sons
Brown, R. (2003). Blending learning: Rich experiences from a rich picture. Training and Development in
Australia, 30 (3), 14-17.
Buckley, D. P. (January/February 2002) In pursuit of the learning paradigm [Electronic version]. Educause
Review, 37(1), 29-38.
Buckley, D. P. (January/February 2002) In pursuit of the learning paradigm [Electronic version]. Educause
Review, 37(1), 29-38.
Collis, B. (2003). Course Redesign For Blended Learning: Modern Optics for Technical Professionals.
International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning. 13(1/2).
Derek Stockley, 2003: E-learning Definition and Explanation(Elearning, Online Training, Online Learning).
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Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (March 30, 2004). Blended learning. Educause Center for
Applied Research, 2004(7). Retrieved November 15, 2004, from http://www.educause.edu/
ir/library/pdf/ERB0407.pdf
Finn, A., & Bucceri, M. (2004). A case study approach to blended learning, retrieved January 15, 2008 from
http://www.centra.com/download/whitepapers/CaseStudy_BlendedLearning.pdf.
Flexible Learning Advisory Group (2004) Definition of key terms used in e-learning, Access date: May 2010,
http://flexiblelearning.net.au/guides/keyterms.pdf
Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher
education. Internet and Higher Education 7, 95-105.
Gayeski, D. (1998). How to use the Internet and intranets as learning and performance tools. In M. Silberman
(Ed.), The 1998 McGraw-Hill Training and Development Sourcebook. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. Bonk
& C. Graham (Eds.), The Handbook of Blended Learning:Global Perspectives, Local Designs (Vol. San
Francisco, CA, pp. 3-21).
Graham, C. R., Allen, S. & Ure, D. (2003) Blended Learning Environments: A Review Of The Research
Literature. Brigham Young University. [Online Available] http://www.uab.edu/it/instructional
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Jukes, I. (2008). Rethinking education in the new digital landscape. Retrieved July 15, 2008, from
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Julian, E. H., & Boone, C. (2001). Blended learning solutions: Improving the way companies manage
intellectual capital: An IDC whitepaper. IDC. Retrieved February 16, 2005, from
http://suned.sun.com/US/images/final_IDC_SES_6_22_01.pdf
Kanuka, H. (2008). Understanding e-learning technologies-in-practice through philosophies-in-practice. In T.
Anderson (Ed.). The theory and practice of online learning: Second edition. (pp. 91-120). Athabasca
University.
Kibby, M. (2007). Hybrid teaching and learning: Pedagogy versus pragmatism. In Lockard, J., & Pegrum, M.
(Eds). Brave new classrooms: Democratic education and the Internet. New York: Peter Lang.
King, K. P. (2002). Identifying success in online teacher education and Professional development. [Electronic
version]. Internet and Higher Education, 5 (2002), 231-246.
Kvale, Steinar (1983). The qualitative research interview: A phenomenological and a hermeneutical mode of
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Lang, N. (2002). Lernen in der Informationsgesellschaft. Mediengestütztes Lernen im Zentrum einer neuen
Lernkultur. In: Ute Scheffer/Friedrich W. Hesse (Hg): E-Learning. Die Revolution des Lernens
gewinnbringend einsetzen (pp. 23 – 42). Stuttgart 2002.
Morgan, K. R. (2002). Blended Learning: A Strategic Action Plan for a New Campus. Seminole, FL:
University of Central Florida.
Mortera-Gutiérrez, F. (2006). Faculty Best Practices Using Blended Learning in E-Learning and Face-to-Face
Instruction. International Journal on E-Learning, 5 (3), pp. 313-337.
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Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(3), 227-233.
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often ignore key stages in the process. American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), 10-11.
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school district administrators. The Sloan Consortium. Retrieved April 30, 2009, from
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Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung, 27, 265-271.
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Association Management, 55(5), 26-32.
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Sands, P. (2002). Inside outside, upside downside: Strategies for connecting online and face-toface instruction
in hybrid courses. Teaching With Technology Today 8(6). Retrieved May 1, 2009, from
http://www.uwsa.edu/ttt/articles/sands2.htm.
Singh, H., & Reed, C. (2001). A white paper: Achieving success with blended learning. American Society for
Training and Development.
Sparrow, S. (2003). Blended learning makes mark. Training Magazine.
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Limited. ISBN 0749439017.
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http://www.inacol.org/resources/promisingpractices/NACOL_PP-BlendedLearning-lr.pdf
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Zukowski, A. A. (2006). Exploring the new pathway of blended learning. Momentum, 37(4), 82-83.
Virtual Training Centre for CNC:
An Accomplished Cooperation Case

Prof. Dr. Süleyman Yaldiz

Technical Science College, Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey
syaldiz@selcuk.edu.tr

Abstract
Recently cooperation among educational organizations has been a key for the
internationalization of universities. Furthermore, one of the objectives of the innovative VET
systems is regarded as transparency and distribution of information. This function concerns
the potential and actual use of information. There may be different systems and structures of
information distribution among the various actors, and in the public. Moreover, there are
preconditions for creating transparency in the VET system. To improve quality there must be
systems for distributing information and certain mechanisms to ensure the circulated
information can be used by the various actors in the policy process. The more widespread the
distribution, the better the potential use of the data will be – and as a reversal effect, better
quality data can be expected, as the actors are able to check the information against their
experience and will provide feedback to the systems for gathering data. This article aims to
promote a cooperation of developing a training tool with the cooperation of universities in
Turkey, Greece and Romania under LdV projects. The training tool
(http://www.vtcforcnc.com) is a virtual environment set up to teach CNC use based on a
common curriculum developed by the partners in English, Turkish, Greek and Romanian.

Key Words: Virtual Training, CNC Training, Online Training, Vocational Education


1. Introduction

It is known that today CNC technology is being used in all types of machinery viz., Lathe, Milling
machines, EDMs, Laser machines, Welding equipment, Forming machinery etc., and CNC
machinery has become vital for all types of industries in terms of production or mass production.
Thus, using CNC is not only a subject matter of vocational or technical schools. It requires that
there should be other accessible training platforms for the general use of individuals who have
interest in it. New developments on CNC machines are providing a continuous need for updated
CNC training curriculum. In the last 3 decades, a large number of vocational training centres and
technical universities are giving priority to CNC Training. Training on CNC should follow similar
developments and in particular in their programming capabilities, automation they offer and their
technical capabilities. In addition, CNC programming is becoming more and more automated
through the use of CAD/CAM systems (Sahin et al., 2007). This requires from the programmers to
acquire CAD operation capabilities, on top of their CNC operation and programming knowledge.
Computer Numerical Control refers to the use of a computer to control and monitor the
movement of a machine. The machine could be a milling machine, lathe, router, welder, grinder,
laser or waterjet cutter, sheet metal stamping machine, robot or many other types of machines. A
CNC training course should consist of the tuition of CNC programming methods and their
application on actual conditions of processes. Its main task should be to make any trainee at any
training level capable of handling and programming CNC machine tools.
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Programming is the act of preparing a series of commands that tell the CNC turning centre how
to machine a work piece. It involves coming up with a machining process, selecting cutting tools,
designing a workable work holding set-up, and actually creating the CNC program. Every CNC
person must understand this form of programming in order to make modifications to the CNC
program at the machine when a job is run. Set-up is the act of preparing the CNC turning centre to
run a series of work pieces (called job or production run). Tasks involve, among other things,
making the work holding set-up, assembling and loading cutting tools, determining and entering
certain offsets, loading the program, and verifying that the program is correct. Operation involves
two things. First, the learner must be comfortable with the general manipulation of a CNC turning
centre. This involves knowing the various components on the machine, the buttons and switches
and how to perform several important procedures. Second, the learner must be able to complete a
production run once the set-up is made. Tasks needed to complete a production run involve,
among other things, work piece load and unload, cycle activation, measuring completed work
pieces and making sizing adjustments if/when necessary and dull tool replacement.
In addition, advanced computer and information network technology has revolutionized our
teaching and learning approaches and methods and this also changed the learning environment.
Thus, ICT strategy is very important and training organisations using ICT are significantly ahead
in all respects. In addition, integration of ICT and e-learning is politically important in the EU in
terms of internationalisation and globalisation of education, student demand and interest in
increasing the quality of education through ICT (Sahin et al., 2009). The online training settings
offer more opportunities for collaboration than the traditional large-enrolment lecture-based
classes. Online course trainers seem to be more willing about using active learning experiences,
such as asking questions or participating in discussions. Therefore, a well-designed training should
take the student through the whole learning cycles and be engaged in several parts of the brain
(Zull, 2002). Virtual training or online learning environment is more consistent with Knowles’
(1975) “andragogical model of learning” that emphasizes the importance of student-centered, self-
directed, problem-solving-based learning (Neville & Heavin, 2004). In online education presented
virtually, learners can interact directly with content (that they find in multiple formats) or can have
their learning sequenced, directed and evaluated with the assistance of a teacher (Woods & Baker,
2004).

2. The Aim of the Paper

This paper presents the experiences in new CNC Learning Innovations based on a Virtual Training
Centre (VTC), an Internet based e-learning facility, specifically based on Computer Numerical
Control (CNC) training, within the framework of a European Project. This centre includes a virtual
space (a CNC training portal) on the Internet, which allows the constant sharing of e-learning
based CNC teaching tool created and the further development of e-learning based CNC
educational contents. New equipment, methods, curriculum and techniques currently used for
CNC training by some European countries are observed, collected and evaluated to form a
common curriculum. It should be noted that almost every country in EU has its own training
materials and methods for CNC training; quite often this is insufficient and this brings problems
regarding the unification of workforce. Furthermore, the facilities for CNC training vary a lot and
this has had direct impact on the experience that the trainee is acquiring during his/her apprentice.
This virtual training centre aims at setting the standard CNC virtual learning in vocational training
systems.

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3. VTC for CNC as a Training Tool


Figure 1: Interface of VTC for CNC (http://www.vtcforcnc.com)

The virtual training centre has two major stages of development. The first part is related with the
common curriculum developed in English. Each European Country has a different curriculum in
CNC training. During the first stages of the project, the equipment, methods, curriculum and
techniques currently used for CNC training by the organisations in the partner countries were
observed, collected and evaluated. The selected materials were used to create a new and common
curriculum. Five important factors that contribute to learning were taken into account in order to
prepare the a common CNC curriculum:
• Motivation
• Aptitude
• Presentation
• Repetition
• Practice with reinforcement
The approach for developing the appropriate training material was based on the following key
concepts:
• Know your machine (from a programmer’s viewpoint)
• Prepare to write programs
• Understand the motion types
• Know the compensation types
• Format your programs in a safe, convenient, and efficient manner
• Know the special features of programming
• Know your machine (from an operator’s viewpoint)
• Understand the three modes of operation
• Know the procedures related to operation
• You must be able to verify programs safely
This presentation method allows the learner to organize his thoughts as the learner reads this
text. This text includes 10 Key-points (six for programming and four for set-up and operation).
Here are several benefits to this method. Any good training program should put light at the end of
the tunnel. All students want to know where they stand throughout any training course. With our
Key-points approach, the learner will always have a clear understanding of his progress throughout
the text. During each Key point, the team will first present the main idea behind the concept. As
stated earlier, the team says it is as important to understand why the learner is doing things as it is
to understand how to do them. The Key Points allow a “building block” approach and present
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information in a very tutorial style. It also limits the number of new ideas the learner must
understand in order to grasp information presented within the text.

