The 7

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
The ICV and CNIV projects supports edivision2020: www.eduvision.ro


Special edition dedicated to "2012 Alan Turing Year"



























ICVL and CNIV Coordinator: Dr. Marin Vlada


The printing of Proceedings was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Research,
Sports and Youth of Romania, National Authority for Scientific Research, ROMANIA
Proceedings of the 7
th

International Conference
On Virtual Learning



NOVEMBER 2-3, 2012


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







Special edition dedicated to "2012 Alan Turing Year"









, 2012
ICVL and CNIV Partners:
Grigore Albeanu, Mircea Popovici, Radu Jugureanu, Olimpius Istrate
www.icvl.eu www.cniv.ro







© Bucharest University Press
Şos. Panduri, 90-92, Bucureşti – 050663, România,
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Tel. (0040) 021.314.35.08/2125
Web: www.editura.unibuc.ro














Desktop publishing: 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 2012 ................................................... 15


Workshop
HAPTIC FEEDBACK SYSTEMS IN EDUCATION ............................. 25


Section M&M
MODELS & METHODOLOGIES ..................................................... 53


Sections TECH
TECHNOLOGIES .......................................................................... 251


Sections SOFT
SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS ............................................................... 351


Section Intel® Education
INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH ............................. 421


Authors Index ....................................................................... 465


C O N T E N T S


Paper
No.
PAPER TITLE AND AUTHOR(S)
Page
No.
Workshop Haptic Feedback Systems in Education
1
Medical Simulation and Training: “Haptic” Liver

Felix G. Hamza-Lup, Adrian Seitan,
Dorin M. Popovici, Crenguta M. Bogdan
27
2
Haptics-Augmented Physics Simulation: Coriolis Effect

Felix G. Hamza-Lup, Benjamin Page
34
3
CHRYSAOR: an Agent-Based Intelligent Tutoring System in Virtual
Environment

Frédéric Le Corre, Caroline Fauvel, Charlotte Hoareau, Ronan Querrec and
Cédric Buche
39
4
Methodology for 3D reconstruction of objects for teaching virtual
restoration

Silviu Butnariu, Florin Gîrbacia, Alex Orman
46


Section Models & Methodologies
5
2012 The Alan Turing Year

Marin Vlada
55
6
Generative Techniques for Building Virtual Objects

Grigore Albeanu
62
7
On the Use of Educational Ontologies as Support Tools for Didactical
Activities

Mihaela Oprea
67
8
Effective Training for Policy Based Management of 3D Multi User
Learning Environments

Indika Perera, Colin Allison, Alan Miller
74
9
Tabu Search in Genetic Algorithm for Protein
Folding Simulations in the 2D HP model

Alina-Gabriela Tunea
81
10
Learning Through Projects in Virtual Environments Designed for Adult
Training

Olimpius Istrate, Simona Velea
88
The 7
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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11
Applying Interoperability in Serious Games Environments

Antoniu Ştefan, Ioana Andreea Stănescu, Ion Roceanu, Theo Lim
93
12
E-learning strategies for VET teachers based on active cooperation with
labour market operators

Giovanni Fulantelli, Davide Taibi, Valentina Dal Grande,
Manuel Gentile, Mario Allegra
100
13
From Course Management to Workflows

Eniko Elisabeta Tolea
107
14
Means of Data Introduction for Mobile Learning Applications

Alin Zamfiroiu

112
15
Web-Based Methods and Tools in Teaching Translation and
Interpreting

Corina Silvia Micu, Raluca Sinu
118
16
Using Serious Games in adult education Serious Business for
Serious People-the MetaVals game case study

Maria Magdalena Popescu, Margarida Romero, Mireia Usart
125
17
Metacognition In On-Line Foreign Language Learning

Ramona Henter, Ecaterina Maria Unianu
135
18
Ontological Framework in in Integrated SOI (Structure of Intellect)-
Touring Machine-Kant Knowledge System

Loyola y Blanco José A.
140
19
Modeling a Virtual Learning Environment as States
of a Touring Machine

Loyola y Blanco José A.
147
20
An Inversion-based Genetic Algorithm for Grouping of students

M. Mahdi Barati Jozan

, Fattaneh Taghiyareh

, Hesham Faili
152
21
Curriculum Evaluation of Machinery Training Department

Süleyman Yaldiz, Ulvi Şeker, Nicoleta Alina Andreescu
162
22
Cloud Computing And High Education

Dineva S., Nedeva V.
171
23
Evaluation of Certain Aspects of Electronic and Blended Learning
(Teachers Opinion)

Ducheva Z., Dineva S., Pehlivanova M.
177
24
Analyzing Factors That Made E-Learning Successful

Krastev Kr.

Yorgova R.

, Dineva S.
183
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
10
25
Usage of Modern Technologies to Improve Web Based
E-Learning Applications

Silviu Dumitrescu
190
26
An overview of open, free and affordable textbooks

Elena Railean
195
27
Methodology of Computer-Assisted Cooperative Learning Based on the
Materials of the Multicultural Collaborative Programme “STEP into the
Global Classroom”

Evgeniya Budenkova
202
28
The 3D representation for learning used in the garment development

Aileni Raluca Maria
209
29
ICT in the Romanian Compulsory Educational System. Expectations vs
Reality

Oana Popa, Felicia Bucur
213
30
Teachers’ perception concerning their technology competencies

Mărgăriţoiu Alina, Eftimie Simona Georgiana
220
31
Collaborative E-learning Methodologies: an Experience of Active
Knowledge in ICT Classrooms

Margarida M. Pinheiro, Dora Simões
226
32
Free Access to Legal Resources on the Internet

Georgeta-Bianca Spîrchez
234
33
The analysis of corporate social responsibility
for the education of consumers

Laura Poţincu (Mureşan), Cristian-Romeo Poţincu
237
34
The education of banking services consumers,
a requirement of corporate social responsibility

Laura Poţincu (Mureşan), Cristian-Romeo Poţincu
244
Section Technologies
35
Identifying, Analysing and Testing of Software
Requirements in Learning Management System

Sengupta Souvik, Dasgupta Ranjan
253
36
On Using Augmented Reality Technologies to Improve the Interaction
between Real and Virtual Spaces

Sorin Ionitescu
262
The 7
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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37
COLLADA Based Interoperability
Assurance for Virtual Reality Assets

Sorin Ionitescu
267
38
An Overview of the Web-Based Communication Tools Used for
Increasing the Web-Based Education Efficiency

Iuliana Dobre
273
39
Web-Based Training Systems – Evaluation and Measurement of their
Quality Component

Iuliana Dobre
280
40
Administering Computer Networks Using
Windows Management Instrumentation Technology

Constantin Lucian Aldea , Gheorghe-Cosmin Spîrchez
287
41
Speech Recognition Neural Methods in E-learning Environments

Daniela Şchiopu
293
42
Research on size fasteners of wooden structures for construction with
programming software Heco Schrauben

Gheorghe-Cosmin Spîrchez, Loredana Anne-Marie Bǎdescu, Costel Aldea,
Sergiu Rǎcǎşan
299
43
Using virtual reality to teach history

Calin Neamtu, Radu Comes, Razvan Mateescu, Rares Ghinea, Filip Daniel
303
44
Distance Learning for GIS in Serbia

Lecic Dusanka
311
45
New learning innovations with Web 4.0

Veselina Nedeva, Snejana Dineva
316
46
Effective Resources Use for Virtual Laboratories through Cloud
Computing ans Services

Veselina Nedeva, Zlatin Zlatev, Svetoslav Atanasov
322
47
Distance counselling needs. Study case – south zone, Romania

Eftimie Simona Georgiana, Mărgăriţoiu Alina
329
48
Tempus Project «Creating Digital Network Universities in Applied
Science Themes and Economics in Moldova (CRUNT)»

Petru Todos, Nicolae Secrieru, Stela Guvir
333
49
E-learning for information systems for human resource management
business systems

Lecic Dusanka
339
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
12
50
New Technologies and Requirements for Marketing Education in the
Era of Internet of Things (Iot):
The Need for University-Industry Linkages in Romania

Alexis Daj
345
Section Software Solutions
51
The Module of Practical Session Tests in the Easy-Learning Platform

Radu Rădescu
353
52
The New Mail and Newsletter Modules in the Easy-Learning Platform

Radu Rădescu, Valentin Pupezescu
360
53
Modeling and simulation the incompressible flow through pipelines –
3D solution for the Navier-Stokes equations

Daniela Tudorica

367
54
Software for Plagiarism Detection in Computer Source Code

Daniela Marinescu, Alexandra Băicoianu, Sebastian Dimitriu
373
55
New Augmented Reality System Introduced in the Educational Context

Simona Maria Banu
380
56
Algorithm for Dynamic Partitioning and Reallocation of Fragments in a
Distributed Database

Nicoleta Magdalena Ciobanu (Iacob)
387
57
Reasons for studying Haskell in University

Anca Vasilescu, Florin-Robert Drobotă
394
58
Enhancing LATEX for typesetting in the Romanian traditional style

Petru-Ioan Becheru
401
59
The textile product design evaluation

Aileni Raluca Maria
410
60
Remote Access to an Advanced Telecommunications
Platform for Educational Purpose

F. Sandu, A. N. Balica, D. N. Robu, S. R.Svab
413
Section Intel®Education
61
TOL4FOOD- Transfer of knowledge and training
for European traditional food producers
related to innovative quality control methodologies

Mihaela Coman, Monica Florea
423
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62
DECIDE-IT Project

Mihaela Coman, Monica Florea
429
63
Model of Kazakhstan e-learning System

Gul K. Nurgalieva
433
64
School Projects and Virtual Labs Using Virtual Environments –
Ways of Enhancing the Students’ Creativity

Ioana Stoica
441
65
The Use of Multimedia Technologies in Approaching the Physical
Phenomena from Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Maria Dinica, Luminita Dinescu, Cristina Miron
447
66
Enhancing English Language Writing and
Speaking through Digital Storytelling

Anisoara Pop
453
67
A Case Study of Content-based Wiki project
in Teaching Business English

Anisoara Pop
459
About ICVL 2012

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, Sports and Youth of
Romania, National Authority for Scientific Research , SIVECO Romania

University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
16
ICVL 2012 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 7
th
International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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November 2 – November 3, 2012 – BRASOV, ROMANIA
Location: "Transilvania" University of Brasov, ROMANIA
Organizers: University of Bucharest, "Transilvania" University of Brasov,
Siveco Romania

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. Constantin
Aldea
Professor of Computer Science, “Transilvania” University of
Brasov, Matematics and Computer Science Department, 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. Rareş Boian
Professor of Computer Science (Virtual Reality), Mathematics
and Computer Science, "Babes-Bolyai" University of Cluj-
Napoca, Romania, http://www.ubbcluj.ro
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
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
18
Dr. Steve
Cunningham
Noyce Visiting Professor of Computer Science, Grinnell
College, Grinnell, Iowa, USA Department of Computer Science
Dr. Ioan Dzitac
Professor of Computer Science, Executive Editor of IJCCC,
Agora University,Oradea, Romania
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
The 7
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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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
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,
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 "Transilvania" University of Brasov
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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 7
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International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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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 (FP7)
- 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.
- To improve the cooperation among students, teachers, pedagogues, psychologists
and IT professionals in specification, design, coding, and testing of the educational
software.
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
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- 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.


Themat i c Ar eas/ Sect i ons

Model s & Met hodol ogi es ( M&M) :
- I nnovat ive Teaching and Learning Technologies
- Web- based Met hods and Tools in Tradit ional, Online Educat ion and
Training
- Collaborat ive E- Learning, E- Pedagogy,
- Design and Development of Online Courseware
- I nformat ion and Knowledge Processing
- Knowledge Represent at ion and Ont ologism
- Cognit ive Modelling and I nt elligent syst ems
- Algor it hms and Programming for Modelling

Technol ogi es ( TECH) :
- I nnovat ive Web- based Teaching and Learning Technologies
- Advanced Dist ribut ed Learning ( ADL) t echnologies
- Web, Virt ual Realit y/ AR and mixed t echnologies
- Web- based Educat ion ( WBE) , Web- based Training ( WBT)
- New t echnologies for e- Learning, e- Training and e- Skills
- Educat ional Technology, Web- Lect uring Technology
- Mobile E- Learning, Communicat ion Technology Applicat ions
- Comput er Graphics and Comput at ional Geomet ry
- I nt elligent Virt ual Environment

Sof t w ar e Sol ut i ons ( SOFT) :
- New soft ware environment s for educat ion & t raining
- Soft ware and management for educat ion
- Virt ual Realit y Applicat ions in Web- based Educat ion
- Comput er Graphics, Web, VR/ AR and mixed- based applicat ions for
educat ion & t raining, business, medicine, indust ry and ot her sciences
- Mult i- agent Technology Applicat ions in WBE and WBT
- St reaming Mult imedia Applicat ions in Learning
- Scient ific Web- based Laborat ories and Virt ual Labs
- Soft ware Comput ing in Virt ual Realit y and Art ificial I nt elligence
- Avat ars and I nt elligent Agent s
Topics of int erest include but are not limit ed t o:


The 7
th
International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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Vi r t ual Envi r onment s f or Lear ni ng ( VEL) :
- New t echnologies for e- Learning, e- Training and e- Skills
- New soft ware environment s for educat ion & t raining
- Web & Virt ual Realit y t echnologies
- Educat ional Technology and Web- Lect uring Technology
- Advanced Dist ribut ed Learning ( ADL) t echnologies
- I nnovat ive Web- based Teaching and Learning Technologies
- Soft ware and Management for Educat ion
- I nt elligent Virt ual Environment

Vi r t ual Real i t y ( VR) :
- Comput er Graphics and Comput at ional Geomet ry
- Algor it hms and Programming for Modeling
- Web & Virt ual Realit y- based applicat ions
- Graphics applicat ions for educat ion & t raining, business, medicine,
indust ry and ot her sciences
- Scient ific Web- based Laborat ories and Virt ual Labs
- Soft ware Comput ing in Virt ual Realit y

Know l edge Pr ocessi ng ( KP) :
- I nformat ion and Knowledge Processing
- Knowledge Represent at ion and Ont ologism
- Mult i- agent Technology Applicat ions in WBE and WBT
- St reaming Mult imedia Applicat ions in Learning
- Mobile E- Learning, Communicat ion Technology Applicat ions
- Cognit ive Modelling, I nt elligent syst ems
- New Soft ware Technologies, Avat ars and I nt elligent Agent s
- Soft ware Comput ing in Art ificial I nt elligence

Educat i on sol ut i on t ow ar ds 21st Cent ur y chal l enges ( I nt el EDU) :
- Digit al Cur riculum, collaborat ive rich- media applicat ions, st udent
soft ware, t eacher soft ware
- I mproved Learning Met hods, int eract ive and collaborat ive met hods t o
help t eachers incorporat e t echnology int o t heir lesson plans and enable
st udent s t o learn anyt ime, anywhere
- Professional Development , readily available t raining t o help t eachers
acquire t he necessary I CT skills
- Connect ivit y and Technology, group proj ect s and improve communicat ion
among t eachers, st udent s, parent s and administ rat ors





W o r k s h o p


Haptic Feedback Systems
in Education

This workshop will be devoted to developments and issues
involving haptic systems in education. Topics will range from
haptics in human computer interaction to haptic applications
in medical training
- Haptics is the science of merging tactile sensation
with computer applications, thereby enabling users to
receive feedback they can feel (in addition to auditory
and visual cues). Multimodal environments where visual,
auditory and haptic stimuli are present convey
information more efficiently since the user manipulates
and experiences the environment through multiple
sensory channels
- The availability of haptic systems enables the
augmentation of traditional instruction with interactive
interfaces offering enhanced motivation and
intellectual stimulation. Although the haptic devices
have not made large inroads into education, we believe
that the potential for revolutionary change now exists
due to the recent availability of both the hardware
and software component

Medical Simulation and Training: “Haptic” Liver

Felix G. Hamza-Lup
1
, Adrian Seitan
2
,
Dorin M. Popovici
2
, Crenguta M. Bogdan
2

(1) Computer Science and Information Technology
Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, USA
(2) Mathematics and Informatics
Ovidius University, Constanta, Romania
E-mail: Felix.Hamza-Lup@armstrong.edu


Abstract
Tactile perception plays an important role in medical simulation and training, specifically in
surgery. The surgeon must feel organic tissue hardness, evaluate anatomical structures,
measure tissue properties, and apply appropriate force control actions for safe tissue
manipulation. Development of novel cost effective haptic-based simulators and their
introduction in the minimally invasive surgery learning cycle can absorb the learning curve
for residents. Receiving pre-training in a core set of surgical skills can reduce skill
acquisition time and risks.
We present the development of a cost-effective visuo-haptic simulator for the liver tissue,
designed to improve practice-based education in minimally invasive surgery. Such systems
can positively affect the next generations of learners by enhancing their knowledge in
connection with real-life situations while they train in mandatory safe conditions.

Keywords: Haptic, Laparoscopy, Simulation, Minimally Invasive Surgery, VR
Introduction
Haptic devices generate small forces through a mechanical linkage (e.g., a stylus in the user’s
hand), allowing the user to sense the shape and some material properties of virtual objects. Haptic
hardware and associated technology have become increasingly more available, especially in
entertainment (e.g. electronic games) and the medical field (e.g. simulation and training of surgical
procedures) (Basdogan et al., 2004). In the area of medical diagnosis and minimally invasive
surgery (e.g. laparoscopy) there is a strong need to determine mechanical properties of biological
tissue for both histological and pathological considerations. One of the established diagnosis
procedures is the palpation of body organs and tissue.
In this paper we present a visuo-haptic simulator designed to improve practice-based education
in laparoscopy. We focus on liver palpation simulation and laparoscopic tools manipulation. The
simulator can be used as a preliminary step for minimally invasive surgical training in liver related
surgical procedures.
The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 presents a few facts about liver pathology as well
as related work in laparoscopy simulation for liver based procedures. Section 3 presents the
graphical and haptic user interface for the system. Section 4 presents the simulation cases of
different liver pathologies followed by the assessment of the simulator in Section 5.
Simulation and Training for Liver-based Laparoscopy Procedures
The largest organ in the human body, the liver is also one of the most affected by disease. For
example hepatitis C virus infection is a growing public health concern. Globally an estimated 180
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million people, or roughly 3% of the world’s population, are currently infected (Ford et al., 2012).
The normal liver is smooth, with no irregularities. The smoothness is due the fact that the liver is
covered in the most part by visceral peritoneum that forms its serous membrane. The liver has
greater consistency than other glandular organs. It is tough and its percussion gives dullness. It is
brittle and less elastic, so that it breaks and crushes easily. The liver has a high plasticity, which
allows it to mould after neighbouring organs (Târcoveanu et al., 2005).
In minimally invasive surgery internal tissue palpation is an important pre-operatory activity
(Khaled et al., 2004). Liver palpation can reveal multiple issues: presence of emphysema with an
associated depressed diaphragm, fatty infiltration (enlarged with rounded edge), active hepatitis
(enlarged and tender), cirrhosis (enlarged with nodular irregularity), hepatic neoplasm (nodular
consistency).
State-of-art hepatic laparoscopic simulations, like other cutting-edge surgical simulations, take
advantage of increased computational power and haptic device accuracy to supplement the pre-
operative planning process and surgeons training.
The EU PASSPORT project is an example of a current laparoscopic liver resection simulation.
The project utilizes “advanced methods and the computational power of today GPUs to simulate
multiple organs with high-resolution deformations and collisions in real-time” (Passport, 2012). A
similar research effort (Acharya et al., 2008) studied the effects of surrounding organ kinematics
and geometry on liver access. The group modelled respiratory diaphragm motion for integration
into surgical training and planning simulators. Villard (Villard et al., 2009) went a step further,
including rib cage respiratory movement, soft tissue behaviour, and a collection of virtual patients
and their organs, segmented from CT scans of actual patients in their liver biopsy simulator. These
forward strides have necessitated parallel advances in the area of organ modelling.
Lister (Lister et al., 2011) developed a nonlinear liver model through experimental setups
designed to collect precise measurements in force-displacement, surface deformation, and organ
boundary conditions. The model was augmented with an outer capsule that constrained surface
tissue movement for added realism. Model accuracy was assessed through a probing simulation.
Beyond organ modelling, surgical procedure modelling has also improved. Marciel (Maciel at al.,
2008) developed a real time physics-based virtual electrosurgical simulation tool in which heat
generation in the tissue is linked to the applied electric potential. Such electro-surgery tasks are
indispensable in laparoscopic surgery simulation specifically for a virtual liver ablation.
While 3D organ models have progressed in the last decade from linear (Delingette, 2000) to
nonlinear (Ayache et al., 2003), simulations have grown increasingly complex and layered—
imparting invaluable physiological knowledge and experience that may be otherwise impossible to
attain.
HapticMed Simulator
During our business analysis phase, through discussions with surgeons from Constanta
Regional Hospital we identified four scenarios for training in the HapticMed simulator. The first
case presents a 3D haptic model of a healthy liver tissue; the second case focuses on the pathologic
case of cirrhosis; the third case, on a liver with tumours and case number four simulates a hepatic
liver.
Hardware Components
The main hardware components of our simulation system are: a set of two Phantom Omni
(Sensable, 2012) devices and a 3D visualization system based on shutter glasses. A Maryland
pense (see Figure 1) is attached to the Omni device and is restricted through a metal ring that
simulates the trocar entry point.
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The User Interface
The simulator allows users to interact with the
virtual environment through a standard keyboard
and one or two haptic devices simultaneously. The
graphical interface consists of a set of 3D elements
such as buttons, as well as 2D labels and text.
It is essential that the user familiarizes with
the haptic device manipulation in a 3D virtual
space before using the simulator. Therefore, the
user must touch with the haptic device a sphere
randomly positioned on the screen several times in
a fixed time interval (see Figure 2). If the user
does not succeed, s/he can retry the task several
times until s/he becomes accustomed with the
visuo-haptic interface.


Figure 2. Basic user-interface interaction for familiarization with the haptic interface
Simulated Scenarios
Healthy Liver and Cirrhotic Liver
The first interaction between the user and the interface is on a healthy liver model. A 3D
deformable model of the liver is presented to the user and the interaction is possible though a
Maryland pense as well as a Babcock pense which is broad, has flared ends with smooth tips
allowing tissue palpation. All current scenarios assumes that the laparoscopic camera and the
corresponding light source are fixed and do not require user attention. The visual-haptic interface
is presented in Figure 3.


a) Generic Interface

b) Menu on the left for choosing questions

Figure 1. Hardware components

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c) Menu on the right for selecting answers

Figure 3. HapticMed simulator work session.
Healty liver evaluation (left), cirrhotic liver evaluation (right).

The goal for the Healthy Liver scenario is to complement the theoretical knowledge of the
student by allowing him to palpate and obtain realistic force feedback from a healthy liver tissue.
The improvement and evaluation processes for liver palpation focuses on the force range (min-
max) applied during palpation, the direction of force application (based on the instrument angle to
the surface) as well as the palpation methodology and palpation zones/areas.
In the Cirrhotic Liver scenario the user uses the pense to explore through touch the liver
surface properties. After palpating the surface bumps, observing their consistency and frequency
(Figure 3 – right side images), the user employs a menu system to present the disease condition
based on attributes like tissue color and consistency.
Liver Tumours and Hepatic Liver Scenarios
These two scenarios follow the same evaluation structure like the ones for the healthy and
cirrhotic liver: choosing questions, palpation execution and question answering. The tumor model
presents two types of cysts: one type is visible at the liver surface and presents stiffness properties
different for the rest of the liver surface, the other one is internal cysts (deep cysts) that are not
visible at the surface however can be detected haptically through surface palpation. A successful
liver evaluation in this case requires a full surface palpation to identify surface as well as potential
deep cysts.

a) Generic Interface

b) Menu on the left for choosing questions
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c) Menu on the right for selecting answers
Figure 4. HapticMed simulator work session
Liver with tumors/cysts evaluation (left), Hepatic liver evaluation (right).

The hepatic liver simulation presents a visually as well as haptically modified liver model. In
comparison with the healthy liver, the hepatic liver surface color is more pale and the tissue
consistency is significantly increased.
Simulator Assessment
The force applied during palpation must be maintained in a certain range. Palpation with small
forces may not reveal correctly mechanical properties of the biological tissue, while forces
exceeding a certain threshold can irreversibly damage healthy liver tissue.
Interactive Palpation Force Measurement
We proposed and implemented a dynamic force measurement approach and visualization
module to find the appropriate range of forces during the liver palpation procedure, collecting
force data directly from the experienced surgeons we cooperate with. The module draws a force
measurement indicator range on the left side of the screen as illustrated in Figure 5.


Figure 5. Dynamic force measurement and display

The range empirically agreed upon is in the interval 2.1 to 2.5 Newtons. A standard Babcock
pense was connected to the haptic device and used to practice palpation.
Force Map Visualization
The prototype we developed represents the palpation force, position and orientation thought
cones directly on the liver’s surface. The cone’s height and bottom radius are proportional with the
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
32
magnitude of the force applied on the tissue’s surface. Moreover the position and orientation of the
pense is represented by the cone’s height direction. So the evaluator can see not only the force
applied but also the location and the direction of the pense relative to the liver surface. The
assessment method takes into consideration the palpation gesture according to the type of liver the
user evaluates: the recommended palpation force used to a normal liver differs from the one used
on a hepatic liver.
In Figure 6 (left) the user is an experienced surgeon: the palpation force used on each “tap” on
the liver’s surface is constant. We observe that the velocity of the Babcock pense on the liver
surface is constant too. In Figure 6 (right) the user is a novice: the palpation force and the haptic
device’s velocity vary abruptly when it should remain at a relative constant value to avoid tissue
damage.



Figure 6. Force map visualization (experienced-left, novice-right)
Conclusions
Haptic devices, allowing the simulation of touch are becoming increasingly available and
affordable. Their use in medical simulation and training has been recognized worldwide for more
than a decade.
We have developed the first 3D visual and haptic simulator for liver diagnostic through
palpation in Romania. This custom built simulator has enabled development of new expertise in
haptic system development and integration for Romanian computer science and engineering
students. As opposed to commercial simulators for laparoscopic procedures, our simulator is a
fraction of the cost and has been developed mainly with open source software. The results
obtained so far point to direct applications in the medical industry and practice. The simulator can
improve medical training thus helping save human lives.
We are in the process of assessing the simulator by the surgeon residents from the Regional
Hospital of Constanta, Romania as well as developing new research collaborations with
universities and research groups from Europe and US.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported under the ANCS Grant “HapticMed – Using haptic interfaces in medical
applications”, no. 128/02.06.2010, ID/SMIS 567/12271, POSCCE O.2.1.2 / 2009.
References
Acharya, M. (2008): Modelling of Diaphragm Motion for Simulation of Liver Access: Surgery and
Anaesthesia BSc Project. Available online at http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/.
Basdogan, C., De, S., Kim, J., Muniyandi, M., Kim, H., and Srinivasan, M.A (2004): Haptics in Minimally
Invasive Surgical Simulation and Training. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 24, 2, 56-64.
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Delingette H. (2000): Surgery Simulation. In Fourth IEEE EMBS International Summer School on
Biomedical Imaging, Berder, France, June 2000. IEEE EMBS.
Ford. N., Kirby C., Singh K., Mills E.J., Cooke G., Kamarulzaman A., duCros, P. (2012): Chronic hepatitis
C treatment outcomes in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis,
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2012, 90, 540-550.
Khaled, W., Reichling, S., Bruhns, O.T., Boese, H., Baumann, M., Monkman, G., Egersdoerfer, S., Klein,
D., Tunayar, A., Freimuth, H., Lorenz, A., Pessavento, A., Ermert, H. (2004): Palpation Imaging Using
a Haptic System for Virtual Reality Applications in Medicine, In Proceedings of the 12th Annual
Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference (MMVR 2004), Newport Beach, CA, USA, 147-153.
Kim, S. Y., Park, J., Kwon, D. S. (2004): Palpation Simulator for Laparoscopic Surgery with Haptic
Feedback, in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Innsbruck,
Austria, 478-482.
Lister, K., Gao, Z., and Desai. J. (2011) Development of in vivo Constitutive Models for Liver: Application
to Surgical Simulation. Ann Biomed Eng. 2011 March; 39, 3, 1060–1073.
Maciel A., De S. (2008): Physics-based Real Time Laparoscopic Electrosurgery Simulation. In: Westwood
JD, et al., editors. Stud. Health Technol. Inform. 132, 272-4.
Passport (2012): Interactive Simulation of Liver Resection PASSPORT demonstration at SIGGRAPH.
http://raweb.inria.fr/rapportsactivite/RA2011/s.h.a.m.a.n/uid50.html
Picinbono, G., Delingette, H., and Ayache, N. (2003): Non-linear anisotropic elasticity for real-time surgery
simulation. Graphical Models 65, 305–321.
Sensable (2012): http://www.sensable.com/products-sensable-overview.htm
Târcoveanu E., Bradea C., Moldovanu R., Dimofte G., Epure O. (2005): Laparoscopic anatomy of the
extrahepatic biliary tract, Jurnalul de Chirurgie, Iasi, 1, 1, 92-102.
Villard, P., Boshier, P., Bello, F., and Gould, D. (2009): Virtual Reality Simulation of Liver Biopsy with
a Respiratory Component. In Liver Biopsy. H. Takahashi, Ed. InTech. 315-334.
Haptics-Augmented Physics Simulation: Coriolis Effect

Felix G. Hamza-Lup, Benjamin Page

Computer Science and Information Technology
Armstrong Atlantic State University
Savannah, GA 31419, USA
E-mail: felix.hamza-lup@armstrong.edu


Abstract
The teaching of abstract physics concepts can be enhanced by incorporating visual and
haptic sensory modalities in the classroom, using the correct perspectives. We have developed
virtual reality simulations to assist students in learning the Coriolis effect, an apparent
deflection on an object in motion when observed from within a rotating frame of reference.
Twenty four undergraduate physics students participated in this study. Students were able to
feel the forces through feedback on a Novint Falcon device. The assessment results show an
improvement in the learning experience and better content retention as compared with
traditional instruction methods. We prove that large scale deployment of visuo-haptic re-
configurable applications is now possible and feasible in a science laboratory setup.

Keywords: Haptic, Coriolis effect, e-Learning, H3D, X3D, Physics

Introduction
Haptic interfaces allow us to touch and interact with virtual objects simulated on a computer as if
they were real. In addition to feeling virtual objects’ properties, virtual forces such as gravity,
friction, and tension may be simulated as well. The advent of haptic technology has made
affordable haptic hardware interfaces widely available. Furthermore, open-source APIs allow for
rapid prototyping of visuo-haptic simulations.
The Coriolis effect, named for the French mechanical engineer Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis
(1792-1843), is a perceived force that alters the path of a moving object, depending on the
hemisphere. For example, an airborne object travelling away from the North Pole would appear to
be forced to the right, or West, due to the rotation of the Earth. Contrarily, an airborne object
travelling from the South Pole would appear to be forced to the left, or East. This force is
described as being perceived because the observer’s rotating frame of reference creates the
phantom force that acts upon the object (Stansfield, 2009); however, to an observer from a fixed
from of reference, no force acts upon the object. When travelling on the Earth’s surface, an object
will appear to move in a straight line, when in reality its path is curved as the Earth rotates.
Observing the Coriolis effect in the real-world is frequently done using rotating carousels or
children’s merry-go-rounds. When viewed from a fixed vantage point above, a ball thrown from
the center of a rotating object will appear to move in a straight line. When viewed from a rotating
vantage point, such as while standing on the edge of a carousel, the ball would appear to curve in
an arc (Ehrlich, 1990).
A need for a practical, hands-on approach to teaching this concept arose, as the concept is
difficult to describe concisely with text and still images. Fieldtrips outside the classroom are often
impractical due to time and cost. In cases where a fieldtrip is possible, witnessing the effect while
standing on a rotating surface can induce nausea from motion sickness (Ginns, 2006).
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Figure 1.The Coriolis Effect (Left) Vs. Fixed Reference Frame (Right)

Our goal in developing a visuo-haptic simulation for the Coriolis effect was to enable physics
students to observe and feel the motion of an object and the forces acting upon it while moving
over a rotating frame of reference, whether airborne or at the surface. We evaluate the
effectiveness of using active haptics with force-feedback, haptic hardware without force-feedback,
and traditional classroom approaches. By doing so, we hope to find novel instructional methods
that will best allow students to achieve a better understanding of the forces, specifically the
abstract forces responsible for the Coriolis effect, at work in a rotating environment.
Background: Hardware and Software
Haptics3D is a well-known open source API. H3D API provides a link between the graphics and
haptics rendering, allowing haptic devices to interact with 3D rendered objects. The main
advantages of H3D are the rapid prototyping capability and the compatibility with X3D, making it
easy for the developer to manage both the 3D graphics and the haptic technology from SensAble’s
OpenHaptics
TM
toolkit. It allows users to focus their work on the behaviour of the application, and
ignore the issues related to haptics geometry rendering. The API is also extended with scripting
capabilities, allowing the user to perform rapid prototyping using the Python scripting language.
The Python scripts in an H3D environment contain the logic to control the properties of nodes
referenced from the X3D files. By binding routes to and from X3D objects, events may be
handled programmatically.
The haptic hardware used in this study is a Novint Falcon controller, a consumer grade haptics
3D mouse with a 4”x4”x4” working volume and sub-millimeter resolution, 1ms per instruction,
and a maximum force of approximately two pounds in any direction (Ogando, 2007).
Simulator Interface
Our goal in developing the simulation was to target multiple sensory modes (visual and haptic), as
multimodal learning increasing sensory bandwidth, and has been shown allow for faster learning,
with greater retention, than with traditional teaching methods alone (Jones, 2006)(Bara et al,
2007).
We created a simulation where students could push a ball with friction from a rotating surface,
and observe this from a vantage point that rotated at the same rate as the surface. The path of the
ball is also drawn so the student is able to see if the ball moves straight or curves, as shown in
Figure 2. This allowed students to feel the phantom force of the Coriolis effect.

University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
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Figure 3. Glider Simulation

In order to allow students a juxtaposition between a rotating vantage point versus a fixed
vantage point, we developed a second demo with a glider moving without surface friction, from
the perspective of a fixed vantage point, as shown in Figure 3. From a fixed perspective, the lack
of a phantom force could be observed.
Experimental Design
The participants of this experiment were 24 undergraduate college students taking Principles of
Physics I at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. The students were divided
into four groups of six students, based on their GPA such that each group’s average GPA and GPA
variance (average square deviation from the mean) was similar. The four groups were divided as
follows:
- Group 1 –Presented with supplemental reading material and a video on the Coriolis effect
before filling out a questionnaire.
- Group 2 – This group was given the same supplemental reading material and video, then
participated in a visual simulation with no haptic feedback, followed by a questionnaire.
- Group 3 – Also was given the reading material and video, then participated in a visuo-haptic
simulation involving force feedback, followed by a questionnaire.
- Group 4 – Also was given the reading material and video, then was given a tutorial on using
the haptic devices to become familiar with the hardware, then participated in a visuo-haptic
simulation with force feedback, followed by a questionnaire.

Table 1 below shows the group pairs, the independent variables observed, and the dependent
variables for each pair as we try to find if a correlation exists between the proposed variables.
Objective assessment is done by comparing students’ quiz results, and subjective assessment was
done through student answers in a questionnaire.

Table 1. Group Pairs for Each Experiment

Pair ID Control
group
Experimental
group
Independent variable
Dependent
variable
G1-G4 Group 1 Group 4 Trials and visuo-haptic
simulation
Quiz Score
G2-G3 Group 2 Group 3 Haptic component Quiz Score
G3-G4 Group 3 Group 4 Trials Quiz Score
G1-G3 Group 1 Group 3 Visuo-haptic simulation Quiz Score

Figure 2. Coriolis Effect Ball Simulation
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Results
To evaluate the performance of the simulations, a combined quiz score for each group of students
was calculated by combining their individual scores. The groups’ quiz results are shown in the
Figure 4.

Figure 4. Quiz Score Comparisons

Both the G1-G4 and the G1-G3 pairing show a 15% increase in quiz scores for the groups that
took part in a visuo-haptic simulation of the Coriolis effect, versus the group that only had reading
material and a video. The G2-G3 paring shows a 10% increase in quiz scores for the group that
participated in a simulation without haptic feedback. There was no difference in quiz scores in the
G3-G4 pairing, showing that a tutorial on the haptic hardware prior to the Coriolis effect
simulations either didn’t sufficiently increase students’ familiarity, or they familiarized quickly to
the simulations and practice was not necessary.
Feedback was collected from the students in order to gain an understanding of their
perceptions of the effectiveness of the physics simulations. Most students were observed having
difficulty controlling the ball and aircraft with the haptic device; however, once students
understood the controls, they reported that it felt ‘natural’ and ‘quite simple’. 94% of the students
had positive comments on the effectiveness of the simulation. A frequent comment among
students suggested that having hands-on, interactive simulations allowed them to understand the
forces at work better than simply reading about them or watching lectures. A student from Group
4 (force feedback simulation and 10 practice trial) had this to say, “It was an interesting experience
and a good way to gain perspective. It wasn’t difficult at all to use the device, especially with the
tutorial exercise beforehand. It would absolutely be beneficial to use the device again.”

Conclusion
Visuo-haptic simulation is particularly interesting for scientific applications where haptics,
combined with 3D visualization, may provide accurate and rapid understanding of concepts such
as abstract physics phenomena.
As we observed from experiments over the last few years, there are additional advantages to
such simulations: repeatability of the experiments and a large (effectively continuous) range of
physical parameters that can be customized by the user for a particular experiment.
Cognitive studies have shown that students would engage with learning material if they could
easily understand abstract/difficult concepts and relate new information to what they already
know. Lack of attention and engagement, however, results in more failing grades, more
expulsions, increased dropout rates, and a lower rate of undergraduate completion, especially in
STEM disciplines. We are proposing a new and deeper level of engagement, which (from our
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preliminary assessment) significantly and consistently improves student interest in the subject
matter.
This research shows that by augmenting traditional classroom learning with the use of haptic
tools, students were able to better understand abstract physics concepts. This was reflected in
higher quiz scores for the groups who participated in the simulations. For future research, we
would like to explore long term retention of knowledge gained from visuo-haptic simulations. We
would also like to explore visuo-haptic methods of instruction in additional disciplines.
References

Bara, F., Gentaz, E., Colé, P. (2007) Haptics in learning to read with children from low socio-economic status
families. In British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 25, 643-663
Ehrlich R. (1990): Circular Motion and Angular Momentum: Turning the World Inside Out and 174 Other
Simple Physics Demonstrations, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
Ginns, P. (2006) Integrating information: A meta-analysis of the spatial contiguity and temporal contiguity
effects. In Learning and Instruction, 16 (6), 511-525.
H3D, http://www.h3dapi.org
Jones, M.G., Minogue, J., Tretter, T.R., Negishi, A., Taylor, R. (2006) Haptic Augmentation of Science
Instruction: Does Touch Matter? In Science Education, 90, 111-123.
Massie, T.H.(1993) Design of a Three Degree of Freedom Force-Reflecting Haptic Interface. In SB,
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT.
Novint Technologies, Inc., http://www.novint.com
Ogando, J. (2007) Game Controller Brings Haptics to the Masses. In Design News, Vol. 62 Issue 10, 52-53 .
Stansfield, W.D. (2009) The Coriolis Effect. In Skeptic, 15(2), 21-25.


CHRYSAOR: an Agent-Based Intelligent Tutoring System in
Virtual Environment

Frédéric Le Corre, Caroline Fauvel, Charlotte Hoareau, Ronan Querrec
and Cédric Buche

UEB/ENIB/CERV, European Center for Virtual Reality, 25 rue Claude Chappe
F-29490 Plouzané France, E-mail: lecorre@enib.fr


Abstract
The various existing Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) models do not capitalize on all the
possibilities permitted by the use of virtual reality. In this paper, we first establish the
important characteristics of ITS (genericity, modularity, individualization, scenario edition,
adaptativity). Subsequently we present our studies using an agent metamodel based on an
environment metamodel (Mascaret), in order to make a generic ITS. We focus on describing
our agent model and its knowledge of the pedagogical situation and incorporate a
pedagogical scenario model in our ITS. The use of this ITS is illustrated by an application of
a virtual biomedical analyzer which enables to learn the technical procedures of the device.

Keywords: intelligent tutoring system, virtual environment, pedagogical scenario

1 Introduction
In the biomedical domain, there is a need to train people for the use and maintenance of diagnostic
analytical devices. In the traditional training method, several students in a classroom with a live
instructor manipulate the device alternately. Unfortunately in the biomedical industries, many new
employees do not go through the classical training program. Moreover, these industries can not
provide their devices for the employees training. We aim to use virtual reality and virtual
environments in order to provide more freedom to users during training programs. For instance,
using virtual reality, learners can train when they want, and where they want without any
constraint.
Virtual environments can be combined with Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) in order to
adapt the learning situation depending on the learner activities [5]. In the literature there are plenty
of ITS models [17, 11, 15], however they seems incomplete. One of the main lacks is the
genericity, which means that we need to modify the ITS as soon as we change the environment
[5]. For example, modifications of the ITS will be needed everytime we change the device or the
exercise. Another lack is the possibility for the teacher to build the training by adding the concepts
of objectives and prerequisites. These concepts can be provided by a pedagogical scenario.
The objective of this paper is to propose the most complete ITS called Chrysaor.
2 Related work
The goal of this section is to find out the best ITS. In section 2.1 we present the most important
characteristics that define an ITS. In section 2.2 we list the existing ITS based on these
characteristics and try to find the most complete one.
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2.1 Major characteristics
As mentioned above, genericity is a major characteristic needed for our ITS. However, the actual
methodology of ITS engineering is not ideal: each application is developed independently, tutoring
expertise is hard-coded into individual applications, and there is a little reuse of tutoring
components [13]. It is essential to set our ITS as much generic as possible.
Some elements, such as the significance of the pedagogical strategy, which can substantially
varies according to the way the tutor want to intervene, when and how intervene [19], seem quite
interesting. Based on this, we may want to add a disruptive [2] or a companion-component [11]. In
the same way, some ITS behaviors could be replaced by a human contribution. So, we need some
kind of modularity of our ITS behaviors.
In order to have a better efficiency, we want suitables assistances for each learner. So we have
to work on the individualization of the ITS. The classical ITS are composed of a learner model
which represents the learner’s knowledge at the problem level [18]. Our ITS needs to have a
learner model in order to individualize the assistances.
However the proposed assistances may not be ideal from the instructor point of view.
Therefore we wish that our ITS can modify his behavior depending on what happens in the
simulation: the ITS becomes adaptive [5].
Another of our goal is to enable the teacher to customize each exercice. He might have the
possibility to write a pedagogical scenario. One of the most significant proposal of the
community is the IMS Learning Design (or IMS-LD) standard [8]. In ISM-LD a scenario is
considered as a sequence of pedagogical activities. Lately, the pedagogical scenario model called
Poseidon [10] was proposed. It enables a description of all of the components in pedagogical
scenarios including activities in virtual environment. For these reasons, several characteristics
seems important in the conception of an ITS: individualization, modularity, genericity,
adaptativity, scenarios.
2.2 Existing ITS
In the ITS domain, many research works were made during the past few years and most of them
focus on two or three characteristics described in section 2.1 (Table 1.).
Pegase is the most complete ITS with all these characteristics, so we have decided to based
our own ITS on it. Nevertheless it lacks the pedagogical scenario characteristic and some other can
be improved, like the modularity. In the next section, we expose the improvement made in
Chrysaor model based on the modularity and the pedagogical scenario.


Table 1: Comparison of current ITS
3 Model
The ITS Pegase is the most complete ITS according to the five characteristics detailed in the
previous section, we have decided to based our own ITS on it. Nevertheless Pegase lacks the
pedagogical scenario characteristic and some other features can be improve like modularity. To do
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so, we choose to rely our ITS on Mascaret [12] like Pegase, in order to use the multi-agent system
technology for the modularity. Moreover Mascaret enables to easily reify the expert or the
pedagogical scenario knowledge so that the tutor could reason on it. Mascaret is a metamodel to
describe virtual environments and the agents evolving in this environment. This metamodel
(founded on the Unified Modeling Language : UML) provide an unified modeling language to
describe the structure of the environment (entities, positions...), entitie’s and agent’s behavior.
3.1 Modularity
Mascaret is based on many agent concepts like agent communication, behavior and knowledge
bases (Fig. 1). In order to improve the modularity of our ITS, we have used the multi-agent system
technology so that we could work on these concepts.

Figure 1: UML model of the knowledge base of Mascaret

We started to transform Pegase by providing it the multi-agent system technology. In the
previous model, Pegase was represented by one unique agent. The pedagogical behavior of this
agent was structured around several step (detect an error, propose an assistance, etc.) and set by
several data (Learner model, Pedagogical model, etc.). Using Mascaret and the agent architecture,
Chrysaor keeps this pedagogical behavior but it is divided in several agents (Error Agent,
Pedagogical Agent) and several behaviors (classify the error, etc.). With this technology we are
able to modify one behavior independently. Moreover, if a specific behavior is not efficient
enough, it can be played by a human teacher.
Afterwards, we based our work on the agent communication, by adding the
communication protocol FIPA-ACL (Agent Communication Language) to our system. Due to this
standard communication protocol, we can now easily add or remove an agent or communicate
with a new application on the network.
Similarly, we have tried to endow modularity to the agents' behaviors. Thus, we have
chosen to describe the multi-agent system with an activity diagram because we based our model
on Mascaret which enables to describe the behaviors with it. We defined the procedures and the
roles within the organization. Thanks to the multi-agent system, we can easily change the
organisation of the ITS agents: for example, we may want to add a disruptive or a companion-
component. In the same way, some ITS behaviors could be replaced by a human contribution. In
order to obtain this freedom to arrange the pedagogical strategies by adding or replacing some
behaviors, we have increased the modularity of the ITS.
Our studies also focus on the agents knowledge base of our ITS. Indeed, the FIPA standard
proposes to provide a knowledge base to the agent, but without giving a formalism for the
knowledge base. One interest of the knowledge bases is to enable the agents to reason on the data
contained in it. Agent Knowledge base is a crucial point of our ITS model and thankfully many
researches are based on it. In Mascaret, the agents have a knowledge base. In our actual model, the
knowledge could be expressed in two models: the expert model (entity, behavior, procedure) and
the pedagogical model (agent, behavior, procedure). These two knowledge bases are described on
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
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the same language provided by Mascaret which is founded on UML. Consequently, some models
expressed in UML could be used as a knowledge base of Chrysaor agents. A pedagogical scenario
can be described through a procedure, therefore we could use the pedagogical scenario as a
knowledge base (Fig. 1). This improvement enables us to easily change the knowledge of each
agent. In this context we wanted to have the pedagogical scenario to be a knowledge for the
agents.
3.2 Pedagogical Scenario
As seen in section 2, Chrysaor lacks of pedagogical scenario knowledge. Previously, we said that
one of the most significant proposals of the community is the IMS-LD standard which focuses on
the organization of learning activities. We wanted to use the IMS-LD standard so we have chosen
to couple Poseidon (a pedagogical scenario model) with Chrysaor. Poseidon is an implementation
of IMS-LD for virtual reality.
First, we aimed to rebuild the structure of Poseidon in order to perform it with Mascaret, so it
will be considered as a knowledge base for the agents. The main class of Poseidon is
LearningSession (a pedagogical scenario) and includes (Fig. 2): a prerequisite list (Prerequisite),
an objective list (LearningObjective), an environment (EducationalEnvironment), the activities of
the scenario (EducationalScenario), and the pedagogical resources (Pedagogical Resource) linked
to entities (LearningObject).


Figure 2: UML class diagram of the package Poseidon
The EducationalScenario inherits from a Mascaret Activity and the EducationalEnvironment is
an instance of a Mascaret Environment, thus we can now use the pedagogical data as an agent
knowledge, so that the agents could reason on it. For example, our pedagogical scenario could be
composed of multiple exercises. In one of them, there are some observables like a TimeEvent
(from UML:Activity) at a critical point of the procedure. Chrysaor can reason on this scenario and
choose to apply or not the observables.
4 Application
The use of Chrysaor is illustrated by an application of a virtual biomedical analyzer which enables
to learn the technical procedures of the device. Many biomedical analyzers can be found in
hospitals and analytical laboratories. There is a need to train people for the use and maintenance of
these analysers due to the employee turnover. We decided to base our virtual reality application on
a real analyzer (Fig. 3).
4.1 Virtual analyzer
We based our application called VirtualAnalyzer on the real analyzer and we have
implemented a routine procedure called basicUseProcedure which is composed of 120 basic
actions and an execution time of approximately 40 minutes for a beginner. VirtualAnalyzer (Fig.
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4) is a virtual reality application for the use of the biomedical analyzer, in which the learner have
to do some reagents reconstitutions and use them in the analyzer in order to start a biomedical test.
There are plenty of possible actions and only one role for this procedure. In reality, users can
directly interact with the analyzer (open a door, insert a reagent, etc.) or interact with the associate
computer (launch test, open the drawer, etc.) We choose to simulate this computer interface with
Android and execute it under a touchpad which communicate with the virtual analyzer. In the
event of the learner making an error, an assistance will be proposed by the ITS, and the human
teacher will choose one of them, like increase transparency of all the environment elements apart
from the correct object (Fig. 5).
With the use of our ITS in a virtual environment, learners can train at the execution of a
procedure, and repeat it as much as they want. Like for the ITS model, this application uses the
generic models, i.e. the structure of the environment, objects, organizations and procedures present
in the application are described by a Mascaret model (close to UML model).



Fig. 3: Picture of the real
biomedical analyzer
Fig. 4: Picture of the biomedical
device in the virtual environment
Fig. 5: Picture of the biomedical
device with an assistance
4.1.1 Environment
Previously, we exposed that an environment could be an agent knowledge. Thus, all the data of
the environment could be a knowledge for the agents : the entities (e.g. a reagent and its volume)
and the organization (e.g. the basicUseProcedure). Moreover, we have described some procedures
using an activity diagram (Fig. 6). All these information can be used as an agent knowledge.
4.1.2 Pedagogical Scenario
Using the new Poseidon, we have described a pedagogical scenario which can be split in
multiple pedagogical exercises. We can see an example of exercise in Figure 7: an activity
diagram with all the actions for the learner, and some observable (e.g. a TimeEvent) for the
teacher coupled with a pedagogical action.
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov
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Fig. 6: UML activity diagram describing an exercice
of a pedagogical scenario
Fig. 7: UML activity diagram describing an
exercice of a pedagogical scenario
4.2 ITS
Our pedagogical scenario is composed of two exercises. In the first one, the tutor presents all
the important parts of the analyzer, and the learner has nothing to do. In the second part, the
learner has to do a routine procedure. There are some observables like a TimeEvent or an imposed
assistance at some critical points of the procedure. In our example, we choose to have the tutor
play the teacher role of the pedagogical scenario. As though we have explained in section 3.2, the
pedagogical scenario could be a knowledge of the tutor. For the first exercise, the tutor reason and
choose the best way to present the parts of the analyzer (for example, grow up a part). For the
second exercise, the learner does an action and the tutor has all the knowledge about the correct
action (expert model) or the observables (pedagogical scenario). For example, the learner does a
wrong action, so the tutor reason and propose an assistance like increase transparency of all the
environment elements apart from the correct object. Later, if the learner takes too long to do the
correct action the tutor could choose to apply or not the observable define in the pedagogical
scenario.
4.3 Experimentation
With the help of some cognitive psychologists, we would like to evaluate the transfer of the
learning skills acquired in a virtual environment to the real life. To confirm the utility and the
efficiency of VirtualAnalyzer and Chrysaor, we set up the experimentation based on a cognitive
psychology literature scientific analysis [3]. This experimental working is designed and holded by
a cognitive psychologist. This research have a double goal: to check how the learning of a
procedure takes places within a virtual environment for training (VirtualAnalyzer), and to estimate
the tutor (Chrysaor) contribution for the learning. Behavioural measurements (time to perform a
task, number of instructions consulting, number of incorrect actions) will be collected as thirty
people will carry out a procedure. The thirty people will be divided into two independents groups:
one group will performs the procedure on virtual environment and one group will perform the
same procedure on virtual environment increased by the tutor.
5 Conclusion and futurs works
In this paper, we presented all the important characteristics needed for an ITS. On this basis,
our first studies focused on the modular part of our ITS. In order to bring off these studies, we
based on Mascaret metamodels. First we use the multi-agent system technology on Pegase. Now
we can easily add a new agent, or remove one in order to play its role by a human. In the same
way, we can easily change the behaviors of each role. Then we have modified Mascaret and use
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the environments as some knowledge of the agents. The genericity and the modularity of Pegase
have been increased. At least, we have incorporate Poseidon in our model in order to use it as
some knowledge for our ITS. The application of the virtual environment figuring a biomedical
analyzer and containing a procedure enables us to test Chrysaor and the use of the new Poseidon.
The incoming experimentation is very important because we can improve our model according
to the experimental results.
Our future studies will focus on the learner model, in order to individualize more and more the
simulation for the learner. For example we started to work on including some data from external
questionnaires (like Hollnagel [7]) in our learner model. With these works, we will be able to have
a more specific pedagogy for each learner.

6 References
[1] Ailiya, Shen, Z., Miao, C.: An emotional agent in virtual learning environment. In: Transactions on
Edutainment IV, LNCS 6250. pp. 22–33 (2010)
[2] Aimeur, E., Frasson, C., Dufort, H.: Cooperative learning strategies for intelligent tutoring systems. In:
Applied Artificial Intelligence. vol. 14, pp. 465–489 (2000)
[3] Anderson, J.: The architecture of cognition. Cambridge, Massachussetts (1983)
[4] de Antonio, A., Ramirez, J., Imbert, R., Mendez, G.: Intelligent virtual environments for training: An
agent-based approach. In: CEEMAS, LNAI 3690. pp. 82–91 (2005)
[5] Buche, C., Querrec, R.: An expert system manipulating knowledge to help human learners into virtual
environment. Expert Systems with Applications 38, 8446–8457 (2011)
[6] El-Kechai, N., Desprès, C.: Proposing the underlying causes that lead to the trainee’s erroneous actions
to the trainer. In: EC-TEL : European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning. vol. 4753, pp.
41–55 (2007)
[7] Hollnagel, E.: Cognitive reliability and error analysis method. In: Oxford: Elsevier Science Ltd (1998)
[8] Koper, B., R.O., T, A.: Ims learning design information model. In: IMS Global Learning Consortium
(2003)
[9] Li, X., Ma, F., Zhong, S., Tang, L., Han, Z.: Research on virtual experiment intelligent tutoring system
based on multi-agent. In: Edutainment, LNCS 6249. 100–110 (2010)
[10] Marion, N., Querrec, R., Chevaillier, P.: Integrating knowledge from virtual reality environments to
learning scenario models. a meta-modeling approach. In: International conference of computer
supported education. pp. 254–259 (2009)
[11] Pesty, S., Webber, C.: The baghera multiagent learning environment: An educational community of
artificial and human agents. In: UPGRADE. vol. 5 (2004)
[12] Querrec, R., Buche, C., Le Corre, F., Harrouet, F.: Agent metamodel for virtual reality applications. In:
International Symposium on Methodologies for Intelligent Systems (2011)
[13] Rodrigues, M., Novais, P., Santos, F.: Future challenges in intelligent tutoring systems - a framework.
In: Formatex (2005)
[14] Sanchez, L., Imbert, R.: An agent-based adaptable and configurable tutoring module for intelligent
virtual environments for training. In: Edutainment 2007, LNCS 4469. pp. 499–510 (2007)
[15] dos Santos, C.T., Osorio, F.S.: Integrating intelligent agents, user models, and automatic content
categorization in a virtual environment. In: ITS, LNCS 3220. 128–139 (2004)
[16] Shi, R., Lu, P.: A multi-criteria programming model for intelligent tutoring planning. In: KES 2006,
Part I, LNAI 4251. pp. 780–787 (2006)
[17] Sorensen, B., Ramachandran, S.: Simulation-based automated intelligent tutoring. In: Human Interface,
Part II, HCII 2007, LNCS 4558. pp. 466–474 (2007)
[18] Webber, C., Pesty, S., Balacheff, N.: A multi-agent and emergent approach to learner modelling. In:
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[19] Wenger, E.: Artificial Intelligence and Tutoring Systems. Morgan Kaufmann, Los Altos, California
(1987)
Methodology for 3D reconstruction of objects for teaching virtual
restoration

Silviu Butnariu
1
, Florin Gîrbacia
1
, Alex Orman
1


(1) Transilvania University of Brasov
29, Eroilor Blvd., RO-500036, ROMANIA
E-mail: butnariu@unitbv.ro


Abstract
In this paper, we propose a methodology for 3D virtual reconstruction of objects that can be
applied to virtual restoration. The methodology is based on an image-based modelling
technique and allows to generate a textured 3D mesh from a set of images. The proposed
methodology consists in the following actions: obtain images of the object, processing of the
images, 3D reconstruction of the object, finishing and completing details, restoration of the
3D virtual model. First, we review several frameworks and toolkits that can be used for
image-based modelling and then a detail example of 3D reconstruction is presented. The
advantage of this methodology for 3D virtual reconstruction is the use of inexpensive
equipment, because only common video and computing devices are needed.

Keywords: 3D virtual reconstruction, image-based modelling, virtual restoration

Introduction
Reconstruction of a three dimensional models needed for various applications using various
techniques and technologies is a complex process. The reconstructed 3D models can be used in
virtual environments for visualization applications, classification and analysis. The most common
method to obtain a 3D model of an existing object is 3D scanning.
Three dimensional scanning can be used to gather spatial location of points rapidly and obtain
3D coordinates of the target surface. This is a new technical method for the rapid creation of 3D
image model of the object. The problem addressed 3D models of various sizes and complexity:
from existing small objects to buildings.
Recently, virtual reconstruction based on Virtual Reality (VR) technologies has been proposed
as an improved interface for a lot of specialty areas, such as: ancient architecture reconstruction
(Gaianai et al, 2001; Mehta, 2001; Lu, 2008; Popovici et al, 2008; Yao et al, 2008; Issini et al,
2009), monumental paintings of the church (Petrova et al, 2011), completion of facial image in
ancient murals (Lanitis and Stylianou, 2009; Wang et al, 2011), restoring content from distorted
documents (Brown et al, 2007), dentistry (Martorelli and Ausiello, 2012), tracking of human
movement (Quah et al, 2005), large-scale scenes such as urban structures (Yao et al, 2010).
Three dimensional scanning can be performed with equipment ranging from the most
expensive to some very simple. The operation can be done with equipment based on direct contact
(on mechanical principles: MicroScribe, Romer) or noncontact (ultrasound, x-ray, laser). This
equipment is very expensive. In case of less demanding applications, the use of these technologies
may be prohibitive. Therefore, we aimed to identify techniques and technologies that use common
of the shelf equipment that is available to all users, and able to return high quality virtual objects.
Based on this identified technologies we propose a methodology that can be used for teaching
virtual restoration at Transilvania University from Brasov.
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Methodology for 3D reconstruction using photogrammetry
In principle, the proposed methodology for image-based 3D virtual reconstruction of an object
could be formulated as to cover the following steps (Fig. 1):
Acquire a set of images. The first step essential in geometric reconstruction using principles
of photogrammetry is to acquire a set of images of the object that is intended to be restored. The
way in which photographs are acquired is a very important aspect greatly reflected in the quality of
the final reconstruction. The object is photographed from different angles, spatially arranged in a
circle or arc around the object and each photo must contain about 70-80% of previously captured
image content.
Generate a point cloud data from the images. The images from the data set will be used to
identify the interest points and obtain the 3D coordinates of the object. The process is carried out
using a specific framework. Because is a computer intensive process, using a standalone software
framework require a powerful computing system. A better solution is the usage of a cloud of web
service solution. A review of the actual image-based solutions will be presented in the next
section.
Generate a 3D mesh model. On this step the resulted point cloud will be used to generate a
textured 3D mesh. For these step a dedicated library can be used (for example the free software
Meshlab). A detail example of using Meshlab to generate a 3D textured mesh of the object will be
presented in the section 3.


Figure 1. The proposed methodology for virtual reconstruction
Review of the image-based 3D reconstruction frameworks
In recent years, due to the development of cloud computing, several frameworks for image based
reconstruction have been developed. We review the most actual frameworks and compared their
features and capabilities. In the following paragraphs we provide a brief description of each
framework and we propose a framework for the implementation of the proposed methodology.
ARC3D
ARC3D (Vergauwen, 2006) is a free web service that provides a standalone software application
for uploading photos to the server system. The application delivers good results when a number of
about 70 photographs are used. After processing the images, the results are received by a
notification e-mail containing a links to the files generated. It contains two types of reconstruction
data: pixel maps in *. v3d format that can be used for the manual reconstruction of 3D mesh from
a generated point cloud using MeshLab software of a 3D textured mesh in *.obj format processed
by the ARC3D server application (but not accurate).
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Hypr3D
Hypr3D (www.hypr3d.com) is a free web service similar to ARC3D that provides only a web
interface to upload and download the files. Optimal results are obtained when 70-80 images are
used. The advantage of this solution, compared with ARC3D, is the reduced time of delivering the
reconstruction results (about 3-4 hours). The web service delivers two types of geometry: low
resolution mesh in *.dae 3D format with *.jpg textures and a point cloud in *.ply format. Also a
high resolution mesh in *stl format can be obtained, but without textures applied.
My 3D Scanner
My 3D (www.my3dscanner.com/) Scanner is also a free web service comparable to Hypr3D. This
service can process up to 100 photos (but in a long time up to 25). The advantage of this
application is the high resolution mesh delivered (up to 1000000 triangles). The drawback is the
missing of textures applied to the mesh, because it contains only color information. The result
delivered by the application contains a *.obj file for the 3D mesh and a *.ply for the point cloud.
Autodesk 123D CATCH
123d CATCH is a free service offered by Autodesk that uses cloud computing for the
reconstruction of 3d objects from images. The management of data is made trough a standalone
software application installed on the user PC.
This application allows uploading images, downloading the results, rendering the processed 3D
point cloud or mesh, export the result using several 3D formats (*.dwg,*.fbx,*.rzi,*.obj,*.ipm,
*.las ). This service can process automatic up to 70 photos in a short time (about 1-2 hours). The
result of the reconstruction process contains the point cloud, 3D mesh and texture.
After reviewing the available image based reconstruction software, the usage of ARC3D and
Meshlab framework was selected for the methodology that was used for teaching virtual
restoration, because this framework allows manual processing of point cloud which conduct to
better results and understanding of 3D processing algorithms.
Case study
In this section is presented the methodology described in the previous paragraph used to
reconstruct in a virtual environment the exterior surfaces of a monument based on a set of pictures
and the software ARC3D and Meshlab.
The reconstructed object is a monument from the old center of Brasov city. The ARC3D software
was used to obtain a cloud of 3D points from a set of 2D pictures and Meshlab software was used
for the filtering commands and the reconstruction of the 3D surfaces from the point clouds.

Table 1. Comparison between photogrammetry services
ARC3D Hypr3D
My 3D
Scanner
Autodesk 123D
CATCH
Price Free Free Free Free
User interface
Web-based +
standalone software
Web-based Web-based
Software
standalone
Processing time 4 – 5 hours 3 – 4 hours
10 – 24
hours
1 – 2 hours
Cloud processing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum number
of images
70 200 100 60 – 70
Point cloud output Yes Yes Yes Yes
3D mesh output Yes Yes Yes Yes
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Texture output Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum number
of mesh triangles
100000 200000 1900000 150000
Apply automatic
texture
No Yes – Yes
Native 3D files
format
*.obj/*.jpg
or
-/*.v3d/*.jpg
*.ply
*.stl,*.dae
*.jpg
*.ply
*.obj

*.3dp

The first step was to take 16 pictures of the considered object from different angles (smaller
than 30 degrees) in order for the ARC3D software to be able to apply the reconstruction
algorithms. There were taken other sets of pictures of different monuments, but because the angle
between two pictures was too large, the ARC3D software sent an error message. In order to load
the pictures in the ARC3D server an account has to be created.
The next step was to open in Meshlab the model.v3d file. Then the most significant pictures
were selected and the Export PLY button was pressed. After a few minutes, the files with the *.ply
extension were generated accordingly to the selected pictures. Every file was imported in a
different Layer. All the Layers were united to create a single point cloud using command Filters /
Layer and Attribute Management / Flatten Visible Layers.
The points that were not part of the
reconstructed monument were deleted by
using the following commands: Select
Vertexes for selecting the points and Delete
current set of selected vertexes for deleting
them.
After obtaining the point cloud that
contains only reconstructed monument
data, the Mesh Element Subsampling
command was applied in order to increase
the number of points from about 8000 to
60000 using command Filters / Sampling /
Mesh Element Subsampling / Number of
Samples 60000 / Apply.


a) b)

Figure 3. Clean-up the point cloud (a) Sub sampled point cloud (b)


Figure 2. Upload the images on the server using
ARC3D software
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov

50
In this way a new point cloud was created with the name Sampled Mesh. From the Layer area
the Sampled Mesh point cloud was selected and the Surface Reconstruction: Poisson command
was applied in order to obtain a 3D mesh from the point cloud.
The triangles generated by the previous command that didn't belong to the model were selected
using the command Filters / Selection / Select faces with edges longer than and then they were
deleted by applying the command Delete current set of selected faces.


Figure 4. Poisson reconstruction 3D mesh

The final step was to apply the command Vertex Attribute Transfer and the 3D model of the
monument was obtained.


Figure 5. The final result of the proposed methodology for 3D reconstruction
Conclusions
Reconstruction of 3D virtual objects of various sizes is an important step for development of
virtual restoration applications. In this paper actual techniques and technologies used for 3D
reconstruction of objects were presented. For teaching of virtual restoration we identified a 3D
reconstruction technique based on photogrammetry. Several software applications (ARC3D,
Hypr3D, My 3D Scanner, Autodesk 123d Catch) were studied and a comparative study which
highlight strengths and weaknesses of each software was conducted. Based on this review a
methodology using this virtual reconstruction software was subsequently detailed. For the
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validation of the proposed methodology a particular application - reconstruction of statuary located
on a building facade was presented. The advantage of this methodology for 3D virtual
reconstruction is the use of inexpensive equipment, because only common video and computing
devices are needed.
Acknowledgements
The second author’s work was supported by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human
Resources Development (SOP HRD), financed from the European Social Fund and by the
Romanian Government under the contract number POSDRU 89/1.5/S/59323.
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Romer, portable measuring arm: http://www.romer.eu/press_86.htm?id=2056


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
2012 The Alan Turing Year

Marin Vlada

University of Bucharest,14 Academiei Street, RO-010014, Romania
E-Mail: vlada[at]fmi.unibuc.ro


Abstract
The paper presents a series of special issues, celebrating Turing's unique impact on
mathematics, computing, computer science, informatics, morphogenesis, artificial
intelligence, philosophy and the wider scientific world. Alan Turing (1912-1954) was a
British mathematician who made history. Turing is widely considered to be the father of
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. He was highly influential in the development of
computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and
"computation" with the Turing machine, which played a significant role in the creation of the
modern computer. Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal machine,
which underpins the computer revolution. In 1945 he was a pioneer of electronic computer
design. But Turing's true goal was the scientific understanding of the mind, brought out in
the drama and wit of the famous "Turing test" for machine intelligence and in his prophecy
for the twenty-first century.

Keywords: Turing machine, Algorithm, Artificial Intelligence, Computing

1 Alan Turing and the creation of Computer Science and Informatics
Certainly, today we ask: What is Computer Science (CS)? What is Informatics? What is
Information Technologies (IT)? Today, one can undoubtedly say that Informatics, Mathematics,
and Computer Science are “scientists” who have contributed to a rapidly developing Information
and Communication Technologies (ICT), in addition to other sciences and areas: Automation,
Electronics, Electrical Engineering, Telecommunications and Communications, etc. In this
context, the modern computer invention was made possible by the emergence of new science and
products:
- Computer Science and Cybernetics
1
;
- Languages and Algorithms;
- Devices Input/output;
- Memory and storage environments.
Computer Science history preceded the time of digital computer occurrence. Before 1920, the
term "computer" referred to a person who performed calculations (an official one). The first
researchers in what was to be called Computer Science, such as Alan Turing (1912-1954) (the
British mathematician, logician and computer scientist), Alonzo Church (1903-1995) (American
mathematician and logician who made major contributions to mathematical logic and the
foundations of theoretical computer science), and Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) (Austrian

1
The roots of the cybernetic theory: "Ştefan Odobleja (1902–1978) was a Romanian scientist, one of the
precursors of cybernetics. His major work, Psychologie consonantiste, first published in 1938 and 1939, in
Paris, established many of the major themes of cybernetics regarding cybernetics and thinking systems ten
years before the work of Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) was published, in 1948.",
www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Comp/CompJurc.htm , Nicolae Jurcau.
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mathematician, logician and philosopher; friend to Einstein, John von Neumann and
Morgenstern), were interested in the computational problem.
Informatics has become a science because it uses methods, techniques and tools for
investigating their own objects and processes that define and operate systems. Informatics treasure
is the result of scientific knowledge and research from a symbiosis of other sciences (mathematics,
cybernetics, microelectronics, physics, chemistry, etc.), and the methods and techniques, and it
uses special devices (computers, computer systems) to process information and knowledge you
need to interpret them, transform them and use for communication [7].
Mathematics is the oldest of the exact sciences and Computer Science (Informatics). It
emerged and developed as a science in the second half of the 20
th
century (after 1960, when
modern computer had already emerged – designed for the Hungarian mathematician John von
Neumann (1903-1957) and developed theories, methods and techniques of data processing
/information), being the newest one It is even today that John von Neumann’s EDVAC Report
1945 (The John von Neumann Architecture of Computer Systems,
http://www.wps.com/projects/EDVAC/) is still recognized as valid.

The Centenary of Alan Turing

"There isn't a discipline in science that Turing has not had an impact upon." Turing Centenary
Advisory Committee (TCAC), http://www.turingcentenary.eu/.


Figure 1. Logo of The Alan Turing Year – CiE 2012 (UK)

June 23, 2012, marked the Centenary of Alan Turing’s birth in London. During his relatively
brief life, Turing made a unique impact on the history of computing, computer science, artificial
intelligence, developmental biology, and the mathematical theory of computability (CiE 2012,
University of Cambridge, 18 June - 23 June, 2012, http://www.turingcentenary.eu/ ,
http://www.cie2012.eu ).
Alan MathisonTuring (1912-1954) was a British mathematician who made history. Turing is
widely considered to be the father of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. He was highly
influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of
"algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which played a significant role in the
creation of the modern computer. Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal
machine, which underpins the computer revolution. In 1945 he was a pioneer of electronic
computer design. But Turing's true goal was the scientific understanding of the mind, brought out
in the drama and wit of the famous "Turing test" for machine intelligence and in his prophecy for
the twenty-first century.
Note 1: His breaking of the German U-boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied-
American control of the Atlantic. But Turing's vision went far beyond the desperate wartime
struggle.
Note 2: Turing worked from 1952 until his death in 1954 on mathematical biology, specifically
morphogenesis. He published one paper on the subject called The Chemical Basis of
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Morphogenesis in 1952, putting forth the Turing hypothesis of pattern formation. His central
interest in the field was understanding Fibonacci phyllotaxis, the existence of Fibonacci numbers
in plant structures. He used reaction–diffusion equations which are central to the field of pattern
formation. Later papers went unpublished until 1992 when Collected Works of A.M. Turing was
published. His contribution is considered a seminal piece of work in this field. Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Turing's birth, the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee
(TCAC) is coordinating the Alan Turing Year, a year-long programme of events around the world
honouring Turing's life and achievements. The TCAC, chaired by S. Barry Cooper with Alan
Turing's nephew Sir John Dermot Turing acting as Honorary President, is working with the
University of Manchester faculty members and a broad spectrum of people from Cambridge
University and Bletchley Park.
On 23 June 2012, Google featured an interactive
doodle where visitors had to change the instructions of a
Turing Machine, so when run, the symbols on the tape
would match a provided sequence, featuring "Google" in
Baudot-Murray code.

The Turing Award

The Turing Award: The Turing Award is widely
known as the “Nobel Prize” of computing. It is an
annual award given since 1966 by the Association for
Computing Machinery to: “an individual selected for
contributions of a technical nature made to the
computing community. The contributions should be of
lasting and major technical importance to the computer
field”. The award receives financial support from both
Intel and Google and includes a $ 250.000 monetary
component.
“Gödel's incompleteness result is widely regarded as the most remarkable achievement of 20th
century mathematics, although some mathematicians say it is logic, not math, and others call it the
fundamental result of theoretical computer science (reformulated by Turing in 1936), a discipline
that did not yet officially exist back then but was effectively created through Gödel's work. It had
enormous impact not only on computer science but also on philosophy and other fields.” Jürgen
Schmidhuber's Page (http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/goedel.html).
In Romania the following events were held for Turing's birth centenary:
- The 7th International Conference on Virtual Learning will take place in BRASOV,
ROMANIA-Europe, during 2-3 November, ICVL 2012 - Special edition dedicated to
"2012 Alan Turing Year" (www.icvl.eu);
- The 10th national Conference on Virtual Learning will take place in BRASOV,
ROMANIA-Europe, during 2-3 November, CNIV 2012 - Special edition dedicated to
"2012 Alan Turing Year" (www.cniv.ro);
- Web page dedicated to "2012 Alan Turing Year" by M. Vlada
www.unibuc.ro/prof/vlada_m/turing/ (Fig. 2);
- UNICO Project, June 25-26, 2012, Children's University Romania, "We are the
Future" - The European Children's Universities Network - EUCU.NET) -
www.unico.org.ro; Workshop “From Turing Test to Artificial Intelligence” by M.
Vlada (Fig. 3,4).
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Figure 2. Web page “Alan Turing Year” www.unibuc.ro/prof/vlada_m/turing/



Figure 3. Slide Workshop “From Turing Test to Artificial Intelligence”, UNICO

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Figure 4. “Turing Test: Is A human or B is?”, Children's University (Bucharest), 2012

“Alan Turing's 1950 paper, (Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Turing 1950) and the Turing
test suggested in it are rightly seen as inspirational to the inception and development of AI.
However, inspiration can soon become distraction in science, and it is not too early to begin to
consider whether or not the Turing test is just such a distraction.”, Blay Whitby 1997 ,
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/blayw/tt.html
One conclusion that is implied by this view of the history of AI and Turing's 1950 paper is that for
most of the period since its publication it has been a distraction. While not detracting from the
brilliance of the paper and its central role in the philosophy of AI, it can be argued that Turing's
1950 paper, or perhaps some strong interpretations of it, has, on occasions, hindered both the
practical development of AI and the philosophical work necessary to facilitate that development.
2 Computer Science, Informatics and Information Technologies
In the past, Computer Science (CS) and Informatics were considered to be two identical terms.
Today, the terms are different in meaning. The general public sometimes confuses Computer
Science with Informatics or Information Technologies (IT). Computing (information and
knowledge processing) has changed the world and continues to influence nearly every aspect of
our lives, including medicine and health care, business and finance, education and training, science
and technology, politics and government, and entertainment. Computer Science is the study of the
theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their
implementation and application in computer systems.
"Informatics studies the application of information technology to practically any field, while
considering its impact on individuals, organizations, and society. It uses computation as a
universal tool to solve problems in other fields, to communicate, and to express ideas." Dennis P.
Groth, Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, Why an Informatics Degree?, Communications of the ACM,
feb. 2010.
Computing and information technology play an increasingly pervasive role in our daily lives.
Informatics is based on recognizing that the design of this technology is not solely a technical
matter, but must focus on the relationship between the technology and its use in real-world
settings. That is, informatics designs solutions in context, and takes into account the social, cultural
and organizational settings in which computing and information technology will be used (see Fig. 5).
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”These aspects of computer science form the core of informatics: software engineering,
information retrieval and management, programming languages, human-computer interaction,
computer-supported collaborative work, ubiquitous computing, privacy and security, and the
effects of technology on society. At its periphery, informatics touches upon many different
disciplines, including management, digital arts, visualization, economics, social science, cognitive
science, organizational computing, medical informatics, game technology, and many others”.
Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine (Source: www.informatics.uci.edu/).


Figure 5. Computer Science
=
Informatics
=
Information Technologies

3 About the first electronic computers
First in the world
- 1946: first electronic computer on a large scale, general purpose, fully operational, ENIAC
(Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), funded by the U.S. military, used to calculate
artillery ballistic tables, designing the hydrogen bomb and so on; To June 30, 1945 be
published famous John von Neumann's report entitled First Draft of 1a Report on the EDVAC
(EDVAC - Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer), Moore School of Electrical
Engineering, which contained 43 pages. John von Neumann - brilliant mathematician - is
attracted to the project since 1944 ENIAC [4](Ref.: http://www.brown.edu/Research/
Istrail_Lab/pages/von_neumann.html. NOTE. John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who
pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More.
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Neumann is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century after Einstein. Born in
Budapest in 1903, John von Neumann grew up in one of the most extraordinary of Scientific
Communities.
- 1949: computer EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer), first electronic
computer fully equipped, operational, with programs stored.
- 1951: UNIVAC I computer, the first commercially successful electronic computer, derived
from BINAC (Cost $ 250 000, were built 48 systems!).
- 1952: first commercial computer IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machines.

