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ICVL – 2007

Virtual Learning – Virtual Reality

Proceedings of the 2
nd

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
ON VIRTUAL LEARNING
October 26
th
– 28
th
, 2007, Constanta, ROMANIA

EDITORS: Marin VLADA, Grigore ALBEANU, Dorin Mircea POPOVICI


Bucharest Uni versi t y Press

FP6 / IST – INFORMATION SOCIETY TECHNOLOGIES


2010 – Towards a Learning and Knowledge Society – 2030
The ICVL 2007 is held under the auspices of the INTUITION
Consortium-The Network of Excellence in Europe and
National Authority for Scientific Research




UNIVERSITY OF BUCHAREST

www.unibuc.ro



National Authority for Scientific Research - www.mct.ro



OVIDIUS UNIVERSITY OF CONSTANTA

www.univ-ovidius.ro

FACULTY OF MATHEMATICS
AND COMPUTER SCIENCE

www.univ-ovidius.ro/math







The 2
nd
International Conference on Virtual Learning
VIRTUAL LEARNING – VIRTUAL REALITY


MODELS & METHODOLOGIES, TECHNOLOGIES, SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS

www.icvl.eu/2007 www.cniv.ro/2007



























ICVL and CNIV Coordinator: Dr. MARIN VLADA


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



Proceedings of the 2
nd

International Conference
on Virtual Learning




October 26
th
- 28
th
, 2007


MODELS & METHODOLOGIES, TECHNOLOGIES, SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
















, 2007


ICVL and CNIV Partners:
Dr. Grigore Albeanu, Dr. Mircea Popovici, Prof. Radu Jugureanu
www.icvl.eu www.cniv.ro







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



















ISBN: 973-737-218-2
978-973-737-380-9














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://fmi.unibuc.ro/icvl/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

Welcome to the ICVL 2007!

The second edition of the International Conference on Virtual
Learning – ICVL 2007 (www.icvl.eu/2007) was organized by University
of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta (Faculty of
Mathematics and Computer Science) in association with European
INTUITION Project (The INTUITION Network of Excellence in Europe –
International Consortium) and in conjunction with the 5
th
National
Conference on Virtual Learning – CNIV 2007.
The ICVL was structured to provide a vision of European e-
Learning and e-Training policies, to take notice of the situation existing
today in the international community and to work towards developing
a forward looking approach in Virtual Learning from the viewpoint of
modelling methods and methodological aspects (M&M), information
technologies (TECH) and software solutions (SOFT). Participation is
invited from researches, teachers, trainers, educational authorities,
learners, practitioners, employers, trade unions, and private sector
actors and IT industry.
ICVL 2006 – First edition; Initially 72 abstracts were received
and 55 of them were selected. Finally only 34 papers were accepted for
presentation at the ICVL and publication in Proceedings of the ICVL
2006 - Bucharest University Press (ISBN 978-973-737-218-5). IJCCC
(International Journal of Computers, Communications and Control), Vol.
II (2007), No.1 containing 7 papers presented during ICVL 2006.
Participants coming from Europe, Japan, Australia, U.S.A. and Canada
have discussed various aspects concerning the future developments in
the virtual learning field during the conference. Four invited papers
talking about trends in professional learning, time series modelling,
analysis and forecasting in e-Learning environments, AeL - the e-
Learning Universal Platform and, the teaching through projects
methodology have been presented as plenary lectures. Ten papers
proposed different software solutions, while twenty papers were
dedicated to modelling methods and methodological aspects.
ICVL 2007 – Second edition; Initially 62 abstracts were received
and 45 of them were selected. Finally only 35 papers were accepted for
presentation at the ICVL and publication in Proceedings of the ICVL
2007 - Bucharest University Press.
The printing of Proceedings was sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Research,
National Authority for Scientific Research, Romania – www.edu.ro, www.mct.ro.
Welcome to Constanta, Romania!
Dr. Marin Vlada, University of Bucharest, Romania
ICVL and CNIV Projects Coordinator




GENERAL CONTENTS




About ICVL 2007 ................................................................ 11

About VRRM 2007 ............................................................. 28

Invited papers,
Projects - Professional Learning
and Knowledge Society ........................................................ 33

Section M&M
MODELS & METHODOLOGIES ................................................ 69

Contents of Section M&M ................................................... 251

Sections TECH and SOFT
TECHNOLOGIES and
SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS ......................................................... 253

Contents of Sections TECH and SOFT ................................. 329

News and Events
ICVL 2007 Web site ............................................................ 331
















The 2
nd
International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 11
About ICVL 2007

ICVL Project – www.icvl.eu

2010 – TOWARDS A LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY – 2030




© Project Coordinator: Ph.D. Marin Vlada, University of Bucharest, Romania
Partners: Ph.D. Prof. Grigore Albeanu, Ph.D. Mircea Dorin Popovici,
Prof. Radu Jugureanu
Sponsors: The Romanian Ministry of Education and Research,
SIVECO Romania

ICVL is held under the auspices of:

- The European INTUITION Consortium
- The Romanian Ministry of Education and Research
- The National Authority for Scientific Research





12 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Conference Organisation

• General Chair Dr. Marin Vlada, Professor of Computer Science, University
of Bucharest (Romania)
• Technical Programme Chair Dr. Grigore Albeanu, Professor of Computer
Science, University of Oradea (Romania), UNESCO Chair in Information
Technologies
• Associate General Chair Dr. Dorin Mircea Popovici, Professor of
Computer Science, Ovidius University of Constanta (Romania), CERV-
European Center for Virtual Reality (France)


Scientific Committee/Technical Programme Committee / Executive reviewers

Dr. Grigore
Albeanu
Professor of Computer Science, University of Oradea, UNESCO
Chair in Information Technologies, Romania
Dr. Adrian
Adascalitei
Professor of Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, Technical
University "Gh. Asachi", Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Iasi,
Romania
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. 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





The 2
nd
International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 13
Dr. Steve
Cunningham
Noyce Visiting Professor of Computer Science, Grinnell
College, Grinnell, Iowa 50112, USA Department of Computer
Science
Dr. Ioan Dzitac
Professor of Computer Science, Executive Editor of IJCCC,
Agora University,Oradea, Romania
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. Angela
Ionita
Romanian Academy, Institute for Artificial Intelligence
(RACAI), Deputy Director, Romania
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. Mihaela
Oprea
Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of
Ploiesti, Romania
Dr.
Harshada(Ash)
Patel
Virtual Reality Applications Research Team (VIRART)/Human
Factors Group Innovative Technology Research Centre, School
of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering,
University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, U.K.,
European INTUITION Consortium member
Dr. Dana
Petcu
Professor at Computer Science Department of Western
University of Timisoara, Director at Institute e-Austria
Timisoara, Romania
Dr. Dorin
Mircea
Popovici
Professor of Computer Science, Ovidius University of
Constanta, Romania / CERV- European Center for Virtual
Reality (France, European INTUITION Consortium member)
Dr. Maria
Roussou
Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Lab., Department
of Computer Science,
University College London, U.K., European INTUITION
Consortium member
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





14 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Dr. Doru
Talaba
Professor, “Transilvania” University of Brasov, Product Design
and Robotics Department, Romania, European INTUITION
Consortium member
Dr. Leon
Tambulea
Professor of Computer Science, "Babes-Bolyai" University,
Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Dr. Jacques
Tisseau
CERV – Centre Européen de Réalité Virtuelle (European Center
for Virtual Reality), LISYC – Laboratoire d'Informatique des
Systèmes Complexes, France, European INTUITION
Consortium member
Dr. Alexandru
Tugui
Professor at “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iasi, FEAA, “Al. I.
Cuza” University Iasi, Romania
Dr. Marin
Vlada
Professor of Computer Science, University of Bucharest, Faculty
of Mathematics and Computer Science, Romania, European
INTUITION Consortium member


ICVL 2007 INVITATION


2010 – Towards a Learning and Knowledge Society – 2030

Virtual Environments for Education and Training, Software and Management
for Education
October 26-28, 2007
Constanta, ROMANIA
Host: University OVIDIUS Constanta, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer
Science, ROMANIA
Organizers: University of Bucharest and University OVIDIUS Constanta in
cooperation with SIVECO SA company, Bucharest, Romania
Sponsor: National Authority for Scientific Research, SIVECO SA company,
Bucharest, Romania
Homepage: http://www.icvl.eu/2007
Email: icvl@fmi.unibuc.ro
Deadline for abstracts: June 20, 2007
Description:
At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, Heads of State and





The 2
nd
International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 15
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.
POST-CONFERENCE: The Organisation Committee will elaborate until the
ICVL opening, the volume with the conference's papers and the CD (with
ISBN). Extended versions of selected papers presented at ICVL will be offered
for publishing in the International Journal of Computers, Communications &
Control- http://www.journal.univagora.ro/
AIMS:
- The implementation of the Information Society Technologies (IST) according
to the European Union Framework-Programme (FP6, FP7)
- 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;
SECTIONS:
MODELS & METHODOLOGIES (M&M); TECHNOLOGIES (TECH);
SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS (SOFT)
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.
Thank you very much for your attention and, please, circulate this call for
papers.
Thank you and best regards,
Mail Address:
Str. Academiei nr.14, sector 1, C.P. 010014, Bucureşti, România
Tel: (4-021) 314 3508, Fax: (4-021) 315 6990,
Submitted by: Dr. Marin Vlada
Date received: March 08, 2007

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.





16 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
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)
General Chair Dr. Marin Vlada, Professor of Computer Science, University of
Bucharest (Romania) / Technical Programme Chair Dr. Grigore Albeanu, Professor
of Computer Science, University of Oradea (Romania), UNESCO Chair in
Information Technologies /
Associate General Chair Dr. Dorin Mircea Popovici, Professor of Computer Science,
Ovidius University of Constanta (Romania)


ICVL 2007 – Announcements and call for papers

• www.intuition-eunetwork.org/ – INTUITION Forum: Conferences,
Workshops, Call for Papers
• www.allconferences.com (E-Learning , Higher Education)
• www.conferencealerts.com – Academic Conferences Worldwide
• http://atlas-conferences.com/ - Database of academic conference
announcements
• http://www.xplora.org - The European gateway to science education

• www.papersinvited.com - Powered by CSA / (CSA is a worldwide information
company)
• www.cncsis.ro, www.edu.ro, www.agora.ro, www.ad-astra.ro – romanian sites





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 17
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
Learning and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (I&CT)
will be examined from a number of complementary perspectives:
• Education – supporting the development of key life skills and competences
• Research – emerging technologies and new paradigms for learning
• Social – improving social inclusion and addressing special learning needs
• Enterprise – for growth, employment and meeting the needs of industry
• Employment – lifelong learning and improving the quality of jobs
• Policy – the link between e-Learning and European / National policy
imperatives
• Institutional – the reform of Europe’s education and training systems and how
I&CT can act as catalyst for change
• Industry – the changing nature of the market for learning services and the new
forms of partnership that are emerging
General Objectives
The implementation of the Information Society Technologies (IST) according
to the European Union Framework-Programme (FP6, FP7).
• The implementation of the Bologna Conference (1999) directives for the
romanian educational system.
• The development of a Romanian Framework supporting the professional and
management initiatives of the educational community.