4. The content of the Virtual Training Centre (VTC)

During the first stages of the project, the equipment, methods, curriculum and techniques currently
used for CNC training by the organisations in the partner countries were observed, collected and
evaluated (Xiaoling at all, 2004; Yadong at all, 2007). The selected materials were used to create a
new and common curriculum. Five important factors that contribute to learning were taken into
account in order to prepare the CNC curriculum:
Motivation
Aptitude
Presentation
Repetition
Practice with reinforcement
The approach for developing the appropriate training material was based on the following key
concepts:
Know your machine (from a programmer’s viewpoint)
Prepare to write programs
Understand the motion types
Know the compensation types
Format your programs in a safe, convenient, and efficient manner
Know the special features of programming
Know your machine (from an operator’s viewpoint)
Understand the three modes of operation
Know the procedures related to operation
You must be able to verify programs safely
This approach combined with the important learning factors finally led to a CNC training
curriculum including 28 sessions:


1. Machine configuration
2. Speeds and feeds
3. Visualizing program execution
4. Understanding program zero
5. Measuring program zero
6. Assigning program zero
7. Flow of program processing
8. Introduction to programming words
9. Preparation for programming
10. Types of motion
11. Introduction to compensation
12. Dimensional (wear) tool offsets
13. Geometry offsets
14. Tool nose radius compensation
15. Program formatting
16. The four kinds of program format
17. Simple canned cycles
18. Rough turning and boring multiple
repetitive cycle
19. More multiple repetitive cycles
20. Threading multiple repetitive cycle
21. Sub-programming techniques
22. Control model differences
23. Other special features of programming
24. Control model differences
25. Machine panel functions
26. Three modes of operation
27. The key operation procedures
28. Verifying new programs safely



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5. Samples fro VTC for CNC


Figure 2: CNC Programming




Figure 3: Simulation for G1 Command
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Figure 4: Simulation for G41 Command


Figure 5: Simulation for M09 Command


6. Conclusion

Virtual Training Centre for CNC is an e-learning training material that can be regarded as
an innovation as it combines ICT use and interactive training in vocational training
organizations. The trainers and trainees can have access to this virtual environment, and
this in turn can lead to an innovative approach and methodology in the VET system in the
partner countries. Since the interactive training tool is ICT based, it can encourage ICT
use in VET organizations too.
The trainers and other sector representatives who are interested in CNC use can get
knowledge about this new approach and method used in the training tool and thus we can
say that the tool in a way can support in training and further training activities in the
acquisition and the use of knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate personal
development, employability.
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The training tool can facilitate the development of innovative practices in the field of
vocational education and training other than at tertiary level, and their transfer, including
from one participating country to others.
Because the training tool developed is based on distance learning methodology using
ICT, it can help improve the quality of VET systems and practices in VET organizations
by forcing them to improve the training system according to the methods and approach
presented here.


References

Knowles, M. (1975). Self-directed learning. Chicago: Follet.
Neville, K. & Heavin, C. (2004). E-learning: Academia’s approach to the CRM challenge. Retrieved May
15, 2009, from http://www.ebusinessforum.gr/content/downloads/57_Neville_Heavin.pdf
Şahin M., Bilalis N., Yaldız S., Antoniadis A., Ünsaçar F., Maravelakis E., (2007): Revisiting CNC Training–
a Virtual Training Centre for CNC. International Conference on E-Portfolio Process in Vocational
Education-EPVET, Bucharest, Romania.
Woods, R. H. & Baker, J. D. (2004). Interaction and immediacy in online learning. International Review of
Research in Open and Distance Learning, 5(2). Retrieved May 15, 2009, from
http://www.irrodl.org/content/v5.2/woods-baker.html
Xiaoling, W., Peng, Z., Zhifang, W., Yan, S., Bin, L., Yangchun, L., (2004): Development an interactive VR
training for CNC machining, Proceedings VRCAI 2004 - ACM SIGGRAPH International Conference
on Virtual Reality Continuum and its Applications in Industry, pp. 131-133.
Yadong Liua, Xingui Guoa, Wei Lia, Kazuo Yamazakia, Keizo Kashiharab and Makoto Fujishimab, (2007):
An intelligent NC program processor for CNC system of machine tool. Robotics and Computer-
Integrated Manufacturing, Vol 23 (2), pp 160-169.
Zull, J. E. (2002). The art of changing the brain: Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology
of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.






S e c t i o n


TECHNOLOGIES




Technologies (TECH):
• Innovative Web-based Teaching and Learning
Technologies
• Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) technologies
• Web, Virtual Reality/AR and mixed technologies
• Web-based Education (WBE), Web-based Training (WBT)
• New technologies for e-Learning, e-Training and e-Skills
• Educational Technology, Web-Lecturing Technology
• Mobile E-Learning, Communication Technology
Applications
• Computer Graphics and Computational Geometry
• Intelligent Virtual Environment
ABBYY recognition technologies – ideal alternative to manual
data entry. Automating processing of exam tests.

Marin Vlada
1
, Ivan Babiy
2
, Octav Ivanescu
3


(1) University of Bucharest, vlada[at]fmi.unibuc.ro
(2) ABBYY Ukraine, i.babiy[at]abbyy.ua
(3) Star Storage, Romania, octav.ivanescu[at]star-storage.ro

Abstract
According to statistics, forms has share in 85% of all documents that are used in different
economic spheres. Through automate forms processing, company can reduce volume of
manual labor in 5 times, increase data quality and speed up documents processing, as result
increase effectiveness of company’s activity.
ABBYY [1] provides the companies with effective Data Capture solutions which can
effectively recognize data from your documents and realize concrete needs for every industry.
ABBYY FlexiCapture transfers paper documents into usable data and offers a full range of
state-of-the-art functionalities for document classification, data extraction and indexing.
This easy-to-use and to-deploy yet powerful solution provides a real alternative to manual
data entry and other traditional forms of data input.

1. Introduction

For many Romanian commercial and governmental organizations conversion from paper
document management to electronic one is the crucial issue.
Automated data capturing technologies have a relatively long history, dating back to when the
first optical reading systems were developed to recognize stylized symbols drawn according to
templates. Since that time, they have evolved to support a vast industry, utilizing a large set of
very different technologies.
The traditional forms processing technologies for fixed (or structured) forms of today are well
established. A large choice of systems capable of processing many types of fixed forms is now
available.
Today’s advanced systems can accurately capture printed and hand-written characters and
process thousands of documents per day.
ABBYY FlexiCapture is one of the leading products in the field, capable of handling both
printed and hand-printed forms.

2. ABBYY OCR/ICR Technology

ABBYY FlexiCapture is a specialized technology based on ABBYY’s experience in recognition
and document analysis technologies spanning more than 15 years. It has been in regular use since
1997, and we could probably say that it has served as a platform for many successful projects for
13 years. In fact, since 1997.

Types of documents

Organizations and businesses in different industries have their own features in document
processing. ABBYY provides the companies with effective Data Capture solutions that realize
concrete needs for every industry.
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ABBYY FlexiCapture 9.0 can process one page, multi page documents with any level of
complexity, documents with unfixed pages amount as documents with such appendixes as images
or texts.
Paper documents can be divided into 3 categories:
• structured documents (fixed forms);
• semi-structured documents;
• unstructured documents















Figure 1. Types of documents

Various questionnaires, forms, examination sheets, reports, inquiry sheets and other similar
documents which can be filled either by hand or by means of computer, belong to the structured
documents (or fixed forms).
Invoices, payment orders, bills, explanations of benefits, and receipts – semi-structured documents.
Quires, newspaper articles, information from the Internet etc belong to unstructured
documents.
Today the automation of structured documents data input is well-mastered. Nonetheless
recently the companies have shown great interest in unstructured information input automation.
Business of some organizations directly depends on data analysis quality and time and recourses
spend for those operations. For example, different educational organizations interested to have
data capture solution in order to efficiently automate its current processes. The challenges are to
minimize the manual operations associated with questionnaire processing and to leverage data
capture in order to increase overall productivity. The solution has to capture the desired data from
the questionnaires and export them into usable digital information.
Processing of structured documents (forms) - is a process whereby information entered into
data fields should be converted into electronic form:
• data are extracted from their respective fields;
• forms are digitized and saved as images.
In most cases forms processing is completed when the data from all the forms have been
extracted, verified and saved. There are only two approaches for data extracting from paper forms:
to involve many people in manual data keying in, or to start using automatic forms input system.
Manual data entry requires a lot of time, resources and is troublesome. It implies many
problems such as delays in data capture, great amount of operator's misprints, high labor costs,
equipment spending, rent-charge, etc. All these costs are avoidable with the help of a data capture
solution such as ABBYY FlexiCapture, which enables automated forms processing.
structured documents semi-
structured
unstructured
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Modern documents processing systems offer comprehensive facilities for automation of these
processes and that allows customers to considerably raise overall performance.

Data input stages

Document conversion from paper to electronic type consists of several stages. At the first stage
documents are scanned or photographed (given the modern development of digital photography
the second method becomes more popular). The next stage is classification during which (for
example, incoming letters differ from newspaper articles) is performed.
After scanning (photographing) and
classification it is necessary to extract the
data and to attribute the electronic
document. Practically any document
contains data fields: the date, the name of
the author, the title, etc. As well as
classification, attributing can be performed
in the manual, semiautomatic or automatic
way, and in semiautomatic mode for
accuracy increase various rules are usually
involved, having checked with which the
system can reduce the number of errors.
ABBYY FlexiCapture interprets
machine-print (OCR), isolated handprint
(ICR), including alpha and numeric, mark
sense (OMR) and barcodes from paper
forms gathered from a scanner or a fax
machine.
ABBYY FlexiCapture interprets data from paper forms many times faster and immensely more
accurately than any professional operator, enabling you to collect data in efficient and secure way.
It is noteworthy that the entire process requires only one human operator since all of the stages,
except verification, are fully automated.

3. ABBYY FlexiCapture 9.0

ABBYY FlexiCapture 9.0 is supremely intelligent, accurate and scalable data capture and
document processing system. It provides a single entry point to automatically transform the stream
of different forms and documents of any structure and complexity to usable and accessible data
ready to be exported into any business applications and databases.
Historically ABBYY Company developed three directions: document and form input, and
applied linguistics. Today in each of these categories the company offers various type products for
end users, system integrators and developers. In addition ABBYY integrated products of all listed
categories into the uniform solution - FlexiCapture which ensures processing structured and semi-
structured documents in a single space.
ABBYY FlexiCapture Software implements a number of processing technologies for checking
of the document information relevance. This circumstance has basic value for structured
documents processing as this procedure results in databasing. For correct performance of this
operation it is necessary to carry out preliminary check of each field in the document on the data
type relevance to expected result (for example, whether there is no text in the digital column),
lengths of words and other parameters.

Figure 2. Processing stages
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Automated paper document input systems are in demand among both governmental institutions
and commercial companies.

Figure 3. Processing different kinds of documents


Technology Background

FlexiCapture identifies the document type and assembles one and multi-page documents out of the
mix of pages using advanced ABBYY technologies, which allow automatic classification of
documents with variable layouts of any complexity including:
• Multi-page documents;
• Documents with variable number of pages;
• Documents containing multi-page tables;
• Documents with image or text attachments.
The ABBYY FlexiCapture enables the recognition system to easily find necessary fields on the
semi-structured form. Once located, the data in the fields can be captured using the
OCR/ICR/OMR and barcode recognition technology.
FlexiCapture technology is built on powerful and time-tested ABBYY technologies based on
the IPA principles (Purposefulness and Adaptability) [2] that imitate the way humans recognize
objects.
FlexiCapture accurately extracts data and text from the fields specific for each document
type using ABBYY award-winning multi-language recognition technologies. [3]
It offers:
• OCR for more than 180 languages
• ICR for hand-printed text for over 110 languages;
• Checkmark recognition for a wide spectrum of checkboxes;
• Barcode recognition for a variety of 1-d and 2-d barcodes.
Modern OCR technology allows processing a hand-written text as well under the condition of
distinct letters writing. These possibilities are in demand among the companies which face the
problem of processing of great number of forms and other similar documents filled in handwriting.

4. ABBYY processing examination sheets

Now there are only two technologies for automate processing examination sheets, making it
possible to avoid knowledge subjective evaluation. The first one is computer testing. Each entrant
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or student answers the question at a separate computer. And in some minutes after completing the
test the machine calculates and gives out the result. The method is simple and efficient – however,
due to high costs it is suitable only for groups of 10-20 persons.
The second method is more popular. Examination sheets are distributed to entrants where it is
necessary to indicate the correct variant of the answer. Other notes - the examination name, a code
of the student and a place for the signature. Then works are scanned and converted into the
computer which in a minute knows who has passed the test and who has failed it.