First in Romania
- 1957: CIFA 1, Romanian computer, from Bucharest, conducted at the Institute of Physics of
the Academy, Magurele (engineer Victor Toma), Romania is the 8th country in the world to
build such a computer and two of the former socialist countries after the former USSR
[Draganescu]. Followed: CIFA-2 with 800 tubes (1959), CIFA-3 for the Computer Center of
the University of Bucharest (1961), CIFA-4 (1962).
- 1961: MECIPT computer- Electronics Machine Computer of Polytechnic Institute "Politehnic"
of Timisoara (strength calculations) performed on MECIPT-1 [Farcas] during 1961-1964:
exhibition pavilion design dome Bucharest, Romexpo current (acad. D. Mateescu, programmer
engineer V. Baltac) The dam design on Arges (18 days instead of 9 months manual).
- 1963: DACICC computer calculation conducted by the Institute of the Academy, Cluj-Napoca
(Ref.: Lucian N. Vintan, MASTERS OF COMPUTER ENGINEERING, No 16/2007 Universe
engineering. 16/2007 - http://www.agir.ro).
Note. During the Cold War, between 1967-1970, Romania has received three IBM systems from
IBM subsidiary in Vienna. In that time have built several such systems. For capitalist countries
such a system cost $ 250,000, and the socialist countries (was embargoed at the time) cost $
658,000 (Ref. prof. dr. Ion Vaduva, was director of Computer Center University of Bucharest-
CCUB). Romania has purchased three IBM System 360: one for Electronic Computing Center
"Tractorul" Brasov (UTB), one for CCUB (Computer Center University of Bucharest) and one for
Computer Center of ASE Bucharest. I knew the CCUB system was gift but this year I found it
was purchased. Today, Apple's iPhone 5 cost $ 399 for a 64GB version. Mention that Apple logo
is inspired by Alan Turing's life.
References
[1] Blay, Whitby, (1997) , http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/blayw/tt.html
[2] Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine, USA (2011), www.informatics.uci.edu/
[3] Dennis P. Groth, Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason (2010), Why an Informatics Degree?, Communications of the
ACM
[4] John von Neumann’s EDVAC Report (1945), The John von Neumann Architecture of Computer Systems,
http://www.wps.com/projects/EDVAC/
[5] Turing Centenary (2012), http://www.turingcentenary.eu/
[6] Vlada, M. (2012), Applied Informatics. Regression Models, software and applications, Bucharest
University Press
[7] Vlada, M. (2010), New Technologies in Education and Research. Models and Methodologies,
Technologies and Software Solutions, LAMBERT Academic Publishing, ISBN 978-3-8433-6391-4
Generative Techniques for Building Virtual Objects

Grigore Albeanu

Department of Mathematics and Informatics
Spiru Haret University
13, Ion Ghica Str., 030045, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: g.albeanu.mi@spiruharet.ro


Abstract
Many generative methods in arts and science are available. This paper presents a review of
various generative methods oriented to the building of virtual objects useful in virtual reality
applications. Grammars, automata, and evolutionary strategies are some classes of
generative methods. The paper is dedicated both to Alan Turing and John von Neumann.

Keywords: generative grammars, shape grammars, cellular automata, L-systems,
evolutionary computing, DNA computing, membrane computing, GML

1. Introduction
Building virtual objects is an important task in virtual environment development. Nowadays, for a
large variety of fields, including education, science, and entertainment, the researchers, designers,
and users are interested in findings ways (approaches) to design virtual entities. One approach is
based on the generative way of thinking which is rules-based. Also, Eckert (1999) considered that,
“the term generative systems can cover a wide range of different automatic design tools”. The
mentioned author has included “the genetic algorithms, shape grammars and other evolutionary
methods share the characteristics that they create a large number of designs, which are pruned
using a fitness function.” Our vision on generative systems includes also generative grammars,
cellular automata, DNA computing, membrane computing, and other nature inspired computing
mechanisms.
As McCormack et al (2004) remarked, the modern world asks for a new way of object design
adapted to new electronic systems and devices available today. Viewed as a dynamic process, the
generative methodology produces new forms in a sequential or parallel process using production
rules. Alternatively, we say that a computation mechanism is used. The scientific literature refers
to many computation mechanisms like Turing machines, Markov algorithms, Kleene recursive
functions, Post production systems, all of them converging on the same class of computational
capabilities, those of effective computation of Church. According to Eberbach et al. (2004), the
Turing’s thesis claims that “whenever there is an effective method for obtaining the values of a
mathematical function, the function can be computed by a Turing machine”. This paper did not
detail on Turing machines. However, the reader should be advised on the structure of the
automatic machines proposed by Turing: a one-dimensional erasable tape of infinite length,
capable of storing symbols (one per cell); a read/write tape head moving to the left or to the right
depending on the program, a control mechanism (working in a bounded number of states), and a
transition table (the program), specifying the next action and the new state of the machine given an
initial state and a symbol under the tape head. More details in computability and its complexity are
given by Cooper (2003). An excellent material about the Turing’s ideas and models of
computation is presented by Eberbach et al. (2004).
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Choosing a particular computational mechanism depends on the field under study: formal
grammars (of Chomsky - 1965) are used to generate configurations by production rules, finite state
machines use transitions between system states (which can be thought also as configurations) but
more relevant for technical or nature-inspired systems. However, a generative mechanism should
have some key properties like: (1) ability to generate a large number of objects (configurations)
including novel structures, behaviours, final objects or relationships; (2) ability to generate
interactions object-environment; (3) self-maintenance and self-repair capability. Such mechanisms
are called intelligent/smart generative systems.
This paper is a review on most important generative ways of thinking providing high impact on
virtual objects design. Firstly, the philosophy of generative thinking is presented. Next, the
methodologies for generative design are explained and illustrated by adequate generative
mechanisms. Finally, comments and concluding remarks will be given.
The next section discusses generative grammars and their capability to build virtual objects.
2. Generative grammars
Basically, grammar based generative mechanisms are specified by an alphabet (characters, shapes,
etc.), an initial configuration (in theory the start symbol, or the axiom, a string of characters etc.), a
set of production rules used in a string-rewriting process to generate configurations (strings of
characters, shapes, etc.).
Kirsch & Kirsch (1986) illustrates the usage of formal grammars in design, in fields like
architecture and graphic design. Borrowing from structural linguistic terminology, they consider
both a deep structure and a surface structure associated to every artwork. The surface structure
refers to observable properties like: texture, variation of media, line attributes, colours and their
relationships. In general these properties are related to aspect and topological attributes. When
refer to the deep structure, Kirsch & Kirsch mind structural aspects related to overall composition
and the work organization in two or three dimensions. The recursion property (an unpleasant one
for lexical/compiler generators) was found very useful in art design. It is known that recursion
appears when a formula production leads to direct or indirect its invocation during structural
generation. The mentioned authors described a formal grammar generating Richard Diebenkorn’s
Ocean Park paintings.
Another extension of phrase structure grammars for specification of paintings and sculptures is
represented by shape grammars introduced by Stiny & Gips (1971). Therefore, a class of paintings
was defined by a specification S of a class of shapes consisting of a shape grammar defining a
language of two-dimensional shapes and a selection rule, and a specification M of material
representations for the shapes defined by S and consists of a finite set of painting rules and a
canvas shape. Shape grammars are defined over an alphabet of shapes and can generate n-
dimensional shapes. An initial shape is given. Recursively, the shape rules are applied to the shape
rules, in order to obtain new shapes.
The obtained shape is generated by applying a rule as follows: initially is necessary to find a
part of the shape that is similar (geometrically speaking) to the left side of some rule (production);
then a geometric transformations (scaling, rotating, translating, shearing, etc.) is found to be
applied for the identified part which is similar to the left side of the rule, and finally, the selected
transformations will be applied to the right side of the rule for the corresponding part of the given
shape.
There are terminal shape elements (impossible to be erased after a previous addition to a
shape), and markers (non-terminals). For shape grammars the rules are shape specific and rule
replacement only focuses on the partial transformation of a shape.
Boundary solid grammars (BSG) were introduced by Heisserman in his PhD thesis, and
presented later in the journal IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, March 1994. The BSG
approach consists of an initial solid and a set of rules generating multiple configurations.
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Solids are built according to the graph-based boundary representation. Solid rules derive a
labelled boundary graph from another. The boundary graph is a topology graph (with nodes like
vertex, vertex-use, edge-half, edge, loop, face, shell, shell-use, solid, model, and arcs representing
the adjacency of nodes) with coordinate geometry (given by a function) associated with each node.
Labels are attached to nodes in order to associate non-geometric data useful not only for searching,
but also for various computations (solid’s mass as an example) and texturing.
The BSG formalism was implemented by the Genesis system consisting of a custom boundary-
representation solid modeller, a database for non-geometric information, solid visualization
methods, and a graphical user interface.
Cui & Tang (2012) introduced the Dynamic Shape Representation (DSR) as a new
representation of 3D shapes. A basic rule using fundamental primitives is called Elemental Rule
(ER). Moreover, an ER can consists of a finite set of shape rules of the form (u, v), where u and v
are the shapes being included in the permitted primitive shape set with an orientation, called ER(i).
The DSR model uses a DSR initial shape, DSR shapes, and a DSR shape grammar. A DSR initial
shape is a collection of definite primitive shapes by union operation, while a DSR shape is a finite
set of shapes being generated by using a family of ERs in a specific order: ER(0), ER(1), …,
ER(i). A DSR shape grammar has four components (S, L, R, I): the finite set S of DSR shapes, the
finite set L of symbols, a set of rules denoted by R, and an initial DSR shape, denoted by I. The
DSR shapes can be generated using CSG (constructive solid geometry) grammars for Boolean
expressions of geometric primitives and Boolean operations. Boundary solid grammars can also be
used to generate DSR shapes.
Finally, in the end of this section we remind L-systems (see Prusinkiewicz and
Lindenmayer(1996)) as parallel generative grammars useful to model plant development,
branching tree structures, and other fractal artefacts. L-systems were introduced by Lindenmayer
in 1968 as models for the development of certain organisms. Culik & Kari (1993) described a
“turtle” interpretation of L-systems, with the turtle drawing squares.
3. Cellular automata for pattern generation
Cellular automata are discrete dynamical systems used for computer simulations of various natural
phenomena, as Culik & Kari (1993) wrote. However, the first developments of cellular automata
were realized by John von Neumann and Stanislaw Ulam at Loss Alamos National Laboratory, in
1940.
For the subject under development, two-dimensional cellular automata will be described. The
infinite Euclidean plane is divided into unit squares (cells) indexed by using integer coordinates.
Each cell, at any moment of time, is in one of states belonging to a finite set S. At discrete time
steps the cells alter their states synchronously following some local transition rules. A local
transition rule specifies the new state given the old state and the neighbours of the cell. Two types
of neighbourhoods are used: the Moore neighbourhood (the cell and its eight neighbours), and von
Neumann neighbourhood (the cell and its four neighbours). The automata evolve from one
configuration (the state infinite matrix of cells) to another. A colouring function can be used to
give the colour for each state.
Another approach to generate patterns (tessellations) uses finite automata and iterative matrix
substitution. It is well-known that the accepted language of finite automata can be described by
regular expressions and generated by regular phrase grammars. A matrix substitution system
(MSS) consists of an alphabet (finite set), a set of productions, an initial symbol, and markers to
represent black squares in the substitution matrices. An MSS can be made more convenient by
allowing rotation or flipping of the substituted submatrices.
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4. Bio-computing inspired models
DNA recombination operation can inspire designers of virtual objects. The splicing operation (see
Daley & Kari (2002)) can be used to build a generative mechanism also. Given a set of axioms
(strings, basic shapes) and a set of spicing rules, a generative sequence can be obtained starting
from axioms and the iteratively use of splicing rules on already built elements.
P-systems, introduced by Paun (2003), can be used in generative art and procedural modelling
of plants. Wagy, McDermott & Keefe (2011) describe two preliminary investigations into the
utility of P-systems for graphics. They also used the turtle geometry approach.
Virtual artefacts can be generated by various evolutionary computation approaches. The
designer should find a good representation of individuals (strings, or matrices), design variation
operators (mutation and/or recombination), and define a selection/reproduction mechanism.
Cellular automata can evolve using genetic operators. Also, genetic operators can be used to
evolve L-systems. The term grammatical evolution is used. Selection, breeding, and mutation are
used by Beaumont & Stepney (2009) to evolve simple L-systems by grammatical evolution.
5. The Generative Modelling Language
Before concluding, let us have a look on GML (the Generative Modelling Language) which
combine simple shape construction operations as Havemann (2005) shown. It is a “shape
programming language”, providing a number of operators for creating 3D models (polygons, b-
reps, subdivision surfaces).
As a stack-based (postfix) language, GML is a powerful language for the representation of
procedural models, the design of virtual objects becoming focused on rules for transforming
primitive objects instead of focusing on combining these primitives. The OpenGL-based runtime
engine is used by GML to work like a viewer with an integrated modeller, in order to overcome
the usual separation of 3D modelling from interactive visualization.
6. Conclusions
The generative modelling was investigated above. Not only classical generative mechanisms like
Chomsky phrase grammars were considered, but also more suitable for virtual reality applications
shape grammars, boundary solid grammars, cellular automata, DNA inspired operators and
membrane computing were identified as interesting approaches in virtual assets modelling,
including music.
Finally, the GML was identified as a “shape programming language” useful to create virtual
worlds by procedural modelling which is a better alternative to the usage of VRML based on
declarative modelling.
7. References
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Current State, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, 1, 1, 3-17.
Beaumont, D., and Stepney, S. (2009): Grammatical Evolution of L-systems, In Proc. CEC 2009, IEEE
Press, 2446–2453.
Ҫakir, Ș., and Kantarci, A. (1999): Cellular Automata and Computer Graphics, Journal of Engineering
Sciences, 5, 1, 927-931.
Chomsky, N. (1965): Aspects of the theory of Syntax, MIT Press.
Cooper, S. B. (2003): Computability Theory, Chapman and Hall/CRC.
Cui, J., and Tang M.-X. (2012): Representing 3D Shape Grammars in a Generative Product Design System,
In (Gero, J.S. ed.) Design Computing and Cognition DCC’12, Springer.
Culik II, K., and Kari J. (1993): Mechanisms for Pattern Generation, Complex Systems 7, 347-365.
Daley, M.J., and Kari Lila (2002): DNA Computing: Models and Implementations, Comments on Theoretical
Biology, 7, 177-198.
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De Smedt, T., Lechat, L., and Daelemans, W. (2011): Generative art inspired by nature, using NodeBox, In:
Applications of Evolutionary Computation, Part II, LCNS 6625, 264-272, Springer.
Eberbach, E., Goldin, D., and Wegner, P. (2004): Turing’s Ideas and Models of Computation, In (Teuscher,
Ch., ed.) Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker, 159-194, Springer-Verlag.
Eckert, C., Kelly, I., and Stacey M. (1999): Cognitive Foundations for Interactive Generative Systems in
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International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 99, Munich, August 24-26,
1239-1242.
Gips, J. (1999): Computer Implementation of Shape Grammars, Workshop on Shape Computation, MIT,
http://www.shapegrammar.org/implement.pdf.
Gu, N., Singh. V., and Merrick, K. (2010): A Framework to Integrate Generative Design Techniques for
Enhancing Design Automation, In CAADRiA 2010, 127-136.
Havemann, S. (2005): Generative Mesh Modeling: Ch5 – The Generative Modeling Language GML,
http://www.digibib.tu-bs.de/?docid=00000008.
Heisserman, J. (1994): Generative Geometric Design, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications 14, 2, 37-45.
Hemberg, E.A.P. (2010): An Exploration of Grammars in Grammatical Evolution, PhD Thesis: University
College Dublin.
Hiltemann, S. (2008): Multi-coloured Cellular Automata, Bachelor theses in Computer Science: Leiden
University-LIACS, August 2008.
Hornby, G. S. (2003): Creating Complex Building Blocks through Generative Representations. In AAAI
Spring Symposium: Computation Synthesis: From Basic Building Blocks to High Level Functionality; TR
SS03-02, 98-105.
Hornby, G.S., Lipson, H. and Pollack, J.B. (2001): Evolution of Generative Design Systems for Modular
Physical Robots. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 4146–4151.
Huang, J., Pytel, A., Zhang C., et al. (2009): An Evaluation of Shape/Split Grammars for Architecture,
Technical Report: University of Waterloo, TR CS-2009-23.
Kerren, A. (2004): Learning by Generation in Computer Science Education, JCS&T, 4, 2, 84-90.
Kirsch, J.L., and Kirsch, R.A. (1986): The structure of paintings: formal grammar and design, Environment
and Planning B: Planning and Design, 13, 163-176.
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From Local Interactions to Global Phenomena, ISO Press, Amsterdam, 320-336.
McCormack, J., Dorin, A., and Innocent, T. (2004): Generative design: a paradigm for design research, In
(Redmond, J. et. Al., eds.) Proceedings of Futureground, Design Research Society, Melbourne.
Mitchell, M. (1999): An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms, MIT Press (5
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printing).
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48-55.
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Computer Graphics, Technical report: Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of
Minnesota, TR 11-022.
On the Use of Educational Ontologies as
Support Tools for Didactical Activities

Mihaela Oprea

University Petroleum-Gas of Ploiesti, Department of Automatics, Computers and
Electronics
Bd. Bucuresti No. 39, Ploiesti, RO-100680, ROMANIA
E-mail: mihaela@upg-ploiesti.ro


Abstract
The basic characteristic of an educational process is knowledge sharing. In this context it is
important to have an efficient method for knowledge representation that uses the concepts
specific to the educational domain. Ontologies provides a solution for solving the problem of
knowledge representation. In the last years it was highlighted the great importance of using
ontologies when developping a web-based education. Educational ontologies can model the
content of the course for all three phases of a didactical activity: teaching, learning and
examination. The paper proposes a general framework for the development of educational
ontologies as support tools for these three activities, and presents a case study of applying the
framework to a course from the field of Computer Science.

Keywords: Educational ontology, Web-based education, Knowledge representation
Introduction


1. Introduction
In the last years it was highlighted the great importance of using ontologies when developping a
web-based education. Educational ontologies can model a course for all three phases of an
instructional activity: teaching, learning and examination. An educational ontology has general
terms for any course, and specific terms for the knowledge domain of the current course. Several
educational ontologies have been reported in the literature, each of them using particular
development frameworks or methodologies. In this paper we propose a general framework for the
development of the educational ontologies of a course.
The paper is structured as follows. In section 2 it is presented an overview of some educational
ontologies that were reported in the literature, and it is proposed a general framework for the
development of educational ontologies as support tools for the didactical activity. A case study of
applying the framework to the development of the educational ontologies of the Object Oriented
Programming course, from the area of Computer Science, is described in section 3. The final
section concludes the paper.

2. Educational ontologies
2.1 Generalities
Knowledge sharing is the basic characteristic of an educational process. In this context it is
important to have an efficient method for knowledge representation that uses the concepts specific
to the domain of education [7]. Ontologies provides a solution for solving the problem of
knowledge representation and also the interoperability of the educational systems. An educational
ontology is an ontology specific to the instructional process. Several models are constructed when
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we develop a web-based education system or an intelligent tutoring system: the learner model, the
teacher model, the domain model, the curriculum model etc. Different ways of designing the
educational ontologies were proposed in the literature, so far. Also, a variety of application
domains were discussed (see e.g. [11] and [17]).

2.2 Examples of educational ontologies
In this section we make a brief presentation of selected educational ontologies that were reported
in the literature, and of some frameworks for educational ontologies development and application.
In [5] it is proposed an educational system based on ontologies that use metadata for finding,
exchanging and managing different learning objects. The authors propose the specification of the
metadata semantics by using the OWL formal ontology language.
A methodology for knowledge management that apply recommendation algorithms and is used
under the framework of an e-learning system is described in [8]. Educational ontologies are used
to personalize the course resources, according to the learners’ personality and preferences.
Another personalized education ontology (PEOnto) is introduced in [6]. The main
characteristics of this ontology are the identification and discovery of relevant learning objects for
individual needs of the learner. Five interrelated educational ontologies are included in PEOnto,
that serve to address different personalized educational scenarios within a multi-agent based
education system.
In [4] it is presented a method for developing educational ontologies by domain experts for use
in the delivery of courseware content. The authors provided some ontological modelling
guidelines that are adequate for rich domains.
The paper [12] proposes an ontology-based student model for the SoNITS educational social
network developed for IT students.
In [16] it is described an ontology of educational theories and their relation to learning design.
The ontological engineering was done by using the Hozo ontology editor.
The use of a computer assisted assessment system is discussed in [10]. Several learning styles
are analyzed via adaptive feedback derived from the educational ontologies during the learning
process. The proposed feedback deriving framework was designed to be used by intelligent
tutoring systems.
In [2] it is introduced the OntoQue system, an engine for objective assessment item generation
based on domain educational ontologies. The system was evaluated by using four OWL ontologies
from different domains of expertise.
The use of educational ontologies in collaborative learning and knowledge generation
processes is described in [1]. Several scenarios of ontology-based collaborative learning are
presented. The authors highlight the knowledge creation phase when ontologies are generated and
used.
An ontology-based knowledge evaluation system in higher education is presented in [9]. The
authors shows a demonstration of the adaptive knowledge testing and evaluation system supported
by the proposed educational ontology in fourteen higher institutions for the Business Informatics
program curricula as a test environment.
An automated tool for content modeling, AIMTool, based on Java, is described in [3] for
collaborative construction of the IMA-CID models (conceptual model, instructional model and
didactic model). The educational ontologies are used as a supporting mechanism for modelling the
course content.
The CADMOS-D method, based on UML is introduced in [14] for the educational adaptive
hypermedia applications design. The authors propose a conceptual model that use RDF-based
ontologies.
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A semiautomatic framework, TEXCOMON, is introduced in [17], that produces domain
concept maps from text, and then, derive educational ontologies from these concept maps.
An educational ontology, Univ_Edu_Onto, is presented in [13]. The ontology was developed in
Protégé [15] and has general terms for a university course and specific terms for the Artificial
Intelligence course that is teached to undergraduate students.

2.3 A general framework for educational ontologies development
The development of educational ontologies can be done by using some general guidelines grouped
under a framework that follow a full didactical activity cycle. Figure 1 shows the block schema of
a didactical activity cycle with the three phases: teaching, learning and examination, and their
corresponding feedback. In our framework, the educational resources are used in the three phases
of the instructional process, and they are based on the educational ontologies, specific to the
domain of study and some prerequisite courses. For example, in the case of the Object Oriented
Programming course some prerequisite courses are the Computer Programming Languages course,
and the Data Structures and Algorithms course.
The educational ontologies include generic and specific terms for all three stages of the
didactical activity. Some of the terms are domain independent, and are basic notions from
education (e.g. curriculum, syllabus, educational resource, lesson structure, pedagogical roles,
learner competences, teacher competences, student evaluation method, exams, test, items, assessment).


Teaching
Activity

Learning
Activity

Examination
Activity
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Educational Ontologies


Figure 1. The block schema of a didactical activity cycle

The general framework for educational ontologies development is given as follows, under the form
of a generic algorithm.

/************************************************************************/
ALGORITHM General Framework for Educational Ontologies Development
Input: course, prerequisite courses, student / learner, teacher
Output: Educational Ontologies for the course and specific student / learner competences

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Begin

1. do Teaching Activity Ontologies Generation // for the teaching process
* extract all the basic and advanced notions from the course and generate the Course Basic
Subject Ontology and the Course Advanced Subject Ontology;
* extract all the notions from the prerequisite courses and generate the Course Prerequisite
Subject Ontology;
* generate or use the Basic Teaching Ontology; // include teaching models

2. do Learning Activity Ontologies Generation // for the learning process
2.1 * extract from the course all the practical activities with the needed resources and the main
competences achieved by the student / learner and generate Course Practical Activities
Ontology;
2.2 * generate or use the Basic Learning Ontology; // include learning models

3. do Examination Activity Ontologies Generation // for the examination process
3.1 * extract from the course the tests, questions, exercises, problems, assessment items and
generate the Course Examination Ontology;
3.2 * generate or use the Basic Examination Ontology; // include examination models

End.
/************************************************************************/

In our general framework eight educational ontologies are generated. Each phase of the
instructional process has its specific ontologies. Moreover, at each phase the ontologies of the
previous phase or phases are also used. Between the eight educational ontologies there are specific
links and relationships (e.g. between the Course Prerequisite Subject Ontologies of the courses that
are members of a program of study curriculum). Apart from these ontologies, other ontologies can
be used or generated depending on the specific course that is teached. We have simplified as much
as possible the algorithm (including the generic specification for the input and output of the
algorithm) in order to have a general framework. For example, the course has a detailed
description with information regarding the curriculum, the syllabus, the target audience, the
content, the teaching material, the resources (software and hardware), and so on.

3. Case study of applying the proposed framework to Computer Science field
In this case study we are considering a course from the Computer Science field teached to
undergraduate students: Object Oriented Programming (in C++ programming language), and we
present the particularization of the proposed general framework to develop the corresponding
educational ontologies.
Course title: Object Oriented Programming Course (in C++ language)
The prerequisite courses for the Object Oriented Programming course are Computer
Programming Languages (including the standard C programming language), Data Structures and
Algorithms, and an introductory course in informatics, e.g. The Bases of Informatics. The concepts
of these three courses are used as known concepts when defining the concepts specific to the
Object Oriented Programming course.
The educational ontologies generated by the proposed framework are as follows:
1) Course Basic Subject Ontology
This ontology contains basic notions of the object oriented programming with reference to the
C++ programming language. The content of the course introductory chapters (modules) are
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represented by using this ontology. Examples of such chapters are: Introduction in object oriented
programming, Classes and methods, Inheritance, Fundamentals of object oriented modelling.
Examples of basic concepts: class, object, object variable, abstraction, abstract data type, message,
data member, function member, method, constructor, destructor, base class, derivative class,
inheritance, singular inheritance, object oriented modelling, OMT methodology etc.
2) Course Advanced Subject Ontology
This ontology contains advanced notions of the object oriented programming with reference to
the C++ programming language. The content of the course advanced chapters are represented by
using the Course Basic Subject Ontology and this ontology. Examples of such chapters are:
Polymorphism, Multiple inheritance, Object Oriented Modelling. Examples of advanced concepts
are: polymorphism, multiple inheritance, function overriden, function overloading, object models,
object oriented modelling language, UML etc.
3) Course Prerequisite Subject Ontology
This ontology contains all terms from the prerequisite courses that are necessary for defining
the concepts specific to the Object Oriented Programming course. Examples of prerequisite
concepts are: statement, sequence, decision, selection, iteration, compound statement, expression,
program structure, data type, variable, function, procedure, function call, procedure call, standard
library, programming technique, operating system (platform), algorithm, data structure, list, stack,
queue, tree, graph, search algorithm, sort algorithm etc.
4) Basic Teaching Ontology
This ontology contains terms specific to any teaching activity. Examples of such terms are:
teaching model, interactive teaching, course title, course duration, course structure, curriculum,
syllabus, target audience, teaching goals, teaching tools, course content, course outline, course
resource, educational unit, prerequisite knowledge, software, C++ language, hardware, computer
configuration, course chapter, sub-chapter, module, sub-module, section, sub-section, example,
application, problem, course presentation, course tutorial, lecture notes and readings, textbook,
course document file (ASCII text, doc, html, audio, video, slide, pdf, ps etc), bibliography,
reference, PowerPoint file etc.
5) Course Practical Activities Ontology
This ontology contains terms specific to the learning activity structured in practical activities
that corresponds to the chapters of the course. Example of such terms from the practical activities
of the Classes and methods chapter are as follows: object oriented problems solving, C++
language, defining classes in C++ (class sintax), defining the Stack class, defining the constructors
of a class (default constructor, copy constructor, constructors with list of parameters, type
conversion constructor), Borland C++, Visual C++ etc.
6) Basic Learning Ontology
This ontology contains terms specific to any learning activity: learner model, learning styles,
active reflective, sensing intuitive, visual verbal, interactive learning, learner feedback, learning
goals, practical activity, student / learner competences, learning object, resource, FAQ, lessons
learned etc.
7) Course Examination Ontology
This ontology contains terms specific to the examination activities that corresponds to the
teaching and practical activities of the Object Oriented Programming course. The key concepts
from the previous defined course ontologies are used. Additional terms are related to problems and
exercises proposed to be solved by students. An example of problem is the following: “Write a
C++ program that define the Robot base class and the Mobile Robot derivative class with
structure and behaviour at your choice, define two objects from the two classes in the main
function, and call their corresponding methods”.

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8) Basic Examination Ontology
This ontology contains terms specific to any examination activity of an instructional process.
Examples of terms are: examination, assessment, self-assessment, assessment items, exercises,
individualized exercises, questions, items, corrections, tests, problems, evaluation method,
computer-assisted examination etc.
In this paper, we have focused on the vocabulary of the educational ontologies. However, when
defining an ontology apart from the vocabulary, the relationships between the concepts and the
axioms of the ontology are also specified. Examples of relationships used between the concepts
and terms of an ontology are as follows: is_a, has, part_of, order, required_by etc.
The educational ontologies can be implemented in an ontology editor such as Protégé,
Ontolingua etc. They are used either directly by the main actors of the instructional process (i.e.
teacher, student / learner, tutor) or indirectly, by the e-learning platform or other intelligent
instructional support tools (e.g. multi-agent systems, knowledge based systems) during the
teaching, learning and examination phases of the didactical process.
In Figure 2 it is shown a screenshot with some classes (basic and advanced concepts) of the
Object Oriented Programming course ontology, OOP_Ontology, implemented in Protégé 3.0.


Figure 2. A screenshot with some classes of the Object Oriented Programming course ontology
(in Protégé 3.0)

4. Conclusion
The paper proposed a general framework for the development of educational ontologies as support
tools for didactical activities: teaching, learning and examination. A case study of applying the
proposed framework to a course from the Computer Science field was presented.

5. References

[1] Alert, H., Markkanen, H., Richter, C. (2006): Rethinking the use of ontologies in learning. In E. Tomadaki
and P. Scott (Eds): Innovative Approaches for Learning and Knowledge Sharing – EC-TEL Workshop
Proceedings, 115-125.
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[2] Al-Yahya, M. (2011): OntoQue: A Question Generation Engine for Educational Assessment Based on
Domain Ontologies. In Proceedings of the 11th IEEE Int. Conf. Advanced Learning Technologies
(ICALT), 393-395.
[3] Borges, V.A. and Barbosa, E.F. (2009): Using Ontologies for Modeling Educational Content. Research
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SWEL.
[4] Boyce, S., Pahl, C. (2007): Developing Domain Ontologies for Course Content. Educational Technology
& Society, 10(3), 275-288.
[5] Doan, B.-L., Bourda, Y. (2006): An Educational System Based on Several Ontologies. In Proceedings of
the 6th IEEE Int. Conf. on Advanced Learning Technologies, 179-183.
[6] Fok, A.W.P. (2006): PEOnto - Integration of Multiple Ontologies for Personalized Learning. In
Proceedings of Web-based Education, ACTA Press.
[7] Gruber, T.R. (1995): Towards principles for the design of ontologies used for knowledge sharing. In
International Journal Human-Computer Studies, 43(5/6).
[8] Kerkiri, T., Athanassios, A., Mavridis, I. (2010): How e-learning systems may benefit from ontologies and
recommendation methods to efficiently personalise resources. In International Journal of Knowledge and
Learning, 5(3-4), 347-370.
[9] Kö, A., Gábor, A., Vas, R., Szabo, I. (2008): Ontology-based Support of Knowledge Evaluation in Higher
Education. In Proceedings of the Conference on Information Modelling and Knowledge Bases, 306-313.
[10] Liu, B., Chen, H. and He, W. (2008): A Framework of Deriving Adaptive Feedback from Educational
Ontologies. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference for Young Computer Scientists, 2476-
2480.
[11] Mesaric, J., Dukic, B. (2007): An Approach to Creating Domain Ontologies for Higher Education in
Economics. In Proceedings of the Int. Conf. Information Technology Interfaces, 75-80.
[12] Nguyen, C.D., Vo, K.D., Bui, D.B., Nguyen, D.T. (2011): An ontology-based IT student model in an
educational social network. In Proceedings of the 13th Int. Conf. on Information Integration and Web-
based Applications and Services – iiWAS’11, 379-382.
[13] Oprea, M. (2011): An Educational Ontology for Teaching University Courses. In Proceedings of the 6th
International Conference on Virtual Learning – ICVL 2011. Cluj, 117-122.
[14] Papasalouros, A., Retalis, S. and Papaspyrou, N. (2004): Semantic Description of Educational Adaptive
Hypermedia based on a Conceptual Model. In Educational Technology & Society, 7(4), 129-142.
[15] Protégé: http://protégé.stanford.edu
[16] Psyché, V., Bourdeau, J., Nkambou, R., Mizoguchi, R. (2005): Making Learning Design Standards Work
with an Ontology of Educational Theories. In Proceedings of the Conference on Artificial Intelligence in
Education: Supporting Learning through Intelligent and Socially Informed Technology, IOS Press, 539-
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[17] Zouaq, A. and Nkambu, R. (2008): Building Domain Ontologies from Text for Educational Purposes. In
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Effective Training for Policy Based Management of 3D Multi User
Learning Environments

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: giusp@st-andrews.ac.uk


Abstract
The use of 3D Multi User Virtual Environments (3D MUVE) for teaching and learner support
activities has been commended by many considering the unique benefits. 3D MUVE, when
used for educational activities with the existing teaching infrastructure, formulate blended
learning environments, which are known as 3D Multi User Learning Environments (3D
MULE). Appropriately integrated 3D MULE would provide a range of complementary
functions to facilitate student learning along with the e-Learning and classroom teaching
processes. Nevertheless, the fact that 3D MUVE were not specifically designed to cater for
educational needs, but for gaming and entertainment has made teachers and module
coordinators to face a significant challenge in designing effective learning and assessment
tasks with 3D MULE; a common mistake is to assume and trying to practice identical e-
Learning use cases with 3D flavour. With related research, we have successfully shown that
policy based management of 3D MULE can overcome the challenge of inconsistent and
ineffective learning practices. Unfortunately, the steep learning curve of the 3D MUVE
management functions tends to impede the teachers and students on exploring their learning
and course delivery objectives within 3D MULE, conveniently. This paper introduces a novel
approach of training 3D MULE users to support their teaching and learning. Required
competencies were identified considering policy models for 3D MUVE functions and the
virtual regions were designed accordingly. This paper presents the design models and
architectural considerations for the developed training islands along with evaluation.

Keywords: 3D MULE Learning, Policy Based Management, Training Teachers, Learning
Environment Management
1. Introduction
Technology enhanced teaching and learner support practices have been pivotal in modern
educational environments. Various system solutions have been developed to implement different
teaching and learning content delivery methods associated with e-Learning, which are often
referred as blended learning environments. 3D virtual worlds (3D MUVE), quite often, are used to
extend the existing e-Learning based blended learning environments by incorporating 3D support
for a more attractive and engaging learning experience for the students. 3D MULE are appropriate
for educational use due to their alignment with the Kolb's (Kolb et al., 2001) concept of
experiential learning, learning through experimentation and exploration. 3D virtual environments
engage learners in the exploration, construction and manipulation of virtual objects, structures and
metaphorical representations of ideas, demonstrating a high educational potential Dalgarno (et al.,
2009). When integrated with existing e-Learning systems, 3D MUVE provide complementary
features for higher student engagement with 3D support (Perera et al., 2011a). However, managing
3D MULE without affecting their rich and dynamic features that add value to learning while
achieving trust in learning can be a challenge due to the varying levels of student self-regulation
and the steep learning curve of 3D MUVE system functions.
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For our 3D MULE research, we have been using Second Life (SL) (Linden Labs, 2003) and
Open Simulator (2007) MUVE. Identifying the potential of OpenSim based 3D MULE can help
for serious teaching and learner support needs; most of our recent 3D virtual world research and
development projects are based on OpenSim platform. Furthermore, with the recent trends in 3D
MUVE usages it can be seen that a preference has moved towards OpenSim from SL (Allison et
al., 2011). This study, as part of the research on facilitating policy based management of 3D
MULE, aimed at designing and developing a training environment to support users who are in
need of assistance to overcome the steep learning curve challenge of 3D MUVE. The prior training
on 3D MUVE functions and their behaviour can help the users by flattening the steep learning-
curve of the 3D MULE management; as noted, “The learning curve for operating OpenSim is
steep” (OpenSim wiki, 2011). Not only does it help the students to start module specific learning
rapidly by conveniently engaging in the 3D MULE, but also the teachers can comfortably practice
the required management of 3D MULE. Therefore, the main objective is to increase the user
awareness of the 3D MUVE system behaviour in general to overcome the steep learning curve
barrier, while supporting teachers and course administrators to make required policy
considerations to manage their 3D MULE with confidence.
The remaining sections of the paper are as follows: section 2 reveals background details
relevant to the research with our experiences on using 3D MULE. Section 3 discusses the training
requirements for 3D MULE management and; section 4 explains the design and major parts of the
developed training regions. Section 5 presents the developed training regions along with
preliminary results of the evaluation. Finally, section 6 discusses the expected future work as part
of this research, before concluding.
2. Background and Related Work
How 3D MUVE transform the existing e-Learning environments is an interesting research
question. Hendaoui (et al., 2008) has discussed this by identifying key research topics to be
examined as 3D MUVE are used for teaching. A recent study on use case implementations of 3D
MUVE for blended learning approaches (Perera, et al, 2011a) provides extensive insight on
possible learning processes while revealing the prevailing challenges at the system and user
domains. The challenge of successful integration of 3D MUVE into the existing e-Learning based
blended learning environments has been studied as part of this research and provided the research
model to investigate the required level of policy based management of 3D MULE.
Second Life follows the concept of Help Island (Linden Labs, 2003), which makes all newly
registered users to appear in one of the dedicated islands in the main grid. These islands consist of
free content objects, instructions for basic avatar movements and content creation, and virtual
spaces for gatherings and content creation. A major limitation of this approach is the instructions,
content and the Help Island environment are not designed to support educational requirements,
specifically, but to promote and prosper the Linden Lab’s commercial motives through expanding
the SL virtual economy.
However, with the increasing use of OpenSim for 3D MULE implementation instead of SL,
there is a need of user training facility similar to Help Island concept, but with the educational
focus. The common practice has been to use document based laboratory sheets or student
guidance, which may not be the ideal way to train students for 3D MUVE and might not be an
attractive method to motivate students. Moreover, with the OpenSim based 3D MULE all the
activities from system administration to learning environment management become the
responsibility of the academics; therefore, a strong need for training these lecturers and module
coordinators for the 3D MULE management, emerges, which has been highlighted in the related
previous work of (Perera, et al., 2011a), (Allison, et al., 2011). Previous phases of this research
have identified the required level of use case mappings, and policy consideration areas based on
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3D MUVE functions to manage 3D MULE. Recently, an extensive statistical analysis was
performed to identify the major 3D MULE management aspects (Perera, et al., 2012). These
related works suggested to provide intuitive and usable training to support academics for
managing 3D MULE, and supporting students to interact with the learning environment
comfortably; relevant work on this is explained in the paper.
3. Training for 3D MULE Management
As identified in our previous work on this research the policy based management of 3D MULE
facilitate the learners without affecting their engagement with the environment and the rich 3D
MUVE features that adds value to the learning environment. Use of effective policy considerations
for 3D MULE management can facilitate teaching and student support as the learning experiences
become more reliable. As we have experienced and observed in our previous work with 3D
MULE, defining such policy considerations can be a significant factor for the success of learning
activities. Moreover, due to the complex behaviour of 3D MUVE functions and their
interdependencies, teachers and course management staff may find it more challenging to
implement the defined policies in their 3D MULE; such difficulties can hinder the benefits of 3D
MUVE to form dynamic and engaging learning environments.
With our previous findings of this research, we identified two major training requirements that
should be provided for effective management and learning in 3D MULE. Essentially, the new
users should be trained for the 3D MUVE functions so that they get familiar with the environment
before they are given the access to the module specific learning in 3D MULE. This would
facilitate the learning environment management as the users (students, mostly) tend to self-
regulate their behaviour if they know the activities they should and should not practice while
engaged in learning. User ethical behaviour (self-regulation) helps to achieve the objectives of
policy based management (Rulghaver et al., 2010). On the other hand, to facilitate the
management of 3D MUVE systems, teachers and academic staff should be trained for possible
mechanisms that they can rely on for implementing learning environment management policies.
For this purpose, we selected the key policy areas with respect to 3D MUVE functions, identified
through previous user and system studies (Perera et al., 2011b), as the main components of the
training on management of 3D MULE.
4. Training Environment – Design Considerations
For the identified training needs we decided to implement 2 different regions, one for introductory
requirements for new users – The Introduction Island, and the other for more advanced training on
management functions – The Management Island. Both these regions were part of the Training
Island and we tried to minimise the difference of appearance and structure to avoid user confusion
and to provide a seamless training experience, should a user visit the both regions in a single
session of training.
The major policy areas we have identified are mapped with 3D MUVE major functional
categories; as a result, we were able to design the main training areas (centres) in both islands
closely associating with the respective functional category. For example, the functional category
Avatar Activities was represented as a Centre for Avatar Mobility Tasks in the Introduction Island
to fulfil the basic training needs of new users, whereas the Centre for Avatar Activity Management
in the Management Island comprised of training materials for advanced functions available only
for administrators or land owners to meet the needs of managing avatar behaviour within the
learning environment. Fig. 1 shows the teleport links provided for various centres in the islands;
the left inset image shows the centres in the Introduction Island, and the right inset image shows
the centres in the Management Island. The places indicated in the middle image are in generic
nature and were included in the both islands; these places will be discussed further in the section 4.1.
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Figure 1: Teleport links showing different training centres in the islands
4.1. Generic places for user training
Four places and constructs of generic nature were identified for facilitating the common needs of
the objectives of this training. The idea behind these generic creations is users are given an
opportunity to interact with the environment freely and the other users at the same time observing
generic content and media types that would not specifically fit into the main policy areas, but
facilitate common needs of managing or using 3D MULE. Especially, these places can be used to
train the management policies that we have to consider when 3D MUVE are used as learning
infrastructure with blended learning activities such as, learning content creation and display,
learning activity engagement, and formative and summative assessment & feedback.
The Cinema provides the virtual space to train users through a set of video content on using or
managing the learning activities in 3D MULE. The Open Forum is a dedicated place to summarise
most of the 3D MUVE interacting functions with possible hot key combinations available in the
viewer programs; this enables a rapid familiarity of and efficient interactivities with the
environment. The Discussion Rooms are places where group discussions can be hosted for training
sessions on using 3D MULE. Finally, the dedicated Sandbox lets the users to practice their learnt
environment engaging and management functions without restriction; it helps to make the main
training environment to be kept tidy and enforced with some restrictions on terrain alteration and
object creation. Fig. 2 shows these places; the main intention of the architectural design is to
simulate the real-world buildings to make them felt that their experience is more intuitive and
relevant.


Figure 2: Special constructs and places to support different media and engaged user training; from left:
The Cinema, The Open Forum, Discussion Rooms, & The Sandbox
4.2 Training Centres for Main Policy Areas
Main policy areas were identified in relationship with the key areas of 3D MUVE functionality,
namely: management of land, content, user, group, and avatar activities (Perera et al., 2011b).
Training centres were constructed to cover these major policy areas; the centres in Introduction
Island cover the basic interactive functions related to these policy areas while the training centres
in Management Island provide the training on advanced techniques and administration functions,
which are often hard to master without additional support. Since, the main goal of this study is to
facilitate the management of 3D MULE, a brief section for each training centre in the Management
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Island is given below. Moreover, the corresponding centre in the Introduction Island provides the
basic user training common to all users relevant to its policy area; the details of these centres are
quite similar to their corresponding centres in Management Island, hence, to avoid redundancy an
explicit discussion is not included.
Training for Land Management – Three centres containing the relevant training content on
3D environment (land) management at the near-field (parcels), estate (estate & region) and
administrator levels were created. Functions on land ownership management, land access
management, control of script execution, terraforming, and administrator tools are covered by the
training content, among other topics. Lecturers, module coordinators and administrative staff
should be capable of implementing effective 3D land related policies to promote engaging student
learning and proper management of the 3D MULE.
Training for Content Management – Two training centres were constructed to explain the
complex content management scenarios such as cyclic permission loss, fair ownership, and
composite permission management. Based on the training needs for managing 3D content objects,
these two places additionally provide the content manipulation tasks: copy, edit, move and delete
defined on the roles of, creator, owner, group, everyone, and the administrator, as well. As we
have to rely on 3D content objects for various educational use cases, appropriate management is
essential for reliable learning experience and trustworthy assessment of student created content.
Training for Group Management – Training for 3D MUVE group management is quite
important as the teachers can implement group tasks in 3D MULE, which is one of the important
methods for collaborative learning, with the required control. Importantly, the available 3D
MUVE group functions are not explicitly designed to support learning activities in student groups
compared to the e-Learning applications. Therefore, teachers and course administrators should be
trained to transform available 3D MUVE functions and group roles to support educational needs,
as applicable.
Training for Avatar Activity Management – Avatar activities such as fly, gesture, voice,
create, touch, etc. are the fundamental mechanisms that students interact with the 3D MULE. It is
important that the academics should be aware of the limitations they have on controlling these
functions to manage the learning activities. Training content showed the possible misuses and
available mechanisms to overcome those.
Training for User Management – This training centre explains the functions and best
practices for user registration, ownership, and privilege & access management. Training for
suitable user management, e.g., user (avatar) naming, can be a vital factor for success and
promoting student self-regulation as the amount of student anonymisation in virtual worlds affect
their avatar behaviour (Messinger et al., 2008).
5. Training Islands and Evaluation
Training content was expressed using natural language with suitable figures to depict the task
scenarios or User Interface functions. Since the management and interactive tasks are done
through user actions and mainly aims users, it would be meaningful to express the content in
natural language; moreover, it adds flexibility and ease of training. Developed Training Island
(with both regions) is shown in Fig. 3.
Fig. 4 shows the important creations of virtual content within the training regions; left inset
shows an innovative approach of putting a virtual fence to mark the boundary of the region. Not
only it gives an appealing view to the users, but also serves as a unique solution to prevent users
getting off from the edge of the region; often, the non-deterministic nature of the region edge can
cause avatars to freeze or behave unresponsively, affecting the usability of the MUVE interaction.
Making the tree image embedded fence a non-phantom we solved this problem in a creative
manner. Moreover, the Fig. 4 right inset shows that the training centres were designed to represent
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a familiar university environment with suitable architecture for the educational context. The
campus environment is simulated to a reasonable level while adding the required flexibility and
familiarity by using a common structure for all the training centres.


Figure 3: Training Islands: Introduction Island (left) and Management Island (right)


Figure 4: virtual fence with forest look (left) & constructs for campus setting (right)

Fig. 5 shows various training contents and arrangements used in the designed centres. Some of
the training materials are based on the UI functions of the 3D MUVE clients to make users capable
of rapid utilisation of management functions as a need arises. Guidance notes and best practices
were included to train users not only for mastering 3D MUVE functions but also to help them in
their policy making.


Figure 5: Training content in different centres: researchers observe the content

Evaluation of the developed training environment is in progress, and a preliminary study was
completed with 2 postgraduate students. The two students were engaged in their Master’s
dissertation projects for developing 3D MULE for teaching computer networks. These students
had not used 3D MUVE when they started their projects; they were supposed to complete their
project familiarisation phase within 2 weeks (16.67% of their project time). They were asked to
use Training Islands, and reported that they completed their 3D MUVE training within 5 days
(gained 64.28% of time saving, which was used for their project development work). This
preliminary result shows the value and the significant support the users get for fulfilling their
training needs on 3D MUVE use and 3D MULE management, as a whole. We expect to conduct
further user studies to evaluate this statistically.
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6. Conclusion and Future Work
This research is in progress; the next step of the research is to evaluate the training environment
statistically with a group of participants to see the actual support they get to improve their skills on
managing 3D MULE. We further would like to see the usability and educational value of these
environments to compare any difference between the two and also to have a view on how this
approach of using 3D regions to train users for learning in 3D MULE is viewed by the
participants. We look forward to improving these training environments to cater for wider user
community consisting of various academic roles in the university and to make this training method
a common introductory approach for the students and academic staff when they start their learning
activities in 3D MULE. For that, a special archipelago of virtual regions on the university
OpenSim grid environment will be allocated as a hub hosting these training islands and connecting
the other educational regions through teleport links.
This paper briefly presented the work we have done on designing and developing 3D MULE
training regions to support academics and students to improve their skills for interacting and
managing 3D MULE. The initial studies about the environments with case studies on two
postgraduate projects showed that the researchers involved were benefited by training themselves
for their work with 3D MUVE, using this training solution. With the expected future extensions,
we believe our Training regions support users for their needs in learning; i.e., Management Island
would facilitate the academics for comfortably managing their 3D MULE while students getting
help to be familiar with the 3D MUVE functions from the Introduction Island.
7. Acknowledgement
The research is funded by the UK Commonwealth Scholarship and the Scottish Informatics &
Computer Science Alliance: project of Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

8. References
Allison C., et al., (2011): The Third Dimension in Open Learning, 41
st
ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education
Conference (FIE’11), IEEE Press, 2TE1- 2TE6.
Dalgarno, B., Bishop, A., Adlong, W. and Bedgood Jr., D., (2009): Effectiveness of a Virtual Laboratory as a
preparatory resource for Distance Education chemistry students, Computers & Education, 533, 863-865,
Hendaoui, A., Limayem, M., and Thompson, C. (2008): 3D Social Virtual Worlds: Research Issues and
Challenges, IEEE Internet Computing, 12, 1, 88-92
Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R.E. and Mainemelis, C., (2001): Experiential Learning Theory: Previous Research
and New Directions, J. Sternberg and L. Zhang, (Eds.): In Perspectives on Thinking, Learning and
Cognitive Styles, Lawrence Erlbaum, 227
Linden Labs (2003): Second Life, http://www.secondlife.com
Messinger P., Xin G., Stroulia E., Lyons K., Smirnov K. (2008): On the Relationship between My Avatar and
Myself, Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 1, 2, 1-17
Perera, I., Allison, C., McCaffery J., and Miller A. (2011a): Towards Effective Blended Learning With 3D
MUVE - An Analysis of Use Case Implementations for 3D MUVE Learning. 3rd Computer Supported
Education - CSEDU2011, the Netherlands, INSTICC, 2, 46-55.
Perera, I., Allison C. & Miller A. (2011b): Policy Considerations for Managing 3D Multi User Learning
Environments – Achieving Usability and Trust for Learning, 6
th
ICVL, Romania, 105-111
Perera, I., Allison C. and Miller A. (2012): Effective Policy Based Management of 3D MULE - An
Exploratory Study Towards Developing Student Supportive Policy Considerations in 4th CSEDU.
INSTICC.
Rulghaver, A., Maynard, S., Warren M. (2010): Ethical decision making: Improving the quality of acceptable
use policies, Computers & Security, 29, 7, 731-736.
The Open Simulator Project (2007): Open Simulator, http://www.opensimulator.org/
The OpenSim Wiki (2011): http://www.opensimulator.org/wiki/download
Tabu Search in Genetic Algorithm for Protein
Folding Simulations in the 2D HP model

Alina-Gabriela Tunea
1


(1) University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
alina_boca@yahoo.com


Abstract
One of the most important problems in computational molecular biology is to estimate the
tertiary structure of a sequence of amino-acids for a protein.
In 1992 and 1993 the first articles were published containing the first demonstrations for
the folded protein. Folded protein is a challenging problem of computing and is an NP-hard
problem (NP-hard) even when the configuration is restricted to a grid (lattice). A successful
method for solving this problem would have many implications in many areas including
structural biology, genetics and medicine.
Programs are needed for efficient protein structure calculation. But even for simplified
models using grids (lattices), the problem of predicting protein structure appeared to be NP-
hard, and yet there is a polynomial algorithm
One of the most studied model abstractions of a protein structure is the hydrophobic polar
model (HP) - Dill's model. Many algorithms have been made using 2D and 3D models in
different varieties of grills.
The HP is based on the observation that hydrophobic forces are important forces for the
problem of the folded protein.
In this model, a protein is represented as a linear sequence of amino acids consisting of two
types: hydrophobic amino acids represented by H and hydrophilic or polar amino acids
represented by P.
Calculating the functional structure of the amino acid structure is difficult as the space for
possible structures is very large, making it difficult to search the “minimum energy” structure.
It was proposed a search method to find optimal conformation for two-dimensional HP
models and also three-dimensional models.

Keywords: Protein folding, Tabu Search, Genetic algorithm


1. Introduction
For big complexity problems, finding the optimal solution or even an acceptable one could be a
hard task. Classical techniques can’t be applied or they need long execution period of time.
Genethical algorithms are by definition searching stochastic algorithms based on natural
principles of selection and recombination. Genethical algorithms are in fact strong searching
techniques which are used with big success to resolve problems from many different disciplines
"(Dumitrescu 2006)". Paralel genethical algorithms are very easy to be applied and they promise
substantially good rates of performance ”(Bălan and Pentiuc 2009)”. Genetic algorithms are
efficient searching methods based on natural principles from genethics. They are apllied
successfully to get acceptable solutions to various business problems, engineering, science.
Genetic algorithms represent, generally speaking, possibilities to find solutions in a reasonable
period of time, but they are applied to problems that need increased periods of time to find
adequate solutions "(Dumitrescu 2006)". As a consequence, there have been many efforts to make
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faster genethical algorithms and one of the best choice is to use parallel implementations ”(Bălan
and Pentiuc 2009)”.
Genetic algorithms are searching algorithms based on the natural selection mechanism. They
are inspired by „survival of the fittest” principle, where the strongest individuals are selected after
producing a new generation (offspring). In this context, individuals are candidate solutions to a
given searching problem. This way, the reproduction of the strongest individuals is represented by
solutions for the best current candidate solution. One of the advantages of a genethic algorithm
versus the traditional methods is that it completes a global search using a population of
individuals, more than a local search.
Genetic algorithms try to find optimal solution of the problem by manipulating a population of
candidates’ solutions. Population is evaluated and the best solutions are selected for reproduction
and mating in order to form the next generation. After some number of generations, the good traits
dominate the population which results with more quality solutions.
The basic mechanism for genethic algorithms is Darwinistic evolution: the bad features are
eliminated inside the population, because they appear for the persons that can’t survive selection
process. The best surviving features are mixed in the recombination (mating) process to form
individuals with better characteristics. The mutation also exists in the genethical algorithms
domain but is considered a secondary operator. Its function is to assure that diversity is not lost for
the population, this meaning that genethical algorithms can procede to explore the solutions space
"(Dumitrescu 2006)"..

2.1 Lattice Models
The well-known close form of the protein is made by the precise geometry of the inter-atomic
contacts which stabilise the molecule: all possible interior links formed by hydrogen, and the part
made by non-polar chains connected to form a tight interior package. The responsible forces for
this precise geometry transform the folding chain into one rapid approximated form. The amount
of energy of all molecules is time-consuming. One advantage is the possibility to start from a
conformation almost correct "(Dill 1997, Liang and Wong 2001)".
Even if detailing the forces is very complicated, it has many
potential applications. Thus, a good hierarchical approach could
lead to the understanding and simulation of a biological process of
assembling which is complicated "(Dill)".
The 2D square grids and 3D cube grids are the most studied
grids and therefore they have exact methods of calculus,
aproximation algorithms and complex results. In the grid model, a
protean sequence crease is defined by placing amino acids in the
grid nodes according "(Dill 1997, Liang and Wong 2001)".

2.2 HP Model
In 1985, Ken Dill proposes the HP model (hydrofob-hydrofil), which is considered to have a
fundamental role in the folded proteins modelling. According to this model, amino acids are
classified as either H (hydrofob) or P (polar). Informally, a H & P sequence is integrated in a grid-
type structure. A valid configuration corresponding to a sequence which auto-cancels into one
grid. Using Lau and Dill’s terminology, we define as connected neighborhoods any 2 residuals k
and k+1, which are adjacent to the given sequence, and also topological neighborhoods as adjacent
residuals in a topological space (forming a contact), which aren’t also connected neighborhoods.
The energy of the conformation can be calculated as the number of H-H contacts between
topological neighborhoods "(Lesh, Mitzenmacher and Whiteside 2003)".
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The figure shows a conformation with -2 energy (each H-H contact contributes with -1 to the total
energy as long as other contacts don’t contribute). The black boxes represent hydrophobic
residuals as long as uncoloured boxes represent polar residuals. Two hydrophobic contacts which
contribute to the score are between 4th and 13th residuals and also between the 5th and the
12th.sections).
Formally, for one sequence s
¿
e
n
with
¿
= } , { P H
and n=|s|, we define one
conformation
s i
C c e
which has the energy E(
i
c
), where
s
C
is the lot of valid configurations
for s and E(
i
c
) is the result of the following equation:
¿ ¿
÷
= + =
=
1
1 1
, ) (
n
j
n
j k
jk i
with N c E

¹
´
¦÷
else
residuals both are k and j if
N
jk
0
1

This model shows the fact that native folds of the protein tends to form very compact
nucleuses, driven by dominant hydrophobic interactions. Every amino acid is classified as
hydrophob (H) or hydrophil (P) and two hydrophobic amino acids are said to be in contact if they
are adjacent in the fold but non-adjacent in the primary sequence. Taking into account that the
objective is forming very compact hydrophobic nucleuses, optimization function is maximising the
number of contacts between hydrophobic atoms (H-H contacts). For situations in which the
problem is minimal energy, energy function is negative and it represents the number of
hydrophobic contacts from the fold.
With this model we search for one configuration c* which minimises the energy function E(ci).
Also, one configuration is considered a solution and named also basic configuration of a proteic
sequence. Many instances of the HP problem present a degenerate solution, thus they have more
than one minimal energy configuration. This way we define a basic configuration which doesn’t
imply a unique solution, but one that is resolved by the following equation:
E(c*) = min{E(c
i
) C
i
∈C
s
} "(Unger and Moult 1993)".

2.2 Protein Representation
The representation of a structure is in fact a valid configuration in a 2D
grid. Each structure is represented as a sequence over the alphabet Σ =
a,l,c where a ∈{H, P}, l is the line, c the column from the grid.
For example, for the following structure with 20 amino acid molecules
with this form: HPHPPHHPHPPHPHHPPHPH the sequence is
represented like this: [H 2 4], [P 1 4], [H 1 3], [P 1 2], [P 2 2], [H 2 3],
[H 3 3], [P 3 2], [H 4 2], [P 4 1], [P 5 1], [H 5 2], [P 5 3], [H 4 3], [H 4
4], [P 5 4], [P 5 5], [H 4 5], [P 3 5], [H 3 4]


3. The genetic algoritm
One location is a node in a lattice corresponding to one pair of coordinates (x,y). Locations are
named adjacent if they are adjacent orizontally or vertically. Two locations are diagonally adjacent
if these are at one orizontal step and another one step, vertically. One node from the chain is
actually a molecule which has the H or P label. The nodes are numbered as consecutive from 1 to
n all along the chain.
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One mutation is a function which receives as input a valid configuration of the chain P(t) and
produces a valid configuration P(t+1). One M mutations’ lot is reversible if for any move from M,
applied to the P(t) configuration, results with the P(t+1) configuration. A moves’ lot M is complete
if, with any configuration P and P*, there is a moves’ sequence M which moves (relocates) P to a
congruent configuration (after translation or rotation) with P*.
Describing mutations is about valid configurations at different time periods. Location occupied
by i node at t time is marked with (xi(t),yi(t)). A location is free at t time in the lattice if no other
node is there.
Mutations applied to each cromosome are: rotations of 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 270
degrees , pull moves and tree bad flip.
Rotations. In order to apply the rotation operator, we select an amino acid with number k. The
rest of amino acids, starting with k+1, will rotate around the amino acid on the k position"(Lesh,
Mitzenmacher and Whiteside 2003)".

3.1 Tree bad flip moves
These moves are applied to the amino acids located in corners.




a) b)

The sequence of 20 amino acids, presented up before mutation a) and after b). Amino acid
no.12 was applied a tree bad flip mutation, the energy after mutation decreases from 0 to -2.

3.2 The pull moves
The pull moves were introduced by Neal Lesh. Let’s consider the i node at t time in the location
(xi(t), yi(t)). Suppose that a free location L is adjacent to la (xi+1(t), yi+1(t)) and it has a diagonal
adjacence at (xi(t),yi(t)). The (xi(t), yi(t)), (xi+1(t), yi+1(t)) nodes and free location L represent
three corners of the square; the fourth one is location C. In order to make a Pull move, C location
must be free or less equal with (xi-1(t),yi-1(t)). Local Pull move means movement of i node to L
location. When C is free, the first node i is moved to location L and i-1 node is moved to C
location. Then, until a valid configuration is ready, the following action is done: it starts with node
j=i-2 down to node 1, it sets (xj(t+1), yj(t+1)) = (xj+2(t), yj+2(t)). The nodes are pulled two spaces
up on the chain until a valid configuration is made. This guarantees the fact that a valid
configuration is maintained: the nodes i and i-1 have been moved into a free location and the
inferior indexed nodes are pulled repeatedly into a vacant location.
If pull moves go down to node 1, a valid configuration is ready. We can stop pull move of the
inferior nodes when this happens. This improves moving point, as less nodes are changing
position.




a) b)
The sequence of 20 amino acids, presented up before mutation a) and after b). Amino acid no.6
was applied a pull moves mutation, the energy after mutation decreases from -2 to -6.For Example,
“2.2 Main title” should be Times New Roman 11-point boldface, initially capitalised, flush left,
with one blank line before, followed by your text on the next line. Use “Title Case” capitalisation.
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3.3 The end moves
The end moves. For a n long chain, a final move can be done on the first residue or the nth. The
residue is pivoted relatively to the neighborhood connected to a free adjacent position. This
mechanism assures that the chain stays connected. If more than one valid position is free then one
is chosen randomly.






a) b)

The sequence of 20 amino acids, presented up before mutation a) and after b). Amino acid no.1
was applied a pull moves mutation, the energy after mutation decreases from -2 to -3.

3.4 The taboo search algorithm elements
The Tabu search examines the trajectory of a solutions’ sequence and it goes with the best
neighbor of the current solution. In order to avoid the cycling, the solutions which were examined
recently are forbidden, or tabu, for the given number of iterations.
The taboo list: A list of the latest obtained solutions. The movements memory can be a recent
one or a frequency-based one. The recent movements made are stored into a mechanism which is
referred as the Taboo-Move List. The number of moves in the list is determined by the dimension
of the taboo list, marked as T. The list operates on the first-in-first-out principle. Other recent
informations which are stored in the taboo-list are the configurations of the solutions.
The Taboo search solution is a solutions lot which have been created recently by the pull
moves. The long-term memory, based on the frequency, allows for the search operations to be
done in the best promising neighborhoods.
The candidates list: TS uses a candidate list, which offers a moves list to be evaluated. One
move of the candidate list is chosen to continue the search. The list of candidates plays an
important role in the TS performance.
Intensification and diversification: The intensification is in fact searching for good results
from a recent found solution. The diversification encourages the search process to examine
unvisited regions and to generate solutions which differ in many significant ways from previous
solutions.
The termination criterion: The search is finished when the maximum number of iterations
has been previously established, or after a predefined number of attempts have been made to set
the same solution in the TS list as the new actual solutions "(Ji and Tang 2004)".

4. Procedure to aplly mutation to Population
The procedure applies mutation to Population (generation_no), applies rotation mutations, Pull
moves and tree_bad_flip to each position i from a cromosome and replaces initial cromosome with
the best configuration obtained if fitness function is better than the one from the initial
cromosome. Otherwise, we keep obtained configurations, for whom fitness functions obtained are
better than the inital cromosome, into one table from where we can select next population.

4.1 The Tabu search algorithm based on Pull Moves and Rotations
noTransformation = number of Pull moves + number of rotations
best_fitnest=fitnes (c)
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for i=1 to length (cromozom c) do
for k=1 to noTransformation do
Generate new configuration cik by applying a k pull move or rotation transformation at
position i
if cik has a best value fitness then
best_fitnest=fitnes (cik)
save cik in tabu list array
end if

end for
end for

4.2 Procedure to aplly crossover to Population
The cromosomes for whom fitness function has the best value are copied automatically into the
new generation and also are selected for crossover operation.
For crossover operation, cromosome selection is made after the selection probability.
Selection probability of the cromosomes ci is number pi given by:
Pi = n i
F
xi f
,..., 2 , 1 ,
) (
=
Because selection operator is applied n times, mean value of descendants from individual i is:
ni=n·pi
So: ni
¿
=
-
=
n
i
xi f
xi f n
1
) (
) (
, where
¿
=
n
i
xi f
1
) (
is mean performance of the population.
After selecting the cromosomes, we will execute crossover operation.
SetOffspring= C
Procedure for applying crossover to Parents (generation_no) to produce Offspring
(generation_no)
Select Parents (x,y)
for i=1 to length (cromosome) do
Generate Offspring = crossover (x, y, i);
if fitness value of Offspring is better than x and y then
Add Offspring to SetOffspring
end for
if MaxOffspring is better of x and y then
replaced worst (x; y);

After running the algorithm, we get the following results:

Instance Size Sequence Energy
S1 20
1H 1P 1H 2P 2H 1P 1H 2P 1H 1P
2H 2P 1H 1P 1H
-9
S2 24
2H 2P 1H 2P 1H 2P 1H 2P 1H 2P
1H 2P 1H 2P 2H
-9
S3 25 2P 1H 2P 2H 4P 2H 4P 2H 4P 2H -8


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5. References
[1] Rolf Backofen, Sebastian Will, Erich Bornberg-Bauer (2009) Aplication of constraint programming
techniques for structure prediction of lattice proteins with extended alphabets, In Bioinformatics Vol.
15 no.3 1999 Pages 234-242.
[2] Ionuț Bălan, Ștefan Gheorghe Pentiuc (2009): TSP secvențial vs. Paralel folosind algoritmii genetici",
Seminarul Științific Sisteme Distribuite (Suceava - online) Ediția 2009, ISSN 2067-5259.
[3] Camelia Chira (2010): Hill-climbing search in evolutionary models For protein folding simulation, Studia
Univ. Babes_Bolyai, Informatica, volumeIV, number 1, 2010
[4] Fábio L. CUSTÓDIO, Hélio J. C. BARBOSA Laurent E. DARDENNE (2004): Investigation of the three-
dimensional lattice HP protein folding model using a genetic algorithm, In Genetics and Molecular
Biology Print version ISSN 1415-4757, vol.27 no.4 Sao Paulo.
[5] Ken A Dill, Hue Sun Chan (1997): From Levinthal to pathways to funnels; In Nature Publishing Group
http://www.nature.com/nsmb, 1997
[6] D. Dumitrescu (2006): Algoritmi genetici și strategii evolutive – aplicații în Inteligența Artificială și în
domenii conexe", Editura Albastră, Cluj Napoca.
[7] Glover, F., Kelly, J. P., and Laguna, M. (1995): Genetic Algorithms and Tabu Search: Hybrids for
Optimization. In Computers and Operations Research. Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 111 – 134.
[8] Faming Liang, Wing hung Wong (2001): Evolutionary Monte Carlo for protein folding simulations; In
JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS , volume 115, number 7
[9] Ji, M. and Tang, H. (2004): Global Optimizations and Tabu Search Based on Memory. In Applied
Mathematics and Computation. Vol. 159, pp. 449 – 457.
[10] Natalio Krasnogor, Pablo E. Martinez Lopez, Pablo Mocciola, David Pelta: A Functional Programming
Approach to a Computational Biology Problem, LIFIA, Departamento de Informatica, Universitad
Nacional de La Plata
[11] Sorin ISRAIL (2009): Combinatorial Alghorithms for Protein Folding in Lattice Models: A survey of
Mathematical Results. Communications in Information and Systems (2009) cs.brown.edu
[12] Tianzi Jiang, Qinghua Cui, Guihua Shi, Songde Ma: Protein folding simulations of the hydrophobic–
hydrophilic model by combining tabu search with genetic algorithms, In Journal Of Chemical Physics
Volume 119, Number 8
[13] Neal Lesh, Michael Mitzenmacher, Sue Whiteside (2003): A Complete and Effective Move Set for
Simplified Protein Folding, In RECOMB '03 Proceedings of the seventh annual international conference
on Research in computational molecular biology ACM New York, NY, USA ©2003, 188 - 195
[14] Ron Unger, John Moult, (1993) Genetic Algorithms for Protein Folding Simulations. In J. Mol. Biol
231, 75-81.
Learning Through Projects in Virtual Environments Designed for
Adult Training

Olimpius Istrate
1
, Simona Velea
2


(1) University of Bucharest
Bucharest, 36-46 Kogalniceanu Bd., RO-050107, Romania
E-mail: olimpius.istrate@elearning.ro
(2) Institute for Education Sciences
Bucharest, 37 Stirbei Voda, RO-010102, Romania, E-mail: simona@ise.ro


Abstract
The paper explores principles of virtual environments design, based on the project-based
learning methodology. Starting from the common problems identified by several evaluation
papers, related to the difficulties encountered in practice both in terms of institutional
management and training process, the article reveals a series of requirements for virtual
learning using project-based method. The paper is based on the work of the project-team
within the RENOVA project (www.projectrenova.eu), financed by the European Commission
and developed from February 2011 until February 2013 by a consortium of institutions from
Romania, UK, Poland, and France. RENOVA is supporting participants in the acquisition
and the use of skills and qualifications for professional development in the health
management domain, through blended learning sessions.

Keywords: project-based learning, virtual environment, pedagogy, adult training


1. Introduction
Various experiences with notable results, reported in research reports and scientific studies, range
the ICT-assisted training in a horizon of expectations characterized by efficiency and quality in
education/ training. Extraordinary potential of ICT, grafted on the trend of an approach to learning
through a suite of curriculum sequences (learning objects), indicates a possible way forward both
for the reorganization of educational situations and for a rethinking of training pathways. In
addition, the transformation of training institutions into learning organizations brings the "project"
in the foreground within a double perspective: on the one hand as a model of institutional
organization based on cyclical, parallel processes, oriented toward a well defined goal and with its
own dynamic, integrated in the management system of the organization, and on the other hand as a
prioritary methodological option across the instructional strategies used in the training of
beneficiaries.
RENOVA project (RENOVA - A knowledge transfer and framework construction for nursing
staff across Europe to develop professional skills as managers) introduces such changes trying to
deduct and to propose a modern curriculum based on learning through projects, applied in a
sensitive area: (re)training of a category of medical staff [13]. The online platform designed for
medical staff is available online at www.projectrenova.eu, together with other information about
the project and regarding the supporting research work leading to the development of the virtual
training environment. RENOVA mainly addresses members of the nursing-practice community
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who want to develop organisational and managerial skills, being based on the transfer of French
experience and expertise to facilitate face-to-face and eLearning sessions.
2. The Specifics of Adult Learning
Adult learning – a relatively recent studied domain - has been frequently analyzed in terms of
differences from children learning, the similarities between the two processes being most often
ignored. American Professor Malcolm Knowles had a major contribution to shaping the field of
adult education as research fields and in the popularization of adult learning characteristics [7],
such as:
- independence and motivation in learning: adults need a different guidance, a non-
directive one, they need support; their motivation is intrinsic and related mainly to
the profession;
- the need to link learning with the experience and the prior knowledge of learners;
learning is not predominantly a process of accumulation, but a restructuring one, a
development and generalization, and students feel the need to relate theories and
concepts with their own experience that they want to exploit;
- learning oriented to a goal: adults want to know very clearly and right from the
beginning why and for what they are taking a course;
- relevance of learning: adults seek to understand the applicability of knowledge and
the value of what they learn in terms of their social or professional life; in the case of
project-based training, students can choose topics according to their interests and
needs;
- pragmatism: adults find and select the most relevant and useful aspects/ knowledge/
skills;
- the need to be respected and for their experience to be recognized (and from this
perspective the project method is very adequate as it allows students to highlight and
exploit their own knowledge and experience).
Based on these main characteristics of the learning process for adults, some techniques can be
extracted in order to facilitate the learning by using the PBT method:
1. identification, valuation and use of the previous personal experience (project not only
allows, but should even be based on previous experience);
2. treat students with respect and create an environment based on trust and cooperation –
aspects favored by the work in small groups and the role of facilitator or organizer that the trainer
mainly has when using this method;
3. orientation of the training towards practical solutions and clear goals, relevant to the
profession of the participants (students are involved in management of the training process);
4. encouraging reflection on their experiences and extracting "lessons";
5. involve students in activities by ensuring the relevance of the content, by designing their
own tasks, by fostering the exchange of experience, collaboration and small groups work;
6. students motivation (motivation changes their behavior, increases their attention, it
stimulates and guides their learning).
Modern methods in adult education are considered essentially experimental, requiring personal
effort and active participation.
There are also issues that may slow the adult learning process and the training through projects:
- previous experience - often an asset in adult education it may nevertheless lead to reverse
consequences due to the "already know" sensation or the effects of previous failures in
learning (the feeling that the training does not help, that is theoretical and not applicable, that it
does not justify the time spent, that it is difficult and will not meet the requirements etc.);
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- misconception that learning is specific to early ages and not to adults is sometimes a way
to mask the fear of not cope with new requests for training, especially the fear of new
technologies;
- lack of motivation, feeling that training will not bring benefits to match the investments;
- fear that their image could be affected, that could be perceived differently by others and
judged on their performance in the training process;
- lack of exercise to learn, to work in groups, to collaborate.
3. Learning through Projects in Virtual Environments
The transfer of the project based learning method in the training programs with an online training
component proved to be a suitable strategy as far as the design of the curriculum combined the
correct tools and innovative methods to allow the traditional use of the facilities offered by the
virtual environment and a thorough learning by focusing content and orientation on learning
outcomes. Research shows that well-known and tested training techniques must be further kept
and used and the applications with higher degree of novelty must intervene only if justified in
terms of teaching. Focusing on technology is both a temptation and a tendency both at the level of
the training conceivers and among participants, but balancing the excess/ abuse of technology
starting from the design phase of the training platform allows a balanced use and a focus on
learning. [3]
Some experiences summarized in evaluation studies and reports reveal a simplistic use of
training systems based on web technologies (WBT - Web-based training) [5] and the ignorance of
recent theoretical science education guidelines [4]. Authors' suggestion and solution is to design
integrated WBT systems that equally support different actual learning paradigms. The argument is
that the purpose of these training programs delivered online or in the mixed system (blended
learning) is to improve training by replacing or supplementing traditional methods in an attempt to
increase the performance of participants measured at the end of the program. In this perspective,
the approach of the training project should go through two phases: transposition of existing
training and learning practices in a model for use in virtual space (electronic/ digital format), then
finding those ways to deliver content and interaction that are specific to the online environment
and that bring added value to the training sessions. The premise - which is perfectly valid and
consistently mentioned among the advantages of using new technologies in education and training
- is that the new ICT should be a catalyst for the innovative, interesting and effective training
experience.
3.1 Common Problems
The identification of the problems and learning difficulties associated with the project based
method was subject of a meta-analysis conducted in 2000 [11], and most of the issues highlighted
can be transferred in using the project-based training in the virtual environment. With regards to
training participants, they do not have difficulties in generating detailed project blueprint and
going through the project steps, but they have problems in managing the time allocated and
systematically fail to address the tasks of the process due to the lack of exercise in implementing
projects [12]. Also, they find it difficult to efficiently use the data collected during the project. For
example, participants tend to draw conclusions based on information from external sources, rather
than directly use their results and interpreting them, even though they would serve their goals
better. It is the role of trainers to help them anticipate more realistically the complexity and the
time required for each stage, through discussions and adjustments in the project development
phase, resulting in a better project management. In addition, trainers should indicate on the map
what are the most interesting data obtained from the investigations of the project, directing the
participants to conclusions based on logic and evidence. Web tools that support the project method
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in a virtual environment incorporate sufficient variants that the trainer can use to monitor ongoing
investigations and provide feedback whenever needed.
On the other hand, several common problems were identified and were also encountered by
trainers (Marx et al 1997, cited Helic 2005) [4]. First, the management of the group of trainees is
more difficult in the context of project based training approach; in the management of learning, for
example, it is difficult to establish from the beginning the proportions between independent work
and work with tutorial support in a balance that would be valid for all types of the projects chosen
by the participants [2]. Second, inadequate feedback from the trainer can create serious problems
to participants; in the cases analyzed, the trainers did not provide enough support during the
development of the project, which has led to mismanagement of projects and to unsatisfactory
results. In the virtual environment, there is the same need for appropriate tools for quick support in
learning and/ or investigations during the project, along with the imperative to adequatelly design
the entire virtual environment in accordance with the purpose and type of training.
3.2 Requirements for virtual learning using project based method
Project-based learning was the focus of specific concerns that have followed the development of
web tools for education and training. Among the most known are CaMILE and CSILE.
CaMILE (Collaborative and Multimedia Interactive Learning Environment) used the
procedural facilitation (concept developed by Scardamalia and Bereiter in 1984) and included
facilities for effective collaboration [6]. Procedural facilitation involves the announcement of the
role of individual participants in the collaborative group, also suggesting the reaction models in a
dialogue. The first version of the platform was developed for Macintosh, afterwards other options
for web modules have been built to support anchored collaboration, with the help of which
comments of the participants could be linked to any context or situation of the platform, through
one simple click, leading to increased collaborative activities in the working groups.
CSILE is a tool developed as a result of explicitly formulated recommendations for the
requirements of the projects design, particularly those which result in assumptions about the
content of training. CSILE consists of a computer-supported intentional learning environment
designed to support students with difficulties in formulating key questions and developing the
project investigations.
But neither of the two instruments provides facilities for project management: the ability to
make plans for projects or project phases calendars, effective ways to present projects, etc. [4].
Consequently, a number of requirements for virtual environments approaching project based
training are formulated as follows:
Support for project management. Trainers should be able to develop curriculum in the form
of a project plan. Each plan consists of a sequence of steps that participants must go through to
achieve the final goal. Each stage can be described by a number of actions. The plan must include
a schedule of activities that establish also the timeline. Granularity of the project phases and the
activities timeline must be adjusted depending on the cognitive level of the participants and their
preferences and degree of familiarity with the technologies used in the program. For example, the
trainer must be able to define several stages of a project if participants need more support along
the way, in order to break the process of creating the final product into several sub-stages (each
with concrete results, measurable and observable ) that can be discussed to improve the process.
Participants are in the center of training. During the project based training sessions,
participants must be offered support in achieving learning through various methods and
techniques: prompt feedback at all stages of planning and project development, supporting their
motivation, offering them examples/ counter-examples, alternatives, additional resources and
reflection themes adapted to the project theme and the difficulties of the project, providing tools
for communication as well as development and reviewing tools of the products they create
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together. Also, it is important to avoid "technology abuse" and any restrictive applications and
tools as well as to offer a technological environment able to integrate file formats that are widely
used: documents published in the most common word processors, HTML, PDF, spreadsheets,
presentations etc.
Support for collaboration. Both the communication between participants and the
communication between trainers and participants must take place as a normal act, using tools
similar to previous experiences of the trainees. The most common examples of ways of
communication in the virtual environment are the forum and chat types, designed for
asynchronous, and respectively synchronous communication. Communication tools should allow
the opening of private sessions or discussion spaces for collaborative work in groups accessible
only to the members of a working group engaged with the same project. As collaborative tools
associated with these activities, facilities such wiki/ collaborative online documents must be
included as they allow simultaneous editing of the same document. Additionally, you can use web-
meeting applications such as Adobe Connect or Dim Dim for virtual training sessions, seminars or
colloquia with the entire group.
Support for monitoring participants. In order to monitor and assess progress in learning
throughout the course of projects, trainers should have easy access to the desktop of each project
and to the documents being edited and uploaded by the participants. There are also some useful
tools for monitoring access such as participation checklists, statistics on the number of hits and
time spent on the categories of resources as well as track changes facilities for the collaborative
documents developed by learners.
4. References
[1] Anderson, J. (2010). Interdisciplinary project-based learning leads to success. Tech Directions, 70(4), 20-
20-21. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/763168608?accountid=30274
[2] Bredin, K., & Söderlund, J. (2007). Reconceptualising line management in project-based organisations.
Personnel Review, 36(5), 815-815.
[3] Delahoussaye, M. (2000). The secret's in the mix. Training Journal, (14656523), 2-2. Retrieved from
http://search.proquest.com/docview/202939489?accountid=30274
[4] Helic, Denis; Krottmaier, Harald; Maurer, Hermann; Scerbakov, Nick (2005) Enabling Project-Based
Learning in WBT Systems. In: International Journal on ELearning 4.4: 445-461.
[5] Istrate, Olimpius (2010) Efecte şi rezultate ale utilizării TIC în educaţie. În: Vlada, M. (coord.) Conferinţa
Naţională de Învăţământ Virtual. Bucureşti: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti.
[6] Kehoe, C., Guzdial, M. (1997) What We Know About Technological Support for Project-Based Learning.
1997 ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings. Retrieved from http://fie-
conference.org/fie97/papers/1124.pdf
[7] Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.
[8] O'Sullivan, D. (2003). Online project based learning in innovation management. Education & Training,
45(2), 110-110. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/237068559?accountid=30274
[9] Reynolds, L. (2000). Project-based training. Training Journal, (14656523), 14-14. Retrieved from
http://search.proquest.com/docview/202940911?accountid=30274
[10] Thiry, Michel, & Deguire, Manon (2007). Recent developments in project-based organisations.
International Journal of Project Management, Volume 25, Issue 7, October 2007, Pages 649-658.
aValense Ltd., London, UK.
[11] Thomas, John W. A (2000) Review of Research on Project-Based Learning. Retrieved from
http://www.bobpearlman.org/BestPractices/PBL_Research.pdf
[12] Velea, Simona (2009) Noile tehnologii în educaţie – între slogan şi impact autentic în activitatea de
predare-învăţare. In "Tehnologii moderne în educaţie şi cercetare, CNIV 2009, Editura Universităţii din
Bucureşti.
[13] *** RENOVA - A knowledge transfer and framework construction for nursing staff across Europe to
develop professional skills as managers. Online: www.projectrenova.eu
Applying Interoperability in Serious Games Environments

Antoniu Ştefan
1
, Ioana Andreea Stănescu
1
, Ion Roceanu
2
, Theo Lim
3


(1) Advanced Technology Systems - ATS, 222 Calea Domnească, Târgovişte,
ROMANIA, ioana.stanescu@ats.com.ro; antoniu.stefan@ats.com.ro
(2) “Carol I” National Defence University, 68-72 Panduri Street, Bucharest, ROMANIA,
iroceanu@adlunap.ro
(3) Heriot-Watt University, EH14 4AS, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND, t.lim@hw.ac.uk


Abstract
Standards have been subject of discussion in education environments for many years and
their significance has been revealed by many researches and practitioners. As serious games
emerge as a new opportunity for learning, standardisation and interoperability have become
key interest points. Educational technology standards have tried to provide optimization
patterns, but failed to reach their full potential, mainly because they have addressed
particular issues and not an integrated perspective. To achieve success in SG interoperability
it is important to consider the entirety of a SG Project development. This paper addresses the
strengths and weaknesses related to the implementation of interoperability in serious games
environments, with focus on development platforms, programming languages and target platforms.