18 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• 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.
• To increase the teachers' role and responsibility to design, develop and use of
the traditional technologies and IT&C approaches in a complementary fashion,
both for initial and adult education.
• To promote and develop information technologies for the teaching,
management and training activities.
• To promote and use Educational Software Packages for the initial and adult
education.
Thematic Areas/Sections

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

Technologies (TECH):
• Innovative Web-based Teaching and Learning Technologies
• Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) technologies
• Web, Virtual Reality/AR and mixed technologies





The 2
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• 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

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

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.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
Virtual Environments for Learning (VEL):
• New technologies for e-Learning, e-Training and e-Skills
• New software environments for education & training
• Web & Virtual Reality technologies
• Educational Technology and Web-Lecturing Technology
• Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) technologies
• Innovative Web-based Teaching and Learning Technologies
• Software and Management for Education
• Intelligent Virtual Environment

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





20 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• Software Computing in Virtual Reality

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

Fundamentals | Educational Technology

Educational Technology That Talks - http://www.edtechtalk.com
The Best Virtual Reality Information on Internet - http://vresources.org/
• History of Virtual Learning Environments - "Integrated Learning Systems"
(ILS), "Computer Assisted Instruction" (CAI), "Computer Based Training"
(CBT),"Computer Managed Instruction" (CMI), "Interactive Multimedia
Instruction" (IMI), "Technology Enhanced Learning" (TEL), "Technology Based
Learning" (TBL), and "Web Based Training" (WBT)
(Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/)
• Information Society Technologies - The four waves of information
technologies
(Reference: Vlada, M., Tugui, Al., The First International Conference on Virtual
Learning – ICVL 2006, october 27-29, pp. 69-82, Proceedings of ICVL 2006 and
CNIV 2006, 2006.)
• The terminology used in the fields of Virtual Learning
(Reference: Anohina A., Analysis of the terminology used in the field of virtual
learning, Educational Technology & Society, 8 (3), 91-102,
http://www.ifets.info/journals/8_3/9.pdf, 2005.)
• The Evolution of Technological Knowledge
(Bohn, Roger E. (2005). "From Art to Science in Manufacturing: The Evolution
of Technological Knowledge." Foundations and Trends in Technology,
Information and Operations Management 1(2): 1-82.)
• Advanced Distributed Learning - ADL - Creating the knowledge environment of
the future - www.adlnet.gov (This is an official Web site of the U.S. Government)
• ADL Technologies: Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM);
Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration Architecture (CORDRA);
Simulations; Intelligent Tutoring
• SCORM Technologies - Sharable Content Object Reference Model ("SCORM is
a collection of specifications adapted from multiple sources to provide a
comprehensive suite of e-learning capabilities that enable interoperability,
accessibility and reusability of Web-based learning content" - www.adlnet.gov)





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• AeL Educational, AeL Enterprise - Computer-assisted learning system (e-
Learning for schools and universities): Learning Management - AeL LMS
(Learning Management System); eContent Management -AeL LCMS (Learning
Content Management System); Interactive Multimedia Educational Content - AeL
eContent, eContent demo. AeL Enterprise: AeL Enterprise is a modern learning
and management instrument dedicated to supporting personnel training within the
company frame: it is devised for the direct Computer Assisted Learning (CAL), as
well as for the remote / non assisted training (Computer Based Training)
Resources
• Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) - http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/home.cfm
• Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) - http://www.cordis.lu/fp7/
• European Research Area (ERA) - http://www.cordis.lu/era/
• Information Society Technologies (IST) - http://www.cordis.lu/ist/
• Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) -
http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/
• Eupope's Information Society - http://europa.eu.int/information_society/
• Eupopean Institute for E-Learning (EifEL) - http://www.eife-l.org/
• eEurope 2005 - http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/
• eEurope+ - http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/plus/
• i2010 European Information Society in 2010 -
http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/i2010/
• European e-Skills 2006 Conference - Towards a Long Term e-Skills Strategy:
http://eskills.cedefop.europa.eu/conference2006/index.asp

• Intuition Project-Network Of Excellence Focused on Virtual Reality and Virtual
Environments Applications for Future Workspaces - http://www.intuition-
eunetwork.net/
• European Mathematical Society (EMS) - http://www.emis.de/
• Integrating New Technologies intothe Methods of Education -
http://www.intime.uni.edu/
• Xplora - European gateway to science education - http://www.xplora.org/
• European Schoolnet - http://www.eun.org/
• Virtual Learning Systems - http://eservices.nysed.gov/vls/
• Eastern Europe eWork - http://www.e3work.com/
• VResources - The Best Virtual Reality Information on Internet: Applications;
Events; Discussion forums; Library; VR News | http://vresources.org/

• Advanced Distributed Learning - ADL - Creating the knowledge environment of
the future - www.adlnet.gov (This is an official Web site of the U.S. Government)





22 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• ADL Technologies: Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM);
Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration Architecture (CORDRA);
Simulations; Intelligent Tutoring
• SCORM Technologies - Sharable Content Object Reference Model ("SCORM is
a collection of specifications adapted from multiple sources to provide a
comprehensive suite of e-learning capabilities that enable interoperability,
accessibility and reusability of Web-based learning content" - www.adlnet.gov)
• W3C - The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) - www.w3.org | Tim Berners-
Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
• International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2) -
http://www.iw3c2.org/ | 15th International World Wide Web Conference,
Edinburgh Scotland

• Moodle Services - Moodle is a course management system designed to help
educators who want to create quality online courses; "Moodle is a real gift to
forward thinking educators" - www.moodlle.com
• Drupal - Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a
community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of
content on a website; Drupal.org is the official website of Drupal, an open source
content management platform - www.drupal.org
• Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) - XML Graphics for the Web; SVG is a
language for describing two-dimensional graphics and graphical applications in
XML (Mozilla SVG Project) - www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/ | www.svg.org |
www.adobe.com/svg/ | www.w3schools.com/svg/
• AJAX - Ajax (also known as AJAX), shorthand for "Asynchronous JavaScript and
XML," is a development technique for creating interactive web applications
(AJAX is a type of programming made popular in 2005 by Google) -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AJAX | http://ajax.asp.net/
• FLEX - Adobe Flex is a framework that helps you build dynamic, interactive rich
Internet applications (www.flex.org/) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flex |
www.adobe.com/products/flex/
• KP (KnowledgePresenter) - Create fully interactive SCORM compliant e-learning
lessons - http://knowledgepresenter.com/
• SOFTAKE - Software, programs, downloads (Windows, Linux, Mac) -
http://www.softake.com/

• THE COMPUTER GRAPHICS SOCIETY ( C G S ) | International Conference on
Computer Animation and Social Agents - CASA 2005 | CASA 2006
• ACM SIGGRAPH - Computer Graphics and interactive techniques -
http://www.siggraph.org/
• CGAL - Computational Geometry Algorithms Library - http://www.cgal.org





The 2
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• The Human Interface Technology Lab (HITLab, University of Washington) -
www.hitl.washington.edu/ | Virtual Environments in Education and Training
(Research Projects) - Dr. William D. Winn (What We Have Learned About VR
and Learning and What We Still Need to Study. In Proceedings of Laval Virtual
2005)
• Online Educa Berlin - 12th International Conference on Technology Supported
Learning & Training: http://www.online-educa.com/
• ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) - The
conference will take place in Cyprus 1st-3rd of November 2006 (Cyprus2006) |
The first VRST was held in Singapore in 1994 and since then it has been held in
Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Taiwan, England, Korea, Canada and the
US.(www.vrst.org/)
• How People Learn (the National Academy of Sciences, USA) -
http://newton.nap.edu/html/howpeople1/
• Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO)-
http://www.sisostds.org

• Romanian Academy, ROINTERA project - http://www.rointera.ro
• eLearning Conference, Towards a Learning Society -
http://www.elearningconference.org
• e-Learning Centre UK - http://iet.open.ac.uk/research/confdiary/
• PROLEARN virtual competence centre - http://www.prolearn-online.com/
• PCF5 -The Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, 13–17 July 2008,
University of London, UK | www.london.ac.uk/pcf5 | www.col.org/
• WikiEducator - free eLearning content that anyone can edit and use |
www.wikieducator.org
• EdTechTalk - EdTechTalk is a webcasting network of educators dedicated to
helping those involved in educational technology explore, discuss, and collaborate
in its use | http://www.edtechtalk.com/
• Commonwealth of Learning - COL is an intergovernmental organisation created
by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and
sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and
technologies. | www.col.org
• Innovative Educators - Innovative Educators is dedicated to providing superior
conferences and training sessions focused on the most critical and relevant issues
facing educators today | www.innovativeeducators.org/

• IIIS - the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics - www.iiis.org/iiis/ |
Conferences and Symposia being organized by IIIS |
http://www.iiis.org/iiis/IIISConferences.asp
• IADIS – International Association for Development of the Information Society -
http://www.iadis.org/es2005/





24 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• ESPIT- eHealth and eInclusion - http://www.epist.org/
• Conference Mobile Learning 2005 - http://www.iadis.org/ml2005
• Winter School of Computer Graphics (WSCG) - http://wscg.zcu.cz
• IEEE, Computer Society - http://www.computer.org/
• Springer-Verlag-London - http://www.springer.de/, http://www.springerlink.com/
• Kluwer Academic Publishers - http://www.kluweronline.com/
• Science Direct/Elsevier B.V. - http://www.sciencedirect.com/
• Open Access Initiative - Open Access Journals | OAI is a new paradigm in
scholarly publishing. It aims to promote models that ensure free and unrestricted
access to scholarly & research journals | www.openj-gate.com
• Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds - InterScience, Journal published by
JOHN WILEY
• The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation - InterScience, Journal
published by JOHN WILEY
• International Journal of Knowledge and Learning (IJKL) -
http://www.inderscience.com/browse/index.php?journalCODE=ijkl
• Virtual Retrospect 2005 - http://www.virtualretrospect.estia.fr/index.htm
• IARIA - International Academy, Research, and Industry Association (Silicon
Valley, USA)- www.iaria.org/
• IATED - The International Association for Technology, Education and
Development - http://www.iated.org/
• IJ-SoTL - New International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
(Georgia Southern University, Georgia, USA)[read more]
• ICONS 2007 - 1st International Conference on Network Security and Workshop
(Erode Sengunthar Engineering College, India)[read more]
• HCI2007 - 12th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction:
http://www.hcii2007.org/
• CISSE 2006 Online E-Conference - The Second International Joint Conferences
on Computer, Information, and Systems Sciences, and Engineering:
http://www.cisse2006online.org
• Laval Virtual ReVolution 2007 - 9th Virtual Reality International Conference,
April 18-22th 2007, Laval, France (www.laval-virtual.org) | Demonstrations |
Awards 2007 | Student competitions | VRIC-Virtual Reality International
Conference

• ACI - ACADEMIC CONFERENCES INTERNATIONAL (www.academic-
conferences.org) | Conferences | e-Journals | Publications | Training&Seminars
• ICEL 2007 - The International Conference on e-Learning (ICEL), Columbia
University, New York, USA, 28-29 June 2007
• ECEL 2007 - The European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL), 4-5 October
2007, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
• Distance Teaching & Learning - The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching
& Learning (LEARN), August 8-10, 2007, Madison Wisconsin, USA





The 2
nd
International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 25
• ICTL 2007 - International Conference on Teaching and Learning (ICTL),
November 15-16, 2007, Putrajaya , Malaysia
• IVA 07 - International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents(IVA), 17th - 19th
September 2007, Paris, France
• Scalable Vector Graphics - International Conference on Scalable Vector
Graphics (SVGOPEN), September 4-7, 2007, Tokyo, Japan
• mLearn 2007 - International Conference on mobile Learning (mLearn), 16–19
October 2007, Melbourne, Australia

• ICE 2007 - International Conference on Education (ICE), 21 may 2007,
Uniuversity Brunei Darussalam, China
• KES 2007 - Artificial Intelligence Applications in Digital Content (KES),
September 12-14 2007, Vietri sul Mare, Italy
• EC-TEL 2007 - European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-
TEL), 17-20 September 2007, Crete, Greece
• CGV 2007 - IADIS International Conference on Computer Graphics and
Visualization (CGV), 6-8 July, 2007 Lisbon, Portugal
• CGI 2007 - Computer Graphics International (CGI), May 30th - June 2nd, 2007,
Petropolis, Brazil
• SIGGRAPH 2007 - The 34th International Conference on Computer Graphics and
Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH), 5-9 August 2007, San Diego, California,
USA
• ACVIT 2007 - International Conference on Advances in Computer Vision and
Information Technology (ACVIT), 28-30 November 2007, Aurangabad,
Maharashtra, India
• DC 2007 - International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata
Applications(DC), 27 to 31 August 2007, Singapore
• ICWL 2007 - The 6th International Conference on Web-based Learning, 15-17
August 2007, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
(www.hkws.org/events/icwl2007/)
• Informatics Europe - The Research and Education Organization of Computer
Science and IT Departments in Europe (www.informatics-europe.org/)
• European Computer Science Summit - 3rd Annual Informatics Europe Meeting
2007 (http://kbs.cs.tu-berlin.de/ecss/), October 8-9 2007, Berlin