Figure 4. Processing of examination sheets

Such technology has been utilized while carrying out “The unified examination” for school
leavers in many European Countries for some years so far. In northern countries the youth’s
knowledge is supervised by the independent testing centre at the Ministry of Education. On the
examination day the centre technologist comes to school with forms package. These people are not
acquainted with teachers and get into this or that school on a toss-up. The form with a name,
surname of the final-year student and his/her code filled in are processed separately from
examination sheet on which the person reduplicates his/her code and marks variants of the answers.
There are also mysterious black small squares or other special labels on the form, distinguishing
while scanning what examination it is and according to which variant it should be assessed.
All tests are prepared according to certain rules of a special science on questions designing –
testology. They can be direct, that is offering only a title or figure or indirect, when the answer
needs to be chosen out of four options. All is filled with ordinary pens. But very often due to
agitation or indecisiveness peoples (students) put dots instead of "ticks", underline boxes or even
fill in the word. ABBYY has developed automatic examination results processing technology,
enabling to consider such cases individually, assessing answers in different ways. After scanning
and automatic recognition the system assorts each symbol which it is not sure of. Information
check is carried out according to special rules and guidebooks, for example, according to reference
book confirming each answer.
Fast and qualitative computer check of examination sheets allows to solve three problems at
once. Firstly, overcome irregular loads. Since all entrance examinations are held once a year, they
need additional expenses on the personnel and teachers. Secondly, avoid health problems. For
example, because of a computer-visual syndrome at first eyes get tired, then the weariness goes
over the whole body, and the person works slower, his/her attention decreases. Third, and the
biggest problem is the reliability of the information. To be assured of data which are entered
manually, it is necessary to engage at least two persons and to assign the supervisor comparing
their work. It takes a lot of time and is expensive. Automation is useful because all data are
distinguished operatively. And only 5-7 percent of the total number of symbols requires the
operator’s aid.
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Figure 5. Recognition during processing of examination sheets

But entrance examinations are only a local system task. In fact, it has much greater
possibilities: entrants’ applications processing which can be recognized in a matter of minutes and
databased, teacher feedback forms, data acquisition for plastic ID cards and student's cards etc.
The main concern of the educational organization will be not only to find a short-term, quick
and easy solution to serve its current needs, but to further invest in a solution with the potential to
meet future needs as well. Investing time and money in a solution should give the possibility to
reuse the infrastructure for other data recognition projects and allow future in-house development,
according to any project’s needs, utilizing the acquired know-how.
5. Conclusions

The introduction of OCR technologies provides organizations with the opportunity to automate
routine structured and unstructured data input and processing. The increase of text recognition
accuracy, development of handwritten forms processing technologies considerably raises the
efficiency of interaction of governmental and commercial institutions with their clients. The
automation of these processes provides management with powerful tools to analyze large volumes
of information and contributes to taking more exact and prompt decisions, which directly effects
business efficiency.
6. References

[1] www.abbyy.com
[2] IPA Principles. ABBYY recognition technologies are built on the principles of Integrity,
Purposefulness and Adaptability (IPA). Unlike other recognition technologies, which focus on
recognizing patterns, IPA takes recognition a step further by using artificial intelligence to train the
computer to analyze documents in the same way that the human brain would analyze them.
[3] ABBYY FlexiCapture 9.0 data and document capture system has been recognized as a Trend-Setting
Product of the Year by KMWorld Magazine, the leading information provider serving the Knowledge
Management systems market. (August 2010)
[4] www.abbyy.com/CaseStudie/
[5] www.agora.ro/stire/cniv-romania-organizeaza-un-webinar-pe-teme-educationale
[6] www.c3.cniv.ro/?q=2010/webinar
Test questions
Questions with digits
answer
Questions with text answer

MEDIAEC Platform.
Digital Television for Education and Research

Diana Chihaia
1
, Adrian Istrimschi
1


(1) Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi,
3, Toma Cozma Street, Institute of Continuing Education, Iasi, 700554, Romania
E-mail: diana.chihaia@gmail.com, adrian.istrimschi@uaic.ro

Abstract
Continuous development of educational and research technologies lead to the necessity of
implementing a television network dedicated to education and research activities. In this
respect, there are technologies like video-conference and multimedia systems which offer
accessible solutions. The present paper describes the infrastructure and the protocols for this
kind of television and possible implications of it in educational and research activities
initiated within Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania.

Keywords: Digital television, Education, Multimedia system

1 Television in Education

The necessity of information exchange, which is essential in different interest areas as education,
business, and entertainment etc., leaded to inventions that were designed to facilitate this process
and encouraged research regarding communication instruments. At the end of the 19
th
century
communication through electricity was a challenge and besides the phone creator, there were
inventors and scientists like Goldstein (in 1876), Bidwell (in 1881) and Nipkow (in 1884) who in
the same period were designing the first elements of what in 20
th
century became an industry:
television. Thus, starting with 9
th
of April 1927, when the first long-distance transmission of live
images and voice was held, the television turned into a resourceful instrument for communication.
Education, as one of the main interests of humanity, has been highly advantaged by these
inventions and in a very short time after their implementation, starting with first forms of
educational television broadcasting (Cambre, 1987; Saettler, 2004), the distance education through
television networks became an option for formal and non-formal education. Moreover, distance
education through video, occurring between teachers and learners who were separated by space or
time, gained popularity (Moore, 1997). Over the last decades, while the Internet services were
continuously improved, distance education through web video services started to replace distance
education through cable television (Reisslein et al., 2005, p. 25).
Despite the advantages brought by educational television, especially for distance education
services, there are researchers claiming that television might undermine the important role that
pedagogical methods (Roberts and Herrington, 2005) have in teaching, by diminishing their usage
or by totally replacing them. Yet, combined with face to face courses or other interactive activities,
educational television might be considered as a pedagogical method itself. This concern might be
also excluded, by considering the perspective of active/reactive theory (Anderson and Lorch,
1983) arguing that the learner interacts both with the information and with the viewing
environment. Technology development made possible the use of three settings for distance
education through video (Reisslein et al., 2005, p. 26):
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• interactive two-way video and audio, which corresponds essentially to a video
conference;
• one-way live video and two-way audio;
• one-way delayed audio and video.
Given the advantages of visualising and hearing the course contents along with explanations
regarding them, distance education through video became widely spread in academic education. In
this respect, proper settings and a balance between video, printed and live delivered content in
education was required (Papagiannidis et al., 2006; Reisslein et al., 2005, Wiecha et al., 2003;
Jesshope and Liu, 2001).
Moreover, when discussing about settings, a very important aspect in educational television is
the cost implied in delivering all its services, starting with the equipment, infrastructure and
delivery channels. The continuous development of technology offers the opportunity of designing
infrastructures for television, which will not involve high costs and efforts. For example, a basic
television scheme for Internet television (ITv) might function very well with a powerful computer,
a server and a good Internet connection.
In the close future, the new Internet Protocol IPv6 using automatic configuration, will grant
access to Internet for more than 4 billion computers, as IPv4 offers at the moment. This will imply
no efforts for potential beneficiaries of Internet television in setting up their systems. Although this
is an obvious advantage, with the infrastructure of the Internet networks nowadays, it is not
possible yet to offer television services for millions of people at once, like in case of television
through satellite; all because of the limitation determined by hardware infrastructure
(Papagiannidis, Berry, and Li, 2006, p.516). It is not the case to be concerned by this limitation for
an in campus television with few thousands of end users.
Considering this aspect and the performant equipment of the multidisciplinary platform for
training and research MEDIAEC, we intend to implement a television for education and research
in the campus of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iai (UAIC), Romania.
2 Educational Television and Its Forms

Studies regarding television phenomenon and its influence in education have started in ‘70s and
gradually, narrowed on researching television networks specialised for distance education. From
these approaches we were interested in identifying how educational televisions and their
framework were implemented, whether they were made from scratch or redesigned based on
previous research results.
One of the well known distance education providers, Open University (OU) funded by UK
Government has as target group adults, especially those willing to get a higher degree but don’t
have enough time to enrol in a university and attend daily courses. Educational television, as a
method in distance learning used by Open University programs, was introduced in 1971 when
their first course was broadcasted. This initiative was possible by using the infrastructure -
terrestrial television - and the support of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) which included
OU courses in their programs grid. Nowadays, OU extended its strategy for course delivery and
offers support for their students by digitalising most of its services and using Internet protocols.
Local tutors are available to offer feedback and support to the students through e-mail, telephone,
video-conferences and even face to face. An entire platform (Open2.net) is dedicated for sharing
materials, discussions, online teaching and assessment sessions. Thus, the broadcasted courses are
completed by a continuous interaction facilitated by Internet, other communication instruments
and face-to-face meetings.
In America, during early ‘60s along with the increasing number of television networks, the
idea of educational television caught specialists’ high interest. Aiming to provide educational
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programs across America, the Educational Television and Radio Center (ETRC) was founded in
1952. The educational programs were distributed between television stations across America, and
were actually produced by them, not by ETRC. Along with the dynamic change of its name and
status, ETRC started to distribute educational programs produced by BBC and varied the number
of covered subjects. The American educational television used in classrooms or course halls was at
its height in ‘60s, declined in ‘70s and begun to be used again in ‘80s (Saettler, 2004).
The concept of educational television was included by the concept of television itself but later,
it started to clearly delineate and address to certain target groups: children, adults or furthermore,
to primary school or secondary school children, to students or to teachers etc. For example, in
Australia, in 1992, a program for teacher’s professional development was initiated (Evans et al.,
2001). The courses within this program were provided via satellite transmission aiming to support
interactive television with one-way transmission and live telephone link or delayed fax as
interactive strategy. SOFTNet, as the system was named, consisted of equipment installed in
schools from country side, with satellite receiving dish, decoder and wiring to a room. The
responsible with these programs extended SOFTNet usage to the phase of support for curriculum
areas and for internal communication encouraged by the lowering costs in teacher’s professional
development. All because of television’s role in facilitating information transmission.
A different concept of educational television system is the one locally implemented in a
university or any other educational institution. An example of this kind of television is the one
experimentally designed to broadcast between two student campuses from Massey University,
New Zeeland (Jesshope and Liu, 2001). It consisted of an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
network with a bi-directional link, meaning that the professor had whether audio or video feedback
from the remote class (Jesshope and Liu, 2001, p.11). Using motion JPEG standard, the video was
compressed by hardware and transmitted through the network which had 10-20 Mbits per second
bandwidth. Although the video materials were successfully transmitted, this type of network and
the encoding procedures have proved to be inefficient for high quality presentation graphics. As a
solution to these inconveniences was the introduction of MPEG standard encoder which permitted
a high quality transmission using a small transfer rate.
These examples, briefly described above, highlighted the tendency of education providers to
focus educational television services on certain target groups and improve its strategies and
contents in order to increase the quality of education. Thus, as a strategy of improving the quality
of UAIC’s educational programs, we propose as an additional method in teaching and learning, an
educational television within UAIC campus. This television will address to all students, professors
and university’s staff, whether in campus or in any other location.
3 Digital educational television within UAIC

MEDIAEC platform was designed to develop research and educational services through
interdisciplinary, multifunctional and permanent interaction. Its main objective is to implement the
technology’s benefits in teaching and learning activities as well as in research, to stimulate the
creative potential of the academic staff and students, to support collaboration between research
networks in Europe and around the world.
3.1 MEDIAEC Infrastructure
In the section below we will describe the infrastructure and the potential MEDIAEC has, in
supporting a digital educational television in and out of UAIC campus. There are eleven fully
equipped video-conference rooms in three buildings of the university. Students or professors from
any faculty in UAIC can dispose of these rooms in order to transmit or receive live courses in
campus or worldwide, as it can be seen in Figure 7. The infrastructure of MEDIAEC platform
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allows this kind of activities and supports high quality image transmission in and out UAIC’s
network, making possible interactive teaching and learning situations.
The video system from the video-conference rooms and
the content server are communicating through university’s
wide area network (WAN) using TCP/IP protocol.
The viewers connected to the system can watch live
transmissions using whether HTTP, UDP or TCP, directly
on their computers, in any location from inside or outside the
university campus. They must fulfil a minimum software
requirement: an installation of Media Player, Real Player or
Quicktime Player. Also, through MEDIAEC platform we are
able to transmit video and audio content by satellite, making
possible a worldwide broadcast. These two aspects might
represent a big advantage for the students enrolled in
UAIC’s distance learning programs, by offering them the
possibility to participate at certain courses along with other
students. In case the transmission is interrupted or the
students cannot connect to watch live transmitted courses,
the recordings made, can be downloaded anytime. The video
recorder server within the video system, as represented in
Figure 8, makes possible recordings and data storage.
The recording feature can be used during discussion
sessions, tutorials, projects or research meetings, in order to make an archive which can be
consulted anytime when is needed, directly from MEDIAEC servers, without using other data
storage devices.


