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REAPING THE BENEFITS OF SPACE VIA SMALL SATELLITES

E-LEARNING THROUH V-SAT

BY

DANGUT, MAREN DAVID E-LEARNING UNIT, NIGERIA SECURITY AND CIVIL DEFENCE ACADEMY SAUKA ABUJA.

Abstract:
E-Learning through VSAT is convergence of technology, services and knowledge base. This provides a facility and framework for Tele-Education and enables the live classroom session to be broadcasted over the VSAT, WAN and Internet communication channels. In the 21st Century, VSAT Satellite Technology is one of the best technologies through which you can provide qualitative and interactive e-learning . Hence, this paper covers how E learning through VSAT works and, suggest ways as to how models of e-learning could be extended to the rural and urban masses of Nigerian using powerful information and communication technologies such as Satellite technology VSAT.

Introduction

E-learning or Virtual Learning Is The convergence of the Internet and learning, or Internet enabled, learning is revolutionizing the way in which education is imparted to students. It uses the satellite based network technologies to create, foster, deliver, and facilitate learning anytime and anywhere. It enables delivery of comprehensive, individualized, and dynamic learning content in real time and aids in the development of communities of knowledgeable persons, linking learners and practitioners with experts. E learning through VSAT network consists of a

Introduction cont.
HUB station, which is a satellite earth station and a Studio for video broadcasting of the lectures. The HUB will interconnect the VSATs at various geographical locations establishing the communication link in C (4GHz - downlinking and 6GHz. - uplinking) or in Ku (12 GHz downlinking and 14 GHz - uplinking) bands.

In the 21 Century, VSAT Satellite Technology is one of the best


st

technologies through which you can provide qualitative and interactive


distance education

Virtual Tele ED
Virtual Tele ED is a combination of learning services and technology, using VSAT to provide high value integrated learning at any time and any place. The Virtual Tele-Ed Agent acts as a Teacher unit for presentation of the subject over the on-line. The significant features are: Support educational organization with any number of remote students Distributed, reusable, and integrated learning and training Integrated audio, video and data presentation in a live broadcast Extensive multicasting capabilities through TCP/IP channels Extensive synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tools for knowledge sharing A user-friendly interface and powerful data manipulation Usable both in intranet and internet

Comprehensive integrated support for richer communication and activities

E-Learning
The term e-learning covers a wide set of applications and processes including
computer based learning, Web based learning, Virtual Classroom and digital collaboration. However, the term e learning is becoming widely accepted as a

substitute for online learning and web-based learning.

WHY E-LEARNING THROUGH VSAT?


VSAT networks are easy to install and operate and network expansion can be accomplished quickly and painlessly additional VSAT earth stations (remote site terminals) can be added to the network at any time, virtually on a plug-and-play basis. VSAT network operates at speeds from a few Kbps to many Mbps easily supporting any mix of voice, data, video or facsimile services that may be required, now or in the future. ETC

Strengths and Advantages of e Learning


e-Learning has become popular amongst educationists because of its inherent strengths and advantages it provides to the institutions instructional process. Some of these are: Access to educational resources from outside the institution on a global and instant basis; Quick and easy way to create, update and revise course materials. Increased and flexible interaction with student through e-mail and discussion forums; Location and time independent delivery of course materials such as course notes, diagrams, reading list, etc.;

Ability combine text, graphics and a limited amount of multimedia, enabling instructional designers to prepare quality-learning materials. Increased learner control through hypertext based presentation of information; Opportunities for international, cross-culture and collaborative learning; and Ability to serve a large number of students at a potentially reduced cost.

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What is VSAT?
VSAT is small, software driven equipment for the reliable transmission of data, video or audio via satellite. It covers the entire spectrum of interactive distance learning from Synchronous to Asynchronous, Classroom to Desktop PC based solutions and high quality video over IP networks. VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is a satellite communications system that serves educational institutions and business users

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A VSAT end user needs a box that interfaces between the user's computer and an outside antenna with a transceiver. The transceiver receives or sends a signal to a satellite transponder in the sky. The satellite sends and receives signals from an earth station computer that acts as a hub for the system. Each end user is interconnected with the hub station via the satellite in a star topology. For one end user to communicate with another, each transmission has to first go to the hub station which retransmits it via the satellite to the other end user's VSAT. VSAT handles data, voice, and video signals.

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VSAT technology represents a cost effective solution for users seeking an independent communications network connecting a large number of geographically dispersed sites. VSAT networks offer value-added satellite-based services capable of supporting the Internet, data, LAN, voice/fax communications, and can provide powerful, dependable private and public network communications solutions.

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Quick
Installation

A satellite network can be installed in a matter of weeks, since


there are not countless miles of wire to be installed

Geography

Versatile satellite networks provide the capability to span rain

forest, deserts and mountainous terrain, or connecting remote


island locations.

Bandwidth Advantage

Satellite networks offer bandwidth advantages that provide a bigger Pipe for transmitting Video, Voice and Data.

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Satellite
In general, a satellite is anything that orbits something else, as, for example, the moon orbits the earth. In a communications context, a satellite is a specialized wireless receiver/transmitter that is launched by a rocket and placed in orbit around the earth. There are hundreds of satellites currently in operation.

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Why Satellite?
As Internet traffic continues to grow at exponential rates worldwide, Internet services providers (ISP's) everywhere are faced with the challenge of keeping up with demand for network bandwidth and developing creative solutions for squeezing more use out of existing bandwidth. Satellite-based Internet connections are one of those solutions. VSAT has offered ISP's and telecommunications service providers easily scalable, cost-effective Internet access.