• KCPR 2007 - The 2nd International Symposium on Knowledge Communication
and Peer Reviewing (http://www.info-cyber.org/kcpr2007/), July 12-15, 2007 –
Orlando, Florida, USA
• CITSA 2007 - The 4th International Conference on Cybernetics and Information
Technologies, Systems and Applications (http://www.info-cyber.org/citsa2007/),
July 12-15, 2007 – Orlando, Florida, USA





26 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• CCCT 2007 - The 5th International Conference on Computing, Communications
and Control Technologies (http://www.info-cyber.org/ccct2007/), July 12-15, 2007
– Orlando, Florida, USA
• WCECS 2007 - The World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science 2007
| The WCECS 2007 is composed of the following 15 conferences (San Francisco,
USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• ICEIT 2007 - The International Conference on Education and Information
Technology 2007 | International Association of Engineers (IAENG) (San
Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• ICIMT 2007 - The International Conference on Internet and Multimedia
Technologies 2007 (San Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• ICMLDA 2007 - The International Conference on Machine Learning and Data
Analysis 2007 (San Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• VRST 2007 - ACM Virtual Reality Software and Technology, Nov 5-7, University
of Irvine, USA | http://www.ics.uci.edu/computerscience/vrst/
• ICMLA 2007 - The 2007 International Conference on Machine Learning and
Applications | www.icmla-conference.org/icmla07/ (Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Dec
13-15, 2007) | Association for Machine Learning and Applications (ALMA) |
www.cs.csubak.edu/

• ASTD - American Society for Training & Development (www.astd.org/) | ASTD
is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance
professionals | ASTD 2007, ASTD 2007 International Conference & Exposition -
June 3-6, 2007
• mark steiner - www.marksteinerinc.com/ | mark steiner, inc. is a learning
consulting company specializing in technology-based learning, Chicago, USA
• LearnLab - The Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center's LearnLab
(www.learnlab.org/)
• i-math - What you need, when you need it (http://www.i-math.com/) | i-Math was
incorporated in 2001 as an organization dedicated to delivering innovative high
precision mathematical and control software solutions to the Educational, R&D,
Engineering and Manufacturing industries in the ASEAN Region | http://www.i-
math.com.sg/
• ICCMSE 2007 - The International Conference of Computational Methods in
Sciences and Engineering 2007, Corfu, Greece , 25-30 September 2007
(http://www.iccmse.org/)

• The Wolfram Demonstrations Project - The Wolfram Demonstrations Project is
an open-code resource that uses dynamic computation to illuminate concepts in
science, technology, mathematics, art, finance, and a remarkable range of other
fields (http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/)
• Mathematica Technology (Wolfram Research Inc.) - http://www.wolfram.com/





The 2
nd
International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 27
• MathDL - The Mathematical Sciences Digital Library - http://mathdl.maa.org/
• MAA - Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications -
http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/4/
• MAA - Digital Classroom Resources - http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/3/
• Mathematica in Education and Research - http://www.ijournals.net/
• Maplesoft Canada - http://www.maplesoft.com/
• IBM-Academic Resource - http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/academic/
• Microsoft-Training, eLearning, Career, Events - http://msdn.microsoft.com/tce/
• Intel-Software Development - http://www.intel.com/
• Sun Microsytems-Training - http://www.sun.com/training/
• World Summit on the Information Society - http://www.itu.int/wsis/

Atlas Conferences - Atlas Conferences has a database of academic conference
announcement
www.conferencealerts.com - Academic Conference Worldwide
www.confabb.com - The Conference Community
www.papersinvited.com - Powered by CSA (CSA is a worldwide information
company)
AllConferences.Com - Directory of Conferences, conventions, exhibits, seminars,
workshops, events, trade shows and business meetings. Includes calendar, dates,
location, web site, contact and registration information.
ICVL 2007 Web site: http://www.icvl.eu/2007







28 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
About VRRM 2007



International Workshop VRRM 2007
VIRTUAL REALITY IN REHABILITATION MEDICINE

University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila" Bucharest, Romania
September 24-25 2007
WEB: www.icvl.eu/2007/vrrm
VRRM - ADVANCE PROGRAM

Media partners - ANNOUNCEMENTS:
www.intuition-eunetwork.org | vresources.org | www.ad-astra.ro |
www.agora.ro | www.computerworld.ro
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
2
nd
Announcement (.pdf) | Poster (.doc) | Folder (.doc) [VRRM - Credits 12 |
www.cmr.ro]
Objectives
This interdisciplinary Workshop objective is the exchange of research results
as well as the presentation of practical systems using Virtual Reality in
Medicine and Rehabilitation. VRRM 2007 will promote international
collaboration in the fields of medicine, rehabilitation science, technology,
engineering and computer science/IT&C.
Topics Discussed
• Virtual Reality Input/Output Interfaces
• Virtual Reality Hardware and Modeling
• Real-time Programming, Telerehabilitation
• Virtual Reality in Rehabilitation – the new perspectives of Romanian medicine
• VR Assets for Mental Health and Rehabilitation
• Virtual Rehabilitation Post-Stroke, VR Neuropsychology
• Virtual Rehabilitation for Phobias/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Treatment of addictions (drugs, alcohol, smoking) in VR
• E-Learning platform and Learning Management Systems (LMS)
• INTUITION - Network of Excellence (virtual environments workspace
applications)
Types of sessions
• Tutorials sessions
• Company demonstrations
• Posters sessions
Invited Speakers





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 29
Prof. Grigore Burdea, Ph.D.,
Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, USA.
www.caip.rutgers.edu/vrlab
Ass. Prof. Albert "Skip" Rizzo, Ph.D.,
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
www.usc.edu/projects/rehab
Prof. Doru Talaba, Ph.D., European INTUITION Consortium member
University Transilvania Brasov, Romania www.unitbv.ro
Ass. Prof. M. Popovici, Ph.D., European INTUITION Consortium member
University Ovidius Constanta, Romania www.enib.fr/~popovici
Prof. Radu Jugureanu,
eContent Manager, Siveco Romania SA, Bucharest, Romania. www.siveco.ro
Workshop Chair:
Prof. A. Nica Sarah, Ph.D.,
University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila" Bucharest, Head of
Rehabilitation Department, Romania e-mail: adisarahnica[at]yahoo.com
Program Chairs:
Ass. Prof. M. Vlada, Ph.D., European INTUITION Consortium member
University of Bucharest, Romania. www.unibuc.ro/en
Prof. V. Mărăcine, Ph.D., Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania.
www.ase.ro

Important dates
• July 30, 2007 – Proposals for Company demos (exhibits)
• September 20, 2007 – Registration deadline
• September 24-25, 2007 – Workshop VRRM 2007
Registration (click on amount to register)
• 75 Euros - Discounted registration (students, professors, medical residents,
academic researchers)
• 150 Euros - Full registration
On site
• 100 Euros - Discounted registration (students, professors, medical residents,
academic researchers)
• 200 Euros - Full registration
Contact | More information
Scientific: Prof. A. Nica Sarah, Ph.D., e-mail: adisarahnica[at]yahoo.com
Ass. Prof. M. Vlada, Ph.D. e-mail: marinvlada[at]gmail.com
Travel Arrangements and Registration
Georgia Fratila. e-mail: georgia.fratila[at]triptainment.ro

ONLINE REGISTRATION (Secure site-ePayment.ro & GECAD)

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION | Link (.pdf) | KEYNOTE (.pdf)
INTUITION Forum: Conferences, Workshops, Call for Papers | LINK
Upcoming Events: vresources.org | www.ad-astra.ro
Europe, ROMANIA, Bucharest - www.triptainment.ro





30 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
www.vresources.org









The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 31

VIRTUAL REALITY IN REHABILATION MEDICINE
SEPTEMBER 24-25, 2007

University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” Bucharest, ROMANIA
http://www.icvl.eu/2007/vrrm

2-Day Course: DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF VIRTUAL REALITY
ENVIRONMENTS AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
(7 hours first day, 7.5 hours second day)





ADVANCE PROGRAM





MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007


TIME

TOPIC

INSTRUCTOR
8:00-9:00 REGISTRATION
9:00-9:30 Opening: Romanian organizers and official
SESSION 1
9:30-10:00 Virtual Reality in Rehabilitation – the new perspectives
of Romanian medicine
Adriana Sarah
Nica, RO

10:00 – 11:00 Virtual Reality Input/Output Interfaces Grigore
Burdea, USA
11:00 – 11:15 COFFEE BREAK
11:15-12:15 Virtual Reality Hardware and Modeling Grigore
Burdea, USA
12:15 – 14:00 LUNCH
14:00 -15:00 Real-time Programming Grigore
Burdea, USA
15:00 – 16:00 VR Assets for Mental Health and Rehabilitation Albert “Skip”
Rizzo, USA
16:00-16:30 COFFEE BREAK
SESSION 2
16:30-17:00

AeL e-learning platform, Academic platform Radu
Jugureanu,
SIVECO
Romania
17:00-17:30

Virtual Reality environment for pre-operatory planning
in Ortopaedics
Doru Talabă,
RO








32 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2007



SESSION 3
9:00-10:00 Virtual Rehabilitation Post-Stroke Grigore
Burdea, USA
10:00-11:00 Virtual Rehabilitation for Phobias /PTSD/Addictions Albert “Skip”
Rizzo, USA
11:00 – 11:30 COFFEE BREAK
SESSION 4
11:30-12:30

INTUITION Project - Virtual Reality and Virtual
Environments applications for future workspaces.
Marin Vlada,
Dorin Mircea
Popovici, RO

12:30-13:00 Simulation Models for VR Applications Grigore
Albeanu, RO
13:00-13:30 Human-technology and human-computer interaction
(HCI) in Systems Laboratory
Dorin Mircea
Popovici, Ana-
Maria Marhan,
RO
13:30 – 14:30 LUNCH
SESSION 5
14:30-15:30 Virtual Rehabilitation and game consoles Grigore
Burdea, USA
15:30 – 15:45 COFFEE BREAK
15:45-16:45 Tele-rehabilitation Grigore
Burdea, USA
17:00-18:30 Panel discussion, Conclusions Speakers,
Romanian
organizers and
officials

















The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 33











INVITED PAPERS

Projects


2010 - TOWARDS A KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY - 2030

Professional Learning and Knowledge Society








34 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Number Paper and Authors Page

1.

E-Learning Technologies
Achievements and Perspectives

Marin Vlada
1
, Radu Jugureanu
2

(1) University of Bucharest, 14 Academiei Street,
RO-010014, ROMANIA, E-mail: vlada@fmi.unibuc.ro
(2) Siveco Romania, Bucharest, B-dul Averescu, nr.22
RO-050034, ROMANIA, E-mail: radu.jugureanu@siveco.ro


35

2.
E-Learning metrics

Grigore Albeanu
UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies
at University of Oradea,
University Street No. 1, 410087, ROMANIA,
E-mail: galbeanu@gmail.com
Web: http://www.ad-astra.ro/galbeanu/


47

3

E-education versus e-training
Life Long Learning perspective

Professor Ion Roceanu, PhD
1
(1) Advanced Distributed Learning Department of the “Carol I”
National Defence University, Romania, Bucharest,
Panduri Street 68-72, ROMANIA
iroceanu@unap.ro

56

4

Using e-Learning to Optimize Human Resources
Training on the Job in Simulated Enterprises

Adrian AdăscăliŃei
1
, Dan Gâlea
2

(1) Iaşi ”Gh. Asachi” Technical University
53, Dimitrie Mangeron Blvd. Iaşi, RO- 700050, ROMANIA
E-mail: aadascal@ee.tuiasi.ro
(2) Iaşi ”Gh. Asachi” Technical University
53 A, Dimitrie Mangeron Blvd. Iaşi, RO- 700050, ROMANIA
E-mail: dan.galea@datainvest.ro


61










The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 35
2010 - TOWARDS A KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY - 2030

E-Learning Technologies -
Achievements and Perspectives

Marin Vlada
1
, Radu Jugureanu
2


(1) University of Bucharest, 14 Academiei Street,
RO-010014, ROMANIA, E-mail: vlada@fmi.unibuc.ro
(2) Siveco Romania, Bucharest, B-dul Averescu, nr.22
RO-050034, ROMANIA, E-mail: radu.jugureanu@siveco.ro


Abstract
Information Society has led to the use of IT&C as a reference point for
systematic changes in educational systems, and challenges have been shaped,
in the beginning, on three major directions, having as starting points the
Lisbon and Feira Summits: equipping schools, training teachers and providing
the necessary resources.