Figure 8. Video System Servers and Its Figure 9. Video-conference
Connections Room Structure

The functionality of a video-conference room is assured by two video-cameras, microphones, a
notebook for data and the AETHRA codec with the following video standards: H261, H263,
H263+, H263++, H264 (see Figure 9). The audio and video information from
video-cameras, microphones and a notebook are captured by AETHRA, coded using H323 or SIP
protocol, transmitted through UAIC’s WAN to MEDIAEC servers and/or to any compatible codec


Figure 7. Video Broadcasting
Inside and Outside UAIC
Campus

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outside the institution or to personal working stations with compatible specialised communication
software.
Additionally to the system described above, MEDIAEC disposes of a mobile video-conference
system - TANBERG and a mobile video camera - which has two possibilities of connection and
transmission: through cable or directly to the satellite. Thus, the transmissions might be made from
any other location outside the UAIC campus.
As already mentioned the system supports two-way audio and video interaction, between
video-conference participants, combined with the alternative of presenting high-quality images or
live desktop captures which influences the quality of communication and decreases the barriers
that might appear in distance learning situations.
3.2 A Digital Television Project for UAIC
Considering the advantages offered by this high-technology infrastructure, the plan of initiating
and implementing a Digital Educational Television - with MEDIAEC’s support - for students and
academic staff in UAIC, is achievable.
Before implementing a full programs grid for digital educational television in our university,
an initial evaluation of students’ needs and new technologies usage within campus, is needed.
UAIC offers courses to a number of 38.000 students from 15 faculties. The communication
infrastructure already existent within university represents an advantage in the process of
implementing the digital educational television. For example, each faculty has at least one
laboratory connected to Internet and students have unlimited Internet access in the accommodation
campuses.
An initial evaluation regarding academic staff needs regarding the information which might be
offered through educational television programs is also needed. Thus, when designing the full grid
of educational programs within our university, the responsible team has to consider the balance
between:
- educational and research topics covered by the broadcasted materials
- students and academic staff needs on educational television
- each faculty’s strategy and number of students
As in other universities or training organisations, the television programs might be transmitted
live with the possibility of recording or directing and recording the material by a specialised staff
and finally, broadcasted for UAIC students and academic staff. This second option requires a
professional team for preparing and recording this kind of programs but the professional team
might be replaced with especially trained teams in each faculty, teams able to direct and prepare
materials for a certain number of programs. Although this seems to be a complicated procedure, it
might be an opportunity to actively involve students in preparing video-materials for educational
television.
The advantage offered by an in-campus television is that students from different faculties can
watch recorded courses/programs from other faculties, without finding themselves in the situation
to skip their mandatory activities from the daily schedule, in order to assist to other courses. Also,
an educational television might be considered a real support during special events hosted by UAIC
(conferences, public presentations etc.) when the amphitheatres or conference rooms might be too
small for the audience or when parallel sessions are ongoing. For example, by transmitting live
and recording a conference activity, the organisers offer the opportunity for their target group to
“participate” to all sessions and get the information presented. The activities of “3
rd
International
Conference on Adult Education” - organised by UAIC - were broadcasted and recorded for further
access on MEDIAEC servers, using both video-conference systems, including the mobile one.
The two-way audio and video communication settings offered by MEDIAEC platform, allows
the system to broadcast courses held by professors from other universities/institutions from
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Romania or from any other country around the world. In this case, the presenters or speakers from
other institutions need to have a minimal hardware equipment and software which supports audio
and video conference (camera, microphone, Skype) or a specialised conference system.
Regarding the role of educational television in research, there are at least two ways of using
MEDIAEC platform in order to develop research strategies:
- as instrument for disseminating research results from different areas;
- as an instrument during studies regarding educational television, digital television and
its influence in teaching and learning.
An advantage which must not be omitted is that an educational television in UAIC, might be
efficient in broadcasting administrative news on monitors placed in public location, in order to
reach interested audience.
Considering all the possibilities that a digital educational television could bring, and our
objective of improving the quality of educational services, it is useful to think about it as a
complementary method for teaching and learning, not a replacement for formal courses or
tutorials. Also, it might be considered as an additional instrument for information sharing along
other new technology components.
Acknowledgements
This work was partially supported by European Social Fund in Romania, under the
responsibility of the Managing Authority for the Sectoral Operational Programme for Human
Resources Development 2007-2013 [grant POSDRU/88/1.5/S/47646].


References

Cambre, M.A. (1987). A reappraisal of instructional television. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information Resources.
Evans, T., Stacey, E., Tregenza, K. (2001). Interactive Television in Schools: An Australian Study of the
Tensions of Educational Technology and Change. International Review of Research in Open and
Distance Learning 2(1). 1-16.
Federal Communication Commission website: http://www.fcc.gov.
MEDIAEC website: http://mediaec.uaic.ro.
Moore, M. G. (1997). Theory of transactional distance. In D. Keegan (Eds): Theoretical Principles of
Distance Education, 22-38.
Jesshope, C. R., & Liu, Y. Q. (2001). High-quality video delivery over local area networks with application to
teaching at a distance. International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education, 38(1), 11–25.
Open University website: http://www.open.ac.uk.
Papagiannidis, S., Berry, J., and Li, F. (2006). Well beyond streaming video IPv6 and the next generation
television. Social Change, 73, 510 - 523.
Reisslein, J., Seeling, P., & Reisslein, M. (2005). Video in distance education: ITFS vs. web-streaming:
Evaluation of student attitudes. Internet and Higher Education, 8, 25 - 44.
Roberts, J. and Herrington, J. (2005). Interactive television: Educational use in the new millennium. In
proceedings of Ascilite 2005. 577-580. Retrieved on from
http://ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/66_Roberts.pdf.
Saettler, P. (2005). The Evolution of American Educational Technology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age
Publishing.
Wiecha, J.M., Gramling, R., Joachim, P., Vanderschmidt, H. (2003). Collaborative e-Learning using
Streaming Video and Asynchronous Discussion Boards to Teach the Cognitive Foundation of Medical
Interviewing: A Case Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research 5(2). Retrieved on July 15
th
2010 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1550556/.
Overcome Disadvantages of E-Learning for Training English
as Foreign Language

Veselina Nedeva, Emilia Dimova, Snejana Dineva


(1) Technical College of Yambol, Gr.Ignatiev str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
veselina.nedeva@gmail.com, emdimova@abv.bg, sbdineva@abv.bg,

Abstract
The report presents the advantages of e-learning forms and the use of multimedia
programs and products in the “English as foreign language” education, when compared to
the traditional education. An already established and running virtual learning environment –
namely eDuTK (http://tk.uni-sz.bg/edutk/), based on the MOODLE software, is being used in
Technical College – Yambol. There is description of implementation of MOODLE for foreign
language training. Analyze of advantages and disadvantages of multimedia product in
e-learning education are developed. General disadvantages of e-learning on the base of other
author publications are explored. The possibilities to overcoming of e-learning disadvantages
by MOODLE activities, Hot Potatoes and other multimedia resources in the practices of
Technical College – Yambol in the paper have been presented.

Keywords: e-learning, English language training, digital technologies, advantages and
disadvantages of e-learning


1. Introduction

In foreign language learning there are many specific features to which experts that develop
educational content and e-learning modalities must adhere. E-learning is facilitated by the use of
digital tools and content. Typically, it involves some form of interactivity, which may include
online interaction between the learners and their teacher or peers. The selection of proper
multimedia technologies in foreign language learning is very important issue. It should be possible
to achieve the necessary quality of teaching materials for mastering reading skills, listening
comprehension, writing and communication skills.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as it popularly
known is basically a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and
reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training
content. It is even known as a web-based technology used to plan, implement and assess a specific
learning process. The system not only manages the training or educational records but also
distributes them. The benefits of LMS range from, managing training and maintaining educational
records, to distributing courses over the Internet with features for online collaboration. It is widely
used in corporate world to automate record-keeping and employee registration (Gaya, J. 2010).
The MOODLE is designed and developed by particular philosophy, namely "social
constructionist pedagogy". Knowledge is strengthened if the student can use it successfully in his
wider environment. Students are not just a memory bank passively absorbing information, nor can
knowledge be "transmitted" to them just by reading something or listening to someone
(Branzburg, J., 2005). Moodle can be used to integrate college courses for students, with online
activities that help them to increase their foreign language proficiency.
The goal of our investigation is to present the possibilities to overcoming of e-learning
disadvantages by MOODLE activities, Hot Potatoes and other multimedia resources in the
practices of Technical College in the discipline English as foreign language.
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2. Material and Methods

The sources of information for our investigation are based on publications and practical results
from the application of e-learning. Greater attention is given to the sources that relate to teaching
language skills. The main directions of searching are:
1. Analysis of literature, both advantages and disadvantages of the e-learning and the
possible ways to overcoming them.
2. The modern digital technologies and their role in overcoming the shortcomings of the e-
learning in foreign language training.
3. Analysis of practical results for the activity of students in the VLE of TC - Yambol.
4. Requirements of the European Language Framework.
Investigations for conducted e-learning training in Technical College (TC) - Yambol are
performed by data-base from the participation of about 60 students that are included in experiment
with the prepared learning materials for training in English as foreign language. There are used as
the traditional methods of analysis and synthesis of information as well as recent report of eDuTk
students' results.

3. Results and Discussion

English language is the main subject for the student education in TC – Yambol. Creating the
digital content for teaching English in TC - Yambol is performed by different stages of the
experiment, first with one or two groups of students are involved, next stage is making analysis
and then after the amendment, where necessary, the course is introduced for application in other
groups. Furthermore, in the creation of educational materials are actively incorporated students.
Their personal involvement is taken into account in the final assessment by the teacher.

Advantages of e-learning
Some of the advantages of the use of VLE are indisputable and obvious. They stem from the
opportunities offered by this type of systems. The report examines only the benefits for students,
not for the teachers and for the training organizations.
The advantages of e-learning for foreign language training can be considered in several
aspects: general advantages of e-learning, opportunities for collective work and development of
communication skills. As the first group can be assigned the following (Definitions of e-learning,
2004):
• Student can study anywhere as long as there is access to a computer with internet connection;
• They can work at own pace;
• User can accommodate different learning styles through different activities;
• Flexibility to join discussions any hour of the day;
• E-learning is cost effective.
E-learning also offers individualized instruction, which print media, cannot provide, and
instructor-led courses allow clumsily and at great cost. In conjunction with assessing needs, e-
learning can target specific needs. And by using learning style tests, e-learning can locate and
target individual learning preferences. Additionally, synchronous e-learning is self-paced.
Advanced learners are allowed to speed through or bypass instruction that is redundant while
novices slow their own progress through content, eliminating frustration with themselves, their
fellow learners, and the course.