Keywords: Standards, Interoperability, Serious Games, SCORM


1. Introduction
Building Serious Games (SG) is a challenging experience. It relies on highly creative processes
that are immersive and consuming (Feil & Scattergood, 2005), and therefore standard-compliance
does not seem to be a compatible approach to take when developing a SG Project.
Considering the fact that even in companies with sufficient staff for programming, art and
animation, game design, audio, and production, there is constant pressure to do more with less
(Bergeron, 2006), standardization emerges as a necessary option to consider (Stănescu, Ştefan, &
Roceanu, 2011).
Interoperability, the ability of computers and applications to communicate and share resources
in a heterogeneous environment, is dependable on standards. Optimizing requirements of
accessibility, interoperability, durability, and reusability for maximizing cost efficiency starts with
a proper understanding and integration of standards.
SCORM, or Sharable Content Object Reference Model, enables the sharing of distributed
learning content across Learning Management Systems (LMS) that conform to SCORM (Robson
Robby, 2010). Its development and implementation was clearly a vital first step in achieving the
long-term vision of providing high quality training and education on demand (Gallagher, 2010).
SCORM has become an international de facto standard in large measure because the goal was
the establishment of a consensually negotiated foundation for a community to come together to
address community goals: accessible, interoperable, durable, reusable content for learning and
performance aiding (Roberts & Gallagher, 2010).
To set a reference point for the evaluation of interoperability standards, a Serious Games
Matrix (SGM) has been developed to compare key parameters of development platforms: strengths
and weaknesses, targeted platforms, graphics, audio, sensors and other hardware, communication,
as well as if a certain development platform is interoperable with the LMS using SCORM.
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The SGM has been applied for several SG development platforms with the purpose of
highlighting the key elements that enable the development of interoperable SG solutions based on
SCORM.
This paper details the findings of the analyses conducted on four development platforms: C,
C++; Java, .NET Framework; and Mono. This research was funded under the European
Community Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007 2013), Grant Agreement nr. 258169.

2. Serious Games Matrix
The SGM has been developed to enable the analysis of SCORM applicability from the point of
view of different development platforms and provide guidelines to SG developers.

Development platform Native code
Programming language C, C++
Strengths
Widely used programming language. Low memory footprint.
Direct access to hardware and high level of control over resource
utilization. Various licensing options available depending on
development environment and libraries used. Source level
compatibility across a wide range of target platforms from
handhelds to game consoles and embedded systems. A superset of
C++ called Objective-C is the main development language for iOS
Weaknesses
It's important to note that such a low level programming language
is very limited in the number of libraries and APIs that are
inherently included. Developers have the option of building
everything from scratch for complete control or to integrate
additional libraries and frameworks. While there is a very high
degree of source code compatibility, it is up to the developer to
build interfaces that map platform specific structures and APIs in
an abstract manner, and each external library/framework used must
also be portable
T
a
r
g
e
t

p
l
a
t
f
o
r
m
s

Windows (x86 / x64) Source level compatibility
Windows RT (ARM
processors)
Source level compatibility. Compared to regular Windows based
development, additional restrictions apply because the Win32 APIs
are not available for ARM processors and games developed for
Windows RT can only be developed using the WinRT APIs and
the Metro style interface
Mac OS X Source level compatibility
Linux (desktop
distributions such as
Ubuntu, Debian, Redhat,
etc.)
Source level compatibility
Web
No. Unless the code is packaged as a plugin which is installed and
hosted in the web page, in which case the plugin must be
independently ported for each operating system and browser plugin
architecture (ActiveX, NPAPI). Google Chrome offers a partial
solution to this problem using the NaCl (Native Client) platform
iOS (iPhone/iPad) Source level compatibility
Android
Limited source level compatibility. Code can be ported and reused
as a library through the Android NDK (Native development kit)
but it has to be integrated into a Java based application. Current
Android devices all use the ARM architecture but with the
emergence of devices based on Intel processors, native code must
be ported between the two processor architectures
Graphics No limitations, but support must either be coded from scratch,
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Audio provided by the target platform (DirectX, OpenGL) or through
additional libraries Sensors and other hardware
Communication
Interoperable with the LMS
using SCORM
No. See description for targeting Web deployment
Table 1. Development platform: C, C++

Development platform
Java
Programming language Java
Strengths
High level programming language with built in garbage
collector. Compiles into platform independent byte-code
allowing the same binary to server multiple operating systems
and architectures. It is also the main developing language for
Android.
Weaknesses
Requires more resource than games developed using native
code. In terms of actual game development it is still very low
level compared to dedicated game engines.
T
a
r
g
e
t

p
l
a
t
f
o
r
m
s

Windows (x86 / x64) Yes, binary level compatibility, except Java Native Interface
Windows RT (ARM
processors)
No
Mac OS X Yes, binary level compatibility, except Java Native Interface
Linux (desktop distributions
such as Ubuntu, Debian,
Redhat, etc.)
Yes, binary level compatibility, except Java Native Interface
Web
Yes (Windows, OS X, Linux). Requires the Java Runtime
Environment browser plugin
iOS (iPhone/iPad) No
Android
Source level compatibility. APIs and implementation differ
from Java SE but there is a high degree of code reusability
Graphics
No limitations. 2D and 3D acceleration provided. Additional
features through libraries
Audio
No limitations. Some basic formats and support provided.
Effects and hardware acceleration can be implemented through
additional libraries
Sensors and other hardware
No limitations. Implemented through additional libraries or
native code calls
Communication No limitations. Full IP support built-in
Interoperable with the LMS using
SCORM
Yes. Same requirements as for Web deployment
Table nr. 3. Development platform: Java
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Development platform
.NET Framework
Programming language C#, VB.NET
Strengths
High level managed programming language with built-in
garbage collector. Source code can be partially reused in Mono
based projects
Weaknesses
Requires more resource than games developed using native
code. Code targeting .NET is only suitable for deployment on
Windows. In terms of actual game development it is still very
low level compared to dedicated game engines
T
a
r
g
e
t

p
l
a
t
f
o
r
m
s

Windows (x86 / x64) Yes
Windows RT (ARM
processors)
Source level compatibility, except code that uses P/Invoke.
Also, games need to be built for the new Metro style interface
Mac OS X No. Some parts of code can potentially be ported using Mono
Linux (desktop distributions
such as Ubuntu, Debian,
Redhat, etc.)
No. Some parts of code can potentially be ported using Mono
Web No. Partial source code reusability in Silverlight projects
iOS (iPhone/iPad)
No. Some parts of code can potentially be ported using
MonoTouch
Android
No. Some parts of code can potentially be ported using Mono
for Android
Graphics
No limitations. 2D and 3D acceleration provided. Additional
features through libraries
Audio
No limitations. Some basic formats and support provided.
Effects and hardware acceleration can be implemented through
additional libraries
Sensors and other hardware
No limitations. Implemented through additional libraries or
native code
Communication No limitations. Full IP support built-in
Interoperable with the LMS using
SCORM
No. See description for targeting Web deployment
Table 3. .NET Framework

Development platform
HTML5 / CSS / JavaScript
Programming language JavaScript
Strengths
Platform independent development with support for any
modern web browser. No royalties or fees required to develop
and distribute games
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Weaknesses
Limited in processing power (no multi-threading) and hardware
interfaces available. Code runs sandboxed and cannot access
native code or hardware interfaces. Apps built on HTML +
JavaScript are not features on mobile app stores, so they are
subjects to less exposure to end-users
T
a
r
g
e
t

p
l
a
t
f
o
r
m
s

Windows (x86 / x64) Yes
Windows RT (ARM
processors)
Yes
Mac OS X Yes
Linux (desktop
distributions such as
Ubuntu, Debian, Redhat,
etc.)
Yes
Web Yes
iOS (iPhone/iPad) Yes
Android Yes
Graphics
Limited. Graphics acceleration is available only in some
browsers. Video format support depends on browser: WebM,
H.264 and/or Ogg Theora
Audio
Limited. Audio format support depends on browser: Wav,
Mp3, Ogg
Sensors and other hardware
Limited. Various implementations exist, but highly dependent
on browser / platform
Communication Limited. Supports only HTTP(S) requests using AJAX
Interoperable with the LMS using
SCORM
Yes
Table 4. Development platform: HTML5/ CSS/ JavaScript

Development platform
Adobe Flash
Programming language ActionScript
Strengths
Platform independent development with support for a great
number of devices. Built around web technologies and uses a
scripting engine similar to JavaScript
Weaknesses
Limited processing power compared to native code or managed
code. Code executes in a sandbox and cannot be elevated to
access native code or hardware devices. Authoring tools are not
free. Vendor lock-in.
T
a
r
g
e
t

p
l
a
t
f
o
r
m
s

Windows (x86 / x64) Yes
Windows RT (ARM
processors)
No
Mac OS X Yes
Linux (desktop distributions
such as Ubuntu, Debian,
Redhat, etc.)
Yes. However, Adobe announced that it will stop producing
new versions of the NPAPI Flash plugin for Linux. This
currently leaves Google Chrome as the only browser with
support for future versions of Flash, and possibly other
browsers if they implement the PPAPI interfaces developed by
Google
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Web
Yes (Windows, OS X, Linux). Requires plugin. Experimental
support for converting to HTML5 + JavaScript
iOS (iPhone/iPad)
Source level compatibility. Flash projects need to converted
specifically for iOS
Android
Yes. Requires plugin, which is rather resource intensive for
mobile devices
Graphics
Limited. 2D and 3D acceleration provided. Compatible with
H.264 and some other proprietary formats
Audio
Limited. Basic support provided. Compatible with MP3 and
AAC formats
Sensors and other hardware Limited. Accelerometer support included
Communication Limited. Partial TCP/IP support included
Interoperable with the LMS using
SCORM
Yes. Same requirements as for Web deployment

Table 5. Development platform: Adobe Flash

The analyses carried out using the SGM have shown that there is no one-size-fits-all approach
when choosing a serious game development platform. Although at first glance, web-based open
standards seem to cover a wide range of use cases and deployment scenarios, there is still a long
way to go before these technologies mature enough to be comparable in performance with native
code development.
More and more developers (e.g. Facebook) are scaling back web based development for mobile
platforms in exchange for native apps which perform better and are better integrated into the
overall mobile ecosystem.

3. Conclusions

Interoperability standards impact the design and development of serious games. Some standards
are overlapping, while others are independent. Some standards complicate the development of
serious games, yet the lack of a universal interoperability standard often hampers development.
The SGM has been developed in order to establish a reference point for evaluation and
facilitate the development of punctual recommendations and interventions that enhance SG
interoperability.
The authors analyse five development platforms using the SGM, to identify their strengths and
weaknesses, as well as their interoperability potential in SG ecosystems. Future research will focus
on applying the SGM to other development platforms, in order to support the development of
sustainable SG interoperability solutions.
The SGM will be extended in order to assist those SG Projects were the SCORM development
model cannot be applied, and provide alternative options, such as IMS LTI or TinCanAPI.




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4. References

Feil, J., & Scattergood, M. (2005). Beginning Game Level Design. Boston, MA: Course Technology PTR.
Bergeron, B. (2006). Developing Serious Games. Cengage Learning.
Stănescu, I., Ştefan, A., & Roceanu, I. (2011). Interoperability in Serious Games. In R. Ion (Ed.), eLSE -
eLearning and Software for Education. 1, pp. 19-24. Bucharest: Edituta Universitara.
Robson Robby, R. T. (2010). Standards—The Agony and the Ecstasy of ADL. In J. P. Wisher R., Learning
on Demand: ADL and the Future of e-Learning. Alexandria, VA: Advanced Distributed Learning.
Gallagher, P. (2010). The Development of SCORM. In J. P. Wisher R., Learning on Demand: ADL and the
Future of e-Learning. Alexandria, VA: Advanced Distributed Learning.
Roberts, E., & Gallagher, P. (2010). Challenges to SCORM. In J. P. Wisher R., Learning on Demand: ADL
and the Future of e-Learning. Alexandria, VA.: Advanced Distributed Learning.
E-learning strategies for VET teachers based on active
cooperation with labour market operators

Giovanni Fulantelli, Davide Taibi, Valentina Dal Grande,
Manuel Gentile, Mario Allegra

National Research Council of Italy - Institute for Educational Technologies
Via Ugo La Malfa 153, IT-90146, Palermo, ITALY
E-mail: giovanni.fulantelli@itd.cnr.it


Abstract
This paper describes an innovative e-learning strategy to train teachers on issues related on
competence-based education. It is rooted on the European policies on Vocational Education
and Training (VET), which point out that nowadays the national educational policies should
be more responsive to labour market requirements than in the past, and should effectively
contribute to excellence and equity in lifelong learning. To achieve these objectives, the
European policies stress the need of innovative learning methods, high labour market
relevance, and pathways to further education and training. In particular, the Bruges
Communiqué encourages the cooperation between schools and enterprises as one of the key
measures to enhance the labour market relevance of VET.
In this paper, we report on the experience of online courses for VET teachers - organized in
the framework of an European funded project – which have involved both teachers and
labour market operators, who have collaboratively designed and developed Open
Educational Resources aimed at integrating the learning curricula with the needs of the
labour market. Results have raised interesting insights on the creation, processing and
management of knowledge during the project.

Keywords: E-learning, Lifelong learning, Knowledge Management, Vocational Education
and Training

1. Introduction
The European economic and financial crisis has emphasized the need for flexible, high quality
education and training systems, which respond to the changing requirements of the labour market
of today and tomorrow. Specifically, Vocational Education and Training (VET) provision should
integrate the new labor market needs, which in the long term requires a better understanding of
emerging sectors and skills, and of changes to existing occupations (European Commission, 2010).
According to the Council of European Union (2009) the next generation of European VET
systems should be more attractive, relevant, innovative, accessible and flexible than in the past,
and should contribute to excellence and equity in lifelong learning. To this aim, Member States are
currently engaged in pursuing short-term priorities (2011-2014), designed to encourage students to
stay in VET until they are qualified. Furthermore, the Member States encourage the creation of
“knowledge partnerships” between VET providers, innovative companies, cultural operators and
academic institutions. In fact, these partnerships can facilitate the introduction of learning methods
based on experience and testing the adaptation of curricula.
The importance of the labour market for the lifelong VET systems, with a focus on the
improved employability of graduates and “knowledge partnerships”, is also central to the Bruges
Communiquè (European Commission, 2010).
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Specifically, the Bruges Communiqué outlines various mechanisms through which the labour
market relevance of VET could be enhanced; amongst them, it emphasizes the importance of
cooperation between VET institutions and enterprises in order to improve teachers' knowledge of
work practices, on the one hand, and trainers' general pedagogical skills and competences, on the
other. However, in order to provide a better match between the labour market needs and the
development of knowledge, skills and competences throughout the VET paths, the cooperation
should be extended to other actors; in particular, the Bruges Communiquè encourages partnerships
including stakeholders active in skills anticipation such as representatives of professional sectors
and enterprises, social partners, relevant civil society organisations, research organizations,
national policy makers and education and training providers.
Through this enhanced partnerships, it is possible to promote effective Knowledge
Management mechanisms that cross the border between the educational system and the
enterprises, and afford the challenges of the changing labour market. European policies also depict
the role of each actor in the new Knowledge Management mechanisms:
- the employers, social partners, representative of professional sectors clearly define the
competences and qualifications they need, in the short and the long term, within as well
as across sectors;
- the education and training teachers and professionals, together with academics and
researchers, elaborate new pathways to further education and training, innovate the
learning methods and the VET curricula to be outcome-oriented, and adapt VET content,
infrastructure and methods regularly in order to keep pace with shifts to new production
technologies and work organization;
- Policy makers guarantee all the boundary conditions to foster the necessary changes, e.g.
by providing high-quality infrastructure and facilities.
In this paper we present some results of online courses for VET teachers in Europe which have
actively involved both teachers and companies’ representatives. The courses have been activated
in the framework of an European funded projects named Sloop2 desc (Sharing Learning Objects in
an Open Perspective to Develop European Skills and Competences), which has been funded under
the Lifelong Learning programme (Leonardo Da Vinci sub-programme).
This programme attested on its debut in 2006 that small and medium-sized enterprises play an
important role in the European economy and consequently called for greater involvement in
training initiatives (Council of European Union, 2006). The involvement of enterprises has been
further encouraged by the Italian National Agency for the Leonardo da Vinci programme (Institute
for the Development of Vocational Training and Labour, Italy), which has indicated it as one of
the two Italian priorities of the programme in 2009.
One of the pillars of the Sloop2desc project is that it has involved representatives of the labour
market as partners in a project aimed at VET teachers and their unique role: making the teachers
aware of the needs of the enterprises. The specific role of these ‘players’, which have been called
Business Mentors, is the main issue of this paper. Business Mentors have been involved – as
partners – in all the 3 countries where online courses for teachers have been activated: Italy,
Romania and Slovenia. However, since in the last 2 countries only pilot courses for a limited
number of teachers have been run, this paper focuses on results specific to the courses in Italy,
where more than 600 teachers have interacted and cooperated with the Business Mentors.
2. The Business Mentor
The figure of mentor is defined by Hutto et al. as an experienced, successful and knowledgeable
professional who willingly accepts the responsibility of facilitating professional growth and
support of a colleague through a mutually beneficial relationship (Hutto et al., 1991).
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In educational settings, mentors are typically experienced teachers that support professional
growth of younger colleagues and facilitate the communication between them and other people in
the school (e.g. other colleagues; administrative staff; secretary staff and so on). However, in order
to facilitate the cooperation between schools and enterprises, and raise teachers’ awareness of
work practices, we encourage the introduction of a new kind of mentor coming from the business
world, that we call Business Mentor (BM).
The Business Mentors’ main objective is to make evident to people not directly involved in the
company they work for (in this case the world of education and vocational training) what are the
sectors of interest of the business organization and the area in which the corporate knowledge
focuses. They can cooperate with teachers and other stakeholders in the definition of new
educational strategies based on the companies’ needs and teachers’ skills and expertise.
In this perspective, the EQF represents a potentially important framework that allows schools
and companies to align their interests according to formally defined qualification systems.
Following, we report some examples of typical activities for a Business Mentor:
- participating, as an observer, in all the learning activities providing feedback to the
teachers taking into consideration the point of view of the enterprise.
- participating in and promoting discussions with other players of the learning settings
(tutors, teachers, students, …).
- participating, actively, to face to face meetings with teachers to describe the "business
viewpoint" in the learning activities;
- providing support for the identification of the topics to be taught. This activity is
particularly relevant in a competence-based educational context.
- providing feedback on the learning activities carried out by the students.
3. How to foster the dialog between teachers and Business Mentors
The dialogue between schools and enterprises – which is extremely important to promote the
access of students to the labour market – is hampered by the radical and substantial different
features characterizing each of these two worlds.
Although there are not explicit references in literature regarding the difficulties in
communication between VET teachers and labour market representatives, the relationship between
academia and industrial sectors have been widely examined. For instance, Booker and colleagues
have investigated the issue of relevance of knowledge management/intellectual capital (KM/IC)
academic output for practitioners. Specifically, they have pointed out the substantial gap between
the state of KM/IC theory and the practical applications of academic findings (Booker and al,
2008). Their analysis confirms the conclusions achieved - in other management fields - by Ankers
and Brennan in 2002 who reported that marketing managers knew very little about the state of
research and claimed that academics did not understand business realities (Ankers and Brennan,
2002).
Despite of this negative results, the studies also reports on some potential mechanisms to foster
the communication between academics and practitioners; for example, Booker et colleagues – by
pointing out that KM/IC practitioners perceive the scholarly body of knowledge as very useful
indicate that "If scholarly research should be made available to non-academic consumers, it needs
to be transformed and delivered through indirect channels. It is believed that this is the most
efficient approach to bridge the gap between academia and practice."
According to the authors’ experience, the relationship between VET schools and enterprises
suffers of similar obstacles which could be reduced by acting on the communication channels. To
this aim, we have proposed a communication model in which the Business Mentor plays a
fundamental role; the model is composed by the following steps:
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- Class competence analysis: an in-depth analysis of the class is carried out in order to
identify the skills of the groups in each class. In this step the expertise of the class (and of
its individuals) is made explicit.
- Class – BM matching: Business Mentors for each class are selected according to the
expertise of the class and the technical skills and expertise of the Business Mentors
- Communication environment set-up: a collaborative space in which the discussions
between BMs, tutors and trainees can take place must be set up; the decision on the
technical solution which better fits the communication requirements should strongly take
into account the affordances of different technological tools (Conole and Dyke, 2004);
- Continuous monitoring: the BM has the role of monitoring and promoting the discussions
with students and trainees, providing suggestions and helping them.
4. School - labour market collaboration to support inter sectorial Knowledge Management:
a case study

In this section we present the project Sloop2desc - Sharing Learning Objects in an Open
Perspective to Develop European Skills and Competences – as a case study of the BMs experience
to foster collaboration between labour market and schools in online learning contexts. The project
– run from 2009 to 2011 - aimed at promoting the knowledge of European qualification systems
amongst teachers and academics, through effective e-learning strategies already tested in a
previous European funded project called Sloop: Sharing Learning Objects in an Open Perspective
(Ravotto, Fulantelli, 2007).In the Sloop2desc project more than 800 teachers in Europe have been
trained online on the development and sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER) to be used
with their own students; OER have been designed by bearing in mind the principles of the
competence-based education.
The online training activities for teachers have been structured in 5 modules:
- Module 1 - Using MOODLE as trainees and teachers
- Module 2 – Online tutoring and teaching strategies
- Module 3 – Using and developing Open Educational Resources
- Module 4 - European Qualification Framework (EQF), e-Competence Framework (e-CF),
specific certification systems
- Module 5 – Cooperative design and development of Open Educational Resources on
specific certification systems
One of the key concepts of Sloop2desc has been the Community of Practice (CoP) of teachers
and stakeholders who has grown around the topics proposed by the project. The CoP has
developed around the discussion forums activated in the project platform, and specifically:
- the ‘open forum’ – an open discussion area accessible through the project portal, which has
been set up to debate on topics of general interest (still related to the topics of the project);
- the ‘Module 5 forum’ - reserved to the teachers enrolled in the online course - also entitled
“Collaborative development of educational resources based on a competences standard”. This
forum has been activated within the module 5 of the Sloop2desc course, in order to facilitate a
discussion between Business Mentors (BM) and teachers regarding the development of OER
according to a competence-based education approach.
A third forum, referred to as ‘service forum’, has been set up to allow partners, BM and
teachers to discuss issues specific to the course.
In the Sloop2desc project, the BM have introduced the needs and expectations of the world of
work, and provided feedback on the trainees achievements from the enterprises’ perspective. Six
entrepreneurs have been selected as (BM) for 11 online classes of Italian teachers (more than 700
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104
have enrolled the course); in Romania and Slovenia, companies have been involved as partners or
associate partners.
The BM have supported the project activities by:
- participating, as observers, in all the activities of the project and providing feedback to
the project partners;
- attending the transnational partnership meetings, in order to share their observations
and provide support to the project;
- taking part in the technical meetings of the project in order to cooperate with teachers
in the selection of the topics to be developed as OER;
- contributing to and promoting discussion threads in the “open forum”;
- promoting and coordinating discussion threads in the "Module 5 forum"; the BM have
provided support on identifying the OER contents, and provided feedback on the
actual resources developed by the trainees.

Considered the central role of the CoP in Sloop2desc, in order to assess the contribution of the
BM to the project, we have analyzed the BM support to the CoP, with regards to their participation
in the project forums.
We have considered the hits of each discussion thread in order to highlight the topics that have
collected more interest amongst the community. The results are shown in table 1.

Subject Hits
Type
LIM for learning
3746 Open
Falcone-FAL02 Ecdl
3060 Module 5
2

Informatics competences and enterprises
2474 Open
E-learning experiences at school
2321 Open
Informatics competences and school
1796 Open
Digital Native (them) and digital immigrants (us)
1042 Open
Problems in inserting learning resources
1035 Service
Login and registration
1006 Service
Knowledge, abilities, competences
893 Open
Course reports
848 Service
SLOOP2DESC course experience
840 Open
Technologies for software development area
761 Open
FreeLOms
646 Service
FreeLOms User Manual
611 Service
Networking Area
564 Open
Learning design with competences
556 Open
Didamatica 2011
540 Open
Video meeting proposal
497 Service
Using excel for didactic use
492 Open
Graphic and engineering area
465 Open

2
This discussion thread has received a surprisingly high number of hits, especially compared to other similar
threads in the 'Module 5 forum’; a possible explanation is that the thread is catalogued, by the main search
engines, under 'ECDL' related searches, and consequently they list the thread in its first page of their results,
thus making it much more visible and accessible than other threads.
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Falcone-FAL01 Linux
427 Module 5
Tools web 2.0
372 Open
Self-assessment EUCIP and proximity profile
361 Open
Montinaro- Boole Algebra
359 Module 5
FreeLOms
348 Service
Table 1. 25 most popular topics in the Sloop2desc forums (out of 1566 topics).

Subjects in italic are the ones in which the BM made a contribution. According to this data, we
have observed that:
- Areas of the forum that have been setup to discuss topics of particular interest to
companies are ranked highly in terms of popularity (e.g. Computer skills and business;
Technologies for software development; Networking Area; Graphic area engineering).
This shows that these topics received great attention from the community and from the
public at large, which mainly consists of school teachers.
- The BM also participated actively in two forums dealing with topics mainly oriented to
school teachers: Interactive Whiteboard and Education; Digital natives (students) and
digital immigrants (teachers), thus showing an interest in the education system as a
whole, and a positive attitude towards communicating with teachers.
Finally, a preliminary qualitative analysis of the discussions in the project forums allow us to
affirm that the participation of the BMs has had a positive influence in the OER produced by the
teachers.
5. Conclusions
The Sloop2desc project has promoted and encouraged the cooperation between the formal
education system and the labour market, in order to enhance the latter relevance of VET, as
recommended by the EU policies on education, employability and economic growth.
Specifically, through an effective cooperation between VET professionals and the Business
Mentors (enterprise representatives), school teachers have become aware of the necessity to make
VET curricula more outcome-oriented, and more responsive to labour market needs. This is an
extremely important result of the project, since it responds to a major social challenge: by
readapting VET curricula, it is possible to reduce the risk of exclusion from the labour market,
thus increasing both employability and employment rates of VET graduates. Furthermore, the
teachers have developed pedagogical competencies which take into consideration the evaluation
systems adopted by the companies to recruit VET graduates; finally, the project has contributed to
improve the links between education and training professionals and the world of work.
The choice of the Slooop2desc project to focus on the competence systems more and more
used by enterprises to recruit new labour force has proved to be a key factor for the achievement
of the results; the second key-factor has been the involvement of the labour market representatives
throughout the project, thus encouraging teachers and Business Mentors to share their perspectives
on the VET system.
However, some obstacles to the communication flow amongst teachers and business mentors
have been experienced during the project. The informal communication environment adopted in
the project has proved to be effective in reducing the cultural barriers: it has been observed that the
relationship between trainees and BMs, established through the online forum, has increased mutual
understanding of the two worlds, facilitating the development of a common language and breaking
down the barriers that often exist between them.
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This final observation opens up some insights concerning the cooperation between teachers
and Business Mentors: actually, Sloop2desc has highlighted how it is possible to activate new
Knowledge Management processes that cross traditional borders between the educational system
and the labour market. Further investigation is necessary to measure the impact of these new
processes, both on schools and enterprises. Nevertheless, we think that the Sloop2desc project
proposes a first step towards the objective of a stable integration between different knowledge
producers: schools, companies, research centers, academy, and so on.

6. References
Ankers, P., Brennan, R. (2002). Managerial relevance in academic research: an exploratory study. Marketing
Intelligence and Planning, 20(1), 15-21.
Booker, L., Bontis, N., Serenko, A. (2008). The relevance of knowledge management and intellectual capital
research. Knowledge and Process Management, 15(4), 235–246.
Conole G., Dyke M. (2004). What are the affordances of information and communication technologies? ALT-
J, Research in Learning Technology Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2004
Council of European Union (2006). Decision No.1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 15 November 2006. Official Journal of the European Union No L327 of 24 November 2006.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/l_327/l_32720061124en00450068.pdf
Council of European Union (2009). Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for
European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020). Official Journal C 119 , 28/05/2009 P. 0002 –
0010. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2009:119:0002:01:EN:HTM
European Commission (2010). The Bruges Communiqué on enhanced European Cooperation in Vocational
Education and Training for the period 2011-2020. Communiqué of the European Ministers for Vocational
Education and Training, the European Social Partners and the European Commission (Bruges;
7.12.2010). http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/vocational/bruges_en.pdf.
Hutto, N., Holden, J., & Haynes, L. (1991). Mentor training manual for Texas teachers. Dallas: Texas
Education Agency
Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali (2010). Da Copenhagen a Bruges: un nuovo impeto
all’Istruzione e formazione professionale in Europa.
Ravotto P., Fulantelli G. (2007). The SLOOP idea: Sharing free/open learning objects. In SLOOP Project
final booklet (ISBN 978-88-903115-0-5). Available from http://www.scribd.com/doc/24587066/Sharing-
Learning-Objects-in-an-Open-Perspective-SLOOP-project-results-2007.
From Course Management to Workflows

Eniko Elisabeta Tolea
1


(1) Babes Bolyai" University of Cluj-Napoca, Department of Business Informatics,
Romania, E-mail: eny_tol@yahoo.com


Abstract
Technology has become a necessary tool in each and every field and area. The computer and
internet software industry and tool development has become accessible and easy to use,
indispensable. In order to support Content Management in our days we use both E-learning
and Workflow Management System. E-learning enables a flexible approach to information
and learning materials while Workflow Management final aim is to design processes by
structuring work. Knowledge in its various forms represents the treasure that every institution
has. It is important to know how to manage them. It is possible to have information but to do
not know how to transform it into knowledge and how to manage it. We want to integrate E-
learning (more specific courses and any type of learning materials) into Workflow
Management to provide a solution for today’s organizations. For this we propose a prototype
for getting from learning materials to something that is similar with workflow in the business
process. Our goal is to propose the model or prototype for this process.

Keywords: E-learning, Course Management, Workflows, Learning materials.

1. Introduction
Technology has become a necessary tool in every area. Software industry and tool development
has become accessible and easy to use, indispensable. We can imagine our life without them, and
in consequence the computer together with its tools had become part of our daily life. Knowledge
is the base of every tool, software or business.
Human capital has become the most important asset of today’s corporations. Hence, providing
learning opportunities for employees is crucial for companies.
E-learning has become a field including more and more concepts and that connect with more
areas. Our desire is to weave two concepts, namely course management and workflow.
The main idea is that starting from learning materials we want to get to course management
and describe course management with workflow processes.
If we are able to manage courses and create steps that describe them and apply similarly to all
courses that have the exact same structure will be a big accomplishment and a proposal for
managing courses through workflow.
2. Problem Statement
E-learning is a vast and a growing field. There is a loath of types of courses offered by different
organizations. In order to access the best course or the course that you need the most is necessary
to search and research.
If we want to access a course but we do not know where to find it, will give us headaches and
if the user is bored he will give up searching and accessing the course.
For this it is necessary to track courses and have a good course management. Because a course
can be achieved from more pieces in order to realize a complete course we propose workflow
process.
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The course management process will be held by a database and the structure and creation
process will be described by the workflow.
A workflow consists of a sequence of concatenated (connected) steps (wiki). It is a depiction of
a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person, a group of persons (ISO 2006), an
organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms. Workflow may be seen as
any abstraction of real work.
3. Related Works
E-Learning means "electronic learning" — it refers to a wide range of applications and processes
designed to deliver instruction through electronic means. Usually this means over the Web,
however it also can include CD-ROM or video-conferencing through different medias such as
satellite transmission.
E-learning is considered to be learning that takes place in an electronically simulated
environment, and in the picture below processed after www.spider.ro, we can see why is e-learning
so needed.

What they
DO
Simulation, Learning by Doing, Online Evaluation
What they
SAY and WRITE
Interactive live e-classes, e-courses, e-coaching
What they HEAR and SEE E-courses with audio, video, live e-learning sessions
What they
SEE
E-courses with visuals, online self-study guides
What they
READ
E-documents, e-mails, e-write papers
Figure 1. Reasons for needing e-learning

E-learning platforms are widely used in research-based fields, educational institutes and more
and more often by business companies. Despite lots of advantages, yet there are many unsolved
problems which cause instructors and training managers with some difficulties to get proper
information about learner’s behavior and knowledge. Today, most institutions use e-learning
platforms to offer their learning materials benefiting from their advantages such as “any-time,
anywhere”, use of collaborative tools, support different styles of learning, etc. (Mohammad
Hassan Falakmasir et all, 2010).
Learning objects provide efficient support for e-learning systems. Learning objects are reusable
materials, and object-oriented paradigm makes them reusable like LEGO blocks (D.A. Wiley,
2002).
Learners have to spend a lot of time before reaching the learning goal that is compatible with
their knowledge background. Internet oriented applications try to satisfy current educational needs
by closing the gap between traditional education techniques and future trends in technology-
blended education (Paraskevi Tzouveli et all, 2007).
A workflow management system is software that helps to define, administer and coordinate
different business processes. Every company has a variety of such processes, always involving
several employees. For example a simple workflow could control and supervise all required tasks
or steps for a course management process.
Workflow systems are used for transparent planning and control of every part of a course
creation process, especially where it is needed working together or combining two or more courses
for creating a new or better one and share information.
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4. Prototype Proposal

First we have to design forms and system
interfaces with various input and output
elements (picture) for the different roles in
your process. Then we connect all the tasks
with dependencies in order to define the
sequence of the workflow steps. In this way,
workflow can be created quickly and easily,
in order to streamline any kind of processes.
Courses are stored into a database and in
here courses are managed for a good course
management.
In the following we describe de database
architecture followed after with the
description of the workflow.



Figure 2. Course Creation Process (a) Workflow for lessons; example (b)

In the database is stored information like: courses and their authors, all the modules that
compose one course and all the lessons creating a module. We also keep information about
learning activities and tasks performed inside a learning material.
The database structure is designed to store all necessary information and based on
interrogations to offer the desired answer.
As it can be seen we have two possibilities, one where one author is the creator of the learning
material, and the second case where more authors contribute to create a cour.
In the following we described the symbols that we are planning to use in the creation of the
workflow processes.
In the example from Figure 2 we substitute the input or the activity more concrete in this
situation with a symbol of an open book (lesson) in the description of our workflow process.
Similar we can substitute these symbols so that they adapt to the needed processes. We create such
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symbols in order to better understand the process and to be accessible for everyone, even for those
not knowledgeable in the field.


Figure 3. Objects and Relations symbols used in workflows


Name Start and End



Graphical Representation

Description Represented as lozenges, ovals or rounded rectangles, usually
containing the word "Start" or "End", or another phrase signaling the
start or end of a process, such as "submit enquiry" or "receive product".
Name Flow Line (Arrow, Connector)
Graphical Representation
Name Input/Output

Graphical Representation

Description Represented as a parallelogram.
Name Conditional (or decision)
Graphical Representation
Description Represented as a diamond (rhombus). These typically contain a
Yes/No question or True/False test. This symbol is unique in that it has
two arrows coming out of it, one corresponding to Yes or True, and
one corresponding to No or False. The arrows should always be
labelled.
Name Information Storage Symbols

Graphical Representation
Description A number of other symbols that have less universal currency, such
as: a Document represented as a rectangle; A Database or an internal
storage.

Table 1. Description of the symbols used in the creation of workflow processes
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Moreover the whole process should look like this (see Figure 4). We have a course or a
learning material; it will be stored in the database properly. Next we have a blackboard where we
bring the necessary materials and them the workflow creation tool.
5. Conclusions
E-learning interoperability standards provide
structures and protocols for creating and
communicating e-learning objects. Products that
incorporate such standards can be easily integrated
and work together effectively. The most important
issues on the interoperability of e-learning tools and
technologies which in the same time attract the
attention of standardization organisations are:
content description (metadata) and packaging,
learner management and communication of the
educational process results (Iraklis Varlamis and
Ioannis Apostolakis, 2006).
We still need however to improve this version and to add to it some "intelligence". We want to
include to the proposed model an expert system which based on the information stored and
questions that can be operate on the stored information to give us some answers, statistics, etc..
We believe that this will bring flexibility in the creation of learning materials, accessibility
even for those who do not know a load of programing and that will be a helpful tool in the area of
e-learning.
6. Acknowledgments
This work was possible with the financial support of the Sectorial Operational Program for Human
Resources Development 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Social Fund, under the project
number POSDRU/107/1.5/S/76841 with the title „Modern Doctoral Studies: Internationalization
and Interdisciplinary”.

7. References

Mohammad Hassan Falakmasir, Shahrouz Moaven, Hassan Abolhassani, Jafar Habibi, Business intelligence
in E-learning, 2010, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5542876
D.A. Wiley, Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory: a definition, a metaphor and
taxonomy, 2002 link
Paraskevi Tzouveli, Phivos Mylonas, Stefanos Kollias, An intelligent e-learning system based on learners
profiling and learning resources adaptation, 2007,
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131507000504
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workflow
http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html
Iraklis Varlamis and Ioannis Apostolakis , „The Present and Future of Standards for E-Learning
Technologies”, 2006. Ieee Paper.

Figure 4. Process Description
Means of Data Introduction for Mobile Learning Applications

Alin Zamfiroiu
1


(1) The Bucharest University of Economic Studies
15-17, Bucharest Str. Calea Dorobantilor, 010552 , Romania
E-mail: zamfiroiu@ici.ro


Abstract
Mobile application development is a challenge for all software developers. M-Learning
describes a new trend of learning for mobile users. A very important aspect related to all
mobile applications, covered in this paper, especially those for mobile learning is represented
by the means of data entering and user-application interaction. Mobile devices present
special features which do not allow a user to interact similarly with classic computer
applications, therefore special attention should be given to this issue. This paper analyzes the
means of users’ interaction for mobile learning applications. A study about preferred input
data ways in mobile learning applications is presented within this article.

Keywords: Mobile Learning, Mobile Applications Input Data, QR-code

1. Mobile devices
According to NetLingo dictionary (NetLingo, 2012) a mobile device is a computer or
communication gadget which the user can carry with him anywhere, such as a phone, smart phone,
PDA, laptop, tablet.
For mobile devices the input data can be found in many different ways/forms such as (Pocatilu, 12):
- alphanumeric keyboard the writing is made by repeatedly pressing a key; every key has
assigned three or more characters;
- QWERTY keyboard is similar to the keyboard of a computer with some differences like
dimension of the keys and absence of the TAB key;
- HALF-QWERTY keyboard is a combination of numerical keyboard and QWERTY
keyboard. The buttons are larger than the QWERTY keyboard, and each button has two
characters. In order to write the first character on the key it is necessary to press once and
for writing the second character, twice;
- touchscreen is specific to smart mobile devices with a large screen;
- mini-Joistick is present additionally on a keyboard and is used to navigate through the
phone menu up, down, left and right;
- camera is used to take pictures and with QR codes it is possible to input a text via camera;
- voice is a new trend to interact with the phone using the voice.
Mobile devices are divided into the next categories(Ivan et al, 2012):
- basic terminals or simple phones are characterized by using an alphanumeric keyboard to
enter the data;
- feature phones, data input is realized via touchscreen or via keyboard, which can be
alphanumeric, QWERTY or HALF-QWERTY;
- multimedia like previous category data input is realized via touchscreen or via keyboard;
- mobile Internet devices, data input is realized via touchscreen;
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- mobile standard PCs, data input is realized via touchscreen;
- fashion terminals include performance functions like multimedia terminals and have a
special design;
- smartphones, data input is realized via touchscreen or via keypad.
Mobile devices are cheaper than PCs so they are purchased by a large number of people. Users
always take these devices with them because they are small, portable and easy to carry. Courses on
mobile devices are always available, even while walking in the park or on the street. Thus the user
assumes the new information during other activities.
2. Mobile Learning Applications
In (Lee and Salman, 2012) the term of M-Learning is defined as the Science in Hand and includes
using mobile devices to obtain performance in education environment. E-Learning on mobile or
M-Learning increased a lot lately due to the ubiquity of these devices. According to (Obisat and
Hattab, 2009; Ghazvini et al, 2011) M-Learning describes a new trend of learning mode for mobile
users. E-Learning and web-based applications have been very popular allowing users to access
information via Internet directly from personal computer. M-Learning or Mobile E-Learning
allows access to information via Internet from mobile devices. In the M-Learning, the courses or
the platform are customized for each user. Modules for a Mobile Learning system are shown in
figure 1.
Mobile learning application provides a
simplistic interface because there are some
restrictions on mobile devices:
- small size of the display, because they
are pocket devices and the dimensions
are reduced;
- reduced capacities for data input;
- reduced computing power;
- limited memory capacity.
According to (Sayin and Allahverdi, 2011) in
all Mobile Learning systems there can be found
two basic components: the technical component
represented by mobile devices and the
pedagogical component represented by the
information content presented through the
technical component.
In (Crane et al, 2011) a survey of 66 students
about Virtual Learning Environment is
presented and the results are: 10 percent of
students are using the mobile websites for learning, 2 percent are using special mobile applications
created for learning environment and 88% are not using Virtual Learning Environment.
Course content of learning from the mobile device should be adapted to be easy to read and use
all gadgets of the device; opportunity of audio play, video playback or possibility for internet
connection. The access to tests or projects uploaded on the M-Learning platform should be
adapted to the data input mode of the mobile applications.
With the current configuration of the mobile devices, students can learn without being limited
by space or time.




Figure 1. M-Learning Environment (Vucetic and
Odadzic, 2010)
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3. QR - codes, a short way of data introducing
QR codes, Quick Response, are similar to bar code that stores a number of information bits.
Although these codes are not popular, people with class based devices, holders of PDAs,
smartphones or other smart devices find these codes extremely useful.
QR Code was created by a Japanese company in 1994.
They wanted to create a barcode able to respond very quickly
to scan. From here comes the name of QR.
Taking into consideration the fact that up to a few years
ago this code was popular only in Asia, especially Japan, now
it is beginning to gain popularity in America and Europe. The
increasing popularity is mainly due to the spread of
smartphones and 3G networks. A QR code stores information
larger than normal bar codes. To use this code one must,
firstly, generate it using an online generator like KAYWA QR
code (Kaywa, 2012). After the code was created with the
information desired inside, a reader is required to see what
information was stored in the image generated. The
application uses the camera of the mobile phone to scan the
code. The camera must have autofocus in order to scan the code quickly and accurately.
For a Mobile Learning system QR-codes are generated for:
- students’ and teachers’ e-mail addresses;
- content of the courses;
- the content web links on the platform.
In (Worldit, 2010) it is shown how to create a QR code. The steps to obtain a QR code are:
- choosing the desired information which may be a link, an email address or other content
as simple text or course title;
- find a QR code generator;
- providing desired content coding;
- check the code generated with a QR code reader and check if the text provided is the
expected text;
- save the obtained image and post it in places accessible to the participants in the Mobile
Learning System.
These codes are used across in Mobile Learning Systems for faster access to the content, to
facilitate communication between teachers and students and also to send large homework as a
single image representing a QR code.
4. Voice - mean of data introducing
SIRI is a personal assistant application that helps the user to get the things desired by a simple
voice request. This allows using voice to send messages, to schedule meetings, and many others.
SIRI is not like traditional software voice recognition, which requires remembering keywords to
perform some commands. SIRI understands natural language and asks questions if it needs more
information to complete a task.
In (Apple, 12) it is shown how to use the application SIRI. To speak with SIRI the user must
keeps the iPhone Home button pressed and when the text What can I help you with? appears, the
user begins to talk to him.
SIRI uses speech recognition algorithms, the learning characteristics and accents for a better
understanding of all dialects. Also, in time, SIRI begins to learn the main things about the user for
a better understanding.

Figure 2. QR Code
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According to (Gadget, 2011) after launching the application SIRI, the department of Android
applications development, also called Dexetra team, worked on a similar application called Iris. It
allows different searches by voice, content and recent conversations or topics in art, literature,
history, biology, etc. For general knowledge questions IRIS answers with a phrase in text taken
from Wikipedia and using speech-to-text function to understand the questions, which means that it
writes what hears and then analyzes the command. Iris is more of a clone application of SIRI and
in future will receive many improvements to compete with Apple's application.
In May 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 is launched and has an application similar to SIRI and IRIS
named S-Voice. With that application the user can interact with the phone via voice commands.
These three applications are useful in the Mobile Learning Environment because through them
the user has the opportunity to solve the test on the platform using his voice. The question is audio
played and the response is registered through these applications.

5. Means of interaction with mobile phones
A collectivity of 281 people of different ages was analyzed by means of a questionnaire. The
questionnaire contained questions about occupation, experience with a mobile phone and the
preferred mean of interaction with the mobile phone.
The questionnaire was completed by 109 men and 172 women with an average age of 22.3
years.
The collectivity was predominated by students or people who activate in a learning system,
table 1.
Table 1. Occupation of respondents
Occupation Number of respondents
Pupil 13
Student 161
PHD Student 9
Employee 98

The experience of respondents using a mobile phone is represented in figure 3. Many of them
have a phone for seven, eight or more years, so they have experience in using mobile phones.


Figure 3. Experience with a mobile phone

The last question and most important was about which way they use to interact with their
mobile phone. The means used were those presented of the beginning of this paper. The most used
mean of interaction with the mobile phone by the respondents of this survey is touchscreen, table
2, figure 4.
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Table 2. Means of interact with a mobile phone
Way of interact Number of answers
Alphanumeric keyboard
64
QWERTY keyboard
72
HALF-QWERTY keyboard
9
Touchscreen
132
Mini-Joistick 0
Camera (QR-code) 1
Voice (SIRI, IRIS, S-Voice) 3

The data from table 2 is graphically represented in figure 4.


Figure 4. Results for means of interaction with a mobile phone

Touchscreen is followed by QWERTY keyboard and alphanumeric keyboard. These means are
mostly used by people who can’t use the tactile screen. Camera and voice are two means which are
not much used by the users because they are not very productive in this moment. Future research
in these domains will make these means more utilized and more common for the users.
The analysis of this survey shows that the most utilized mean for interaction with a mobile
phone is touchscreen and also how the majority of the respondents are students who use learning
systems. To attract these persons to use Mobile Learning System it is necessary that the
application of this system should be developed in such a manner to allow the interaction with users
by these three most used means: touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard and alphanumeric keyboard.
6. Conclusions
Mobile devices used a few years ago only for making calls and sending text messages, have now
become devices used in any activity by their users. The technology continues to grow bringing
new tools and new concepts in mobile devices environment and for that, development in that area
is a challenge for all software developers because every day mobiles are changed and their power
is changed too, so the developer should adapt very fast to the new tools.
Nowadays mobile devices have configurations which allow a person to use these devices
everywhere without being limited by space or time. Mobile Learning Systems are very important
because these systems allow students to learn anywhere and at any time. I also presented the
restrictions of mobile devices for the mobile learning applications and how much mobile learning
is used among students. In this paper there is a description of the means of interaction with mobile
phones like QR-codes and voice and a presentation of the results of a survey about the means of
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interaction with the mobile device. The most used means of interaction with a mobile phone are
touchscreen, alphanumeric keyboard and QWERTY keyboard.
These means should be applied in the development of mobile learning applications for a good
interaction with the device in a learning environment.
7. References
1. Crane, L., Benachour, P. and Coulton, P. (2011) Virtual Learning Environments For Mobile Learning:
Constrained By Infrastructural And Sociological Boundaries?, ITALICS Volume 10, Issue 1, February.
2. Ghazvini, F., Earnshaw, R., Moeini, A., Robinson, D. and Excell, P. (2011) From E-Learning to M-
Learning – The use of Mixed Reality Games as a New Educational Paradigm, International Journal of
Interactive Mobile Technologies, vol. 5, nr. 2, 17-25.
3. http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
4. http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/siri-faq.html
5. http://www.gadget.ro/iris-rivalul-siri-al-android/
6. http://www.netlingo.com/dictionary/m.php
7. http://www.worldit.info/articole/cum-creati-si-implementati-un-cod-qr/
8. Ivan, I., Boja, C. and Zamfiroiu, A. (2012): Self-Healing, Quality Characteristic of Mobile Applications,
In Proceedings of 19th International Economic Conference – IECS 2012, 15-18 iunie, Sibiu, România.
9. Lee, K.B. and Salman, R. (2012) The Design and Development of Mobile Collaborative Learning
Application Using Android, Journal of Information Technology and Application in Education, vol. 1, nr.
1, 1-8.
10. Obisat, F. and Hattab, E. (2009) A Proposed Model for Individualized Learning through Mobile
Technologies, International Journal of Communications, vol. 3, nr. 1.
11. Pocatilu, P. (2012): Programarea Dispozitivelor Mobile, ASE, Bucharest.
12. Sayin, Z. and Allahverdi, N. (2011): Mobile Training Components and a Model Application, In
Proceedings of the International Conference On E-Learning And The Knowldge Society, E-Learning’11,
25-26 August, Bucharest, Romania, ASE Publishing House, Bucharest Romania, 197-202.
Vucetic, Z. and Odadzic, B. (2010) Mobile School Service(MSS), International Journal of Interactive Mobile
Technologies, vol. 4, nr. 2, 29-33.
Web-Based Methods and Tools in
Teaching Translation and Interpreting

Corina Silvia Micu, Raluca Sinu

Transilvania University of Brasov, Faculty of Languages and Literatures, Department of
Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
E-mail: raluca.sinu@unitbv.ro


Abstract
This paper explores the way web-based methods and tools can be implemented in a specific
language teaching activity, namely written and oral translation, in the context of face-to-face
traditional teaching at university level. Starting from the assumption that, in a traditional
teaching environment like the one discussed here, written translation activities can be
improved by using Internet tools, we intend to present some of these tools and the way to
apply them in translation classes. The other activity we will focus on is oral translation.
Considering the fact that this activity requires frequent exposure to different native speakers
in order to increase the students’ proficiency level, which is highly difficult to provide in the
above mentioned context, web-based resources appear to be very useful

Keywords: translation, web-based teaching, podcasts, corpus


1. Introduction
The proliferation of the Internet over the past decades has had an important impact on language
learning and teaching, leading to the creation of an increasing number of web-based materials
available online and to their incorporation in traditional classroom activity. This paper proposes
and examines certain web-based tools and methods that can be used in face-to-face traditional
teaching at university level, for language courses dealing with translation activities.
Given that students today generally possess a high level of computer literacy and use the
Internet frequently both in school related and non-related activities, we believe it would be a gain
to combine face-to-face delivery methods with web-based methods and tools in teaching
translation and interpreting, especially since the latter category of methods facilitate students’
exposure to foreign language speakers in interpreting with the help of podcasts, or make available
to students a range of instruments for improving their written translation skills, such as corpora
available on the Internet, machine translation software etc.

2. Main concepts
The growing interest in the way new technologies will shape the educational landscape has
generated a lot of literature in this field: journals (e.g. New Journal of Web-Based Learning and
Teaching Technologies), books and conference proceedings dealing with computer-based training
(CBT) or electronic learning (eLearning). The impact of web-based tools is also discussed in
relation to foreign language teaching and learning: ‘With new technologies come new possibilities
for foreign language learning and for connecting with students in ways that are relevant to them.’
(Guikema 2009:169).
As far as translation is concerned, its place in the curriculum of language students has become
increasingly important as, under its multiple forms, it allows students to exercise all the four
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language skills and thus to improve their language level. Moreover, there are study programmes,
such as the Applied Modern Languages programme – training future translators, where “the goal
of translation teaching is [first of all] to facilitate the acquisition of communicative translational
competence” (Colina 2003:30). The author includes here “the ability to take into account a source
text (ST) in its context, the requirements for the translation assignment, and the participants in the
process […] in order to produce a target text (TT) that is adequate to the needs of the assignment
and the target context”. In this case, it is essential to equip students with the best tools needed in
coping with translation tasks. In what follows, we will suggest some web-based methods and tools
we consider useful in teaching oral and written translation starting from our personal teaching
experience

3. Web-based tools in teaching oral translation/interpreting
Interpreting is generally seen as a very challenging type of translation, due to some of its specific
features. Firstly, the interpreter acts as an intermediary in conveying the message of the source
language sender to the target language receiver. In addition, the information is transferred on the
spot from one language to the other, and the only tools that the translator uses are his language
knowledge and his voice. Under these circumstances, no hesitation from the translator is allowed.
This means that he must have an exceptional language level, excellent vocabulary and a good,
functional, decision-making sense, both at L1 and at L2 level. Every oral translation is unique in
its own way even within the same range of topics.
How can we train a student to became a good interpreter? There is a variety of means, but, in
our opinion, those which seem to have the best results are the ones simulating face-to-face
interactions: the podcasts. Usually, podcasts are audio files in mp3 format, that can be downloaded
from the Internet (McBride 2009:154), but there are also video podcasts. According to research
quoted by McBride (2009:154), language learners are much less interested in using video rather
than audio podcasts. However, from our experience we found that, for training oral translators
both at a BA and MA level, video podcasts are much more useful because they introduce the
students to a virtual environment which simulates the real one. In the training process, the video
component of the podcasts might be disturbing because it diverts the student’s attention from
focusing on words and expression. On the other hand, in improving students’ translation skills,
video podcasts allow students a glimpse into the atmosphere of real-life events such as press
conferences, political meetings and debates.
In the context of French translation courses which deal with interpreting, we have discovered
over the last years that students often encounter difficulties in adapting themselves to the working
methods specific to this type of translation, even if their French level is excellent. Acquiring skills
such as a prompt response when confronted with a choice of terms or the ability to adapt their
discourse to changing circumstances is a priority in teaching these courses, while exposing the
students to native speakers in a variety of different contexts, although they are simulated in the
virtual world, is a permanent goal. oral translation involves at least two distinct situations:
conference interpreting (which involves technical equipment as well – a simultaneous
interpretation system) and whispering.
As far as the web-based tools in teaching conference interpreting are concerned, the Internet
can function as a source of many short podcasts (1min25’ – 2min25’), which are, usually, news
reports produced by different television stations, that can represent an important resource in
teaching conference interpreting. As far as interpreting from French into Romania is concerned,
from the variety of sources found on the Internet, we have found the materials provided by TV5
and RFI (Radio France International) on their sites (see Fig. 1) very easy to use and adequate for
teaching interpreting.
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Interpreting activities based on audio or video podcasts usually involve several stages. In the
first one, the video is played once for the students to find out the subject and its field (politics,
economics, finance, etc.). Then, it is played a second time for the students to identify the possible
terminology problems which are explained and rendered into Romanian. If the term in question
has no Romanian equivalent, students are encouraged to come up with a paraphrase that can be
properly and easily employed in that context. The third stage consists in the actual interpreting,
performed by one of the students, equipped with headphones, which means that the others cannot
hear the report anymore. This stage involves not only the person who performs the translation, but
also the other students in the class, as they focus on the correctness of the Romanian their
colleague is using, try to identify the expressions improperly translated, repetitions, lack of
meaning, etc. Then, together with the student that interpreted the sequence, they discuss the errors
and agree on an improved translation variant.


Figure 1. Examples of materials used from the sites of
TV5 (on the left) and RFI (on the right)

One of the most frequent problems encountered by students in this type of translation refers to
the use of specific terminology. For example, in the material entitled “La télé-réalité met en scène
des sans papiers” (available at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/7JoursSurLaPlaneteVideos/~5/
T5t9XXFfbwk/7jp_d261_seq1.m4v), for the sequence “ultra diplômés”, there is a strong
temptation to translate it in Romanian by “ultra diplomaţi” while one of the accepted forms would
be “super calificaţi”. Or, in “Journal en français facile” aired on August 9, 2012, the sequence “Il
faut empêcher ‘coûte que coûte’ le retour de Marc Ravalomanana à Madagascar” might be
translated, due to the prompt response they have to give, as “Trebuie împiedicată, ‘oricât ar costa’,
întoarcerea lui Marc Ravalomanana în Madagascar” instead of “Trebuie împiedicată, ‘cu orice
preţ’ întoarcerea lui …”.
Another very valuable web-based resource in working with MA students is to be found on the
European Union web site: Newsroom, Latest news and Media Resources (available at
http://europa.eu/newsroom/audiovisual/video/index_fr.htm). Even if the podcasts cannot be
downloaded (like in the case of the TV5 and RFI site), they are very useful because the speeches
of French officials are accompanied by their English translation. This means that MA students
may work in pairs, each one focusing on one of the languages to come up with the transcript of
both the French speech and the English translation. By conducting a detailed analysis of authentic
podcast transcripts, students will discover the linguistic and cultural features of the original speech
and of its English translation, and may comment on the interpreter’s choices in a way that will
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enhance their awareness of interpreting strategies and the factors the interpreter has to consider in
opting for these strategies.
As for web-based tools in teaching “whispering”, i.e. interpreting for a very restraint
group, from one to a maximum of five people, in which the translator whispers his translation
towards his public, the best results are obtained in a one to one oral translation. This type of
interpreting is one of the most difficult due to the fact that the interpreter has to maintain his voice
at a very low level in order not to disturb the other participants at the event. In this case, we use
mainly audio podcasts to train the student in synthesizing the original message in his translation in
order to provide all the details of the translation and at the same time be concise, coherent and
correct.

4 Web-based tools in teaching written translation
The activities we will propose in this section are intended for teaching specialized translation
(focusing on the fields of Economics and Law, with an emphasis of European Union documents)
to Applied Modern Languages students. They can be grouped into two categories: activities in
which the students learn to use specific web-based tools in translation – they focus on the
translation process - and activities in which they work with translated texts, assessing the quality
of translations or correcting them – they focus on the translation product.
The first category of activities addresses one of the main problems in teaching specialized
translation, namely to recognize and use the terminology specific to each field. Because each field
of human knowledge has its own terminology, the same word used in different areas, e.g. law,
economics, medicine etc., takes on a different meaning. We will be discussing the following web-
based methods and tools: using the Internet as a huge corpus and using terminological databases
accessible through the Internet.
The method of building corpora based on Internet texts allows students to see a word or phrase
in different contexts and to determine its frequency in an ad-hoc corpus built on the basis of search
engines. In addition to the contexts they obtain after the search, they can perform, starting from the
search engine they normally use, frequency counts in cases where it is difficult to choose among
the variants offered by dictionaries, especially in the absence of usage labels attached to the
meaning. For instance, when they begin translating from Romanian into English in the field of the
European Union, students hesitate in translating “piaţă unică” between single market and unique
market. The Google search engine returns for the two variants a considerably different number of
hits: for “single market”, 3,860,000 results, while for “unique market” we find 642,000 results.
Furthermore, most of the results for “single market” are related to the European Union which
makes them more reliable as the single market is, in fact, part of the EU terminology.
The efficient use of the World Wide Web by students as a resource for translation depends on
their ability to formulate relevant queries: ‘the sheer volume of information that is available on the
Web made students aware of the importance of formulating queries carefully in order to focus on
relevant material’ (Lynne 2003:206). The same author discusses the students’ work flow in this
situation: ‘students tended to read the source text first in order to get ideas for potential key words.
These words were then entered into a search engine, and the resulting hits were examined for
relevance as well as for ideas for other key words that could be used for further searches. In
addition to key words that dealt with the subject matter, students also found that it could be useful
to enter key words relating to the text type’ (2003:206-207).
Students can also use the Internet to access online lexicographic resources, such as online
dictionaries, either monolingual or bilingual, glossaries, encyclopedias, which can help them better
understand or render the concepts they are looking for. For instance, on the Google search engine,
the first hits for the subject key word ‘breach’ are mostly irrelevant texts as film reviews, and are
very different from the results of a more carefully formulated search, that combined more key
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words, such as ‘breach + contract + dictionary’ or ‘breach + Romanian + dictionary’ (for ready-
made translation equivalents), which returned hits for ‘breach’ in Legal Dictionary – The Free
Dictionary, Legal Dictionary on Law.com, Business Dictionary, in the first case, and translation
variants in a series of Romanian online bilingual dictionaries (http://en.bab.la/dictionary/english-
romanian/breach, www.hallo.ro), in the second case.
Another answer to the terminological problem is to use terminological databases accessible
through the Internet. Although ‘a great number of existing corpora (e.g., British National Corpus,
Bank of English, Mannheimer Korpus) are not suitable for many translation purposes because they
deal largely with general language, whereas translation often deals with specialized language’
(Lynne 2003:194), there are, however, counterexamples. One of them is the European Union
database IATE (Inter-Active Terminology for Europe), which, unlike bilingual dictionaries
available online, provides contexts and rates the reliability of the translation variants it offers. The
context of use facilitates the student’s choice of the best translation variant. Given that a lot of
students resort to dictionaries (mostly bilingual) in translating, preferring the online ones to their
paper counterparts and that very few are able to use them successfully to choose the most
appropriate translation variant, especially since they fail to provide contexts which are very useful
in translation as a text production activity, a terminological database such as IATE can become an
invaluable tool if used correctly. It can enable students to find not only the most adequate
equivalent in the target language for the word or phrase to translate, but more importantly to
identify the appropriate context. The search for the word interest, for example, returned 74 results
on IATE, differentiated according to the field they belong to: ‘leasehold interest’ (Accounting) -
drept de utilizare în sistem de leasing; ‘interest on late payment, delayed interest’ (Finance,
European Communities) - penalităţi de întârziere; ‘general interest’ (Politics) - interes general, etc.
The second category of activities is centered on the translation product. We believe that, by
examining other translations, students will be able to improve their own, noticing the way
terminological problems are solved, as well as the way grammar or syntax difficulties are tackled
by other translators or machine translation software.
The first method we discuss is the use of bilingual corpora in which the source texts and their
translations are aligned and can be analysed using a full-text search tool or a concordancer. Such a
parallel corpus is the EUR-Lex database which provides direct full access to European Union
legislation, made accessible for all European citizens by translations into their own languages.
Such an exercise is useful from a terminological point of view, but also because it facilitates the
contact with professional translations performed by EU language specialists.


Figure 2. Example of the use of EUR-Lex parallel corpus (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/)

Another way of making students aware of the translation process and the possible difficulties
they might face is to use web-based machine translation sites. Most students mistakenly believe
that these tools can perform translation tasks with the efficiency of a trained human translator. This
perception prompts them to rely too much on the results of such tools, although a close
examination of these translation results shows a range of problems, minor as in example 1, where
the machine-translated versions 1 and 2 display problems caused by the interpretation of the
Romanian pronoun i, or more serious as in Example 2 where the expression ‘pe măsura
posibilităţilor şi experienţei sale’ proves very difficult for the translation software. These versions,
although incorrect, highlight the most difficult spots in the translated texts, areas to which students
should pay more attention.
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Example 1
Source text: Angajatului i se va plăti salariul pentru timpul de lucru efectuat.
Machine translation 1: Employee i will have to be paid the salary for the time of work done.
(http://translation.babylon.com/romanian/to-english/)
Machine translation 2: I will pay the employee wages for the working time of.
(http://webtranslation.paralink.com/translator/)
Machine translation 3: Employee wages will be paid for time worked.
(http://translate.google.com/#ro/en/)
Example 2
Source text: Angajatul este de acord să ducă la îndeplinire sarcinile pe măsura posibilităţilor şi
experienţei sale.
Machine translation 1: The employee agrees to carry out the tasks as far as possible and
experience. (http://translation.babylon.com/romanian/to-english/)
Machine translation 2: The employee agrees to carry out the tasks as opportunities and
experience. (http://webtranslation.paralink.com/translator/)
Machine translation 3: The employee agrees to carry out tasks as possible and experience.
(http://translate.google.com/#ro/en/)
Another web-based resource which could be used in written translation is represented by
forums on which freelance translators and translation companies discuss translation and
terminology problems and propose solutions. An example of such forum is proz.com where the
participants respond to linguistic queries providing arguments for the solutions they propose
and/or links or fragment of documents in the target language which act as contexts for the
suggested word or phrase. For instance, in the case of contract cadru, the query is accompanied by
the context in which the phrase was used: …. stabileşte şi aprobă contractele-cadru dintre agenţii
economici din sectorul gazelor naturale .... (OBLIGAŢII CONTRACTUALE). The answers are
based on the respondent’s experience: ‘Both variants are valid! I have translated many such
contracts and these are the names used!’ (Case 1), or they quote established sources, such as
Eurodicautom, currently IATE (Case 2).
Case 1

Case 2

Figure 3. Example of answers to the translation of contract cadru into English on the proz.com
forum (http://www.proz.com/kudoz/romanian_to_english/)

We believe that students can benefit from being exposed to this sharing of experience, not only
from the solutions available on the forum, but above all from the explanations and the debate
surrounding them, which sometimes can function as a substitute of a think aloud protocol allowing
them to follow the translator’s thought process.

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5 Conclusions
In conclusion, Web-based technologies bring new challenges and opportunities for second
language learning and teaching. In the case of teaching oral translation / interpreting, both audio
and video podcasts accessible through and downloadable from the Internet represent important
teaching resources because they simulate in the virtual environment real-life events and they
supply the native speaking component necessary to the future interpreters in order to improve their
translation skills. In the case of teaching written translation, the tools suggested rely on the texts
available on the Internet, while the methods suppose using these texts to form corpora.
In addition to these suggestions, we would also like to draw attention to the importance of
‘teaching students to be able to recognize the benefits and limitations of technology-mediated
tools’ (Abraham 2003:65), by emphasizing two aspects. The first is that, as Abraham (2003:65)
pointed out, ‘although Web-based machine translation sites, online dictionaries, and language-
related websites are sources that may be frequently consulted and used by foreign language
learners, formal training in understanding and using these types of sources does not appear to be
commonplace in […] higher education’. This most often translates into students’ misguided use of
web-based resources, in the absence of opportunities to discuss and employ such resources as part
of their class activity. The second aspect relates to the fact that the Internet is not a reliable
learning environment. When used as a source of corpora, students must be aware of the fact that
‘there are many texts on the Web that are of poor quality and which therefore do not make good
translation resources’, that ‘anyone can post information on the Web, including non-experts, and
Web documents are not always subject to an editing process in the same way that printed
documents usually are’, or that ‘the Web is seen by many as an ephemeral resource; people are
interested in communicating information, but unlike the case with printed documents, this
information may not be preserved for long (i.e., a Web page can be revised, updated or removed
very easily) and so people are less willing to invest much time or effort in formulating that
information’ (Bowker 2003:205).


6. References
Abraham, Lee B. (2009): Web-based translation for promoting language awareness: Evidence from Spanish.
In Lee B. Abraham and Lawrence Williams (eds.): Electronic Discourse in Language Learning and
Language Teaching. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 65-83
Bowker, Lynne (2003): Towards a collaborative approach to corpus building in the translation classroom. In
Brian James Baer and Geoffrey S. Koby (eds.): Beyond the Ivory Tower Rethinking translation pedagogy.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 193-210
Colina, Sonia (2003): Towards an empirically-based translation pedagogy. In Brian James Baer and Geoffrey
S. Koby (eds.): Beyond the Ivory Tower Rethinking translation pedagogy, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John
Benjamins Publishing Company. 29-59
Guikema, Janel Pettes (2009): Discourse analysis of podcasts in French: Implications for foreign language
listening development. In Lee B. Abraham and Lawrence Williams (eds.): Electronic Discourse in
Language Learning and Language Teaching, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing
Company. 169-189.
McBride, Kara (2009): Podcasts and second language learning. Promoting listening comprehension and
intercultural competence. In Lee B. Abraham and Lawrence Williams (eds.): Electronic Discourse in
Language Learning and Language Teaching, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing
Company. 153-167.
Using Serious Games in adult education Serious Business for
Serious People-the MetaVals game case study

Maria Magdalena Popescu
1
, Margarida Romero
2
, Mireia Usart
2

(1) Carol I National Defence University, 68-72 Panduri st, Bucharest, ROMANIA, Email
: mpopescu03@gmail.com
(2) ESADE Law & Business School, 60-62 Avenue Pedralbes, Barcelona, SPAIN,
Email: margarida.romero@esade.edu; mireia.usart@esade.edu


Abstract
A vast array of books have been written and inordinate lectures have been given in
conferences, as “games for educational purposes” and “gamification” are nowadays buzz
words in education. Everybody knows a little of it and nothing seems intricate enough not to
be achieved. While games are still being designed for educational purposes, to raise the
interest of instructors, academic technologists and other staff who wish to learn by playing
and reflect on this experience, we still have no clear, measurable understanding of what
games really do in a real-teaching environment. After state-of-art has been presented in what
Serious Games feature now both in education and corporate training, case studies are still to
feed researchers via practitioners into revealing new facets of using games, in adapting and
personalizing them to every context of use and learning style; all this aims at better meeting
the requirements of the users, enhancing knowledge transfer in its various forms, bridging
gaps between researchers, game designers, trainers, trainees and labour market stakeholders
eventually. In this light, this paper aims at showcasing a study undertaken asynchronously by
ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and Carol I National Defence University
(NDU), Bucharest, Romania, to identify the possibilities of integrating serious games into
curriculum for an ESP module, in an adult education-context, given the specificities of time,
age, background and cultural –embedding features.

Keywords: Game Based Learning, Serious Games, user’s experience, personalization,Adult
Education, English for Specific Purposes.


1. The rationale for the MetaVals case study in Spain and Romania

Moto: "I want to talk about […] games—[…] --and
say some positive things about them."
(J. P. Gee, 2007)

Games Based Learning (GBL) is one of the active learning methodologies that have benefitted
from the evolution of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) lately. Computer-
based games have allowed educators to reconsider the game dynamics of face-to-face interactions
and allowed to facilitate the use of digital games in asynchronous and distant context. The use of
games with learning purposes has also benefitted from the use of educational technologies,
allowing to redesign face-to-face GBL activies into computer-based Serious Games (Padrós,
Romero, & Usart, 2011).


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1.1 Serious Games in the context of management education
In the context of management education, simulations and games have been adopted during the last
decades as an active learning methodology that allows learners’ to participate in an engaging and
authentic situation, avoiding the risk that real life could engender in the fields of finance or
security management (Kirriemuir, & McFarlane, 2004). In the recent years, Serious Games have
become one of the trends of learning innovation in Business Schools, moving the traditional
lecture methodology and the classroom developed study cases forward. In this sense, reference
schools such as Harvard Business School have meant to make a progress, from the evolution of
paper based study cases into simulations and interactive case studies where the learners’ could
play a realistic situation, to learning by doing (Srikant, Garvin, & Cullen, 2010). In the context of
management education, Serious Games (SG) are focused on achieving the particular objectives of
given educational content through game play. Students’ attempts to solve problems are maintained
throughout the learning session. SGs can be used by teachers as instructional tools used to
apprehend an experience system’s behaviour that will provide with experiential insights through
learning by doing methodologies. For instance, GBL allows management competences training by
failing without the consequences of the real world (Prensky, 2001). Games use deep human
inclination to play games as a source for highly motivated learning (Gee, 2003). The action of
gaming is becoming a new form of interactive (mobile, multiplatform) content, worthy of
exploration for learning purposes. While motivation in the use of the games fosters student’s effort
without resentment, relaxation enables learners to understand things more easily. An additional
goal for management students are the new methods of learning under pressure, which could enable
the combination of theory and practice to construct new concepts that are learned from course
content in the classroom. SGs are used to construct educational situations so as to enhance the
learning motivation of the students, especially, instructors in production management, logistics
management, and other decision sciences courses adopt game-assisted teaching tools to simulate
real enterprise situations so as to let students prepare for their professional careers (Tao, 2009).
Moreover, collaborative games allow individuals who are for instance geographically and
temporarily dispersed participate in the same game. Collaborative SGs can provide experiences
across various situated contexts that enable learners to understand complex situations found in
management. Group members can build on each others’ knowledge and provide feedback on each
others’ activities and metacognitive activities (Kim, Park, & Baek, 2009). Advantageous peer
interactions such as providing and receiving explanations, co-constructing ideas, reproving
disputes and negotiation meaning can be found in collaborative gaming scenarios.

1.2 SG in military education
Serious Games have known an important development not only in the management education, but
also in corporate training and military universities which have adopted this methodology,
especially appropriated in the context of risk-management situations. The specific field of military
education has promoted the use of games both for risk-avoidance reasons, for leadersip, decision-
making and for cognitive skills as well, in addition to the pedagogical advantages of SG in terms
of engagement, playfulness and knowledge transferability.
As far as the Serious Games’ deployment in the military context is concerned, the topic is
closely connected to the inception of using the video game America’s Army game, released in
2002 , while the same year the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholar in Washington,
D.C. founded the Serious Games Initiative; this way the term “serious games” has met a large
uptake. Recent literature reviews have presented serious games as providing innovative solutions
to issues in the military that would be still valid now and in the future. Simulations have been used
for training in the military for different learning goals: medical, combat, leadership, logistics,
strategic planning, military history, communications, engineering, business management, language
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and linguistics. For this last use we will present some conclusions we have drawn subsequent to
using the MetaVals game produced by ESADE in an applied linguistics module- English for
special Purposes; the target group consisted of military students from a Financial Leadership Post-
graduate course within the Carol I National Defence University, Bucharest, Romania.