Keywords: e-Learning, Information Technologies, Knowledge Society

1 Premises and objectives

MOTTO: „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. .”
Grigore C. Moisil (1906-1973) - Computer Pioneer Award
of IEEE (1996)

Computer’s invention and utilization has revolutionized the development of
contemporary society, therefore we are talking nowadays more and more about the
concept of informational society. Moreover, even since 1997 N. Moore has pointed
out, in his report presented at UNESCO, the four aspects that define the parameters of
contemporary society (Drăgănescu 2001):
• Information is a resource of organizations and private individual, becoming a
source of wellness for the company and individual;
• Information is the basis of new economical branches, in fast development;
• Information can be used in commonly without consuming it;





36 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• IT&C development revolutionizes fundamental activities of human society:
business, education, government, enterprise management.
Though, mankind’s ideal is that of achieving the stadium of “global informational
society” and for that it’s necessary, as O’Brian states, to go trough the four stages
(waves) (Drăgănescu 2001, Vlada 2005):
• The stage of information enterprise (1970 – 2010) – first wave;
• The stage of interconnected knowing people (since 1980) – second wave;
• The stage of global interconnected society (started since 1991) – third wave;
• The stage of global information society (will start after 2010).
This ideal is in fact man’s desire of knowing as much as possible. Because of that the
fundamental terms which define the paradigm of contemporary society become,
naturally, information, knowledge and computer communication.
As a science, Informatics (Computer Sciences) is characterized by the most
spectacular evolutions in its impact upon man’s activity. Computer has technologies
man hasn’t even dreamed about. Although, through time, the use of computer has
sometimes been seen reticently, today most people are convinced of the performances
and utility of the computer in all areas of activity. Nowadays, even since primary
school pupils find out about the impact of computer in their life. Out of these reasons,
educational systems of countries are conceived to implement development strategies
oriented towards computer utilization, not only for beginner, but also in its continuous
usage. In the beginning of the 21
st
century can be stated that information and
knowledge were the basis of scientific, technological, economical, social, cultural
(and so on) process/events.
The professor Roger E. Bohn shows that it is important now to understand
technological knowledge, in specific, knowledge about the way of producing goods
and services. Knowledge is addicted to the learning process. Also it is worth
remembering Bohn’s formulation of the learning concept: “Learning is evolution of
knowledge over time” (Bohn 1998).
Today, by the appearance of different technologies, operating systems, programming
languages, specialized programs etc, it is used the expression “Information
technologies and communications” (IT&C) which includes a great variety of
information processing and a great utility of this processing in all areas of activity.
Still, at every level of human society development had always been substantiation on
information. Information is a primary form of knowledge attainment. We mention the
following moments from the significant examples: the ABACUS (3000 B.Ch.), the
paper (50 B.Ch.); the newspaper (1700); the telegraph (1837); the photography
(1839); the telephone (1876); the electricity (1882); the tabulator (1890); the film
(1891); radio - television (1920-1936); the robot (1921); the transistor (1947); the
graphic display (1953); the microprocessor (1971); Web technology and Internet
(1991). All these moments have contributed at a better utilization of information in
society and at increasing levels of knowledge and human wellness (Drăgănescu 2001,
Vlada 2005).
The explosive development of software and hardware technologies has made
possible for informatics technologies and Internet services to be used in all areas of
activity today: education, research, economy, health, commerce, tourism, business,
defence etc. Applications for financial on-line transactions, on-line commerce,





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 37
multimedia on-line services, e-Learning, on-line magazines, electronic libraries,
services of information search on the network etc have been developed. Today, the
economical aspects of a company are related to the great potential of WEB
technologies, and the educational system of a country cannot ignore the impact of these
technologies towards the objectives followed by education. Web site represents more
and more a determinant aspect of any activity/business. The WEB is one of the most
important communication/knowledge tools that a company / firm / institution /
organization has, demanding however a series of investments that cannot be done if
only cheap solutions are considered.

2 Knowledge Society, e-Learning and Educational Software

MOTTO: „Learning is evolution of knowledge over time.” Roger E. Bohn

Specialists from certain fields, are confronted nowadays with various and complex
problems. Many of these require computer and software products utilization. The
complexity of activities, competitions of all kind, efficiency and activity
accomplishment, require the use of the most preferment hardware and software
products. It is noticed the explosion of tools and methods given by Information
technologies and communications (IT&C), by peripheral equipments with various
functions. Research,
development and innovation
programs are in a larger number
every day and results are seen
right away. In the same time,
continuous improvement,
knowing and using new
knowledge from the activity
area must be major desires for
every specialist. And under this
aspect, Informatics and
Information Technologies and
Communication, offer e-
Learning technologies and
educational Software.
In the new global context of competition based on scientific-technological
innovation, the European Union Council elaborated the program “European Research
Area”, launched in 2002. This program consists in forming the basis of a new free
internal market for innovation. In the way of achieving this goal there is a series of
barriers regarding free and efficient fulfillment of innovating transfer process.
According to that, E.U. wants to eliminate the fact of remaining behind Japan and
U.S.A. Although E.U. is a major research force, it isn’t doing so well in transferring
the science results in economical innovation and performance. To eliminate the
difference in the key area of innovation, E.U. has launched “The Lisbon Strategy 2000”
which has as primary strategic goal that in the perspective of the year 2010, E.U. to
become “the most competitive and dynamic economy based on knowledge in the
Fig. 1





38 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
world, capable of a lasting economical growth that offers more and better jobs, and a
big social cohesion.”
Building an informational society (that will represent the passing on to the
society of knowledge) cannot be done without research and investment projects, in the
IT&C area as well as in education. The final desideratum being competence, there is no
technology, no theory, no approach that can eliminate or neglect the professor-
pupil/student relationship. All of those will be efficient and convenient tools both for
professor and for pupil/student. Sometimes, these tools can be unique in regard to the
traditional tools in education. "All what is correct thinking is either mathematics or
feasible to be transposed in a mathematical model" (Grigore C. Moisil). There are
some representations that can be reproduced or simulated only by the computer which
offers methods and techniques regarding graphics, animation and sound. For instance,
3-D representations or the evolution of physical, chemical, biological phenomenon,
which develop dynamically, can only be represented or studied using the computer
(Fig. 1). Competence implies experience in solving problems in a certain area of
activity. Competence and experience in solving problems can only be gained if it is
always taken into account the interdependence physical reality-virtual reality, and if
efforts are made to get new knowledge for an appropriate knowledge of all aspects
regarding the physical model, respectively the virtual model, aspects determined by the
characteristics of the problems that need to be solved in a particular area of activity.
For instance, a programmer that creates programs for various problems to be solved
has to have technical skills according to the scheme (Fig. 2).

If in the 70’s, the predominant expression was that of Information Society (the
main pursuit being the realization of a national information system with ideas and
trends that refer to an information society), gradually, the concept of information
society gained ground and became a reality after 1990 as Internet technologies
propagated. E-learning technologies that are spread today are the result of evolution, of
pedagogical and psychological methods in education, as well as IT&C technologies
(Web, multimedia and communication technologies).
Thereby, using the Internet system, programs of Web products elaboration,
audio/video recordings, CD recordings, integrating the results from the graphical area
Fig. 2





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 39
on the computer, have made possible the elaboration of on-line courses, of educational
software for various disciplines, of virtual libraries and campuses.
In the future there will be platforms based on management architecture that use
Web services architectures (XML-eXtensible Mark-up Language). The software and
system components will describe themselves, meaning that through a standard
protocol they will be able to be accessed and opened efficiently and conveniently. Lots
of old applications will be improved in this way.

The Internet technologies development in the last years, has determined the
existence of new ways and possibilities of using the computer in all areas of human
activity. In particular, in the education field the new technologies offer possibilities
that have never been dreamed of 15 years ago. This is due to the development of
Informatics and compute systems from the hardware and software point of view. One
of the main targets of modern education is continuous improvement of teaching-
learning processes and that is by using the new multimedia technologies.
Multimedia technologies allow a close correlation between audio-video effects in
making lessons, courses, complex presentations that can be easy to follow, suggestive
and mostly to contribute in the assimilation of new knowledge. Unanimously, professors
and psychologists consider that learning is a process that implies all aspects of human
personality. Regardless of the learning content, from the simplest knowledge to the most
complex ones, the entire chain of processes is realized in the purpose of understanding,
processing, interpreting and valuing the learned entities.
Virtual Learning (e-Learning and educational software) imposes itself as a very
attractive, useful and efficient form of learning, forming and informing. This
popularity is based on pupils’ / students’ free choice: what to learn, where to learn,
when to learn, how much to learn, the learning order, the learning method etc.
Certainly, the elaboration of software systems for e-Learning is not an easy activity.
This kind of systems have to be done by competent persons that will correspond to the
modern requirements in the educational area, that’s way the most preferment systems
are those made by professors, psychologists, pedagogues, IT&C specialists.
What to teach with e-Learning? How much to teach with computer? These are
few of the questions that need an answer when educational software is conceived and
elaborated for pupils, students or different users of these products.
Next, we will analyze the e-Learning and educational software concepts to
eliminate any confusion and determine the objectives of these modern technologies
(Vlada 2005, 2004).
Definition. E-Learning includes traditional or modern methods and techniques
and by using the IT&C technologies (multimedia processing and asynchronous or
synchronous communication), leads the subjects that uses it, to gaining experience in
understanding of knowledge and skills in an area of activity.
Basically, e-Learning offers the convenient and efficient access to the newest
information and knowledge, new and efficient teaching, learning and evaluation
knowledge’s methods, constant training and forming. In the same way, e-Learning is
an alternative to constant education in nowadays’ or tomorrow’s informational society.
The specific characteristics of e-Learning technologies bring new dimensions in
education which can be complementary or alternative than traditional methods in





40 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
education. These characteristics offer the possibility to organize on-line learning on
subjects or themes, while traditional learning is organized on groups/ age classes.
The teaching-learning-examination process gets new dimensions and
characteristics through e-Learning technologies. The educational system in our country
is involved directly and determinant in substantiating and building the informational
society.
An information society is born in an environment in which the majority of her
members have access to IT&C technologies and use informational technologies
frequently, for training and professional perfecting, as for personal activities regarding
solving economical, social etc problems.

Definition. Educational software stands for any software product in any format
(executable or not) that can be used on any computer and represents a subject, a
theme, an experiment, a lesson, a course etc, being an alternative or the only solution
towards traditional educational methods (blackboard, chalk, etc).

The verification and evaluation stages of knowledge and skills in gaining
adequate competence to the didactic script can be or not implemented in educational
software, this depends on the knowledge characteristics corresponding to a didactic
discipline. For instance, is the case of Informatics’ and IT&C’ disciplines which have
as base computer utilization in gaining skills. In this case gaining skills must be done
after verification and evaluation of assimilated knowledge, as well of skills in correct
and efficient computer utilization. All of these must be obtained by presenting the
various projects directly on the computer, by the examined one, to prove the examiner
professor the grade / level of competence.
Nowadays, it is desired the transition from an informational society to a society
of knowledge, and that is between the years 2010-2030. The European Programs (FP6,
FP7) are conceived and elaborated to achieve this desideratum. If in the 1970s the
predominant expression was that of Informational society, (the biggest concerned
being the making of a national Informational system, with ideas and tendencies aiming
for an informational society), on the way the concept of Informational society has
spread more and more and became a reality after 1990 from the moment that Internet
technologies have expanded.
WWW technology (World Wide Web) is the most troubling transformation and
expansion for the human society. Electronic mail (E-Mail), electronic/virtual book (E-
Book), and WWW Technology have determined a global self organization process
which is still in full development today. People, organizations, institutions, countries,
regions, continents etc also have to organize themselves.