Disadvantages of e-learning
The disadvantages of e-learning training are represented from different aspects by the authors
(Definitions of e-learning, 2004; Burbles, N. C., 2004; Lehmann, K.J., 2004; Disadvantages of
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e-Learning, 2010; Challenges and Disadvantages of E-learning and Distance Learning, 2009).
Some of them concern strategies for distance e-learning without the use of traditional forms of
lectures and practical exercises. In this aspect can be mentioned the following shortcomings
(Challenges and Disadvantages of E-learning and Distance Learning, 2009):
• Lack of personal community and connection (not for blended learning);
• Its a banking model of education (which is partially inevitable);
• Not necessary based on the best science regarding How People Learn;
• Tech, toys, and teaching over learning;
• Focus on memorization over learning core competencies;
• Better aligning of incentives of teachers and learners;
• Downtime plus mobile as well as “play” are issues to consider as well;
• Underutilized talents and facilities;
• No way to ground social networking and web 2.0 tools;
It could be argued that most of them can be overcome if the orientation is to blended e-
learning, which is the route of administration in TC - Yambol.
For the student, several disadvantages exist in the virtual classroom. According to Burbles
(2004) “hidden barriers to access” of a virtual classroom to students; there are limitations of
making an online course accessible to all. Some communication tools may not suit some students;
for example, the streaming of audio cannot be heard by a hearing impaired student and thus this
tool is not accessible to all.
Another disadvantage of the virtual classroom is that it can only be successful if the
communication tools used in the classroom are “in the student’s possession…accessible to the
student… (and) operable by the student” (Lehmann, 2004). Although synchronous communication
tools are usually perceived as an advantage because of their similarity to communication in the
traditional classroom, they can also be a disadvantage. This is because they consist of real-time,
text-based communication in which responses are often “out of sequence” as a consequence of
varying typing abilities among students (Fetterman, D., 1998). Students must have adequate typing
skills and communication skills as the majority of learning is text-based and self-paced, and if they
are used to being in a structured, scheduled environment they will be disadvantaged and most
likely get confused and fall behind (IOWA State University, 2001). Teachers are not as readily
available in the virtual classroom as they are in the traditional classroom, therefore students who
usually continual support of the teacher need may feel isolated, according to the IOWA State
University (2001).
The fact that there are technological requirements to enable full participation in the virtual
classroom is also another disadvantage to students. For example, if the student does not have a
high bandwidth and adequate computer memory needed to access the Internet and hence the
virtual classroom as well as download course material, they will be disadvantaged. Also, the
technological dependence of the virtual classroom can be a disadvantage if there is an Internet
connection failure or a similar technological problem that prevents students to complete a task. If
there is no “back up plan” in the case of a technological hindrance, students will miss out on the
learning activity that was scheduled (Colorado State University, 2005).
Difficulties with software. The disadvantage of e-learning is the managing of computer files,
software compatibility and learning new software, including e-Learning (Disadvantages of e-
Learning, 2010). For learners with beginner-level computer skills it can sometimes seem complex
to keep their computer files organized. The lesson points you to download a file which the learner
does and later cannot find the file. The file is downloaded to the folder the computer automatically
opens to rather than a folder chosen by the learner. This file may be lost or misplaced to the learner
without good computer organizational skills. In our college the students have the requisite level of
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working with the computers and the software platform, which they acquire in a first course in the
discipline of Informatics. In addition to that the lectures in eDuTK are divided into disciplines, a
very good navigation menu is available and that doesn’t create difficulties of this type.
High motivation. E-Learning also requires time to complete especially those with assignments
and interactive collaborations. This means that students have to be highly motivated and
responsible because all the work they do is on their own. Learners with low motivation may not
complete modules. In TC – Yambol, as in many universities study English language is a main
subject for first year students. Students are actively involved in creating the learning material and
improvement the data-base, that keep them high motivated.
Isolation. Another disadvantage of e-learning is that students may feel isolated and
unsupported while learning. Instructions are not always available to help the learner so learners
need to have discipline to work independently without assistance. E-Learners may also become
bored with no interaction. It needs to be stressed that blended learning is not just a mixture of
strategies and technologies, but a holistic didactical method that combines “the effectiveness and
socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning
possibilities of the online environment, rather than ratio of delivery modalities” (Dziuban,
Hartman, Moskal, 2004). Applying blended learning we overcome some proven disadvantages for
both form of education - distance e-learning and traditional class room learning.
All collaborative learning theory contends that human interaction is a vital ingredient to
learning. Consideration of this is particularly crucial when designing e-learning, realizing the
potential for the medium to isolate learners. With well-delivered synchronous distance education,
and technology like message boards, chats, e-mail, and tele-conferencing, this potential drawback
is reduced. However, e-learning detractors still argue that the magical classroom bond between
teacher and student, and among the students themselves, can not be replicated through
communications technology. The ways in which e-learning may not excel over other training
include (Kruse K., 2004):
• Technology issues of the learners are most commonly technophobia and unavailability of
required technologies.
• Portability of training has become strength of e-learning with the proliferation of network
linking points, notebook computers, PDAs, and mobile phones, but still does not rival that
of printed workbooks or reference material.
• Reduced social and cultural interaction can be a drawback. The impersonality, suppression
of communication mechanisms such as body language, and elimination of peer-to-peer
learning that are part of this potential disadvantage are lessening with advances in
communications technologies.
Overcoming the disadvantages of e-learning:
• Lack of customization to student’s interest (also length instead of modules). Overcoming
this deficiency is achieved through analysis of student results by analysis and report,
which provides eDuTK. In addition to periodic surveys, this is in particular consideration
of the interests of students to improve the quality of teaching materials in electronic
format.
• Lack of student motivation. According to a series of studies, observations of the authors
and their experience lack of motivation is not related to the implementation of blended
learning. Opposite its implementation and opportunities encourage students. It speaks for
the fact that motivation is lower when these students in less benefited from electronic
versions of educational materials available in the VLE eDuTK.
• Not experientially based–its simulation based at best. In TC Yambol after the creation of
electronic materials they are experimenting with one or two school groups, and then make
adjustments if necessary and then offered in VLE eDuTK.
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• Lack of quality assessment and feedback, which hinders learning.
Students can complete the feedback form to express an opinion on the material in each
subject. After completing the given lesson from all students, the teacher analyzes the
results obtained through in-system tools - Item analyzes. It shows which the most
common mistakes are; what percentage of students answered the questions after each
lesson; and etc. There is a pre-developed system of criteria for assessing the knowledge,
consistent with the requirements for achieving quality education and European
Framework to cover the level A1 - A2.
• Some self-directed learners are sometimes too random and have no process. The learner
has to self-analyze content without requisite knowledge or criteria (its authority 2.0).
Students are grouped in main units based on their knowledge and English proficiency.
During their study they follow the instructions of their teacher and plan-schedule.
• Time resources at a minimum. The duration of each lesson or the test after it is not
unlimited, it is determined by the teacher depending on the complexity and volume of
material included in it. Also there can be limit on the number of repetitions of each
activity.
Overcome disadvantages of e-learning for English language training is reached by specialized
technologies. Hot Potatoes (http://hotpot.uvic.ca/, 08.05.2010) are not part of MOODLE but VLE
possesses the necessary instruments to allow for exercises created in it to be imported and
integrated in. Hot Potatoes for Windows is an instrumental work environment which includes six
applied programs. There could be used in creating interactive exercises. They are especially
suitable for foreign language learning (multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence,
crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises), for example Figure1.


Figure 1. Screenshot of JCloze – filling in a missing word or phrase.
The Hot Potatoes exercises could be saved in a web format and used in a web browser, printed
out, integrated and/or imported in the MOODLE using SCORM. The Hot Potatoes Set allows
creating exercises, which contain subtitles and instructions; prompts and feedback; buttons;
different appearances of the exercise texts – multiple fonts, colors, highlights of text and etc.;
timer, to limit duration of the exercises.
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To develop the listening with comprehension and communication the lecturer can use Audacity
(http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/, 08.05.2010). It is a free, easy to use and multilingual audio
editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. Both the
student and the teacher can use Audacity to:
• Record live audio under Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux operating systems;
• Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
• Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files (Ogg Vorbis is a completely open,
patent-free, professional audio encoding and streaming technology with all the benefits of
Open Source.).
• Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
• Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
To extend the possibilities of Audacity, both lecturers and students can use the set provided
directly at http://www.voxopop.com/. The students can create assignments and exercises in team
groups for conversation, and also create dialogs and text for self-study without any additional
software on their computers. New and already learned words can be associated with a hyperlink to
the glossary of this course. In order to strengthen the consequence of application of the lessons
audio files may be include with the text of the lesson to master the skill of listening
comprehension. After hearing text, questions are followed under the form of test, on which
students must respond in order to verify their knowledge. Test can be done to check the grammar
studied material.

4. Conclusion

Documents in the context of the Bologna Process (European Union, 2000) recommend, among
other things, that European university students acquire at least two foreign languages up to a
certain level of proficiency. Technology broadens the definition of face-to-face as there can be the
use of two way video, and two way audio. Introducing these elements of participation creates a
blended e-learning experience. Blended e-learning includes elements of web interaction and in-
person interaction; it overcomes most of shortcoming of e-learning. The used technologies are the
tool for achieving the main goals of language learning. There is a version of MOODLE for
language learning, which have improved ability to integrate audio, video and enhanced
interactivity of applied learning.
Applying blended learning in the discipline English as foreign language we gain good
experience overcoming of e-learning disadvantages by MOODLE activities, Hot Potatoes and
other multimedia resources and reached good results of acquired knowledge.

5. References

Branzburg, J., Aug 15, 2005, How To: Use the Moodle Course Management System,
http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=168600961
Burbles, N. C., 2004, “Navigating the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Pedagogy” in
Haythornthwaite, C., and Kazmer, M. M. (eds.) Learning, Culture and Community in Online Education:
Research and Practice, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, pp. 1-17. ISBN 0820468479.
Challenges and Disadvantages of E-learning and Distance Learning, 2009
http://compassioninpolitics.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/
Colorado State University (2005) “Always Have a Backup Plan”, retrieved September 27, 2005, from
http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/pcteacher/pop11b.cfm
Definitions of e-learning, 2004, http://www.newman.ac.uk/Students_Websites/~m.m.friel/def.htm
Disadvantages of e-Learning, 2010 http://www.1stopbiztro.com/_mgxroot/page_10752.html
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Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (2004): Blended learning. ECAR Research Bulletin, 7.
Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erb0407.pd
European Union (2000): The Bologna declaration on the European space for higher education: An
explanation. Retrieved October 11, 2005, from http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/
policies/educ/bologna/bologna.pdf.
Fetterman, D., 1998 “Virtual Classroom at Stanford University”, retrieved September 27, 2005, from
http://www.stanford.edu/~davidf/virtual.html
Gaya, J. 2010, http://empowerlms.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/e-learning-–-enjoying-the-lms-advantage/
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/, 08.05.2010
http://hotpot.uvic.ca/, 08.05.2010
http://wiki.media-culture.org.au/index.php/E-Learning_-_The_Virtual_Classroom_-_Disadvantages
http://www.voxopop.com/, 08.05.2010
IOWA State University (2001) “Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning”, retrieved September 27,
2005, from http://www.dso.iastate.edu/asc/academic/elearner/advantage.html
Kruse K.2004 http://www.e-learningguru.com/articles/art1_3.htm
Lehmann, K.J., 2004, “Successful Online Communication”, in K.J. Lehmann (ed.) How to be a Great Online
Teacher, USA: Scarecrow Education, pp. 9-16. ISBN 1578861128.
Ontological Library Generator for Hypermedia-Based
E-Learning System

Eugen Zaharescu
1
, Georgeta-Atena Zaharescu
2


(1) ”Ovidius” University of Constanta, Mathematics and Informatics Faculty
124 Mamaia Blvd., Constanta 900527, Romania
E-mail: ezaharescu@univ-ovidius.ro http://math.univ-ovidius.ro/
(2) "DECEBAL" High School, Constanta, Romania
E-mail: aza@math.com

Abstract
This paper presents an automatically approach of metadata e-library generation providing
online access to very large and organized video tutorials collections, covering the main
aspects of e-learning processes. This complex metadata digital library defines the structures
of a large hypermedia LU (Learning Units) database embedded in a hypermedia-based e-
learning system. Different methods of semantic description and hypermedia educational
contents integration are explored. Furthermore, some possibilities to build a large-scale
hypermedia objects ontology based on lexical resources generated in the context of
OWL(Web Ontology Language) systems (e.g. Protégé-OWL) are also described. Ontology-
based e-library generator is designed in the context of Semantic Web technologies using a
SOA(Service Oriented Architecture) approach. It provides e-learning management system
with large hypermedia resources repositories and enables efficient knowledge reuse and
exchange between e-universities.

Keywords: Semantic E-Learning, metadata, hypermedia, Semantic Web, Web Ontology
Language, Service Oriented Architecture.
Introduction

The exploitation of new Semantic Web technologies in the context of E-learning requires a deeper
understanding of the relevant issues as long as they will be able to incorporate even perception and
pervasive or ubiquitous computing..
The ultimate objective of the Semantic Web research activities targets the improvement of the
human experience and the enrichment of the living, with better ability to use heterogeneous
content and knowledge applications.
Semantic Web Based E-learning

From the beginning, we have tried to summarize some key research themes in the convergence of
Semantic Web and E-learning as shown in figure 1. Also, a set of research priorities are revealed
here and more specifically, there are three cyclical areas that summarize the current research in
Semantic E-Learning.
In this visual description it is used a matching of key issues that have significant roles in
Semantic Web and E-learning research, respectively. They are presented as five pairs where the
first part relates to the Semantic Web key issue and the second one to the E-learning key issue:
1. ”Expression of Meaning”–“Content authoring”
2. “Policy Aware Infrastructure”–“Interoperability/Standards”
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3. “Ontological Evolution”–“Adaptive Hypermedia”
4. “Web of Trust”–“Communities/Social Dimensions”
5. “Information Flow and Collaborative Life”-“Learning Context”.