2. MetaVals as a decision making game with individual and collaborative phases
In the context of SGs for management education, MetaVals was first designed as a classification
game for practicing basic finance concepts. The computer-based Serious Game was developed in
the context of the FP7 Network of Excellence Games and Learning Alliance (GaLA). MetaVals
was adapted from an existing class activity used to practice basic finance concepts (Massons et al.,
2011). This SG was designed through a process that involved at first a paper-based release, and
two computer-based versions of the game that were tested in different environments (Padrós,
Romero, & Usart, 2011). Now MetaVals is a sorting game where students play in dyads with a
virtual peer, against the rest of the class. A welcome screen asks players to introduce their age and
previous knowledge on finance. It leads to a second screen with peers’ information. After general
instructions are given by a virtual lecturer, the player starts playing individually by classifying 6
items as assets or liabilities (e.g. “Computer software”, “Bank Loan”); after this first phase, 6
different items appear, but now the player has access to his virtual peer’s answers. After this
correction phase, a final discussion phase starts; the player has to decide if the 12 classified items
were correctly classified; the dyad with a higher number of correct answers in less time, wins the
game.

2.1 Internationalisation and personalisation of MetaVals in the context of the FP7 NoE GALA
The MetaVals Serious Game has been designed as a classification game that could be adapted to
different contexts, to different knowledge domains, different languages and different graphic
customisations according to the specific needs of each of the context. The personalisation
capabilities of the MetaVals are achieved by a software design based on a modular structure of the
database and an independent graphic interface that could be replaced by changing the images. For
adapting the game for a new context, the MetaVals admin users define a new context in the
database, assigning an ID for the context, defining the pre-test and post-test surveys to be
completed by the students, the language, the availability of a forum or chat for supporting the
synchronous discussions between the dyads, and the creation of dyads composed by two real
learners, or one real learner with a virtual teammate.
In order to facilitate the implementation of MetaVals game in different contexts, a management
interface was developed to allow an easier management of the different contexts, groups, users and
domain-specific knowledge settings. The interface has been designed to allow teachers and non-
experts to manage the personalization. This interface has been conceived to include other
languages in case the MetaVals should be managed in other linguistic contexts. MetaVals is
designed in six different stages to allow the personalization of each game play. First, students can
access two previous tests; these are totally adaptable and aim to help students being aware of their
initial level of knowledge. Then, MetaVals allows students to personalize their avatar for the game
and also explicit their age, knowledge and experience on the field of the concrete gameplay. After
the initial settings, the students play the individual and collaborative phases, and finally, there is
another personalized post-test that can also be used to evaluate knowledge acquisition after the
game play. The MetaVals game also aims to address the concrete demands of each learning
context where the SG may be implemented. This goal is faced by adapting both the graphical
design and the language displayed in the game. Through the use of personalization, the sense of
credibility of the SG could be enhanced, especially, when using a tailored graphic design, then
students can identify themselves more easily with the learning activity (Shapiro et al., 2006)
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2.2 Metavals and applied linguistics, cognitive and soft skill- enhancement for ESP classes
Used in the Carol I National Defence University environment, the ESADE MetaVals game was
applied within the module of English for Special Purposes, with the intention to determine the
impact of a game on learning effectiveness and the chances that such an activity could be
embedded within the educational process with military post-graduate students, for syllabus other
than tactics and special operations; all this is given the benefit of doubt, as our subjects are
postgraduate students aged 35-45, both males and females, with a career in the military and
financial background, all in leading positions at their place of work. The MetaVals game was used
in the context of bank and accounting topics, subsequent to understanding and learning the English
equivalents of the specific terminology. Cognitive skills like remembering, understanding,
applying and evaluating, along with inter- and intra-personal skills like self-confidence,
collaboration, decision-making, negotiation, have been activated during this activity.

2.3 Alternative teaching in the context of GEL Theme team Stellar NoE
The purpose of using this game was encompassed by the Game-Enhanced-Learning Theme Team,
a small-scale European project financed under the umbrella of Stellar NoE and TEL.eu, in order to
add up to the best practice section, with insight from a military Higher Education environment; we
aimed at contributing to guidelines for effective Serious Games deployment, looked at from an
instructor’s perspective. We performed the case study to underline the alternative to traditional
teaching methods and materials, even if the system under lens presumes some more strict rules of
use with respect to the learning context. Instead of using the paper and pencil test or the obsolete
debate or already classical role-play to apply the previously taught financial terminology, we
engaged the postgraduate students in collaborative and individual activities that tested their
previous knowledge as well as the extent to which the knowledge transfer has been performed
prior to the game. In addition, the pre-test section of the game shed light over students’ self-
confidence over the concepts in relation to their experience and background, enhancing motivation
and engagement for the rest of the game. Therefore, the use of MetaVals in this case was set as a
self-evaluation activity from the students’ perspective and as a formative assessment from the
teacher’s point of view.

3 Universities as learning context for our case study
3.1 Carol I National Defence University
Carol I National Defence University is a higher education institution, offering degree programs at
different levels-bachelor, master and doctoral programs, along with mixed training short term
postgraduate career courses. The educational process in our university comes to support the
methods and scientific tools that enhance the formation of outstanding officers and leaders for
tomorrow, at operational and strategic levels, both at peace and war times. Modern teaching
devices along with technology have boosted the educational process in Carol I NDU lately,
ensuring knowledge transfer along with meta-cognitive necessary skills. Serious Games have been
used in training our military at tactical and operational level, more in the form of simulations,
while games embedded in syllabuses other than these are still incipient. We do hope that the
MetaVals case unfolded in April 2012 is just the promising beginning, while other initiatives will
soon emerge.

3.2 ESADE Business & Law School
ESADE is an international academic institution with more than fifty years of history. Its key
mission is to develop individuals unto becoming highly-competent professionals with a high
capacity of reflection, dialogue and initiative. ESADE promotes quality education and research
through its Law and Business Schools, both for undergraduate and post-graduate students. There is
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also the Executive Education (ExEd) department, with participants ranging from 20 to 80 years
old. The use of Serious Games (SG) in ESADE is not generalized, although it has grown during
the last decade. Business simulations and investment games are used in face-to-face classes both
for grade students and master courses. In the context of the first e-learning module designed by the
Direction of Educational Innovation and Academic Quality (DIPQA), the first release of MetaVals
was designed and implemented in 2011.

4 Learning objectives for the use of Metavals in Spain and Romania
The MetaVals game was firstly designed as an adaptation of a learning activity used in a face to
face course. Its objective as a class activity was to help students in the practice and sharing of the
knowledge acquired in the previous lecture-based lessons. This way, MetaVals first release was
defined as a classification game. Its first objective aimed to overcome the difficulties of the
lecture-based activity. When implementing this activity in class, not all the participants could
explain their knowledge in an equal way, neither get feedback from the teacher and from other
students. As shown in Figure 1, the relationship between the teacher and participants was
asymmetric and only allowed a small number of participants to participate and receive feedback.
The second scheme presented in Figure 1 shows the change in the interactions that MetaVals
introduction in the classroom could provide. The game design consciously intends to help each
and every one of the participants to explicit and share their knowledge, first individually and then
collaboratively, in dyads. The design of MetaVals therefore aims to allow students and teachers
overcoming the limits of the traditional activity.
A second learning objective is to help
students practicing theoretical contents.
MetaVals was first implemented as a part
of a finance course. In particular, this
Serious Game (SG) aimed to help students
practice two financial concepts; assets and
liabilities. With this aim, game designers
together with an expert professor in
finance designed a list of items that could
be classified into assets or liabilities. This
list was divided into easy, medium and
high difficulty items, and then concepts
were mixed and distributed in two panels
or screens in order to make the gaming
experience enough challenging for students. Each panel presented six different items that had to be
classified. In its current version, the MetaVals game allows teachers to introduce and select
different items for each different game play game; therefore, it can be used in different areas of
knowledge.
Third, with the aim of facilitating knowledge sharing, each item in the SG presents a certainty
level gadget. This tool allows students to rate and share their level of certainty when classifying
each item from 0 (not sure at all) to 10 (completely sure). This tool could help students in the
metacognitive processes, both individual and collaborative (Usart, Romero & Esteve, 2011).

5. Teacher’s approach in Spanish and Romanian contexts
Prior to the using the game in Carol I NDU in Romania for the ESP learning context, a
familiarization with the activities and elements of the game has been performed by the teacher,
following the game developer’s instructions. This unfolded in the computer lab, subsequent to
paper – based and debate activities that introduced the topic and ensured the knowledge transfer.


Figure 1. Interaction scheme in a lecture-based activity
compared to a collaborative, game-based activity
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At the stage of starting the game per se, students were provided with personalized welcoming
messages via mail from the game developer, informing them on steps to be taken; consequently,
teacher’s role has been seriously diminished at this later stage. However, this fact has shown its
minor drawbacks as well, as a side effect.













Figure 2. Level of
certainty elicitation

Teacher’s role in this very case has been limited to guiding them through the beginning of the
game and the game pre-testing phase, where they stated their level of knowledge in the field, based
on their own self-assessment; therefore, when the game started, students just used the information
in the customized mailed messages, received from the game designers. What is worth being
mentioned about students yet, is that being pursued by time-factor in the desire to complete the
game in the shortest time possible, students paid no attention to in-game real teacher’s instruction.
At the end they required a more interactive virtual tutor to guide them along. This shows the
complete dichotomy between the real versus the in-game instructor’s role and the impact they both
have over student’s activity effectiveness.
In the context of ESADE in Spain, the game has been used in three modalities. A firt release of
the game has been used in a paper-based approach reproducing the screens of the computer-based
environment. After this successful experience, the second modality of use was the use of the
MetaVals games in a computer-based environment accessible through the laptops of the students
collocated in a face-to-face class. In this context, the teacher’s role was reduced to a reduced level
of external guidance aiming to provide help to the students’ demands during the game. This game
modality has been deployed during three months in different classes of the Introduction to Finance
course. After these successful experiences, it was decided, along with the Finance professor, to do
a step further and propose the students to play to MetaVals as an autonomous activity available in
the Moodle website, in a distance asynchronous modality. This last stage has beed completed
successfully by the students’ playing the game. Nevertheless, in this distant asynchrounous
modality a small part of the students’ were not playing the game because of their reduced
engagement out of the classroom academic time. The use of the MetaVals has currently involved
more than 200 students and allowed to analyse the ease-of-use, utility and acceptability of the
game , in addition to its possibilities for adaption and personalisation (Romero, Usart, Popescu, &
Boyle, 2012).

6. Students’ approach with MetaVals game in Spain and Romania
At the outset of this study case, students of the Carol I NDU were very enthusiastic with the
proposal of using the game as an alternate means to apply and evaluate the knowledge gained and
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the concepts refreshed during the course. They created themselves avatars using their own basic
data unreluctantly, to feel themselves better engaged in the game. They were anxious to go
through the game in the shortest time possible as the word „competition” had become a buzz word
for them. Due to this fact they even ignored teacher’s extra instructions, being eager to be the first
to finish and win, to the detriment of final results. As they were told their peers in the game- the
dyads- were virtual and less knowledgeable, they changed the initial level of confidence, and they
were even disappointed, as a real and stronger opponent would have challenged them more-
according to their feedback. They yet got involved, immersed (as the information in the game had
immediate relevance to the real world) and felt both serious and entertained during this activity.
They expressed their desire for more such classes.
At the end of this one-hour experiment with the Finance and Accounting Post-graduate
students on using the MetaVals game in Carol I NDU, we can state the objectives of our
experiment have been met. Consequently, we concluded that:
-games do have positive effects on learning even in adult training, in that they boost students’
interest and engagement towards the knowledge in focus. Even if by using the MetaVals students
didn’t actually acquire new concepts, their soft skills were improved, their metacognitive skills
were developed and the teacher took this opportunity to have the students self-assessed. In adult
teaching sometimes evaluation is a sensitive issue due to age and career leading positions,
affecting self-esteem and public image, therefore softer methods that would allow for a teaching
process to be completed with evaluating the cognitive gain without affecting one’s self are better
received by mature students.
-as far as the integration within the learning process is concerned, the MetaVals game has
been used in the Postgraduate Financial English course in the reinforcement and application phase,
subsequent to teaching and learning. We both used the game for cognitive and soft skills
development, among which we mention remembering, understanding, applying, evaluating, along
with inter- and intra-personal skills like self-confidence, collaboration, decision-making,
negotiation, self-efficacy skills.
-It turned out that the group needed more preparation for the game sequences -due to the
novelty of the activity- than for the cognitive component of the game content which comes as a
strong factor in support of spreading more information on the game-based –learning activities with
a view to a larger uptake. Reluctance comes from ignorance and once the method is well spread,
more and more teachers and students will take to it.
In the context of ESADE, the participants of the Introduction to finance course playing to
Metavals have been invited to answer a feedback questionnaire related to their learning and
playing experience, based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM, Davis, 1986). The TAM
suggests the users’ perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived usefulness (PU) and Utility (U)
influences the use of the computer-based system.

7. Teacher’s post-training approach over a prospective game-based-curriculum in Spain and
Romania
A very important conclusion is that customization plays an important role in students’ engagement
with the game, and MetaVals gives some customization options. However, a more interactive
interface would be more efficient in giving the students’ the reality factor at a better quota. An
interactive tutor once the game starts was asked for, as it is more difficult to „go in and out of the
game” for different instructions provided by the classroom tutor.
Moreover, students would have liked to „feel and see” the opponent in the dyad, his lack or
representation as a real character- being presented only with an on-screen column with values-
gave the feeling of little interactivity. It is well known that one of the adult-learning compliance
factors is the reality factor and immediate use of whatever it is presented as training. Not being
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compliant with their real-life post-training cases, an activity ends in being lacked of interest.
Avatars have their importance as well as the other characters in the game, especially with adults,
for a raised reality-factor challenge as well as for a better engagement triggered by this.
As far as the syllabus is concerned this game has been well embedded thematically, answering
both the objectives of the case study and the objectives of the lesson per se, objectives which had
been previously required in the general curriculum. However, at this stage games can only be
embedded into syllabus provided educators identify elements conducive to the learning contexts
and learning objectives. More time and financial resources, more open-mindedness is all required
from the higher education staff. Nevertheless, since first steps have been taken successfully both
from the students’ and tutor’s perspective, more will surely follow.
In the context of the use of MetaVals in ESADE, the professor is not playing an important role
in the process. He supports the student when they require to answer content related questions in
the face-to-face uses of the game. In the context of asynchronic and distant use of the MetaVals,
the professor is not required in the process of integration of the game in the Virtual Learning
Environment (VLE) Moodle. The students’ plays autonomously to the game and has not yet used
the forum to ask for additional information or share doubts on the content of the game. MetaVals
shows the results of the classification activity to the students just after playing. For this reason, is
not required for the professor to analyse the students’ answer and provide them with feedback.

8. Students’ post-training vision over the effectiveness of a game-based –curriculum in Spain
and Romania
Students’ answers in the post-game feedback session on the use of MetaVals game for ESP
purposes in Romania have presented us with some interesting insights. The questionnaire
submitted at the end of the game-training session elicited both qualitative and quantitative
indicators and used Likert scale. Hence:
- Motivation was given by the fact that the game was experience based, that the difficulty
level was well balanced with respect to completing the challenges inside the game
- As far as relevance for the job was concerned the answers for all the students were 3 on a
Likert scale, while the correspondence between their job description and skills employed
in training had a different feedback from user to user, given their different positions in the
work-place.
When they were asked to give comments on the game, they stated that they liked the idea of
gamifying the learning activity, they liked competition and the combination between cognitive and
soft skills employed in solving the task. 90% of them would rather attend this kind of blended
training, where some of the activities are gamified, due to the novelty factor, due to the possibility
of self-assessment and challenge, due to the idea of entertainment within an otherwise strict
learning context.

8.1 Using games for self assessing knowledge
Serious Games, as an active learning methodology, aims to place the learner in a central role
(Oblinger, 2004). These educational activities can be used for improving students’ self-assesment.
In particular, MetaVals is a SG that allows students to practice previous acquired knowledge on
their own. This is achieved through three different factors; first, the possibility of playing the
collaborative phases with a virtual peer. This characteristic allows players to access and play the
SG both online and asynchronously. Secondly, MetaVals was designed with a virtual teacher
character that aims to pedagogically scaffold the players’ advance screen by screen. With this
virtual role, the students need little guide from the teacher during the game play activity. Finally,
the fact that pre-test and post-tests are also implemented and are easily accessible from the game
application could help students in self-assessing their process before, during, and after the game
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play. Nevertheless, a debriefing session is recommended when playing MetaVals, as it could help
students reflect on the process, and share doubts on the game results.

8.2 Using serious games out of the classroom
Nowadays, teachers claim for IT resources readily available; if SGs are used as technologies for
learning and teaching, teachers need resources to be accessible in order to simplify their
implementation, and to help possible overcome class limitations (Becker, 2007). When thinking of
using SGs out of the classroom, there are some key aspects that need to be studied. A SG used by
the learner must be accessible online. MetaVals can be played online, with the only requirement
that the teacher has previously released the users in the game engine. This step is also important as
a security issue: only students in the class can access the game. Out of class activities, as
homework, need clear instructions from the teacher. In the case of a SG, these instructions can be
given by the game, and students can follow the activity on their own. MetaVals, as seen in the
previous section, presents a virtual teacher that guides the student through the game and makes this
SG able to be played out of the classroom too.

9. Conclusions and steps ahead
The use of the Serious Game MetaVals in the context of the study case of Romania and the regular
use of MetaVals in ESADE has achieved the learning objectives of each of the contexts, both in
terms of the balances in finance and the English for Special Purpose, developed through playing
the game. In terms of the learning experience, there is room for improvement in the management
of the prior knowledge asymmetries between the dyads.
Also, the deployment of serious games in the military, into areas that involve more than tactics
and strict military operations, such as transdisciplinary context in the applied linguistics modules,
strategy, communication and leadership and even teacher trainer are optimistically seen as viable
and with many chances of successful uptake, provided the methodology is made well-known and
teachers get familiarized with the fruits such an approach bear on the learning effectiveness, while
pedagogical approaches will make formal education more engaging and boost its effectiveness
(Arnab S.& all- 2012), provided both teachers and students drop the barrier of reluctance and
embrace the road successfully lying ahead for most of us- Technology-Enhanced-Learning.

References
Arnab,S., Berta R. , Earp J., de Freitas S., Popescu M., Romero M., Stanescu I., Usart I. (2012). Framing the
Adoption of Serious Games in Formal Education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, Academic
Publishing Limited, pp. 159‑171
Becker, K. (2007). Digital game-based learning once removed: teaching teachers. British Journal of
Educational Technology, 38 (3), 478-488.Davis, F. D. (1986) A Technology Acceptance Model for
Empirically Testing New End-User Information Systems: Theory and Results, Unpublished Doctoral
dissertation, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Kim, B., Park, H. & Baek, Y. (2009). Not just fun, but serious strategies: Using meta-cognitive strategies in
game-based learning. Computers and Education, 52(4), 800 810.
Kirriemuir, J., & McFarlane, A. (2004). Report 8: Literature review in games and learning. Futurelab Series.
Massons, J., Romero, M., Usart, M., Mas, S., Padrós, A. & Almirall, E. (2011). Uso del aprendizaje basado
en juegos en la formación de finanzas para no financieros. Actas de las Jornadas Interuniversitarias de
Innovación Docente. Universitat Ramon Llull, DEUSTO, ICADE, 16-17 June, Barcelona.
Oblinger, D. (2004). The next generation of educational engagement. Journal of Interactive Media in
Education, 8
Padrós, A. Romero, M. & Usart, M. (2011). Developing serious Games: Form Face-to-Face to a Computer-
based Modality. E-learning papers, 25, 15-07-2011.
Prensky, M. (2002). The motivation of gameplay: The real twenty-first century learning revolution. On the
Horizon, 10,(1), 5-11
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Romero, M., Usart, M., Popescu, M., & Boyle, E. (2012). Interdisciplinary an international adaption and
personalization of the MetaVals Serious Games. The Third International Conference on Serious
Games Development and Applications SGDA 2012, 26-29 Sep, University of Bremen, Germany
Shapiro, M. A. Pena-Herborn, J., Hancock, J. T.: Realism, imagination and narrative video games. In:
Playing Video Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences. Eds: Vorderer, P., & Bryant, J.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (2006).
Srikant D., Garvin, D., & Cullen, P. (2010). Rethinking the MBA, Business Education at a Crossroads.
Boston: Harvard Business Press,
Tao, Y.-H., Cheng, C.-J. & Sun, S.-Y. (2009). What influences college students to continue using business
simulation games? The Taiwan experience. Computers and Education, 53(3), 929-939.
Usart, M., Romero, M. & Almirall, E. (2011). Impact of the Feeling of Knowledge explicitation in the
learners’ participation and performance in a collaborative Game Based Learning activity. International
Conference on Serious Games Development and Applications Springer LNCS proceedings, Lisbon.
Metacognition In On-Line Foreign Language Learning

Ramona Henter
1
, Ecaterina Maria Unianu
1


(1) Universitatea “Transilvania” din Brașov,
Facultatea de Psihologie și Științele Educației
56, N. Bălcescu, Str., 500019, ROMÂNIA
E-mail: ramona.henter@unitbv.ro, caty.unianu@unibv.ro


Abstract

As modern learning is changing along with technological development, students must be
equipped with techniques for efficient learning. Acquiring a foreign language through modern
means and in unconventional environments (such as computer assisted classes) calls for both
effective teaching methods and students’ personal involvement in learning (self-regulated
learning). Individual differences among language learners play a crucial role in the level of
acquiring a foreign language, but research shows that those with good metacognitive skills
have better results in learning a foreign language. Metacognition, the level of awareness
about our own cognitive processes, comprises metacognitive knowledge and skills. The most
important in learning a foreign language are the procedural and conditional skills (to know
how, where and when to use a certain strategy). We tried to identify computer assisted
language learning courses and models of individual learning in a hypermedia environment in
which metacognition plays an important part in order to discover their strengths, the
metacognitive knowledge and skills required from students, as a starting point for an on-line
English course. The results are gathered in a sketch of an on-line English course.

Keywords: metacognition, metacognitive skills, computer assisted language learning

1. Introduction
Metacognition, defined as awareness of one’s cognitive states, processes and knowledge and as the
ability to consciously monitor and adjust these cognitive states, processes and knowledge
(Papaleontiou –Louca, 2008), may be „the missing link in school learning” (Nicholls, 2003), the
thing that differentiates individuals as concerning their performance. Metacognition refers to what
people know about cognition in general and about their own cognitive processes and retrieval, in
particular, as well as how they use this knowledge to adjust their informational processes and
behaviour (Koriat, 2007).
At the basis of a metacognitive training is the concept of metacognition, introduced by John
Flavell in 1976 to define the awareness of thinking process: what we think, how we think when we
face a certain task or situation and why we think in a certain way as well as the ability to monitor
these processes (Goh, 2008). Papaleontiou-Louca (2008) underlines the fact that metacognition, on
one hand, and learning and development, on the other hand, are not equal, metacognition meaning
the process of regulating learning and development.
The huge potential of metacognition in obtaining performance in language learning was first
detected by Wenden in 1987 (cited in Goh 2008) and many different interpretations of
metacognition and metacognitive models have appeared since, models attempteding to explain the
link between metacognition and language learning. In order to perform in learning a foreign
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language one needs to be aware of the learning process and to use learning strategies (including
metacognition) flexibly and effectively (Huang, 2005).
Metacognition represents the ability to reflect on what you do or do not do as a learner and on
what you know or do not know, leading to critical thinking as well as to changes in the way of
learning (Anderson, 2005). Basic metacognitive knowledge is essential while learning a foreign
language (El-Koumy, 2004) and teachers can help their students think about what is going on in
their minds while acquiring a new language, which in turn will lead to better learning skills
(Anderson, 2002). In this line, research shows that individual differences among language learners
play an extremely important role in the level of acquiring a foreign language and especially those
with good metacognitive skills have better results in learning a foreign language.
As modern learning is changing along with technological development, students (as everyone
else who desires to learn in an on-line environment) must be equipped with techniques for efficient
learning. Even more, acquiring a foreign language through modern means and in unconventional
environments (on-line courses or computer assisted classes, as part of both initial and continuous
training) calls for effective teaching methods as well as students’ personal involvement in learning,
mainly for self-regulated learning.

2. Methodology
2.1. Literature review
There were accessed six online databases (Science Direct, ProQuest, SpringerLink, Oxford
Journals, Wiley Online Library, Ebsco) to identify specific items that refer to learning a foreign
language in an on-line environment and at the same time using metacognitive strategies. Although
we found a great number of articles matching this search, few corresponded to what we had in
mind. Mostly they were computer aided courses with a metacognitive component or traditional
courses with on-line or computer aided and metacognitive components.
The search looked for English or French texts published in the last ten years (2002-2012). The
results are presented in Table no. 1.

Tabel no. 1. Research results on keywords, in online data bases

Online data bases
Key words: “metacognition” & “learning English” &
“on line”
Science Direct 710
Cambridge Journals 74
SpringerLink 1712
Oxford Journals 38
Wiley Online Library 469
Ebsco 4

2.2. Eligibility criteria
We tried to identify on-line courses in which metacognition plays an important part. We analyzed
these successful models in on-line language teaching in order to identify their strengths as well as
the level of metacognitive knowledge and skills involved/required from the students, as a starting
point for developing an on-line English language course. We also took into consideration
individual learning in a hypermedia environment, where metacognitive knowledge is more clearly
involved in planning, monitoring, testing, revising and assessing the strategies used for learning.
The criteria at the basis for their selection were:
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Training environment: On-line or computer aided courses
Subjects’ age. The subjects involved were from elementary school pupils up to teenagers or
students.
Skills involved. Metacognitive skills

2.3. Goals
We wanted to identify the strengths of English courses with a computer assisted component, as
well as the metacognitive skills found as successful in other research.

3. Results
Due to the great number of articles concerned with research on computer assisted language
learning (CALL), we cannot review all of them in such a short space so we selected their common
strong points for each linguistic skill (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). We grouped these
strengths in principles to be followed for success in acquiring a certain linguistic skill and then
sketched a course syllabus for teaching English on-line.

3.1. General principles for metacognitive learning of a foreign language in an on-line
environment
Research (Bannert et al, 2009) have identified three general principles for effective metacognitive
instruction relevant for hypermedia learning. One major design principle is to integrate
metacognitive instruction into the domain-specific instruction. That is to to embed teaching
metacognitive activities in the subject matter. The second design principle of effective instruction
is to explain the application and usefulness of all instructed metacognitive strategies so that
students will use them spontaneously in the training session or afterwards. The third design
principle underlines the importance of the fact that enough training time must be provided to
students in order to implement and automatise the metacognitive activities that have just been
learned.

3.2. Metacognitive learning of a foreign language in an on-line environment - reading
The metacognitive skills during reading are oriented towards better understanding and memorizing
of the text being read, the main strategies for cognitive adjustment including planning, monitoring,
applying, revising, and assessing (Cubukcu, 2008). Also, even those who have good reading skills
can improve them if they are trained in the use of effective strategies and are taught to monitor
their activity while reading (Cubukcu, 2008). These strategies include: use of strong personal
points (exploiting the abilities best mastered by those who read - if you are good at interpreting
graphs, rely on information obtained from them, for example), deduction of meaning of unknown
words, use of personal information about topic, search for information relevant to the objective
pursued, began returning to the questions to find the answers. Also, use of prior knowledge on the
subject in question can improve understanding of the read (El-Koumy, 2004).

3.3. Metacognitive learning of a foreign language in an on-line environment - writing
Writing requires a logical sequencing of sentences which is a metacognitive activity. On-line
writing needs the same metacognitive overview.

3.4. Metacognitive learning of a foreign language in an on-line environment -listening
The metacognitive skills for listening make listeners implicitly use certain metacognitive
techniques: prediction, monitoring, assessing and problem solving. Having some knowledge about
the process of learning correlates with the students’ listening abilities (Vandergrift et al, 2006).

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3.5. Metacognitive learning of a foreign language in an on-line environment - speaking
The participants to any conversation use metacognitive skills such as verbal, non-verbal and para-
verbal feed-back. Speech has to be monitored at the metacognitive level, embedding metacognitive
knowledge to permanently control and monitor conversation.

3.6. English course sketch
We suggest a 10 lessons course for learning English in an on-line environment and using
metacognitive strategies. The students should be equipped with a computer and an internet
connection. The teacher is still an important part of the course, face-to-face meetings being
necessary in the beginning (leeson a.) and at the end, for a feed-back session. The course presents
the metacognitive techniques that can be taught during each class, without any reference to the
content because the content can be chosen according to the students’ need (their level of English
knowledge, their interests). The aims for these lessons are:
a) Creating a personal learning environment (PLE) – a collection of different information
and communication technology tools and software which foster self-regulated and
collaborative learning (Valtonen et al, 2011). PLEs are unique and reflect each student’s
learning needs and ways of learning.
b) Identifying own metacognitive strategies used while reading, by each student.
Presentation and modelling of other metacognitive reading strategies.
c) Individual practice of the acquired skills in on-line environments.
d) Identifying own metacognitive strategies used while listening, by each student.
Presentation and modelling of other metacognitive listening strategies. Students’
individual practice.
e) Individual practice of all previously acquired skills in on-line environments.
f) Identifying own metacognitive strategies used while writing, by each student.
Presentation and modelling of other metacognitive writing strategies. Students’ individual
practice.
g) Individual practice of all previously acquired skills in on-line environments.
h) Identifying own metacognitive strategies used while speaking, by each student.
Presentation and modelling of other metacognitive speaking strategies. Students’
individual practice.
i) Individual practice of all previously acquired skills in on-line environments.
j) Teacher- student face–to-face feedback

5. Conclusions
Metacognitive instruction, embedded in regular teaching, has been proved to be a successful
strategy in computer assisted language learning. We suggested some objectives to be set as aims
for a computer assisted language learning course with the main focus on metacognition as a future
absolutely necessary tool for learning everything.
References
Bannert, M., Hildebrand, M., Mengelkamp, C. (2009): Effects of a metacognitive support device in learning
environments. Computers in Human Behaviour, 25, 829-825, DOI 10.1016/j.chb.2008.07.002
Cubukcu, F. (2008): Enhancing Vocabulary Development and Reading Comprehension through
Metacognitive Strategies. Issues in Educational Research, 18 (1)
El-Koumy, A. S. A. K. (2004): Metacognition and Reading Comprehension. Anglo Egyptian Bookshop,
Cairo
Goh, C. (1997): Metacognitive Awarenedd and Second Language Listeners. ELT Journal. 51 (4)
Huang, J. (2005): Metacognition training in the Chinese University Classroom: An Action Research Study.
Educational Action Research. 13 (3), 413 – 434, DOI 10.1080/09650790500200289
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Koriat, A. (2007): Metacognition and Consciousness, 289 – 327. In P. D. Zelazo, M. Moscovitch & E.
Thompson (Eds.), Cambridge Book of Consciousness. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
Nicholls, H. (2003): Cultivating 'The Seventh Sense' : metacognitive strategising in a New Zealand secondary
classroom. Available at http://www.aare.edu.au/03pap/nic03186.pdf (September, 2011)
Papaleontiou – Louca, E. (2008): Metacognition and Theory of Mind. Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Valtonen, T., Hacklin, S., Dillon, P., Vesisenaho, M., Kukkonen, J., Hietanen, A. (2001):
Perspectives on personal learning environments held by vocational students, Computers & Education,
Volume 58 (2), 732-739, ISSN 0360-1315, DOI 10.1016/j.compedu.2011.09.025.
Vandergrift, L., Goh, C. C., Mareschal, C. J., Tafaghodtari, M. H. (2006). The Metacognitive
Awareness Listening Questionnaire: Development and Validation. Language Learning. 56(3), 431–462.
Available at http://mres.gmu.edu/pmwiki/uploads/Main/EFAcognitive.pdf
Wen, M. L., Tsai, C.-C., Lin, H.-M., Chuang, S.-C.(2004): Cognitive–metacognitive and content-
technical aspects of constructivist Internet-based learning environments: a LISREL analysis, Computers
& Education, Volume 43 (3), 237-248, ISSN 0360-1315, DOI 10.1016/j.compedu.2003.10.006.
Young, S.C. (2003): Integrating ICT into second language education in a vocational high school. Journal of
Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 19 (4), 447-461, DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2006.02.015
Ontological Framework in in Integrated SOI (Structure of
Intellect)-Touring Machine-Kant Knowledge System

Loyola y Blanco José A.
1


(1) Facultad de Filosofía, Posgrado en Pedagogía, UNAM
Col. Universidad Nacional Autonoma, CU, México, D.F., México
E-mail: joseloyola@computer.org


Abstract
A ‘how to use’ framework for the integration of the concepts according to Piaget’s operating
cognitive system, along with the Intellect Model Structure (SOI), the Diagram of States of the
Touring Machine and Kant’s Cognitive System, is the result of research and presented as an
introductory course in:
Arithmetic-Algebra, Symbolic Logic, Combinatory Geometry-Euclidean Geometry.
The purpose of this course is for students to build three mathematical cognitive systems.
The building of Piaget’s operational schemes is the learning objective of any course
supported by digital technology; in this case, each schema representing a cognitive resource
as a function of the Mathematical Cognitive System.
This is due to these three schemas being the basis in the overall mathematical cognitive
system, as from a psycho-pedagogical perspective, they begin the construction of a set of
mathematical objects for each schema.
The comparison of this process with Kant’s Cognitive System matches up within its initial
phase, therefore the student is able to build up the set of objects based on their description,
showing that the sole description of characteristics of mathematical objects is necessary as
guidance in an intuitive process.
Starting with the Intellect Structure Model’s perspective, the virtual learning process begins
with figural contents (the objects), in order to show that the student’s main struggle when
learning mathematics starts with symbolic contents. When the student starts his/her virtual
mathematical learning using mathematical objects he/she creates mathematical forms in an
intuitive process, ending up as analytical judgments.

Keywords: Piaget’s operating cognitive system, Touring Machine, Structure of Intellect
Model, Kant’s Cognitive System, Knowledge States, and Mathematical Objects.

1. Introduction
The course is designed based on the Digital Pedagogy Model (DPM), a tool being used as a
framework to develop courses based on cognitive interaction with digital technology. The model
has 4 abstraction levels, the first one being the ontological one, which establishes the referential
areas for developing a digital pedagogy in the second level, a curricula design in the third, and
finally a didactic planning in the fourth level.
As the learning of mathematics presents a special situation that qualifies it as one of the main
problems at the pre-university level a propaedeutic course in mathematics has been designed and
implemented based on the DPM.
This research is based on some referential areas at the ontology level:
- Piaget’s operating cognitive system (Piaget, 1972), which establishes that for the
mathematical system it is necessary to assimilate and accommodate three cognitive
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operational schemas: topological, logical, numeric. This establishes three different
thinking systems which are basic in the overall construction of the mathematical system.
- The SOI Guilford Model (Guilford, 1959) establishes four types of contents that our
intellectual abilities can operate: figural, symbolic, semantic and behavioral. And here is
where we establish our main hypothesis in the mathematical learning problem:
o If we start to learn mathematics at the symbolic content level, the probabilities of a
student understanding them are too low. But if we start the mathematical learning at
the figural level, then the student can construct meanings for the symbolic level.
And what is more, if the student constructs the three basic cognitive operational
schemas, then, we can significantly improve significantly the symbolic learning
process.
o In this case, the figural contents are defined as objects. For each cognitive
operational schema, a set of mathematical objects is used. For the topological
contents we use polyominoes, for the logical schema we use logical blocks and for
the numerical, figural numbers.
- Another referential area is the philosophical one; here we develop a pedagogical vision
based on Kant cognitive system (Kant, 2006), which says in its first phase, that of
transcendental aesthetics, that a student will make analytical judgments not based on
experience but on intuition.
o Based on transcendental aesthetics, the learning activities at the figural level do not
required that the teacher give his or her student an explanation, but rather
instructions on construction based on the characteristics of the objects, for them to
create the objects of the figural contents. This construction is going to be made using
a technological tool: Visio.
- The last referential area is the Automata Theory (Alfonseca Cubero, Alfonseca Moreno,
& Moriyón Solomon, 2007), where a Touring Machine (TM) reads and writes symbols
from a tape and based on a distribution function, the TM advances to read the next
character, goes back or remains in the same, and writes or does not write, and change
state or does not.
o This establishes that the object’s construction proceeds according to a TM’s
mechanism, each state being a knowledge state where an object or a schema is
created by the student in interaction with the technology.
o The sequence of construction of knowledge products proceeds according to the
sequence of the SOI model.
2. The Learning Process
The design of the learning process proceeds based on the ontological level explained above. It´s
going to occur at two content levels of the SOI Model, first at the figural level until a cognitive
operational schema is constructed and then it shifts to the symbolic content to build mathematical
symbols using an experience significant to the student. But here the three systems are combined in
one process, which is first displayed in a state diagram for a unified vision.
3. Mathematics as the study of form
The main advantage of the state diagram is that the teacher can visualize the overall process
including all its 22 knowledge states. Another advantage is that it displays to what extent each of
the thinking systems is involved.
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Figure 1. An introductory course in mathematics using three basic thinking systems

In the case of the topological system the student builds up to the figural structure, where he or
she creates objects uniting squares along their sides. The logical system follows, starting with 4
geometric shapes, one of them being a square, and adding two attributes to the objects: color and
size. In this case, the process goes in the figural dimension up to the structure’s product and then
transforms the objects into symbols, and there builds up to a symbolic system. Within the last
system, only one shape is taken as a primary object, the circle, but they are arranged according to a
shape having different series: triangular, square, angular, inclined and rhomboid, after a figural
structure is accomplished, the figural numbers are transformed into symbolic numbers, where a
symbolic system is constructed.
As we can see, there is an idea behind the overall process, which is the concept of shape
(Evans, 1970), where at an intuitive level it is first seen as a geometrical shape. But as it is used in
three different mathematical systems, an abstraction is created, that the mathematics studied forms.
As the study continues to the symbolic level, the form is turn into forms of expressions. But the
idea still works.
4. The properties of the cognitive operational schema
As can be seen in the state diagram, there are five operational sequences, with different contents
but all of them using the same intellectual operations, leading to an abstraction of the process,
which is the sequence of operations used. Besides the sequence exercise the intellectual operations
and therefore the intelligence of the student, it also makes its cognitive schema operational in a
method of how to learn. Every operation in the sequence has its own characteristics when
implemented in a virtual environment, here we describe them as they have been interpreted for
implementation in a scenario of cognitive interaction with technological artifacts.
The cognitive abilities. First the cognition can take place in a search scenario where the
student can explore the different attributes of the objects to cognize. But these abilities are not only
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to explore and identify a type of objects, but also, to explore different ways to construct the
objects. As these objects are explored and created in a virtual environment using a technological
tool, which is a software program, then the student has the possibility of constructing the objects in
different ways.
Memory abilities. The area of memory abilities has been set as an operation for storing the
data and the information in structures created mainly in spreadsheets. These structures are the
scaffolding for the association and then for the knowledge construction. As the data and
information are distributed over different spreadsheets the student has to navigate through them
creating other types of associations.
Divergent-thinking abilities. Once the objects have been made known and stored, the student
has the opportunity to build another, of his or her own conception. The objects are probably not
completely determined by the stored information, but this is not important in this step of the
construction process, because it might be a strategy of trial-and-error. The importance of this
operation is that it produces ideational fluency, a first step in the construction of new things. The
same tool used at the cognition level is used to create the new objects, using out-of-the-box
thinking. The student arrives at the next operation with a new set of objects.
Convergent-production abilities. This is an operation that has been conceived of to be carried
out together with other peers, using a Web 2.0 application. For example, Google Docs, where each
student can display his or her own divergent-production objects to the other students, and share his
or her creative thinking and their examinee to furnish the object. In a team discussion, the
members have to converge on one set of objects which will represent the team’s creation, along
with their arguments that support it.
Evaluative abilities. This is the area of metacognition and decision-making. The student
him/herself evaluates his/her work with regard to the accuracy, suitability or workability of the
data and information given and produced and the knowledge created. He or she also describes of
the process of creation using the technological tool. As a result of the process he or she is graded
by the teacher as well as his or her peers, and gives a score to each of his or hers peers. The
technological scenario will be a forum for the platform.
4. The Cognitive Interaction
Polyominoes. In the topological objects (Lushbaugh,
1965), the student is asked to create dominoes,
triominoes, tetraminoes, pentominoes and
hexominoes. Squares are joined along their sides,
when this is done using Visio the squares are marked,
but then a new object is created the object out of the
removal of the lines that united the squares. Along
with these characteristics, once the student has the
pentominoes he or she has at his/her disposal
operations such as rotate or flip that allows him/her to
understand that a rotated pentominoe is the same
object.
Logical blocks. In this case, the student has several forms for constructing objects along with
different colors (Dienes & Golding, 1966).
For the size property the student has to interpret the same size using different forms, which can
be the subject of discussion in the convergent-production.
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In the case of using polygons, when he or she has to transform the objects
into symbols he/she has to decide on the best index to represent the elements.
Another matter for discussion if whether to use circles and ellipses in the
same universe.
Figural numbers. In this case, the cognitive interaction is at its best, due
to the fact that allows different ways to construct the numerical series
(Brumfiel & Vance, 1970). This attribute allows for translating these forms
of construction into different numerical expressions at the symbolic content
level. Another characteristic is that, when constructing the figural numbers
the color indicates the term on the serie, and if the way to build is based on
taking the previous one along with other, when the union operation is applied
to create the next one, this takes the right color.




Figure 2. When
constructing a triangular
number, the previous one
is taken using the
corresponding natural
number. At the moment
when the union operation
is performed the right
color is provided by Visio.





Figure 3. Different forms
of construction


The cognitive interaction with the tool also allows for the discovery of relationships between
series.


Figure 5. There is a relationship between evens
numbers and rhomboids

Figure 4. There is a relationship between odd
numbers and square numbers
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Figure 6. There is a relationship between triangles and rhomboids



Figure 7. There is a relationship between triangles and square numbers

As is seen in these exercises, this turn the Visio file in, what we call, a cognitive operational
scheme along with the Visio’s functionality, due to the fact that allows the objects to be operated
to search and look for relationships.
In this sense, searching for relationships means looking for operations that transform one series
into another, which at the symbolic level will uncover some interesting relationships that are
difficult to catch without the objects.
At the symbolic level, all the relationships are explored.
First, the students have to describe the number series deducting the numbers or counting the
number of circles of the constructed objects in Visio, they have to extend the series to the tenth
member, and then the 100
th
.
Let us take the triangle series. The first relationship to express in a numeric expression is the
previous one plus the number required, which in turn happens to be the correspondent natural
number. Then they have to express it as an addition of numbers, which is the sequence of natural
numbers. Afterwards, they explore the
relationship with the rhomboid numbers.
Eventually they have to deduct the nth, but
by now the spreadsheet is turned into a
cognitive operational schema that allows
them to do this. These exercises can be
visualized in the figure below.






Figure 8. The cognitive operational
scheme of symbolic numbers
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5. References
Alfonseca Cubero, E., Alfonseca Moreno, M., & Moriyón Solomon, R. (2007). Teoría de autómatas y
lenguajes formales. Madrid: McGraw Hill/Interamericana de España S.A.U.
Brumfiel, C. F., & Vance, I. E. (1970). Algebra and Geometry for teachers. Reading: Addison Wesley
Publishing Company.
Dienes, Z. P., & Golding, E. W. (1966). Lógica y juegos lógicos. Barcelona: Editorial Taide S.A.
Evans, J. P. (1970). Mathematics: creation and study of form. Reading, Ms.: Addison-Wesley Publishing
Company.
Guilford, J. P. (1959). Three faces of intellect. American Psychologist, 469-479.
Kant, E. (2006). La critica de la razón pura. Mexico: Santillana Ediciones Generales S.A. de C.V.
Lushbaugh, W. (1965). Polyominoes. New York: Solomon W. Golomb.
Piaget, J. (1972). Psychology and Epistemology, towards a theory of knowledge. Middlesex: Penguin Books
Ltd.
Modeling a Virtual Learning Environment as States
of a Touring Machine

Loyola y Blanco José A.
1


(2) CCH Vallejo, UNAM, Dept Matematicas
Av 100 Metros S/N, Del GAM, Mexico, D.F., MEXICO
Universidad Simon Bolivar, Dept Computación
Av. Río Mixcoac #48 Col. Insurgentes Mixcoac, Mexico, D.F., MEXICO
E-mail: joseloyola@computer.org


Abstract
The Modelling of a Virtual Learning Environment can be accomplished through the
modelling of states of a Touring Machine, where learning takes place through the transition
of states in which knowledge products are built.
In one state, a Touring Machine reads and as a result of this action may or may not write,
and may or may not make a state transition.
In the learning process modeled by states of a Touring Machine, the student reads,
processes the information, builds a product of knowledge through actions and finally changes
his state or remains in the same one.
The knowledge products, the operations performed in the actions, and the type of contents
read are determined by the abilities of the Structure of Intellect Model (SOI) ensuring in this
manner that learning takes place.
The modeling of states is the key to displaying and summarizing the curriculum designed by
an UML object-oriented modeling, where a Use Case represents a unit of cognitive resources
that is developed by the student.
Each use case is developed through an UML state diagram, and then is validated by a
Touring Machine modeling state.
It is expected that, in a virtual learning environment, a student should be able to open his
own threads of learning with different contents, conduct state transitions determined by his
own learning process and produce his knowledge products, which becomes a case of non-
deterministic automata, showing the benefits of adopting the modeling of states of a Touring
Machine as a learning model.

Keywords: Touring Machine, Structure of Intellect Model, Knowledge States

1. Introduction
A touring machine is an abstract machine that allows thinking on how a machine can process the
information introduced to it. The definition of a Touring Machine (Alfonseca Cubero, Alfonseca
Moreno, & Moriyón Solomon, 2007) includes as the main component, the function that determines
the behavior of the automata as it reads the information introduced. The function determines the
actions performed depending on the machine’s state and the characters read.
We can think about the student’s learning process as one that proceeds in the same manner,
that is, he or she reads information and depending on his or her cognitive operational schemas he
or she will act accordingly. The function that determines his or her behavior afterwards is a black box.
In a case where the visibility of the knowledge in a studied phenomenon is poor one can use a
model that represents the event and depending on the output’s reality the model will be adjusted.
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In this case, the model that serves for this purpose is the Guilford’s SOI (Structure of Intellect)
Model (Guilford, 1959), where he defines the intellectual abilities that determine our capacities
and abilities.
If we converge on both models, the automata and the SOI, we can visualize what might be the
learning process that a student can follow to assimilate/accommodate the cognitive operational
schemas planned.

Figure 1. A Touring Machine’s diagram of state representing initial mathematical-logical learning
2. The learning process at a glance
In the above figure it is shown two types of contents in the virtual mathematical learning are
shown, the first one at the top shows the processing with figural contents, and the one at the
bottom shows the symbolic content. As can be seen, it is practically the same processing pattern.
We can see an initial state named q
ls
which establishes the current schemas of the student in the
mathematical-logical thinking system. From there, the process transitions to the first learning state
established by the SOI Model, the one that constructs figural units.

Figure 2. The state where figural units are constructed is divided into sub-states

The figural units in the mathematical-logical system are constructed through 5 operations.
In the first operation some logical blocks are shown to the student, and the student has to
construct an extension of the set shown, the operation that corroborates that the student cognizes
mathematical-logical figural units. The construction process is developed using Visio the
technological tool chosen to do the task.
From that knowledge state, a first Universal set is created by the student. In order to test if the
student has stored the significant information about the set of objects constructed, he is asked to
write down in a spreadsheet the meta-cognition information that describes the created set. Excel is
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used using a spreadsheet designed with a structure of cognitive scaffolding. It is expected that the
student will create an extension of the given set. However, there are various possibilities for doing
this, one student might abstract: 4 geometric shapes, 4 colors and 2 sizes; while another might
abstract: 4 geometric shapes, 2 colors and 4 sizes; and yet another: 2 geometric shapes, 4 colors
and 4 sizes.
This situation can produce a non-deterministic Touring Machine.

Figure 3. A non-deterministic transition from the state of cognition of figural units
3. A non-deterministic behavior
This exemplifies that a digital virtual environment allows each student to follow his or her own
perceptions, if the necessary resources are built in by the teacher to enable this possibility.


Figure 5. Within the figural relations, some of them
are difficult to identify

Once the figural units are constructed by the student, he or she can transition to the next state,
the construction of figural classes, which constitutes the first step in developing mathematical-
logical abstraction.
At the end of this first level of mathematical-logical figural unit’s logical blocks, the student
has to end up with in a structure that allows him or her to identify difficult relations.

Figure 4. A set of logical blocks given to construct
a Universal set
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Figure 7. With the cognitive operational schema
the student can define this set as non-blue and non-
circle

With the cognitive operational schema constructed the student redefines the relations given
with the logical blocks not structured (see fig. 5). This experience gives the student the ability to
make synthetic judgments, transferring him or her from the Transcendental Aesthetic to the
Transcendental Analytic in the Kant knowledge system (Kant, 2006) and in the SOI sequence to
the symbolic contents.
4. The symbolic content
When the processing with the figural contents has reached its goal, which is the cognitive
operational schema displayed in figs. 6 and 7, there has to be a transition towards to the symbolic
content, which is the following knowledge products construction.
The sequence of operations is the same with the symbolic content as it was with the figural
content; that redundancy creates a trace of operational capacity and develops the intellectual
abilities used. It also creates the foundation from which to start at this second level of construction.
As this is a transition (Hopcroft, Motwani, & Ullman, 2008) of contents, it has to be started
using the student’s own symbols. That is why with regard to the ability to cognize symbolic units;
first the student creates a set of symbols whose sole restriction is the size of the symbol, and then
he or she is asked to create another set using more specific characteristics: a lower case letter and
one digit. Afterwards a set of symbols is given with a different intent; in this case, he or she must
figure out the meaning of the symbols.
In this moment another class of
symbols (Piaget, 1973) is introduced,
the symbols of sets, which has to be
different, but related:
With these classes of symbols the
students has to process different
relations.
At the symbolic relations level,
another class of symbols is
introduced, and before entering into
the symbolic structure it is important
to make the student gain awareness
of all the different classes of symbols
that are being managed.

Figure 6. The cognitive operational schema for
the figural contents of the mathematical-
logical system
Table 1. Cognition of symbolic classes
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5. Conclusion
By using the SOI Model
structure, the modeling of a
virtual learning environment as
states of a Touring Machine
provides teachers with the
opportunity to focus on the
selection of content and how to
interpret the implementation of
intellectual abilities.




6. References
Alfonseca Cubero, E., Alfonseca Moreno, M., & Moriyón Solomon, R. (2007). Teoría de autómatas y
lenguajes formales. Madrid: McGraw Hill/Interamericana de España S.A.U.
Guilford, J. P. (1959). Three faces of intellect. American Psychologist, 469-479.
Hopcroft, J. E., Motwani, R., & Ullman, J. D. (2008). Teoría de autómatas, lenguajes y computación.
Madrid: Pearson Educacion S.A.
Kant, E. (2006). La critica de la razón pura. Mexico: Santillana Ediciones Generales S.A. de C.V.
Piaget, J. (1973). La formación del símbolo en el niño. México, DF: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Table 2. Cognition of symbolic relations
An Inversion-based Genetic Algorithm for Grouping of students

M. Mahdi Barati Jozan
1
, Fattaneh Taghiyareh
1
, Hesham Faili
1


(1) School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Collage of Engineering, University of Tehran
Tehran, Iran
E-mail: {m_barati, ftaghiyar, hfaili }@ut.ac.ir


Abstract
Grouping of students is an important educational activity in traditional learning and e-
learning environments and lots of research has been done in this area. In this paper the new
algorithm is proposed for grouping of students that do not limit the number of features of
students for grouping and in addition of using values of features, their priorities are also
involved in the grouping by taking advantage of the Inversion concept, and this observation in
previous algorithm has been less considered. The results indicate that the proposed algorithm
has high efficiency in forming groups and formed groups in the two below criteria 1) the
discrepancy between the members of group that is called intra-group fitness, and 2) the
similarity between heterogeneous formed groups that is called inter-fitness group.

Keywords: Grouping of students, Inversion, Genetic Algorithm, Collaborative learning

1. Introduction
Collaborative learning in traditional learning and e-learning environments is very important and
highly regarded. One of the major activities in collaborative learning is grouping of students that
many researches has been performed in this activity from simple random selection (Huxham and
Land, 1955) to more sophisticated methods that used advanced algorithms (Graf and Bekele, 2006;
Gogoulou 2007; Wanget et al, 2007; Hwang et al, 2008; Ho, T. F. 2009; Ani et al, 2010; Lin et al,
2010; Morenoet et al, 2012).
One of the disadvantages of simple methods such as random grouping is forming groups that
may not have the same efficiency and homogeneity and it causes some groups to be unable to
reach all predefined goals or even fail (Wanget et al, 2007; Lin et al, 2010; Morenoet et al, 2012).
If grouping of students is done efficiently, workload will be divided proportionally between
members of groups, more diverse solutions to solve their problems will be innovated, more
incentives will be created (Ani et al, 2010), communication and management skills and problem-
solving ability in the members of group will be increased (Hwang et al, 2008; Ani et al, 2010), and
students in a group can promote each other’s success through helping, sharing, assisting,
explaining, and encouraging (Hwang et al, 2008). Therefore, the selection of students for
placement in groups is a particular important task.
As mentioned above, forming efficient group needs effective algorithms. Efforts by many
researchers have been done in this area, some of them have been tried the data mining techniques
such as clustering, Bayesian networks, classification algorithms and etc. In (Romero and Ventura,
2010) a survey of data mining techniques that have been used in grouping of students has been
done. Besides the use of data mining techniques, biologically inspired and artificial intelligence
(AI) algorithms have also been used, and can form efficient groups.
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In (Gogoulou 2007; Wanget et al, 2007; Hwang et al, 2008; Ani et al, 2010; Morenoet et al,
2012), the proposed algorithms use genetic approach for group formation. In (Graf and Bekele,
2006) the introduced algorithm uses Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) to forming groups. In (Ho,
T. F. 2009; Lin et al, 2010) the proposed algorithms use Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) for
composing group.
In grouping of students, four important factors must be considered. The first, the kinds and
number of features for grouping of students should be specified (Bradley and Hebert, 1997;
Bradley and Hebert, 1997; Morenoet et al, 2012). In (Bradley and Hebert, 1997; Martín and
Paredes, 2004) emphasize that features such as gender, ethnic background, motivations, attitudes,
interests, and personality beside performance level should be considered in the forming of groups.
The second, the number of groups and number of students in each group must be specified
(Morenoet et al, 2012). The third factor is group type -heterogeneous, homogenous and mixed-
(Wanget et al, 2007) and final factor is the interaction between students in a group. In (Stahlet al,
2006) points out students learn not only from the contents of the course, but also learn from
interactions with each other in a group.
In most studies in the grouping of students, only the values of features have been considered.
In this paper, we propose an algorithm that in addition to the values of features, also uses their
priorities, that we introduce as fifth factor that should be considered in grouping of student. Our
algorithm also, in contrast to (Graf and Bekele, 2006; Gogoulou, 2007; Wanget et al, 2007; Ho, T.
F. 2009; Ani et al, 2010; Lin et al, 2010), doesn’t limit the number of features of students for
grouping. The experiments show that considering the priorities of the features will form groups
that are better and more coherent.
2. The Proposed Method
Before we introduce the proposed algorithm in this paper, we need to give definitions for some
important concepts that we will refer to them in the later sections.
2.1 Definitions
Feature: a variable that is used to describe one of the attributes of a student. Each feature has two
parts 1) metadata: includes information about that feature such as name, description, value, range
of value it can possess and etc.2) value: a specific amount in the legitimate range for that feature
that is specified in the metadata. Feature is represented as F :< f-metadata, f-value>.
Student: an order vector that each member of it is a feature that is represented as ST : <F1, F2
… Fk>.
Group: Group is set of students that is presented as G : <st1, st2 … stn>.There are 3 different
ways in the formation of groups. In the first way that is named as homogeneous, the criterion for
the formation of group is that the members of a group must have common features between them
and the number of these common features must be as much as possible i.e. the higher the number
of common features the better. In the second way that is named as heterogeneous, unlike the first,
students with different features will be in a group and the rule that is governing the formation of
the groups is to consider differences in features among students i.e. the students that have different
values for their features will be in a group not the ones that have the same values for their features,
and in the third way that is named as mixed, features of members will be divided into two
categories, a category that includes the features that members must have same values for them, and
the second category of features that the group members must have different values for them.
Intra-group fitness: intra-group fitness is the criterion that is used for assessing the quality of
the formed group from a set of specific students.
Inter-group fitness: inter-group fitness compares the competency of a formed group with
others. This measure is important in the field of education. There are two types available 1) several
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groups are almost equally balanced in terms of the features of students who were in them and 2)
one or more groups are excellent and other groups are very weak, the first type of grouping is
more favourable (Dembo, 1994; Morenoet et al, 2012). For example, if we have a classroom of 16
students and their learning ability is labeled A, B, C, D and in each group there are four students,
then between the following two types 1) One member of each label is in each group 2) all student
that have rate A form group 1, all student that have rate B form next group and etc., the first type
can be considered a better grouping, because in the second type of formation of groups according
to the members in each group, some groups have very good values for their fitness, but others
possess very low values for their quality. In other word, optimal grouping is, groups should have
highest homogeneity between themselves and students in each group should have highest
heterogeneity between each other.
2.2 Explaining the Proposed Method
As presented in the previous section, finding the optimal groups is one of the most important
activities in learning. Finding the optimal solution for grouping of students is a NP-hard problem
(Lin et al, 2010) and need exponential time to solve. For example, if we have n students and k
groups, in a way that n is divisible by k; total number of formation of groups is equal to [1]
|1|

For each case we must calculate the amount of intra-group and inter-group fitness and then
choose the best among all of them that it is very time consuming.
Since obtaining the optimal solution is very cumbersome or intractable in the general case,
using an approximation algorithm that does not find the optimal solution but its answer is close to
the optimal solution is an appropriate strategy. One of the most used and popular algorithm of this
kind is the genetic algorithm (Falkenauer, 1999). In this algorithm, first the students are placed
randomly in groups (initial population), then in each iteration, for each group, fitness function
calculates the group fitness and then by using genetic operators the algorithm try to move the
members between groups in order to find better groups (groups formed in each iteration are called
a generation). Exchanging group members will continue and only will be aborted when a
predetermined terminating condition is reached and in that case the algorithm will finish its
execution.
In almost all the pervious algorithms, values of features that govern the process of grouping of
the students are being considered and genetic operators were defined only based on features
values. We believe that in addition to the values of features, the values that students have acquired
in each feature, determine the priority of the features. For example, if three features 1) social
characteristics, 2) IQ and 3) scores of students are to be considered, then if the values of these
features in order for students be as follows:

Table 2. Example data set

Students
social
characteristics
IQ
scores of
students
Student1 2 3 5
Student2 5 3 4
Student3 3 2 5
Student4 3 5 4

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Table 3. Group1
Feature Student1 Student2
social characteristics 2 5
IQ 3 3
scores of students 5 4
Table 4. Group 2
Feature Student3 Student4
social characteristics 3 3
IQ 2 5
scores of students 5 4

The values of features have been normalized between 1 and 5 and placed in tables above.
In the example above, if we consider only the values of features as the decision criterion, a
noticeable decision criterion implicit in the above data set has been neglected that is the priority of
features against each other. In the Table 2, the first group, it is clear that both students have the
same value for their second feature but student1 is a social person and good at scores, in contrast,
second student's scores are higher but is not a social person. In the Table 3, the second group, both
students are the same in first feature but student4 have better IQ and good at scores, in contrast,
third student's scores are higher but is not clever and creative student. This point -priority of
features- has not been noticed in the past. For example, in (Gogoulou 2007) Group Quality of this
groups is calculated as [4]
[3]

[4]
Based on the above criteria, the qualities of groups in the previous example are: Quality Group
(G1) = Quality Group (G2) = 8.
As mentioned, although the qualities of groups, G1 and G2, are the same but the features that
students in these groups had different values for them, were not the same. This observation can be
considered as a big deficiency in those algorithms which only consider the value of the features.
In this paper, before explaining the proposed algorithm used in this study, we will introduce the
concept of Inversion, and then new Inversion-base algorithm will be described.
Inversion is defined as if A[1 .. n] be an order vector of n distinct values, if i < j and A[i ] > A[
j ], then the pair (i, j ) is called an Inversion of A. Several algorithms have been proposed to
account Inversions in an order vector. The best algorithm for this propose has the O(nlogn)
complexity (Kleinberg and Tardos, 2005). For a better intuitive understanding of the Inversion,
suppose that we have a list of 5 movies and we want from 2 person to rate them based on their
preferences between 1 and 10. Suppose the result is showed in the Table 5.
If movies are sorted into descending order based on their rating for all the voters, and then we
draw a line between same movies in the two rating list that we are currently comparing them with
each other, then the number of Inversions can simply be obtained (Figure 1).
Table 6. Result of Rating
Films Person1 Person2
Filem_1 10 10
Filem_2 6 3
Filem_3 5 9
Filem_4 1 6
Filem_5 8 1
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In remainder of this section, the new algorithm based on the concept of Inversion that is of the
category of genetic algorithms will be introduced. Three major parts of this proposed algorithm are
introduced that are intra-group and inter-group fitness and genetic operators. We assume that all
the features of the student’s vector are sorted base on their values.
Intra-group fitness: For each pair of students in a group, the number of their Inversions
between their features vector is calculated and the total number of these Inversions is represented
as intra-group fitness. As mentioned previously, because our goal is to create heterogeneous
groups, with the help of genetic operators, algorithm tries to place students who have the most
number of Inversions between their features vector in the same groups.
Inter-group fitness: We expect that groups to be close to each other as possible as it can be, and
students are distributed evenly between groups. So we use the standard deviation of intra-group
fitness between formed groups.


Figure 5. Number of Inversions is equal to the number of intersection that lines have with each other

Crossover: we use a slightly modified one-point crossover. To determine who should be
moved, two numbers are randomly generated. At first, we randomly determine the crossover point
in the range of 1 and (the number of members in each group). Next, we determine how the groups
should be combined together. And make up the new generation. To do this we generate another
random number and we call it rotation. This number will determine each solution in the new
generation is combined from two groups at the current generation. For example, suppose the
grouping shown in Figure 2 has been created as a current generation. Numbers indicate students
that are in each group, and random numbers generated for a crossover point is equal to 2 and 3 for
rotation that show in Figure 3.
In the end, to create more randomness, from each group randomly select two members and
change their place. In the previous example, suppose in group 1 members 1 and 4 , in group 2
members 2 and 4, in group 3 members 2 and 3, group 1 members 3 and 3 (don’t have any change)
change their place. The final grouping has been shown at Figure 4.




Figure 6. Initial state of groups
The result is equal:
Group 1
12
3
Group 2 14
Group 3 13
Group 4
11
2
4
9
10
5
8
Rotation = 3
crossover point =
2
1
15
6 16
7

Figure 7. Grouping after 3-rotation
i 2 i
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Mutation: in this operation we randomly select two groups and exchange a member between
them and random selection is used for choosing that member.
Another main point in genetic algorithm is representation of
solution by the use of chromosome concept. In our algorithm each
chromosome represents one group and each student in each group is
represented as a gene. Length of chromosome is equal to size of group.
Before analysing the algorithm, a brief discussion regarding the
fitness function will be introduced. One of the weaknesses in some of
the previous introduced algorithms is that value of fitness function is
not sensitive to the number of features of students or the number of
students in a group. Another point that is noteworthy is that the growth of introduced fitness
function with respect to the number of features or students in the group is linearly.
In this paper, a new fitness function is introduced to cover up those weaknesses. For first case,
the maximum number of Inversion in an order vector is that n is number of features
(Kleinberg and Tardos, 2005), so it is sensitive to number of features of students. Also, the
algorithm obtains intra-group fitness, for each pair of students in a group by calculating the
number of Inversions between that pair, so it is sensitive to the number of students in groups.
For the second weakness, if we have n features for each student and in each group we have m
students, the growth of fitness function will be m that is not linear. Because of this non-
linearity any increment in the number of features or the number of students, causes more variations
in the fitness function value and can achieve better results than the linear mode.
3. Results
In this section we evaluate the proposed algorithm. We have considered two criteria for the
evaluation of the algorithm; these criteria are intra-group fitness and inter-group fitness. The lesser
the magnitude of the inter-group fitness the more similar the groups are to each other. The greater
the value of the intra-group the more heterogeneous the members of the groups are to each other
and the more robust group is formed.
In the first test, for each of the students, 4 features are considered and the total number of
student is 16 that we want to classify them into 4 heterogeneous groups of 4 students. We generate
a random value for each feature of each student between 1 and 9. The results of grouping students
with the proposed algorithm are compared with randomly generated groups. This experiment was
performed for 10 times, and in each experiment 5000 generations were produced by using genetic
operations.
In table 20, for groups that have been created by the two algorithms mentioned above, for each
group, sum of the number of Inversions of members of each group with other members of that
same group are equal to [5] and for each experiment intra-group and intra-group fitness is showed:
[5]


Table 7. Result of Our Algorithem
proposed Alg Random Alg
Inversions of Group 1 38 22
Inversions of Group 2 38 46
Inversions of Group 3 38 44
Inversions of Group 4 40 34
Inter-group fitness 154 146
Intra-group fitness 0.87 9.53

Figure 8. The final
grouping
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As in Figure 1-a can be seen in the random mode, two groups have a very good inter-group
fitness (46 and 44), and this groups have highest number of Inversions but the other groups are less
favorable. In addition intra-group fitness is not good. In the results obtained from proposed
algorithm, not only the groups are similar to each other but also members within these groups have
considerable discrepancy to each other than the results of the random algorithm. Due to lack of
space, in evaluation, only the inter-group and intra- group fitness is used for the comparison of the
algorithms.
As mentioned above, our goal is to form 4 groups from 16 students, the results are shown in
Figure 9 and Figure 6.
In the second test, for each of the students, 6 features are considered and the total number of
student is 80 that we want to classify them into 8 heterogeneous groups of 10 students. The results
are shown in Figure 7 and Figure 8.
In the third test, for each of the students, 4 features are considered and the total number of
student is 120 that we want to classify them into 10 heterogeneous groups of 12 students. The
results are shown in Figure 9 and Figure 10.
In final test for each of the students, 10 features are considered and the total number of student
is 30 that we want to classify them into 15 heterogeneous groups of 20 students. The results are
shown in Figure 11 and Figure 12.
At first, we compare our algorithm with the random algorithm base on inter-fitness group. In
the first, as is indicated in Figure 5, our algorithm in 5 experiments finds optimal groups. In other
words, the algorithm forms groups such that the standard deviation of number of Inversions in
these groups is zero and it is significant improvement over the random algorithm. As for the first
test, in the other tests also, as is indicated in Figure 7, Figure 9, and Figure 11 our algorithm has
significant improvement in inter-group fitness criterion over the random algorithm. In test 2, our
algorithm in average case is 4.8 times, in the third test it is 4.1 times, and in the final test it is 2.6
times better than the random algorithm.



Figure 10. Test1, Inter-group fitness Figure 11. Test1, Intra-group fitness

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Figure 12. Test2, Inter-group fitness Figure 13. Test2, Intra-group fitness

Another criterion to compare is intra-fitness. In the first test, as indicated in Figure 6, our
algorithm in 7 cases has find groups with better inter-group fitness and in 2 cases its results is
worse than the random algorithm and in 1 case its result is equal to the random algorithm. In the
second test, as is indicated in Figure 8, our algorithm in 7 cases has find groups with better inter-
group fitness and in 3 cases groups formed by our proposed algorithm possess worse values for
their intra-group fitness than it is the case for the random algorithm. In the third test, as is indicated
in Figure 10, in 8 cases our algorithm composed groups, that have better intra-group fitness with
respect to the random algorithm and in 2 cases the obtained results is worse than the random case.
As indicated in Figure 12 in the final test, our algorithm in 9 cases has find groups with better
intra-group fitness and in 1 case is worse than the random algorithm.


Figure 14. Test3, Inter-group fitness Figure 15. Test3,Intra-group fitness



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Figure 16. Test4,Inter-group fitness Figure 17. Test4,Intra-group fitness

As is clear from the results, with the increasing number of groups and individuals, the
difference between results of the two algorithms is greater. When the number of groups and
individuals is low, the number of different modes of grouping is low. Thus, the probability of
results that is acceptable of the random grouping result increase.
4. Conclusion and Future Work
This study was to provide a new algorithm for grouping students. Criteria for evaluating the
algorithm were inter-fitness and intra-fitness groups. In Section 3, the results were shown that the
proposed algorithm has significant improvement over the random algorithms, especially in intra-
fitness groups.
The main features of the algorithm are:
- Considering the priority of features, unlike most previous algorithms that only the value of
the features was considered.
- Lack of restrictions on the number of features for grouping of students.
- A significant improvement over the random grouping in forming inter-heterogonous and
intra-homogenous groups.
- Use a non-linear fitness function with respect to the number of students and features of
each student. If we have m students and each student has n features the fitness function
growth is of the order .
- The used fitness function is sensitive to number of students and number of features of each
student.
As was shown in earlier sections, the performance of the proposed algorithm was much higher
than the random algorithm. This idea can also be used in other activities that need grouping. So the
above algorithm can be considered as a general-purpose clustering algorithm.
Besides the positive features of the proposed algorithm, there are also weaknesses that include:
- Having problem with categorical data and their values that cannot be compared, for
example color.
- Having problem with the data values in different domains. For example, the number of
years each student spend on his/her education and his/her grade in the course of the
advanced algorithm design.
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As a future work, we will try to offer solutions to the above weaknesses and try to apply the
algorithm to real data that we want to collect from classes. Another work is to apply our algorithm
to other areas as a general- purpose clustering algorithm and compare it with other clustering
algorithms.

5. References
Huxham, M. and Land, R. (1955): Assigning Students in Group Work Projects.Can We Do Better than
Random?. Innovations in Education and TrainingInternational, 37 ,1 , 17-22.
Ani, Z. C. and Yasin, A. and Husin, M. Z. and Hamid, Z. A. (2010): A Method for Group Formation Using
Genetic Algorithm. International Journal on Computer Science and Engineering 2, 9, 3060-3064.
Romero, C. and Ventura, S. (2010): Educational Data Mining: A Review of the State of the Art. In
transactions on systems, man, and cybernetics—part c: applications and reviews, VOL. 40, NO. 6.
Hwang, G. J. and Yin, P. Y. and Hwang, C. W. and Tsai, C. C. (2008): An Enhanced Genetic Approach to
Composing Cooperative Learning Groups for Multiple Grouping Criteria. Educational Technology &
Society 11, 1, 148-167.
Ho, T. F. and Shyu, S. J. and Wang, F. H. and Li, C. T. J. (2009): Composing High-heterogeneous and High-
interaction Groups in Collaborative Learning with Particle Swarm Optimization. In World Congress on
Computer Science and Information Engineering, 607-611.
Graf, S. and Bekele, R. (2006): Forming heterogeneous groups for intelligent collaborative learning systems
with ant colony optimization. In Proceedings of the 8th international conference on Intelligent Tutoring
Systems, 217-226.
Gogoulou, A. and Gouli, E. and Boas, G. and Liakou, E. and Grigoriadou, M. (2007): Forming
Homogeneous, Heterogeneous and Mixed Groups of Learners. In Proceedings of the 11th International
Conference on User Modeling: Workshop on Personalisation in e-Learning Environments at Individual
and Group Level. Corfu, Greece, 33-40.
Wang, D. Y. and Lin, S. S. J. and Sun, C. T. (2007): DIANA: A computer-supported heterogeneous grouping
system for teachersto conduct successful small learning groups. Computers in Human Behavior 23, 1997–
2010.
Moreno, J. and Ovalle, D. A. and Vicari, R. M. (2012): A genetic algorithm approach for group formation in
collaborative learning considering multiple student characteristics. Computers & Education 58, 560– 569.
Lin , Y. T. and Huang, Y. M. and Cheng, S. C. (2010): An autom atic group compo sition system for compo
sing collaborative learning group s using enhanced particle swarm optimization. Computers & Education
55, 1483– 1493.
Bradley, J. H. and Hebert, F. J. (1997) The Effect of Personality Type on Team Performance. ournal of
Management Development, 16, 5, 337-53.
Martín, E. and Paredes, P, (2004): Using Learning Styles for Dynamic Group Formation in Adaptive
Collaborative Hypermedia Systems. In Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Adaptive
Hypermedia and Collaborative Web-based Systems, 188-198.
Stahl, G. and Koschmann, T. and Suthers, D. (2006): Computer-supported collaborative learning: An
historical perspective. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences.
Dembo, M. H. (1994): Applying Educational Psychology. Allyn & Bacon; 5 edition.
Falkenauer, E. (1999): Evolutionary Algorithms: Applying Genetic Algorithms to Real-World Problems.
Springer, New York, 65-88.
Kleinberg, J. and Tardos, E. (2005): Algorithm Design. Addison Wesley.
Curriculum Evaluation of Machinery Training Department

Süleyman Yaldiz*, Ulvi Şeker**, Nicoleta Alina Andreescu***

*Selcuk University, Higher School of Vocational and Technical Sciences, Konya,
Turkey, syaldi[at]selcuk.edu.tr
**Gazi University, Faculty of Technology, Ankara, Turkey
*** University of Oradea, Department of Engineering and Industrial Management in
Textiles and Leatherwork, Oradea, Romania, nandreescu[at]uoradea.ro


Abstract
Machinery technology and manufacturing have evolved so fast and today machinery has been
a part of modern education and training although the improvement is still going up. In this
context, Machinery Training has been one of the main subjects in education, especially in
vocational and technical education and training. In Turkey, machinery in the context of
mechanical manufacturing sector has recently developed swiftly as in other sectors.
Enterprises have quickly increased the number of machines used in manufacturing and
improved the conditions of production. The education given at the university level has given
more importance to practice rather than theoretical education. The needs have been in
change each day and, therefore, it is very essential that the curriculum of Machinery Training
should be developed and upgraded based on the needs of the sector.