3 Educational Technology

MOTTO: „The real environments of nature are governed by languages. The
Languages exist not only for communication, but mainly for knowledge.” Marin Vlada

The human society development is done through knowledge and learning. Roger’s
Bohn formulation for the learning concept “Learning is evolution of knowledge over





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time” is based on development and evolution of information and communication
technologies. Technology-Based Instruction has a wide meaning, referring to forms of
instruction using other places than the traditional class-room. These include computers,
television, video devices, stereos (multimedia equipments).
Instruction through computer have been having a great impact in the knowledge
area. “We have to replace education and schools by hyper instruction, which
represents not only a form of instruction, free of any constraint but also a world
completely free of education constraints. Nations that choose instruction systems that
use the newest technologies will be, economically, the most powerful in the 21st
century. This new type of study will spread beyond school, beyond the static roles of
professor and student and beyond school years. Intelligent ways of instruction,
interactive hypermedia systems, intelligent and biomedical technologies, the
infrastructure of communications that allow access to knowledge in any moment and
place, represent the four key components of hyper instruction technology. The impact
of HL revolution (Hyper Learning) will include access to instruction through
education at distance, to intelligent ways of instruction that adapt learning
characteristics to particular situations, access to instruction of people of all ages and
levels.” (Lewis Perelman, 1996).
A system for education management (LMS - Learning Management System) is a
system of software applications that allow on-line organization of education
(Lăculeanu 2006). This kind of applications allow tracking progresses of instruction,
test results, exams in on-line training, and aim going through the entire educational
course. Most LMS applications allow information transfer to other administration
software of recordings of whole educational process. Universities have been and still
are the leaders in adopting new technologies to increase access to education and
tutoring.
The professor James Taylor (Southern Queensland University, Austria) presents in
his article “Fifth Generation Distance Education” the following stages:
• 1
st
generation – The Mail Model based on typing technology;
• 2
nd
generation – Multimedia Model based on typing, audio and video
technologies;
• 3
rd
generation – Tele-Learning Model based on telecommunications
technologies to provide synchronic communications opportunities;
• 4
th
generation – Flexible Instruction Model based on on-line teaching over
the Internet;
• 5
th
generation – Flexible Intelligent Learning Model.
At (Anohina 2005) it is shown a classification of terms used in the Virtual Learning
field. There are 8 basis groups for the most used terms: The C Group (Computer), The
I Group (Internet), The T Group (Technology), The D Group (Distance), The O Group
(Online), The W Group (Web), The E Group (Electronic), The R Group (Resources).
The used education concepts are: instruction, learning, teaching, tutoring, and
education.
Integrating New Technologies into the Methods of Education (Microsoft Research
Cambridge, UK), by researching in cognitive psychology’s standards and methods, it





42 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
improves the teaching learning evaluation activities at all academicals levels, and all
forms of curricular fields. “The learning quality becomes superior when true
understanding of the learning subjects becomes main objective. In this way, professors
have the possibility to see what students know and can truly understand.” (Oldfather &
West, 1999).
McCombs and Whistler (1997) have theorized 12 major learning principals that
puts the pupil/student in main role and which refer to the following aspects: The nature
of the learning process; The objectives of the learning process; Building your own
knowledge system; Superior thinking; Motivational influences on learning;
Intrinsically motivation in learning; Task’s characteristics that stimulate motivation;
Limits on individual development and favorable moments; Social acceptance, self-
esteem and learning; Individual differences in learning; Cognitive filters.

4 IES Project and AeL platform

MOTTO: "All what is correct thinking is either mathematics or feasible to be
transposed in a mathematical model." Grigore C. Moisil

The IES - Informational Educational System is a complex program initiated by
Research and Education Ministry in 2001, with main objective supporting the
teaching-learning process in academic levels with the newest technologies. The
program supports the objectives of education Reform, it is according to the action plan
e-Europe 2005 started by The European Union and with the European initiative of e-
Learning. The program is implemented by a public-private partnership. The main
companies involved in the IES implementation are SIVECO Romania, HP and IBM
(Siveco, 2001). IES was created as an integrated solution at national level made of
local and regional network
solutions. Each informatics lab
in schools is an integrated
solution by itself, ready to use
by teachers and students. IT labs
(local solutions) are integrated
in a logic network that includes
all the schools in a region. All
regional systems are themselves
integrated in a national network
connected to Internet and
controlled by the management
IES unit which is at the
Research and Education
Ministry.
Nowadays, the following have been done:
High schools: 1510 informational platforms (25 computers, servers, printer etc) –
37150 latest generation computers; 1510 servers; 1510 installed and configured
networks; over 3000 formed network administrators; over 23800 trained professors;





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Schools: 3228 informational platforms – 33000 latest generation computers; 3228
servers; 3229 installed and configured networks; over 35000 trained professors; CCD:
42 platforms for professors’ tutoring – 840 computers; 42 servers; 210 instructors; 25
credits out of 90 onto course levels (Istrate and Jugureanu, 2006, Jugureanu 2005).
AEL is a complete solution for e-Learning, teaching/learning support. AEL
has administrative and delivering capabilities of various types of educational content,
such as multimedia interactive and tutorial materials, exercises, simulations,
educational games and so on. AEL is an integrated teaching/learning and content
management system; meant to support professors/tutors, students, content developers,
and the other participants in education process. Although initially conceived for
universities/education at distance, AEL is know used for the academicals level, being
extremely suited for various language studies, regions, various study levels and types
of organizations. The latest technologies are being used: Enterprise Java Beans, jdbc,
Java servlets, jsp-s, Java applets, XML.
The IES Project is considered to be the most reworded Romanian e-Project.
Thereby, AeL – Learning and Content Management System – platform has been
noticed and reworded in the European Competition e-Europe Awards for e-
Government (http://www.e-europeawards.org). Also, AEL Lessons, in a competition
with 20000 projects from 168 countries, were considered the best educational content
in the world. The competition was called World Summit Award (http://www.wsis-
award.org) and designated it’s winners in the WSIS, at Tunis in 2005. These results
were possible through the consequent involvement of the SIVECO company in
supporting various local, national or international events in the e-Learning field:
“Siveco Coup – national contest of educational software” (organized by Siveco
company), NCVL – National Conference on
Virtual Learning and ICVL – International
Conference on Virtual Learning (organized by
Bucharest University), eLSE – Scientific
communications session “e-Learning and
educational software” (organized by “Carol I”
National Defence University), NCES – National
Conference on Educational Software (RAER -
Romanian Association of Educational Resources,
Brasov), OnLine EDUCA Berlin (organized by
ICWE GmbH-Berlin, www.online-educa.com ) etc.
The AeL e-Learning platform is an integrated, complete platform of computer
assisted training and content management. It offers the basis to teach and learn, to test
and evaluate, to administrate the content, to monitor the learning and curricular
concept process. Educational content (lessons – educational software) : 1700
multimedia lessons; 9500 interactive and individual moments; 7400 simulations of
phenomenon studied in school; 1100 process emulations; 3 math, physics and
chemistry editing programs; 7 interactive tutorials for PC utilization; courses for
English language lessons, for study years 1-8 (Siveco 2006).
Academic AEL platform is a learning platform assisted by computer through
flexible excellence, with a friendly interface, specially created for educational and
administrative needs of a university creating (Siveco 2006):





44 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• Filling the existing system with standardized educational content specific for
technical faculties (process simulators, virtual experiments, chemical labs, dedicated
diagrams and graphics);
• The integration of applications with specialized informatics applications (IOLS,
simulators, editors, video – conference, CAD software, dedicated platforms, virtual
encyclopaedias and dictionaries, knowledge bases);
• Improvement of present modules for management of didactic activities and of
communication with different functions (forum, chat, video-conferences, time
schedule, opinion polls, organization of packages for courses, planning, tracking and
evaluating educational activities for creating and administrating educational content,
multimedia materials, students’ testing and evaluating, monitoring the training process
and evaluating its results).

5 What’s next ? Adaptive thinking ?

MOTTO: “The book of nature is written in the characters of geometry" Galileo

The dynamic of informational flow in the last years creates an amazing vision on
educational process, and mostly on school activities. In a perspective of only 10 – 15
years, we know today that our students, because of technological diversification to
which they will be direct participants, will have to change 10 – 14 places of work by
the age of 38. This is also because the 10 most wanted jobs that will be in 2010 didn’t
exist in 2004.
An educational system has to implement new valences considering that fact we are
preparing pupils and students for:
• Jobs that not exist and are not defined yet;
• To use technologies that aren’t yet invented;
• To solve problems about we don’t know-how to be solved.
All these aspects have to be analyzed and implemented considering that today the
following are already happening (Intel Education Services 2007):
• Every month 2,7 billions of unique questions are enunciated on Google;
• Every day over 6 billions of text files are surfing the INTERNET:
• Over 3000 books are published every day and the informational volume of the
year 2007 reaches 1.5 Exabytes (1.5 x 10
18
), meaning more than the information
sum of the last 5000 years; the increase rate is doubled every 2 years.
These challenges and changes in the society have to determine essential adaptations to
these changes for all factors of the educational process:
• Pupils, students and professors have to be prepared to face the fact that
everything they learn in the first 2 years of study, in the 3
rd
year is already old;
• The teaching-learning-examination methods have to quickly adapt to modern
educational methods.
The common element of every present educational system is the 3 “gained cognitive
reflexes”: writing, reading, calculating. We will have to know to create this kind of
reflex: computing thinking or statistic thinking.
Beyond writing, reading, and calculating we will have to invent another thing:
adaptive thinking! The presence of simulators, process emulators, and formative





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interactivity in the true act of learning it cannot be at “fashion” level, but it must rise to
“necessity”. The multimedia interactive educational content and integrated
platforms for computer assisted education (CAE) can answer the question: “How do
we form adaptive thinking?”

References
[1] A. Anohina, Analysis of the terminology used in the field of virtual learning,
Educational Technology & Society, 8 (3), 91-102,
(http://www.ifets.info/journals/8_3/9.pdf ), 2005
[2] Roger E. Bohn, Measuring and Managing Technological Knowledge, pp. 295-
314 in Dale Neef a.o., Eds, The Economic Impact of knowledge, Butterworth-
Heinemann, Boston, 1998 and Sloan Management Review, vol. 36, number 1,
fall 1994, http://irps.ucsd.edu/faculty/faculty-directory/roger-e-bohn.htm
[3] Mihai Drăgănescu, “Societatea informaŃională şi a cunoaşterii. Vectorii
societăŃii cunoaşterii.” 2001, www.acad.ro
[4] Florin G. Filip, portalul ROINTERA, Academia Română, www.rointera.ro , 2004
[5] O. Istrate, R. Jugureanu, “eLearning – componente didactice”, CNIV-2006,
Virtual Learning-Virtual Reality, ConferinŃa NaŃională de ÎnvăŃământ Virtual,
Software şi Management EducaŃional, EdiŃia a IV-a, 27-29 octombrie 2006,
Editura UniversităŃii din Bucureşti, 2006 (Editori: M. Vlada, Gr. Albeanu, D.M.
Popovici) (ISSN 184 - 4708), http://fmi.unibuc.ro/cniv/2006/, pag. 27-36
[6] Radu Jugureanu, ”Proiectare pedagogică a soft-ului educaŃional. Taxonomia lui
Bloom şi Bloom-Anderson”, Arhiva CNIV 2005,
http://fmi.unibuc.ro/ro/cniv_2005/
[7] Ana Maria Lăculeanu, Tehnologia informaŃiei cu aplicaŃii în sistemul
educaŃional, Teză de doctorat, ASE, 2006
[8] M. Vlada, Al. Tugui “Information Society Technologies - The four waves of
information technologies”, ICVL-2006, Virtual Learning - Virtual Reality,
International Conference on Virtual Learning, Software and Educational
Management, 1
st
Edition, october 27-29 2006, Bucharest University Press,
(ISBN 978-973-737-218-5) (http://fmi.unibuc.ro/icvl/2006/ ), pp. 69-82, 2006
[9] M. Vlada, “Tehnologiile societăŃii informaŃionale”, CNIV-2005, Virtual
Learning - Virtual Reality, ConferinŃa NaŃională de ÎnvăŃământ Virtual, Software
şi Management EducaŃional, EdiŃia a III-a, 28-30 octombrie 2005, Editura
UniversităŃii din Bucureşti, (ISBN 973-737-097-X)
(http://fmi.unibuc.ro/ro/cniv_2005/ ), pp. 19-32, 2005
[10] M. Vlada, “SupremaŃia limbajelor în domeniul procesării informaŃiilor şi
cunoştinŃelor”. Sesiunea de comunicări ştiinŃifice cu participare internaŃională,
“Provocări la adresa securităŃii şi strategiei la începutul secolului XXI”,
SecŃiunea E-Learning şi Software EducaŃional, UNAP, 14 -15 aprilie 2005,
Editura UniversităŃii NaŃionale de Apărare, Bucureşti, pp. 165-178, 2005
[11] M. Vlada, „Virtual Learning - Virtual Reality”, Sesiunea de comunicări
ştiinŃifice cu participare internaŃională, secŃiunea E-Learning şi Software
educaŃional, SecŃiunea 9, vol. 1, UniversităŃii NaŃionale de Apărare, Editura