Figure 1 The Semantic E-Learning research themes

”Expression of Meaning”–“Content authoring”. The obvious direct relation of Semantic Web
and E-learning combines the traditional content authoring process with the critical objective of
expression of meaning. Issues like Semantic Mark-Up, Semantic Retrieval, Personalized and
(Semi)-Structured Annotation and Content Conversion are leading a big research stream, in which
the main concern is the development of Semantic E-Learning content.
“Policy Aware Infrastructure”–“Interoperability/Standards”. The E-learning industry has
many achievements in the area of interoperability and standards and it recognizes the need to
secure a policy-aware infrastructure. The Semantic Web will only achieve its potential as an
information space for the free flow of scientific and cultural information if its infrastructure
supports a full range of fine-grained policy controls over its content. The research on types of
Control Over Content, the Compliance To Semantic and Metadata Models as well as the issues of
versioning and provenance require extensive research.
“Ontological Evolution”-“Adaptive Hypermedia”. The traditional Adaptive Hypermedia
considerations in E-learning are combined with Ontological Engineering and a lot of flexible
systems and accompanied methodologies have emerged. Issues like Ontology-Building, Ontology-
Integration, Conceptual Modelling and Semantic Conceptualisation reveal a new research agenda,
in which the specifications of conceptualisations (ontologies) promote the performance of learning
systems.
“Web of Trust”–“Communities/Social Dimensions”. In the E-learning Industry this issue is of
critical importance. The development of Virtual Learning Communities will require a Semantic
Web language of describing trust in the form of Unique Identities of Resources and Intelligent
Assistants.
“Information flow and collaborative Life”-“Learning Context”. As mentioned above, the
instrumentation of knowledge flows has been set as one of the priorities of the SW W3C activity.
In this area Semantic Services, (Semi) Automated Reasoning and Argumentation are critical themes
on the semantic e-learning agenda.
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Table 1 E-Learning requirements fulfilled by Semantic Web Agents conceptual characteristics
E-Learning
Requirements
Semantic Web Agents conceptual characteristics
Distributed
Knowledge
The Semantic Web will be as decentralized as possible. Distributed nature of the
Semantic Web enables continuous improvement of learning materials and effective
co-operative content management.
Coordinated
Interactivity
On the Semantic Web, software agents’ activities are coordinated as they may use
commonly agreed service language and produce proactive delivery of updated learning
materials. The vision is that each user has his own personalized Semantic Web agent
that communicates with other agents to generate the answer.
Non-linear
Delivery
Learning materials are distributed on the Web as linked objects to agreed ontologies.
This enables construction of a user-specific course by semantic querying for topics of
interest.
Dynamic
Delivery
Based on personalized Semantic Web agents, the delivery of information will be
proactive, creating a dynamic learning environment. The Semantic Web enables the use
of knowledge provided in various forms by semantically annotated content.
Personalized
Access
According to his own profile, user can describe goal of learning based on previous
knowledge and perform semantic querying for the suitable learning material. The
ontology is the link between the user needs and the characteristics of the learning
material. Access to knowledge can be expanded by semantically defined navigation.
Integration The Semantic Web offers the potential to become an integration platform for all
learning activities in any organization.
Semantic Web Stack and Ontology Spectrum

The Semantic Web stack (proposed and gradually refined by Berners-Lee, 2003, figure 2) guides
us through the process of increasing level of semantics.
Resources are at the basis of semantics, identified via their Uniform Resource Identifier (URI).
The next semantic layer is the XML, a set of syntax rules for “creating semantically rich mark-up
languages in a particular domain” (Daconta et al., 2003) together with its NS-Namespaces (“a
simple mechanism for creating globally unique names for the elements and attributes of the mark-
up language”, to avoid vocabulary conflicts). On top of XML is the Resource Description
Framework (RDF), simply put, an XML language to describe whole resources (as opposed to only
parts of them, as with XML). RDF Schema is a language that enables the creation of RDF
vocabularies; RDF Schema is based on an object-oriented approach.



Figure 2 Semantic Web stack (Berners-Lee, 2003) – on the left side and Ontology
Spectrum (Daconta et al., 2003) – on the right side
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Semantics increases from the lower levels towards the top of the stack. Ontologies are
constructed from structured vocabularies and their meanings, together with explicit, expressive
and well-defined semantics. In particular, Ontologies make knowledge reusable by featuring
classes (general things), instances (particular things), relationships between those things,
properties for those things (with their values), functions involving those things and constraints on
and rules involving those things.
Ontologies have their own spectrum of increasing semantics, as described in figure 2 (Daconta
et al., 2003). Taxonomies contain structured data, where the semantics of the relationship between
a parent and a child node is not well specified (“can be subclass of or part of”). Thesauri are
controlled vocabularies, with clearly defined equivalence, homographic (the same spelling),
hierarchical and associative relationships (e.g. WordNet). A Conceptual Model permits class-
subclass hierarchies (as in UML). Logical Local Domain theories are directly interpretable
semantically by the software, and represent the highest aspiration for ontologies.
Distributed Learning Objects Metadata

The distributed learning technologies and the learning objects standardization was developed by
three major organizations:
Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE)
focused on metadata and learning object indexing systems;
IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS-GLC), developed vocabularies and metadata for
learning objects (IMS Learning Resource Metadata specification).
Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) realised the Sharable Content Object Reference Model
(SCORM), a web-oriented data model for content aggregation focusing on the structure and
run-time environment for learning objects.
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is accepted as the standard for the
Educational Content Management and represents a collection of specifications for web-based E-
Learning. SCORM uses XML heavily, especially in defining Course Structure Format, a system
for representing course structures so that educational material can interoperate between platforms
and systems. It defines communications between client side content and a host system called the
run-time environment, which is commonly supported by a Learning Management System. It also
defines how content may be packaged into a transferable ZIP file called "Package Interchange
Format".
SCORM 2004 introduced a complex idea called sequencing, which is a set of rules that
specifies the order in which a learner may experience content objects. These rules constrain the
learner to a fixed set of paths through the training material, permit the learner to "bookmark" their
progress when taking breaks, and assure the acceptability of test scores achieved by the learner.
Learning Object Metadata (LOM) from IEEE LTSC represents a standard for Educational
Content Metadata Management and is a data model, usually encoded in XML, used to describe a
learning object and similar digital resources used to support learning. The purpose of Learning
Object Metadata is to support the reusability of learning objects, to aid discoverability and to
facilitate their interoperability, usually in the context of online Learning Management Systems
(LMS).
LOM defines a hierarchy of data elements for learning objects metadata named Base Schema.
At the top level of the hierarchy there are nine categories and for each data element, LOM specifies
a name, explanation, size, example value, data type, and other key details: 1-General, 2-Lifecycle,
3-Meta-Metadata, 4-Technical, 5-Educational, 6-Rights, 7-Relation, 8-Annotation, 9-
Classification
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Authoring Adaptive Educational Hypermedia

Adaptive Educational Hypermedia (AEH) is dedicated to personalization of distributed learning
materials in the open hypermedia corpus, e.g., the WWW. The most important goal is make an
easier authoring process (“authoring once, delivering many”) with to two major possible
approaches: first, a common language used by all authors of AEH, and secondly, the use of
converters between AEHs.
We can describe several approaches of Adaptive Educational Hypermedia systems:
AHA! “Adaptive Hypermedia Architecture”, was originally developed to support on-line
courses with some user guidance through conditional (extra) explanations and conditional
hided links. AHA! has many extensions and tools that have turned the system into a
versatile adaptive hypermedia platform. AHA! can be used to add different adaptive
“features” to applications such as on-line courses, museum sites, encyclopaedias, etc.
InterBook is a system for authoring and delivering adaptive electronic textbooks on the
WWW providing a technology for developing electronic textbooks from a plain text to a
specially annotated HTML, Adaptive Hypertext and Hypermedia. An HTTP server for
adaptive delivery of these electronic textbooks over WWW is also provided. Adaptive
navigation support techniques applied in InterBook proved to be efficient for educational
applications of hypertext and hypermedia, transforming them in an intelligent learning
support media. InterBook is used to deliver adaptive Web-based courses on “ACT-R theory
of cognitive modelling” Carnegie Mellon University, USA.
MOT (My Online Teacher) is a general authoring system for adaptive hypermedia. MOT
can author for different adaptation engines. To achieve this, MOT is exporting to a generic
format, called CAF, which realises the static representation of the data. Together with the
adaptation strategy, written in the adaptation language, LAG, this system can provide
specifications of adaptation for various types of user-model and presentation-model related
adaptations.
Claroline is an Open Source E-Learning and E-Working platform allowing teachers to
build effective online courses and to manage learning and collaborative activities on the
web. Claroline has a large worldwide users’ and developers’ community.
WHURLE (Web-based Hierarchical Universal Reactive Learning Environment) is an
adaptive learning environment, which is pedagogically effective, suitable to learner needs
and all subjects. WHURLE is implemented using XSLT, is designed for Coccon 1.x. (Java
publishing framework) and is developed as a research tool in the Web Technology Group
of the University of Nottingham.
Semantic E-Learning Conceptual Platform Architecture

In this section, we present a conceptual Semantic E-Learning architecture which provides high-
level services for appropriate online information retrieving.
This architecture integrates semantic services like: semantic browsing, semantic search or
smart question answering and is structured on three levels: (i)-Access Interface Level, (ii)-Service
Manager Level and (iii)-Knowledge Base Level.
The very top level of this architecture is the Access Interface Level representing the integrated
interface with the User and Provider Category. Through this personalized interface the learners,
the readers as well as the authors / managers of the academic institutions can access, upload or
modify the data with particular authority.
The second level, Service Manager Level, will generate a very complex and personalized set of
services for each interacting actor (particular searches, notification service, course annotation,
etc.).
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Between this second level and the third/last level we can observe two key elements:
(i)-Search Engine and (ii)-Inference Engine
Search Engine provides an API with methods for querying the knowledge base. RDQL (RDF
Data Query Language) can be used as an ontology query language. Also, it integrates Ontological
Hypermedia Library Generator.
Inference Engine answers to very complex queries and is responsible for inferring new facts by
an intelligent combination of facts already have in the knowledge base.
The fundamental and core level in this Semantic E-Learning platform is Knowledge Base Level
that will manage the conceptual elements of the whole architecture. In fact, it is a repository where
ontologies, metadata, inference rules, educational resources and course descriptions, user profiles
are stored.

Figure 3 Semantic E-Learning Conceptual Platform Architecture
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Ontological Hypermedia Library Generator

Ontology-based e-library generator is based on a SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) design and
is integrated in the Search Engine module of the Semantic E-Learning architecture. It uses Google
Video and Image Search agents to retrieve from the WWW the hypermedia elements
corresponding to a given ontology or taxonomy generated with WordNet or other similar systems.
Finally, these hypermedia objects are stored in a large LU (Learning Units) repository.
Subsequently, it provides a complex metadata digital library that defines the structures of this large
hypermedia reusable LU database embedded in the Semantic E-Learning system. This metadata
digital library uses Learning Object Metadata (LOM) from IEEE LTSC as a standard for the
management of hypermedia e-learning objects as shown in the figure 4.
Figure 4 LOM standard representation of a hypermedia e-learning object



Figure 5 Search Engine index page and the generated hypermedia catalogue
Acknowledgment
This paper was accomplished as part of the research project no. 551/2009 granted by Romanian
CNCSIS.
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References
Books:
Daconta, M. C, Obrst, L. J. & Smith K.T. (2003): The Semantic Web: A Guide to the Future of XML, Web
Services, and Knowledge Management, Wiley.
Journal Articles:
Brusilovsky, P. (2001) Adaptive Hypermedia, User Modelling and User-Adapted Interaction, Kluwer
academic publishers, Vol. 11, nr. 1-2, 87-110.
Cristea, A., Cristea, P. (2004a): Evaluation of Adaptive Hypermedia Authoring Patterns During a Socrates
Programme Class, Advanced Technology for Learning Journal, ACTA Press, 1(2), 115-124.
Conference Proceedings:
Berners-Lee, T. (2003): Semantic Web Status and Direction. ISWC2003 keynote, ISWC’03, 5-12.
Brusilovsky, P., Santic, T., De Bra, P. (2003): A Flexible Layout Model for a Web-Based Adaptive
Hypermedia Architecture. In Proceedings of the AH2003 Workshop, Budapest, Hungary, 77-86.
Cristea, A.I. (2004b): Adaptive Course Creation for All. In Proceedings of International Conference on
Information Technology, Las Vegas, US, 718-722,
Internet Sources:
IMS Instructional Management System, http://www.imsproject.org
IEEE LTTF, Learning Technology Task Force. http://lttf.ieee.org/
GiSHEO: On-line Platform for Training in Earth Observation

Dana Petcu
1
, Silviu Panica
1
, Marian Neagul
1
, Marc Frincu
1
, Daniela
Zaharie
1
, Dorian Gorgan
2
, Teodor Stefanut
2
, Victor Bacu
2


(1) West University of Timisoara, Romania
(2) Technical University of Cluj Napoca, Romania
E-mail: gisheo@lists.info.uvt.ro

Abstract
Current applications involving satellite data needs huge computational power and storage
capacities. Grid computing technologies from the last decade promise to make feasible for
these kinds of applications the creation of an environment which can handle hundreds of
databases, computing resources, and simultaneous users. While several Grid-based
platforms were developed recently for Earth sciences experiments and simulations, the
training activities in these fields do not follow the intensity of the research activities and there
is a clear gap between the request for specialists and the labour market offers.
In this paper we present several technical details of a Grid-based platform – that we named
GiSHEO – designed to provide high education and training facilities in Earth observation.
Tasks that are usually out of reach of desktop computers due to memory or time constraints
can be performed by using this platform. Its eLearning environment ,called eGLE, provides
templates for trainers to develop lessons for others to follow. In lesson related experiments,
trainees have access to large amounts of data and, thanks to remote processing, they can
analyze and receive results within the timeframe of the lesson. Moreover, trainees can
experiment without installing any software or transferring large amounts of data.