Keywords: Machinery, Machinery training, Manufacturing, Curriculum evaluation

1. Introduction
Vocational education is education that provides individuals with knowledge and skills related to
work, and work habits and improves individuals’ abilities in many respects (Alkan, 2001:1).
Technical education is advanced education which requires advanced science and mathematical
knowledge with applied technical skills. What is more, it gives necessary knowledge, skills and
habits that are essential for the level between middle and high management in occupational
hierarchy. Although technical education is common in general engineering, it is not restricted to
this area. It develops into the fields of health, nutrition, trade and other fields in parallel with
scientific and technological developments (Alkan, 1996:8).Vocational and technical education, in
the integrity of national education system, includes planning, researching, developing, organizing,
coordinating all kinds of vocational and technical education services with agriculture and service
sector. It is also a combination of management, supervision and teaching activities. Vocational
education is a compulsory education that supplies individual, social, economic, cultural and
national needs. Vocational and technical education is a three-dimension whole consisting of
individuals and education. The success of vocational and technical education is in proportion to
behaviors developed as a result of education and the suitability of these behaviors to real work
situations. At the end of the education of the individual, adaption to work requires developing a
detailed curriculum program. Planning for education may have different extents and features
according to the results. Some of these plans require long-term team work. Curriculum is a
detailed plan and it indicates all the components of teaching and learning situations in system
integrity. The general strategy that is prepared for a lesson in vocational and technical education,
and that will be followed in curriculum, is much flexible rather than being rigid (Sezgin, 2000:26-27)..
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2. Material and Method
2.1 The aim of the paper
This research aims to evaluate Machinery Training Curriculum in higher vocational school in
terms of objectives, contents, learning and teaching activities, testing and evaluation based on the
students’ opinions. The curriculum is for two years. Selcuk University, Higher School of
Vocational and Technical Sciences has Machinery Training department and this department has
following filed related lessons: Computer-I, Engineering Drawing-I, Manufacturing Processes-I,
Manufacturing Technology-I, Mathematics-I, Physical Training-I, Scientific Principles of
Technology, Computer-II, Engineering Drawing-II, Engineering Science-I, Industrial Based
Training-I, Manufacturing Processes-II, Manufacturing Technology-II, Material Technology-I,
Mathematics –II, Physical Training-II, Computer Aided Design (Pack. Prog.), Computer Aided
Design-I, Engineering science-II, General and Technical Communication, Machine Design,
Machinery Science and Components, Manufacturing Procedures-III, Manufacturing Technology-
III, Material Technology-II, Advanced Measurement Techniques, Computer Aided Manufacturing
(Package Programme), Computer Aided Design-II, Computer Aided Manufacturing, Heat
Treatment Techniques, Hydraulics and Pneumatics Systems, Industrial Based Training-II,
Management and Manufacturing Control, Non-destructive Testing, Quality Assurance and
Standards, Quality Control and System Analyses and Design
3. Method
This is a qualitative study based on the data obtained using a question form with open ended
questions. The participants of this research consist of second year students of Higher School of
Vocational and Technical Sciences, Department Machinery Training at Selcuk University in 2011-
2012 academic year. First grade students are not involved in the research because they do not have
a chance of evaluating the whole curriculum. 488 participants are involved in the study.
In the research, interviewing is used as a technique to get students’ opinions. The question
forms were prepared by the researcher to apply to the second grade students in the Machinery
Training Department at Selcuk University Higher School of Vocational and Technical Sciences.
Questions were developed by receiving experts’ opinions and making necessary corrections. The
form includes open-ended questions about personal information of students, the reasons for
choosing the department, the time of lesson, sufficiency of technological devices, the aim of the
lesson, teaching atmosphere, students’ expectations and suggestions.
In the analysis of data obtained from the forms involved in the research, appropriate classifying
was done according to the answers. After the data was transferred to the computer, Microsoft
Excel was used in order to make statistical analysis. Through the aid of this software, frequency (f)
and percentage values (%) were calculated. These values were displayed in Figs.
Findings










Figure 1. The range showing the
graduation of participants
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Figure 2: The range showing
graduation field of
participants














Figure 3: The range showing
genders of participants













Figure 4: The range showing
the entranceways of the
participants

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Figure 5: The range of the
participants’ reasons for
choosing the department













Figure 6: The range showing
affective conditions of the
participants















Figure 7: The range showing
participants’ evaluation of
lesson duration



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Figure 8: The range
showing participants’
views on techniques and
models in the lessons














Figure 9: The grade
displaying information
about sources used by the
participants












Figure 10: The grade
showing participants’
opinions about achieving
their goals
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Figure 11: The
range showing
participants’
opinions about the
similarities
between
participants
design and models
created in the
lesson and the
ones on the market















Figure 12: The
range of showing
whether
participants’
products draw
interest outside the
school or not

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Figure 13: The range showing
participants’ opinions about
providing materials













Figure 14: The range showing the evaluation of the
equipment of workshop in terms of technology














Figure 15: The range showing
participants’ opinions about
the size of the workshop

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Figure 16: The range
showing participants’
opinions about the
suitability of education to
the real Work situations


5. Discussion and Conclusion
Selcuk University, Higher School of Vocational and Technical Sciences, Machinery Department
Program were founded for the purpose of adapting to ever-changing technology in Turkey and in
the world and following the changes. Various researches about the education given in this program
indicate that the special workshop equipment requires time to improve the conditions of them
because it has recently opened. Most the students state they voluntarily attend the lessons and 42%
of students state they experience difficulty in the lessons. 33% of the students state that theoretical
lessons are enough but machinery lessons should be more. 33% of the students state that the
intervals of the lessons are long and thus they do not have many chances of not attending lessons
and they need one day off in a week in order to do research. Most of the students say that they find
the techniques sufficient in the lessons of computer-aided design, computer-aided pattern making,
pattern making and design. Moreover, they state the machines used in the lesson of cutting
technologies are insufficient in terms of the techniques. 23% of the students find the techniques in
design are insufficient and make evaluations about developing them. 4% of the students, who
graduated from machinery department in high school, state that they have difficulty in computer-
aided design and also they think the techniques in computer-aided design lesson are ineffective.
Most of the students make use of Internet, the modules produced by the Ministry of Education
and the experts working in the sector as a source. 33% of the students state they do not use any
other source except for the Internet. Most of the students think they will not reach their goals after
the education given. 46% of the students think that they will reach their aims at the end of the
education. 46% of the students say that they follow the products on the market and they inspire
from them at a certain extent. Therefore, they state their products have similarities in the ones on
the market. 38% of the students say that there are more professional and original models than other
products on the market. 17% of the students state they do not have an opinion about this matter.
Most of the students state their products made in the lessons are liked outside school. Because
25% of the students do not know the department well enough and their designs are not presented
enough, their products do not draw attention. Most of the students say they have difficulty in
providing materials used in production because of time and transportation. 29% of the students
state they do not have any trouble with providing materials.
All of the students cannot evaluate the equipment in the workshop because it has newly
opened. Most of the students state that they find the size of the workshop sufficient and 25% say
the opposite. Most of the students say that the education is suitable for the occupational life. 4% of
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the students state this depends upon their efforts for self-improvement and the place where they
work.
Students suggest necessary things should be done in order to promote the department. For this,
it is useful to attend seminars and exhibitions, and to be on the people’s minds

References
Books:
Alkan, C. (2001): Mesleki ve Teknik Eğitimin Esasları, Nobel Yayınları, Ankara.
Alkan, C., Doğan, H. and İlhan, S. (1996): Mesleki ve Teknik Eğitimin Esasları: Kavramlar, Gelişmeler,
Uygulamalar, Yönelmeler, Gazi Büro Kitabevi, Ankara.
Kaya, Z. and Şahin, M. (2011): Araştırma Yöntemleri ve Teknikleri, Siyasal Kitabevi, Ankara.
Sezgin, İ. (2000): Mesleki ve Teknik Eğitimde Program Geliştirme, Nobel Yayınları, Ankara
Internet Sources:
http://www.selcuk.edu.tr Accessed: 28/02/2012
http://www.scribd.com/doc/47000353/Ayakkab%C4%B1-Raporu, Accessed: 04/03/2012
Cloud Computing And High Education

Dineva S.
1
, Nedeva V.
1

(1) Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Trakia University,
Gr.Ignatiev str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
sbdineva@abv.bg, vnedeva@tk.uni-sz.bg


Abstract
The quality of education is the policy and main goal of any country and government. The
cloud computing solve many problems and open many opportunities to the education
establishments. The offered by cloud providers multimedia interactive lessons holds great
promise for improving the quality of education by the ability to illustrate ideas with visual,
audio, text, or any combination of media and in that way to improve the level of aquired
knowledge.

Key words: cloud computing, education, distance education, e-learning


1. Introduction
“Cloud” is the most hyped term in the IT industry right now. “Cloud” computing – a relatively
recent term, builds on decades of research in virtualization, distributed com- puting, utility
computing, and more recently networking, web and software services (Vouk, 2008). One of
definitions for a “cloud” OS is simply a simplified operating system that runs just a web browser,
providing access to a variety of web-based applications that allow the user to perform many simple
tasks without booting a full-scale operating system (Betonio, 2011). A study by McKinsey (the
global management consulting firm) found that there are 22 possible separate definitions of cloud
computing. A more commonly used definition describes it as clusters of distributed computers
which provide on-demand resources and services over a networked medium (usually the Internet)
(Sultan, 2010). At the view point of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST,
www.microsoft.com/educloud), cloud computing means the following:
- On-demand service - can get what you need when you need it.
- Broad network access - the cloud brings network-based access to, and management of,
software and services - meaning access is anywhere, anytime.
- Resource pooling - a large pool of users shares location-independent resources and costs
in an environmentally sustainable way.
- Flexible resource allocation - as demands fluctuate, cloud services can scale rapidly. You
don’t have to worry about bringing new servers online or reallocating resources.
- Measured service - most cloud usage is metered, often per user or per hour. Microsoft
offers Microsoft Live@edu, a free option designed specifically for education institutions.
IEEE alos provides free educator programs and services to help facilitate and support
knowledge sharing in the engineering sciences and research academia circles
(http://www.ieee.org/education_careers/ educators.html?WT.mc_id=rfm_edu).

2. How cloud computing transforms education
2.1 Cloud services
Three main types of services can be offered by the cloud:
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Software as a Service (SaaS): applications are delivered through the medium of the Internet as a
service. It helps organizations with limited IT resources to deploy and maintain needed software in
a timely manner while, at the same time, reducing energy consumption and expense. Instead of
installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from
complex software and hardware management.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): The operating environment in which applications run. Platform
as a Service (PaaS) is a way to rent hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity
over the Internet. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an outgrowth of Software as a Service (SaaS), a
software distribution model in which hosted software applications are made available to customers
over the Internet (Rouse, 2010).
A famoust cloud Computing Operating Systems are:
1. Glide OS - Glide is a free suite of rights-based productivity and collaboration
applications with 30GBs of storage.
2. Amoeba OS - is an advanced Online Operating System. Log in to your free account and
join a cloud computing revolution that begins with great apps like Shutterborg, Exstream
and Surf.
3. MyGOYA - is a free online operating system. Your own personal desktop can be
accessed from any Internet PC in the world and includes e-mail, chat, filesharing,
calendar and an instant messenger. Manage your contacts from anywhere in the world.
4. Kohive - is an online desktop where you can easily collaborate with others
5. ZimdeskOS - is your computer on the web – the entire functionality of a PC – online.
There is nothing to install. A web browser and internet connection are all you need to
access your desktop, files and favourite applications. You can access your data anytime
from anywhere, from any PC.
6. Ghost Cloud Computing - is a leading company in the cloud computing industry that
offers individuals and businesses file storage and apps in the cloud to enable secure
personal computing from any device; can upload data of any type to your cloud storage
from any device; can edit documents and pictures directly online within Ghost portal. It
also offers full mobile support; can browse your file and folders from your cellular
device just like a USB flash drive.
7. Joli OS - is a free and easy way to turn any computer up to 10 years old into a cool new
cloud device.
8. Cloudo - is a free cloud operating system that lives on the Internet, right in your web
browser. This means that you can reach your documents, photos, music and all other
files no matter where you are, from any computer or mobile phone.
9. CorneliOS - The CorneliOS Web OS is an easy-to-use, multi-user and cross-browser
“Web Desktop Environment”, “Web Operating System” or “Web Office” and comes
with a set of cool applications.
10. Lucid Desktop - first web desktop that offers this technology. Lucid comes with lots of
applications. You can browse photos, listen to music, and edit documents. It also comes
with an RSS feed reader, some games, a calculator, and a bash-like terminal application.
You can install additional third-party applications.
11. EyeOS - eyeOS is one of the most used WebOSes which is released under the AGPLv3
license and only needs Apache + PHP5 + MySQL to run.
12. Startforce - can run Windows apps such as MS Office, Adobe Acrobat and Quickbooks,
stitch in web apps such as Salesforce.com, Google or your company’s intranet web apps.
A Web Operating System is a Web platform which allows the user to use a virtual Desktop
through a web browser rather than using any particular local operating system (Teylor F. 2010).
Combining a browser with a basic operating system allows the use of cloud computing, in which
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applications and data “live and run” on the Internet instead of on the hard drive. This is also
referred to as platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS). A cloud OS can be
installed and used together with other operating systems, or can act as a standalone operating
system. When used as a standalone operating system, hardware requirements can be very low
(Betonio, 2011).
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The on-demand data centers. There are flexible options
about which services to obtain in the cloud and which to keep on-site. For example, with SaaS,
you can add services, like e-mail, affordably. With PaaS, you can deliver services broadly without
having to manage the infrastructure. With IaaS, you get pay-as-you-go data center capacity for
adding CPUs, storage, networking, or Web hosting (www.microsoft.com/educloud). Many
colleges do not have sufficient hardware or software to give students a complete learning
experience. This problem is especially pronounced in the technical fields. Outsourcing some
capabilities to the cloud makes the most of what’s on-site by freeing time, budget, and people.
However, with SaaS and IaaS, a limited budget will still allow students access to the latest
technologies on offer (fig.1). Simulating those complex weather patterns and running those
complicated algorithms will no longer be something that only students at the top-of-the institutions
can do (Sourya, 2011).

Figure 18 Simplified structure of the main users of IT services in a typical university now using the
services of cloud computing (Sultan N. 2010)
2.2 Cloud benefits for education
The potential of cloud computing for improving efficiency, cost and convenience for the
educational sector is being recognized by a number US educational (and official) establishments
(Fox, 2009). Cloud benefits for education are obtained through (www.microsoft.com/educloud):
- Flexible services - Drive innovation with data services in the cloud that students, teachers,
faculty, and staff can reuse. Offer your own data mashups on a portal.
- Infrastructure - Get all the IT resources you need, only when you need them, managed
securely and predictably. And pay for only what you use.
- Applications and content - Rather than waiting in the software procurement line, get
hosted software, datasets, and services so fast you’ll have plenty of time to work on your
mission.
- Policies and regulations - Proceed carefully, but note how cloud computing can help you
meet your institution’s compliance requirements.
- Creative IT - Free your IT department from a keep-the-lights-on approach to foster some
creative problem solving that can help teachers better engage their students.
Cloud computing has a prominent role to play in the classrooms of tomorrow. Cloud
computing can democratize education. For example, many schools suffer from low graduation
rates directly attributable to insufficient infrastructure – shorthanded staff, tiny classrooms, lack of
teachers (Sourya, 2011). Cloud computing solutions can solve many of these problems.
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Typically, the cloud computing infrastructure resides in a large data center and is managed
by a third party, who provides computing resources as if it were a utility such as electricity—
accessible by anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection (Paul et al, 2008). Some countries
are already moving in this direction. The Higher Education Funding Council for England
announced a plan to allocate £12.5 million to a new program that will fund shared services in
cloud computing at colleges and universities across the country (Sourya, 2011). In October
2 0 0 7 , G o o g l e a n d I B M j o i n t l y announced the academic cloud computing initiative
with six U.S. research universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Stanford University, the University of California–Berkeley, the University of
Maryland, and the University of Washington. As part of this initiative, IBM and Google have
dedicated a large cluster of several hundred computers for use by faculty and students at the
participating institutions. By making these resources available, the companies hope to encourage
faculty adoption of cloud computing in their research and also integration of the technology into
the classroom. (Paul et al, 2008).
Cloud computing will affect education by providing instructors, students, and others with a
dramatic new environment for presentations - i.e., they will no longer be bound by the limits of
illustrating processes on chalkboards or in slide presentations. The offered by cloud providers
multimedia interactive lessons holds great promise for improving the quality of education by
providing the ability to illustrate ideas with visual, audio, text, or any combination of media and in
that way to improve the level of aquired knowledge (fig.2).


Figure 19. Correlation between level of aquire knowledge and instructional design (Uskov V. 2010)
The cloud helps ensure that students, teachers, faculty, parents, and staff have on-demand
access to critical information using any device from anywhere (www.microsoft.com/educloud).
With cloud-based education tools, the whole world can learn from the best (Sourya, 2011). In
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general, there are two primary ways in which cloud clusters can be used. In one mode, the cloud
cluster simply hosts a user’s application, which is typically provided as a Web service accessible to
anyone with an Internet connection. In the consumer realm, services such as Google Maps, Gmail,
and YouTube can already be thought of as “cloud applications.” The second mode may be thought
of as “batch processing,” where the user transfers a large amount of data over to the cloud cluster
along with associated application codes for manipulating the data. The cloud cluster executes the
application code, and the results are returned to the user. (Paul et al, 2008). In our faculty we
already applied internet based multimedia lessons from cloud provider into the classroom and that
have great success of acceptance amomg students (fig.3).


Figure 20. Using cloud based multimedia lessons in class, in FTT - Yambol
2.3 New Cloud Computing Services in education
The first broad-based collaborative project for the cloud by a global professional association will
introduced several new products and services in education (Kowalenko, 2012):
- a website - A Web portal to all things related to IEEE cloud computing. The portal
includes news about the cloud computing initiative’s progress, articles from the IEEE
Xplore digital library, conferences sponsored by IEEE and other organizations, standards,
educational materials, and interviews with experts;
- conferences - organized by the IEEE Computer Society have already been scheduled:
IEEE Cloud 2012, being held from 24 to 29 June in Honolulu, and IEEE CloudCom
2012, taking place from 3 to 6 December in Taipei, Taiwan. Other IEEE conferences will
include a session or two covering the field. An IEEE Cloud Congress will be held every
year or two. Congresses are under way in Asian, European, and Latin American cities.
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176
One congress is scheduled to be held in Shenzhen, China, from 8 to 11 November, and
another in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from 26 to 27 December;
- continuing education courses - IEEE is developing several e-learning courses. Given by
experts, the courses offer professional development hours and continuing education units.
Some courses will charge a nominal fee, while others will be free.;
- publications - An online-only quarterly journal and a magazine are to debut next year.
Cloud Computing Letters, designed for rapid dissemination of original, cutting-edge ideas
and significant contributions, is to be available in 2014.;
- standards, and a platform for testing cloud computing applications - IEEE plans to
explore involves developing environments for creating and testing protocols for the IEEE
P2302 Draft Standard for Intercloud Interoperability and Federation [see “Standards for
Seamless Cloud Computing”]. To that end, IEEE wants to partner with governments,
universities, and research institutions around the world that already have cloud computing
resources. The goal is to create a well-connected, standards-based platform.

3. Conclusions
We expect further development and utilization of cloud services in the future. Hopefully that will
increase the level of education quality offered by the facuylty as well as the research work of
students and academic stuff.


4. References
Paul T. Jaeger, Jimmy Lin & Justin M. Grimes (2008): Cloud Computing and Information Policy: Computing
in a Policy Cloud?, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 5:3, 269-283
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19331680802425479
Sultan N. (2010): Cloud computing for education: A new dawn?, International Journal of Information
Management, Volume 30, Issue 2, April 2010, Pages 109–116.
Vouk M. (2008): Cloud Computing – Issues, Research and Implementations Journal of Computing and
Information Technology - CIT 16, 2008, 4, 235–246 doi: 10.2498 /cit.1001391
Betonio D. (2011): 12 Excellent Cloud Computing Operating Systems
http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2011/04/12-excellent-cloud-computing-operating-systems.html
Cloud computing in education (2010): www.microsoft.com/educloud
Fox, A. (2009). Cloudcomputing in education. Berkeley iNews,
https://inews.berkeley.edu/articles/Spring2009/cloud-computing (accessed on: 29 July 2009).
Kowalenko K. (2012): Coming Soon: New Cloud Computing Services, 7 Юни 2012,
http://theinstitute.ieee.org/benefits/products-and-services/coming-soon-new-cloud-computing-services
Larson L. (2012): Web 4.0: The Era of Online Customer Engagement, Published January 5, 2012,
http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/web-4-0-the-era-of-online-customer-
engagement-0113733
Rouse M. (2010): Platform as a Service (PaaS)
http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Platform-as-a-Service-PaaS
Sourya B. (2011): How Can Cloud Computing Help In Education? http://www.cloudtweaks.com/2011/02/
how-can-cloud-computing-help-in-education/
Teylor F. (2010): Cloud Computing, 10 Web Operating Systems, http://www.admixweb.com/2010/
07/23/cloud-computing-10-web-operating-systems/
Uskov V. (2010): Transforming Web-Based Education: From Web2.0 to Web4.0,
http://www.ineer.org/Events/ICEE2010/presentations/Pres_1303_1425_USKOV.pdf
Evaluation of Certain Aspects of Electronic and Blended
Learning (Teachers Opinion)

Ducheva Z.
1
, Dineva S.
1
, Pehlivanova M.
1

(1) Trakia University, Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Yambol, Gr.Ignatiev
str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
zl.ducheva@abv.bg, sbdineva@abv.bg, margopehlivanova@abv.bg


Abstract
In this paper, we investigated the opinion of university professors according to e-learning and
blended learning opportunities. All respondents agreed that e-based courses are more
attractive to students and convinient to the use of lecturers. Regardless of the age, the
younger group and the group of 50-60 years believe that they have good technical self-
preparation in the use of interactive learning tools. Most respondents use blended learning,
which combines the advantages of traditional and modern teaching technologies and improve
the quality of education. Some of the problems that arise are related to financial incentives
for professors to introduce e-learning.

Key words: e-learning, blended learning


1. Introduction
E-learning is defined as interactive learning in which students learn through the usage of
computers as an educational medium. In the recent past, for about twenty years, e-learning has
been used in almost every educational institution; including primary and secondary schools as a
positive step towards improving performance, and enabling learners to be more efficient and
autonomous (Tamsamani 2012). Many researchers in their investigations conclude that e-learning
can never replace traditional learning completely. Traditional learning becomes more exciting and
interesting with the help of new IT (Information Technology). When comparing learning an
identical course in a traditional framework to a computer mediated learning framework, students
have expressed higher satisfaction from the computer-mediated learning (Vaidya&Furtado, 2012),
and rated the learning as more effective than in the traditional framework (Rashty, 1999).
In this paper, we have investigated the opinion of teachers according to the e-learning methods
and opportunities.

2. Materials and methods
In this research, we have screening the opinion among academic faculty stuff in Faculty of
Technics and Technology - Yambol about blended learning. An inquiry was held in respect of
joint training among 18 teachers – including 9 associate professors, 5 assistant professors and 3
assistant. Ten respondents were women and 8 men. Most of them use blended learning methods
from 2000 year and 3 of them have not enough experience.

3. Analysis of some aspects of the application of electronic and blended learning.
Survey shows that lecturers use a variety training technologies; the majority of them (93.76%)
prefer blended learning, as it allows combining the positive features of traditional and modern
teaching technologies. In discussions with some of the respondents, they expressed the opinion
that online environment does not replace completely traditional (classic) teaching methods, but
improves its quality (fig. 1).
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11,11%
33,33%
93,76%
0,00% 20,00% 40,00% 60,00% 80,00% 100,00%
e-Learning
conventional
teaching
blendet learning

Figure1. Preferences of types of courses in teaching students (in the opinion of university professors)

Reconstruction of classical teaching by using the opportunities of modern information and
communication technologies allows personal growth and professional development of academic
staff. In blended learning students can easily assess the quality of teaching, as professional and
social teaching experience is supported by contemporary digital technology.
The access of students to materials of online courses improves academic achievements, as
indicated by the data from our previous studies.

0 2 4 6 8 10 12
strongl y disagree
not agree
agree
complеtеly agree
no opini on

Figure 2. E-based courses are more attractive to the students and more convinient to the use of teachers
The majority of surveyed lecturers emphasize first the formation and structuring of content and
capabilities of online technologies as an opportunity to increase the motivation of students and the
quality of teaching in the auditoriums. All respondents are agreeing that e-based courses are more
attractive to the students and much more convenient to the use from teachers (fig.2).
The inquire shows that most of teachers from the faculty are using power point presentations
(fig.3), some of them use video, other utilize smart-boards to present their lectures. Many teachers
accepted power point presentation as very useful tool for introducing new topics. Powerpoint has
been accepted as invaluable in any classes, because many students are visual learners. Teachers
can productively use PowerPoint to share pictures and graphics, or to put up an outline to assist
students in taking notes. Like any other tool, it should not be used constantly
(http://www.enotes.com/teachers/discuss/ pros-cons-using-powerpoint-classroom-120144).

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Optimistic are the data obtained
from the persons, because they
indicate that the lecturers are in a
continuous process of search and
improve of methodologies and
tools for lifelong professional path
(professional development, career).
55,56% expressed disagreement,
that there is no need for further
development and tend to introduce
new pedagogic technologies, they
are familiar with them, but adapt
them to their own pedagogical
approach and style.

According to the results from survey and in our opinion, pedagogical interaction is an essential
component of successful e-learning. In answer to the question you are prepared and you have
communication skills in e-
environment, 44.45% of the
respondents are strongly agreed
and 33.33% - agree. This indicates
that the majority of surveyed gave
a positive assessment of their own
skills for interaction in an
electronic environment and report
their importance as an effective
tool for teaching and learning and
increase the effectiveness of on-
line courses.
On the reasoning that the
respondents have no good
technical training on the use of
new interactive tools, 33.33% speak strongly disagreement, 44.44% - disagreement and only
16.67% are fully agree.
The survey results by age groups show that even professors who are at the end of his career
attitude have the necessary technical skills and training to work with interactive tools. Only one of
all age groups indicates that lacks technical training and attitude to work with ICT.










Figure 5. Self-assessment of
teachers for their communication
skills in e-learning
0 5 10 15 20
presentations
audio
video
smart-board

Figure 3. Using different types of e-based multimedia lessons in
class, in FTT – Yambol
0%
55,56%
16,67%
5,55%
22,22%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
strongly disagree
not agree
no opinion
agree
completely agree

Figure 4. Evaluation of methods of teaching and the need to
introduce new tools for learning

0%
0%
22,22%
33,33%
44,45%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
strongly disagree
disagreeing
Сan`t decide
agreed
totally agree
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180









Figure 6. Assessment of the skills
of teachers in their technical
preparation


The fact that over 66
percent of young teachers
(30-40 years) and those 51-60
years age group appreciate
their technical training, skills
and attitudes for the
introduction of new training
tools. We can express
assumption that improving
the technical preparation and
use of innovative
technologies not directly
dependent on age rather than
attitudes and teaching style of
teachers.














Figure 8. Students’ skills
for working in
e-environment

For the effectiveness of blended learning are important skills of students to work in an
electronic environment. Approximately 78% of the surveyed professors assess that students have
knowledge of e-learning, 5.56% opined that they are fully prepared to work with the contemporary
33,33%
44,44%
5,56%
0,00%
16,67%
0,00% 10,00% 20,00% 30,00% 40,00% 50,00%
strongly disagree
not agree
no opinion
agree
completely agree
66,67%
33,33%
0
0
0
33,33%
33,33%
33,33%
16,67%
66,67%
16,67%
33,33%
33,33%
0
33,33%
0,00% 20,00% 40,00% 60,00% 80,00%
strongly
disagree
disagree
Сan`t decide
agree
totally agree
over 60
51-60
41-50
30-40

Figure 7. Assessment of the skills of teachers in their technical
preparation(by age groups)
5,56%
77,78%
0%
16,66%
0%
0,00% 20,00% 40,00% 60,00% 80,00%
strongly disagree
not agree
no opinion
agree
completely agree
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technologies, while 16% think that students are not prepared to work in a virtual learning
environment.

22,22%
55,56%
5,55%
16,67%
0,00%
0,00% 10,00% 20,00% 30,00% 40,00% 50,00% 60,00%
strongly disagree
disagreeing
Сan`t decide
agreed
totally agree

Figure 9. Lack of time for entering and updating of new training facilities

The introduction of modern technologies and new technical tools in the training of students
requires and more free time for theoretical study of new technologies, as well as for the formation
of new professional skills and their application in the preparation of students. Despite the
auditorium employment of academic staff, participation in scientific research activities and
projects, 55.56% of the respondents disagree that they lack time for innovation, and 22.22%
expressed strong disagreement.
The lack of academic recognition and financial stimuli as well as the fact that the preparation
of e-materials is a time consuming activity has been specified from other researchers as negative
factors (Tuparova&Tuparov, 2007). There is requiring of law documents in schools and in some
university for stimulation of school and university teachers to develop and use of e-learning
content (Tuparova&Tuparov, 2007). Also the lack of adequate hardware and software facilities
represents an additional embarrassment. The use of ready-made electronic content in Bulgaria is
poor especially in humanities because of its lack or inappropriateness (Tuparova&Tuparov, 2007).

5,56%
33,33%
16,67%
33,33%
5,56%
0,00% 5,00% 10,00%15,00%20,00%25,00% 30,00%35,00%
strongly disagree
not agree
no opinion
agree
completely agree

Figure 10. Availability of financial stimuli for teachers to introduce e-courses
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182
The results of the survey of the academic staff in the faculty show that the contrary view have
the same percentage of respondents (33.33%). Equal is the share of those, who strongly agreed or
expresed strong disagreement (5.56%). These results indicate that educators understand the
question and financial stimuli differently. In the attestation of academic staff the developing of e-
course brings a certain amount of points, but there are no direct financial stimuli.

4. Conclusions
In conclusion, can say according to the questionnaire e-learning has been adopted by the teachers
as very useful tool, which offers great promise for enhancing the quality of education beside
traditional classroom. E-learning environments become popular among academic lecturers.
Moreover an adequate improvement of the academic regulations towards the recognition of the e-
learning content development as a substantial professional activity soon will take place.
Combining classic and contemporary technologies in the preparation of students is an effective
way to improve the quality of higher education.


5. References:
5.1. Journal Articles:
Tuparova, D., Tuparov, G. (2007): e-Learning in Bulgaria – the State of the Art, eLearning Papers, no. 4.
ISSN 1887-1542, http://www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media12735.pdf.
5.2. Conference Proceedings:
Vaidya K., Furtado G. (2012): Comparative study of Traditional Learning with Elearning in the Indian
Education system with special reference to Institutes in Mumbai. International Conference on Advances
in Computing and Management – 2012, http://www.dypimca.org/downloads/E%20-%20COM/IT096.pdf
5.3. Technical Reports:
Annual report of National Pedagogical Center, (2007): retrieved February 5, 2007
http://npcbg.com/pdf/otchet_tekst_2006.pdf (in Bulgarian)

5.4. Internet Sources:
Rashty, D. (1999): Traditional Learning vs. eLearning, http://www.researchtrail.com/articles/Traditional_
Learning_vs_eLearning.pdf
Tamsamani Y. (2012): E-Learning versus Traditional Classroom,
http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2012/01/24228/e-learning-versus-traditional-classroom/
Analyzing Factors That Made E-Learning Successful

Krastev Kr.
1
, Yorgova R.
1
, Dineva S.
1

(1) Trakia University, Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Yambol, Gr.Ignatiev
str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
krasikrystev@gmail.com, r_yorgova@yahoo.com, sbdineva@abv.bg


Abstract
The virtual learning environment has been created using Moodle software platform and has
been applied in Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Yambol. The paper presents the
results from conducted statistical analysis examining the impact of different individual factors
that make e-learning attractive and desirable for the learners. Using Likert classification,
students of extramural training system classified individual factors that determine positive or
negative perception of e-learning from them. The results show a consistency and correlation
to the factors that determine overall perception negatively or positively.

Key words: Web-based learning, e-learning, critical success factors


1. Introduction
E-learning is a popular mode of delivering educational materials by universities throughout the
world. E-learning is basically a web-based system that makes information or knowledge available
to learners, disregards time restrictions or geographic proximity. There are several factors that
need to be considered while developing or implementing e-learning based courses. By identifying
important success factors higher chances to succeed in e-learning implementation and use enables
(Sela&Sivan, 2009).
The term Critical success factor (CSF) first appeared in the literature in the 1980s when there
was interest in why some organizations seemed to be more successful than others, and research
was carried out to investigate the success components (Ingram, et al., 2000). Factors like computer
anxiety, instructor attitude toward e-learning, e-learning course flexibility, e-learning course
quality, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and diversity in assessments are the critical
factors affecting learners’ perceived satisfaction and adoption of e-learning (Sun et al., 2008).
This study is intended to specify e-learning critical success factors (CSFs) as perceived by
university students that influence the acceptance of e-learning systems.

2. Material and Methods
In the Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Yambol, Moodle represents VLE design, which
is well known in the academic community. As a result of different project works the foundations
of a technical and informational data for future distant learning process took place: virtual library
with didactic materials has been created (http://tk.uni-sz.bg/edutk/) – lectures; exercises;
multimedia sources; tests; glossaries; links to other web-base on-line resources etc. (Dineva S.,
Nedeva V. 2009).
Data were collected through an anonymous survey from students during the Fall semester of
2011. A survey instrument for specifying the critical success factors was developed. All items used
a five-point Likert-type scale of potential responses: strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), neutral
(3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5). The students were informed that all collected information
was to be used in assessing the acceptance of e-learning technology. The exposure to e-learning
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184
technologies of the participating students varied from 1 to 3 years. All students participated
voluntarily in the study. Respondents for this study consisted of 77 (55 females and 22 males). The
students involved in this study have been used the technology for all aspects of the course. The
courses selected for the study combine both e-learning and traditional learning tools. E-learning
tools used are electronic, asynchronous course material delivered through web, in-class active and
collaborating learning activities, and student self-pacing pattern.
4. Results
In that paper we evaluated specified e-learning CSF categories according to student characteristics.
Hypothesis 1. There are no differences in terms of gender in performance learner attitude
toward computers - signs are independent.
Hypothesis 2. There are differences in terms of gender in performance learner attitude toward
computers - signs are not independent.

Table empirical frequencies:
Gender
Level of skills
(2*)
Level of skills
(3*)
Level of skills
(4*)
Level of skills
(5*)
Row
0 1 4 36 14 55
1 1 3 12 6 22
All Grps 2 7 48 20 77
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

Table theoretical frequencies: Expected Frequencies, Marked cells have counts > 10 Pearson Chi-
square: 1.47000, df=3, p=.689212
Gender
Level of skills
(2*)
Level of skills
(3*)
Level of skills
(4*)
Level of skills
(5*)
Row
0 1.428571 5.000000 34.28571 14.28571 55.00000
1 0.571429 2.000000 13.71429 5.71429 22.00000
All Grps 2.000000 7.000000 48.00000 20.00000 77.00000
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).
To check the hypothesis of independence of these two attributes will calculate statistics
~
X
2

= 1.47; number of degrees of freedom df = (4-1)×(2-1) =3; minimum level of significance
0.689 } 1.47 {
2
3
s > _ P . It means that if the two terms are independent (gender and level of
learning computer skills) the probability to obtain values as in experiment or more is much larger.
From the results shown in chi-square statistics can conclude that the hypothesis H1 is not rejected.
There are no differences of obtained computing skills level depending on gender.
Hypothesis 3. There no matter the level of computing skills and evaluation of the accessibility
of the information contained in the online e-learning - signs are independent.
Hypothesis 4. There are matter the level of skills with PC and evaluation of the accessibility of
the information contained in the online e-learning - signs are not independent.

Table empirical frequencies:
Level of
skills
Accessibility (2*) Accessibility (3*) Accessibility (4*) Accessibility
(5*)
Row
2* 0.051948 0.155844 0.98701 0.80519 2.00000
3* 0.181818 0.545455 3.45455 2.81818 7.00000
4* 1.246753 3.740260 23.68831 19.32468 48.00000
5* 0.519481 1.558442 9.87013 8.05195 20.00000
All Grps 2.000000 6.000000 38.00000 31.00000 77.00000
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).
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Table theoretical frequencies: Expected Frequencies, Marked cells have counts > 10 Pearson Chi-
square: 48.1649, df=9, p=.000000
Level of skills
Accessibility
(2*)
Accessibility
(3*)
Accessibility
(4*)
Accessibility
(5*)
Row
2* 1 1 0 0 2
3* 1 3 3 0 7
4* 0 2 27 19 48
5* 0 0 8 12 20
All Grps 2 6 38 31 77
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

In order to check the hypothesis of independence of these two attributes will calculate statistics
16 , 48
~2
= _
; number of degrees of freedom df = 9; minimum level of
significance 0.0000 ) 16 . 48 {
2
9
s > _ P . This means that in case of independence between the
attributes level of knowledge and evaluation of the accessibility of information likely to gain value
in experiment or more is equal to zero. From the results shown in chi-square statistics is that the
hypothesis H3 is rejected and accept the alternative hypothesis H4. Signs are not independent.

Hypothesis 5. The levels of computing knowledge didn’t influence on assessing the value of
comprehensiveness of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are independent.
Hypothesis 6. There are matters the levels of computing knowledge in assessing the value of
comprehensiveness of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are not independent.

Table empirical frequencies:
Level
of
skills
Comprehen-
siveness
(2*)
Comprehen-
siveness
(3*)
Comprehen-
siveness
(4*)
Comprehen-
siveness
(5*)
Row
2* 1 1 0 0 2
3* 1 4 2 0 7
4* 1 9 19 19 48
5* 0 2 9 9 20
All
Grps
3 16 30 28 77
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

Table theoretical frequencies: Expected Frequencies, Marked cells have counts > 10 Pearson Chi-
square: 25.5095, df=9, p=.002459
Level
of
skills
Comprehen-
siveness
(2*)
Comprehen-
siveness
(3*)
Comprehen-
siveness
(4*)
Comprehen-
siveness
(5*)
Row
2* 0.077922 0.41558 0.77922 0.72727 2.00000
3* 0.272727 1.45455 2.72727 2.54545 7.00000
4* 1.870130 9.97403 18.70130 17.45455 48.00000
5* 0.779221 4.15584 7.79221 7.27273 20.00000
All
Grps
3.000000 16.00000 30.00000 28.00000 77.00000
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

To check the hypothesis of independence of these two attributes will calculate statistics
~
X
2
= 25.50; number of degrees of freedom df = 9; minimum level of significance
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0.0024 ) 50 . 25 {
2
9
s > _ P . This means that in case of independence of the attributes level of
knowledge and evaluation of the intelligibility of the material, the probability to get a value as in
experiment or more is zero. From the results shown in chi-square statistics can rejected H5 and
accept the alternative hypothesis H6. Signs are not independent.
Hypothesis 7. There are no matters the levels of computing knowledge in assessing the
usefulness of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are independent.
Hypothesis 8. There are matters the levels of computing knowledge in assessing the usefulness
of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are not independent.

Table empirical frequencies:
Level of skills Usefulness (2*) Usefulness (3*)
Usefulness
(4*)
Usefulness
(5*)
Row
2* 0 2 0 0 2
3* 0 3 3 1 7
4* 1 5 24 18 48
5* 1 2 5 12 20
All Grps 2 12 32 31 77
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

Table theoretical frequencies:
Level of skills
Usefulness
(2*)
Usefulness
(3*)
Usefulness
(4*)
Usefulness
(5*)
Row
2* 0.051948 0.31169 0.83117 0.80519 2.00000
3* 0.181818 1.09091 2.90909 2.81818 7.00000
4* 1.246753 7.48052 19.94805 19.32468 48.00000
5* 0.519481 3.11688 8.31169 8.05195 20.00000
All Grps 2.000000 12.00000 32.00000 31.00000 77.00000
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

To check the hypothesis of independence of these two attributes will calculate statistics
~
X
2
=
21.41; number of degrees of freedom df = 9; minimum level of
significance 0.01 ) 41 . 21 {
2
9
s > _ P . This means that if there is independence between the
attributes level of knowledge and evaluation of the usefulness of the material, the probability to get
the same value as in experience or more is zero. From the results shown in chi-square statistics can
rejected H7 and accept the alternative hypothesis H8. Signs are not independent.
Hypothesis 9. There are no matters the levels of computing knowledge in assessing the
sufficiency of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are independent.
Hypothesis 10. There are matters the levels of computing knowledge in assessing the
sufficiency of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are not independent.

Table empirical frequencies:
Level of skills
Sufficiency
(2*)
Sufficiency
(3*)
Sufficiency
(4*)
Sufficiency
(5*)
Row
2* 0 2 0 0 2
3* 1 3 1 2 7
4* 1 5 22 20 48
5* 0 1 10 9 20
All Grps 2 11 33 31 77
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).
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Table theoretical frequencies: Expected Frequencies, Marked cells have counts > 10 Pearson Chi-
square: 24.0037, df=9, p=.004299
Level of
skills
Sufficiency
(2*)
Sufficiency
(3*)
Sufficiency
(4*)
Sufficiency
(5*)
Row
2* 0.051948 0.28571 0.85714 0.80519 2.00000
3* 0.181818 1.00000 3.00000 2.81818 7.00000
4* 1.246753 6.85714 20.57143 19.32468
48.0000
0
5* 0.519481 2.85714 8.57143 8.05195
20.0000
0
All Grps 2.000000 11.00000 33.00000 31.00000
77.0000
0
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

To check the hypothesis of independence of these two attributes will calculate statistics
~
X
2
=
24; number of degrees of freedom df = 9; minimum level of significance 0.004 ) 24 {
2
9
s > _ P .
This means that in case of independence between the attributes level of knowledge and evaluation
of the sufficiency of the information in the e-learning courses, the probability to get the same value
as in experiment or higher is equal to zero. From the results shown in chi-square statistics can
rejected H9 and accept the alternative hypothesis H10. Signs are not independent.
Hypothesis 11. The levels of computing knowledge didn’t affect assessing the indispensability
of the information in the e-learning courses – the terms are independent.
Hypothesis 12. There levels of computing knowledge influence on assessing the
indispensability of the information in the e-learning courses – the signs are not independent.

Table empirical frequencies:
Level of
skills
Indispen-
sability (1*)
Indispen-
sability (2*)
Indispen-
sability (3*)
Indispen-
sability (4*)
Indispen-
sability (5*)
Row
2* 0 0 2 0 0 2
3* 0 1 3 3 0 7
4* 0 1 9 23 15 48
5* 1 1 1 6 11 20
All Grps 1 3 15 32 26 77
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

Table theoretical frequencies: Expected Frequencies, Marked cells have counts > 10 Pearson Chi-
square: 23.8640, df=12, p=.021236
Level of
skills
Indispen-
sability (1*)
Indispen-
sability (2*)
Indispen-
sability (3*)
Indispen-
sability (4*)
Indispen-
sability (5*)
Row
2* 0.025974 0.077922 0.38961 0.83117 0.67532 2.00000
3* 0.090909 0.272727 1.36364 2.90909 2.36364 7.00000
4* 0.623377 1.870130 9.35065 19.94805 16.20779 48.00000
5* 0.259740 0.779221 3.89610 8.31169 6.75325 20.00000
All Grps 1.000000 3.000000 15.00000 32.00000 26.00000 77.00000
* Likert-type scale: strongly disagree (1) disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).

To check the hypothesis of independence of these two attributes will calculate statistics
~
X
2
=
23.86; number of degrees of freedom df = 12; minimum level of significance
0.021 ) 23.86 {
2
12
s > _ P . This means that in case of independence between the attributes level
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of computing knowledge and evaluation of the indispensability of the information in the e-learning
courses, the probability to get the same value as in experiment or greater is equal to zero. From the
results shown in chi-square statistics can rejected H11 and accept the alternative hypothesis H12.
Signs are not independent.
5. Discussion and conclusion
Information technology in teaching and learning has created a need to transform how university
students learn by using more modern, efficient, and effective alternative such as e-learning (Selim,
2007). E-learning’s characteristics fulfill the requirements for learning in a modern society and
have created great demand for e-learning from businesses and institutes of higher education. E-
learning tools should be "learner focused" (simple, easy to use, not overwhelming, and familiar to
users) and developed by experienced professionals (Sela&Sivan, 2009). Not surprisingly, ‘‘course
quality’’ is the most important concern in this e-learning environment. Technological designs play
important roles in students’ perceived usefulness and ease of use of a course and have an impact
on students’ satisfaction and adoption of e-learning system (Sun et al., 2008).
According to the Sela&Sivan (2009), transforming "learning" into "e-learning" is not just about
developing online courses. E-learning usage has to be integrated into corporate policies or be
developed only if learning materials have "owners" that will enforce studying (Sela&Sivan, 2009).
An e-learning exercise can only be considered effective if learning took place (Wagner et all,
2008). More factors should be taken into account (“must-haves”), such as: useful and easy to use
e-learning tools; the existence of a real need for the organization; direct and executive
management support; marketing; organizational culture. Many studies have found that perceived
usefulness and perceived enjoyment are very important for the adoption of e-learning applications
by students (Mahmod et al., 2005; Lee et al., 2005). In order to increase perceived usefulness and
enjoyment, instructors should vary the types of content, create fun, provide immediate feedback,
and encourage interaction to increase acceptance (Lee et al., 2005).
The study identifies multiple factors that influence the success of e-learning systems according
to student characteristics. The results show that increasing the self-preparation of students in
computing increase the perception of usefulness, accessibility, sufficiency, comprehensiveness and
indispensability of information included in e-learning materials and in that way the adoption of e-
learning system.


6. References:

6.1. Journal Articles:
Ingram, H., Biermann, K., Cannon, J., Neil, J., & Waddle, C. (2000): Internalizing action learning: a
company perspective. Establishing critical success factors for action learning courses. International
Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 12(2),107–113.
Lee, M.K.O., Cheung, C.M.K., & Chen, Z. (2005): Acceptance of Internet-based learning medium: the role of
extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Information & Management, 42, 1095-1104.
Mahmod, R., Dahlan, N., Ramayah, T., Karia, M., & Asaari, N. (2005): Attitudinal Belief on Adoption of E-
MBA Program in Malaysia. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 6 (2), 1-10.
Selim H., (2007): Critical success factors for e-learning acceptance: Confirmatory factor models. Computers
& Education 49, 396–413.
Sun P-C., Tsai R., Finger Gl., Chen Y-Y., and Yeh D., (2008): What drives a successful e-Learning? An
empirical investigation of the critical factors influencing learner satisfaction, Computers & Education
50 (2008) 1183–1202.
Wagner, N., Hassanein, K., & Head, M. (2008): Who is responsible for E-Learning Success in Higher
Education? A Stakeholders' Analysis. Educational Technology & Society, 11 (3), 26-36.
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6.2. Conference Proceedings:
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.
Sela E., Sivan Y. (2009): Enterprise E-Learning Success Factors: An Analysis of Practitioners’ Perspective,
Proceedings of the Chais conference on instructional technologies research 2009: Learning in the
technological era, Y. Eshet-Alkalai, A. Caspi, S. Eden, N. Geri, Y. Yair (Eds.), Raanana: The Open
University of Israel, 159 – 166.
Usage of Modern Technologies to Improve Web Based
E-Learning Applications

Silviu Dumitrescu
1


(1) Mathematics and Computer Science,
"Transilvania" University of Brasov, Iuliu Maniu Str., no 50,
Brasov, ROMANIA
E-mail: silviu.dumitrescu@unitbv.ro


Abstract
An Internet application is a distributed system, composed by units, which interacts each other
by exchanging information. These units are also called machines and are connected into a
network. The simplified Internet application model is based on the words: "computer near the
data, validate near the user". But the biggest challenges of the modern architectural for the
web based E-Learning applications are related to: improve the productivity of developing
application, maintenance the security of the system, support for existing systems and the need
for responses at the increasing number of requests which claim performance, availability and
confidence. An example of these challenges is the requirement to combine web tier and
transactional tier of an Internet application developed on an enterprise platform.

Keywords: Enterprise architecture, Qualities, Java, Context and Dependency Injection

1. Introduction
All over the world people develop software, but the big challenge is to develop enterprise
application. E-learning applications belong to this category of software. Improving the
productivity, scalability or portability are important concerns of actual developers. On the other
hand, clients of these applications need speed, security, and trust.
In this paper will discuss only from developer perspective, including architectural aspects and
developing solutions.
In the first part of this paper will present important aspects of an enterprise application. These
aspects are important to improve the quality of the application.
To achieve this will discuss in the second part of the paper about new technologies used in
modern architectures, with a case study on Java Enterprise 6 platform.
In the main part of the paper will focus on Context and Dependency Injection (CDI), an
important tool provided by Java EE 6 platform, used to uniform the code, written by developers, in
order to easiest the interaction between web tier and transactional tier.
3. Enterprise soft architecture
In general, a soft architecture includes:
- Software elements, which are considered abstract elements and correspond to components
or high-level system modules;
- Software elements external properties. These properties represent the exposed
functionality also called services, offered to other elements;
- The relationships, which describe the way of interaction between elements.
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The main challenges in order to create success enterprise architecture follow the next
requirements:
- Manifest qualities, which are obvious for a non computer science specialist, also
known as application user:
o Performance, measured in time passed from the request is sent and the
answer is received;
o Reliability, expressed in probability of correctness of results;
o Availability, which means that the system is working properly at all user
attempts;
o Usability, which means that the user can learn to use the system.
- Operational qualities, involved when system is running but are not evident to the user:
o Manageability, which express the amount of human intervention;
o Security, which represent protected access to data;
o Testability, which is the amount of work required to identify and isolate a
system error.
- Development qualities, which appear when the system is built in
- Evolutionary qualities, including scalability, flexibility, maintainability
4. Case study: Java Enterprise Platform 6
The main goal of Java enterprise platform during its evolution is to simplify the work of
developing software and to improve the productivity, in order to achieve the qualities of a success
enterprise architectural model.
A survey in Java EE6 platform shows us some new facilities including: RESTful
services(REpresentational State Transfer), managed beans (objects managed by container, which
support services like injection, callback calls, interceptors; they are used also to prove persistence
during a session, an application or a request), context and dependency injection, new features for
servlets (support for annotations, support for asynchronous communications), new features for
Java Server Faces (replacing XML files with annotations, including managed beans without
deployment descriptor, using facelets which replace JSP view files, AJAX support, composite
components, and further more).
In this paper, we are focused on one of previous mentioned facilities: Context and Dependency
Injection (CDI)”(Heffelfinger, 2011)”. CDI represents a set of services, which creates facilities in
software development. The main advantages of this technique are:
- Flexibility to integrate various components
- Decoupling components
- Typesafe
- Injection with extension for objects which are not managed by the container
Remark: we could use injection in previous version of the platform but with limitations
(@Resource, but only for components – objects managed by container).
Now we can inject almost any type of objects, including any type of Java classes, session
beans, resources (data sources, JMS topics, JMS queues, and connection factories), persistence
contexts, producers, web services, etc.
Some examples of using CDI:
- We can use in Expression Language a bean, which is named by annotations, instead of
naming using an entry in faces-config.xml. The annotation required is @Named
- Dependency injection: a managed bean can be used as controller in MVC pattern, and it
can use a model bean. The model bean is injected using @Inject annotation.
Our case study develops a generic application, which shows the important facilities provided
by CDI. An enterprise application consists by an Enterprise Archive, which includes back-end and
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front-end. On back-end part we have, mainly the EJB and the model tier. In front-end we have
managed beans and XHTML files.
Let us take a closure look on back-end. Enterprise Java Beans(EJBs)”(Panda, Reza, Cuprak,
and Remijan, 2011)” are split in interface (exposed to the client) and implementation. In addition,
in back-end we have helpers, Data Transfer Objects (DTO - used as abstract layer) and more.
In our application, EJB implementation has two injected fields:

@PersistenceContext
EntityManager em;
@Inject
Convertions conv;

The first annotation is used to creat a persistent context (recorded on the middle tier) and the
second is used to inject a helper class (which converts an DTO to an entity and reverse).
DTOs can be used also as maneged beans, that’s why we annotated them with:

@Named
@RequestScoped
public class BaseDTO

The second annotation is used to provide the scope of the managed bean. In case of using
inheritance, the extended DTO is decorated with a qualifier:

@Named
@Implement
@RequestScoped
public class DerivedDTO extends BaseDTO

In our example the second annotation is the qualifier. We use qualifiers to provide various
implementation of a particular bean type. We place the qualifier in back-end project having the
folowing implementation:

package app.qualifiers;

import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.TYPE;
import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.FIELD;
import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.PARAMETER;
import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.METHOD;
import static java.lang.annotation.RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME;
import java.lang.annotation.Retention;
import java.lang.annotation.Target;
import javax.inject.Qualifier;

@Qualifier
@Retention(RUNTIME)
@Target({METHOD, FIELD, PARAMETER, TYPE})
public @interface Implement {
}

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The second annotation defines when the qualifier is available, in our case, at runtime, and the
third defines where the qualifier could applied. Both annotations are meta annotations.
Now both implementation of DTO can be used in application. If a class has no qualifier it is
automatically qualified by @Default.
Let us now, take a closure look on front end. As we remarked previously we use a maneged
bean with a controller role. This bean has some model beans as fields.

@Named
public class CustomerControllers {
@Inject EJBRemote ejbRemote;

@Inject BaseDTO baseDTO;

@Inject @Implement DerivedDTO derivedDTO;

// other implementation
}

This controller inject with the same annotation (@Inject) an EJB ”(Dhanji, Prasanna, 2009)”, a
DTO, and a derived DTO. We can see obviously the uniform using of a standard notation.
Remark: EJBRemote is the name of the interface of the EJB implementation.

@Stateless
public class EnterpriseBean implements EJBRemote

In the previous versions of Java enterprise, for EJB injection we use @EJB annotation if we
are in the same container of JNDI service if we are out of container ”(Panda, Rahman, Cuprak, and
Remijan, 2011)”. For DTO injection we use @ManagedProperty or an entry in faces-config.xml.
In the XHTML file we can use this properties without any other settings. For instance:
- a property of baseDTO is called:
value="#{baseDTO.property}"
- a property of derivedDTO is called:
value="#{derivedDTO.property}"
- or a method from controller is called
action="#{customerControllers.method}
Remark: for property we have to have getters and setters in order to call them in a way such
previous. faces-config.xml is now allmost empty.
Context and dependency injection requires an xml file, called beans.xml, with the following
minimal content:

<beans></beans>

The specified technologies and the mentioned enterprise architecture were implemented in an
application for online testing. The tester, authenticated by user and pass, can create domained
based test-templates and questions. Questions are random distributed within the templates. After
assigning the test to the tested person a link is generated. This link is sent by e-mail to the tested
person. Each test has a limited time and only one access. Each question has four possible answers
and minimum one, maximum two valid answers. The tested person can see a history of all taken
tests.
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5. Conclusion
Dependency injection is a mechanism to achieve simplicity of code and simplicity of architecture
by removing the need for the application to perform component/service lookup and management.
CDI is the heart of the continued simplification of the EE platform. CDI provides a declarative
way to manage the scope, state and life-cycle of components bound to contexts. CDI can be used
standalone and can be embedded into any application. CDI is a foundational aspect of Java EE 6.
It is or will be shortly supported by Caucho's Resin, IBM's WebSphere, Oracle's Glassfish, Red
Hat's JBoss and many more application servers. CDI is similar to core Spring framework.
However, CDI is a general purpose framework that can be used outside of JEE 6. This article
discussed CDI dependency injection in an introduction level. It covers some of the features of CDI
such as type safe annotations configuration, alternatives and more.
6. References
Dhanji, R. Prasanna (2009): Dependency Injection. Manning Publications Co., U.S.A.
Debu Panda, Reza Rahman, Ryan Cuprak, and Michael Remijan (2011) : EJB3 in Action, Second Edition.
Manning Publications Co., U.S.A.
Heffelfinger , David R. (2011): Java EE 6 Development with NetBeans 7 : Chapter 8. Contexts and
Dependency Injection(CDI). Packt Publishing, UK.
Bien, A. (April 2011): Contexts and Dependency Injection in Java EE 6. Oracle Technology Network.
http://docs.oracle.com/javaee/6/tutorial/doc/giwhb.html
http://www.theserverside.com/tip/Dependency-Injection-in-Java-EE-6-Part-6
Eclipse IDE: JUNO Glassfish: 3.1.2.2 JDK: 7 MySQL: 5.5.27.2 Workbench: 5.2.42
An overview of open, free and affordable textbooks

Elena Railean

Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Information Society Development Institute,
Academiei 5A street, Republic of MOLDOVA
E-mail: elena.railean@idsi.md


Abstract
The shift from machine-centered automation to user-centered services and tools is enabling
users to be more creative and achieve more. Electronic textbooks become more and more
open, free, accessible and affordable. Recent years have seen an unpredicted growth of
electronic, digital and iBooks as well as authoring tools for its design, development and
implementation. This article analises the diversity of open, free and affordable textbooks
elaborated in recent years. It has identified four major trends in order to prove the
metasystems transition theory from programed textbooks to open textbooks for individual and
collaborative learning. This presents unique insights into perceived relative significance of
impact of different pedagogical resources and authoring tools for global learning
environment.

Keywords: electronic textbook, free and open education, learning environment

1. Introduction
Open Educational Resources (OER) are digital materials that can be re-used for teaching, learning,
research and more, made available free through open licenses, which allow uses of the materials
that would not be easily permitted under copyright alone [1]. These resources can be used in any
learning environment that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license
that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. With Creative Commons (CC) copyright
licenses, learners can find and incorporate free materials for reports and presentations; educators
can customize textbooks and lesson plans; universities can distribute video lectures to a global
audience; and publishers can adapt materials and develop services for an enhanced learning
experience [2]. There are many projects which use CC licence for education: Open Courseware
[3], Khan Academy [4], CK-12 foundation [5], OER Africa [6], Curriki [7], Connexions [8], Flat
World Knowledge [9] etc.
Flexible learning is a flexible form of education, which creates options for learners in terms of
where and when they can learn. Khan (2007, p.3) notes to stay viable in global competitive
market, providers of education and training must develop well-designed, learner-centered,
affordable, easily accessible, efficient, and effective flexible learning systems to meet learners’
needs. A flexible learning system includes: traditional instruction and flexible learning open and
distributed learning environment blended learning approaches and a framework for flexible
learning. Flexible learning needs open and distributed learning environment. Open learning occurs
in time, pace and place common for learner. According to Saltzberg and Polyson (1995, p.10)
distributed learning is an instructional model that allows instructor, students, and content to be
located in different, non-centralized locations so that instruction and learning occur independent of
time and place. The distributed learning model can be used in combination with traditional
classroom-based courses, with traditional distance learning courses, or it can be used to create
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wholly virtual classrooms. Flexibility in learning depends on the openness of the system and the
availability of resources.
Morgan& Bird (2007, p. 248) observed that flexible learning is about:
1. Pedagogy: Flexible learning includes open learning, student-centred learning, and
lifelong learning pedagogies, as well as more recent pedagogies associated with
technology and online learning.
2. Delivery: Flexible delivery allows teachers and students to choose the media through
which units of study are offered: face-to-face teaching, print materials, online
materials and/or communications, audio and video, CD-ROM, etc.
3. Institutional policies, systems, and structures: Institutions necessarily support flexible
learning and flexible delivery with policy related to issues such as advanced standing,
flexible entry, enrolment categories, flexible course structures; and with systems and
structures that support multi-modal delivery.

2. Electronic textbooks for open and distributed learning environments
Open, free and affordable textbooks are an easy way to drive down costs and reach under-served
students. The first and largest publishing company for K-12 education can be considered Flat
World Knowledge. Every Flat World textbook is free to read online. The company works with
successful authors and well-known scholars to create electronic textbooks as well as printed
textbooks. All textbooks are published under a Creative Common license, which gives faculty
unprecedented control over content, meaning faculty have permission to create a derivative
version of any published textbook. With a simple click can be added links, rearranged chapters,
edited down to the word level, and more.
There are 2 ways to read electronic textbooks: as educators and as learners. Educators can find
and review the right textbook for their own courses, browse or search online textbook catalogue by
course or topic, read the description and contents. Electronic textbook can be reviewed online or
printed, customized before adoption or access to view and download supplements like an
Instructor Manual, Lecture PowerPoint Slides, and Test Item Files. Users communicate with the
author and other professors using the same book through phone, chat, email, Twitter, Facebook
etc. Unlike educators, learners can read free textbooks using provided URL or access
flatworldstudents.com and find course or book by professor, school or book title. From custom
course URL students can access Study Pass option. After registration, students can navigate back
to their own book and find downloads. Once student is the online reader and purchases the Study
Pass or the All Access Pass, the notes and highlights are visible in the Study Mode, can be found
in Downloads tab or disseminated through Facebook.
Its online resources are divided into 5 main categories: Business & Economics Textbooks,
Science Textbooks, Math Textbooks, Humanities & Social Sciences Textbooks and Professional
& Applied Sciences. For example: “The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry, v.
1.0” is written by David W. Ball, John W. Hill, and Rhonda J. Scott, but can be customised
(http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/catalog/editions/170). The e-textbook includes table of
context (left side), divided into chapters and paragraphs. Each paragraph can be accessed online.
The text may provide hyperlinks, examples, skill-building exercises, and concept review exercises
with answers, key takeaway, and exercises with answers. The user can choose a preferred item,
for example iron and receive full information about the presence of this item is each chapter.
Supplements include instructor manual, Powerpoint lecture notes, test item file, Powerpoint image
library, testbank for import to Learning Management System, test generator and solutions manual.
Study Aids include e-textbook for instant download to iPad, Kindle, NOOK or other eReader
devices or PDF Book for download to print or read offline. Also, the students can get support
talking, writing or send a message.
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CK-12 FlexBook is another example. It is free, easy to use standards-aligned and customizable
tools and educational resources for teachers and students. FlexBook offers customizable books
(teacher can rearrange the chapters, add, remove and edit content), concepts (bite-sized lessons for
independent learning), interactive items (videos and multimedia simulations), exercises (instant
feedback, track progress) and teaching materials (assessments, answer keys and ideas for
differentiated instruction). Users can choose one of the following subjects: arithmetic, algebra,
geometry, trigonometry, probability, statistics, calculus, biology, physics, chemistry, English etc.
Content can be used anytime and anywhere, which means that, it can be read online or in printed
form. Flexbook content can be used with the Kindle, iPad, NOOK, and more. The main concept
can be found using a search tool. Moreover, there are three options: FlexMath (a web-based
interactive Algebra 1 curriculum that provides daily lessons and real-time feedback to help raise
student achievement), I Need a Pencil (free online SAT preparation with practice questions and an
adaptive SAT score predictor) and new experimental tool “Homework Help”. All images are
created by the CK-12 Foundation and are under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-NC-SA.
The main page of each CK-12 electronic textbook includes cover title, options for
personalisation, PdF, Kindle and iPad (ePub) download, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, email and
table of context. Table of content is structured into paragraphs. Firstly is presented Lesson
Objectives, then vocabulary or main equations and learning content. At the end of paragraph is
provided a summary, further reading or supplemental links and review questions. Supplementary
links provide video, audio or pdf documents. In addition are provided details about authors, tags,
categories, grades and data. All learning units include real examples and practice. Some textbook
provides interactive exercises with multiple items and feedback. Quiz can be pursed after free
registration.
Instead of K-12 electronic textbooks, the content of courses can be available freely and openly
online for anyone, anywhere to adapt, translate, and redistribute. So, MitOpenCourseWare from
Massachusetts Institute of Technology provide 2100 open content of courses in Architecture and
Planning (Architecture, Media Arts and Sciences, Urban Studies and Planning), Engineering
(Aeronautics and Astronautics, Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and
Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, etc.), Humanities, Art
and Social Science (Anthropology, Comparative Media Studies, Foreign Languages and
Literatures, Science, Technology, and Society etc), Science (Biology, Brain and Cognitive
Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics) etc. All courses are designed for undergraduate and
graduate. For example, course “The Brain and Cognitive Sciences II” [10] is the second half of the
intensive survey of brain and behavioral studies for first-year graduate students in the Brain and
Cognitive Sciences curriculum. Each module involves a series of overview lectures by leading
researchers in the field. By offering a thorough introduction to the current state of the discipline
while emphasizing critical thinking, the course aims to prepare students as cognitive scientists.
One of the most interesting innovations is high school features that are most useful for high
school students and teachers. The example of these resources is “Highlights of Calculus”. There
are a series of videos with real-life examples illustrating the main concepts of basics for calculus.
“Highlights of Calculus” is a series of short videos that introduces the basics of calculus — how it
works and why it is important. The intended audience is high school students, college students, or
anyone who might need help understanding the subject. Calculus Online Textbook, written by
Professor Gilbert Strang, presented in a single pdf format, can be accessed here
http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/resources/Strang/Edited/Calculus/Calculus.pdf.
Khan Academy is one more useful discovery for online learning. Electronic textbooks library
is divided into 5 main categories: math, science, finance & economy, humanities and test
preparation. Each category includes electronic textbooks. For example, math category includes
Arithmetic and Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability, Statistics,
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Precalculus, Calculus, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra. Each of learning contents is
presented in video format and can be practiced. The student answer is checking immediately. If the
answer is correct, he/she will receive next question, but, if the answer is incorrect, the student can
opt for hint. The hint is presented in steps. Moreover, there are 2 interesting categories of videos,
which include Brain Teasers and recreational mathematics and inspirational videos.

3. Wikibooks: an opportunity for collaborative learning and group assessment
Wikibooks is open content textbooks collection that anyone can edit. This collection includes free
textbooks, which is listed according to the first letter of title and an editor. Wikibooks is for
textbooks, annotated texts, instructional guides, and manuals. These materials can be used in a
traditional classroom, an accredited or respected institution, a home-school environment.
Wikibooks include annotated texts. These are a special kind of text which serves as a guide to
reading or studying. An annotated text contains 1) a copy of a published original primary source
text or other established narrative, academic or literary media, available under a Wikibooks-
compatible license and 2) various kinds of study aids for reading, understanding, and teaching the
text, like explanatory notes, introductions, summaries, questions and answers, charts, lists, indices,
references, wikilinks, media, etc.
Wikibooks include 9 main categories: computing, engineering, humanities, languages,
mathematics, miscellaneous, science, social sciences and all subjects. Each of categories includes
subjects. For example, the category “Social science” deals with the social sciences subjects, which
include academic disciplines concerned with the study of the social life of human groups and
individuals: Anthropology, Education, Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience,
Learning Theories etc. Some books can be read or printed in pdf format, example “Learning
Theories” (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Learning_Theories.pdf).
All text is irrevocably licensed to the public under of Creative Commons Attribution-
ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).
This means that Wikibooks content can be copied, modified, and redistributed if and only if the
copied version is made available on the same terms to others and acknowledgment of the authors
of the work used is included (a link back to the book or module is generally thought to satisfy the
attribution requirement). Copied content will remain free under appropriate license and can
continue to be used by anyone subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that
freedom. Wikibooks resources are considered completed, nearing completion, half-finished books,
partly developed books, freshly started books etc. However, each completed book can be edited
and each of edited versions can be converted into pdf.

4. IBook textbooks: new challenges for global learning
IBook is an e-book application by Apple Inc. for their iOS operating system and devices. Such
textbooks can be bought anytime from iBookstore. Users can change the modality of reading by
adjusting the text size, selecting a different font, adjusting the brightness or choosing a white,
sepia, or nighttime-friendly theme. Also, the users can highlight or underline text, make notes,
look up a word in the dictionary or on the web, search inside the book or even use VoiceOver. The
selected iBooks can be browse or updated in a beautiful bookshelf. Users can tap a book to open it,
flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to favourite passages.
IBook diversity provides resources and tools for use in all levels, types, and styles of education
from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning. A new kind of
textbook, created by publishers using a new authoring tool from Apple is fully dynamic, current,
engrossing, and interactive. The iBook textbooks are brought to life by iPad. A Multi-Touch
textbook on iPad is a gorgeous, full-screen experience full of interactive diagrams, photos, and
videos. No longer limited to static pictures to illustrate the text, now students can dive into an
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image with interactive captions, rotate a 3D object, or have the answer spring to life in a chapter
review. They can flip through a book by simply sliding a finger along the bottom of the screen.
Highlighting text, taking notes, searching for content, and finding definitions in the glossary are
just as easy. And with all their books on a single iPad, students will have no problem carrying
them wherever they go.
New textbooks have been created by McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education and E.O. Wilson. The
following textbooks are available for download on iPad in order to learn algebra, biology,
chemistry, physics, environmental science and geometry. Students have the chance to experience
and interact in new and unique ways to support learning and understanding. Moreover, students
can learn strategies to develop important and meaningful mathematical reasoning habits. For
example, “Environmental Science” provides the tools students need to get energized and apply
what they are learning in their classroom to situations in their own neighbourhood. Students read,
see, and ultimately understand environmental science. A new focus on the Big Ideas of biology
sets the stage for active inquiry and participation through “Biology” from PEARSON. In addition,
there is built-in reading support, visual and interactive overviews of complex processes, which aid
understanding, realism and interest, and provide students with a visual link to the narrative.
For authors, who wish to create and publish Multi-Touch textbooks for iPod, iPhone and iPad
and share them for students, is important to have an idea and a Mac. There are three main steps: 1)
start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts; 2) add
text and images with drag-and-drop ease and 3) use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive.
Each template has a variety of page layouts to choose from — or create one of your own. Text,
shapes, charts, tables, and Multi-Touch widgets can be added anywhere on the page with a single
click. Moreover, people with disabilities can read and experience. The table of contents, glossary,
widgets, main text, and more are built to automatically take advantage of VoiceOver technology.
The elaborated authoring content can reach millions of potential customers on iTunes, the App
Store, the iBookstore, and the Mac App Store.
On January 2012 was realised a new version of iBooks 2, iBook Author, and Updated iTunes
U [19]. Some of the new titles are already available via the new iBooks 2 app. There are 2 new
challenges: iBook Author and ITunes.
iBook Author is a free application from Apple that allows anyone to create interactive
textbooks, upload the textbooks for sale in the iBooks 2 store, or upload them for free distribution
through iTunes U. iBook Author comes with a handful of templates and widgets for controlling
interactive content.
iTunes U, which has had lecture series available for a long time, has been updated to support
taking complete courses on the iPad. Yale, Duke, MIT, and Stanford already have coursework
available via iTunes U. iTunes U now includes course overviews and outlines of course plans, and
offers users the ability to track assignments, collect and manage course notes, read textbooks, view
videos, listen to audio, and much more.
Digital textbooks are a special kind of iBook. The project aiming to elaborate digital textbook
is currently being tested in several primary schools of South Korea. Theoretically, digital
textbooks contents tailored to students’ abilities and interests. Practically, such textbooks offer
various interactive functions, and provide the learner with a combination of textbooks, reference
books, workbooks, dictionaries and multimedia contents such as video clips, animations, and
virtual reality. It is expected that digital textbooks construct and create the knowledge not only of
individual learners, but also the community, and support and manage the teaching of students and
learning activities of teachers and learners. The Digital Textbook will use Windows XP and Linux
Tablet PC Edition as its operating system. Learners can create their own textbooks while using
digital textbook, underline important parts, take notes, and combine the contents with high-quality,
reliable knowledge that is their own.
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5. Lectora Inspire: a new way for individual learning designed by teacher
Lectora Inspire makes online course development fast and simple [18]. Bundled with the leading
flash content creation, screen capture and recording software, Lectora’s powerful authoring tools
allow to quickly create dynamic video and Flash content as well as transform e-Learning scenarios
to HTML5 for mobile delivery.
Lectora Inspire includes:
- Flypaper™ for Lectora – develops professional, custom interactive exercises; adds Flash
animations, special effects and transitions to Lectora courses.
- Camtasia® for Lectora – creates professional tutorials by easily capturing real world
video, Flash animations or 3D design software for zooming and panning, audio handling,
transitions and more.
- Snagit® for Lectora – captures anything on your screen to create custom images, insert
special effects, combining images or magnifying content.
This authoring tool has wizards and hundreds templates, which allow teacher to integrate
multimedia, assessments and variables into coursework. Lectora enables automatically push e-
Learning content to HTML5, Web (HTML), mobile and tablet devices, SCORM and AICC-
compliant learning management systems (LMS), CD and DVD. Multimedia tools include audio
recording and editing, image editing, video editing and synchronization. Reviewers can easily post
comments, attach files and provide valuable feedback on individual pages within courses and
training. Authors and reviewers can repeat this process to quickly complete the review cycle.

6. Conclusions
Open Educational Resources (OER) can be used and re-used for teaching, learning, research and
became available as result for free through open licenses. Modern open, free and affordable
electronic textbooks have the affordance to create a powerful learning environment, in which
learners create, customise or share the content. From pedagogical point of view, the diversity of
electronic textbooks can be analysed as didactic, dogmatic, monographic and declarative. Such
textbooks have been developed by Open Courseware, Khan Academy, CK-12, Curriki, Flat World
Knowledge etc.
Wikibooks is a real opportunity for group learning and assessment. This means that teacher can
guide students step by step in order to construct their own content in virtual colaborative learning
environments, using metacognitive methods and techniques.
Authoring tools allow teachers to create content or personalised courses. There is a vitality of
authoring tools diversity for smartphones, Ipod, Ipad etc. Each authoring tool includes templates
and wizards, which allow to create multimedia scenarios and plan activities in order to engage
students in active learning processes.

7. References
Hylén, J. (2007). Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources. Paris, France:
OECD Publishing.
Open Educational Resources. http://creativecommons.org/education.
Unlocking Knowledge, Empowering Minds. http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm.
KhanAcademy. http://www.khanacademy.org/.
CK-12. http://www.ck12.org/.
OER Africa. http://www.oerafrica.org/.
Curriki. http://www.curriki.org/.
Connexions. http://cnx.org/.
Flat World Knowledge. http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/about.
Miller, E., Nancy, K. The Brain and Cognitive Sciences II, Spring 2002. (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.
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Khan, B. (2007). Flexible learning in an open and distributed environment. In B. Khan (Ed.): Flexible
Learning in an Information Society. Idea Group Inc., USA.
Morgan, C., Bird, J. (2007). Flexible Assessment: Some Tensions and Solutions. In B. Khan (Ed.): Flexible
Learning in an Information Society. Idea Group Inc., USA.
Saltzbert, S., Polyson, S. (1995). Distributed learning on the World Wide Web. Syllabus, 9(1), 10-12.
Shneiderman, B. (2002). Leonardo’s laptop: Human needs and the new computing technologies. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.
Welcome to Wikibooks. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page.
Wikiversity. http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page.
IBook textbooks for iPod. There’s nothing textbook about them. http://www.apple.com/education/ibooks-
textbooks/.
Lectora Inspire. http://lectora.com/e-learning-software.
Nelson, T. Apple Reveals iBooks 2, iBook Author, and Updated iTunes U.
http://macs.about.com/b/2012/01/19/apple-reveals-ibooks-2-ibook-author-and-updated-itunes-u.htm
Railean E. About the diversity of electronic textbooks. In: Proceeding of the 5th International Conference on
Microelectronics and Computer Science. Chişinău, 2007, p. 486 - 489.
Methodology of Computer-Assisted Cooperative Learning Based
on the Materials of the Multicultural Collaborative Programme
“STEP into the Global Classroom”

Evgeniya Budenkova

Siberian State Aerospace University
31, Krasnoyarskiy Rabochiy Ave., Krasnoyarsk, 660014, RUSSIA
E-mail: evgeniabudenkova@yandex.ru


Abstract
The article is dedicated to the scientific readiness of the computer-assisted cooperative
learning theory in the foreign research activities. The author’s methodology being
implemented within the bounds of the multicultural collaborative programme for the US and
foreign teachers “STEP into the Global Classroom” is presented in the article
(http://teamlearning.wikispaces.com/). The results of the study which was conducted on 79
non-native English speakers of pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are also described
in the article.

Keywords: Computer-Supported Cooperative Learning, Methodical Algorithm, Computer-
Supported Collaborative learning Script


1. Introduction
According to the results of the meta-analysis on the evaluation of evidenced-based practices in
online learning conducted by the US Department of Education in 2009, the most effective online
educational practices are hybrid courses, that blend in-class and web-based asynchronous group
work including research and problem-based learning activities. Computer-assisted group learning
is a possibility to develop such core competences as ICT literacy and teamwork competency
simultaneously, which are highly required by employers as provided by the US Secretary’s
Commission on achieving necessary skills report and the report prepared by the Centre of lifelong
learning economy under the Government of the Russian Federation in 2006. Group learning can
benefit by the use of ICT in the following ways:
- it removes the key problem of group learning concerning assessment of individual
contribution to the whole group effort by the use of log files and pages’ editing history on wiki
sites;
- it increases the degree of personal and group responsibility for the quality of
learning performance, because all completed works are uploaded to the Net for
the purpose of public reviews and discussions;
- the use of social networking services in the group-based instructional process begets
such specific form of online communication as transparent interaction, that means passive form
communication and sharing;
- it provides an opportunity to manage web-based group projects using collective file
editing by the means of online word processors and presentation editors;
- it enables to organize cross-cultural learning cooperation between classes from all over the
globe.
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In spite of all benefits, there are not so many highly structured methodical algorithms, models
and approaches implying effective implementation of computer-supported group learning process,
among them are the following:
- the representational scheme of research artifacts (RESRA), the collaborative learning model
SECAI (Summarization-Evaluation-Comparison-Argumentation-Integration) and their practical
realization in the computer-supported collaborative learning environment (CLARE) (Dadong,
1993);
- the collaborative learning pattern-based visual design approach implemented in the Collage
authoring tool (Hernández-Leo et al., 2007);
- the systems approach to cooperative computer-aided authoring and learning (Mühlhäuser et
al., 1994);
- the English teaching model of cooperative learning in the network environment in higher
vocational education (Jianwei et al., 2011) and etc.
The reason of such a restricted number of highly structured algorithms and models can be
explained by the fact that the majority of educators specializing in computer-aided group learning
differ the terms computer-supported collaborative learning and computer-supported cooperative
learning. The development of computer-assisted group learning is mainly connected with the first
term and so far as collaborative learning is considered to be less structured than cooperative
learning, there is a lack of structured instructional computer-assisted group practices. However,
according to the results presented in the dissertation of Sunyoung Joung (2003), highly structured
online cooperative design is more effective than low structured collaborative one in the
development of decision making skills, critical thinking and positive interaction patterns. That’s
why we chose the scripting computer-supported collaborative learning approach as the theoretical
base for the cross-cultural instructional project “The Way We Are” implemented within the
bounds of the multicultural programme “STEP into the Global Classroom”, because the above-
mentioned approach can be characterized as highly structured and very similar to the classic well-
organized cooperative learning techniques. In the Russian theory of computer-assisted learning the
term methodical computer-aided algorithm is used and its meaning is very close to the term
computer-supported collaborative learning scripts. The methodical algorithms of Web 2.0
integration into the instructional process created by the Russian educators S.V. Titova and A.V.
Filatova (2009) are very similar to the macro-scripts and such micro-scripts as the ArgueGraph,
Concept Grid and RSC (Dillenbourg et al., 2007). For the effective implementation of the web-
based project we worked out four methodical algorithms for computer mediation of the following
classic cooperative learning techniques: Coop-Coop, Student Teams-Achievement Division
(STAD), Teams-Games-Tournament (TGT) and G.A. Rivin’s method of working in variable
composition pairs (MWVCP). The realization of the project was divided into three phases:
- the first one was conducted in cooperation with T. Erro and his class from Shasta High
School, Shasta, California, USA from 01.11.2010 to 10.12.2011 (the project
page: http://teamlearning.wikispaces.com/TASK+%26+DEADLINES+FROM+
TONI+ERRO);
- the second one was performed in collaboration with S. O’Donnell and his students from
Seneca High School, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA from 24.09.2011 to 01.12.2011 (the project
website: http://twwaproject.wikispaces.com);
- the third one was implemented with the assistance of H. McGrath and her class from PSD
Global Academy, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA from 03.10.2011 to 11.11.2011 (the project
website: http://twwafortcollins.wikispaces.com).
The main purpose of the project realization was an adoption of the methodical algorithms and
carrying out the student opinion survey on reasonability of ICT use in the group-based educational
process.
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2. Methodical Algorithms for Computer Mediation of the Cooperative Learning Techniques
Methodical algorithm of computer mediation is considered to be a synonym of the term
instructional script, i.e. a pedagogical scenario used in a computer-mediated setting (Dillenbourg
et al., 2007). The theoretical and methodical base of the algorithm being worked out within the
bounds of the above-mentioned projects is presented by the following approaches: the theory of
cooperative learning, the scripting computer-supported collaborative learning approach,
G. Salmon’s five-stage model of teaching and learning online and e-tivity approach (Salmon et al.,
2010), the collaborative learning pattern-based visual design approach implemented in the Collage
authoring tool and A.V. Filatova’s methodical algorithms of Web 2.0 integration into the
instructional process (Filatova et al., 2009). We chose the following pedagogical conditions
ensuring effectiveness of computer-supported cooperative learning process:
- computer-aided instructional process should be organized according to the proper methodical
algorithm including the following elements: aims, tasks, content, types of e-tivities and Internet
services;
- educational process should be organized as a hybrid course blending in-class and web-based
asynchronous cooperative group work;
- computer mediation of cooperative group learning should be divided into the following
structural phases: introduction and organization, online socialization and motivation, information
exchange and knowledge construction (Salmon et al., 2010);
- cooperative group activities should be technically supported by the means of Web 2.0
services providing a possibility of online collective file editing (wiki websites, Google Docs,
EtherPad, social bookmarking services and etc.).
As mentioned above, four methodical algorithms were worked out within the bounds of the
projects, in this article the algorithm of computer-mediated Student Teams-Achievement Division
(STAD) technique will be described below as s sample. This algorithm consists of the following
phases:
1. Introductory and organizational phase
Aims:
- acquaintance with the instructional technical platform and Internet services;
- formation of cooperative learning groups.
Tasks:
- to define a level of students’ subject acquisition;
- to acquaint students with technical potential of Internet services and motivate them to use
these services actively;
- to carry out a registration process;
- to form cooperative groups.
Key content:
- writing an online entry test on the former topic with the use of Moodle platform;
- uploading instructional materials to the server of distance learning, that should be completely
relevant to the next test content;
- formation of heterogeneous cooperative learning groups (from 3 to 5 participants for each
group).
- creation of personal students’ blogs used as e-portfolios or diaries of learning.
E-tivities:
- Goal definition e-tivity (Kovačić et al., 2007) providing an opportunity to set instructional
goals for the whole future course and plan definite ways how to reach them;
- ABCs of me e-tivity providing a possibility to introduce students to each other by the means
of online poster creating services.
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According to the G. Salmon’s e-tivity approach, each e-tivity has the following structural
elements: introduction (spark), purpose, task, timeline and respond (Salmon, 2002). Here is a
sample of self-introduction e-tivity, that was used in the above-mentioned projects:


Figure 1. Self-introduction e-tivity

Other e-tivities that can be used: Novelty, Citation and Interview, Self-introduction, Anecdote
(Kovačić et al., 2007).
Web 2.0 services: blogs (http://www.blogger.com/), poster generating services
(http://wordle.com/), e-portfolio making services (http://www.foliospaces.com,
http://mahara.org).
2. Presentation of new materials
Aims:
- presentation of new materials;
- activation of teambuilding processes.
Tasks:
- to arouse students’ interest in learning;
- to carry out a problem-based discussion;
- to activate teambuilding processes;
- to organize students’ independent work on structuring and categorizing new materials.
Key content:
- focusing on facts being relevant to the final test content while conducting a problem-based
lecture;
- motivating students to use online mental mapping services for structuring new materials and
embed them to students’ blogs used as personal diaries of learning;
- motivating students to make group wiki websites and post their group names, mottoes,
anthems and logos there.
E-tivities:
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- Funny Nobel Prize / Better without it obliging students to make annotated top lists of funniest
or worst subjects (Kovačić et al., 2007).
Web 2.0 services: blogs, wikis, mental mapping services (http://www.mindmeister.com) and
survey making services (http://surveymonkey.com).
3. Team-based drilling of new instructional materials
Aims:
- immersion in online social cooperative process;
- organization of cross-cultural research activity.
Tasks:
- to organize asynchronous problem-based discussions with cooperative learning groups of
foreign learners (here is an example: http://twwaproject.wikispaces.com/Discussion+1);
- to oblige students to do such web-based tasks as webquests in groups (the sample is available
online: http://teamlearning.wikispaces.com/BTK-91_Quest);
- to motivate students to network actively.
Key content:
- carrying out research activities while drilling of new materials;
- conducting cross-cultural research work and problem-based discussions;
- motivating students to cooperate and discuss challenging issues in pairs;
- comparing results of group research work and making conclusions.
E-tivities: webquests, hotlists, multimedia scrapbooks, treasure hunt and subjects samplers.
Web 2.0 services: blogs, wikis, bookmarking services (http://diigo.com, http://delicious.com),
social digital repositories, webquest and hotlist generating
services (http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/).
4. Individual test writing and assessment process
Aims:
- assessment of cooperative group-based performance;
- making conclusions.
Tasks:
- to write a final test with the use of Moodle platform;
- to analyze results and correct mistakes;
- to reflect effectiveness and quality of cooperative group work;
- to motivate students to plan their further performance development;
Key content:
- writing an individual final test;
- summing up the difference between students’ past average quiz scores and their scores for the
actual quiz;
- awarding a group, whose students exceed their earlier quiz performance to a considerable
degree.
Web 2.0 services: blogs and wikis.
This algorithm of computer-mediated Student Teams-Achievement Division (STAD)
technique was implemented within the bounds of the cross-cultural instructional project “The Way
We Are” and one hundred fifty-eight students (79 students from Russian and 79 students from the
USA) took part in it.