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Key Benefits of Satellite


Faster installation Better network performance Lower network costs

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Remote Class Room

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VSAT Network

HUB

Tele-Education Learning Institutions Universities

Tele-Medicine Hospitals

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Tele-Education Delivery System

University Studio

5 Universities 53 remote Virtual Classrooms Easily scalable

Internet

B a y N e ts w o r k
Remote Class / Teacher

Remote Class / Teacher

Remote Class / Teacher

CORE COMPETENCE
Universities

Central HUB of all Universities

Remote Class rooms


Online Tele-Education
Virtual Interaction Live sessions Effective Two way communication Synchronized Multimedia Collaboration

Coordinate
Organize Schedule Broadcast Manage Maintain Infrastructure - Storage Delivery through E-learning Tele-education

Other Institutions International Institutions

Identification of Experts Content Development Content Generation Content Workflow Content Deployment Delivery through e-Learning Tele-Education Digital Library

VSAT for Remote Access, BROADBAND FIBRE OPTICS to to connect major cities WIRELESS for Last mile

Beneficiaries Affiliated Colleges


Study Centres Learning centres Individual Students Village Panchayat Knowledge Centres

Hub Station
The hub station is the nodal point in the VSAT satellite communication. It is a high performance earth station with an antenna diameter of anything between 6 and 9m. The hub consists of a control center with redundant units to manage the network as well as microwave equipment, including an outdoor antenna for the transmission and reception of signals. Redundant units are connected to switchover in case of failure. Substantial amounts of interfacing equipment's are necessary to support the wide range of terrestrial interfaces required at the hub. These equipment's are usually mounted in several racks. Hub stations can also be shared between several networks, resulting in a sharing of costs.

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Remote Center
At the Remote end, a dish antenna, outdoor unit (microwave electronics for terminal) and an indoor unit (for modulation, demodulation, multiplexing, demultiplexing and synchronization) are present. Remote terminals have now become very reliable, with MTBFs of typically 25000 hours. Link availability is also usually designed to be high, with an end-toend availability of better than 99.7% being quite common.

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Setting up of Communication Center and Data Hub


A Communication Center cum Data Hub will be set up at the University campus or any at suitable location, from where the live lecture transmission would be done to Remote Centers (colleges) at various locations. The communication center is the nodal point for all the electronic transaction between the host (University) and agents (Remote colleges). For this, very powerful servers with redundancy are set up with complete software and network infrastructure. This Communication Center will have a studio with control room and various audio and video recording and editing equipment. The lecture transmission is carried out with the help of Software. The Communication Center or Studio room has the following Servers

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Control Server Agent Server AV (Audio/Video) Streaming Server Presentation Capture Server Media Control Recording Server Whiteboard Server Text interaction Server Live Voice Room Server Private Voice Call server. The content is captured through various Servers and transmitted to Remote Centers through VSAT, which are then received at the Remote Centers.

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Setting up of VSATs at Remote Classroom


The Remote Classroom is equipped with a good quality digital video system and a large screen TV monitor in each classroom. The video is used to enable students in the various locations to view the live lectures conducted by the lecturers. Audio is provided for the students to interact with the lecturers during the live class sessions.

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Remote Classroom
The remote virtual classroom is a receiving agent and must have any registered student with a computer system or group of students in a classroom with each system along dedicated Internet dial up line. The software in the student system is having extensive collaboration tools as mentioned below for sharing the subject knowledge with remote teacher or with experts.

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E-Learning Management System


The Learning Management System (LMS) is a tool using which a student can manage information like personal information, tracking of student schedules / timetable, personalizing the student schedule using the personal organizer and most importantly surfing the content that is uploaded on the network. Each registered student is given a unique username and password form, which he/she can access his/her own space from which the various functions provided above, can be accessed. Since the solution is a web-enabled solution the same can be accessed by the student even from their homes or any browsing centre

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Challenges Of E-learning In Nigeria


In spite of the bright prospect of e-learning in the country, there are some obstacles militating against the effective use of the technology in Nigeria. Some of these obstacles are; High cost of hardware in Africa, which are substantially higher than in the United States. High import tariffs and less price competition. Transmission cost is equally high in Africa. Internet access in Africa is through a foreign gateway. Shortage of skilled manpower.

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Companies and institutions are reluctant to invest in training of staff due to the likelihood that trained staff will be poached by other institutions and companies. Computer technology illiteracy among the students from the primary school level. Cost of acquiring installing the gadget required for e-learning. Incessant Power Supply Lack of affordable dedicated/specialized e-learning centre

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RECOMMENDATIONS
The accreditation team of the National University Commission (NUC) as well as the national Board for Technical Education (NBTE) should revise the syllabus of the Nigerian University/polytechnics/secondary school to include virtual courses that will be internet based. adequate info-tech facilities to the institutions of higher learning in the country as well as primary and secondary school level. The institutions concern should be properly financed so as to be able to compete with their other institutions abroad.

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Training of staff in the institution about the latest e-learning tools. Adequate power supply, employ use of solar panels to give power to remote centers

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CONCLUSION
Now Educational Leaders has to think Beyond Chalk and Talk. So start thinking about new ways of providing qualitative and interactive education. Change your self before they Change You VSAT Technology has matured over years. With increase in communication speeds up to many Mbps and reduction in antenna size that can be easily mounted on rooftops or can be mounted from ground, it is most trusted and best suitable for e-learning. Expansion of education network to newer areas is very easy by simply plugging in new antennas at the sites. Virtual Tele ED is a complete ELearning solution through VSAT .

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