Keywords: Learn through experiments, Earth observation, Distributed systems

Introduction

Earth observation (EO) is currently deeply involved in scientific and commercial applications for
key problems like crisis management or global warming. Huge quantity of remote sensing data is
acquired daily by several satellites with only a portion of it actually exploited. The public
availability of a considerable part of these data allows the development of new innovative
applications. Such developments are possible only with at least minimal understanding and
training in processing remote sensing images. Unfortunately, training the future Earth observation
specialists is currently addressed by only a small number of institutions and platforms, due to the
special requirements of remote sensing data management and the hardware consumption
requirements of the specialized software tools.
In this context we have recently development an on-line training platform, named GiSHEO,
for high education in Earth observation (acronym for On-demand Grid Services for High
education in Earth Observation). The platform concepts and design will be exposed in this paper.
The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 discusses shortly the benefits of learning through
experiments; Section 3 points towards the special requirements of the Earth observation field that
motivates the selection of the technologies used by the platform; Section 4 exposes shortly the
functionality of the platform; Section 5 focuses on eGLE, the eLearning component of the
platform; finally, Section 6 conclude with several remarks.
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Learning through hands-on experiments

Learning through experiments is performed by a process which is composed of: making a
hypothesis, planning an experiment, running the experiment, and examining the results. Hands-on
experiments are possible when all the materials are available at the trainee site. Sciences like
mathematics and computer science can profit full experimenting directly in the classroom. Others
like physics or chemistry must rely on simulations as acceptable replacements. Earth sciences, and
in particular Earth observation, are in-between: simple hands-on experiments can be performed for
basic understanding of the phenomena, but experiments for high education tasks already require
the availability of large data sets or long time processing of remote sensing data – learning from
direct experience in this case can be time consuming and expensive.
Inquiry-based constructivist learning can offer students a unique opportunity to directly explore
phenomena and gain insight into the nature of science. In particular, students engaged in a hands-
on experiment will remember easier the material due to the fact they feel a sense of
accomplishment when the task is completed. Experiments encourage questioning of the observed
events and the resulting data. When students carry out their own experiments, they become
familiar with the events and the variables involved. In addition, they will be able to transfer that
experience easier to other experiments. The trainees develop their critical thinking skills as well as
discovery capabilities. This self discovery stays with trainee throughout their lifetimes.
Activity-centered training encourages student creativity in problem solving and promotes
student independence. Therefore learning from experiments is an essential part of innovation. To
achieve a real impact, the innovation requires constant experi-mentation, rigorous analysis,
learning from experiences and then adapting accordingly.
Intensive research reported in the last two decades supports many of above claims by providing
evidence that the learning of various skills and science content are enhanced through hands-on
experiments: students in activity-based programs exhibit increases in creativity, positive attitudes
toward science, logic development, or communication skills. Benefits for students are believed to
include increased learning, motivation to learn, enjoyment of learning, skill proficiency,
independent thinking, perception, creativity, or decision making based on direct evidence and
experiences.
We have mentioned and underlined here all of these known facts to motivate our approach for
an experiment-oriented on-line learning platform in contrast to the existing ones that are based
usually on exposition and quiz.
Requirements of Earth observation trainings

Earth observation is mostly referring to satellite imagery or satellite remote sensing. The result of
the remote sensing process is an image or a map. The remote sensing data represents the results of
the measurements of the reflected or emitted radiations from Earth. Remote sensing systems
include beside the collection of the data, methods and means for their processing and distributing it.
Several issues are affecting the wide scale usage of remote sensing systems. The remote
sensing data volume is continuously growing to a level that make impossible to process all the
daily acquired data using the current computing facilities of data centers. The number of users and
applications is also increasing and the data as well as resource sharing became a key issue in
remote sensing systems. EO scientists are often hindered by difficulties in locating and accessing
the data and services.
The last decade registered a shift in the design of remote sensing systems, from centralized
environments towards wide-area distributed environments that allow a scale-out in experimental
capabilities and real-time access to enormous quantities of data. Note that remote sensing data
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processing is usually a computational and data consuming task and special techniques are required
for both data storage and processing in distributed environments. Examples include the migration
of the code to the data location. The underlying technologies that allow this shift are tight to the
service-oriented architecture concepts: Web, Grid or Cloud computing, storage and services
techniques are facilitating the integration of data, processing and resources.
In particular, the promise of Grid computing made to the EO community at the beginning of this
decade was to provide a shared environment for accessing a wide range of resources:
instrumentation, data, high-performace computing resources, and software tools. Realizing the
potential of the Grid computing for EO, several research projects were launched to make the Grid
usage idea a reality. We mention here the scenarios depicted by DEGREE to represent Grid usage
in Earth sciences (www.eu-degree.eu), the GENESI-DR catalog of remote sensing data
(www.genesi-dr.eu), the G-POD platform – for on-demand processing of remote sensing data,
provided by ESA (gpod.eo.esa.int), or LGP – Landsat Grid prototype provided by NASA
(ntrs.nasa. gov), or the GeoGrid – Global Earth Observation Grid provided by Japan (www.
geogrid.org). The experiments reported using these platforms are highly complex and require huge
computing capacity. Repeating them in a training event is not possible.
The rapid evolution of the remote sensing technology is not followed at the same developing
rate by the education resources in this field. Currently there are only few educational activities in
EO. The CEOS Working Group of Education, Training and Capacity Building (www.ceos.org) is
one of the few facilities collecting an index of free EO educational materials. EduSpace
(http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Eduspace_EN/) is most known on-line environment providing EO
educational material. Earth observation is clearly a field in which the training can strongly benefit
from performing real data experiments in the classroom. But due to the huge dimensions of the
real data and the complexity of classical EO applications, both leading to memory or time
constraints unreachable with desktop computers, experimenting in the classroom is almost
impossible without using a distributed system. The typical data sets used now in EO trainings have
a size of at least of several tens of GBs. Acquiring new real data at trainee side is a time
consuming task that usually takes up to several minutes and this is not acceptable in a training
event. Furthermore, the desktop-based software tools are allowing only simple image processing
tasks. Moving the specialized software tool or the user-designed code where the data are located
could be a viable alternative. Moving the code to the data location is also the preferred solution
when data ownership raises access and usage issues. We consider that Grid technologies can
provide solutions for these legal and technical issues related to training process in the same way as
they have done for research. In this context our proof-of-the-concept platform proves that the Grid
technologies can be used beyond the research and production activities in EO, more specifically in
e-learning environments through remote experimentation.
GiSHEO’s technical set-up

GiSHEO’s architecture is a service-oriented one. The reason for this approach relies on our trust in
the potential of the small building blocks named services for the construction of complex
applications. In the particular case of Earth observation these small blocks can encapsulate the
logic of the algorithms for image processing. Complementing the application services that are
related to Earth observation tasks, the platform services are dealing with task scheduling or
workflow composition, data indexing or searching, security or discovery etc. The usage of the
Web service technologies for the application services and Grid service technologies for the
platform services is explained by our concern to offer standardized interfaces that can be latter on
used by anyone who desire to build a new client for our on-line platform.
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The platform is structured on several levels including user, security, service, processing and a
data level. The user level is in charge with the access to the Web user interface (built by using
Google’s Web Toolkit framework). The security level provides security context for both users and
services. Each user must be identified by either using a username/password pair or a canonical
name provided by a digital certificate. The service level exposes internal mechanisms belonging to
the platform by using Web services technologies. EO services are processing applications
represented through Web service interfaces. The workflow service addresses the internal workflow
engine. The data indexing and discovery services offer access to the data management
mechanisms. All interfaces of these services are described at: http://gisheo.info.uvt.ro.
At processing level the GiSHEO platform proposes two models for data processing by either
using Condor HTC (standard Cluster middleware), or Globus Toolkit 4 (standard Grid
middleware). At data level the platform deals with datasets database which contains the satellite
imagery repository and processing application datasets used by applications to manipulate remote
sensing data. Currently the repository includes authorized copies of NASA publicly available
remote sensing images, photograms that are specific for the geographical region of the developers,
as well as connections with ESA’s GENESI-DR catalogue through a particular Web service.
The processing component of the platform consists of two parts, the interface exposed as a Web
service and the workload management system. The interface named G-PROC is built by using
AXIS2 Web service technology and is responsible for the interaction with other internal services
as the data index service (GDIS) in order to facilitate access to the processing platform. It receives
tasks from the workflow engine or directly from user interface, uses a task description language
(ClassAd in case of Condor HTC) for the description of a job unit, submits and checks the status
of jobs, and retrieves job logs for debugging purposes. The workload management system uses
Condor HTC facilities. A task description should contain at least the following: the EO processing
application, the arguments set by the user and an image dataset. G-PROC uses GDIS to find the
real physical location of the dataset and prepares a task to be submitted to the workload
management system which schedules it on one of the computational clusters of the platform.
When the task is finished a notification is sent back to the user interface with the task status. G-
PROC is also used by the user interface to query the task database in order to get information
about the task status.
In particular for GiSHEO, data management is essential due to its data-centric design. The data
indexing and storage service (GDIS) provides features for data storage, indexing data, finding data
by various conditions, querying external services, and for keeping track of temporary data
generated by other components. GDIS is available to other components or external parties using a
special Grid service. This service is also responsible for enforcing data access rules based on
specific Grid credentials. The storage layer is responsible for storing the data by using storage
back-ends such as local disk file systems and cluster storage, or distributed file systems.
An important requirement for the storage component is that of a unique interface exposing the
data distributed across various storage domains (local or remote). This requirement fulfillment was
achieved by implementing a front-end GridFTP service capable of interacting with the storage
domains on behalf of the clients and in a uniform way. The GridFTP service also enforces the
security restrictions provided by other specialized services and related with data access. Moreover,
the GridFTP service provides special features for manipulating the data repository.
The user interface that was built as proof-of-the-concept usage of the platform facilities is
currently a Web based one. Due to the fact that EO applications are data-intensive, the key element
in any Web portal for EO is the selection of the data and, only after it, the selection of the
processing task or workflow that will be applied to them. Therefore our user interface is also data-
centric: datasets represent the main component of the interface and each data has a list of
processing tasks associated depending on its type; these processing tasks can be launched using the
selected dataset and input parameters. The EO data selection in different EO portals range from
simple selection based on data extracted from catalogues to visual selection of the region of
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interests. The user can select the images that he or she want to process using the location, type,
date and so on parameters. The data available is presented in a list form, where each entry has only
one preview form and a list of possible tasks to be applied. Figure 1 shows the results of selecting
the catalog from our platform and the geographical coordinates. In addition to this feature, the user
can specify a particular location in which he or she is interested in.
The data indexing is performed by PostGIS. The PostGIS layer indexes the metadata and
location of the geographical data available in the storage layer. The metadata usually represents
both the bounding box (or extent) and the geographical projection of the data (representing the
geo-location). The PostGIS layer provides also advanced geographical operations which allow
searching the data by using various criteria including interaction with raw shapes, interaction with
shapes representing geo-political data (like country, roads) or any other type of geographical data
which can be represented in PostGIS. Based on the advanced data indexing capabilities of the
PostGIS layer, our platform provides an advanced and highly flexible interface for quering in
platform's repositories. The search interface is built around our custom query language, named
LLQL, designed to provide fine grained access to the data in the repository and to query external
services like TerraServer or GENESI-DR. The syntax of the query language is inspired from the
syntax of the LISP language and partially by LDAP filters. The language allows querying the
repository both for raster images and also for various aggregated data or object properties. Besides
the developer oriented filters, GDIS also provides a simpler, user oriented query language usable
on the public search interfaces. This simple query filters are similar to the filters used by
mainstream search engines.