46 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
UniversităŃii NaŃionale de Apărare, ISBN 973-7854-44-6, Bucureşti, 2006, pag.
149-158 (www.unap.ro )
[12] M. Vlada, Birotică: Tehnologii multimedia, Editura UniversităŃii din Bucureşti,
ISBN 973-575-847-4, 2004
[13] http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/home.cfm, http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp7/,
http://www.cordis.lu/ist/
[14] http://www.intime.uni.edu/
[15] http://portal.edu.ro/index.php, www.advancedelearning.com,
http://www.siveco.ro/
[16] Intel Education Services, http://www97.intel.com/education/
[17] Bersin & Associates, http://www.bersin.com/
[18] HP Education Service, http://www.hp.com/education/
[19] Portalul SEI, http://portal.edu.ro
[20] 2020 Science, Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK




























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E-Learning metrics

Grigore Albeanu

UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies at University of Oradea,
University Street No. 1, 410087, ROMANIA,
E-mail: galbeanu@gmail.com; http://www.ad-astra.ro/galbeanu/


Abstract
This paper presents some aspects on E-Learning metrics in order to improve the
evaluation of the capability and maturity in E-Learning. Starting with quality
assurance for E-Learning items, the article reviews the E-Learning Capability
and Maturity models and proposes a fuzzy logic based method to estimate the
level of capability and maturity.

Keywords: capability and maturity models, metrics, e-learning, fuzzy logic

1 Introduction
Quality in the field of E-Learning is already an important issue both in theory and
practice. This paper considers the E-Learning paradigm and presents some aspects
related to quality evaluation in the framework of the e-Learning Capability Maturity
Model. There are some level of capability & maturity depending on the entity
involved: SEI CMMI – software development (adapted for E-Learning), OCDMM –
for online course design, ECM
2
– for global e-learning development (people,
technology an processes), EMM – covering only E-Learning maturity, and E-CMM – a
variant of SEI CMMI for quality improvement in higher education. Such approaches
can be used during the implementation of the quality standard ISO/IEC 19796-1 for an
E-learning organisation. The mentioned models were developed by (SEI, CMMI-2007)
and (Albeanu & Popentiu-Vlădicescu, 2005), (Neuhauser, 2004), (Manford &
McSporan, 2003), (Marshall & Mitchell, 2007), and (Baig et al, 2007) respectively.
The second section addresses the basic terminology and the main capability and
maturity models for E-Learning. The third section describes a method based on fuzzy
logic to establish a capability and maturity model starting with a questionnaire
established for e-Learning practices, based on a capability-maturity model. Finally,
some conclusions are presented.

2 E-Learning Terms and Capability-Maturity Models
Considering the study of (Anohina, 2005) and the references to be mentioned, in the
following, the basic terminology related to the “Virtual Learning” has to be well
understood when dealing with the assessment of capability and maturity for E-Learning.
“Computer based learning” can be used when the computer is not connected to
a network, but materials are local according to (Admiraal, 2003) and (IoniŃă, 2006).
Computer-based learning is not a subset of online learning, as we shall explain bellow.





48 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
“Web-based learning” uses the HTTP protocol (Angelini et al, 2005), while
“Internet-based learning” can use any IP-based protocol and is broader than web-
based learning (Albeanu, 2007). The “Online learning” is based on networking (any
kind of computer network). Internet-based learning is only a subset of online learning.
The following technologies are addressed in online learning: text e-books, e-mail,
forum, chat, interactive quiz tools, power-point slides, web-pages, audio and video
materials, telephone (VoIP or classic), voice mail, instant messaging, video conference
etc. More information and consideration can be found in (Gâf-Deac, 2001), (Pauls,
2003), (IoniŃă, 2006) and (Wright, 2006).
“E-learning” is a synonym for electronic learning (not only network-based or
non-network-based) requiring an improved “e-Competence” according to (Admiraal,
2003), (Angelini et al, 2005), (Attwel, 2003), (Carabaneanu et al, 2006), Mac
Labhrainn et al, 2006) and (Ehlers, 2007). “Distance learning” covers both electronic
and non-electronic based learning (for instance, the ordinary mail). More details can be
found in (Gâf-Deac, 2001). The “Technology-based learning” is delivered via any
technology, and contains also the distance learning (including TV, Radio etc),
according also to (McBride & McMullen, 1996), (David & Lourdeaux, 1998), (Gâf-
Deac, 2001) and (Admiraal, 2003). The “Resource-based learning” is a general form
of learning, using all necessary resources suitable for active learners. This type of
learning has to be based on knowledge society advancement and resource-competence,
according to (Albeanu, 2007). The “Collaborative learning” is a groupware paradigm
using the following tools: forum, textual chat, file sharing, audio communication,
screen sharing, integrated e-mail, instant messages, polling, group calendar, video
communication, whiteboard, workspace awareness, application sharing, floor sharing,
version control, collaborative browsing, virtual hand raising, voice chat, collaborative
viewing, synchronization of content etc., as (Albeanu, 2007) mentioned. The
“Distributed learning” is the resource-based learning with distributed resources
(hardware, software and databases), according to (Albeanu, 2007). The term “Virtual
Learning Environment” describes an integrated set of online tools, databases and
managed resources used in education, not necessary using Virtual Reality Resources.
However, a common view on virtual learning environments refers to on-line domains
allowing both synchronous (chat, conference, etc) and asynchronous (e-mail, forum,
file transfer etc.) collaborative interaction among teachers and learners, according to
(Dillenbourg, 2000), Barajas et al, 2002), (McKeller & Manarg, 2005) and (Andreatos,
2006). The “Immersive Learning Environments” are based on Virtual Reality
Resources supporting immersion (virtual room, CAVE, virtual worlds, etc) as (Fuks &
Assis, 2001), (Albeanu, 2007) and (LightFeather, 2007) considered. The “Virtual
communities” are groups of real or virtual entities sharing the same interests, values,
jargon, leaders, titles, ways of communicating and exchanging information and
knowledge, according to Andreatos (2006). A special case of virtual community is
based on Internet interaction. However, other virtual communities are active in real
world or/and virtual worlds as (Allen et al, 2003) and (Andreatos, 2006) mentioned.
The reciprocal events that require at least two entities and two activities (actions
during interaction) are called “Interactions”. Interaction is completely different from
interactivity, which address only the interaction between user and technology. As
interactions, we mention the following: learner-instructor, learner-learner, learner-





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content, learner-self instructions, and learner-interface. When deal with Person-Centred
E-Learning the trainer should address: the learner’s intellect, his/her social skills, and
personality, according to (Motschnig-Pitrik & Nykl, 2003).
The above considerations shows why “Virtual learning” is a subset of
technology-based learning using Virtual Reality Technologies or/and Virtual
Environments, which is a consistent approach when referring to (Fuchs & Moreau,
2006): “Virtual Reality is a scientific and technical field using computer science and
behaviour interfaces to simulate in a virtual world the real time behaviour of the 3D
entities interacting among them and with users having been in a pseudo-natural
immersion by specific communication channels”.
Quality in the field of E-Learning is already an important issue both in theory and
practice. The Quality Standard ISO/IEC 19796-1 is the basic framework for quality
development in organizations in the field of learning, education, and training, consisting
of a description model and a process model. The ‘Description Model’ describes quality
approaches (such as guidelines, design guides, requirements) and documents all quality
concepts, while the ‘Process Model’ is a guide through the different processes when
developing learning scenarios, as (Strache, 2007) revealed. The ‘Process Model’ is
divided in seven parts: NA – Needs Analysis, FA – Framework Analysis, CD –
Conception/Design, DP – Development/Production, IM – Implementation, LP –
Learning Process, and EO – Evaluation / Optimisation. Every part is detailed in sub-
processes. When applying a quality assessment plan, the researcher can obtain valuable
information concerning the student expectations, like: professional or career
enhancement, flexibility, technology innovation, applicable content, active participation,
responses-feedback, affective feedback, focused messaging. Also, when dealing with
virtual learning, any organization, trainer (instructor) or learner has to consider the
following items: Context Standards (learning communities, leadership and resources),
Process Standards (planning online learning goals, professional evaluation, impact
evaluation, design, learning, and collaboration), and Content Standards (equity and
quality), as (Albeanu, 2007) mentioned.
Maturity models were used long time ago as (Manford & McSporran, 2003)
already stated. Recently, an important model for software organisations was developed
and applied for rating and improving the capability and maturity of such companies.
(Albeanu et al, 2005) considered the usage of CMM (SEI, 2007) in the framework of a
Total Quality Management approach when deal with software. Such an approach can
be easily extended for companies working for E-Learning platforms or E-content
development, as some researchers already proved depending on the addressed target:
(Manford & McSporran, 2003), (Neushauser, 2004), (Baig et al, 2006) and (Marshall
& Mitchel, 2007). Other assessment models are already available: (Hutter et al, 2004),
(Barchino et al, 2006) and (ARACIS, 2007).
Maturity models, according to (Manford & McSporran, 2003), are based on the
following aspects:
• The metrics (measurement) – which metrics can be used and how long did this
task take? How much is the cost of such a development? For e-Learning
software development the metrics are reviewed by (Albeanu, 2002). For E-
Content provided by an E-Learning System, some metrics for text readability
and understanding will be used, together with the requirement for interactivity.





50 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Other important attributes are: correctness, accuracy, precision, consistency
and usability. An E-learning maturity index can be established based on the
history of E-Learning items.
• The maturity hierarchy – consisting in a number of levels or stages showing
the performance in particular organisational processes and providing useful
information for improving capability. For E-Content development there are
also stages of maturity a capability, but this not an easy task, as (Neuhauser,
2004) stated. Considering a five-stage hierarchy, OCDMM-developed by
(Neuhauser, 2004) consists of the following levels: Initial, Exploring,
Awakening, Strategizing and Integrating Best Practices. For every level, there
are five key process areas: components and appearance (KPA
1
), individualized
and personal (KPA
2
), use of technology (KPA
3
), socialization and interactivity
(KPA
4
), and assessment (KPA
5
).
• Proceeding to the next level is important because the processes that are better
defined can lead to better products/services.
The e-Learning Capability Maturity Model (ECM
2
), developed by (Manford &
McSporran, 2003), comprises five levels as the software CMM approach provided by
SEI. For every level some key performance areas (KPAs) are identified. These KPAs
fall into three categories: people, processes and technology. The first level – called
initial – represents the immaturity. Success of such a company depends on the abilities,
efforts and organization of individuals. It is an ‘ad hoc’ style for product development.
The second level – called independent – claims about the existence of some system for
the management of e-learning projects, but each project operates independent from
others possible with a large bias. The main advantage is the possibility of data
collection from projects to be used as a basis for estimation and planning of future
projects. The third level – called shared – guarantees the sharing of expertise between
areas. The processes are well defined. The main characteristic of the fourth level –
called organised – is that systems and procedures (related to staff, learner, trainer,
project management) are available as organisation-wide and the products will be of
predictable high quality. The last level – called learning – claims that the organisation
has the necessary data to analyse failures during product development and deployment
and perform cost benefit analysis on new technologies and evaluate new methods. This
will be a guarantee for the success of the new projects and the all processes are
considered as ordinary business activities. Compared against the Software CMMI the
naming convention is changed to reflect more the field under consideration.
EMM can be used by organizations to “assess and compare their capability to
develop, deploy and support e-learning”, according to (Marshall & Mitchell, 2007). The
mentioned authors identify five dimensions of capability: delivery, planning, definition,
management, and optimisation. Also five KPAs were proposed: learning, development,
support, evaluation, and organisation. As we can see, this model is different from ECM
2
,
but all these models are hierarchical (usually five levels or dimensions) and measure a
number of KPAs based on a maturity and capability questionnaire.
The maturity model for online course design, proposed by (Neuhauser, 2004),
“may serve as a tool in planning and assessing” the courses provided by some
organisation and improving their quality according to best practices and the state of the
art in the field.