3. The Results of the student opinion survey on reasonability of ICT use in the instructional
group-based process
79 ESL students of pre-intermediate and intermediate levels from the Siberian State Aerospace
University (http://en.sibsau.ru/), Krasnoyarsk, Russia participating in the cross-cultural
instructional project “The Way We Are” took part in the student opinion survey on reasonability
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of ICT use in education. 13 of them studied in the computer-mediated Coop-Coop class, 31
students studied in the computer-supported STAD class, 12 of them studied in the computer-aided
TGT class and 23 students studied in the computer-supported MWVCP class. The results of this
survey are presented below in the Table 1.

Table 1. The Results of the student opinion survey on reasonability of ICT use in education

Survey Questions
Computer-mediated cooperative learning techniques
Coop-Coop STAD TGT MWVCP
1. Is it reasonable to use ICT in education?
Yes, because: 85% 93% 75% 87%
there is an opportunity to use supplementary
audio-visual and text materials
62% 74% 17% 78%
it provides a possibility to manage web-
based collaborative projects
46% 52% 50% 48%
this makes possible to do homework tasks
in a more creative way
39% 61% 33% 44%
it gives a chance to acquaint with other
students’ works and present my own
54% 57% 50% 52%
No, because: 15% 7% 25% 13%
it’s complicated because of technical
aspects
8% 3% 8% -
it takes extra time - 13% 17% 13%
It’s unsatisfactory that other students can
see my own works
- 7% 8% -
I see no difference between paper-based and
Internet materials
15% 10% - 9%
2. Is it reasonable to manage group projects by the means of ICT?
Yes, because: 62% 83% 75% 74%
this experience will be useful in my
future career
39% 55% 17% 44%
I prefer to work with a group of other
students
8% 46% 33% 39%
It’s new and exciting experience 31% 42% 58% 44%
No, because: 38% 17% 25% 26%
it’s complicated because of technical
aspects
8% 6% - 9%
it takes extra time 15% 6% 8% 13%
I prefer to work alone 23% 9% 25% 9%
3. Would you like to use ICT in education in the future?
If yes, what services will be more
preferable?
85% 84% 75% 87%
Wiki 46% 58% 8% 39%
Blogs 15% 19% 50% 22%
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Google services 69% 64% 50% 57%
Digital media repositories 39% 39% 25% 48%
Networking services 31% 42% 33% 44%
No 15% 16% 25% 13%
4. Is that more reasonable to organize research activities on the Net than in the traditional way?
Yes 77% 81% 100
%
96%
No 23% 19% - 4%

According to the results of the survey from 75% to 93% of the students suppose, that ICT use
in education is reasonable and from 87% to 75% of them would like to use ICT in their education
in the future. From 62% to 83% of the students think, that it is reasonable to manage group
projects by the means of ICT and only from 17% to
38% of the students suppose, that it is not.

4. Conclusion
The described methodical algorithms of computer-mediated cooperative learning techniques were
implemented successfully within the bounds of the cross-cultural instructional project “The Way
We Are” and the whole project work was appreciated positively by the participants, but the
experimental study of their effectiveness in relation to critical thinking, decision making skills,
social competency and so on hasn’t been conducted yet and further research on the subject is
definitely required.


5. References
Dillenbourg, P., Tchounikine, P. (2007) Flexibility in micro-scripts for computer-supported collaborative
learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23, 1, 1-13.
Filatova, A.B., Titova, S.V. (2009): Web 2.0 technologies in ESL teaching. P-Centre, Moscow.
Jianwei, S., Hui, W. (2011) The English Teaching Model of Cooperative Learning in the Network
Environment in Higher Vocational Education. In Proceedings of the International Conference, CSEE
2011, Wuhan, China, 100-104.
Joung, S. (2003): The Effects of High-Structure Cooperative Versus Lowstructure Collaborative Design on
Online Debate in Terms of Decision Making, Critical thinking, and Interaction Patterns. A Dissertation is
submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Florida State University, Department of Educational
Psychology and Learning Systems, Tallahassee, available online: http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/etd/3703.
Hernández-Leo, D., Jorrín-Abellán, I.M., Villasclaras, E.D., Asensio-Pérez, J.I., Dimitriadis, Y. (2010) A
multicase study for the evaluation of a collaborative learning pattern-based visual design approach.
Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 21, 6, 313–331, available online:
http://daviniahl.wordpress.com/about/.
Kovačić, A., Zlatović, M., Balaban, I. (2007): The design of e-tivities with the use of
a wiki in teaching English as a second language. In Proceedings of the Symposium "E-learning",
International Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems, Varazdin, Croatia, 119-135.
Mühlhäuser, M. (1995): Cooperative computer-aided authoring and learning: a systems approach. Kluwer
Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
Salmon, G. (2002): E-tivities: the key to active only learning. Taylor & Francis, London.
Salmon, G., Nie, M. Edirisingda, P. (2010) Developing a five-stage model of learning in Second life.
Educational research 52, 2, 169-182.
Wan, D. (1994): CLARE: A Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environment Based on the
Thematic Structure of Scientific Text. A Dissertation is submitted for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy. The Graduate Division of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
The 3D representation for learning used
in the garment development

Aileni Raluca Maria
1


(1) Technical University “Gh.Asachi”, Dimitrie Mangeron Street, Iasi, ROMANIA
E-mail: railenei@tex.tuiasi.ro


Abstract
In this paper is presented the abstract model for the representation of the garment and a
software application for developing the textile products. In fact this presents a real
parameters based representation of the textile equipment in virtual environment. This
application is resolving and predicts the behaviour of one possible textile product. In this
context the textile equipment are represented by protective garment intended to protect the
wearer from injury in different industrial areas. This application has the possibly to model the
parameters for obtaining the optimal product in according to the destination. For designing
the personal protective equipment is an important step to modulate the cloths you need for
obtain the chemical, dust or heat resistant clothing. The positive aspect consist in fact that is
not required the physical presence of the students in real environment for learning the
developing process of this equipment. In this application the last step is made for testing the
knowledge gained by students through virtual modelling of the parameters for protection
equipment of the students. The program allows the students to assess the values of knowledge
from browsing test. The e-Learning application is addressed to the teachers or students, for
specialized textile courses or for usage in garment product creation process.

Keywords: Textile, Virtual, Garment, Design, Protective

1. Introduction
Personal protective technologies are including the production of the clothing or equipment that can
be worn by humans for protection against health and safety hazards and the technical methods,
processes, techniques, tools, and materials that support their development and evaluation [1].
The personal protective technologies are used by the humans in work activities, hobbies or
home-based businesses for risks and infectious disease protection [1].
Safety equipment is required by the possibility of risk of harm to human body (figure 1). The
destination area for protective equipment it is given by the risk category.
The personal protective equipment include respirators worn by construction workers and
miners to protect against exposure to silica, dust, and hazardous gases; protective clothing,
respirators, and gloves worn by firefighters and mine rescue teams to avoid burns and smoke
inhalation; and respirators and protective clothing worn by healthcare workers to prevent acquiring
an infectious disease [1].
The protective equipment can be composed by single material layer or by using a multilayer
structure (outer layer - meta aramid fibres, impermeable layer - waterproof membrane, thermal
layer-meta-aramid and the inner layer-made from aramid yarn knitting or modacrylic [2,3].
2. Textile Process Modelling
The garment abstract model is a simplification of the real product. The model retains the necessary
elements of product for virtual clothing design (figure 2).
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Figure 1. Risks that must be countered Figure 2. Protective garment model

The next software
application simulates the
optimal combination of
parameters and materials for
protection against simulated
risk. The application has a
database of textile material
with their associated
mechanical parameters. This
application proposes the single
layer and multilayer protective
garment (figure 3). For the
product type must be chosen
the risk area from menu (figure
4). Also it has the possibility to
analyze the product global or
to divide de product on areas
and to use the different material parameters for different product elements (figure 5). The user can
introduce the parameters for textile material and can evaluate what extent the parameters and the
type of fibre choose can give maximum protection for risk (figure 6). This application may be used
by student to evaluate if theirs knowledge have best values or low one. The chosen parameters
according to risk and type of protective equipment can be evaluate and the student can see the
score (figure 7).














Figure 4. Chosen the risk

Figure 3. Main application - choice structure, single layer

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Figure 5. Splitting the product for separate analyse


Figure 6. Mechanical parameters for textile surface – global analyse


Figure 7. Evaluation result
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Conclusion
The personal protective equipment is a continuous challenge and very difficult for experts in
the field. This application has the advantage that can be used by student for testing the knowledge
and to create new protective products by using their parameters and the possibility to use different
parameters for different product area if they chose the split product option. Also this helps in
understanding the importance of selected parameters in correlation with the type of risk.

References
[1] The Personal Protective Technology-Program at NIOSH, The National Academies Press, Washington,
D.C.
[2] http://www.kermel.com
[3] Aileni, R.M., Farima, D. (2009) Technical textiles in personal protective equipment (PPE), Journal of
Polytechnic Institute of Iasi, Romania.
ICT in the Romanian Compulsory Educational System.
Expectations vs Reality

Oana Popa
1
, Felicia Bucur
1

(1) PhD Candidate, University of Bucharest,
Doctoral School in Educational Sciences
Şos. Panduri, nr. 90, Bucharest, 050663, ROMANIA
E-mail: oanaionescu68@yahoo.com


Abstract
The Romanian National Curriculum for compulsory education focuses on the eight domains
of key-competences concerning lifelong learning, promoted by the European Framework. In
order to develop the digital competence, the new Romanian Education Act (2011) established
that, starting with the 2012-2013 school-year, the Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) subject will become for the very first time a part of the Romanian National
Curriculum, as an elective subject for primary education (for the following school year, this
decision involves only the preparatory grade and it will gradually extend to subsequent grade
levels, acquiring the status of compulsory subject for secondary education in the future). This
paper includes a review of current legislative documents on education, existing studies and
reports, curricular documents, and by means of the five interviews conducted (4 teachers who
teach either in urban or rural schools and a school inspector), we attempt to anticipate the
obstacles related to the introduction of ICT in the Romanian National Curriculum, as well as
to identify possible solutions that may narrow the gap between expectations and reality.

Keywords: digital competence, ICT, Romanian National Curriculum

1. Digital Competence in Education
According to Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18
December 2006, competences for lifelong learning represent “a combination of knowledge, skills
and attitudes appropriate to the context”, necessary for personal fulfillment and development,
social inclusion, active citizenship and employment. They are essential in a knowledge society and
should be integrated in compulsory education and training and, moreover, they should be further
enhanced throughout any individual’s life. The eight key-competences (communication in the
mother tongue; communication in foreign languages; mathematical competence and basic
competences in science and technology; digital competence; learning to learn; social and civic
competences; sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; cultural awareness and expression) are
defined and described by the European Reference Framework and they share common features
(critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem-solving, risk assessment, decision-taking, and
constructive management of feelings), thus underlining the complexity and unity of the construct.
The digital competence involves the confident and critical use of information society
technology (IST), and thus the display of basic skills in information and communication
technology (ICT). Consequently, as compared to the other seven key-competences, one could
suggest that the digital competence is endowed with “more” transversality in the context of the
contemporary world, when it is almost inconceivable to perform an activity without using
technology. Apart from the ability to use ICT tools, knowledge of the nature, role and
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opportunities of IST in everyday contexts is important. Becoming fully aware of the challenges
that automatically come along with this competence is another aspect that has been emphasized in
official EU documents (EC, 2008). Therefore, individuals need to acquire the ability to search,
collect and process information and use it in a critical and systematic way (EC, 2007).
2. Introducing ICT in Education – Brief Outline
Ever since the end of the 20
th
century (the 1980s), there has been constant concern with
introducing computers in schools, their role gradually increasing from learning about computers to
learning with computers (Pelgrum and Schipper, 1993), ICT being first considered as a content
element, and then as a didactic tool, enhancing teaching quality and improving the teaching-
learning process (Istrate, 2002). Moreover, the issue of teacher training has also been tackled and
dealt with during this period, being considered a necessary stage in the process undertaken by ICT
to become a well-established subject in the curriculum for compulsory education. Implementing
ICT in education has changed the view on educational practices by innovating them and by
transforming them forever, as it circumscribes that category of changes considered durable and
efficient, assimilated and adopted by the beneficiary “because they satisfy his specific needs”
(Huberman, 1978). Education could not stand apart from the transformations stemming from the
introduction of ICT for various reasons that are worth mentioning: the entire world cultural content
is being converted into digital form, making it accessible to everybody, anytime and anywhere,
thus profoundly changing the problems of education, which is forced to find the means that would
enable learners to have unlimited access to culture; multiple means of representing information, of
simulating interactions, of expressing ideas are developed, means that education cannot ignore or
minimize, various ordinary abilities are exteriorized into digital tools, the digital technologies
enhancing personal capabilities, situation which, formerly, was exclusively the product of
education. Undoubtedly, introducing computers and the internet in schools has meant the
development of a new educational paradigm (Istrate, 2002).
In Romania, even before its EU accession, attention was paid to introducing ICT in education.
In 2001, a governmental programme abbreviated SEI (Sistem Educaţional Informatizat –
Educational IT-based System) was launched at national level and its purpose was “to computerise
the Romanian educational system by endowing schools with the necessary equipment, by creating
a wide range of custom software to facilitate the interaction between the learners and the subject
syllabi, by psycho-pedagogically retraining teaching staff with a view embedded in the learner-
centred approach and by laying the foundation of a computerised network as support for modern
management” (Potolea and Noveanu, 2008) and to offer a complementary solution to traditional
teaching. The conclusions of the Evaluation Report on Implementing SEI, published in 2008, show
the progress that was made as compared to the situation described in the 2004 intermediary report.
Thus, the number of teachers that use ICT was significantly greater than before, the number of
lessons in which ICT was used increased and, to a similar extent, the teachers’ and students’
willingness to take part in more lessons that use ICT; the number of students per computer in a
school decreased, especially at high school level. Another aspect pinpointed in the report was the
ever increasing number of students that independently use the computer at home or in other
locations than school, for communication purposes and for acquiring knowledge (Potolea and
Noveanu, 2008). What is even more important, the report presented the gap between the rural and
the urban areas, the former being obviously in a worse situation.
3. ICT in the Romanian National Curriculum for Compulsory Education
The Romanian National Curriculum for compulsory education covers two divisions: the core-
curriculum and the school-based curriculum. The first one corresponds to the minimum number of
hours a week for each compulsory subject included in the Curriculum-framework and the second
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covers the difference in terms of time allocation between the core curriculum and the
minimum/maximum number of hours per week, stated in the Curriculum-framework. The subject
curricula contain the attainment targets, the reference objectives, the learning contents and the
curricular standards of achievement (grades 1-4) and the general competences, specific
competences and the correlated relevant syllabi, values and attitudes (grades 5-8) (M.E.N., C.N.C.,
1998). Starting with the 2012-2013 school year, competence-based curricula will be used for the
preparatory grade, and similar curricula for grades 1-4 will be gradually introduced, so that, in a
few years’ time, the entire National Curriculum will focus on building and developing general and
specific competences, subordinated to the key-competences put forth by the European Reference
Framework for Lifelong Learning and by the 2011 Romanian Education Act.
Consequently, in 2012, by means of the new National Curriculum, a new Curriculum-
framework and new Subject Curricula for the preparatory grade have been launched. The
Curriculum-framework has been designed in such a way as “to allow the future 2
nd
grade graduate
to achieve the elementary key-competences level specified in Art. 68 of the 2011 Romanian
Education Act” (Appendix 6 in O.M.E.C.T.S. no. 3654/2012). The Subject Curricula are focused
on these specifications that target the development of competences (therefore attuning them to
those for lower and upper secondary education) and the equipment of the learner with those
instruments that will help him grasp the distinctiveness of each domain in order to achieve deep
learning. Therefore, priorities change as information acquisition is ranked second and the learner’s
ideal portrait is drawn based on developing these competences for each and every subject in the
general curriculum. As absolute novelty, in the new curriculum, the Information and
Communication Technologies subject (Playing with the Computer) is distinctively comprised by
the Curriculum-framework, according to the provisions in the 2011 Romanian Education Act:
“ICT is an elective subject for students in grades 1-4 and a compulsory subject for lower and
upper-secondary education”. For the preparatory grade, the subject is circumscribed to the
curricular area Visual Arts and Technologies and it aims at building and developing the digital
competence, as, up to now, this competence has been, to a certain extent, overlooked by the
Romanian National Curriculum, or, at least, unsystematically pursued by means of a specific
subject. So far, the student’s digital competence has been built tangentially, by means of elective
subjects, introduced in the school-based curriculum, carrying on various names, which have been
active only in those schools that had the necessary equipment (in Romania, computer laboratories
are generally more common in urban than rural areas, and more often than not they are short of
computers). It is true that the subject still has an elective statute, being allocated 0-1 hour/week,
but, as it is now included in the list of the subjects from the Curriculum-framework, its chances of
being introduced in the preparatory grade timetable, and then in those for grades 1-4, increase to a
great extent. The ICT subject curriculum has been designed starting from arguments that have
taken into account not only the ICT rapid spread, which affects one’s daily life, but also the way in
which learning is understood and the fact that, from an early age, children have been exposed to
digital device usage. Moreover, the transferability quality of the digital competence has also been
considered, as well as the potential risks arising from inadequate use of technologies. The subject
curriculum aims at building and developing the digital competence in terms of knowledge, skills
and attitudes, described by means of general competences, that are further laid out into specific
competences, for the development of which one suggests a learning syllabus that covers basic
computer functions, and/or other digital devices, simple digital applications and software, simple
tools necessary to explore and select Internet information, as well as ICT security regulations.
4. Obstacles to the Implementation of ICT in Education
The advantages brought about by the use of computers in education are difficult to question, as the
strengths clearly outnumber the weaknesses. Nevertheless one needs to refer to the obstacles that
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ICT has had to overcome for a successful future to be forseen. Pelgrum (2001) emphasized the
obstacles that seriously impede the realization of ICT-related goals of schools, as perceived by
educational practitioners at the lower-secondary level, in 26 countries. The results highlight a long
list of obstacles. The top 10 is consisted of o mixture of material and non-material obstacles: the
insufficient number of computers, insufficient peripherals, not enough copies of software and
insufficient number of computers that can simultaneously access the Internet, the teachers’
insufficient ICT knowledge and skills, the difficulty to integrate ICT in instruction, scheduling
enough computer time for students, insufficient teacher time, and the lack of supervisory and
technical staff (Pelgrum, 2001).
In Romania, the conclusions of the Evaluation Report on Implementing SEI (2008) go along
the same line as Pelgrum (2001). Thus, after describing the existing situation in point of
equipment, access to new technologies, ICT usage and its impact, the report reaches the following
conclusions, more or less similar with the obstacles identified by Pelgrum (2001): equipping
schools with computers (SEI laboratories) – the better situation of the urban schools; the Internet
connection problem; the lack of qualified staff to administer computers and networks; access to
new technologies - the two categories of beneficiaries have different views – the teachers consider
that the main obstacle is their lack of computer skills and knowledge; 95% of the students show
high levels of interest in participating in lessons that use ICT; educational software usage level in
urban areas far exceeds that from rural areas, as 85% of urban teachers have a computer (vs 69.4%
of rural teachers); ICT usage - the teachers find it difficult to integrate ICT because of the
insufficient number of computers and laboratories, insufficient teacher time to prepare lessons,
insufficient educational software, lack of specific training; students have to overcome obstacles
they rank as follows: insufficient student-computer interaction time, the large number of students
per computer, the difficulty of working tasks, as well as software quality; ICT impact - teachers
and school principals generally consider that ICT has a beneficial impact, facilitating the activity
of planning and carrying out the educational process, as well as that of evaluating the learning
outcomes, developing cooperation learning and students’ interest in what is being studied,
improving school performance by making easier for students to understand the subject contents,
offering differentiated instruction (Potolea and Noveanu, 2008).
To sum up, although using ICT in education is almost unanimously considered valuable, there
are many different obstacles that can be sometimes overcome easily or with difficulty. To identify
the causes that lead to them, and more importantly the possible solutions to these problems, we
have analysed the situation in Prahova county, in order to have a better picture of the ICT usage in
compulsory education in Romania.
5. ICT in Prahova County
Prahova is not only the most populated county in Romania, except for the capital, Bucharest, but
also one of the most urbanized, comprising two municipal towns and twelve towns, and one of the
most economically powerful counties, above the national average. In Prahova county there are 279
schools, 134 in the urban area and 145 in the rural area, attended by approximately 120,000
students. For the 2012-2013 school year, the Prahova County School Inspectorate reported 258
preparatory classes in 159 schools in urban and rural areas. Taking into consideration the
socioeconomic circumstances in Prahova county, less unfavourable as compared to other areas in
our country, our research is based on the assumption that, in this area, the problems caused by
implementing ICT should be less critical. Consequently, we assume that the obstacles may be
more transparent, allowing us to identify solutions, as well as more approachable, so that these
envisaged solutions might be applied.
To validate/invalidate our assumptions we conducted 5 semi-structured interviews with
teaching staff from Prahova county: one with a school inspector for primary education and 4 with
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primary teachers who will teach the preparatory grade starting with the 2012-2013 school year.
The interviews focused on: the extent to which the ICT (Playing with the Computer) subject will
be included in the preparatory grade timetable; the introduction of this new elective subject in the
Curriculum-Framework; the favouring/blocking factors regarding the ICT introduction/rejection in
the timetable; the clarity of the explanations and suggestions in the ICT subject curriculum; the
perspective that, in spite of its elective status, the ICT will become a common subject in primary
education, taking into account the compulsoriness of the ICT subject in secondary education, in
the near future.
From the interview with the school inspector, we were able to make out the strengths and
weaknesses of introducing ICT with the preparatory grade, starting with the 2012-2013 school
year. Thus, he concluded that preparatory classes would not include the new subject in their
timetables, although, in his opinion, the utility of integrating ICT starting with primary education
cannot be contested and the subject curriculum was designed so as to capitalize on the content
elements of the other subjects, substantially contributing to achieving a new curriculum approach:
an integrated, non-disciplinary one. As for the causes leading to this situation, the school inspector
distinguished three possible reasons: curriculum design, material resources and human resources.
The first reason refers to the way in which the curriculum was designed: according to
legislation in force, in primary education timetables there must be at least one elective subject, and
curricular documents suggest that this should circumscribe to the Language and Communication
Curricular Area – learning a foreign language. There are few cases when two elective subjects are
included in primary education timetables, and therefore, probably, more often than not, the elective
subject will be foreign language learning (another key-competence), continuing the current trend
to the detriment of ICT. Insufficient material resources represent the second reason emphasized by
the school inspector: not all schools in Prahova county have a computer laboratory, and, even if
such a laboratory exists, the number of computers is smaller than the number of students in a class
(according to legislation if force, the maximum number of students in a class is 25 in primary
education, but this regulation is often broken, especially in the urban area). Moreover, the subject
curriculum suggests that, the ICT class should unfold in a familiar environment for the preparatory
grade students, that is in their classroom, which, consequently, should be equipped with at least
one Internet connected computer, a screen and an overhead projector, and, ideally, with 3 or 4
extra computers, permanently at students’ disposal, so that small group work and smooth transition
from one activity to the next be permitted. With few (isolated and only in the urban area)
exceptions, Prahova county schools do not have the necessary equipment. The school inspector
also mentions that the funds allocated so far (only two more months before the new school year
starts) are insufficient to cover the necessary school equipment. As for human resources, the ICT
subject curriculum recommends that the subject would be taught by the class teacher who is
considered the most appropriate person to plan this activity. But not all primary education teachers
have ICT competence – although, if reading their files, they have attended various in-service
training courses – and, in the school inspector’s opinion, teachers view in-service training as
obligation, not as opportunity, and, consequently, course participation is often formal, without
always resulting in competence acquisition. Thus, on the one side, younger teachers (<40),
generally from the rural area (where the teachers’ age average is considerably lower as compared
to the urban area) have ICT skills, but they lack the necessary material resources; on the other side,
older teachers (>50) do not have ICT skills and, sometimes, they are resistant to change.
The 4 teachers that were interviewed reinforced the school inspector’s opinion. Teacher 1 (42,
female, Master Studies in Education, ICT skills acquired during in-service training and
autodidactically, urban school with 900 students and a computer laboratory) will not introduce ICT
in her preparatory class timetable, and neither will the other two preparatory class teachers in her
school, mainly because of lack of material resources. Her classroom is not properly equipped, and
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even if this were possible, there would not be enough room for the necessary equipment. As for
the computer laboratory in her school, the number of computers (18) is smaller than the number of
students in a class. In her view, ICT could be the queen of subjects, the students’ ICT competence
being a valuable asset when teaching-learning the other subjects. However, she considers that it is
difficult to overcome obstacles such as the lack of material resources, as well as older colleagues’
reticence to the new teaching-learning approach triggered by the ICT introduction, explaining that,
at school management level, identical timetables are generally preferred to avoid discrimination.
Therefore, even if there were sufficient material resources, colleagues’ resistance to change could
not be eliminated so easily. Teacher 2 (35, female, Master Studies in Education, ICT skills
acquired autodidactically and improved during in-service training, urban school in a disadvantaged
area, with 400 students and a computer laboratory) salutes the ICT introduction in the preparatory
grade Curriculum-framework, especially because more than half of the students in her school do
not have access to a computer at home. Nevertheless, ICT will not be included in the timetable of
the two preparatory classes in her school, because another elective subject was preferred. She
considers that one could benefit from the recommendation that the class teacher should teach the
subject, provided the classrooms were equipped adequately or a bigger number of computers
existed in the laboratory (now there are 15) and all the teachers had computer skills. Teacher 3
(32, female, Bachelor Studies in Psychology, ICT skills acquired autodidactically, rural school,
with less than 200 students and a computer laboratory – 10 computers) is more optimistic and
considers, that, although ICT will not be a part of the next year’s preparatory class timetable, this
new subject will be introduced in the future, as circumstances in her school are favourable: the
teaching staff is mainly young, with ICT skills and more open to new approaches, and classrooms
could be adequately equipped by local authorities, provided the school initiative were supported by
the school inspectorate. Teacher 4, (30, female, Bachelor Studies in Education, ICT skills acquired
during initial and in-service training, rural school, with less than 100 students and no computer
laboratory – there is one such laboratory with 10 computers in the “main” school) considers that
ICT is very useful for primary school students. This school year’s preparatory class will not have
ICT in its timetable, because classroom equipment according to recommendations in the subject
curriculum is non-existent, and unfolding the ICT class in the computer laboratory means taking
students to the “main” school (located at 5 km away).
6. Conclusions
Starting from considerations emphasized in previous research (Pelgrum, 2001; Noveanu and
Potolea, 2008), we have attempted to identify the obstacles that hinder the implementation of ICT
in compulsory education in Romania, the causes that favour or maintain them so as to come up
with possible solutions. The small-scale investigation we conducted in Prahova county
strengthened the general opinion that, even if ICT is now a part of the Curriculum-framework, it
will not be present in the preparatory grade timetable in the 2012-2013 school year, mainly
because of the obstacles that have already been pinpointed in our paper. As for possible solutions,
the school inspector and 2 of the teachers interviewed suggest that changing mentality is
mandatory under present circumstances. But, unfortunately, it is very difficult, and sometimes
impossible, to change people’s mentality, just as Huberman (1978) pointed out: when it is about a
major change in education, the critical factor is not the nature of that change, but “the perception
that the individual, who is confronted with adopting innovation, builds about the changes that he,
himself, will be forced to make”, and “stress must be first placed on changing attitude, and only
after a while on changing methods and practices”. Therefore, we suggest that in-service training
should start from carefully and minutely analyzing teachers’ (both present and future) real needs,
and that the degree of formality characterizing training courses should diminish, because teachers
need to permanently acquire skills and competences in order to cope with a world that does not
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stand still. Nevertheless, deeper investigation of this topic is necessary, because improving
teachers’ skills and competences could help change their mentality, and, moreover, if material
obstacles could be overcome by means of central or local funding, the gap between expectations
and reality would narrow down significantly as far as the ICT integration in the Romanian
National Curriculum is concerned.

References
C.N.C.- M.E.N (1998): Curriculum Naţional pentru învăţământul obligatoriu. Cadru de referinţă. Editura
Corint, Bucureşti
European Commission (2007): Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. European Reference Framework.
Office for Official Publications of the EC, Luxembourg
European Commission (2008): Digital Competences for Lifelong Learning. Office for Official Publications of
the EC, Luxembourg
http://www.isj.ph.edu.ro
Huberman, A. M. (1978): Cum se produc schimbările în educaţie. Contribuţie la studiul inovaţiei. Editura
Didactică şi Pedagogică, Bucureşti.
Istrate, O. (2002): Utilizarea noilor tehnologii ale informaţiei şi comunicării în educaţie. Institutul de Ştiinţe
ale Educaţiei, Bucureşti
Legea nr.1/2011, Legea Educaţiei Naţionale, M.Of. nr.18, Partea I, 10.01.2011
Ordin nr. 3654/29.03.2012 Ordin nr. 3654/29.03.2012 al Ministrului Educaţiei, Cercetării, Tineretului şi
Sportului privind aprobarea planurilor-cadru de învăţământ pentru învăţământul primar, ciclul achiziţiilor
fundamentale – clasa pregătitoare, clasa I şi clasa a II-a şi a Metodologiei privind aplicarea planurilor –
cadru de învăţământ pentru învăţământul primar, ciclul achiziţiilor fundamentale – clasa pregătitoare,
clasa I şi clasa a II-a, M. Of. nr. 327 Partea I, 15.05.2012
Pelgrum, W. J. (2001): Obstacles to the integration of ICT in education: results from a worldwide educational
assessment. Computers & Education 37, 163–178.
Pelgrum, W. J., Schipper, A. T. (1993): Indicators of computer integration in education. Computers &
Education, 21 (1-2), 141-149
Potolea, D., Noveanu, E. (coord.) (2008): Informatizarea sistemului de învăţământ: Programul S. E. I. Raport
de cercetare evaluativă. Editura Agata, Bucureşti
Programe şcolare – clasa pregătitoare, aprobate prin O.M.E.C.T.S. nr. 3656/29.03.2012,
http://programe.ise.ro/Programescolareaprobate.aspx
Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key
competences for lifelong learning Official Journal L 394, 30.12.2006, 10-18
Teachers’ perception concerning their technology competencies

Mărgăriţoiu Alina, Eftimie Simona Georgiana

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


Abstract
Our paper aims to present an investigation on 60 teachers form Prahova and Brăila Counties
in Romania, in relation to their perception concerning the technology competencies in
education to offer specialists and policy makers some indications about the professional
profile of teachers. Using the questionnaire and focus-group, we present some findings:
technology competencies are not in the forefront of the hierarchy for teacher competences;
95% from teachers are used new technologies in planning and conducting lessons and 40%
for documentation, for communication or for student involvement; 85% from teachers have an
extrinsic motivation in the use of new technologies in education. In this context, we consider
extremely necessary to develop national and international projects for teachers in order to
maximize their technology competencies.

Keywords: technology competencies, new technologies


1. Introduction. Theoretical Review
The national education system in our country is subjected to constant changes, which has
generated significant progress regarding the democratization of education, enhancing teachers’
skills, individualizing and differentiating the curriculum and applying new technologies in
education.
One of the change factors in schools is the (specialized and psycho-pedagogical) training, the
competencies and performances of the teachers. Their core competencies are generated by the
initial training programs, while continuing training programs aim to improve both their training
and diversification.
Competence was defined in dictionary as the “due qualification or capacity, adequacy or
sufficiency to do a task” (Delbridge, 1985) and the “power, ability or capacity to do, for a task
(Brown, 1993). Also, competence represents all structured knowledge, reactions, abilities acquired
through learning, which sometimes reflect aptitudes, other times practiced and developed
experience, in order to achieve certain objectives. (Tudorică, 2005, p. 221)
Developing teachers’ competencies give a better coherence to the initial and continuous
training programs, and improve the organization culture.
Foreign specialty literature mentions among the advantages of competency-based approaches
to education: the demystification of teacher education, a clearer role for schools/colleges in the
training process, greater confidence of employers in what beginning teachers can do and clearer
goals for students (Whitty & Willmott, 1991).
In the recent competence-based movement, a holistic approach is normatively put forward.
Korthagen (2004) regards competence as the possession and development of integrated skills,
knowledge, appropriate attitudes and experience for the successful performance of one’s life roles.
Unfortunately, Romanian specialty literature on this topic – concerning definition, classification,
role, research etc. – is very limited. Very few specialists / researchers (Lefter, Manolescu, 1995;
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Joiţa, 2000, Iosifescu, 2001; Nicolescu, Verboncu, 2002, Vlăsceanu, 2003, Tudorica, 2006) have
analyzed the role of didactic competencies in the change of school management or in other types
of institutions.
In the current paper, we focus only on teachers’ information technology competencies that
continue to be essential in the information society, in education, in the development of
intercultural dialogue, etc. Also, an important requirement made by European countries in
education is that every teacher be able to determine the pupils’ level as far as computer using is
concerned and be able to use a programming language, to know the computers’ functions, in order
to reach the necessary level for pupils’ instruction.
In this context, our investigation intends to analyse teachers’ perception concerning the
information technology competencies they consider necessary to deal with future school changes
and, why not, to offer specialists and policy makers some indications about a professional profile
of future teachers (reflected in the curricula for teachers’ training).

2. Research methodology
We have started from the premise that the teachers who apply new technologies as educational
resources and communication means create genuine opportunities to learn and develop pupils’
skills.

2.1. General aim and objectives of present research
The main purpose of our research was to investigate teachers’ perception concerning their
technology competencies and the role of new technologies in the teaching-learning process in
order to find solutions for the transition from an inferior level of integration and capitalization of
the new technologies in education to a superior level.
In this context, the objectives of the research concerned the following issues:
1. To name and rank the competencies of teachers;
2. To define technology competencies;
3. To offer examples of the new technologies use in didactic activities;
4. To mention the frequency of new technologies’ use;
5. To identify ways to render the application of new technologies in education more efficient.

2.2. Research Organization, Procedure and Participants
The current research was conducted during the academic year 2011 – 2012 on a sample of 60
teachers from Prahova and Brăila Counties, Romania, 30 from urban areas and 30 from rural
areas, with different experience in education, different specializations, and various didactic
degrees (from permanent teacher certification to the highest level of teacher certification). Their
age is between 25 and 58 years old; 48 females and 12 males. All investigated subjects have taken
part in other projects whose purpose was to raise the level of information technology use in the
teaching-learning-evaluation process.
Before them actually getting involved in our investigation, all participants were informed
about our study’s purpose and they have been consulted about their agreement to participate.

2.3. Research Methods
We’ve considered that the most appropriate methods to accomplish our purpose are the
questionnaire and focus-group.
In the first stage of the research, we have applied the questionnaire with open questions in
order to collect information about the competencies held by teachers, the definition of technology
competencies, when and how to apply the new technologies in their professional activity and how
to render the application of new technologies more effective in the teaching-learning process.
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In the second stage of the research, we have applied the focus – group interview about their
perception regarding the advantages and obstacles in integrating new technologies in education,
the definition of technological competences, the reasons for applying new technologies, the level
of knowledge and practice of new technologies and the necessary changes in order to improve
technology competencies.

3. Data Analysis and Interpretation
Among the category of competencies, the most frequently mentioned by the investigated teachers
were the communication and psychosocial competencies (90%).
Regarding the ranking of their competencies significant differences were registered based on
the educational cycle variable: at pre-school and primary level, teachers have mentioned the
following competences:
1. Communication and psychosocial competencies;
2. Methodological competencies;
3. Specialty competencies;
4. Curriculum planning competence;
5. Management and self management competencies;
6. Information technology competencies;
7. Assessment and self-assessment competencies;
8. Artistic competencies.
At the level of secondary and high school education the investigated teachers indicated
that they have:
1. Specialty and methodological competencies;
2. Communication and psychosocial competencies;
3. Curriculum planning competence;
4. Management and self management competencies;
5. Information technology competencies;
6. Assessment and self-assessment competencies;
7. Research, continuing training and innovation competencies;
8. Artistic competencies.
These results demonstrate the mentality and perception of investigated subjects regarding the
teacher performance in order to improve the educational process and achieve good school results
for pupils. Still, they recognised that they feel forced to practice the knowledge based curriculum
because the Romanian national evaluation is focused on knowledge.
Although all subjects of our research attended trainings for the use of computers in the
educational process, the results indicate that in pre-school and primary education the technology
competencies are ranked sixth and at secondary and high school level they are ranked 5.
The explanation for this ranking was brought to us by the focus – group interview which
introduced us to several disadvantages of using new technologies in education:
- “I admit the fact that applying new technologies helps me introduce more information in a
shorter time but it does not always ensure efficiency and consolidation of knowledge” (44 years
old, 19 years experience, highest level of teacher certification, urban area);
- “Sometimes it is useful to teach through the new technologies but sometimes it is not. They
are good for giving children lots of sources and materials but they limit creativity and logical
thinking” (53 years old, 22 years experience, highest level of teacher certification, rural area).
Although in many schools in Romania important progresses were made regarding their
information technology infrastructure, Internet access, opening educational platforms,
participation in trainings for the use of the new information technologies to make teaching more
effective, many teachers did not get past the first stage in the integration of new technologies into
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the teaching-learning-evaluation process. They merely accept and understand the role of new
technologies in education but they do not manifest an intrinsic motivation for them, they cannot
fully adapt the new technologies to their teaching style.
From the focus-group interview we learn that most of the teachers we investigated (85%) have
an extrinsic motivation in the use of new technologies in education: on the occasion of inspections
carried out in the process of obtaining new levels of teacher certification, in demonstrative lessons
held for Methodical Commissions or Teachers Circles, in national and international projects.
Consequently, teachers have failed the transition to a superior/advanced stage in the integration
and use of the new in education. Some explanations were offered by the subjects investigated in
the focus – group interview:
- “During our initial training I do not believe we were taught to integrate the new technologies
in education and the training courses I later attended taught me few things about the use of
computers in teaching” (47 years old, 21 years experience, highest level of teacher certification,
rural area).
- “The projects I participated in used the e-learning platforms more for posting assessments
and les for cooperating with other teachers or to experiment the new technologies in teaching” (38
years old, 14 years experience, second level of teacher certification, urban area).
Also, another interesting finding was their confession about the fact that beyond the use of
computer to write an e-mail or a paper, they have difficulties in finding, selecting and organising
information (they blamed it on the bad organisation of IT trainings – too much theory and too
little practice in a short interval, so that they did not have enough time to practice what they
learned). And more, these trainings do not have a follow up to analyse the impact of the training
and to keep in touch with the specialists that have trained them. Also, a study developed by M.
Valcke, I. Rots, M. Verbeke, J. van Braak (2007) got to the conclusion that in Belgium “ICT
school policies are not well developed and reveal a partial match between policies, needs, and the
actual in-service training.” And the “innovative applications of ICT are not promoted”.
Another significant difference in the results of our research is given by the variable
environment of origin: urban teachers rank technological skills on 4th place, while rural teachers
rank it 6th.
From the focus - group interview we learn that rural schools have been equipped with a
smaller number of computers as compared to urban schools whereas some urban teachers are
involved in projects and have already seen the role of new technologies in meeting project
objectives, running activities and sharing professional experiences.
Also surprising for us was teachers’ difficulty to offer an operational definition for
technological competences in the questionnaire (the definition “using of computer in the
educational process” is predominant) and focus-group (we have observed their faint voice, their
hesitant descriptions). This is a proof (as our subjects considered during the focus group interview)
for the excessive theoretically orientated trainings for teachers and the lack of practical
investigations, the reduced number of pedagogical practice hours for pre-service teachers etc. So,
their (and our) conclusion was that teachers should be involved in more pedagogical investigations
followed by the design of programs and curricula planning that capitalize on the results of their
investigations.
Most of our respondents (95%) have admitted that applying new technologies in planning and
conducting lessons (drafting the lesson plan and watching films, power point presentations,
materials samples and products, etc.) The teachers from rural areas apply new technologies to
elaborate evaluation tests more (75%) than those in urban areas (40%) and the teachers from urban
areas apply the new technologies for documentation (25%) more than those from rural areas
(15%).
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As expected, urban teachers use new technologies daily and weekly whereas rural teachers use
them weekly and monthly.
Considering the advantages of applying new technologies in education, the teachers from rural
areas have mentioned the following hierarchy: the increase in school motivation, focusing the
attention of students, presenting more information in a shorter period, facilitating learning,
consolidating knowledge, and documenting, a greater involvement of students.
These results show that teachers use new technologies to create a learning environment
(focusing the attention of students, increase school motivation), not to develop student skills
(facilitating learning, consolidating knowledge and documenting, a greater involvement of
students).
It seems that young teachers (under 35 years) empathize better with students and have a better
understanding of the benefits of using new technologies to develop student skills, making them
suggest the following hierarchy: the new technologies facilitate learning, involve students more,
capture their attention and increase school motivation, stimulate creativity, facilitate presenting a
lot of information quickly, students can be presented with more examples.

4. Conclusions and recommendations
In our current research we have analyzed the teachers’ perception concerning their technology
competencies and the role of new technologies in the teaching-learning process in order to find
solutions for the transit from an inferior level of integration and capitalization of the new
technologies in education to a superior level.
In the data analysis and interpretation for the current research we underline the main arguments
justifying the necessity of national and international projects for teachers in order to develop
technology competencies:
- In the ranking of competencies the investigated teachers hold, the technology competencies
are not forefront;
- 95% from teachers are used new technologies in planning and conducting lessons (drafting
the lesson project and watching films and power point presentations, providing examples of
materials and products, etc.), and 40% for documentation, for communication or for student
involvement;
- 85% from teachers have an extrinsic motivation in the use of new technologies in education;
- Teachers use new technologies to create a learning environment (focusing the attention of
students, increase school motivation), not to develop student skills (facilitating learning,
consolidating knowledge and documenting, a greater involvement of students);
- Teachers failed the transition to a more advanced stage of new technologies use in education;
- Although they attended training courses, teachers hols elementary knowledge and
competencies in applying new technologies.
Considering their proposals concerning the utility of national and international projects for
teachers, we suggest the following objectives:
- more practical hours (hours dedicated to the development technology competencies);
- developing intrinsic motivation regarding the use of new technology in education;
- didactics for a curricular area (not for a limited specialization);
- practice for team teaching (intercultural) that includes new technologies;
- an obvious orientation of classes toward the development of research / investigation
competences for teachers, competences that enables them to adapt the curricula to the
realities of their schools;
- developing intercultural dialog on educational topics through e-learning platforms.
In conclusion, a curriculum focusing on the training and development of technology
competencies within the initial training can be a solution to improve this competence in preparing
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a teacher and will have a primary role in facilitating change in the school organization, as a
generator factor of performance, quality and efficiency.

5. References

Brown, L. (1993): The new shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. 5
th
edition. Clarendon
Press, Oxford.
Delbridge, A., (1985), The Macquarie dictionary, revised ed., Dell Why, NSW: Maquarie Library Pty Ltd.
Iosifescu, Ş. (2001): Management educaţional pentru instituţiile de învăţământ. ISE Publishing, Bucharest.
Korthagen, F. (2004): In search of the essence of good teacher: towards a more holistic approach in teacher
education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 77-97.
Joiţa, E. (2000): Management educaţional. Profesorul manager şi metodologie. Polirom Publishing, Iaşi.
Lefter, V., Manolescu, A. (1995): Managementul resurselor umane. Didactica si Pedagogica Publishing,
Bucharest.
Nicolescu, O., Verboncu, I. (2002): Fundamentele managementului organizaţiei. Tribuna Economică
Publishing, Bucharest.
Tudorică, R. (2005): Introducere în managementul educaţiei. Meronia Publishing, Bucharest.
Tudorică, R. (2006): Managementul educaţiei în context European. Meronia Publishing, Bucharest.
Valcke, M., Rots, I., Verbeke, M., van Braak, J. (2007): ICT teacher training: Evaluation of the curriculum
and training approach in Flanders. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 795-808.

Collaborative E-learning Methodologies: an Experience of Active
Knowledge in ICT Classrooms

Margarida M. Pinheiro
1
, Dora Simões
1


(1) ISCA-UA - Higher Institute of Accountability and Administration and GOVCOPP -
Research Unit for Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies, University of
Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, PORTUGAL
E-mail: margarida.pinheiro@ua.pt and dora.simoes@ua.pt


Abstract
In the present study we highlight a specific environment that makes use of collaborative
technological tools, like wikis and forums within an e-learning platform. Both of these
approaches convey a lot of responsibility from the teacher to the students and the hoping, as
backed up by the literature, is to promote deeper learning and reasoning skills at a higher
level. The general goal of this paper is to contribute for the theoretical discussion on how
active and collaborative experiences in ICT classrooms play a role on the construction of
knowledge in HEIs. Based on the pointed outlines, we intend to: (1) understand how
collaborative e-learning environments get students actively involved in the learning process;
(2) perspective the role of collaborative tools at the level of group work and (3) find out how
students assess their performance within a working group. Data was collected through
questionnaires available on the e-learning platform Moodle. Descriptive statistical techniques
were used to analyze quantitative data. Within the research questions proposed, the study,
points towards some understanding of how a collaborative learning environment seems to get
students actively involved in the learning process mainly if the tasks to be perform have an
empirical component. The study also has shown that students seem to identify themselves with
the need to be involved in simulations of their future professional activity, as well as with the
need to regulate their own learning and to promote discussion not only between peers but
also with the teacher.

Keywords: Collaborative learning, E-learning, ICT, Active learning, Teaching

1 Introduction
Active and collaborative learning are well known as alternative strategies to conventional teaching
models (e.g. Prince, 2004). The pedagogical and socio-economic forces that have driven the higher
learning institutions to adopt and incorporate ICT (information and communication technologies)
in teaching and learning are already changing the organization and delivery of higher education.
However, like Silva et al. (2002) say, there is still much to be done to overcome the individualistic
matrix to a culture of collaborative learning, within the culture of the universities.
In this study we highlight a specific environment that makes use of collaborative technological
tools, like wikis and forums within an e-learning platform. The general goal of this paper is to
contribute for the theoretical discussion on how active and collaborative experiences in ICT
classrooms play a role in the construction of knowledge in HEIs (Higher Education Institutions).
However, we did limit our field of study to the context of the curricular unit of CRM (Customer
Relationship Management) Systems, included in the last semester of the last year of the study plan
of the first cycle of studies of the Marketing course, available at the ISCA-UA (Higher Institute of
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Accounting and Administration of the University of Aveiro), Portugal. Based on the pointed
outlines and within the curricular case presented, we intend to: (1) understand how students get
actively involved in the learning process within a collaborative learning environment; (2)
perspective the role of collaborative tools at the level of group work and (3) find out how students
assess their performance within a working group.
This paper is organized into five key points. After the introduction, we try to contextualize the
use of ICT at the level of active and collaborative methodologies in the teaching and learning
processes in higher education. Then, we focus on the methodological aspects of the study. In the
next section we present and discuss the results obtained. The paper ends with the main conclusions
of the study.
2 The Paradigm of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
In the report made for UNESCO by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-
first Century (1996) a complementary mission for education is immediately referred: that of
fructifying the creative talents and potentialities of all individuals. In that very same report, the
need for a lifelong learning process is strengthened, as one of the keys to access education. The
idea conveyed by the group of rapporteurs sustains that education must be built upon the
symbiosis of four basilar learning processes: learning to know (acquiring not only a set of codified
knowledge, but also, and most importantly, the domain of those instruments), learning to do
(adjusting training to the future professional activity, in such a way as to apply the knowledge
obtained), learning to live together (cooperating with others in the resolution of common projects)
and learning to be (allowing for the full development of the person, rendering him/her apt to create
autonomous and critical thoughts, capable to judge different circumstances in life). However, if
traditional teaching (understood as a model of transmission of both knowledge and values, in the
univocal direction from teacher to student) is primarily oriented by the learning of how to know
and, specially in the field of higher vocational training, by the learning of how to do, according to
the authors of the above mentioned report, it will be necessary to provide education with structured
methodological ways, capable to involve both the learning of how to live together and the learning
to be. In such a perspective, it is possible to sustain the idea that learning can’t occur without
people or a reference to its subjectivities and personal and social contexts (Fyrenius et al., 2007).
On the other hand, the methodological model sustained by the Bologna Process has generated
profound implications in the change to student-centred methodologies, which makes the student an
active element in learning, properly guided by tutorial support. The implementation of these
guidelines does inevitably create the need to re-evaluate the pedagogical activities at the level of
goal definition and assessment, as well as, particularly, at the level of execution and follow-up of
the methodological processes. The arguments involved in the idea that higher education methodologies
have to be rethought are multidimensional and diversified (e.g. Silén and Juhlin, 2008).
2.1 Active and Collaborative Learning
It is not possible to provide unanimously accepted definitions for all of the vocabulary of active
learning since different authors have different interpretations. Still, it is possible to provide some
generally accepted definitions and to highlight distinctions in how common terms are used (Prince,
2004). Defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process, the core
elements of active learning are student activity and engagement in the learning process. Although
some authors (e.g. Kaufman et al., 1997) distinguish between collaborative and cooperative
learning as having distinct historical developments, this study will assume the perspective of
Panitz (1996) and Prince (2004) that collaborative learning encompasses cooperative learning as,
in either interpretation, the core element is grounded upon consensus building through cooperation
by all members of the group.
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Despite the empirical support for active learning is extensive, not all is compelling. In fact,
while several authors (e.g. McKeachie, 1972) admit that the improvement of active learning over
lectures seem to be small, others (e.g. Bonwell and Eison, 1991) conclude that it leads to better
student attitudes and improvements in students’ thinking and writing, motivating students for
further study and developing thinking skills. Still, some global conclusions arise. The collection of
studies proposed by Prince (2004) support the premise that collaboration not only enhances
academic achievement, student attitudes and student retention, but also provides a natural
environment favourable to enhance interpersonal skills.
However, a change in paradigm is hard to achieve. In fact, if teachers were taught by the
lecture method, then it is not surprising that this will be the selected method when their turn arrives
to take over the classroom. On the other hand, the fact that most students have been exposed only
to traditional methods that emphasize a competitive and individualistic approach constitutes a
major problem. So, unless teachers and students are trained in alternative teaching and learning
techniques and the debate around those issues increases, it seems rather difficult a change in
paradigm (Panitz, 1996). That means that, as suggested by Prince (2004), students and teachers
may gain if institutions consider non traditional models to promote active and collaborative
environments. However, one cannot think that any of these methods is magic and that they are the
cure for all educational problems.
2.2 Using ICT to Promote Active and Collaborative Practices
A possibility to promote active and collaborative practices is that of fostering the change of a
traditional teaching system to adopt and incorporate ICT in the teaching and learning process. But,
as Stahl et al. (2006) state, the interplay of learning with technology has problematized the very
notion of learning. Namely, about knowing in which arenas and to what extent there are
facilitators or obstacles, about understanding the activities mediated by ICT or about the risks in
using ICT in teaching and learning at the university level (Ludvigsen and Morch, 2007; Vajargah
et al., 2010). Specially, the internet and its expansion through the development of computer
networks, allows citizens not only to communicate at a speed never seen before and to access
enormous sources of information, but also to connect to any point on the globe. This makes people
to address themselves not only as consumers of information and knowledge but also as the creators
and sources of that very information and knowledge itself, providing a stimulus for computer
supported collaborative learning research.
In the opinion of Stahl and his colleagues (2006), the development of ICT make it possible not
only to disseminate and effectively take advantage of innovative educational software, but also to
create new forms of socialization and new definitions of individual and collective identity
(International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, 1996). More, Ludvigsen
and Morch (2007) argued that, the theoretical rationale for a pedagogical and technological
framework of a computer supported collaborative learning environment, emerged in response to
skills that were previously associated with deep learning, which are important in a knowledge-
based society. Lehtinen (2003) believes that the arguments for the use of ICT in education are
characteristically inherent to several self-evident benefits of information and communication
technology: from the use of a valuable tool for synchronous and asynchronous communication, to
the advantage of simulating real-life situations. These can give an idea of how the pedagogical
approaches used in ICT are more important than the technical features. One of the desires for the
educational use of ICT is that it can, effectively, support the attempts to control the complex
relationships of learning tasks (Lehtinen, 2003).
In a broad sense, e-learning refers either to the instructional content or learning experiences
delivered or enabled by electronic technologies, and to the use of ICT to enhance and support
teaching and learning processes. It incorporates a wide variety of learning strategies and ICT
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applications, such as virtual learning environments, or wikis and forums within an e-learning
platform (Sife et al., 2007). Previous research has been done on student collaboration using wikis
(Judd et al., 2010). Usually promoted as collaborative writing tools, wikis are gaining in
attractiveness in educational scenarios. Yet, although wikis include features that are designed to
facilitate collaboration, the studies of Judd et al. (2010) show evidence that not only students make
little use of the wiki’s commenting feature but also that the majority of students’ contributions are
made late in the activity, which makes the possibility of extensive collaboration unlikely. Also,
online discussion forums are another collaborative practice in education. Usually connoted as a
virtual learning environment in which students are likely to learn, the rationale on forums shows
evidence that, by reflecting on peers’ contributions in online discussions and articulating emergent
understanding, students engage in higher-order processes of information and are led towards the
construction of personal meaning which is a product of the students’ interaction and collaboration
(Judd et al., 2010).
Therefore, ICT mediation learning promotes the construction of complex knowledge structures
and support active learning. But, as Judd et al. (2010) argue, the social dynamics of computer
mediated communication are quite different from those of traditional face-to-face communication:
it focus on what is said and remove seemingly extraneous aspects of face to face communication.
Also interesting is the conclusion of the very same authors that introverted students are more likely
to benefit from computer mediated communication than extroverted students, as introverted
students find it easier to express themselves in the depersonalized forum. In the same line, the
results of the study of Yukselturk (2010) indicate that achievement, gender and weekly hours of
internet use, showed a significant relationship with students’ participation level in discussion.
While it is possible to underline teachers’ ICT competency, teachers’ confidence level in using
ICT, and teachers’ satisfaction on ICT training programs (Tasir et al., 2012), this study is rather
interested on students’ performance by the application of technology in terms of the effectiveness
and efficiency of the teaching and learning process.
3 The Methodological Procedure
The curricular unit of CRM Systems was planned not only to promote deep learning and reasoning
skills in the students, but also to allow the maxim participation of these. So, the curricular plan of
the course was designed to include different methodologies to each specific learning outcome. To
achieve this, students were firstly organized into groups, according to some specific features
identified by a simple survey: available time to work in group, same registration system in the
course, and similar grade average on a specific set of units of the curricular plan. In a rotation
system (by activity), each group chose a student to be coordinator. Beyond his role as a group
member, the coordinator has the added responsibility of ensuring the consistency of the work
done, of ensuring the observation of a set of working rules, and of promoting cooperation and
mutual aid between members. By the end of each activity, every student answered a questionnaire
to evaluate not only his own performance but also the one of his colleagues.
Bordered by the objectives of the curricular unit, four main learning outcomes can be defined.
First, in order to identify the major phases that support customer relationship, students have to
prepare and present a lesson about each phase of the process. Second, in order to recognize the
various levels of a CRM system and how they are integrated and related to the organizational
objectives of relationship marketing, students have to do some research about case studies that
describe previous experiences on the implementation of a CRM system and to present the results
of their analysis. Namely, students have to identify the type of situation portrayed, the main theme,
the problem outlined and the decisions taken, the qualitative and the quantitative aspects
highlighted, the technological solutions used and the functionalities that aim to support them. In
the third learning outcome, students have to recognize, discriminate and use the various features of
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each module of a CRM system and be familiar with how the modules are tangled. Finally, in the
fourth leaning outcome, students have to design, and monitor a program of implementation of a
CRM system (including the definition of the business plan, the analysis and the selection of a
technological tool according with the business’ objectives), and to manage the several projects that
can be integrated in the process. The validation of the last two learning outcomes is organized in
two complementary parts. On the one hand, and by using a wiki collaborative tool available on an
e-learning platform, students have to develop a summary report that conceptually characterizes the
CRM systems. On the other hand, and by using collaborative open source software available on
the market (VTigerCRM), students have to simulate a business environment and the management
of customers’ relationships. At the end of course, all the groups present their business in class and
provide a portfolio describing the main results of their experience with the software. All the
activities are also supported by discussion forums available through the e-learning platform.
Finally and in the last class, students are encouraged to answer one more questionnaire to register
their opinion about the teaching-learning methodology used. This is the unique anonymous
questionnaire. It is important to notice that all the activities proposed had a component in the final
grade on the CRM systems curricular unit.
A total of 28 students that attended the curricular unit in continuous assessment were included
in the study. Data was collected through questionnaires available on the e-learning platform
Moodle. Descriptive statistical techniques were used to analyse quantitative data.
4 Results and Discussion
Within the methodology previously defined, nine groups were found; three with 4 members, four
with 3 members and two with 2 members.
4.1 Self and Hetero-assessment of Groups’ Activities
Concerning self and hetero-assessment of the groups’ activities, data analysis was organized
around the four main learning outcomes previously defined: preparation and presentation of a
lesson (Table 1), analysis and presentation of a case study (Table 2), and use of a wiki tool and
simulation of a business environment (Table 3).

Table 8. Results of Self-/Hetero-assessment by Groups Concerning the Preparation and Presentation of
a Lesson

Group
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Members 4 4 3 4 2 3 3 3 2
Respondents 4 3 3 4 2 3 3 3 2
a by coordinator 6,0 7,0 22,0 37,0 10,0 12,0 15,0 10,0 10,0
ā by other members 8,3 4,0 20,0 26,3 10,0 12,5 9,5 10,0 7,0
A a -2,3 3,0 2,0 10,7 0,0 -0,5 5,5 0,0 3,0
b of coordinator 4,0 4,0 4,0 4,0 5,0 4,0 5,0 5,0 4,0
ƀ of group
4,4 4,0 4,7 4,8 5,0 4,0 4,7 4,3 3,5
a – time spent (in hours), Aa - a by coordinator - ā by other members, b – grade of self-/hetero-assessment (1
to 5).

Regarding the preparation and presentation of a lesson, the results show that 96% (27 out of
28) students answered the questionnaires (Table 1). As the majority of the groups present a
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positive deviation between the time spent by the coordinator and the average time spent by other
members, we can say that the coordinator seems to have assumed its role as responsible for the
work done. In fact, if it was not like that, all the group work would have been compromised and
the necessary time to fulfil the task proposed (prepare the presentation of the lesson) would be
longer. Although there is a substantially different average time between the groups that makes us
wonder about the relative merit of the work done, this aspect does not seem to have occurred since
all groups self-assessed with a 4 or even a 5 grade (good or very good performance). So, maybe
the collaborative task did really get students actively involved in the learning process.

Table 9. Results of Self-/Hetero-assessment by Groups Concerning the Analysis and Presentation of a
Case Study

Group
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Members 4 4 3 4 2 3 3 3 2
Respondents 4 3 3 3 2 3 1 3 2
a by coordinator 4,0 3,0 6,0 8,0 10,0 20,0 - 10,0 5,0
ā by other members 3,7 4,0 5,5 7,5 11,0 7,5 3,0 11,5 4,0
A a 0,3 -1,0 0,5 0,5 -1,0 12,5 - -1,5 1,0
b of coordinator 4,0 5,0 4,0 4,0 5,0 4,0 - 4,0 4,0
ƀ of group
4,3 4,3 3,7 4,3 5,0 4,0 4,0 4,0 4,0
a – time spent (in hours), Aa - a by coordinator - ā by other members, b – grade of self-/hetero-assessment (1
to 5).

Table 2 shows that 24 out of 28 (86%) students answered the questionnaire on students’ self-
assessment and hetero-assessment concerning the analysis and presentation of a case study.
Noteworthy is the fact that, in this situation, there are more cases of discrepancy between the time
spent by the coordinator and the average time spent by other members, with three negative
deviations. As, one more time, most groups self-assessed their performance as grade 4 or 5,
eventually, one can assume that the empirical nature of this task is much more appropriate to
group discussion than the presentation of a lesson assumed to be much more aligned with
theoretical concepts and, consequently, easier to prepare.

Table 10. Results of Self-/Hetero-assessment by Groups Concerning the Use of a Wiki Tool and the
Simulation of a Business Environment

Group
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Members 4 4 3 4 2 3 3 3 2
Respondents 2 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 2
a by coordinator 25,0 - 20,0 24,0 40,0 - 20,0 8,0 6,0
ā by other members 12,0 9,7 32,5 24,0 35,0 30,0 7,0 50,0 48,0
A a 13,0 - -12,5 0,0 5,0 - 13,0 -42,0 -42,0
b of coordinator 5,0 - 5,0 4,0 5,0 - 5,0 4,0 3,0
ƀ of group
4,5 4,3 4,6 4,3 5,0 4,0 5,0 3,9 3,5
a – time spent (in hours), Aa - a by coordinator - ā by other members, b – grade of self-/hetero-assessment (1 to 5).
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Data in Table 3 shows that 82% of students answered the questionnaires concerning to the last
activity (use of wiki tool and simulation of a business environment). Data shows that not only the
discrepancy between the time spent by the coordinator and the average time spent by other
members is the highest one, but also that this inconsistency is verified in most groups. Also, as
students rate their performance with a 4 or a 5, we hypothesize that the complexity of the task (use
of wiki tool and simulation of a business environment) seems to justify the greater involvement of
the students and, consequently, the more time required to complete the mission. So, maybe,
another important conclusion is that of the possibility to perspective the role of collaborative tools
due to the difficulty of the work that is developed: more theoretical tasks are more easily prepared
by groups while more practical ones not only need more time but, more important, need the
discussion inside the group.
Finally, it seems that data reflects the level of effort expected for each activity: the use of a
wiki tool and the simulation of a business environment take more time than the preparation and
presentation of a lesson and this, in turn, takes more time than the analysis and presentation of a
case study.
4.2 Students’ Opinions on the Teaching and Learning Methodologies Used
In order to realize students’ opinions on the teaching and learning methodologies used in the class,
students were invited to answer a last and anonymous questionnaire available on the Moodle
platform. There were nineteen answers.

Table 4. Resources and Methodologies Used in Support of the Teaching-learning Process

Resources and Methodologies
Use of collaborative
tools
(e.g. forums, wikis, etc.)
Preparation and
presentation of a
lesson
Analysis and
presentation of a
case study
Simulation of a
business
Average 3,8 4,1 3,5 4,6
Mode 4 5 4 6

As we can confirm in Table 4, the central tendency metrics show that students considered the
use of collaborative tools very useful (average and mode 4). Considering each specific activity, we
can conclude that the students considered the methodology used in the activity “simulation of a
business” as the most suitable, followed by the “preparation and presentation of a lesson”, and in
last, “analysis and presentation of a case study”.
Despite the heterogeneity of the class (students aged from 20 to 50 years, and different
availabilities of time, given that many of them were employed or doing their internship programs
in different companies), students were receptive and motivated to carry out the proposed activities.
Nevertheless, it was possible to recognize the two aspects denoted by Judd et al. (2010): the
majority of students’ contributions were made late in the activity and students made little use of
the wiki’s commenting feature. In both cases, these facts have limited the possibility of extensive
collaboration. In general, and as specified in literature by Judd et al. (2010), students delayed their
contributions to the activities (especially in the last one) and ended up making little use of the
potential for content development collaboratively via wiki tool, given the backward state of work
in most groups.
5 Conclusions
Within the research questions proposed, the study points towards some understanding of how a
collaborative learning environment seems to get students actively involved in the learning process
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mainly if the tasks to be perform have an empirical component. More, one can say that the study
also has shown that students seem to identify themselves with the need to be involved in
simulations of their future professional activity, as well as with the need to regulate their own
learning (preparation and presentation of lessons) and to promote discussion not only between
peers but also with the teacher.
6 References
Bonwell, C. C., and Eison, J. A. (1991): Active learning: creating excitement in the classroom. ASHEERIC
Higher Education (Vol. Report No 1). Washington DC: George Washington University.
Fyrenius, A., Wirell, S., and Silén, C. (2007). Student approaches to achieve understanding - approaches to
learning revisited. Studies in Higher Education, 32(2), 149-165.
International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. (1996). Learning: the tresure within.
UNESCO, Paris.
Judd, T., Kennedy, G., and Cropper, S. (2010). Using wikis for collaborative learning: assessing collaboration
through contribution. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(3), 341-354.
Kaufman, D., Sutow, E., and Dunn, K. (1997). Three approaches to cooperative learning in higher education.
The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, XXVII(2,3), 37-66.
Lehtinen, E. (2003). Computer-supported collaborative learning: an approach to powerful learning
environments. In E. D. Corte, L. Verschaffel, N. Entwistle and Merrieboer (Eds.), Powerful learning
environments: unravelling basic components and dimensions (pp. 35-51). Oxford: Pergamon.
Ludvigsen, S., and Morch, A. (2007). Computer-supported collaborative learning: pedagogical and
technological scaffolding Int’l Encyclopedia of Education’s 3rd Edition (Vol. Learning and Cognition):
Elsevier.
McKeachie, W. (1972). Research on college teaching. Educational Perspectives, 11(2), 3-10.
Panitz, T. (1996). Collaborative versus cooperative learning: a comparison of the two concepts which will
help us to understand the underlying nature of interactive learning Retrieved 16, May, 2012, from
http://home.capecod.net/~tpanitz/tedsarticles/coopdefinition.htm
Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education,
93(3), 223-231.
Sife, A. S., Lwoga, E. T., and Sanga, C. (2007). New technologies for teaching and learning: challenges for
higher learning institutions in developing countries. International Journal of Education and
Development using Information and Communication Technology, 3(2), 57-67.
Silén, C., and Juhlin, L. (2008). Self-directed learning - a learning issue for students and faculty. Teaching in
Higher Education, 13(4), 461-475.
Silva, B. D. d., Gomes, M. J., Oliveira, L. R., and Blanco, E. (2002). The use of ICT in higher education:
work in progress at the University of Minho. Paper presented at the Use of ICT in Education in
Southern Europe: research and reflections, part of the 2002 European Conference on Educational
Research (ECER, 2002), Lisbon. http://www.uoc.edu/dt/20137/index.html
Stahl, G., Koschmann, T., and Suthers, D. (2006). Computer-supported collaborative learning: an historical
perspective. In S. R. K. (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 409-426). Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press.
Tasir, Z., Abour, M. E. A., Halim, N. D. A., and Harun, J. (2012). Relationship between teachers' ICT
competency, confidence level, and satisfaction toward ICT training programmes: a case study among
postgraduate students. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology - TOJET, 11(1).
Vajargah, K. F., Jahani, S., and Azadmanesh, N. (2010). Application of ICTs in teaching and learning at
university level: the case of shahid beheshti university. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational
Technology - TOJET, 9(2).
Yukselturk, E. (2010). An investigation of factors affecting student participation level in an online discussion
forum. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology - TOJET, 9(2).
Free Access to Legal Resources on the Internet

Georgeta-Bianca Spîrchez
1



(1) Universitatea Creştinǎ „Dimitrie Cantemir”, Facultatea de Relaţii Economice
Internaţionale-Braşov


Abstract
„No one is entitled to ignorance of the law”. Therefore, in the context in which the State
imposes for its citizens the duty to know the law, it is the aim of this paper to analyze the extent
to which in Romania, in comparison to other European countries, it is ensured the
constitutional right of free access to legal information, by the means of modern technology. In
other words, is the presumption of knowledge of the law justified? The State, especially fulfils
the correlative obligation to provide its citizens, without charge, with public interest
information?

Keywords: ignorance of law, legal information, legal research


1. Introductory remarks about the principle “nemo censetur ignorare legem”
The principle "nemo censetur ignorare legem" taken over from the Roman law expresses the idea
that nobody can defend himself /herself invoking ignorance of the law. Actually, without this
presumption, applying the legal provisions to a society would be impossible (Poenaru , 2002) and
would encourage abuses, the lack of diligence in knowing the laws and endless discussions to
prove ignorance of the law (Ungureanu, 2007).
In fact, this principle, largely, is reflected in the constitutional dedication of the binding force
of the law in force. Thus, according to Art.1 Para. 5 of the Romanian Constitution "in Romania,
observance of the Constitution, its supremacy and the laws is mandatory ". At the same time, we
must not forget the fact that the judicial rule had to be accessible.
In this context, the analysis of the actual possibility given to the citizen to know the law
broadly is required. In other words, is the presumption of knowledge of the law justified? The
State, especially fulfils the correlative obligation to provide its citizens, without charge, with
public interest information?
In "Development Strategy of justice as a public service (2010-2014)”, the Ministry of Justice
of Romania, starting from specialized studies that showed a low level of the citizen's legal
knowledge, sets the overall objective of increasing the education level of citizens by:
- the development of judicial education programs for pupils and students (is considering
opening a collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the development of judicial
education modules for the legal institutions curriculum);
- conducting a public information campaigns to promote moral and legal values in society
(understanding thereby initiating the TV and radio programs with educational content, media
debates on issues of justice, the design and free dissemination of informative materials on the
human rights, the Romanian legal system, the duties of the main state institutions etc.)
Examining the means through which an ordinary Romanian citizen can have access to the
legislation, we identified following:
- subscription to the Official Gazette or purchase of collections of laws;
- using legislation software (type Legis), offered against a fee;
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- The solution of free access, through the Internet, using the database of the Legislative
Council or the Legislative repertoire made available via the portal of the Chamber of
Deputies. Not least, in relation to the law specific to various fields, the Romanian authorities
make efforts to provide a free and fast information via their websites: - see, in this respect,
the competition, e.g., http://www.consiliulconcurentei.ro/, or for public finances
http://www.anaf.ro/;
- also referring to understanding the law, the way it is interpreted, the access to case law is
important, provided by Romania through Jurindex, the national case law index , available
online at: http://www.jurisprudenta.org, but also through the portal of the High Court of
Cassation and Justice (http://www.scj.ro/) and the Constitutional Court (www.ccr.ro).
It can be concluded therefore that „the traditional methods of teaching and research and
classical sources of information no longer provide a comprehensive training adjusted to
globalization conditions and to the dynamism of today’s legal life” (Ciurea,2010). In this context,
the benefits of online research are great and the power of digital technology is clear (Blackman,
1996) as the Internet has become the main source of information.
Let’s see in what follows the extent to which we are able to fiind the romanian legislation on
the Internet.

2. Means of searching legislation on the Internet in Romania
The Romanian Official Gazette is the official publication of the Romanian state, where the
normative documents are published (according to Art. 1 of the Law no. 202/1998 on the
organization of the Romanian Official Gazette, law republished in the Official Gazette no . 470 / 8
July 2009.
We appreciate that the access of citizens to this official publication is limited, because only a
limited number of gazettes can be obtained online (on the website of the "Official Gazette").
Thus, in accordance with Art. 18 of the above quoted law, the Independent Administration
"Official Gazette" is editing the Romanian Official Gazette both in print and in electronic format,
which makes it available to all users for a fee.
Also, in compliance with Art. 19 of this law, the Independent Administration the "Official
Gazette" achieves an electronic product containing the acts published, which can be accessed free
on the Internet and is available in the version for reading for 10 days from the publication of such
acts. Summaries of the official gazettes are permanently accessible.
In other words, by accessing http:// www.monitoruloficial.ro/, namely the electronic product e-
monitor, we can read the official gazettes for 10 days from the publication of such acts.
By this electronic product development (even in this form that cannot be downloaded or
printed) the requirement of availability of the instruments, necessary and binding by constitutional
provisions (see Art. 31), of general principles of law and the community legislation (Explanatory
memorandum of the draft of Ordinance for the amendment and completion of the law on the
Official Gazette organization) is better fulfilled.
The action proposed and due to the fact that within almost all EU member states, the content of
official publications is accessible online and free of charge for information and the cost of
publication is borne by the issuers or budgets.
European e-Justice portal is a single point of access for the entire European e-Justice system
designed to facilitate the access of citizens, economic operators and public and private institutions
in the European Union, the information related to legal systems of the 27 member states.
For Romania within its pages include information on: national legislation, national case law,
justice organization, the costs of legal proceedings, legal professionals (judges, prosecutors,
lawyers, notaries, legal advisors, bailiffs, clerks), how to identify a translator of interpreter in the
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236
legal field in Romania, how to identify a mediator in Romania, land registers, Trade Register,
Bulletin of the insolvency proceedings and mediation.
Romania working on e-Justice portal since 2008 and representatives of the Ministry of Justice
coordinated the national contribution to the e-Justice portal pages through collaboration with
national institutions ( National Trade Register Office, Mediation Council, the Legislative Council,
the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Superior Council of Magistracy, the National Agency
of Cadastre and Land) and constant participation in working groups organized in the EU Council
and the European Commission.
In European state there are providers of online legal databases as it follows: (Ciurea, 2010)
- in France: dalloz.fr
- in Spain: ulex.com
- in UK: justices.com
- in Belgium: jura.be; strada.be
Last two years European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council launched
in the session informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, the European e-Justice joint project of
the European Council, European Commission and the Members States.


3. References
Blackman, J., How to use the Internet for legal research, 1996, NY
Ciurea, A., Modern methods of research in legal education using information technology in “Latest trends in
computers” Proceeding, volume I, http://www.wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2010/Corfu/
COMPUTERS/COMPUTERS1-39.pdf
Poenaru, E., Drept civil. Teoria generalǎ. Persoanele, ed. All Beck, 2002;
Ungureanu, O., Drept civil. Introducere, ediţia 8, ed. C.H. Beck;
Development Strategy of justice as a public service (2010-2014)”, the Ministry of Justice;
Law no. 202/1998 on the organization of the Romanian Official Gazette, law republished in the Official
Gazette no . 470 / 8 July 2009
The analysis of corporate social responsibility
for the education of consumers

Laura Poţincu (Mureşan)
1
, Cristian-Romeo Poţincu
1


(1) Transilvania University of Brasov,
Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration
1, Colina Universităţii St. Brasov, ROMANIA
E-mails: laurapotincu@unitbv.ro, cristipotincu@unitbv.ro


Abstract
The article treats the relationship between consumers and bank commercial companies as
regards corporative social responsibility. Initially the opinions of the consumers living in
Brasov are analysed as regards the promotion of corporative social responsibility by
companies performing their activity in the market in Romania. The consumers living in
Brasov were questioned within two quantitative marketing researches performed in 2009 and
in 2012. Finally the need to educate the consumers, as an essential requirement of a socially
responsible attitude, is also analyzed.