Figure 1. Snapshoot of the Web-based user interface - front page: photogram catalog

Another set of tasks handled by GDIS are represented by the interaction with external services.
In this case GDIS represents a thin middleware layer interacting with external repositories and
exposes only one unique interface (similar and possibly integrated with the internal repositories).
One example of external back-ends supported by GDIS is represented by the GENESI-DR catalog.
Remote sensing imagery could require large amount of processing steps involving different, but
rather simple, image processing transformations. This scenario requires the combination of the
processing algorithms to form a workflow either defined by the user or selected from an already
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existing list. These algorithms could be located on the same or on different machines spread over
the platform. Such algorithms are exposed in our platform as services. A simplified rule-based
workflow language, named SiLK, and a workflow engine, named OSyRIS, have been proposed
and used in our platform to ensure a fast response in the treatment of workflows compared to the
classical workflow solutions.
eGLE – the eLearning component of the platform

The aim of the eGLE component is to allow the user of the platform to search and retrieve
information from distributed sources, launch large scale computations on massive data and create
lessons based on these pieces of information in a transparent manner. The interface of the eGLE is
focused on simplicity in order to be easily used by average computer users. By using the eGLE
tools the teacher has the possibility to: (a) search the available sources for existing learning objects
and material that could be added to his lesson; (b) create new teaching materials through the
implementation and execution of new workflows based on the platform's application services; (c)
create visual containers for information display and format their appearance; (d) manage the
acquired learning components and combine them using visual elements in order to create the
lesson; (e) specify the desired interactivity level for each of the lesson components. The students
can follow the lesson static description and can execute the associated experiments according to
the constraints established by the teacher. Depending on the interaction level specified, they could
also be allowed to describe and experiment new workflows or choose different input data for
existing ones.
The platform database includes conceptual and particular workflow based descriptions, teaching
materials and lesson resources, and selected remote sensing data.
The teacher is able to browse and search for information based on keywords, time intervals or
latitude-longitude defined areas. Another type of information to be included into the lesson is the
result of the computations executed on the platform resources. The eGLE component of the
platform also provides the teacher with all the functionalities needed to create the visual
appearance of the lesson through the usage of visual containers like tools, patterns and templates.
Through the visual tools included in the eGLE interface, the teacher can describe his own
workflow, and launch it in execution, monitor the execution progress and access the results. Once
the information needed for the lesson is acquired, the teacher is able to setup the lesson structure,
to organize logically the information and to define the desired display settings. As the amount of
data included into the lesson can vary or may be accessible only at runtime, the offline lesson
development using desktop applications is not an option. Figure 2 presents an example of the
visual tools usage.
The teacher is able to specify a certain student interaction level. For example, the student could
receive the right to launch computations on certain data sets. The eGLE platform aims to
implement three different lesson scenarios: static lessons, dynamic lessons, or dynamic workflow
lessons. In a static lesson the student cannot modify the displayed information; nevertheless, he or
she may be granted the ability to control slideshows, videos or multimedia content. In a dynamic
data lesson the students can launch specific application services with input data sets that are
predefined by the teacher at authoring time. All the available options will be displayed by using a
list component while the processing results are automatically included into the lesson in a specific
area chosen by the teacher. In dynamic workflow lessons, the students are granted the ability to
modify a predefined workflow. For security reasons, the elements that can be added to the graph
are chosen at authoring time by the teacher, but the student will have the ability to describe any
processing graph using the provided components. After finishing the workflow description the
students could be allowed to launch the computation on a specific data set or on several data sets.
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The platform has been tested and stressed in classroom in the academic year 2009-2010 by the
master students in Geographic Information Systems from West University of Timisoara, in an
international training event dedicated to GisHEO in September 2009, and in a demo session at
European EGEE User Forum in April 2010.



Figure 2. Snapshoot of eGLE in action during a lesson construction
(see a full demo on the project‘s Web site)
Final remarks

The platform was developed in the last three years in the frame of the project PECS-98061 funded
by the European Space Agency. Different components of the platform were described in other
papers, e.g. eGLE in (Gorgan et al, 2009), OSyRIS & SiLK in (Frincu and Petcu, 2010), LLQL in
(Neagul et al, 2009), EO applications in (Petcu et al, 2009). These papers are also dealing with the
positioning of the platform vs. others platforms and its innovations at the technical level. In this
paper we intended to provide a view of the platform from a learning perspective, not approached
in previous reports. Demos, training materials, service interface descriptions, documentations, and
the link to the platform Web interface are available at project site (gisheo.info.uvt.ro).
References
Gorgan, D., Stefanut, T. and Bacu V. (2009): Grid based training environment for Earth observation. LNCS
5529, 98-109.
Frincu, M.E. and Petcu D., OSyRIS: a nature inspired workflow engine for service oriented environments,
SCPE 11 (1), 81–97.
Neagul, M., Panica, S., Petcu, D., Zaharie, D., and Gorgan D. (2009): Web and Grid services for training in
Earth observation.In Procs.of IDAACS 2009,Rende,241-246.
Petcu, D., Zaharie, D., Neagul, M., Panica, S., Frincu, M., Gorgan, D., Stefanut, T. and Bacu V. (2009):
Remote sensed image processing on Grids for training in Earth observation. In Chen Yung-Sheng (ed.),
Image Processing, In-Tech, Vienna.
Towards Educational Animation as a Service

Liviu Beldiman
1
, Nicolae Jascanu
2


(1) AltFactor, Galati
23, Portului Street, 800025, ROMANIA
E-mail: liviu.beldiman@altfactor.ro
(2) University “Dunărea de Jos” Galati
E-mail: nicolae.jascanu@ugal.ro

Abstract
AltFactor is part of an ITEA 2 project, named Guarantee, that aims to develop a decision
engine which, based on information received from the sensor system, will generate a
description of the situation. If these situations are dangerous or potentially dangerous, the
system will trigger the default alarms. In addition to these universally accepted dangerous
situations, there are many other situations that may be considered interesting by family
members. These situations should not necessarily have a negative connotation. Such
situations are difficult to be pre-programmed because they depend on family’s education and
culture. An easy way to capture the view of a family is by capturing the emotion raised by a
given situation. The platform aims to implement continuing education as a prevention
measure of potentially dangerous situations. The proposed platform could be fully integrated
into an ambient intelligence scenario: contextual animations presentation, natural integration
of animation in the flow of preferred information, capture the actual preferences of parents
and family, elements of socialization within the family, friends and relatives, communication
with psychologists and specialized institutions.

Keywords: education, emotion, learning, home safety.

Introduction

Even if domestic environment offers protection, children and elders are still exposed to a large
number of accidents. According to the Austrian Road Safety Board, 6.1% of the European
population, about 28 million people, receive hospital treatment each year after a home or leisure
accident. These accidents lead to great personal grief, loss of productivity and medical cost. It is a
real challenge to combine the care for loved ones with a busy working and social life. People feel a
strong need to connect to their loved ones and to be able to provide support when needed.
Connectedness provides peace-of-mind.
Existing home safety products address only the basic needs. The introduction of software-
based home safety solutions opens up many new possibilities to bring real innovations to the
consumer. Software home safety products leverage the capabilities of existing sensor components,
connectivity, and communications infrastructure.
The Guarantee project will develop the signal processing and decision making algorithms for
specific home safety situations. Further, the project will develop the software architecture for in-
home safety systems and for commercial and community-based home safety services. User
interaction is a key element for effective home safety systems. Unlike other similar
implementations, the project will also implement a system that will allow parents, guardians or any
family members to identify situations that can lead to dangerous circumstances from their point of
view. Their experience, education and culture will be helpful to educate children and to protect the
elderly by identifying circumstances that can turn into dangerous situations.
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These circumstances cannot be preprogrammed into decision engine, because they are not
universally valid. If for a child or elder a situation is dangerous, for anyone else the same situation
does not pose any problem. In the Guarantee project, there will be these types of scenarios:
• scenarios built into the system - defined a priori in the system:
o dangerous situations universally accepted
o risky situations commonly accepted
• scenarios defined and considered risky or dangerous by parents and family members
The correlation between these scenarios is shown in the Figure 1:
The Guarantee project aims not only to identify
some dangerous situations, but also to act when
such situation arises. In case of predefined
dangerous situations, the system will activate a
series of alarms that will alert and determine child
or elder to interrupt the activity.
Scenarios defined by parents have a leading
role in education. Guarantee project, will achieve
continuing education for child and elderly safety
through cartoon-based animations. These animated
sequences will be displayed on universal devices
such as TV sets or special touch-based devices that
allow interaction. Animated sequences are inserted
into the commercial breaks of normal programs or
cartoons. Thus, the educational act is done
continuously and naturally, in a non-intrusive
manner.
The graphics engine is able to generate
animations for both types of scenarios (Figure 2). In the case of scenarios defined by parents, the
animations are generated at runtime.


Figure 2. The graphics engine will generate animations
Platform overview
The platform aims to implement continuing education as a prevention measure of potentially
dangerous situations. The proposed platform could be fully integrated into an ambient intelligence
scenario:

Figure 1. Different scenarios in the
Guarantee project
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• contextual animations presentation
• natural integration of animations in the flow of preferred information
• ability to capture the actual preferences of parents and family
• elements of socialization within the family, friends and relatives
• communication with psychologists and specialized institutions

The platform has four main components (Figure 3):
• preferences capture module
• animation generator module
• management and configuration module
• communication and social interactions module

A simple way to capture family preferences consists in capturing the emotion triggered by a
situation. In psychology there are many theoretical models and practical tools that facilitate the
emotional knowledge capture from a person. These instruments have been used successfully over
decades in various fields, from industrial design to market research strategies. In order to capture
the emotional knowledge, we will use Russell's circumplex circle. For this will develop both a
theoretical model and a practical application, easy to use on any physical device. Preferences
capture module will allow two major types of capture:
• online capture - allows to attach an emotional marker during the progress of current
event
• offline capture - allows configuration of emotional markers for particular situations

Figure 3. Main components of proposed platform
Affective computing

Always have been controversial discussions about emotions. Moreover, emotional theories were
influenced greatly by the development of culture and society (Tenhouten, 2007). Emotion is a
fundamental aspect of life. This makes the theories and models developed to be issued even
influenced by the character, opinions, social condition of those who formulated them. The
phenomenon of emotion is so complex that a universal and fully accepted theory has not yet been
developed. Over decades there were developed many models more or less simplistic (DeLancey,
2002), (Plutchik, 2003).
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Extensive research in psychology have shown that even a random emotion, triggered by events
unrelated to decision making process, can influence the major outcome of the decision (Clore,
1992), (Schwarz, 1990). Incorporating emotions in decision-making system is necessary to solve
complex problems and to have a better understanding of taken decisions. Today, emotional
theories are a multi-disciplinary research area, which includes areas of research in cognitive
psychology, neurology, genetics etc. One of the spear tips of research in the theory of emotion is
the European project FP6 HUMAINE (Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion)
(Humaine, 2004) which brings together over 33 partners from 14 European countries. Emotional
research has taken such a magnitude that the W3C consortium is seeking to define a markup
emotional language EmotionML that standardizes the description of emotional knowledge. To be
integrated in a system, emotions should be taken as knowledge. This emotional knowledge is
represented through various emotional models such as discrete models, in which each response to
an action is associated with a distinct emotion, evolutionary models based on genetic algorithms,
in which the emotional system develops over time, dimensional models in which emotions are
described in two or three dimensions, where the axes represent different qualitative aspects of
emotion (Russell & Mehrabian, 1977), (Russell, 1980) (Watson & Tellegen, 1985).
Russell's circumplex model has shown over several decades that it can represent an impressive
number of distinct emotional terms (Feldman Barrett, et al., 2007). Russell's circumplex model is
the model used to extract qualitative knowledge relating family’s preferences. Circumplex model
developed by Russell is a sounding success currently being used in a variety of areas, from
customer satisfaction analysis to mobile applications and interactive games (Desmet, et al., 2005),
(Mateas, 2002) (Stahl, 2006), (Adam, 2007).
Since the early 90's, emotional theories began to be used in the field of intelligent agents.
Picard (Picard, 1997) separates the human emotion from the one of a software agent. In their case,
emotion is just a label that describes a certain state and the corresponding action. Many
psychologists have developed theories of emotion in such a way that it can be easily assimilated by
researchers in artificial intelligence (Ortony, et al., 1988). In the Oz project, Bates (Bates, 1992)
introduces the notion of credible emotional agents. The project implements a virtual world in
which virtual actors interact and express emotions depending on social context. During the last
decade numerous architectures and formalisms were developed for emotional and intelligent
agents. Emotional theories were adopted to design artificial intelligence formalisms that facilitate
the implementation of software agents (Meyer, 2006), (Ochs, et al., 2007).
Online capture system

There are many situations in which the family or one of its members is present during the event.
To facilitate knowledge capture, the system allows attaching an emotional marker for the current
window of sensory events. Via a mobile device, the user can select a particular area of the
circumplex, representing his or her emotional state in that particular situation (Figure 4).


Figure 4. Online capture system
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The graphical user interface of the application can be customized to facilitate the expression of
emotions. The user will simply touch the screen in the area representing its emotional state. This is
the only required action from the user. The selected area represents the emotional marker and it
will be associated with a set of characteristics from the decision engine. Using the emotional
marker and the set of characteristics, the animation engine will generate the appropriate animation
Offline capture system

The online system is effective as long as someone is present when the event occurs. The platform
allows configuring the emotional state before the event happens. The decision engine will produce
a number of characteristics, each one having several values. The user can choose several
characteristics to create an emotional configuration. The animation engine will use the
configuration to create animations or graphical alarms.
Let’s consider the following situation as an example: the child shall go to a birthday party. The
goal of the generated cartoon is to educate the child that before going out, when outside is cold, it
is better to stay calm for several minutes. The family chooses to configure the following
characteristics of the decision engine:
• child agitation - the child is very restless in the house
• outside temperature - very cold outside
• departure time - departure time is approaching
The system can choose different combinations of characteristic and values to create
animations. The animation is influenced by the value of cost, which is calculated for every
configuration. The cost is the extent to which the situation is pleasant or unpleasant for the family
member. The cost will decisively influence the animation story.
Deciding which value is more important is not easy. When the situation has more than two or
three characteris