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The next section will present a model to establish the degree of membership to a
capability/maturity level for an organisation involved in e-Learning.

2 A Method to Establish the Maturity Level

Based on our previous experience in the assessment of capability and maturity of a
research team, we found that three approaches can be used to establish the maturity
level. The first one is deterministic. An 80% fulfilment of the requirements of
previously and current level is necessary. The second one deals with subjective
probabilities, as described in (Albeanu et al, 2005). In the following we present the
third approach based on fuzzy techniques: fuzzy logic/membership degrees.
Firstly, one establishes for every item an indicator in the interval [0, 1]. This
indicator can be interpreted as a partially truth (fuzzy logic) or a membership degree
(MD – fuzzy set theory). Of course, when the degrees are binary values, the
deterministic or probabilistic approaches can be used.
The other approach uses appropriate linguistic variables to describe the degree of
satisfiability of every request in maturity questionnaire. For example, the second item
in assessing the L
51
key process area, namely “Are learners engaged through multiple
opportunities for input?” can be interpreted quantitatively: “How many learners are
engaged through multiple opportunities for input?” with answers like: ALL (MD = 1),
almost ALL (MD = 0.8), More than HALF (MD = 0.6), almost HALF (MD = 0.4),
Few (MD = 0.1). When linguistic variables are used, a membership degree computing
is necessary.
The main idea, in a fuzzy inference process, is to use a T-norm (triangular norm)
for computing the membership degree, step by step. A T-norm is any function T: [0,1]
→ [0, 1], that satisfies the following four conditions:
a) Boundary conditions: T(0, 0) = 0, T(x, 1) = x;
b) Commutativity: T(x, y) = T(y, x);
c) Monotonicity: If x < u and y < v then T(x, y) < T(u, v) and
d) Associativity: T(T(x, y), z) = T(x, T(y, z)).
A T-norm may be used to define the fuzzy and of two fuzzy values, where (x and y) =
T(x, y).
The best approach is to compute the membership degree at KPA level, then
use the KPA results to obtain membership degree considering only KPAs at some
level. Let us denote the membership degree for the L
ij
key process area by D
ij
. The
indicator D
ij
is obtained using the responses at corresponding items using a T–norm
operator. In the next step, we compute the following indicators, for OCDMM:
K
2
= T(D
21
, D
22
, D
23
, D
24
, D
25
),
K
3
= T(D
31
, D
32
, D
33
, D
34
, D
35
),
K
4
= T(D
41
, D
42
, D
43
, D
44
, D
45
) and
K
5
= T(D
51
, D
52
, D
53
, D
54
, D
55
).
At this stage we can process hierarchically the indicators K
i
(i = 2, 3, 4, and 5) in order
to obtain the membership degrees corresponding to the capability and maturity levels:
L
2
= K
2
, L
3
= T(L
2
, K
3
), L
4
= T(L
3
, K
4
) and L
5
= T(L
4
,K
5
). Of course, L
1
= 1.
A large variety of T-norms are available in literature. However, for our
purpose we found that the min operator ((x, y) → min (x, y)) is more appropriate. Other





52 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
operators like: the algebraic product ((x, y) → xy), the bounded product ((x, y) →
max (0, x+y-1)), the Einstein product ((x, y) → xy/(2-x-y+xy)) and the Hamacher
product ((x, y) → xy/(x+y-xy)) are more pessimistic.
Considering our experience during Content development for e-Learning, and applying
a questionnaire inspired from (Neuhauser, 2004), we found that our membership
degree belonging to the second level is 0.7 and also the membership degree to the third
level, is 0.6. These results confirm also the investigations based on deterministic and
probabilistic approaches.
The concluding remarks and the section of references will close the present
investigation.

3 Concluding Remarks
During the previous sections we presented some aspects on E-Learning assessment
models in order to improve the evaluation of the capability and maturity in E-Learning.
Starting with quality assurance for E-Learning items, the article reviewed some of the
E-Learning Capability and Maturity models and described a fuzzy logic based method
to estimate the level of capability and maturity. The Questionnaire growth up step by
step to cover a large variety of aspects, but the assessment method can be used without
restrictions concerning the number of questions. We appreciate that further
investigation will be necessary in future, at least when we refer to the assessment of
capability and maturity of the Romanian entities providing Distance Learning
educational programs.

4 References
[1] Admiraal, W., de Laat M. and Rubens, W. (2003): ICT Support for Workplace
Learning: eLearning in Small and Medium Enterprises, ECER, Hamburg.
[2] Albeanu, G. (2002): Recent trends in software quality measurement, The Hyperion
Scienific Journal, Series A, 3, 2, pp. 181-187.
[3] Albeanu, G., Popentiu, F., Madsen, H. and Thyregod, P. (2005): A Probabilistic-
Fuzzy Approach for TQSEM, 14-16 September 2005, CDROM, ENBIS - 5
Newcastle Conference.
[4] Albeanu, G. and PopenŃiu-Vlădicescu, Fl. (2005): On the CMM approach for
TQSEM, Annals Univ. Oradea, Energetics, 11, pp. 33-40.
[5] Albeanu, G. (2007): Quality indicators and metrics for capability and maturity in e-
Learning, In (Roceanu I., Coord.) The International Scientific Conference on E-
learning Capabilities and Perspectives, Educational and Technical Dimensions,
“Carol I” National Defence University Publishing House, pp. 165-176.
[6] Allen, S., Ure D. and Evans, S. (2003): Virtual Communities of Practice as Learning
Networks, Brigham Young University.
[7] Andreatos, A. (2006): Informal Learning in Virtual Communities, In (M. Vlada, G.
Albeanu and D.M. Popovici, eds.) Proceedings of the 1st International Conference
on Virtual Learning (ICVL 2006), Bucharest-Romania, Bucharest University
Publishing House, pp. 91-98.
[8] Angelini, A., Gentile, E., Plantamura, P. and Plantamura, V.L. (2005): Web
Information System for e-Learning, Transactions on Engineering, Computing and
Technology, Vol. 8, pp. 209-212.





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[9] Anohina, A. (2005): Analysis of the terminology used in the field of virtual learning,
Educational Technology and Society, 8, 3, pp. 91-102.
[10] ARACIS (2007): External evaluation of the educational programmes offered by
distance learning (in Romanian), http://www.aracis.ro/uploads/259/ Partea_a_V-a_-
_Ghid_evaluare-ID.pdf.
[11] Attwell, G. (2003): The Challenge of e-Learning in Small Enterprises. Issues for
Policy and Practice in Europe, Cedefop panorama series, 82, European Union.
[12] Baig, M. Basharat, S. and Manzil-e-Maqsood (2006): A maturity model for quality
improvement in higher education, First International Conference on Assessing Quality in
Higher Education (ICAQHE) 2006: Prosperity Through Quality Education,
http://www.apqn.org/events/past/details/103/presentations/files/33_a_maturity_model_for_qi_in_he.pdf.
[13] Barajas, M., Scheuermann, F., Aguado, T., Alvarez B., Kikis, K. and Owen, M.
(2002): Virtual Learning: Implementation Practices in Traditional Learning Settings,
JurPC, http://www.jurpc.de/aufsatz/20020360.htm.
[14] Barchino, R., Gutierrez, J.M., Oton, S., Martinez, J.J., Hilera, J.R. and Gutierrez, J.A. (2006): E-
learning model for assessment, IADIS Virtual Multi Conference on Computer Science and
Information Systems (MCCSIS 2006), http://www.iadis.org/Multi2006/Papers/15/S025_EL.pdf.
[15] Carabaneanu, L., Trandafir, R. and Mierlus-Mazilu, I. (2006): Trends in E-Learning,
http://www.codewitz.net/papers/MMT_106-111_Trends_in_E-Learning.pdf, Proceedings of
MMT2006, pp. 106-111.
[16] David, P. and Lourdeaux, D. (1998): Une application de la réalité virtuelle dans le
domaine de la formation à la SNCF: Systèmes complexes, Systèmes intelligents et
Interfaces, http://caor.ensmp.fr/movie/rvra/sofi.mpg , Nîmes.
[17] Dillenbourg, P. (2000): Virtual Learning Environments. EUN Conference,
http://tecfa.unige.ch/tecfa/publicat/dil-papers-2/Dil.7.5.18.pdf, Workshop on Virtual
Learning Environments.
[18] Ehlers, U.-D. (2007): Towards greater quality literacy in an eLearning Europe,
eLearning papers, 2, 1, pp. 1-11.
[19] Ehlers, U.-D., Goertz, L., Hildebrandt, B. and Pawlowski, J.M. (2005): Quality in e-
learning. Use and dissemination of quality approaches in European e-learning,
Cedefop Panorama, 116, European Union.
[20] Fuchs, P. and Moreau, G. (2006; eds): Le traité de la réalité virtuelle (troisième
edition) 4 volumes : «L’Homme et l’environnement virtuel», 410 pp, «Interfaçage,
immersion et interaction en environnement virtuel», 552 pp, «Les outils et les
modèles informatiques des environnements virtuels», 454 pp, and «Les applications
de la réalité virtuelle», Les Presses de l’Ecole des Mines de Paris, 324 pages,
http://caor.ensmp.fr/interlivre.
[21] Fuks, H. and Assis, R.L. (2001): Facilitating Perception on Virtual Learningware-
based Environments, The Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 5, 1,
pp. 93-113.
[22] Gâf-Deac, I. (2001): Fundamentals of Open and Distance Learning (in romanian),
Infomin Publishing House.
[23] Hutter, O., Simonics, I., Wagner, B. and Sarvary, T. (2004): Standard-based E-
learning solutions in the higher education, In Global Research and Education in
Intelligent Systems. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference INTER-
ACADEMIA, Budapest, Vol. 2, pp. 467-475.
[24] IoniŃă, A. (2006): Trends in Profesional Learning in the Framework of Knowledge
Society, In (M. Vlada, G. Albeanu and D.M. Popovici, eds.) Proceedings of the 1st





54 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
International Conference on Virtual Learning (ICVL 2006), Bucharest-Romania,
Bucharest University Publishing House, pp. 29-36.
[25] LightFeather, J. (2007): Immersive Virtual Learning Environments for Nano
Science Education: A Paradigm Shift, The Nano-technology Group,
http://www.thenanotechnologygroup.org/downloads/Immersivelearningaparadigmshift.pdf .
[26] Mac Labhrainn, I., McDonald, Legg, C., Schneckenberg, D. and Wildt, J.
(2006): The Challenge of e-Competence in Academic Staff Development,
http://www.ecompetence.info/index.php?id=93.
[27] Manford, C. and McSporran, M. (2003): e-Learning quality: becoming a level five
learning organization, in Mann S. and Williamson A. (eds): Proceedings of the 16th
NACCQ, Palmerston North New Zeeland, pp. 343-348.
[28] Marshall, S. and Mitchell, G. (2007): Benchmarking International E-learning
capability with the E-learning maturity model, EDUCAUSE AustralAsia
Conference,
http://www.caudit.edu.au/educauseaustralasia07/authors_papers/Marshall-103.pdf.
[29] McBride, J.A. and McMullen, J.F. (1996): Using Virtual Reality for Distance
Teaching a Graduate Information Systems Course, Proceedings of the 29th Annual
Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 29), IEEE, pp. 263-
272.
[30] McKeller, P. and Maharg, P. (2005): Virtual learning environments: the alternative
to the box under the bed, The Law Teacher, 39, 1, pp. 43-56.
[31] Motschnig-Pitrik, R. and Nykl, L. (2003): First Steps Towards Person-Centered
e-Learning: Concept and Case Study in Project Management. Proceedings of the 1st
International Conference of the forces for Personal-Change in the Context of the
Person-Centered Approach, Brno.
[32] Neuhauser, Charlotte (2004): A maturity model: does it provide a path for online
course design?, The Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 3, 1 (17 pages).
[33] Panckhurst, R, David, S. and Whistlecroft, L. (2004): Evaluation in e-learning the
European Academic Software Award, Publications Montpellier 3.
[34] Pauls, T.S. (2003): The Importance of Interaction in Online Courses, The OLN &
ITEC Conference: The Convergence of Learning and Technology, Ohio,
http://www.oln.org/conferences/OLN2003/papers/Importance_of_ interactivity_ in_
Distance_Education_1.pdf.
[35] Strache, Ch. (2007): Quality Standards for Quality Development in e-Learning:
Adoption, Implementation and Adaptation of ISO/IEC 19796-1, QED,
http://www.qed-info.de/docs/quality_standards_qed.pdf.
[36] SEI (CMMI-2007): The Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University,
http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/.
[37] Wright, C. (2006): Selecting an Open-Source Online Course Development and
Delivery Platform: An Academic Perspective, Commonwealth of Learning and the
Caribbean Consortium, http://pcf4.dec.uwi.edu/viewpaper.php?id=278 [available
2007].