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Education, Consumers protection, Consumers,
Economical analysis,

1 Corporative Social Responsibility and the opinions of the consumers in Brasov city
At present, in the field of the corporate social responsibility, it is globally attempted, at the
European community level, but also in Romania, to find an optimal method in order to raise the
awareness of the commercial companies to become familiar with the advantages offered by this
attitude towards the consumers and the natural environment, but also towards their own
commercial activity in their relation to them. Being aware of these advantages, it is intended for
the commercial companies to integrate the requirements of the social responsibility into their own
business strategies – including their own marketing strategies – thus becoming socially responsible
commercial companies.
In the developed European Union states, the corporate social responsibility has become a term
frequently used in the business world. Many of the large commercial companies elaborate their
own business strategies according to this type of responsibility. [Gago, F., 2005, 1] The socially
responsible commercial companies develop a series of social initiatives. The social initiatives of
the commercial company are defined by Kotler P. [Kotler, P., Lee, N., 2005, p. 3] as the major
activities performed by a commercial company to support the social causes and to fulfil their
social responsibility obligations.
The concept of the social responsibility of the commercial companies has been defined
[Crăciun, D., Morar, V., Macoviciuc, V., 2005, 305-307; Iamandi, I. E., Filip, R., 2008, pp. 274-
277] as what the community expects from a commercial company economically, legally, ethically
and philanthropically. The social responsibility includes all these types of responsibilities:
economic responsibility, legal responsibility and philanthropic responsibility. In this scientific
research, it is considered that we can go even further by outlining a new type of responsibility: the
ecological responsibility.
The ecological responsibility is asserted by outlining certain obligations pertaining to the
economic responsibility or juridical responsibility. The evolution of the ecological aspect,
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globally, the awareness of the states on the influence and importance of the ecological aspects, as
well as the dangers which can occur in case the global sustainable development is ignored, should
become a moral obligation also at the level of the commercial company. The social responsibility
concept would not be complete, in our opinion, if it did not also include the ecological
responsibility of the commercial companies. [Mureşan, L., 2010] This is also caused by the fact
that the ecological issues – including the environmental protection and the nature preservation –
have acquired a universal and permanent dimension, due to the range of manifestation and depth
of their consequences. [Duţu, M., 1999, pp. 12-42]
1.1 Perceptions about responsible social behaviour of commercial companies
In 2009, within the PHD research named “Ethics and social responsibility in marketing field”, the
perception regarding the way several commercial companies promote, in their activity, the
requirements of the social responsibility was analysed.
The quantitative research having the theme ”Attitudes and opinions of Brasov citizens
regarding the social responsibility promotion by the companies which develop a commercial
activity in Romania” took into consideration people over 18 years old, of both genders, dwelling in
Brasov. The final size of the pattern was 398 people, to which an aleatory error of ±4,91% corresponds.
The perception regarding the way several commercial companies promote, in their activity, the
requirements of the social responsibility is the following: 67.9% of the individuals believe that
“the requirements of the social responsibility are partially promoted by the commercial
companies”, and 22% of the individuals believe that “the requirements of the social responsibility
are not promoted by the commercial companies”. Only 10.1% believe that “the requirements of the
social responsibility are promoted to a great extent by the commercial companies”.
The table data and the related schedule reflect these results.

Table 1. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?
Frequency Percentage Valid Percentage
Valid Not promoted 81 20.4 22.0
Partially promoted 250 62.8 67.9
Promoted to a great extent 37 9.3 10.1
Total 368 92.5 100.0
Missing 99 30 7.5
Total 398 100.0
Source: Mureşan, L., 2010

The conclusion of these results shows the reality that, to a great extent, the questioned Brasov
citizens consider that the commercial companies must develop a socially responsible attitude.
This year the perception regarding the way several commercial companies promote, in their
activity, the requirements of the social responsibility has been analyzed within a different
marketing research also performed in Brasov city.
The quantitative research having the theme ”Opinions of people living in Brasov city about
promoting corporative social responsibility by means of economic and legal tools” took into
consideration people over 18 years old, of both genders, dwelling in Brasov. The final size of the
pattern was 386 people, to which an aleatory error of ±4,99% corresponds.
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The requirements of
the social
responsibility are not
promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
partially promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
promoted
to a great extent
Figure 1. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?

Table 2. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent
Valid Not promoted 79 20,5 23,2
Partially promoted 227 58,8 66,8
Promoted to a great extent 34 8,8 10,0
Total 340 88,1 100,0
Missing 88 1 0,3
99 45 11,7
Total 46 11,9
Total 386 100,0

The requirements of the
social responsibility are
not promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
partially promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
promoted
to a great extent
Figure 2. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?
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The perception regarding the way several commercial companies promote, in their activity,
highlighted by the marketing research performed in 2012, the requirements of the social
responsibility is the following: 66.76% of the individuals believe that “the requirements of the
social responsibility are partially promoted by the commercial companies”, and 23.24% of the
individuals believe that “the requirements of the social responsibility are not promoted by the
commercial companies”. Only 10% believe that “the requirements of the social responsibility are
promoted to a great extent by the commercial companies”.
By comparing the results of the two marketing researches, one performed 3 years after the
other, it can be noticed that the results are quite similar. The same question “How do you assess
the way several commercial companies promote, in their activity, the requirements of the social
responsibility?” was asked to the questioned subjects within the two quantitative marketing
researches, one performed 3 years after the other.
The reason for choosing this question as well within the quantitative marketing research
“Opinions of people living in Brasov city about promoting corporative social responsibility by
means of economic and legal tools” was in order to observe whether within the three years the
opinion of the consumers living in Brasov related to companies’ observing social responsibility
changed.
In this respect, the quite similar results obtained following the two quantitative marketing
researches for the consumers – stakeholders – in Brasov city, three years one after another, lead to
the conclusion that their opinion remained the same. Namely almost 7 out of 10 questioned
consumers living in Brasov consider that companies do not fully integrate the requirements of
social responsibility in the activity performed.
Only 1 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov have the opinion that the requirements of
social responsibility are promoted in the activity of companies.
Over 2 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov have the opinion that the requirements of
social responsibility are not promoted at all in the activity of the companies operating in the
Romanian market.

Table 3. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?

Valid Percent for the
marketing research
performed in 2009 in
Brasov city
Valid Percent for the
marketing research performed
in 2012 in Brasov city
Valid Not promoted 22.0 23,2
Partially promoted 67.9 66,8
Promoted to a great extent 10.1 10,0
Total 100.0 100,0

We do not consider the “stay” in the last three years of the assessments performed by citizens
living in Brasov as being positive. Under the situation that companies operating in other markets
abroad try to “survive” the economic crisis by adopting a socially responsible attitude, the
companies in Romania do not consider that they should change their attitude related to social
responsibility.
We consider that the companies operating in the market in Romania should also “evolve” as
regards the consideration of the corporative social responsibility, especially as regards the
transparency of the commercial activity performed and in their relationship with stakeholders.
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2 Corporate social responsibility and the need to educate the consumers
The corporate social responsibility is a moral responsibility, focusing on the voluntary nature of
this responsibility, of the respective commercial companies regarding the interaction of their own
activity with the environment, employees, but especially with their own clients/consumers.
The commercial companies have several socio-professional groups, named stakeholders. The
stakeholders are divided [Racolţa-Paina, N. D., Mateescu, V. M., 2006, pp. 99-100] into two main
categories: internal - employees, shareholders and managers/owners – and external – business
partners, suppliers, consumers, local communities, natural environment, future generations.
The social responsibility is known as a commercial company theory regarding the stakeholders,
i.e. “the respective commercial company must give attention to all those who have an interest
(stake) in the development of its activity”. [Frederick, C. W., 2006, p. 138]
Adopting a socially responsible attitude towards their own stakeholders - employees,
environment or consumers - commercial companies shall have a lot to gain. [Mureşan, L.,
Poţincu, C., 2008, pp. 64-69]
One of the conclusions reflected in the previously prepared scientific articles has been that the
private and state authorities, although legally responsible, have not managed to achieve a proper
education of the consumers in this respect, which has negative consequences on all consumers.
[Mureşan L., Poţincu C., 2010, pp. 224-228]
One can see the fact according to which the information performed by means of electronic
means becomes more and more popular among the Romanian citizens, especially because of the
rapidness of the information transfer and ease of accessing the information. Continuing the
previous idea, we consider that, in relation to educating the consumers, the use of the electronic
means and the online environment would lead to a series of positive results.
In this respect, we consider that website “o 9 atitudine” (“a new attitude”)
[http://o9atitudine.ro/] prepared and supported by a series of private and public authorities with
attributions in the consumers protection field is a good starting point.
We also consider that the promotion of the corporate social responsibility and its components
in the consumers protection field would be much more effective by using the electronic and online
means.
3 Conclusions and proposals
The quantity marketing researches regarding the promotion of the social responsibility by the
Romanian commercial companies evaluate consumers’ opinion.
The marketing research, performed in 2009, has analysed the answers of 398 persons, with age
over 18, from Brasov municipality in Romania. This survey has a random error of 4.91%.
The marketing research, performed in 2012, has analysed the answers of 386 persons, with age
over 18, from Brasov municipality in Romania. This survey has a random error of 4.99%.
Taking into account the fact that the size of the surveys was been established according to a
simple random probabilistic method, considering a level of admitted error of ± 5%, and a trust
level of 95%, the results of these researches can be considered representative for the entire adult
population of Brasov municipality, and also these could apply to other Romanian municipalities
with a similar population size.
As regards the conclusions of the analysis performed, we do not consider as positive “the stay”,
in the last three years, of the assessments performed by citizens living in Brasov. Taking into
account the global context, the companies in Romania should change their attitude related to social
responsibility. They have to “evolve” especially as regards the transparency of the commercial
activity performed and in their relationship with stakeholders.
Although in Romania no normative documents have been adopted to regulate the field of
corporative social responsibility, proposals of lege ferenda have been made. In this respect, within
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov

242
the PHD research finalised in 2010 a full normative document was proposed to implement social
responsibility in Romania, normative document that can be found in the appendix of the PHD
thesis entitled “Ethics and social responsibility in marketing field”, thesis published this year at the
international publishing house Lap Lambert Academic Publishing.
From the angle of the community regulations, the PhD Thesis includes a draft of a law
regarding the corporate social responsibility, especially using dispositive juridical norms taking the
legislation regulating the ecological mark field as a model.
We believe that, on internal level, this legislative proposal regarding the aspects specific to the
field of the commercial company’s social responsibility, covers a legislative void, under the
circumstances in which, in Romania, such normative documents have not been adopted so far.
Such normative documents have their own utility, a reason for which we recommend their
adoption especially by the line ministries managing the consumer and natural environment
protection.
We consider that the action to educate the commercial companies, in becoming aware of the
socially responsible actions, implications and benefits of this civic attitude for the commercial
companies and consumers, could also receive a legal regulation. This education activity could
legally be established and attributed to a new public administrative institution, or could be
performed by an existing public authority.
We also believe that we can consider the establishment of a control organism which can be
called the National Institute of Corporate Social Responsibility. This normative document has as a
model the ecological mark granting legislation.
We consider that the promotion of the corporate social responsibility and its components in the
consumers protection field would be much more effective by using the electronic and online
means, whether we are talking about public and private authorities with attributions in the
consumers protection field, or we are considering future authorities with attributions in the
corporate social responsibility field.

Acknowledgement. This paper is supported by Sectoral Operational Programme Human
Resources Development (SOP HRD), financed from European Social Fund and by the Romanian
Government under the project number POSDRU/89/1.5/S/59323

4 References
Crăciun, D., Morar, V., Macoviciuc, V. (2005): Etica afacerilor. (Business Ethics) Editura Paideia, Bucureşti.
Duţu, M. (1999): Ecologie. Filosofia naturală a vieţii. (Ecology. Natural philosophy of life) Editura
Economică, Bucureşti.
Frederick, C. W. (2006): Corporate be Good! The Story of Corporate Social Responsibility, Dog Ear
Publishing, Idianapolis. p. 138.
Gago, F. (2005): Administracion dela Responsabilidad Social Corporativa. (Management of Corporate
Social Responsibility) International Thomson Editores Spain Parainfo, Madrid.
Iamandi, I. E., Filip, R. (2008): Etică şi responsabilitate socială corporativă în afacerile internaţionale.
(Ethics and corporate social responsibility in international business) Editura Economică, Bucureşti.
Kotler, P., Lee, N. (2005): Corporate Social Responsability. Doing the Most Good for Your Company and
Your Cause. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
Mureşan L., Poţincu, C., Duguleană, M. (2010): Ecological Responsibility, Component of the Corporate
Social Responsibility. Proceedings of WSEAS International Conference on Risk Management,
Assessment and Mitigation (RIMA '10) Bucureşti, România, April 20-22, 2010, pp. 318-322.
Racolţa-Paina, N. D., Mateescu, V. M. (2006): Internal social responsibility and lohn type production. Case
study: a small enterprise, with foreign capital, in the confection industry, in Management & Marketing,
Number 3, 2006, Economical Publishing House, Bucharest. pp. 99-110.
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Mureşan L., Poţincu C. (2008): The Social Responsibility of the Educational Institutions towards their Own
Employees Regarding the Familiarity and Use of Technology in the Romanian Educational Process. in
Proceeding of 4th WSEAS/IASME International Conference on Educational Technologies (EDUTE'08),
Corfu, Greece, October 26-28, 2008, pp. 64-69.
Mureşan L., Poţincu C. (2010): The Social Responsibility of the Romanian Commercial Companies towards
their Own Consumers, in Proceedings of the 10th WSEAS International Conference on New Aspects of
Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer & Environment, Taipei, Taiwan, 20-22 august 2010, pp. 224-228.
Mureşan, L. (2010): Etică şi responsabilitate socială în domeniul marketingului. (Ethics and social
responsibility in marketing field) PhD Thesis, Universitatea Transilvania din Braşov, Facultatea de Ştiinţe
Economice.
Poţincu, L. (2012) Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Marketing Domain. Economic and Juridical
Analysis on Romania, Member State of European Union, Lap Lambert Academic Publishing,
Saarbrücken. Germany.
Info Cons: o 9 atitudine. (a new attitude) http://o9atitudine.ro/
The education of banking services consumers,
a requirement of corporate social responsibility

Laura Poţincu (Mureşan)
1
, Cristian-Romeo Poţincu
1


(1) Transilvania University of Brasov,
Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration
1, Colina Universităţii St. Brasov, ROMANIA
E-mails: laurapotincu@unitbv.ro, cristipotincu@unitbv.ro


Abstract
In this article is analysed the promotion of corporative social responsibility by bank
commercial companies. the need to educate the consumers, as an essential requirement of a
socially responsible attitude, is also analyzed. The promotion of the corporate social
responsibility and its components in the specific field of the banking products and services
consumer protection can be made more effective by using electronic technologies and online
environment.

Keywords: Banking services consumers, Corporate social responsibility, Education,
Consumers protection, Economical analysis

1 Corporative Social Responsibility and the opinions of the consumers in Brasov city
At present, the social responsibility of the commercial companies must be regarded from a
complex perspective. We consider that the social responsibility of the commercial companies is
what the community expects from a commercial company ecologically, economically, legally,
ethically and philanthropically. [Mureşan, L., Poţincu, C., Duguleană, M., 2010, pp. 318-322]
In our opinion, the social responsibility includes all these types of responsibilities: ecological
responsibility, economic responsibility, legal responsibility and philanthropic responsibility.
We consider that the ecological responsibility is a distinct responsibility, deriving from the
economic and legal responsibilities but exceeding as importance these fields.
Thus, the corporate social responsibility is a moral responsibility, focusing on the voluntary
nature of this responsibility, of the respective commercial companies regarding the interaction of
their own activity with the environment, employees, but especially with their own clients/
consumers.
This year the perception regarding the way several commercial companies promote, in their
activity, the requirements of the social responsibility has been analyzed within a different
marketing research also performed in Brasov city.
The quantitative research having the theme ”Opinions of people living in Brasov city about
promoting corporative social responsibility by means of economic and legal tools” took into
consideration people over 18 years old, of both genders, dwelling in Brasov. The final size of the
pattern was 386 people, to which an aleatory error of ±4,99% corresponds.




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Table 1. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent
Valid Not promoted 79 20,5 23,2
Partially promoted 227 58,8 66,8
Promoted to a great extent 34 8,8 10,0
Total 340 88,1 100,0
Missing 88 1 0,3
99 45 11,7
Total 46 11,9
Total 386 100,0

The requirements of the
social responsibility are
not promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
partially promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
promoted
to a great extent

Figure 1. How do you assess the way several commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?

The perception regarding the way several commercial companies promote, in their activity,
highlighted by the marketing research performed in 2012, the requirements of the social
responsibility is the following: 66.76% of the individuals believe that “the requirements of the
social responsibility are partially promoted by the commercial companies”, and 23.24% of the
individuals believe that “the requirements of the social responsibility are not promoted by the
commercial companies”. Only 10% believe that “the requirements of the social responsibility are
promoted to a great extent by the commercial companies”.
Almost 7 out of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov consider that companies do not fully
integrate the requirements of social responsibility in the activity performed.
Only 1 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov have the opinion that the requirements of
social responsibility are promoted in the activity of companies.
Over 2 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov have the opinion that the requirements of
social responsibility are not promoted at all in the activity of the companies operating in the
Romanian market.
The quantitative research having the theme ”Opinions of people living in Brasov city about
promoting corporative social responsibility by means of economic and legal tools”, performed in
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov

246
2012 analysed the perception regarding the way bank commercial companies promote, in their
activity, the requirements of the social responsibility. As mentioned before, this marketing
research was performed in Brasov city and took into consideration people over 18 years old, of
both genders, dwelling in Brasov. The final size of the pattern was 386 people, to which an
aleatory error of ±4,99% corresponds.

Table 2. How do you assess the way bank commercial companies promote,
in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent
Valid Not promoted 60 15,5 23,1
Partially promoted 174 45,1 66,9
Promoted to a great extent 26 6,7 10,0
Total 260 67,4 100,0
Missing 88 3 0,8
99 123 31,9
Total 126 32,6
Total 386 100,0

The requirements of the
social responsibility are
not promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
partially promoted
The requirements of the
social responsibility are
promoted
to a great extent
Figure 2. How do you assess the way various bank commercial companies
promote the requirements of social responsibility within the activity performed?

The perception regarding the way bank commercial companies promote, in their activity, the
requirements of the social responsibility is the following: 66.92% of the individuals believe that
“the requirements of the social responsibility are partially promoted by the bank commercial
companies”, and 23.08% of the individuals believe that “the requirements of the social
responsibility are not promoted by the commercial companies”. Only 10% believe that “the
requirements of the social responsibility are promoted to a great extent by the commercial
companies”.
That is over 6 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov consider that the banks do not fully
integrate the requirements of the social responsibility in the activity performed, especially in the
relationship between them and these bank commercial companies.
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Only 1 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov have the opinion that the requirements of
the social responsibility are promoted in the activity of banks. This can signify as well that only a
small part of the banks performing activities in the market in Romania adopt a socially responsible
behaviour.
Over 2 of 10 questioned consumers living in Brasov have the opinion that the requirements of
the social responsibility are not promoted at all in the activity of the bank commercial companies
operating in the market in Romania.

Table 3.

Valid Percent for the
companies performing
activities in the market in
Romania
Valid Percent for the bank
commercial companies
performing activities in
the market in Romania
Valid Not promoted 23,2 23,1
Partially promoted 66,8 66,9
Promoted to a great extent 10,0 10,0
Total 100,0 100,0

In this respect, one can notice the extremely similar results obtained by questioning the
consumers living in Brasov – the difference is made at the level of tenths of percent – as regards
the promotion of social responsibility requirements by companies, in general and by bank
commercial companies.
Within the questionnaire, the question “How do you assess the way several commercial
companies promote, in their activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?” is number 3,
and the question “How do you assess the way bank commercial companies promote, in their
activity, the requirements of the social responsibility?” is number 32. Two parts were conceived
within the questionnaire. First part regards social responsibility and various instruments that can
support its implementation. The second party regarded bank commercial companies and various
aspects related to their responsibility. The consumers living in Brasov could show their interest for
both parts of the questionnaire or for only the first or the second part of the questionnaire.
The resulting conclusion is that the banks are not perceived in a different way as compared to
other companies performing their activities in the market in Romania. We consider this is a
positive aspect as regards the bank commercial companies, as their behaviour is much stricter, and
their power is much higher as compared to other companies, and consumers could have a much
tougher reaction against this type of behaviour.
2 The need to educate the banking services consumers
The commercial companies have several socio-professional groups, named stakeholders. The
stakeholders are divided [Racolţa-Paina, N. D., Mateescu, V. M., 2006, pp. 99-100] into two main
categories: internal - employees, shareholders and managers/owners – and external – business
partners, suppliers, consumers, local communities, natural environment, future generations.
Starting from the two categories of stakeholders, without excluding the interest and impact of
several social responsibility practices on all categories of stakeholders, the social responsibility
can be: internal (ISR) or external (ESR).
The social responsibility is known as a commercial company theory regarding the stakeholders,
i.e. “the respective commercial company must give attention to all those who have an interest
(stake) in the development of its activity”. [Frederick, C. W., 2006, p. 138.]
University of Bucharest and "Transilvania" University of Brasov

248
Adopting a socially responsible attitude towards their own stakeholders - employees,
environment or consumers - commercial companies shall have a lot to gain. [Mureşan, L., Poţincu,
C., 2008, pp. 64-69]
One of the conclusions reflected in the previously prepared scientific articles has been that the
private and state authorities, although legally responsible, have not managed to achieve a proper
education of the consumers in this respect, which has negative consequences on all consumers.
[Mureşan L., Poţincu C., 2010, pp. 224-228.]
The information performed by means of electronic means becomes more and more popular
among the Romanian citizens.
Reasons for using the electronic technologies in educating consumers: rapidness of the
information transfer, ease of accessing the information, but also a plus of attractiveness of the
information by presenting it in a much more dynamic “package”.
For these reasons, we consider that, in relation to the education of the banking products and
services consumers, the use of electronic technologies and online environment could lead to a
series of positive results.
In the consumers protection field, website “o 9 atitudine” (“a new attitude”)
[http://o9atitudine.ro/] - prepared and supported by a series of private and public authorities with
attributions in the consumers protection field – is a start in the use of the online environment in
educating/informing the consumers’ category, in general.
We believe that the promotion of the corporate social responsibility and its components in the
specific field of the banking products and services consumer protection can be made more
effective by using electronic technologies and online environment. In this field, one must also
consider the large size and strong influence of the banking commercial companies both on the
Romanian market, and on other markets.
3 Conclusions and proposals
The quantity marketing research regarding the promotion of the social responsibility by the
Romanian commercial companies evaluates consumers’ opinion. This marketing research has
analysed the answers of 386 persons, with age over 18, from Brasov municipality in Romania.
This survey has a random error of 4.99%. Taking into account the fact that the size of the survey
has been established according to a simple random probabilistic method, considering a level of
admitted error of ± 5%, and a trust level of 95%, the results of the research can be considered
representative for the entire adult population of Brasov municipality, and also these could apply to
other Romanian municipalities with a similar population size.
As regards the conclusions of the analysis performed, we consider that the banks are not
perceived differently from other companies performing their activity in the markets in Romania.
For them we consider the same observations are imposed.
Although in Romania no normative documents have been adopted to regulate the field of
corporative social responsibility, proposals of lege ferenda have been made. In this respect, within
the PHD research finalised in 2010 a full normative document was proposed to implement social
responsibility in Romania, normative document that can be found in the appendix of the PHD
thesis entitled “Ethics and social responsibility in marketing field”, thesis published this year at the
international publishing house Lap Lambert Academic Publishing.
From the angle of the community regulations, the PhD Thesis includes a draft of a law
regarding the corporate social responsibility, especially using dispositive juridical norms.
We believe that, on internal level, this legislative proposal regarding the aspects specific to the
field of the commercial company’s social responsibility, covers a legislative void, under the
circumstances in which, in Romania, such normative documents have not been adopted so far.
Such normative documents have their own utility, a reason for which we recommend their
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adoption especially by the line ministries managing the consumer and natural environment
protection.
We consider that the action to educate the commercial companies, including bank commercial
companies, in becoming aware of the socially responsible actions, implications and benefits of this
civic attitude for the commercial companies and consumers, could also receive a legal regulation.
This education activity could legally be established and attributed to a new public administrative
institution, or could be performed by an existing public authority.
We also believe that we can consider the establishment of a control organism which can be
called the National Institute of Corporate Social Responsibility. This normative document has as a
model the ecological mark granting legislation.
We consider that regarding bank commercial companies, no special legislation should be
adopted for the conditions to adopt and recognize a socially responsible behaviour. We consider
that the normative document proposed in 2010 can cover this special category of companies.
We consider that the promotion of the corporate social responsibility and its components in the
specific field of the banking products and services consumer protection can be made more
effective by using electronic technologies and online environment. The rapidness of the
information transfer, ease of accessing the information, attractiveness of the information by
presenting it in a much more dynamic “package”, but also the large size and strong influence of
the banking commercial companies on the Romanian market, can make this special field – the
banking products and services consumer protection field – more effective.

Acknowledgement. This paper is supported by Sectoral Operational Programme Human
Resources Development (SOP HRD), financed from European Social Fund and by the Romanian
Government under the project number POSDRU/89/1.5/S/59323

4 References
Frederick, C. W. (2006): Corporate be Good! The Story of Corporate Social Responsibility, Dog Ear
Publishing, Idianapolis. p. 138.
Mureşan L., Poţincu, C., Duguleană, M. (2010): Ecological Responsibility, Component of the Corporate
Social Responsibility. Proceedings of WSEAS International Conference on Risk Management,
Assessment and Mitigation (RIMA '10) Bucureşti, România, April 20-22, 2010, pp. 318-322.
Mureşan L., Poţincu C. (2008): The Social Responsibility of the Educational Institutions towards their Own
Employees Regarding the Familiarity and Use of Technology in the Romanian Educational Process. in
Proceeding of 4th WSEAS/IASME International Conference on Educational Technologies (EDUTE'08),
Corfu, Greece, October 26-28, 2008, pp. 64-69.
Mureşan L., Poţincu C. (2010): The Social Responsibility of the Romanian Commercial Companies towards
their Own Consumers, in Proceedings of the 10th WSEAS International Conference on New Aspects of
Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer & Environment, Taipei, Taiwan, 20-22 august 2010, pp. 224-228.
Mureşan, L. (2010): Etică şi responsabilitate socială în domeniul marketingului. (Ethics and social
responsibility in marketing field) PhD Thesis, Universitatea Transilvania din Braşov, Facultatea de Ştiinţe
Economice.
Poţincu, L. (2012) Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Marketing Domain. Economic and Juridical
Analysis on Romania, Member State of European Union, Lap Lambert Academic Publishing,
Saarbrücken. Germany.
Racolţa-Paina, N. D., Mateescu, V. M. (2006): Internal social responsibility and lohn type production. Case
study: a small enterprise, with foreign capital, in the confection industry, in Management & Marketing,
Number 3, 2006, Economical Publishing House, Bucharest. pp. 99-110.
Info Cons: o 9 atitudine. (a new attitude) http://o9atitudine.ro/






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
Identifying, Analysing and Testing of Software
Requirements in Learning Management System

Sengupta Souvik
1
, Dasgupta Ranjan
2

BIT, kolkata, India
1
, NITTTR, Kolkata, India
2
mesouvik@hotmail.com
1
, ranjandasgupta@ieee.org
2


Abstract
The requirement analysis of e-Learning software is a challenging job considering the
diversity of its users, standards and models followed in education. The overall software
engineering process behind e-Learning software depends heavily on the correct requirement
identification from different perspectives. In this paper we have tried to figure out the all
possible user requirements in an e-learning system and then related those requirements to the
corresponding stake holders. Then we have tried to group these requirements based on the
qualities of a software product namely, reliability, usability, portability etc. We have used
different UML diagrams to model these requirements and their mapping.

Keywords : Requirement Analysis, Software quality, UML modelling, e-Learning


1. Introduction :
Understanding the requirements is the most critical process to the success of interactive systems
[2]

such as e-Learning software. It is even more important to classify these requirements from
different perspective for better understanding of their importance on design. Typically,an e-
Learning software provides an author with a way to create and deliver content, an instructor (tutor)
to monitor student participation, learning and assess student performance. It may also provide
students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video
conferencing, and discussion forums. We have tried to identify themajor requirementsfrom various
possible perspective.

2. Requirements in e-Learning :
From study on different available e-Learning software we classify requirements into five main
components
[1]
as mentioned below:
i) curriculum design ii) content management iii) learning activity iv) communication and v)
organizational (administrative) perspective.We further group the requirements as per the
classification made.
Curriculum Design:
R1. The contents should be properly sequenced
R2. All the learning contents should maintain metadata
R3. The contents should be maintained in repository
R4. The contents should be reusable
R5. Prerequisites for a course should be well defined
R6. Duration should be set for a course work
R7. There should be formative evaluation technique
R8. There should be offline summative evaluation technique
R9. Policies should be set for individual course
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254
Content management:
R10. Content should be verified before publishing
R11. The learning content should have full multimedia support
R12. The contents should be properly linked
R13. The content should comply to globally accepted e-Learning standard
R14. The contents should be fully or partly importable and exportable
R15. The contents should be updatable
R16. Content should be properly packaged
Learning activity:
R17. Learner should be able to personalize the system according to their preference
R18. The contents should be fully or partly easily downloadable by the learners
R19. Learner should go through an enrolment process so that she can be identified
R20. There should be feedback system for the learners
R21. The contents should be searchable
Communication:
R22. There should be adequate support of hardware to host, run and view the e-Learning
software
R23. Certain browser properties should be set to work all the functionalities properly
R24. Chatting provision should be there to obtain synchronous interaction
R25. Blogging/Forum should be there to obtain asynchronous interaction
R26. There should be provision for live sessions [video conferencing]
R27. There should be an emailing system/ bulletin board to display the event information and
announcements.
Organization:
R28. The contents should be easily uploadable by the authors
R29. Each course should have question bank which should be able throw random questions at
runtime.
R30. Session management is required
R31. Records of individual students learning time on a particular chapter should be maintained
R32. Records of individual students learning time on a course should be maintained
R33. Records of student-teacher interaction should be maintained
R34. Records of students performance evaluation should be maintained
R35. Feedback records should be maintained
R36. There should be different levels of evaluation
R37. There should be student-student and student-tutor interaction interface
R38. Result analysis reports should be generated
R39. Feedback analysis reports should be generated
R40. Trend analysis reports should be generated
R41. There should be a periodic review mechanism
R42. The overall architecture should follow a globally accepted standard

3. Mapping the requirements with the stake holders:
For an e_learning system, there exist different stake holders and every stake holder has some
business with the system. Thus a clear picture should be maintained among the stake holders and
the requirements. This will not only identify the stake holders’ role in the system, but at the same
time will clarify the requirements and this in turn will help in designing the UML diagrams. We
declare the stake holders in next section and in sec 5 we map the requirements with the stake
holders in the Use Case diagram.

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The stakeholders in an e-Learning system:
A. Learner:Learners are students who are the end users of the system. They are the direct
beneficiary of the system. They learn and use the content,personalizeand participate in
course, get assessed and evaluated by the system.
B. Author: Authors are responsible for developing learning content and uploading it to the
software.
C. Tutor: Tutors monitor the learning process and help students via chat, blog or mail. There
may be live sessions of video conferencing by the tutor. The evaluation process is
controlled by tutors.
D. Coordinator: A coordinator creates a course, selects and verifies contents, sets policy,
duration and control student enrolment in it. He may assign tutor for learning sessions.
E. Administrator: Administrator is the overall in-charge of the entire system. He looks after
the interest and role of all the other users. He accepts feedback and analyse different
records for the improvement of the system.

UML diagrams to map requirements with stake holders : In our approach we have used
use-case modelling to represent the relationships between these requirements and the stake
holders.

Fig 1 :Use case of Curriculum Design Fig 2 : Use case diagram of Content Management


Fig 3 : Use case diagram of Learning activity Fig 4 : Use case of Communication
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Fig 5 : Use case diagram showing organizational requirements and different stake holders

The above UML diagrams show that though there are five different stake holders, not all have
contribute in the requirements of all the components. The requirements in curriculum design have
nothing to relate with the learner as the learner does not take part in this process. Similarly the
actors in the content management use case are limited to the administrator, author and coordinator.
The requirements of the learning activity are set by learner, coordinator and administrator. All
except the author have a say in the requirements of communication. However from the
organizational perspective all of the stake holders have their own requirements.

6. Mapping the requirements with software quality attributes
Identification of necessary software quality is of immense importance in the design process. At the
beginning of the design process all the necessary software quality should be identified and
appropriate measures should be taken so that those quality factors are properly embedded in the
software. In order to identify the influence of these requirements in the quality of the e-Learning
software we tried to analyse these from the perspective of ten different quality attributes.
I) Correctness: The content shown should always come from a repository of verified and
trusted learning content and reused in different courses as it increases correctness of the software.
The search engine should properly find the contents on a valid input query. The evaluation policy
is always a measure for the correctness of the e-Learning software. The standard policy of a course
and the two fold evaluation technique helps to evaluate the learner correctly. Questions should be
set dynamically and randomly form a question bank that covers the entire course. There should be
a feedback system from which recommendation to improve correctness should come.
II) Reliability:The learning contents should be properly sequenced and linked, so that the
learner can navigate smoothly through the learning path. This ensures reliability. The support of
minimum software and hardware requirements should be satisfied. The scope of modification of
the system based on the feedback from the users makes it more reliable.
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III) Robustness:The system should be able to behave reasonably in an unexpected
circumstance like failure at client or server end. The session management is crucial because at any
point of time the system should be able to identify the learner’s state and maintain a log so that it
can again start over from the same point. As the learning content should come from the repository
it can be possible to restore a learning session instead of restarting from the beginning.
IV) Portability:The e-Learning software should be portable from one system to another. An
XML based meta data system is very much helpful in this regard. The learning content should
come in a package in order to ease portability.
V) Usability: The learning system should be easy to use by the users. A proper sequence of
topics with correct linking is the prime objective. The learner should be able to search the right
content. The learner should be able to download and the author should be able to upload easily.
The learner should have provision of interaction with teacher and also among themselves.
VI) Reusability: The contents should be always verified and if required updated before
publishing and so it should be reused. The packaged content should be exportable and should also
be able to import other contents.
VII) Maintainability: The e-learning software should be easy to maintain, proper packaging
and use of metadata are crucial in this regard. Students’ learning paths and all the interactions
should be recorded in order to increase maintainability.
VIII) Availability:The learning content should have full multimedia support. The proper
linking and synchronization among the different component increases availability of the software.
The individual personalization
[5]
feature increases the availability. The contents should be always
available when searched. The student should have the facility to communicate with others and
tutor at any time, this will increase availability.
IX) Interoperability: The learning contents should be able to be shared with different e-
Learning software that followsthe same standardization process. The metadata is used to exchange
information between two systems.
X) Conformance: The e-Learning software should conform the established standard in e-
Learning
[3,8]
. The learning content should comply with Shareable Content Object Reference Model
(SCORM)
[10]
and the overall architecture should comply specifications of Learning Technology
System Architecture (LTSA)
[11]
.



Table 1: Mapping requirements with the software quality attributes.
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7. Software testing for LMS:
For an e-learning system features are required to be tested against the functional requirements
discussed in sec. The most relevant characteristics to assess the quality of Web applications are
usability, functionality, reliability, efficiency and maintainability. As LMSs are mostly web based
applications, the complexity of testing web based applications are adherent to it. The main
challenge in web application testing is its heterogeneous nature. These are component based
applications that run on different layers, Client, Server and Middleware. Moreover these
components use different communication protocol and issues like Session handling, Cookie
handling, Security etc. makes the job of testing more difficult.

7.1 The V model of testing:
The basic objective behind testing of web applications is same as that of conventional software
testing. Biezer described six levels of software testing namely, unit test, module test, integration
test, subsystem test, system test and acceptance test. Testing of software is a continuous process
throughout the development life cycle. The V model shows how different types of testing can be
linked with different phases of software development.

Fig. 6: V model of Testing

7.2 Testing Strategies:
There are two general testing approaches: black box testing and white box testing. Black box
testing approaches create test data without using any knowledge of the structure of the software
under test, whereas white box testing approaches explicitly use the program structure to develop
test data
[12]
. Black box testing approaches are usually based on the requirements and specifications,
while white box testing is usually based on the source code. So white box testing is typically done
during unit test, and black box testing is typically applied during integration test and system test.

7.3 Model based Testing for Web Applications:
Model-based testing these days has gained immense importance because of the proliferation of the
model based software development model. This can be applied in two different types of scenarios.
One type of scenarios considers the shared model for testing and code generation purpose. Such
models are not always suitable for testing purpose, since models used for code generation purpose
need to be very detailed
[15]
. Another type of scenarios considers the model for testing purpose
only, which is exclusive model for testing purpose. Such testing specific models require certain
level of abstractions on the System Under Test (SUT), which is more suitable for model-based
testing
[16]
.Though there are many models but FSM and UML have emerged as two mostly
accepted MBT tools for testing of web applications.
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7.4 FSM based Testing of LMS:
Finite state machines (FSM) model for testing is used for modelling complex behaviour of
software without the need to consider the software’s underlying implementation. Theoretically, a
web application’s behaviour could be modelled using FSMs and then test cases could be
automatically generated by traversing the paths through the FSM model of the application, with
each distinct path comprising a single test case[16].
FSM can be described formally as quintuple (I, S, T, F, L), where
I is the set of inputs of the model
S is the set of all states in the model
T is a function which determines whether a transition occurs when an input is applied to the
system in a particular state
F is the set of final states where the model can end up
L is the state where the software is launched

7.4.1 For example we consider the following scenario:
The user can use searching to find out the downloadable links at any time but can download from
the link only if she is logged in; otherwise she is redirected for login. One can login only if she is
registered. Now both logging in and registration process can be failed if given wrong input.
A Finite state machine (FSM) of this behavior model, which consists of states and transitions
between those states, can be modeled as shown in Figure 2.

Registration S
0
Logging-In S
1

Searching S
2
Downloadin
g
S
3
Table: 2 Table:3


Fig 7: FSM model

Now considering S
0
as starting state and S
3
as terminating state, test cases can be created like:
S
0
-> S
1
-> S
2
-> S
3
S
0
-> S
1
-> S
1
-> S
2
-> S
3
etc.

The problem is however, arises due to the vast number of choices most web applications
provide to a user. A single page of a web application can be designed to accept numerous different
pieces of data as well as allowing the data to be entered in arbitrary order. As a consequence more
states and transitions are required for FSM and ultimately will suffer from state space explosion.
Failure
Valid session data
Invalid session data
Success
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So, while FSMs provide a solid groundwork for modelling the complex behaviour of web
applications, unhampered by the implementation complexities of web applications, a technique is
needed which reduces the size of the FSM while still providing enough detail to generate a
sufficient number test cases.
7.5 UML based testing:
The Unified Modelling Language (UML) has emerged as an industrial standard for modelling
software systems these days. The UML is a visual modelling language that can be used to
"specify, visualize, construct, and document the artifacts of a software system
[13]
. The behavioural
aspect of UML modelling can be dealt with use case diagrams, interaction diagrams, activity
diagrams, state chart diagrams. Table 4 [shows how different diagrams are used for different
approaches of testing
[13]
. In this paper we will explore operational behaviour of the said system
[see 7.4.1] using use case and activity diagram.

Test type UML diagrams
Unit Class, State chart
Functional / Module Interaction, Class
System Use case, Activity, Interaction
Regression Same as Funtional
Solution Use case, Deployment
Table: 4
Use case diagrams present relationships between actors and use cases. Use cases describe the
behaviour of the system by showing how actors interact with the system. An use case diagram for
representing the above problem is given below.
In UML, an activity diagram extracts the core
idea from flowcharts, state transition graphs and
Petri nets
[11]
.It is a flow chart that explains the use
case. In an activity diagram, an activity state is
shown as a box with containing a description of the
activity; simple completion transitions are shown as
arrows; branches are shown conditions on transitions
or as diamonds; fork or join of control is used for multiple branching. The activity diagram of the
above said requirement is as follows













Fig.9: Activity Diagarm



Fig.8: use case diagram
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The basic flow contains the most popular sequence of actions, the steps that happen when
everything goes correctly. Alternative flows represent variations of the flow, including less usual
cases and error conditions. Now to create test cases from the UML diagrams we need to identify
all of the scenarios for the given SUT including basic flow and alternative flow. A scenario
describes one specific path through the flow of events. Form figure 9 we can produce different
scenarios like
S
0
-> S
1
-> S
2
-> S
3
S
1
-> S
2
-> S
3
S
2
-> S
1
-> S
3


etc.


8. Conclusion:
The requirements we have identified are at the first level of abstraction which does not include the
classification in terms of functional and non-functional requirements. These requirements are from
the stake holders’ point of view and we have accordingly classified them on software quality. As a
result in our classification of the requirements we have often found some requirements
overlapping in different clusters which we think is quite obvious. We have analysed the quality of
web based LMS with respect to these requirements. Finally we have explored two main techniques
of model based testing, namely Finite State Machine and UML based modelling and sample test
cases are prepared from a case study.


References :
Ileana Adina Uţa(2006), “Developing E-Learning System”, International Conference on Computer Systems
and Technologies - CompSysTech’06
Martin Maguire, Nigel Bevan(2002), “User requirements analysis-A review of supporting methods”,
Proceedings of IFIP 17th World Computer Congress, Montreal Canada, , p133-148
S. Sengupta, N. Chaki, ,R. Dasgupta,(2009) “Design of a Learning Management System on LTSA “,
International Journal of Education and International Technololgies, Issue 1, Volume 3
S Ray, N Chaki, R Dasgupta,(2004) “Design of an adaptive web-based courseware”, IASTED International
Conference on Intelligent Systems & Control (ISC 2004), Honululu, Hawaii, USA, pp266-271
Jie Lu, (2004) “A Personalized e-Learning Material Recommender System”, Proceedings of the 2nd
International Conference on Information Technology for Application
“Learning platform functional requirements” , Becta 2006, tttp://www.becta.org.uk/industry
Jannicke Baalsrud Hauge, Heiko Duin1, Manuel Oliveira, Klaus-Dieter Thoben(2006) “User Requirements
Analysis for Educational Games”
www.manubuild.net/projects/408/ICE%202006/Training.../p49-47.pdf
S Ray , N Chaki , R Dasgupta(2006) “ A Learner’s Quanta Model based Framework Towards Building
Dynamic web-based Courseware “, 4th International Conference on multimedia and ICTs in Education
(mICTE 2006) ,Seville, Spain pp 238-242,
“Learning Technology System Architecture (LTSA)” URL: ltsc.ieee.org/wg1/files/ltsa_06.doc
“Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)” URL: http://www.adlnet.gov/scorm
Mingsong chen, xiaokang qiu, wei xu, linzhang wang, jianhua zhao and xuandong li (2007), "UML Activity
Diagram-Based Automatic Test Case Generation For Java Programs",The Computer Journal Advance
Access
Arora A., Sinha M.(2012), "Web Application Testing: A Review on Techniques, Tools and State of
Art",International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 3, Issue 2
Clay E. Williams (2006), "Software Testing and the UML",1st workshop on model-based testing and object-
oriented systems
Peter Zielczynski, (2003)"Traceability From Use Cases To Test Cases", Rational Users' Conference
Jim Heumann(2001),"Generating Test Cases From Use Cases", The Rational Edge
Anneliese A. Andrews, Jeff Offutt, Roger T. Alexander (2010), "Testing Web Applications by Modeling with
FSMs", Information & Software Technology
On Using Augmented Reality Technologies to Improve the
Interaction between Real and Virtual Spaces

Sorin Ionitescu
1


(1) PhD Candidate, University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest,
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Romania
sorin.ionitescu@gmail.com


Abstract
Augmented reality technologies are used more and more in various real world applications:
education, medicine, social communication, industry and business. This paper describes the
basic of interspaces interaction, the benefits of augmented reality and performance criteria
evaluation, software architectures and implementation details.

Keywords: AR displays, AR interfaces, AR tracking, mobile AR, Android.


1. Introduction
Modelling real systems using the new information technologies and advanced interfaces is
required nowadays for many fields of research and business. Augmented Reality and Virtual
Reality are the most challenged approaches.
This paper reviews the architectures of AR systems, the main types of AR interfaces and AR
software platforms, mainly the Android. The main applications of AR systems covers: museums
(Abate et al (2011)), education and training (Chen & Tsai (2012); Di Serio et al. (2012),
Kaufmann & Schmalstieg (2003), Kesim & Ozarslan (2012), Martin et al (2011), Nazir et al.
(2012), Pan et al. (2006), Vlada & Albeanu (2010)), Industry: Nee et al (2012), modern interaction
(Ha, Billinghurst & Woo (2012), Langlotz et al (2011), Lee, Seo & Rhee (2011)), Medicine (Lee
et al (2012), Nicolau et al (2011), Riener& Harders (2012)), Mobile AR (Jung et al. (2012), Morrison et
al (2011), Sood (2012), Verbelen et al. (2011)), Safety critical fields (Tsaia et al. (2012)), and recent
developments based on indirect augmented reality (Wither, Tsai & Azuma (2011)).

2. Augmented Reality Technologies in Applications
According to (Milgram & Kishino, 1994), see Vlada&Albeanu (2010), “Augmented Reality is
such a technology involving the overlay of computer graphics on the real world”. More specific,
virtual computer generated objects are added to the real world in real time.
An Augmented Reality (AR) system is composed by AR devices like displays, input devices,
trackers, and computers.
Virtual Reality (VR) displays can be classified with regard to the degree of immersion they are
able to provide. However, there exists a variation in requirements when only AR applications are
considered. There are three major types of displays used in AR applications: head mounted
displays (HMD), handheld displays, and spatial displays. Weng, Cheng & Wang (2012) describes
the current state of the art related to display systems and registration methods for AR applications.
The HMD are able to place both images of the real and virtual environment over the users’s
view of the world. HMDs are too heavy and uncomfortable for long time usage. If not a wireless
HMD, cables are used which is inconvenient.
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Other critical aspects are related to: image resolution, large lag between head movements and
the corresponding update of the displayed images, the existence of a mismatch between the human
field of view and the usually much smaller one provided by these devices (see Riener & Harders
(2012) for more details).
Handheld displays are small computing devices with a display that the user can hold in his
hands. Such devices include: smart-phones, PDAs, and Tablet PCs. They can be endowed with
powerful CPU, camera, accelerometer, GPS, solid state compass, a powerful operating system like
Android or similar, depending on generation, or producer.
Spatial displays display graphical information directly onto physical objects making use of
video-projectors, optical structures, holograms, and various tracking technologies. An important
advantage of the Spatial AR displays (SAR) is related to the number of users who benefits of the
generated images.
HMDs and handheld displays are single user oriented, while SAR devices are oriented to a
group of users being suitable in schools, universities, labs, museums, and art exhibitions. Three
SAR approaches are available: video-see through, optical-see through, and direct augmentation.
More details can be found in (Carmigniani & Furht, 2011).
The CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) is an immersive virtual reality display
setup driven by the main user whose head position is tracked. However, CAVEs are used mostly
for VR applications, and have less usage in AR applications.
Another class of AR devices is represented by input periphery. For full VR applications the
following classes of devices are important: position and movement measuring devices, eye-
tracking devices, force and torque recording devices, sound and speech recording devices, and
physiological data recorders. AR applications (apps), however, use gloves, wireless wristbands, or
directly the smart-phone as a pointing device.
Tracking devices consists of digital cameras, optical sensors, GPS, accelerometers,
magnetometers, wireless sensors, solid state compasses, etc. Early augmented-reality smart-phone
apps used a device's GPS and digital compass to determine the user’s location and direction. The
global positioning system (GPS) is a location system that can give an extremely accurate location
via satellites. More recently, app developers have begun incorporating computer vision and
increasingly powerful processors to provide greater accuracy.
The accelerometer measures acceleration along three directional axes: left-right (lateral (X)),
forward-backward (longitudinal (Y)) and up-down (vertical (Z)). These values are passed along in
the float array of value. Accelerometers detect acceleration forces along a single axis, three are
often combined to provide acceleration detection along the x, y and z axis. When the
accelerometer is at rest, the axis pointing down will read one due to the force of gravity and the
two horizontal axes will read zero. Accelerometers are core in a lot of devices as they are used to
determine when the phone is on its side to rotate the screen.
Another input device is the magnetometer. Magnetometers (think compass) are quite common
and are found in most modern smart phones and tablets. A magnetometer is a sensor for measuring
the strengthened direction of magnetic fields, and can be used for tracking magnetic north. Using
this as a reference is quite useful in augmented reality as it provides a vector to a known location,
which can be used in conjunction with an accelerometer to achieve full pose tracking.
As (Carmigniani & Furht, 2011) mentioned, “Tracking methods in AR depend mostly on the
type of environment the AR device will be introduced to as well as the type of AR system.”
The computer is also an important component of any AR system. However, depending on the
AR application, different CPU characteristics are required. We have to separate the Desktop AR
systems and Mobile AR systems. In the context of mobile AR Systems, the concept of Wearable
computer is used to describe the specific requirements of mobile AR applications.
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3. AR interspaces interaction
The interaction between the user and the virtual content of an AR application plays an important
role in the efficiency of the AR process. The interaction should be intuitive. With respect to the
intuitiveness property, there are four ways of interaction: AR tangible interfaces, collaborative AR
interfaces, hybrid AR interfaces, and multimodal AR interfaces.
The usage of real, physical objects and tools is part of the required support for tangible
interfaces. As physical objects useful in AR applications based on tangible interfaces can be used:
paddle, keyword, mouse, phantom device, gloves, or wristbands.
When speaking about collaborative AR interfaces we have to think on multiple displays
supporting remote and collocated activities, SAR displays, and CAVEs. Teleconference is only
one type of approach useful in education, online marketing, and scientific dissemination. Medical
AR applications should also benefit from collaborative AR interfaces including remote surgery,
diagnosis or devices maintenance.
The hybrid interfaces combine complementary or simulated interfaces. Surgery simulation is a
branch of medicine where virtual reality is used to train surgeons in a range of surgical procedures,
e.g. knee arthroscopy but without any risks. A hybrid user interface combines two different
interface technologies (from one side: physically small, high-resolution, 2D hardware, and the
other side: virtually large, low-resolution, 3D hardware) in an attempt to benefit from the best
features of everyone.
Multimodal AR interfaces combine real objects with various forms of communication: speech,
touch, hand gesture etc. Multimodal training simulation is invoked by Riener & Harders (2012) for
pilot education and mechanical trainers. They continue to describe flight simulators and vehicle
simulation. An AR application can be found in Nazir et al (2012) addressed to train industrial
operators.
From programmers point of view such interaction approaches are designed/activated by
specialized APIs. The next section will consider modern AR software architectures, and the
Android platform is discussed from the point of view or AR capabilities.

4. Modern AR software architectures
Modern software architectures arise in strong connection with new ways of thinking (object-
oriented, event-based, iconic usage etc.), new software engineering development methodologies
(agile programming, component-based and reusable software, etc.) and the new hardware devices
as clients in large client-server architectures (smart-phones, mobile devices, etc.).
For some AR applications, the ARToolkit (see is a good choice providing the following main
features: 1) Single camera position/orientation tracking; (2) Easy camera calibration code; (3) Fast
enough for real time AR applications; (4) Distributed with complete source code. The ARToolKit
library is also available on the Apple iOS (iPhone/iPAD/iPod touch) and Android platforms.
For mobile AR applications based on Android platform, the package android.hardware
provides support for hardware features, such as the camera and other sensors. Eight callback
interfaces (for camera) are dedicated to various notifications (completion of camera auto focus,
auto focus start and stop, camera error, face detected in the preview frame, zoom changes during a
smooth zoom operation, supply image data from a photo capture, deliver copies of preview frames
as they are displayed, and deliver copies of preview frames as they are displayed). The
SensorEventListener is used for receiving notifications from the SensorManager when sensor
values have changed.
The Camera class is used to set image capture settings, start/stop preview, snap pictures, and
retrieve frames for encoding for video.
The package android.graphics.drawable.shapes contains classes for drawing geometric shapes
(ArcShape - creates an arc shape; OvalShape - defines an oval shape; PathShape - creates
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geometric paths, utilizing the Path class; RectShape - defines a rectangle shape; RoundRectShape -
creates a rounded-corner rectangle, and Shape that defines a generic graphical "shape." Any Shape
can be drawn to a Canvas with its own draw() method, but more graphical control is available if
passing it to a ShapeDrawable.
The package android.graphics.drawable provides classes to manage a variety of visual
elements that are intended for display only, such as bitmaps and gradients. These elements are
often used by widgets as background images or simply as indicators (for example, a volume level
indicator).
The package android.gesture provides classes to create, recognize, load and save gestures. For
AR applications the package android.location contains classes that define Android location-based
and related services.
The Android platform supports three broad categories of sensors: motion sensors (to measure
acceleration forces and rotational forces along three axes; this category includes accelerometers,
gravity sensors, gyroscopes, and rotational vector sensors), environmental sensors (to measure
various environmental parameters, such as ambient air temperature and pressure, illumination, and
humidity, and includes barometers, photometers, and thermometers), and position sensors (to
measure the physical position of a device by orientation sensors and magnetometers).
Mobile device users can create location and maps-based applications, the central component of
the location framework being the LocationManager system service, which provides APIs to
determine location and bearing of the underlying device.
OpenGL, hardware acceleration, and built-in UI animations are useful to develop high quality
android applications having graphics characteristics, including AR applications. Android provides
a variety of powerful APIs for applying animation to UI elements and drawing custom 2D and 3D
graphics. Android supports OpenGL ES 1.0 and 2.0, with Android framework APIs as well as
natively with the Native Development Kit (NDK).
Conclusions
This paper considers AR current technologies both from hardware and software point of view.
Various AR devices, AR interfaces and AR software are presented as principal components of AR
systems for different fields of activity: medical, education, industry, business etc. The illustration
is based on Android platform for AR applications.
Acknowledgement. This paper is a short version of the PhD report: “Study about modern
information technologies and available interfaces for physical systems modelling”, part of the PhD
research project “Modern information technologies and advanced interfaces for modelling real
systems” under development at POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest.

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Kaufmann, H., and Schmalstieg, D. (2003): Mathematics and geometry education with collaborative
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Popovici, D.M. (2007): O incursiune in mediile virtuale 3D, Muntenia.
Riener, R., and Harders, M. (2012): Virtual Reality in Medicine, Springer.
Sood, R. (2012): Pro Android augmented reality, Apress, Berkeley, CA.
Tsaia, M.-K., Lee, Y.-C., Lu, C.-H., Chen, M.-H., Chou, T.-Y., and Yau, N.-J. (2012): Integrating
geographical information and augmented reality techniques for mobile escape guidelines on nuclear
accident sites, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 109, 36-44.
Verbelen, T., Stevens, T., Simoens, P., De Turck, F., and Dhoedt, B. (2011): Dynamic deployment and
quality adaptation for mobile augmented reality applications, The Journal of Systems and Software 84,
1871–1882.
Vlada, M., and Albeanu, G.(2010): The Potential of Collaborative Augmented Reality in Educations,
Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Virtual Learning (ICVL), Bucharest University
Press, 38-43.
Weng, D., Cheng, and D., Wang, Y. (2012): Display systems and registration methods for augmented reality
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Wither, J., Tsai, Y.-T., and Azuma, R. (2011): Indirect augmented reality, Computers & Graphics 35, 810–
822.
COLLADA Based Interoperability
Assurance for Virtual Reality Assets

Sorin Ionitescu
1


(1) PhD Candidate, University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest,
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Romania
sorin.ionitescu@gmail.com


Abstract
COLLADA permits digital assets exchanging between 3D oriented software applications. This
paper describes the usage of COLLADA in digital content creation with applications in
virtual education. Software tools, libraries and applications are described in order to prove
the power of COLLADA.

Keywords: X3D, COLLADA, interoperability, virtual objects, virtual education.

1. Introduction
The increasing of interoperability requirements of e-learning services providers determines the
professionals in APIs development, standards development and best practice guidelines providers
to propose, design, or identify the most suitable solutions.
This paper chooses from a large variety of solutions those provided by Kronos Groups, called
COLLADA. The basic characteristics and some ways of usage is shown with more details on
virtual education, mainly to educational software in 3D geometry.
2. Interoperable encoding systems for virtual assets
Virtual Reality applications, including Augmented Reality Applications ask for interoperable
technologies as Perey, Engelke, and Reed (2011) remark. Some content developers, particularly
web page (content) creators, prefer to use declarative statements of 3D visualizations. The
imperative approach of digital content description usually defines how something is to be
computed, like code in Java3D replacing VRML declarations. A common declarative language in
use today is the W3C XML standard which defines a hierarchical presentation of elements and
attributes. Another coding form for declarative data is the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).
There are many encoding systems for describing 3D virtual objects. As Otte, Roosendaal &
Hoorn (2011) observed, the best-known such systems are the X3D format (web3D Consortium)
and the COLLADA format (Barnes & Finch, 2008), everyone having the true real-time object
exchange capability. COLLADA (COLLAborative Design Activity) defines an open standard
XML schema for exchanging 3D files between 3D software applications such as Maya, 3DS Max,
MeshLab, Blender and others. COLLADA is used as the native format by a number of
applications, for example Google Earth. Projects may use COLLADA with X3D to develop 3D
applications. Other important standards used by COLLADA developers and others for virtual
assets modelling are: 1) EGL - a window and surface management API that acts as an
interoperability hub between the other Khronos APIs – enabling images, video and 3D graphics to
be flexibly and efficiently transferred for processing and composition; 2) OpenGL ES - a
streamlined version of the widely respected desktop OpenGL - open standard for 3D graphics; 3)
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OpenCL - provides a framework for programming heterogeneous parallel CPU, GPU and DSP
computing resources; 4) OpenMAX supports advanced camera control, image and video
processing and flexible video playback capabilities; 5) OpenVG - an application programming
interface for hardware accelerated two-dimensional vector and raster graphics.
3. Exploring Collada
Barnes & Finch (2008) described the formal specification of COLLADA. A short review follows
in order to show the most important characteristics of COLLADA.
Documents that use the COLLADA schema are called COLLADA instance documents.
COLLADA uses two mechanisms to address elements and values within an instance document: a)
URI addressing - Refers to the id attribute of an element. Used in URL and source attributes; b)
Scoped-Identifier (SID) addressing: Refers to the sid attribute of an element. Many COLLADA
elements have an id attribute. These elements can be addressed using the Uniform Resource
Identifier (URI) fragment identifier notation.
The syntax of URIs is defined in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) document RFC
3986 by five hierarchical parts: the scheme, authority, path, query, and fragment. The syntax of
scoped-identifier addressing has several parts: the id attribute of an element in the instance
document or a dot segment to indicate that this is a relative address. Then, it follows zero or more
scoped identifiers, each of them being preceded by a literal slash (“/”) as a path separator. The
final part is optional. This is a C/C++-style structure-member selection syntax for addressing
element values.
The data representation of an object might be stored only once. However, the object can appear
in a scene more than once. Each appearance in the scene is an instance of the object. Each instance
of the object can be unique (has its own copy of the object’s data and can be manipulated
independently), or can share data with other instances. COLLADA contains several instance_*
elements, to instantiate their related elements. COLLADA core, COLLADA physics, COLLADA
FX, and COLLADA kinematics contain elements useful to model many aspects of real systems.
COLLADA physics supports basic rigid body dynamics. A rigid body is viewed as a
nondeformable object with shape (geometry) and mass properties that interacts with other rigid
bodies according to Newton’s basic laws of physics.
COLLADA FX provides mechanisms to describe how to apply colour to a visual scene,
describe material properties across many platforms and application programming interfaces
(APIs). The FX elements of the COLLADA schema allow the description of effects, which are
abstract material definitions, effect parameterizations (using <newparam>), effect metadata,
binding to the scene graph, multiple techniques, and inline and external source code or binary.
COLLADA Kinematics permits to attach kinematical properties to objects in a visual scene.
Nodes in a visual scene can be controlled by a kinematical simulation. This is done by one or more
kinematics models. A kinematics model consists of joints and links: a joint is specified by one or
more joint primitives (revolute and prismatic) and their arbitrary axes, and links are rigid bodies
which are connected through the joints. A kinematics model can be controlled by one or more
articulated systems. An articulated system enhances a kinematics model with kinematical or
dynamical properties.
In core COLLADA, these elements are: animation, camera, controller, formula, geometry,
light, node, and visual_scene. The elements of COLLADA Physics refer to: force_field,
physics_material, physics_model, physics_scene, rigid_body, and rigid_constraint. COLLADA
FX provides the elements: effect, image, and material. Finally, the elements of COLLADA
kinematics are: articulated_system, joint, kinematics_model, and kinematics_scene.
COLLADA provides the <param> element to define a parameter and sets its type and value
for immediate use. To work with parameters in FX and kinematics, the following elements can be
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used: <newparam> to create a parameter, <setparam> to change or set the type and value of a
parameter, and <param> (reference) to refer to an existing parameter created by <newparam>.
An example of the above aspects is presented in the next section.
4. Applied Collada
Collada proved to be a good choice for many applications as reported by Amirebrahimi &
Rajabifard (2012), Arnaud & Barnes(2006), Arnaud & Parisi (2007), Ionitescu (2009), and Morse
et al. (2010), to mention only few references.
A typical Web pipeline using COLLADA and X3D is described in Arnaud & Parisi (2007).
The usage of COLLADA by Digital Cultural Content Creator is recommended by MINERVA
program (Caffo et al., 2008), while Ionitescu (2009) described the usage of COLLADA (pp. 46-
48) to create educational software for 3D geometry (Appendix 7 of the cited reference). Some
partial sections of one COLLADA file is presented bellow:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding=xml ns="http://www.collada.org/2005/11/COLLADA
<asset>
<contributor>
<author>Sorin</author>
</contributor>
<created>2009-05-17T19:11:09Z</created>
<modified>2009-05-18T12:27:23Z</modified>
<unit meter="0.01" name=
<up_axis>Y_UP</up_axis>
</asset>
<library_physics_scenes>
<physics_scene id="MayaNativePhysicsScene"
<technique_common>
<gravity>0 -980 0</gravity> <time_step>0.083</time_step> </technique_common>
</physics_scene>
</library_physics_scenes>
<library_lights>
<light id="directionalLightShape1
<technique_common>
<directional> <color>1 1 1</color> </directional>
</technique_common>
<extra>
<technique profile=
<constant_attenuation>1</constant_attenuation>
<<quadratic_attenuation>0</quadratic_attenuation>
<falloff_angle>180</falloff_angle> <falloff_exponent>0</falloff_exponent>
<intensity>1</intensity> <outer_cone>180</outer_cone>
<aspect_ratio>1</aspect_ratio> <overshoot>1</overshoot>
<target_default_dist>240</target_default_dist>
</technique>
</extra>
</light>
</library_lights>
<library_materials>
<material id="lambert1"name="lambert2">
<instance_effect url="#lambert1-fx"/>
</material>
</library_materials>
<library_effects>
<effect id="lambert1-fx">
<profile_COMMON>
<technique sid="common">
<lambert>
<emission> <color>0 0 0 1</color> </emission>
<ambient> <color>0 0 0 1</color> </ambient>
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<diffuse> <color>0.4 0.4 0.4 1</color> </diffuse>
<transparent opaque="RGB_ZERO"> <color>0 0 0 1</color> </transparent>
<transparency> <float>1</float> </transparency>
<index_of_refraction> <float>1</float> </index_of_refraction>
</lambert>
</technique>
</profile_COMMON>
</effect>
</library_effects>
<library_geometries>
<geometry id="pCubeShape1"name="pCubeShape1">
<mesh>
<source id="pCubeShape1-positions"name="position">
<float_array id="pCubeShape1-positions-array"count="24">-3.55226
-2.87397 3.47002 3.55226 -2.87397 3.47002 -3.55226 2.87397 3.47002 3.55226 2.87397
3.47002 -3.55226 2.87397 -3.47002 3.55226 2.87397 -3.47002 -3.55226 -2.87397 -
3.47002 3.55226 -2.87397 -3.47002</float_array>
<technique_common>
<accessor source="#pCubeShape1-positions-array"count="8" stride="3">
<param name="X"type="float"/> <param name="Y"type="float"/>
<param name="Z"type="float"/>
</accessor>
</technique_common>
</source>
<source id="pCubeShape1-normals"name="normal">
<float_array id="pCubeShape1-normals-array"count="108">0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 01 0 0 1 0 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0
-1 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 -
1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 -1 0 0</float_array>
<technique_common>
<accessor source="#pCubeShape1-normals-array"count="36"
stride="3">
<param name="X"type="float"/> <param name="Y"type="float"/>
<param name="Z"type="float"/>
</accessor>
</technique_common>
</source>
<source id="pCubeShape1-map1"name="map1">
<float_array id="pCubeShape1-map1-array"count="28">0.375 0 0.625 0 0.375 0.25
0.625 0.25 0.375 0.5 0.625 0.5 0.375 0.75 0.625 0.75 0.375 1 0.625 1 0.875 0 0.875
0.25 0.125 0 0.125 0.25</float_array>
<technique_common>
<accessor source="#pCubeShape1-map1-array"count="14" stride="2">
<param name="S"type="float"/>
<param name="T"type="float"/>
</accessor>
</technique_common>
</source>
<vertices id="pCubeShape1-vertices">
<input semantic="POSITION"source="#pCubeShape1-positions"/>
</vertices>
<triangles material="lambert2SG"count="12">
<input semantic="VERTEX"source="#pCubeShape1-vertices" offset="0"/>
<input semantic="NORMAL"source="#pCubeShape1-normals" offset="1"/>
<input semantic="TEXCOORD"source="#pCubeShape1-map1"offset="2" set="0"/>
<p>0 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 2 1 4 1 3 5 3 2 6 2 3 7 3 4 8 4 4 9 4 3 10 3 5 11 5 4 12
4 5 13 5 6 14 6 6 15 6 5 16 5 7 177 6 18 6 7 19 7 0 20 8 0 21 8 7 22 7 1 23 9 1 24
1 7 25 10 3 26 3 3 27 3 728 10 5 29 11 6 30 12 0 31 0 4 32 13 4 33 13 0 34 0 2 35
2</p>
</triangles>
</mesh>
<extra>
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<technique profile="MAYA">
<double_sided>1</double_sided>
</technique>
</extra>
</geometry>
</library_geometries>
<library_visual_scenes>
<visual_scene id="VisualSceneNode"name="cube">
<node id="pCube1"name="pCube1"type="NODE">
<rotate sid="rotateZ">0 0 1 0</rotate> <rotate sid="rotateY">0 1 0 0</rotate>
<rotate sid="rotateX">1 0 0 0</rotate> <scale sid="scale">0.5 0.5 0.5</scale>
<instance_geometry url="#pCubeShape1">
<bind_material>
<technique_common>
<instance_material symbol="lambert2SG"target="#lambert1"/>
</technique_common>
</bind_material>
</instance_geometry>
</node>
<node id="directionalLight1"name="directionalLight1"type="NODE">
<rotate sid="rotateZ">0 0 1 -24.1759</rotate> <rotate sid="rotateY">0 1 0
29.135</rotate> <rotate sid="rotateX">1 0 0 -61.9594</rotate>
<instance_light url="#directionalLightShape1-lib"/>
</node>
<extra>
<technique profile="FCOLLADA">
<start_time>0.041666</start_time> <end_time>2</end_time>
</technique>
</extra>
</visual_scene>
</library_visual_scenes>
<scene>
<instance_physics_scene url="#MayaNativePhysicsScene"/>
<instance_visual_scene url="#VisualSceneNode"/>
</scene>
</COLLADA>
5. Conclusions
COLLADA proved to be a valuable exchanging standard of virtual objects in virtual reality
applications. The paper investigated the usage of COLLADA in digital content creation with
applications in virtual education. The capabilities of COLLADA recommend this as a good choice
in implementing future applications on advanced interfaces for modelling real and complex
systems.
Acknowledgement. This paper is a short part of the PhD report: “Applications development of
advanced interfaces for modelling real systems”, part of the PhD research project “Modern
information technologies and advanced interfaces for modelling real systems” under development
at POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest.

6. References
Amirebrahimi, S., and Rajabifard, A. (2012): An Integrated Web-Based 3d Modelling and Visualization
Platform to Support Sustainable Cities, ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and
Spatial Information Sciences, Volume I-4, 2012 XXII ISPRS Congress, 25 August – 01 September 2012,
Melbourne, Australia, pp. 299-304.
Arnaud, R., and Barnes, M.C. (2006): COLLADA: sailing the gulf of 3D digital content creation, A.K. Peters
Ltd, Wellesley, MA, USA.
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Arnaud, R., and Parisi, T. (2007): Developing web applications with COLLADA and X3D., White Paper,
Khronos Group, http://www.khronos.org/collada/presentations/ Developing_
Web_Applications_with_COLLADA_and_X3D.pdf
Barnes, M., and Finch, E.L. (2008): COLLADA – Digital Asset Schema Release 1.5.0 Specification,
http://www.khronos.org/files/collada_spec_1_5.pdf.
Caffo, R., Fresa, A., Sola, P.G., Fernie, K., De Francesco, G., and Dawson, D. (2008): Technical Guidelines
for Digital Cultural Content Creation Programmes, MINERVA project,
http://www.minervaeurope.org/publications/MINERVA%20 TG%202.0.pdf.
Ionitescu, S. (2009): Research on real and virtual space interaction by augmented reality, Graduate Thesis
(Scientific coordinator: PhD univ. prof. Fluerasu C.), POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest.
Kaewmoracharoen, M. (2009): Feasibility of visualization and simulation applications to improve work zone
safety and mobility. Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 10543, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/10543.
Kaewmoracharoen, M., and Strong, K. (2008): Feasibility of Visualization and Simulation Applications to
Improve Work Zone Safety and Mobility, Final Report, Iowa State University,
http://www.ctre.iastate.edu/research/detail.cfm?projectID=-168519604.
Morse, K.L, Brunton, R., Morgan, T., Riggs, W., and Scrudder, R. (2010): LVCAR Common Data Storage
Formats, http://www.sisostds.org.
Morse, K. L. et al. (2010): Live-Virtual-Constructive Architecture Roadmap Implementation, Common
Capabilities - Common Data Storage Formats Implementation Plan, Technical Report, Johns Hopkins
University,http://www.msco.mil/documents/LVCAR-I%20FY09%20Common_Data_Storage_
Formats_Implem_Plan.pdf.
Perey, C., Engelke, T., and Reed, C. (2011): Current Status of Standards for Augmented Reality, L. Alem and
W. Huang (eds.), Recent Trends of Mobile Collaborative Augmented Reality Systems, DOI 10.1007/978-
1-4419-9845-3_2, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
*** web3D Consortium, http://www.web3d.org/x3d/
An Overview of the Web-Based Communication Tools Used for
Increasing the Web-Based Education Efficiency

Iuliana Dobre
1


(1) Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti
39, Bucuresti Bvd, 100680, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania
E-mail: iulianadobre@yahoo.com


Abstract
Every day we are using the Internet to communicate with our families, friends, work
colleagues, and other people. Has became so easy doing so, just an instant message or e-mail
or even placing video phone calls with individuals or group of persons. Initially considered as
additionally tools to those provided by the classic media and press the Web-Based
Communication Tools have evolved constantly in the past decade and have become today the
most important communication channel and the most powerful communication way. Web-
Based Education is one of the very important domains which benefit from the use of the Web-
Based Communication Tools. The Web-Based Communication Tools are vary but very
important is not the number but how we use all these to communicate effectively. This paper
is providing an overview of those Web-Based Communication Tools most commonly used and
which can contribute to the increasing of the Web-Based Education efficiency having as
background the Information Society development.

Keywords: Information Technology and Communication, Information Society, Web-Based
Communication Tools, Web-Based Education

1 Introduction
Internet, High Definition & 3D television, cell phones, just some of the great achievements of the
human kind from the past seventy years. All these achievements have revolutionized the human
life from the living standard up to the human behaviour. One of the most important features which
affects us extremely significantly and did, do and will continue doing a major difference between
us and anything else on Earth is the communication. The tools to communicate have evolved
fantastic since the moments when prehistoric humans realised that they can use sounds to
communicate up to our days when instant messaging can bring together two people separated by
thousands of kilometres.
The history of communication itself and of the communication tools is very long and very
complex. There are two areas we should look at when talking about communication and these are:
the hardware and software areas. Is a long list coming with both of these areas, but the author will
look to restrict these lists to the most important tools having a serious impact on the efficiency of
today Web-Based Education.
1.1 Information and Communication Technology
From the side of hardware area, which country was the first introducing the computers in the
schools, how and when is still debatable. However, according to Jim Kelly’s article published on
the Financial Times Web page called “Life on the Net / Education”, in the late 60s the computers
started to arrive in the schools from UK and this is the beginning of the Information Technology
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use within the Educational System. The things changed when after another generation the Internet.
The idea of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been introduced according to
Jim Kelly’s by a report from 1997 written by D. Stevenson in collaboration with the consultants
from McKinsey & Co. The report has added the word “communications” to IT in order to reflect
the Internet impact on educational system from UK
(http://specials.ft.com/lifeonthenet/FT3NXTH03DC.html).
1.2 Internet, ICT and Information Society
Started in the late 70s the rapid development of the ICTs during the last two decades has lead to
what is called today the Information Age. The result of this growth was a significant reshape of the
human society, a society which has started to move from an economy based on industrialization to
an economy based on the manipulation of information, this society being named by researchers as
the Information Society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age).
The Internet was created in the late 50s mainly to support the Defence Advance Research
Project Agency from USA, and according to Wikipedia “The Internet was conceived as a fail-
proof network that could connect computers together and be resistant to any one point of failure”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age). However, the “fathers” of what later was called
World Wide Web (Web) are considered to be the two scientists, T. Berners-Lee and R. Cailliau,
who have invented the Web in 1989. Starting with 1991, the implementation of the Web has
pushed Internet to the level of a global platform used to accelerate the flow of information
exchanged between persons and organizations, individually or in groups, and by various means
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age).
Vermeulen et al were showing in a research paper the progress related to Internet awareness
within the European Union (EU) citizens, based on the data coming from two European Union
surveys (Vermeulen et al, 2009). According to the data presented in 2001, 16.7% of the EU
citizens were considering the Internet as the most important source of scientific information
(http://ec.europa.eu/research/press/2001/pr0612en-report.pdf). Not more than four years later, in
2005, the survey was repeated and 78% of the EU citizens who answered to questionnaires were
considering that Internet would have a positive effect on society in 20 years time
(http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf).
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an organization which is publishing annually
a survey called “Measuring the Information Society”. The 2011 edition considers, two monitoring
tools for measuring the development (progress/regress) of the information society at worldwide
level, the ICT Development Index (IDI) and the ICT Price Basket (IPB). No less than 152 countries
have been involved, including here Romania, the results being published on the ITU Newsroom
homepage (http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/backgrounders/general/pdf/5.pdf).
Without entering in too many details, the author will just emphasize that the IDI indicator is “a
composite index combining 11 indicators, grouped in three sub-indices categories, and all these
into one benchmark measure that serves to monitor and compare developments in ICT across the
countries. As a matter of interest and also as a proof that ICTs have a more and more significant
role in the countries development the survey shows that between 2008 and 2010 the average IDI
for all 152 surveyed countries has increased from 3.62 to 4.08, as well as all three sub-indices have
increased (http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/backgrounders/general/pdf/5.pdf).
2 Web-Based Education
Education is not taking exception from the ICT impact and the author of this article likes to
believe that this impact was and will be a positive one. Called differently by various researchers,
i.e., Computer-Based Training, Internet-Based Training or Web-Based Training
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web-based_training) the author of the present article would like to
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consider a larger view range when defining the Web involvement in the educational process,
therefore for the purpose of this paper will use the term Web-Based Education (WBE).
Also the definitions available for WBE are numerous. However, the author of this article
considers that a comprehensive definition should capture the hardware tools available under ICT
umbrella (i.e., smartphones, laptops, tablets etc.) together with the software tools. Therefore, the
WBE definition in author opinion should be: the most advanced to date form of online education
that uses the latest ICT hardware & software tools and supporting educational process within a
Web environment.
Figure 1 is presenting a generic scheme of a WBE System which includes the relationship
between parties involved (from WBE materials developers up to the end users – learners) as well
as the most common hardware tools used at present.

Figure 1 – A generic scheme of a Web-Based Education System

WBE versus traditional education has demonstrated already several major advantages such us:
affordable cost, easier track of students performances, education personalization, access from
everywhere, anywhere and at anytime, and easy to update the content (Avenoğlu, 2005;
http://www.e-learningguru.com/articles/art1_9.htm).
In fact, we should consider the WBE as a great option to eliminate discrepancies, stress, save
time and money and provide equal opportunity for successful education to everyone and not the
last, full transparency of the entire educational process.
3 Web-Based Communication Tools (WBCTs)
A successful WBE can’t exist without having available proper communication tools. In the context
of WBE the term tools should be considered more generically and should include categories,
hardware tools and software tools. Today, the Clients (Teachers) and the End Users (Learners)
have at their disposal fantastic hardware tools, i.e., personal computers, laptops, notebooks,
ultrabooks, PDAs, tablets etc. All these tools are capable to ensure a great mobility to WBE plus a
flexibility which allows the teachers and learners to perform successfully.
Is sufficient to recall some data available through ITU 2011 survey and related to the
worldwide trend of the mobile-cellular subscription number reported to 100 inhabitants. It’s shown
that this number has increase from a 12 subscribers/100 inhabitants in 2000 to 78 subscribers/100
inhabitants in 2010 (http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/backgrounders/general/pdf/5.pdf, page 1).
Another indicator showing the internet users’ number reported to 100 inhabitants offers again the
view of the road taken by human kind to move in a new era. This indicator shows an increase from
6 users/100 inhabitants in 2000 to 12.6 users/100 inhabitants in 2010
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(http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/backgrounders/general/pdf/5.pdf). Maybe the number of users
is not looking tremendous high but we have to take into consideration that not all countries have
participated to this survey plus the political-economical situation existing in some parts of the
world.
A look to what is at present available for teachers and learners like WBCTs is absolutely
necessary in order to understand the growth on the large scale demonstrated by ITU 2011 survey,
the future trends and what is currently done to increase the efficiency of the WBCTs. The below
sub-chapters will present some of the most important WBCTs from the software area. A major
disadvantage of these tools is that all of them are dependent on the quality of Internet and the
technical features of the hardware tools used. However, a major advantage is that all these tools
are available for most of all hardware tools used (from personal computers to smartphones, and
tablets).
3.1 Web-Based Phone & Video Communicators
These are one of the most common used today WBCT. Generally speaking these are Voice-over-
Internet Protocol (VoIP) Services being software applications which offer to users the possibility
to communicate with other individuals or groups by instant messaging, by video or by voice, using
the Internet. Usually the audio & video phone calls are free of charge if these are done to another
subscriber to the same VoIP Service.
The option to call directly to fixed-telephone lines or cell phones is also available but requires
payment. Other features of such systems are: files transfer (not indicated to be used for large size
files), videoconferencing, and chat rooms. As examples of VoIP software we have: Skype, ooVoo,
Empathy, Linphone, Ekiga, and Google Talk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype).
3.2 Web-Based Video Networks
Ustream, Justin.tv, Bambuser or Livestream are Web-Based Video Networks, consisting from a
network of various channels and providing a platform for lifecasting and live video streaming of
different events online.
Today, are used to broadcast online events from presidential election in USA up to financial
and sport events as well as live music concerts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ustream,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livestream).
3.3 Blogs
According to Wikipedia “a blog is a discussion or information site published on the World Wide
Web consisting from entries typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent
appears first” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog). Most commonly, the blogs are developed by
individuals or small groups of people with the scope to discuss about a single subject. The subjects
are extremely diverse and go from food to politics.
Starting with 2009, a new approach of blogs developing has appeared an on Web have been
registered the first multi-author blogs (MABs). The characteristic of this type of blogs is that the
posts are written by a large number of authors in a professional way as these authors are
professionals in various domains. The MABs development is mainly done by media organizations
newspapers, other media outlets), by organizations involved in education etc. Blogs can combine
texts, videos, photos, Web pages, links to other blogs. On Web can be found blogs dedicated to
photography called photoblogs, or dedicated to art and these are called art blogs etc. Also, the
blogs have applicability in education delivery and are used like instructional resources. Such blogs
are called Edublogs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog).
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3.4 Social Network Services
Already part of the day-to-day life of many people around the world, being available for almost all
types of hardware tools (from personal computers to tablets), the Social Network Services (SNS)
are network platforms or sites which facilitate the building and development of the relationships
between people. The SNS require for each user to upload on a Web site a personal profile
comprising from personal information, the personal social links, and other personal aspects (i.e.,
hobbies, achievements, thoughts etc.). Through these networks the people can share backgrounds,
their activities, opinions about common discussion subjects, photos, files, events etc. In other
words, SNS represents real-life connections between people
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking_service).
There are available many options like SNSs and is sufficient to mention some of the most
known SNSs: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Hi5, Cyworld, StudiVZ, Nexopia etc. The SNSs are
used also in education by both, teachers and learners. Is to be mentioned that SNSs provide equally
to teachers and learners the opportunity to improve the educational act itself, to make better
educational materials by sharing their opinions and thoughts, to create the space for a new
educational culture within the people saying that the education never ends and is part of our
everyday life (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking_service).
3.5 File Sharing Online
The Web is known also as a hypermedia environment where the users can access through browsers
(i.e., Firefox-Mozilla, Opera, Internet Explorer etc.) any type of file available on Internet and
uploaded on Web pages or directly on servers (Riva and Davide, 2001).
Shared hypermedia tools (i.e., Gooey, Odigo, Firetalk, ICQSurf etc.) offer to teachers and
learners the option to choose as well as to employ much easier and more efficient the advantages
offered by WBE. There is no more just a linear lesson delivered in a classroom by someone in
front of a bored group of youth. By using shared hypermedia tools everything change and became
more attractive, more dynamic and less stressful to all involved (Riva and Davide, 2001).
Shared hypermedia tools provide another type of environment where different users can
browse the same Web site in the same time, can communicate with other users and who can share
knowledge, files etc. in real time. The interfaces used today by these tools are so simple than the
users have only to click on any person icon, open the message window and start communicate
(Riva and Davide, 2001). These type of WBCTs represent the future of WBE at least for the fact
that almost everything needed to have a course online, get al necessary materials, have online, do
the self assessment, have the final assessment etc. is there.
4 Could Be Even Better?
We had a look to most common used and probably most powerful WBCTs in use to date. But still
remain the question, could be even better? What happened if we have everything in one place,
built-in one frame? Is this a possibility? Well, the answer is simple as possible and is YES.
Already, specialised companies started the competition and they developed a framework called
Accelerator Business Objects and Services (ABOS).
In figure 2 is presented a schematic of a ABOS
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerator_(Software)). The ABOS purpose is to provide a Rapid
Application Development Environment which can be used to produce n-tier code that can be ran in
a client/server or Web deployment. The ABOS architecture supports service-oriented architecture,
including built-in features such us: Business Objects, Frameworks, Bus Interfaces, Plug-Ins,
XML, Dashboards, and Wizards simplify deployment
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerator_(Software)).
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Figure 2 – A schematic of ABOS (as presented in Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerator_(Software) ,by user named Joannezen, 2010).

5 Conclusions
Classroom education is still a strong pillar for all educational systems worldwide but always is
room for new methods, methodologies and tools. From personal experience the author can
conclude that the times when having a face-to-face interaction between learners and teachers in
order to achieve successful education started to pass. Sometimes, in certain circumstances and for
certain disciplines is more beneficial using the WBE instead the classic classroom.
From the perspective of the organizations acting in the Educational Sector, on short term, the
implementation of ICT and Internet may require significant initial financial investments in ICT
infrastructure, tools, equipment, software etc. plus can create some logistic issues (i.e., lack of
space for the labs, lack of Internet suppliers etc). Looking on long term, such investment will
increase the number of learners, the learners trust in the organizations capabilities (image capital)
at least due to a less grade of subjectivity present within WBE, a better contribution to the
achievement of the Information Society.
The author optimism related to the positive impact of Internet and ICT on educational process
could be considered debatable. Depends from which side of the road we look at. If we want to put
in balance only the negative aspects (i.e.: abuse of WBCT by individuals or groups for other
purposes like cheating, financial resources necessary to create a favourable environment for
Information Society requirements implementation etc.), than we will have a general denial of the
potential benefits brought by WBCT within WBE systems. However, the author considers that this
is the future for any organization requiring having employees with high skills and knowledge and
especially for those organizations involved in the educational process of all levels. This future has
a name which is Mobile-Education and Internet in conjunction with ICT are the main tools which
finally will create at global level a world without borders.
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6 References
6.1 Book Chapters:
Riva, G. and Davide F. (2001): Communication and interaction in web based learning environments. In G.
Riva and F. Davide: Communication Through Virtual Technology: Identity Community and Technology
in the Internet Age. IOS Press, Amsterdam.
6.2 Journal Articles:
Vermeulen, P., Brereton, P., Lofthouse, J., Smith J., Kehagia, O., Krafft, A., Baeten, V. (2009) Web-based
communication tools in a European research project: the example of the TRACE project. Biotechnology,
Agronomy, Society, Environment 13, 4, 509-520.
6.3 Technical Reports:
Stevenson, D., et. Contributors and McKinsey & Co firm (1997): Information and Communications
Technology in UK Schools, an independent inquiry. Report: The Independent ICT in Schools
Commission (1997). London, UK.
European Commission – Directorate-General for Press and Communication, Public Opinion Sector (2001):
Europeans, science And technology. Opinion Poll: European Commission – Directorate-General for
Research, Eurobarometer 55.2.
European Commission – Directorate General Press and Communication, Public Opinion Sector (2005):
Social values, Science and Technology. Survey: European Commission – Directorate General Research,
Special Eurobarometer 225/Wave 63.1 – TNS Opinion & Social.
*** (2011): Measuring the Information Society. Survey report: International Telecommunication Union.
6.4 Theses:
Avenoğlu, B. (2005): Using Mobile Communication Tools in Web Based Instruction. In partial fulfilment of
the requirements for degree of master of science in Computer Education and Instructional Technology:
School of Natural and Applied Sciences of Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.
6.5 Internet Sources:
http://www.e-learningguru.com/articles/art1_9.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf
http://ec.europa.eu/research/press/2001/pr0612en-report.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerator_(Software)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livestream
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking_service
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ustream
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web-based_training
http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/backgrounders/general/pdf/5.pdf
http://rubble.heppell.net/stevenson/ICT.pdf
http://www.scribd.com/doc/8167208/Webbased-Communication-Tools-for-Adult-Education-
Professional-Development-Communication
http://specials.ft.com/lifeonthenet/FT3NXTH03DC.htm
Web-Based Training Systems – Evaluation and Measurement of
their Quality Component

Iuliana Dobre
1


(1) Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti
39, Bucuresti Bvd, 100680, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania
E-mail: iulianadobre@yahoo.com


Abstract
At worldwide scale the companies are looking to increase their employees skills in
order to provide trust in their products and/or services. However, the pressure coming from
competitive markets together with the pressure coming from the companies budgets reduction
have directed them to look for solutions in order to maintain and develop their employees
training programs. Such solution, today more and more integrated by all type and size of
companies, is the implementation of an Web-Based Training System. Cost and time savings,
flexibility for all parties involved are just some examples of benefits which can be obtained
from using a Web-Based Training System. This paper is looking to put at-a-glance the quality
component of the Web-Based Training Systems from the view point of the evaluation and
measurement methods and means.

Keywords: Evaluation and Measurement, Quality Management Systems, Training Process,
Web-Based Training, Web-Based Training System


1 Introduction
Web-Based Training (WBT) is considered by specialists (Lau, 1999) as a new form of distance
learning, a form which became more and more popular especially within business environment. “It
is perceived as a cheaper, faster and more efficient way to train a large number of employees
anywhere in the world”, Lau is saying in one of his articles (Lau, 1999). Indeed, the past twelve
years had shown a significant increase of the World Wide Web (Web) use to train employees in
order to improve individual performances and to obtain at the end a positive impact on the
companies business.
Is difficult to say how much is the slice taken by WBT from the distance learning pie.
However, according to Wikipedia, the estimations (EC, 2000) show that the e-learning industry at
worldwide level worth around $48 billion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-learning). So, the slice
taken by WBT should be assumed as consistent taken into consideration that all business sectors
corporations or multinational companies having divisions all around the world have developed
their own WBT System (WBTSs) or have employed specialised third parties to design and
implement such systems.
The severe competition existing in many areas have dictated to the companies the way to take.
Is true that usually a company is not using only a WBTS but also such system is used in
cohabitation with traditional classroom system and/or Computer-Based Training System. In other
words, is a better chance to see the companies using a blended training system than a WBTS. Even
the progress achieved by Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) is great, even we
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have Internet, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, computers, notebooks etc. is still necessary to
have a face-to-face interaction so the traditional classroom training will not disappear right away.
The organizations involved in the educational process, and especially those from higher
education sector, are important contributors to the development of various WBTS also because
they are using WBTS as part of their distance learning programs. In the next pages of this article
the author will address the WBT and WBTS quality aspects referring also to evaluation and
measurement of the quality component, all these being seen in a larger context provided by
distance learning. Also, for the purpose of this article the author will use as a general term the
word “trainee” in order to cover all categories of people (i.e., employees, students etc.) involved in
the learning process and the word “trainer” in order to cover all educators, teachers, trainers,
professionals etc. involved in the training delivery process.
2 Web-Based Training Systems (WBTSs)
2.1 Web-Based Training (WBT)
The Web-Based Training is based on the delivery through Internet, using a Web browser and
having in hand a standard personal computer or a portable device (i.e., notebook, laptop etc.). This
type of training has been spread around mainly during the past two decades as many large
companies having a significant number of trainees were looking to replace a part of their
traditional face-to-face training classes with something more flexible, faster, cheaper, and time
saving for all involved in training process without chopping off the targeted levels of expertise,
skills and knowledge.
Why WBT is considered today at corporate global level by so many business sectors as a
powerful tool which ultimately can change the business itself? Well, is sufficient to have a look to
the graph presented in figure 1 (http://www.hp.com/large/ipg/assets/bus-solutions/power-of-visual-
communication.pdf, 2004). According to Hewlett Packard specialists the “studies show that
people remember 10% of that they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see and do”
(http://www.hp.com/large/ipg/assets/bus-solutions/power-of-visual-communication.pdf, 2004).
And the answer to the above question became in such context very easy one as WBT is based on
what the trainees see & do.
At the very beginning the exploitation of this new training resource has been limited to smaller
WBT activities mixed together with other types of interaction between trainers and trainees (i.e.,
online discussions, online interactive workshops etc.). Taking into consideration the advantages
offered by WBT (i.e., easy delivery to trainees, coverage of a wide audience, low cost on long
term after initial design-development-implementation phase is completed, effective interaction due
to see & do available features, friendly training environment, time saved, flexible schedule etc.),
than should not be anymore an issue to accommodate ourselves in this new business climate.

Figure 1 – Oral and Visual
Information: Percentage
Retained (Source: Jerome Bruner,
as cited by Paul Martin Lester in
“Syntactic Theory of Visual
Communication” and re-cited by
Hewlett Packard in one online
article “Power of Visual
Communication,
http://www.hp.com/large/ipg/assets
/bus-solutions/power-of-visual-
communication.pdf, 2004).
10%
20%
80%
0
20
40
60
80
100
Oral Visual Visual + Oral


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2.2 Brief Overview of WBTSs
The WBTSs are not so complicated systems from architectural viewpoint. However, there is a
significant impact which is financial for any company looking to have such system implemented
and this is related to the initial phase referring to design-development-implementation. Therefore,
most of the companies and especially the ones of small and medium size are applying a different
strategy which is the use of third party providers. A schematic architecture of a WBTS made
available by a third party provider is presented in figure 2 below.

Figure 2 – A schematic architecture of a WBTS

Relatively simple like architecture the WBTS presented in figure 2 can be depicted in three
major sub-systems which are: a) the human sub-system (providers, trainers, and trainees), b) the
WBT resources (training courses available, training modules part of each training course, tools for
all types of assessment, feedback tools etc.), and c) information & communication technological
infrastructure (comprise from all tools, hardware and software, used to support WBT).
3 Training Quality
3.1 About Quality Management Systems (QMSs), Standards, and Training
More and more companies are looking to do better on the market sector where they activate. They
want more trust from their clients’ side, want to gain more image capital and they want to be at the
end a brand. Not an easy thing to do considering the competition, the depletion of natural
resources and the social-financial-political unrest from many parts of the world.
Therefore, reference points were necessary to be set-up in order to compare, to certify or,
making simpler the argument, to evaluate and measure, and to verify and validate. For these
purposes and for some others have been published families of international standards which covers
the training topic as well as well as local (national or organization’s standards). However, is to be
mentioned a very important aspect and this is that the international standards are guidelines in
comparison with national and organization’s standards. The last two categories of standard could
be obligatory at local level (national level or organizational level).
One of the ways identified by the companies in achieving their targets above briefly explained
was to implement a Quality Management System (QMS). ISO 9000 family is a family of standards
used today by many companies and by more an more organizations involved in all levels of the
educational process to: define, support and finally, to lead to the achievement of successful
business/education.
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The ISO 9000 family is talking about principles, methods and tools what any company can use
to achieve the satisfaction of their customers. As stated in ISO 9000:2005, sub-section 0.2, there
are eight principles which should be followed by the companies within their QMSs. From all these
principles I would like to cite three of them which in my opinion are extremely important and also
the minimum required to be achieved by a company if wants to survive in business (ISO
9000:2005, sub-section 0.2):
- “Customer focus: Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should
understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and
strive to exceed customer expectations.”
- “Involvement of people: People of all levels are the essence of an organization and
their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit.”
- “Continual improvement: Continual improvement of the organization’s overall
performance should be a permanent objective of the organization.”
Well, why these three principles are important for this article context? Just because all three
claim the existence of competent human resources and competent human resources means trained
people, and trained people means that a training system has to be in place. Is a very important
requirement in ISO 9001:2008, number 6.2.2, called “Competence, training and awareness” (ISO
9001:2008, 6.2.2), where training is seen as an action deemed to provide the required competence
for product/service realization. All the above together with the definition for training (“training =
process to provide and develop knowledge, skills, and behaviours in performance”) as stated in
I.S. ISO 10015:2005, 3.1, section 3 “Terms and definitions”, prove that one of the engines in
getting a continuous improvement of the business is the existence of a training system (I.S. ISO
10015:2005).
One of the direction explored and in use on large scale today for training the people is the
WBT which is involving the ICT hardware and software. According to ISO/IEC 19796-3:2009
which is a dedicated ISO standard referring to ICT implementation for learning, education, and
training, it is very important for a company to have in place a model for quality
management/assurance activities which can be used to ensure a continuous improvement of all
processes and sub-processes existent in QMS, including here the training process. Without re-
inventing the wheel, I’m considering that for the purpose of the present article the model offered
by ISO/IEC 19796-3:2009 is sufficient and can be used to understand in a simple way which are
the activities which can contribute to
continuous improvement.











Figure 3 – Quality management/assurance
activity model as presented in ISO/IEC
19796-3:2009 (Source: ISO/IEC 19796-3:2009,
section 6 “Quality management/assurance
activity model”, figure 2).
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Additionally, to the model from
figure 3 another model worth to be
mentioned and this address directly the
impact what the training itself has to has
in order to improve the quality. This
cycle model is presented in figure 4 and
is the cycle introduced by I.S. ISO
10015:2005.
3.2 A brief Overview of the Training
Process
According to “Introduction” section of
I.S. ISO 10015:2005 “Personnel at all
levels should be trained to meet
organization’s commitment to supply
products of a required quality in a
rapidly changing market place where the customer requirements and expectations are increasing
continuously” (I.S. ISO 10015:2005, section “Introduction”, paragraph 2). So, it is concluded that
among all processes governed by a QMS must be also a training process.
Any type of training, including here WBT, has a life cycle which has been excellent captured
by the I.S. ISO 10015:2005, section 4 (see figure 5). As can be observed in figure 4, I.S. ISO
10015:2005 is identifying four stages which should be continuously monitored by the management
of a company (I.S. ISO 10015:2005, section 4) and these are: 1) defining trainings needs; 2) design
and plan the training; 3) provide the training; 4) evaluate the training outcomes.



Figure 5 – Training cycle as presented in I.S. ISO 100015:2005
(Source: I.S. ISO 100015:2005, section 4 “Guidelines for training”, 4.1, 4.1.1, figure 2.

WBT supported by dedicated systems (WBTSs) could follow same models and cycles as the
above presented regardless the business sector where the companies activate.
4 Quality Evaluation and Measurement for WBTSs
Quality evaluation and measurements is a very generous subject debated by many specialists
around the world and presented in various studies, research papers etc. As a personal opinion, is
difficult to separate the two sub-processes which are part of ISO 9001:2008, requirement 8
“Measurement, analysis and improvement”.
In figure 6, the author of this article is presenting a benchmarking framework for the evaluation
and measurement of the quality component for WBTSs.


Figure 4 – Training cycle as presented in I.S. ISO
100015:2005 (Source: I.S. ISO 100015:2005, section 1
“Introduction”, figure 1)
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Figure 6 – Proposed benchmarking framework for the evaluation and measurement of the quality
component for WBTSs

The proposed framework is based on the WBT process analysis and is looking to comply with
the requirements established by ISO 9001:2008, I.S. ISO 100015:2005, and by ISO/IEC 19796-
3:2009. Firstly, a process-based analysis of the WBT has to identify the main components which
have to be considered before starting to “plan-do-check-act” (ISO 9001:2008, section 0.2,
“Process Approach”). This layer of main quality components is interacting with a second layer
comprising from elements (i.e., methods, techniques, tools etc.) which should be used for the
purpose of evaluation and measurement. Part of the main components are considered as functional
tasks, tasks which have to be performed by individual responsible or groups of responsible
functions. Also, is an area of interactivity which requires direct involvement of the trainers and
trainees in getting the WBTS evaluated and measured.
Maybe is debatable the fact that the framework starts with the Management review component
as well as with the continual improvement. In this article, in author opinion, there is an aspect
which should not be treated differently than is presented in ISO 9001:2008 and this is the fact that
one of the very first requirements are those related to Management responsibility (ISO 9001:2008,
requirement 5.0). Also the author considers that is normal to attach the continual improvement to
the Management responsibility considering that this is also one of the functional tasks of the
Management in a company.
5 Conclusions
Without considering the discussion over the proposed topic ended the author considers that each
company, each organization should empower each employee they have to assume individual
responsibility in reference to training. This should be a first step in getting an improved
performance. Also, the author considers that the WBT is the future and sooner or later the
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traditional classroom trainings will disappear leaving more room for implementing WBTS and
blended training systems.
Prior looking into the future a company must establish what they want to achieve and how they
want to reach the proposed targets. WBT offers solutions as well as challenges. However, WBTSs
offer a significant constructive support from social, technological, and cultural viewpoints to any
person who believes in her/his capabilities to achieve a certain level of competence and to change
positively the future of the community they belong
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning).

6 References
6.1 Conference Proceedings:
Lau, T.T. (1999): The impact of Web-based training systems for distance education: a corporate perspective.
In Proceedings of IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 1999,
Communication Jazz: Improvising the New International Communication Culture, New Orleans,
Louisiana, 257-260.
6.2 Technical Reports:
EC (2000): Communication from the Commission: E-Learning – Designing “Tejas at Niit” tomorrow’s
education. Brussels: European Commission.
Axelsson, J .R. C. (1997): Ergonomics in Design. Technical report: Linköping Institute of Technology, LiTH-
IKP-R-871.
6.3 Internet Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-learning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning
http://www.hp.com/large/ipg/assets/bus-solutions/power-of-visual-communication.pdf
6.4 Standards:
International Organization for Standardization, (2000): ISO 9000:2000, Quality management systems –
Fundamentals and vocabulary.
International Organization for Standardization, (2008): ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems –
Requirements.
Irish Standard and International Organization for Standardization, (2005): I.S. ISO 10015:2005, Quality
Management – Guidelines for training.
International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission, (2005):
ISO/IEC 19796-1:2005, Information technology – Learning, education and training – Quality
management, assurance, metrics – Part 1: General Approach.
International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission, (2005):
ISO/IEC 19796-3:2009, Information technology – Learning, education and training – Quality
management, assurance, metrics – Part 3: reference methods and metrics.
Administering Computer Networks Using
Windows Management Instrumentation Technology

Constantin Lucian Aldea
1
, Gheorghe-Cosmin Spîrchez
2


(1) Department of Computer Science, University Transilvania of Brasov
Iuliu Maniu, 50, 500091, Brasov, ROMANIA
E-mail: costel.aldea@unitbv.ro
(2) Faculty of Wood Engineering, University Transilvania of Brasov
Eroilor, 29, 500036, Brasov, ROMANIA


Abstract
When administering a computer network, it can be really hard to maintain a large number of
computers. To manage the network one can use different piece of software for remote
management. In this paper is presented a software application based on WMI (Windows
Management Instrumentation) suitable to administer workstations in a computer network.
This technology allows to perform almost any administrative task on a remote computer.

Keywords: Computer network, distributed management, windows management instrumentation

1 Introduction
The implementation based on WMI of the software solution Remote Manager that targets network
administration is described. The main purpose of network management software is to help the
average network administrator, who won’t need anymore to run manualy on every computer a
specific task. Using the software one network administrator will be able to run on multiple
computers simultaneously certain tasks, like installing software, starting/stoping processes,
copying files, manage users and much more.
Administrators are also able to save computer status (running processes, installed software,
services etc). This will help them to find out easyer which may be the cause of certain system
failures (like viruses, hidden processes, disabled security software etc).
The Windows Management Instrumentation standard is an obiect-oriented implementation of
the standards Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM). These standards are developed since
2010 for C# so that are subject to be tested and studied using this software project. The WBEM
specifications cover all the components need by an administrator to manage a device which hat its
own hardware and software. Even if some of these mangement standards are in use for devices by
using their specifications and implementations for network devices one can easier use and support
distributed computing in computer networks.
2 Basic concepts of the WMI
WMI architecture is based on three types of components: providers and managed objects,
infrastructure and consumers. To access data one has to write client applications or scripts that
instantiates WMI classes and provider.
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Figure 1. WMI architecture (msdn.microsoft.com, 2012)

To access data using WMI one has to do the following steps: choose the programming or
scripting language (in this case C#), verify that the network connections to the remote computer
are allowed and work, change of the security settings for the controlled computers to allow the
WMI queries, use of the queries to obtain the information.
The steps for accessing WMI are (www.codeproject.com, 2010):
1) import of the namespace System.Management.* which contains the main WMI classes
(ConnectionOptions, ManagementScope, ObjectQuery, ManagementObjectSearcher,
ManagementObjectCollection, ManagementObject),
2) connection of the WMI client to a remote system:
private ConnectionOptions connOptions = new ConnectionOptions();
connOptions.Impersonation = ImpersonationLevel.Impersonate;
connOptions.EnablePrivileges = true;
connOptions.Username = "Administrator";
connOptions.Password = "myPassword";
3) one set a namespace in which the operation is executed.
4) after connecting one creates the query:
ObjectQuery oQuery = new ObjectQuery("Select * from Win32_Process");
5) one Execute the query
ManagementObjectSearcher oSearcher = new ManagementObjectSearcher(scope, oQuery);
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6) save the result into a collection
ManagementObjectCollection oReturnCollection = oSearcher.Get();
7) iterate the collaction
foreach (ManagementObject oReturnCollection in oCollection ) {}
The WMI is implemeted for Windows operating systems. One can manage and run
administrative task on local or remote machines.
3 Remote manager
Remote manager is a software application that is designed to help a network administrator with the
most repetitive tasks. It offers a simple interface for administering a computer network: installing
programs, managing services, and more.
3.1 User requirements
Remote Manager requires that the Microsoft .NET Framework is installed on the computer that is
running the program.
The computers that Remote Manager connects to must have the WMI service enabled and
started. Also, they must allow remote connections to the WMI service. These connections must not
be blocked by a firewall or other software.
The application uses a network or a local administrator’s account to connect to the remote
computers, so the computers must be in a workgroup, or have a local administrators account that is
enabled and with a non-blank password.
3.2 Design
The application was designed to be extensible. WMI can provide a lot of information and actions
to be performed on a computer. And that number grows with each new version of Windows that is
produced. The current implementation only uses a few of those functions to help a network
administrator in his most basic tasks. But in the future, Remote Manager can be extenden to
include more actions and tasks.
Remote Manager is divided into several parts, each of which has its own predefined role in the
functioning of the program.
There is a clear separation between the user interface of Remote Manager and its engine. One
can easily create a command line version of Remote Manager by just replacing its GUI with a
command line program. To add new features, one doesn’t need to change any existing code. It just
needs to add new code to handle the new added features.
The application also uses threads to provide a non-blocking user interface, and to transmit
commands to the workstations faster. The user can also control the maximum number of threads
that the program can create.
3.3 Implementation
Remote Manager was implemented in C#, a strongly-typed object-oriented programming
language. This allowed us to focus more on implementing the features, and less on creating an
environment for the program to run in.
The user interface of the program is also created to be easy to use and self-explanatory.
Threads were used to prevent the interface from locking up when performing time-consuming
operations.
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Figure 2. Remote manager – select from an IP range
3.4 Remote manager in action
In the Figure 2 is presented the main screen of Remote Manager. It can add workstations to the list
on the left, and it can ping them to see which ones are reachable.
In the right side, it can set the number of simultaneous threads that the application should use,
and it is also set the username and the password that will be used to connect to the workstation’s
WMI.
The tab page contains actions that can be done on the workstations selected in the list on the
left. With one click, it can order to the workstations to shut down, log off, reboot or power off.
In the “Processes” tab, it can create and terminate processes on the selected workstations. This
is useful if it is needed to run a command, script, or if it is needed to start a virus scan.
In the “Copy, Run” tab, it can copy a file to the remote computers, and then run it. This is
useful if it is needed to install new software on a computer. It can order a whole set of computers
to install the same software without having to move from one computer to the other with a CD or
USB stick in hands, and manually install the package.
In the “Users” tab, it can manage users on the workstation. It can create and delete users, as
well as add users to groups and remove users from groups.
The actions presented above are working for all the workstations that are selected in the list on
the left. The application creates multiple threads, and sends commands to the selected computers.
It can also work with only one computer, by double clicking it in the list on the left. A new
window appears that shows options for the selected computer. When someone is working with
only one computer are activated more options. It can see the list of processes, services and users.
In the top part, it can specify the IP address, usernames and passwords. It can also connect and
disconnect from the computer, and save its current state.
In the bottom part of the window, there are 5 tabs with actions and information about the active
computer.
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Figure 3. Remote manager –task manager

In the “Task Manager” tab, it can see the list of the processes on the machine, and it can also
see detailed information about each process. It can also terminate the process, set its priority,
create a new process, and refresh the process list.
In the “Services” tab, it can see a list of services that are installed on the computer, as well as
detailed information about them. It can also start, stop, pause, resume and delete services.
In the “Shutdown” tab there are options for shutting down, restarting, logging off and powering
off the computer.
In the “Users” tab it can see a list of users on the current machine, as well as detailed
information about them. It also has options for creating and deleting users; adding them and
removing them from groups, and it can also reset their password.
In the “Copy, Run” tab, it can copy a file to the remote computer, and then run it with specified
parameters.
3.5 Planned features
With respect to extensibility WMI offers and will add new possibilities for new and existing
features. So that more features can be included. Some useful features that can be added in the
future could be:
1) Further features for managing remote computers
2) A manager for the threads that the application opens
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3) Better error checking and handling
4) Running the application as a service, and scheduling tasks on it
5) Saving the usernames and passwords it uses (obviously they would need to be encrypted
and secured)
4 Conclusions
By developing this application it can learn useful things about the inner workings of WMI and
Windows’ relation to it. It can also learn about computer networks, and how to program and
handle different kinds of errors that can appear when communicating over a network.
It also learn about C#’s way of communicating using the WMI service included in Windows, and
how to use the .NET framework for carrying out low-level tasks on Windows networks.

5 References
Aldea, C. (2010): Elemente de securitate a datelor in retele de calculatoare. University Transilvania
Publishing House, Brasov.
http://www.dmtf.org/standards/wbem (2012)
http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/54064/Working-With-Windows-Management-Instrumentation-WM
(2010)
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa394553(v=vs.85).aspx (2012)
Speech Recognition Neural Methods
in E-learning Environments

Daniela Şchiopu

Department of Information Technology, Mathematics and Physics,
Petroleum-Gas University of Ploieşti, 39 Bucureşti Blvd., Ploieşti, ROMANIA
E-mail: daniela_schiopu@yahoo.com


Abstract
In the learning process, and even more in e-learning environments, communication is very
important. But there are certain situations with persons that can give only voice commands.
In this case, the classical techniques for e-learning must be improved with methods based on
automatic speech recognition (ASR). In this paper we present a case study of phonemes
recognition for Romanian language, starting with speech signal analysis, and continuing with
most used techniques for ASR, artificial neural networks. Finally, the results of the
experiments are presented.

Keywords: automatic speech recognition, artificial neural networks, e-learning environments,
speech analysis


1. Introduction
Communication between humans or between human and his environment is based on speech. In e-
learning environments, communication can be made through the machine, too. Therefore, a
human-computer interaction is necessary, especially when the persons involved in the training
process can give only voice commands. For this purpose, modern techniques used in e-learning
environments should include methods based on automatic speech recognition (ASR). ASR is a
research domain whose history dates back half of a century (1947). But, despite the progress in
this domain, the speech recognition rate doesn’t equal that of humans.
In the present, there are speech technologies used in e-Learning, like Voice eXtensible Mark-
up Language (VXML), in which the web pages have the option of speech build in (Holmes and
Gardner, 2006). VXML has interfaces that support voice input through ASR and voice output
through TTS (text-to-speech synthesis). Other speech packages are expensive or have not
Romanian language. This paper aims to expose the necessity of development of similar
technologies for Romanian language, too.
Speech technology is a technical domain with two components: spoken language recognition
and language understanding. E-learning techniques can be improved with these components. For
an automated dialog system that is based on natural language processing, speech technology refers
to vocal synthesis and speech recognition. In the present paper, we use the second approach,
speech recognition, and explain neural methods to solve this task – artificial neural networks
(ANNs). As a first goal of our research, we have analyzed different ways to improve the
recognition performance of a vowels recognition model for Romanian language. We present
neural topologies (such as a multilayer perceptron (MLP), the most common ANN architecture
used for ASR). The second goal was to develop and experiment the neural methods in isolated
spoken vowels recognition, minimizing the phoneme error rate. For this goal, we used linear
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predictive analysis for processing the speech signal, in order to obtain important characteristics
(features) that are inputs for ANN topologies. Finally, the results of the experiments are presented,
together with a comparison between several neural methods, when they are used in e-learning
environments.
1.1 Outline of the work
The paper is organized as follows. The speech signal analysis is presented in Section 2. Neural
modeling techniques for phonemes classification are described in Section 3. Experimental results
using ANNs are presented in Section 4. Finally, conclusions and future work are given in Section 5.
2 Speech Signal Analysis
Speech signal is a quasi-stationary signal, but on short periods of time (between 10 and 20 ms), it
is considered stationary (Lupu and Pop, 2004). The most common way to characterize the speech
signal is the short-time spectral analysis (Dumitru and Gavăt, 2007).
In analyzing the speech signal, acoustic features extraction plays a major role. The information
from the signal is extracted at the segmental level.
The acoustic processor is presented in figure 1.
First, the signal s(n) is pre-emphasis with a certain coefficient, for increasing high frequencies:
[1]
The audio signal is divided in short segments (which are called frames). Each frame is passed
through a Hamming window:
[2]
In speech signal analysis, the log-energy is taken into account, frequently:
[3]
The short-time spectrum of the speech signal is assigned to the shape of the tract vocal
(Dhanalakshmi et al, 2011). It is known that the spectral information of the same phonemes uttered
by different persons may vary due to change the vocal tract.
The speech signal is pre-processing in order to produce basic spectral measurements. The
amount of data is reduced in the acoustic feature extraction module where we obtain a set of
characteristics (parameters) that are inputs in classification module. In our case, classification
module use neural networks to classify the phoneme.
One of the obtaining methods of these parameters is linear prediction analysis, which offers a
representation of the signal, optimizing the parameters of a linear predictor (Gavăt and Dumitru,
2008).
This predictor calculates an estimation of a signal sample, as a linear combination of
some previous samples:
[4]
where P is order of the predictor, and are the prediction coefficients. The difference between
the predicted value and the effective one is the prediction error:
[5]
The prediction coefficients of a frame are computed using optimization procedures which
minimize mean-squared prediction error: the covariance method and the autocorrelation method
(the difference between them is absence or presence of the frame windowing). The autocorrelation
method uses the Levinson-Durbin algorithm, an iterative method of computing the vector of
prediction coefficients (3) of a frame (Boldea, 2003).
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Figure 1. The block scheme for LPC analysis

3 Neural Methods in ASR
Artificial neural networks are simplified models of the human brain, which have the capacity of
learning and produce complex results, due to the large number of connections. Knowledge is not
stored in the processing units (neurons), but in the inter-neural connections (synaptic weights).
ANNs have wide range of applicability, such as pattern recognition, speech recognition, signal
classification, prediction.
For speech recognition, a neural network must have the following characteristics: contain
enough neurons and weights to learn the diversity of input vectors, able to retain temporal relation
between events, the training procedure should not be affected by temporal alignment and the
number of weights should be small
compared to the training set (Toderean et
al, 1995).
The ANN topologies used in ASR
are: multilayer perceptron (MLP), self-
organizing maps (Kohonen maps), time
delay neural network (TDNN), recurrent
neural network and deterministic
Boltzmann network.
MLP is the most common ANN
architecture for ASR (figure 2). A
standard MLP has a layered feed-forward
architecture, with an input layer, one
output layer and one or more hidden
layers (called hidden because the neurons

Figure 2. MLP with one hidden layer
Linear prediction cepstrum
Pre-emphasis
Speech signal
Framing
Windowing (Hamming)
Autocorrelation method
Linear prediction (Durbin algorithm)
Cepstral coefficients
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of these layers are not directly accessible; these neurons are experimentally determined and they
extract important features from the input layer).
MLP learns a predefined set of patterns in a two step cycle: propagation and training. In
learning stage, the optimum values for weights are determined, using back-propagation algorithm.
4 Experimental Results
The application proposed in this paper was implemented in Matlab Neural Network Toolbox
(MathWorks, 2004; 2010), for isolated spoken phonemes recognition.
The system has uttered phonemes (Romanian vowels) as inputs. The recorded signal is
preprocessing and the cepstral coefficients are obtained using LPC. These coefficients are inputs
for the neural network which has to classify the phoneme.
The block diagram for the proposed experiment is presented in figure 3.
We used for our experiment five Romanian vowels (“a”, “e”, “i”, “o”, “u”) uttered by several
persons (male and female). The speech data were recording and digitizing at sample frequency 8
kHz.
Every phoneme was pre-emphasis with a coefficient 0.97. Then the signal was divided into
fixed-duration frames (12.8 ms) and a frame shift of 50%, because on these frames, the signal is
quasi-stationary. From each frame, the log-energy is computed.


Figure 3. The block diagram of our proposed recognition system

Using autocorrelation method and Levinson-Durbin algorithm, the coefficients (i = 1 …
12, j = 1 … 100) are computed for 100 frames and a 12-order linear predictor, and then converted
into cepstral coefficients.
Thus, the signal files were changed into sequences of 13-dimensional acoustic feature vectors
(each of them including 12 cepstral coefficients together with their log-energy).
For neural modeling, we used a two-layer feed-forward network, a MLP total connected. The
network has an input layer with 13 neurons, one hidden layer with 100 neurons (this number was
determined experimentally) and an output layer with 5 neurons (each one for every vowel class).
This structure is presented in figure 4.
Recognized Vowel
Recording and Digitization
Input Speech (isolated uttered vowels)
Preprocessing
Feature Extraction
Neural Modeling
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Figure 4. The architecture of ANN

The MSE errors obtained in the MLP experiments are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Mean squared error (MSE)
Results
MSE
MSE
(100 neurons)
MSE
(80 neurons)
Training 0.142 0.144
Validation 0.145 0.143
Testing 0.143 0.148

The performance is 0.14523 and was obtained at epoch 97 (figure 5).
For feminine speakers (FS), the
phoneme recognition rate was highest in
the case of vowel “a” (85%), while for
masculine speakers (MS), the phoneme
recognition rate was highest for vowel “o”.
The phoneme recognition rate was lowest
both for FS and MS for uttered vowel “u”.
5 Conclusions and future work
We presented an isolated spoken
phonemes recognition for Romanian
language, in order to improve
communication in e-learning environments.
In some special cases, it is vital to
include speech recognition modules in e-
learning applications, to facilitate the
dialog and understanding of the student
involved in the learning process.
These experiments will be improved by extending the speech database, as well as using a large
vocabulary and other methods for classification, as Hidden Markov Models or hybrid statistic-
neural methods.
6 References
Boldea, M. (2003): Contribuţii la recunoaşterea automată a vorbirii continue în limba română, PhD Thesis,
Timişoara.
Dhanalakshmi, P., Palanivel, S., Ramalingam, V. (2011): Classification of audio signals using AANN and
GMM. In Applied Soft Computing 11. Page 716-723.
Dumitru, C.O., Gavăţ, I. (2007): Vowel, Digit and Continuous Speech Recognition Based on Statistical,
Neural and Hybrid Modelling by Using ASRS_RL, EUROCON 2007 – Int. Conf. on “Computer as
Tool”. Page 858-859.

Figure 5. Performance plot
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Gavăt, I., Dumitru, C. O. (2008): The ASRS_RL – A Research Platform for Spoken Language Recognition
and Understanding Experiments. In Computational Science and its Applications ICCSA 2008, Lecture
Notes in Computer Science LNCS, Vol. 5073. Page 1142-1157.
Holmes, B, Gardner, J. (2006): e-Learning – Concepts and Practice, Sage Publications, London.
Lupu E., Pop G. P. (2004): Prelucrarea numerică a semnalului vocal. Vol. I – Elemente de analiză şi
recunoaştere, Ed. Risoprint, Cluj-Napoca.
MathWorks (2004): Neural Network Toolbox User’s Guide.
MathWorks (2010): Matlab [PC, version 7.10], http://www.mathworks.com
Oprea, M., Şchiopu, D. (2012): An Artificial Neural Network-Based Isolated Word Speech Recognition
System for the Romanian Language. In Proceedings of ICSTCC 2012, to be published.
Rabiner, L.R. (1989): A Tutorial on Hidden Markov Models and Selected Applications in Speech
Recognition. In Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 77, No. 2. Page 257-286.
Şchiopu, D. (2010): Tehnici de inteligenţă artificială utilizate în recunoaşterea automată a vorbirii, Phd.
Research Raport no. 2. Petroleum-Gas University of Ploieşti.
Toderean, G., Costeiu, M., Giurgiu, M. (1995): Reţele neuronale artificiale, Editura Albastră, Cluj-Napoca.

Research on size fasteners of wooden structures for construction
with programming software Heco Schrauben

Gheorghe-Cosmin Spîrchez
1
, Loredana Anne-Marie Bǎdescu
1
, Costel Aldea
2
,
Sergiu Rǎcǎşan
1

(1) Universitatea Transilvania din Braşov, Facultatea de Ingineria Lemnului,
B-dul Eroilor, nr. 29 Braşov, ROMANIA
(2) Universitatea Transilvania din Braşov, Facultatea de Matematicǎ şi Informaticǎ,
B-dul Eroilor, nr. 29 Braşov, ROMANIA
E-mail: cosmin.spirchez@unitbv.ro


Abstract
The paper seeks to convey how important is the need for fasteners dimensioning of building
wooden structures using virtual learning ( software Heco Schrauben).
Wood is a material of biological origin, forest product after a process of lingo-cellulosic
material stored inside the tree. By this definition of wood put out three great properties of
wood: variability, anisotropy, biodegrability, which must take into account in making wooden
structures.

Keywords: Software, Wood, Wooden structures, Fasteners

1 The wood used in construction
Wood is a material of biological origin, produced by a process of forest in storage lingo-cellulosic
materials in storage by a process of lingo-cellulosic materials inside the trees.
Wood is highly hygroscopic organic material as it circulates water through the growth phase and is
formed essentially of water and carbon dioxide. During life wood contains a lot of water, up to
five times its weight as the species very porous, such as balsa wood.
Thermal properties of wood are specific. Thermal expansion is low compared to dimensional
variations depending on the humidity changes.
Thermal conductivity is also very small, making wood a good insulator.
Anisotropy of wood is resultant wood material organisation after three directions: longitudinal,
tangential and radial.
In terms of durability, wood is an organic material is highly biodegradable cellulose by organisms
and insects.
Wood is an organized collection of dead cells inside the timber tree.
Cell, the main element of wood substance, must respond to certain functions. The main
functions for the most important wood material are:
- transport function;
- rezistance function;
- function of nutrition;
- communication with adjacent cells function orthogonal;
- protection function.

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2 Wood species used
In terms of organizing wood cells in the dimensional structure of wood species there are two
classes: softwood and hardwood.
In our country mainly uses the wood species: spruce, fir, pine, larch.
Of these species is larch species with the highest natural durability and superior mechanical
properties.
Larch is successfully used in interior and exterior coatings due to good resistance to attack by
insect and fungi.
Hardwood are species than softwood latest being more evolved, they present a complex
anatomical structure. They are appreciated for their performance mechanical transverse directions,
while the equivalent density, the softwood have weaker properties in longitudinal direction.
In our country uses the following hardwood: oak and beech.
Oak is superior fir and spruce, and is therefore subject to appropriate weather construction.
Beech by low durability used in interior construction.
3 Wood properties of structures
3.1 Wood moisture content
Wood is a hygroscopic material, which receives and retains an amount of liquid water and vapour.
When the moisture content is between 0 and 25%, water is found entirely in the cell walls and
is called bound water.
When humidity between 25% and 32% cells become saturated with water and the moisture
content is called the fiber saturation humidity
Above the fiber saturation point water was added and the cell cavities is called free water.
Drying is usually necessary to reduce the moisture content in the specified environment in
which it will be located.
The effect of shrinkage depends on the piece of wood in trunk position, shape and size of her
face or the way girls play against structural directions.
Radial parts shrinks much less in width and thickness, but their section remains rectangular.
The pieces are cut tangential shrinkage than the thick and more in width, which causes
deformation of their cross section, and the outside becomes concave inner face is convex.

3.2 Wood density
Density varies with the moisture content, wood species, growth characteristics.
Wood density depends absolutely dry wood mass by volume anhydrous or anhydrous.
Basically working with wood density for the equilibrium values obtained at a temperature of
20 degree C and a relative humidity of 65 %, which corresponds to the equilibrium moisture
content of 12 %.

4. Simulation with program Heco Schrauben
With software programming is done Heco Schrauben size fasteners for wood construction
implementation structures.
In fig.1. is presented structure 1 for wood construction

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Fig.1 Structure 1 for wood construction
In figure 2 is presented structure 1 front view/side view.



Fig. 2 Structure 1 front view/side view

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4. Conclusions

The software Heco Schrauben is very well in domain the wood construction.
Wood is an material used in building construction in different version.
References
Books:
Badescu, L. (2002): Optimization wood sawing. Publishing House Transilvania University of Braşov, Braşov
Dogaru, V. (2002): Cutting wood with circular saw blades, Publishing House Transilvania University of
Braşov, Braşov
Lǎzǎrescu, C. ( 2008): Construction of wood, Publishing House Transilvania University of Braşov, Braşov
Țǎran, N. (2007): Circular saws for machining of wood, Publishing House Transilvania University of Braşov,
Braşov
Tutorial software Heco Schrauben
Using virtual reality to teach history

Calin Neamtu
1
, Radu Comes
1
, Razvan Mateescu
2
, Rares Ghinea
1
,
Filip Daniel
1


(1) Department of Design Engineering and Robotics, Technical University
of Cluj-Napoca, bd.Muncii 103-105,Cluj-Napoca, 400641, Cluj, Romania
(2) National History Museum of Transylvania, Cluj, Str. C. Daicoviciu, no. 2,
Cluj-Napoca, 400020, Cluj, Romania, razvanmateescu@yahoo.com


Abstract
This paper presents an original method to develop virtual reality applications used in the
process of teaching/learning ancient history. The virtual reality applications used in
education are focused around various kinds of „artifacts-models” that are virtual endowed
with different properties and metadata. The authors present the methods used for the
recreation of these „artifacts-models”, using reverse engineering techniques. The case study
presented in this paper is focused on the reconstruction of a Dacian forge discovered in
Sarmizegetusa Regia. Real artifacts were digitized using laser scanners to obtain virtual
copies that preserve the shape and texture of the real artifacts. Scanned artifacts are used in a
virtual reality application to illustrate the inventory and the use of those artifacts.

Keywords: 3D laser scanning, historical artefact, virtual reality

1 Introduction
Balancing quality and quantity is one of the major challenges of the current education system
(Cook , 2011), (Lakdawalla, 2002), for almost every field. There are currently no universal
methods accepted that can be applied and provide the best results, but most experts agree that e-
learning and education would benefit a lot from using virtual environment applications.
Interactive teaching is the key to success for any school subject taught at any level be it
primary, secondary or university (Gupta, 2010). History as a discipline of science is within the
group that can benefit from the contribution of technology in the teaching process. Using virtual
reality applications to teach history is not something new, currently there are many national and
international applications that combine virtual reality and stereoscopic projection in the teaching
process.
The problem identified by the authors of this paper, and for which they are trying to come with
solutions is to use virtual reality as a tool to support learning and researching activities in
universities. Even if all the specifically interaction tools are used in such an application, it cannot
exceed the status of an interactive game if it cannot provide information and experience similar to
real life interaction within the simulated environment.
Even if you use advanced 3D projection and sophisticated haptic devices, a virtual reality
application can provide an experience close to the real life interaction only if the 3D virtual objects
are accurate to the real life objects (Craig 2009).
This paper presents an algorithm to develop a virtual reality application using engineering methods
to generate the 3D models of different historical artifacts and assemble them into a virtual reality
application.
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2 Algorithm Used To Create A Virtual Reality Application
The main purpose of this algorithm is to obtain digital artifacts that have a high fidelity. In the
authors vision, a 3D model can be classified as high fidelity if the shape deviations from the
original digitized artefact are less than 50 µm. A 3D model with this precision can be used in
educational applications to support university/post-graduate studies or even in research.
3D models can generally be obtained in two ways: through 3D modelling or 3D scanning.
Using 3D modelling computer software (the main method and most used) to generate 3D models
that are significantly lower quality than 3D scanned models, since they don’t retain the precise
dimensions, the details and the real texture of the artifact.
The standard texture mapping techniques of 3D models can be replaced using laser scanners
that have a build-in texturing system. At the moment this system can provide the best results
comparable with the standard mapping techniques, but with major time savings and the certainty
of keeping identical details with the ones on the real artefact.
The working methodology presented below involves the creation of a virtual reality application
hosted on the Web, because of this the dimension of the 3D models in MB and polygons shouldn’t
be too high, to allow different devices to load the models in an acceptable period of time.
Laser scanning is the only method that is accepted to digitize historical artifacts (without
damaging their integrity), the disadvantage of the laser scanning method is that it generates large
amounts of data (polygons, vertices and pixels), data that affect the size (in MB) of a 3D model.
File size is directly proportional to the scanned area and the number of geometry and texture
acquired.
Phase 1 – Artifact Digitization: in this phase the artifact is analysed to identify the optimal
scanning method. The main factor in choosing the method of scanning is to find the optimal
technique to protect the artifact.
Phase 2 – Artifact Reconstruction: if the artifact is fragmented or incomplete, it can be
reconstructed using different modelling techniques. This step is optional and it’s successful
completion requires interdisciplinary teamwork between engineers, archaeologists, historians,
architects and others.
Phase 3 – 3D Model Optimization: this involves reducing the amount of data resulting from the
scanning process. This optimization should be done depending on the destination and utility of the
3D model. For teaching and learning the 3D model should be highly optimized, and for research it
should ensure the highest possible accuracy, ignoring the optimization.
Phase 4 – Metadata: in this phase all the information regarding each artifact is collected and
structured, and it will be added to the 3D model in the virtual reality applications. Currently there
are a number of metadata schemes that can be used to ensure compatibility with other virtual
platforms and applications, authors recommend a simplified scheme based on the CARARE
metadata scheme CARARE metadata schema (CARARE 2012):
- Heritage asset identification - basic information about the monument, historic building,
archaeological landscape area, shipwreck, artifact, ecofact etc. Record information;
Appellation (ID, name); Description; Designations; Conditions, Repository; References
- Digital resource – these are digital resources (images, texts, videos, audio, 3D models)
that provide sources of information about the monument, they are often digital
representations of monuments or of parts of monuments: Record information;
Appellation; Format; Subject; Spatial; Publication statement; Type; Description; Created;
Provenance; Language; Link; Resource metadata location; Relations; Rights
- Relations – relations of the monument, event or resource to other monuments, events,
references or resources: Type of relation; Target of relation
- Activity – events or activities that the monument has taken part in, such as: Creation, Field
investigation; Research and analysis; Historical events, etc.
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Figure 21 Algorithm for developing VR application using 3D scanning artifact

- Record information – basic information about the record: ID (the ID in the provider’s
system); Type; Source; Creation – when created and by who; Date Update – the date of
the last update to the record and by who; Language (of the metadata record); Rights;
Keywords.
- Rights – information about the rights associated with the object, metadata and the digital
surrogate being harvested into the service environment: Copyright; Access rights;
Reproduction rights; License.
Phase 5 – Creating The Virtual Artifact : the virtual artifact is assembled together with
metadata so that it can be used in any applications of virtual reality. Such virtual artifact consists
of a 3D model that has the dimension the detail and the texture of the real artifact. These artifacts
have attached a set of metadata that makes it possible to identify all the necessary data (the age to
which it belongs, the material it was made of, the place where it was found, etc).
Besides the set of metadata the 3D model is equipped with different elements such as action-
reaction interaction, extractive interaction and immersive interaction.
Phase 6 – Creating The Virtual Environment: for a better understanding of the context and the
ways it was used, the artifact can be placed in a virtual environment very similar to the real
environment.
Phase 7 – Publishing The Application: the publication of these applications should be made to
ensure safety and accessibility standards in e-learning. In terms of accessibility it is almost
mandatory to ensure compatibility with tablets and smartphones.
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3 Case Study
To validate the algorithm, several applications of virtual reality were developed using CAD
software, computer graphics and virtual reality. The application presented below aims to teach
details about iron tools from the Dacian period. For this purpose the authors used a Dacian forge
discovered by C. Daicoviciu at Sarmizegetusa. The forge had over 40 different iron tools.
3.1 Phase 1 – Artifact Digitization
Items that have been digitized in this stage were classified into:
• Smithing tools
• Smithing products (weapons, armours, tools, decorative elements)
• Pottery
Scanning was performed using two types of laser scanner, the first one, a Kreon Zephyr was
mounted on a CMM and the other a handheld scanner (VIUscan) capable of scanning texture with
up to 25 µm accuracy.
The artifact from Figure 2 was scanned with VIUscan. This scanner uses auto positioning
sticky marks that are placed on the artifact. This allows the user to move the object, as well as
move the scanner around the object while maintaining the proper geometry of the scanned model.


a b c d
Figure 22 Real objects (a and c) and digitized 3D models
For small artifacts, narrow surfaces or those with many edges, that don’t have enough surface
area to apply the auto positioning marks it is optimal to place the artifact on a flat surface and
place the positioning marks on that surface. After the surface has been scanned, the object is
rotated so that the surface that was not scanned before can be acquired. After this the multiple
scanned surfaces are exported to CAD softwares.



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Figure 23 Real objects and digitized 3D models

The second type of scanner used to digitize the artifacts has been mounted on a portable CMM,
this scanner doesn't need target positioning marks, but the artifact can no longer be moved until the
scanning process is completed.


Figure 24 3D scanning using Kreon Zephyr mounted on a CMM
3.2 Phase 2 – Artifact Reconstruction
In this phase several artifacts were reconstructed. Wooden handles were added to several tools.
Fragmented pottery was reassembled and reconstructed. The Workshop was reconstructed from
the footprint discovered by archaeologists and using digitized iron items (nails, spikes, hinges,
staples and decorative elements).
There are many CAD applications that can be used to join the multiple scanned surfaces. For
those objects that have been partially or totally damaged or are incomplete, there are computer
softwares, such as CATIA that can be used to reshape the damaged artifacts. This software has
modules build specifically for artifact reconstruction such as “Digitized Shape Editor”, “Quick
Surface Reconstruction”, “Shape Sculptor” and finally the scanned surfaces can be converted and
imported in “Generative Shape Design” were everything can be shaped using computer aided
design 3D modeling methods.
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3.3 Phase 3 – 3D Model Optimization
Depending on the settings of the scanner, the 3D model vertices and polygons count can be very
diverse. There are some cases were the scanned artifact have millions vertices and polygons, for
those 3D models it’s required an optimization in order to process their surfaces in computer aided
design applications. This optimization is done by filtering and refining the shape using different
algorithms. Optimizing a scanned 3D model needs to be done using controlled environment so that
the deviations of the 3D model to be as low as possible. CATIA has a built in deviation analysis
function, so the initial and filtered surfaces can be compared with ease.





Figure 25 Reconstruction of a Dacian forge and two hand tools

The figure below represents an anvil, the 3D digitized model has 228,620 triangles, after
applying various polygon reduction operations the model has been reduced to 4526 triangles (50
times less), but this optimization has visible effects on the overall shape and the details on the
anvil.

Figure 26 Optimization of an anvil
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3.4 Phase 4 – Metadata
The metadata sets used in the application of virtual reality were created based on the information
provided by archaeologists. Metadata attached to each component were classified into two
categories:
• general interest : Appellation (ID, name), Description, Designations, Creation, Historical
events, Description, Created, Provenance, Language;
• information of scientific interest.
The two types of metadata are available for both versions of the application: one for public and
one for teaching/learning at university level.
3.5 Phase 5 – Creating the Virtual Artifact
Information extracted from metadata sets will be displayed as the following interactive
elements:
• Audio sequences
• Videos
• Power Point Presentations
• Wikipedia links and other external links
Because the main purpose of this virtual reality environment is to provide information to the
user, when the user wants to receive them, the application has different buttons, such as “Teach
Me”, and here we can provide different links to websites, to PowerPoint presentations or even add
video clips. Using this system all the information related to an artifact can be gathered,
bookmarked and shown when requested. Along this features the artifacts can be visualized using
different transparency modes, they can be rotated, moved, zoomed in or even animated. The
information open in a different layer and it can be scaled so that the user can interact with the
artifact.
3.6 Phase 6 – Creating the Virtual Environment
In a more complex virtual environment such as the reconstruction of the Dacian forge, there
must be added some additional features
such as a landscape that would help the
forge to blend in with the environment, for
example a forest landscape. But for single
artifacts it’s enough to give the user the
possibility to rotate the object, move it
around, or move his vision around it, zoom
in and out to check the details.
In some situations, for a better
understanding of the historical context,
objects can be placed in the spots where
they have been discovered. For further
experimentation, artifacts that are used in a
particular activity or artifacts that are from
the same family can be added to
collections. Using these collections,
artifacts can be studied together for an
easier comprehension of the connections
between them.


Figure 27 Virtual artifact
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Figure 28 Virtual environment
3.7 Phase 7 – Publishing the Application
To ensure that the application is easy to access, the application will be published online, users will
have to download a 3D player in order to start the application. This application will provide the
facility to use anaglyph projection or 3D stereo projection using NVidia 3DVision.
4 Conclusions
Using scanning as a tool for generating 3D models used in virtual reality applications that focus on
history is feasible and can be successful. 3D scanning generates a larger amount of data compared
to 3D modeling but offers a higher degree of fidelity. Using methods to reduce polygons of a 3D
model can reach a compromise on the size in MB and quality of a 3D model. Authors recommend
the use of scanning for historical artifacts for applications that are used for teaching. The high
degree of detail obtained from scanning is suited for research activities.
Considering the particularities of virtual reality applications that focus on history, the authors
have developed an algorithm for virtual reality application development using 3D scanned object.
This algorithm was validated by creating stand-alone applications and web hosted applications.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This paper was supported by the project "Progress and development through post-doctoral research
and innovation in engineering and applied sciences – PRiDE - Contract no.
POSDRU/89/1.5/S/57083", project cofounded from European Social Fund through Sectorial
Operational Program Human Resources 2007-2013.
5 References
Glenn Cook (2011) – Las-Vegas Review Journal available on line at http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/higher-
education-fix-quality-over-quantity-118321024.html
Darius Lakdawalla (2002) - Quantity over Quality, Education Next, Fall 2002 / Vol. 2, No. 3, 67-72
Gupta, Madan Lal (2010) Interactive teaching and learning by using student response systems. The
International Journal Of Learning, 17 5: 371-384.
Alan B. Craig (2009) - Developing Virtual Reality Applications, Elsevier Inc. ISBN 978-0-12-374943-7
CARARE metadata schema available online at http://www.carare.eu/esl/Resources/CARARE-metadata-
schema-outline-v1.0
http://www.eonreality.serveraddress.com/WebDocs/4.8/EONCreatorGuide.htm
http://www.3dvia.com/blog/products/3dvia-shape/documentation/
Distance Learning for GIS in Serbia

Lecic Dusanka
1

(1) Educons university, Vojvode Putnika b, Novi Sad, Serbia
E-mail: lecicduska79@gmail.com


Abstract
Today brings rapid advancement of technology and opens up more and more opportunities to
be with the latest information and communication technology comes to quality knowledge and
skills. At the same time GIS knowledge becomes part of our everyday life both at work and in
everyday life. Facilitating learning about GIS systems via the Internet is a step towards
promoting education in Serbia. Problems that commonly found in Serbia when it comes to
distance learning are the number of computers per capita, computer illiteracy of the
population and Internet connection.

Keywords: GIS, distant learning, Internet, faculty

1 Introduction
Computer technologies have already become our everyday reality. Follow us on every step, and
computers have largely become an integral part of our lives. Nevertheless, information technology
in areas related to spatial data is still very little presence in Serbia, so are the software made in this
area a little less common. More and more of those who are privately or professionally interested in
learning more about geographic information systems, which nowadays increasingly to the Internet
and online learning. Serbia is trying to keep up with the world in this respect, but despite the large
number of young and educated professionals is extremely difficult to follow the technical and
technological trends in distance learning of GIS systems.
2 GIS and its characteristics
Systems for handling spatial data are being developed in the sixties in the United States, where it
first appears with a graphical display ability to manage data. Allows users to visual representation
important data. In 1967 the leads to the development of world operating system for handling
spatial data in Ottawa. The development of this system is helped by the Federal Ministry of
Energy, Mines and Resources. Developed by Roger Tomlinson, and was named Canada's GIS
(Geographical Information System). This system is used for storing, analyzing and managing data.
This system had the possibility of overlap, measurement, digitization/scanning. The system was
never available on the market as a commercial system. The success of this system has encouraged
various commercial mapping applications. The creator of this system is known as the father of
GIS. Since 1965 to 1991 at Harvard University have developed many important theoretical
concepts related to the use of spatial data. During the eighties and nineties, growing use of GIS
systems on personal computers. At the end of the twentieth century there were those within the
system the relatively small platforms.
In the end of this century, users begin to export the concept of viewing GIS data over the
Internet. Last few years and increased number of free GIS packages, such as for example, GRASS
GIS and Quantum GIS. In particular the two packages work on multiple platforms and can be
adjusted for execution of various tasks.
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Today we are witnesses to the world's more established and operating companies that engaged
in collecting and processing data and are able to prepare data the geographical needs of a wide
range of users. The rapid development of World Wide Web for access and retrieval of data has
resulted to a large number of spatial data will be available via the Internet.
Today we are witnessing a system that allows us a unique set of data and processing model that
will encompass all existing and potential applications, specification for each of the major database
for the implementation of this model data specification for each of the major computing
environments implementation of the model data. This provides us with OpenGIS. The aim is to
allow users easy access to various tools and geographical data sources, and thus to raise the further
development of concepts of open systems for handling spatial data. Open system for handling
spatial data should eliminate the differences among specific formats the data.
The system for handling spatial data for the two basically different model to represent the real
world in digital form: vector and raster, so the on the basis that the systems for handling spatial
data sharing to raster and vector.
The raster model is a model in which the image is a grid, where each cell has a certain
attributes and values. The cells are sometimes called pixels. Cell size determines the grid
resolution. Each cell joins the attribute value. Grids are usually added to vector drawings as a basis
for digitization, for completing the drawings, adding information and the like.
The vector model represents the environment in the form of points, lines, polygons. It is based
on vectors. These geometric elements are stored as pairs of x and y coordinates. The vector data
model uses points that are stored with their real coordinates. The position of any object can be
represented with x and y coordinates, or Cartesian coordinates. Roads, water can be represent with
lines, or series of dots. Lakes, parcel, a building also contains related items, with the first and last
must coincide. The vector model is extremely useful for representation of discrete locations and
difficult is applicable for monitoring variables size as for example changes in temperature. Display
objects are actually in this case of simplification or approximation of phenomena that change over
time.
As for geographic information systems in Serbia, I mentioned the laboratory for computer
graphics and geographic information systems, which was formed in 1991 as a research laboratory
of Electronic Engineering, University of Nis. Today the lab is member AGILE association of GIS
laboratories in Europe. Some of the projects done in this laboratory are:
- Geographic information systems - a project made from 1990-1997 years, whose partners and
customers were EI and JP Informatics Institute for Regional and Urban Planning;
- Intelligent system for monitoring and management of spatial objects - a project developed in the
period 1994-1997, at which participated in the Yugoslav Army, Ministry of Science and
Technology of the Republic of Serbia;
- Development of software to create graphical list of local cable TT lines and cables based on
GIS technology - a project developed in the period 1995-1996 had been conducted for the Serbian
Telekom;
- Development of an integrated system of GIS technology for maintaining, recording, analysis
and planning of further development of telecommunication networks - the project was done
between 1998 and 1999. Partners and beneficiaries of the project were TELEKOM Serbia and the
Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Serbia;
- Geographic Information System to support the functioning of local government based on
Internet/Web technologies - the project was done between 2002 and 2004, and participated in the
project and the Municipality of Nis and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of
Serbia;
- project GISEE-GI, made between 2002 and 2003 with the European Union.
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The aforementioned are just some research in this field. One of the conference that in recent
years in the former Yugoslavia held a conference "Spatial Database in Bosnia and Herzegovina" in
January 2008. Also in May 2008 the conference was held in Opatija "GISDATA Users Conference
2008".
Some of the more recent GIS system performed by us include:
- BeolandMap (http://gis.beoland.com/beolandmap/)
- Kragujevac GIS (http://www.gis.kragujevac.org.yu/)
- GIS City of Nis (http://gis.ni.sr.gov.yu/)
- GIS Pirot (http://www.pirot.org.yu/latin/e-gov/isistem.htm)
- GIS green areas of Belgrade.
3 Distance learning for GIS in Serbia
Distance learning can be defined as education or training that is offered to students at a different
place or physically remote from the speakers or sources of information. In practice, distance
learning is a lot more complex than this definition because it involves the use of new technologies
and new interactive teaching methods. This method opens up opportunities for lifelong learning,
provides an opportunity to obtain degrees and certificates online from almost every university in
the world. It takes place on the Internet and students can obtain their degree without having set
foot in a conventional classroom.
In Serbia, the best known solution for distance learning is LINK's Distance Learning System
(DLS) - a system for distance learning, which is based on the use of modern ICT technologies in
almost all aspects of the learning process. Learning in a network of computers over the Internet or
the Intranet is the basic idea of this system. Internet and Intranet is used to achieve the conditions
for users to interact with the content, lecturers (authors) and other participants in the Distance
Learning model of learning. This software solution meets all of the expected future maintenance
needs of different types of DL courses: computer courses, foreign language, thematic seminars,
business courses, courses from traditional education (mathematics, physics, history, etc..).
LINK's Distance Learning System enables "on earth" and the complete management of
exchange rates on the Internet and the realization of communication and data exchange. The
system is generally designed for all organizations that organize personnel training or educational
institutions, without distinction. The system covers the needs of the following main groups of
users: authors, lecturers, instructors, course managers, teachers, administrators, organizers
continue, administrator of the system, training managers, students, course participants, employees
of companies. The main elements of the Distance Learning System: a system of course design, the
system for the preparation of the course - running through the course, system testing, system
monitoring the progress of the user, system monitoring status of the user. There is a possibility of
final delivery of content and also the development of educational content on demand.
To develop GIS in Serbia requires experts in the field of GIS technology and a lot of learning
in the field of geographic information systems. In addition to the aforementioned research
laboratory of Electronic Engineering, University of Nis is now studying GIS at: Faculty of
Agriculture in Novi Sad, Master study program of Modern Information Technologies University
Singidunum, Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade, Faculty of International Economics
Megatrend University, Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade. Most curriculum adapted
from Europe and USA.
Here, only some of these studies have been developed that allow remote access to knowledge
to the general public. These are: Master study program of Modern Information Technologies
Singidunum University, Faculty of International Economics Megatrend University, Faculty of
Geography, University of Belgrade.
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The mentioned schools are studying GIS projects, spatial analysis, database management,
space operations, visualization. Items that are offered to students as part of distance learning
geographic information systems are now only optional, but there is a strong tendency to distance
learning GIS stood in the curriculum of some universities. Faculty of International Economics
encourages interaction between students, which is mainly limited by rules of teaching. Also, try to
provide students with adequate access to e-library and also working on the computer literacy of
students to be able to adequately follow the classes. It does'nt of great importance to the distance
learning environment, such as chat-rooms etc. Also, this particular faculty takes into account the
requirements of the software and hardware, for distance learning GIS is very important.
Main advantages of using distance learning GIS of the faculty are simple procedures use by all
participants, working in Intranet and Internet versions, creating, connecting and distribution of
courses and tests, definition of training requirements of the users, a high level interactivity
between applications and users, users monitor the progress of courses, modules, access from any
networked location in accordance with a hierarchy of access, independent of server platform and
software tools, overcome the drawbacks of the Internet infrastructure in Serbia, without the use of
special requirements for the configuration of workstations and servers, using a different browser
application, reaching a low price at the rate of use for end users and connect to existing databases,
existing or new information systems, other Internet sites, import of existing learning materials or
materials of independent authors.
4 Problems in distance learning for GIS in Serbia
E-learning has some disadvantages. First, teachers must have adequate knowledge, motivation and
skills for distance learning because the teacher's role is very important. Number of computers is
also an important factor, as well as Internet connections, which in Serbia can be dial-up, ISDN,
ADSL. For many users use the Internet is very expensive and therefore totally unacceptable or
acceptable, but in insufficient quantity. In Serbia there are also problems of the knowledge of
Internet users, where there are plenty of great computer illiterate computer users. It takes a lot to
address the need for information and telecommunication technologies, in order to acquire the
technical prerequisites for distance learning GIS in Serbia only 52 percent of households have
computers and 41 percent use the Internet. In the European Union (EU) 80 percent of households
have computers and 75 percent of citizens use the most advanced broadband internet.
In order to enhance communication technologies EU in 2020. invest 30 billion euros available
through funds intended for the knowledge economy and communication technologies. The number
of computers has increased over the previous year by 3.6%, a number of Internet connections by
2.3%. The number of users of broadband Internet access, Serbia with 23% of users the latest in
Europe. In Serbia, 97.8% of enterprises with ten or more employees have computers and 96.8% of
them use the Internet. Among them, 67.5% have a web site, and 64% is used to represent their
products, services and pricing. The results show that for the year came to a certain increase in the
number of computer users and the Internet.
All leads that will create conditions for distance learning over time and improve the existing
universities now favoring Serbia distance learning GIS work to ensure that conditions are better
and thus attract more students. For this purpose, was formed and Serbian academic network -
AMRES working on distance learning and is formed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia,
and the purpose of construction, development and management of education and scientific
research computer network in different areas.

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5 Conclusion
Distance learning can enhance learning in several ways, and what students and lecturers brings
experience on the Internet. Internet still offers new student information, which lead to conscious
participants of activities and development, and progress in work. Distance Learning GIS gives
students a chance to learn new skills and qualifications and to develop in new directions. The
rationalization of teaching is conducted in a rational changes teaching methods in order to obtain
better performance and better results. Education conventional methods have some significant
drawbacks. One of the largest place the necessity of attending the teaching. The expansion
application of computers and the Internet listed successfully overcome the problems. It is expected
that future investment in efforts to overcome existing problems to widespread GIS dissemination
through education can be achieved.
6. References
Lecic, D. (1998): Vector and raster possibilities of system for manipulation of spatial datas. Technical Faculty
"Mihajlo Pupin", Zrenjanin.
Cekerevac Z. : Trends in GIS technology application. In Proceedings of The International Conference
Management 2010, Kruševac, 531-537.
Nadrljanski, Dj. (2005): Distance learning - communication model, Media in Education, Sombor.
Richardson, P.W. (1996): RSI and the future of publishing? The Times Higher Education Supplement, 1
November, 16.
http://lab405.fesb.hr/igraf/Frames/fP2_2.htm
http://spatialnews.geocomm.com/education/
http://www.esri.com/what-is-gis/index.html
http://www.wbseismicmaps.org/Documents/GIS.pdf
http://www.esri.com/library/bestpractices/managing-gis.pdf
http://www.amres.ac.rs/index.php?lang=ser
New learning innovations with Web 4.0

Veselina Nedeva
1
, Snejana Dineva
1

(1) Trakia University, Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Yambol,
Gr.Ignatiev str. 38, Yambol, Bulgaria
veselina.nedeva@gmail.com, sbdineva@abv.bg


Abstract
The report analyzes the evolution of Web technology and the role of innovation in education.
These technologies are applicable both in distance learning, e-learning and m-learning. It
has been created a summary of the various stages in the development of technologies of web
1.0 to web 4.0. Emphasis is made on the following basic characteristics of Web 4.0 -
Intelligent agents, Mobile technologies and Cloud computing ang services.

Key words: Web-based learning, e-learning, m-learning, intelligent agent, mobile
technologies, cloud computing and services


1. Introduction
The educational process supported by information and communication technology (ICT) changed
the traditional education. With the utilization of new teaching and learning methods new forms of
learning emerged, varying from computer based learning, online learning, web-based learning, e-
learning etc.
Web-based education means the most extreme form of online education that uses streaming
videos and the more advanced functionalities available in educational software and where there is
no actual face to face contact between the teacher and the student (Lynch at al., 2009). There are
seven important functionalities in web-based education before Web 4.0: real time
announcements, posting of text, html, spreadsheets, videos, PowerPoint, audio files, real time
grade book, external links, discussion board and chat rooms, automated quizzes, and emails to
individuals and list serves (Lynch at al., 2009).

2. Web-based learning
The World Wide Web was developed in 1989 by English computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee
as a program called "WorldWideWeb", with the main goal to enable information to be shared
among internationally dispersed teams of researchers at the European Laboratory for Particle
Physics (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland (Berners-Lee T., 1998). As he wrote: “The dream
behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing
information…. a second part of the dream ….the ways in which we work and play and socialize….
make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work
together “ (Berners-Lee T., 1998). From the time when he wrote the first web client and server in
1990 to now the number of Web pages exceeds 9 Billion and Internet specialists defined four
periods (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/worldweb.htm), listed below:

2.1. Web 1.0 (from 1997 to 2003)
That period is defined as the read only web. That is Geocities & Hotmail era with all about read-
only content and static HTML websites (Amit, 2009). Content creation by the few; web
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participation is a luxury; software on the local machine; product pages and limited e-commerce;
desktop computers (Larson, 2012).

2.2. Web 2.0 (from 2004 to 2006)
Web 2.0 is interactive (asynchronous) communities that communicate. Whether we are talking
about Facebook or MySpace Web 2.0 is about communication and community membership
(Liles&Liles, 2008). It is known as the Read/Write/Execute Web and is commonly characterized
with the content creation by the many; web participation is a privilege; advent of social; software
local and web-based; everything commodity can be purchased online; desktop computers and
mobile phones (Larson, 2012). The availability of Web 2.0 technologies has meant that individual
learners are able to create learning and social spaces that they control in terms of dissemination,
collaboration and content creation (Ng, 2012).


Figure 29 Defined periods of Web 1.0 – Web 4.0 (Source: Uskov, 2010)

2.3. Web 3.0 (from 2007 to 2011)
Definitions of Web 3.0 vary greatly. Some believe its most important features are the Semantic
Web and personalization (Amit, 2009). With the content creation by the majority; web
participation is a right; social layers horizontally available; software in the cloud; e-commerce
overtakes offline retail; desktop computer, mobile phones and tablets (Larson, 2012). According to
some Internet experts, Web 3.0 will allow the user to sit back and let the Internet do all of the work
for them. Internet experts think Web 3.0 is going to be like having a personal assistant who knows
practically everything about you and can access all the information on the Internet to answer any
question (Strickland, 2012).

2.4. Web 4.0 (from 2012)
Meaning creation by the majority; web participation is a necessity; customer engagement
enablement; operating system (OS) in the cloud; ‘considered purchase’ products and services
(once thought only saleable offline) join the Internet party; desktop computer, mobile phone,
tablets and iTV; augmented data layers.
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2.5. Teaching Tools of the Future
The wide range of technologies involving in the education methodology significantly improved the
quality of teaching and learning in higher education. The ten incredibly powerful tools defined by
Heick (2012) for the future education are shown on fig.2.

Figure 30 Incredibly Powerful Teaching Tools of the Future (Heick T., 2012)

They are: Visual Learning; Evolved Currencies; Personalization; Gamification; Social Media;
Game-Based Learning; Connectedness; Crowdsourcing – by definition, it is a distributed problem-
solving and production model. In the classic use of the term, problems are broadcast to an
unknown group of solvers in the form of an open call for solutions
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing); Project-Based Learning; Digital and Physical
Merge

3. Main characteritics of web 4.0 important for e-learning: development intelligent agents,
mobile technologies and cloude computing and services
3.1. Intelligent agents
Personal agents have been developed to help manage the increasing volume of electronic
information available (Maes, 1994). Such development has produced digital assistants for
managing electronic information, proactively engaging in tasks on behalf of the user to find, filter,
assess and present information to the user in the most appropriate manner (Maes, P. 1994).
Personal agents have been developed for a number of applications, including email and news
filtering (Lashkari, et al. 1994) meeting scheduling (Dent, et al. 1992); and information retrieval
(Rhodes&Starner, 1996). Personal agents require a user model, or personal profile, which they
employ when undertaking their task. Profiles allow personal agents to perform tasks according to
the needs and preferences of the user, turning the computer into an intelligent personal assistant.
With knowledge of the user, personal agents can specifically tailor how they interact with the user.
Furthermore, the profile constructed by the agent must adequately and accurately reflect the true
requirements and needs of the user (Soltysiak &Crabtree, 1998).
For optimal use, personal agents must be able to learn a user’s preferences and habits over
time, and adapt to the changing needs of the user. In order to generate an accurate user profile,
The 7
th
International Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL 2012

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information from as many different sources must be used (Soltysiak &Crabtree, 1998). Therefore
personal agents require access to many different systems that the user interacts with to b