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E-education versus e-training
Life Long Learning perspective

Professor Ion Roceanu, PhD
1

(1) Advanced Distributed Learning Department of the “Carol I” National
Defence University, Romania, Bucharest, Panduri Street 68-72, ROMANIA
iroceanu@unap.ro

Abstract
This article makes a short comparative analysis between education and training
from prospective of adult learning based on ICT, which called e-training and e-
education. It is true that speaking about those aspects is very difficult to define a
boundary regarding the objective and aims of permanent learning, but is
obviously that in terms of e-learning technology there are some differences. The
differences occur when the system is set-up to deliver the knowledge and
competencies, digital content is developed and how to provide the tutorial
activity.

Keywords: e-content, e-education, e-training, adult learning


1. General aspects of e-learning, e-education and e-training
E-learning is the general term which defines the new educational paradigm,
based on information and communications technology. The boundaries of e-learning
there are not clearly established. Most of the e-learning specialists consider that this
concept comprises all educational aspects which can be fit into the information age.
From this perspective, we could meet a large variety of e-learning solutions depending
of the many variables and all are relating with specificities of institutional educational
systems and their aims and objectives. No one of all those solutions is exhaustive and
no one can be exported to other similar institutions. However, one thing is very certain:
each of them is based on main principles, as follows:
• Use of the information and communication technology in order to
deliver knowledge and to improve the learner’s abilities.
• The core of e-learning is represented by the digital content.
Nevertheless, developing the digital content is not based on the general
standards, and this aspect has a negative impact on the interoperability
and content repository.
• Student-centered system
• More flexibility in learning time management.
• Sharing courses by different types of networks, especially by Internet





56 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Let’s cast a glance on this picture (figure 1) which represents the most
representative elements of the e-learning system.


Figure 1 – Generic e-learning framework

The students there are in the center of the system, surrounded by the IT&C
infrastructure, hardware, software and communications networks on which are laid the
digital learning support. This framework is designed to conduct the learning processes
to reach the learning objectives. But which are those? Are those objectives different
from the traditional learning approach? The answer is definitely NOT. In this case the
differences could be not others than tools and methods to teach, to deliver the
knowledge.

In spirit of this article, and of course, according with the others authors, we
have to accept that e-learning is the generic term which gets a form only in the strict
relation with the learning objectives of the institutions. The institutions could cover a
very large area of interest, from primary education to universities or multinational
corporations. The learning objectives are very close to the structure of the human
resources, their expectations, their professional skills, area of interest etc. In this case,
it is clear that each of those types of institutions looks for specific e-learning solutions.
Thus, if we try to cut any component of the generic e-learning model, we will observe
that the model could be ineffective. In conclusion, adapting or tailoring an appropriate
e-learning system at the institutions requests should be made inside to the e-learning
components.
Consequently, if we want to speak about using IT&C in learning activities, we
have to concentrate on this assembly without excluding the others.

2. E-education and e-training commonality and specificity
The changing nature of the society and of the work means that increasingly,
professional or vocational skills are not enough. At work, the complexity of work
organization, the increase in the types of task that employees are called upon to carry
out, the introduction of flexible work patterns and of team working methods, mean that
the range of skills used in the work place is constantly widening.





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In figure no.2 is represented a simple scheme by means of which I try to
explain the relations between the dimensions of individual preparation for life. The
family, school and society generate the equal influence about person, but each of them
covers other dimensions of the individual learning. At the base of this triangle school
and society are situated, and those have within their major responsibility (but not
exclusive) developing abilities, knowledge and aptitudes

Figure no.2 – Dimensions of Life Long Learning


Current ICT integration into education is focusing attention on the formal and
non-formal contexts of learning, on their organization, on the time and space
environment as well as on the heart of learning, knowledge itself. New support
services are required in order to ease the use of ICT and to multiply the achievable
pedagogical gains, from services that facilitate the use of technological equipment, to
services that ensure Internet security; and to services that provide a better
personalization of the learning process in guiding, coaching, and tutoring individual
learners.
Going from this point and making a short review of education and training
with well known classical methods, the logical result is undoubted: if the training and
education are different in the classical approach, thus they are different in the digital
system.
Another question arises now: which are the main differences between
education and training in the classical framework and how those in the new e-learning
approach are reflected?
Dividing e-learning in at least two principal directions, e-education and e-
training, is taking into consideration, besides the formative objectives, both the
institutions in charge and tools and methods to reach the objectives.
2.1. E-education side
The e-education is more specific for the formal and institutional educational
framework, from primary schools to universities. Consequently, the target group for





58 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
the e-education is represented by scholarships and students. They need to accumulate a
large variety of knowledge, to learn how to think, to connect all school value with the
life reality, to transform the theory into practice and so on. For this reasons, the e-
content prepared to be delivered by IT&C infrastructure, designed for self learning or
assisted by the teacher, has to be in full accordance with the didactical and pedagogical
principles.
It is not my intention to go any deeper into the content and e-learning object
regarding the scholarship level; there are many other studies made by specialists, but it
is clear that the content at this level is more descriptive in the text or more explicit by
the multimedia objects.
2.2. E-training side
The e-training term is more widely used in close association with the Life
Long Learning in the adult learning area, professional skills development, and
corporate training activities.
In the area of training, work placements are valuable in enhancing
employability and in offering an insight into the world of work. Links with employers
are also important, for example, in providing trainers with a perspective on future skill
needs. The usually area of interests for the e-training aspect could be:
Vocational and Skills Training
• Further and Higher Education
• Corporate Induction and Training
• Professional Development
• Specialist Technical Training
• Statutory and Compliance Training
Due to my field of expertise, the military education field, I can state that this sector
is more relevant in using IT&C, in order to enhance the abilities, capabilities, skills and
so on.
In the military field, part of term associated to e-training has been defined, as
follows:
General Military Training. Training and/or education received after initial
training and education, roughly during the first 2-4 years of service usually
providing initial preparation and certification for a specific task, job,
and/or career.
Professional Development. Training and/or education received after
general military training and education, roughly after about 4 years of
service. Professional development includes both technical skill training
and career education.
Technical Skill Training. Training received any time after initial training,
emphasizing preparation of individuals or teams for specific tasks, jobs, or
duty assignments (e.g. operation of specific equipment, tactical language
training for specific locations).

According to the US military specialists in education and training sector, more
than a quarter of the military people from all military services are enrolled into
different forms of training. The costs for permanent training are very high, including





The 2
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both educational budget (teachers, facilities, laboratories, and exercises) and the cots
allocated to accommodation, transportation and other personnel.
Developing an integrated e-training system could bring many advantages, not only
the costs, such as:
Accessibility – Anywhere/anytime training for individuals and teams
Agility – ability to tailor instruction to individual needs
Increased quality of initial training
Increased quality of language and/or cultural training

Conclusion
The e-training and e-education there are members of the same family. The
differences between then there are not more relevant than the similarities and
consequently before the speaking of one of them we speak about e-learning.

References:

[1] Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and
training systems in Europe, Official Journal of the European Communities,
14.6.2002
[2] Implementation of “Education & Training 2010” work programme,
EUROPEAN COMMISSION Directorate-General for Education and Culture
[3] US Army’s Advanced Distributed Learning Vision, 2001, Department of
Defense Library
[4] The International Relations and Security Network’s e-Learning Project, ISN e-
Learning Project Description / Zurich, 10/23/03
[5] Figgis, J., Alderson, A., Blackwell, A., Butorac, A., Mitchell, K., & Zubrick,
A. (2001). What convinces enterprises to value training and learning and what
does not? A study in using case studies to develop cultures of training and
learning. The Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research ,
http://www.ncver.edu.au/research/proj/nr9016.pdf







60 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta








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Using e-Learning to Optimize Human Resources
Training on the Job in Simulated Enterprises

Adrian AdăscăliŃei
1
, Dan Gâlea
2


(1) Iaşi ”Gh. Asachi” Technical University
53, Dimitrie Mangeron Blvd. Iaşi, RO- 700050, ROMANIA
E-mail: aadascal@ee.tuiasi.ro
(2) Iaşi ”Gh. Asachi” Technical University
53 A, Dimitrie Mangeron Blvd. Iaşi, RO- 700050, ROMANIA
E-mail: dan.galea@datainvest.ro


Abstract
Basic educational challenge is to use educational innovation in the form of
virtual learning organization development and implementation. The field of e-
business is multidisciplinary and in this way it is needed to develop cross fields
educational environment useful for every field of studies relevant for present
business. The challenge is to develop such an environment to enhance all socio-
economic and technical aspects of teaching which will be supported by modern
ICT solution. APPEL “Leonardo da Vinci” project elearning framework is an
innovative approach to create a technology-based environment where students
will have to react to the direct repercussions of decisions using appropriate tools
in order to adapt to the continuously changing business environment. In the
paper two cases as examples of innovative teaching methods for e-marketplaces
and e-business are presented. This is followed by presentation of the initiative of
APPEL project development for integration of research and practice for teaching
of e-business and e-marketplaces.

Keywords: e-Learning, Simulated Enterprises, Optimization, Human
Resources, Training


1 The Simulated Enterprise. Definitions
The Simulated Enterprise is a didactic model much presented in the field of the
technical-commercial institutes. The Simulated Enterprise faithfully reproduces the
structure and the functions of a real enterprise in all the aspects that regard the
organization, the times of job, the relational atmospheres, documentation and aspects.
The virtual company not only provides the business and IT skills that are necessary as
a member of the work force, but also supports awareness of the importance of self-
leaning and an understanding of international business and culture.
Innovation in the formation and the learning





62 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In the simulated company the structure of an enterprise office in a determined field or
branch of activity is reproduced. The students are in a productive truth in which they
can learn and realize the various tasks.
The objective of the Practice Firm
The Practice Firm’s educational objectives are for students to acquire and enhance
their skills and abilities to: -Perform tasks in the Practice Firm in a competent way; -
Make decisions and evaluate the consequences of their choices; Use modern office
equipment and technologies; Work, cooperate and communicate with other employees;
Engage in problem solving activities and understand the sequences and facts of
commercial operations; Understand managerial aims and organizational structure so as
to maximize contributions to the organization.
To be responsible, to solve problems/conflicts, to take decisions, to actively engage in
activities are the key qualifications in the learning process.
The Practice Firm experience prepares students for their eventual entry into the real
world of business.

2 Optimization of the mode of study in simulated enterprises (EEP
1
)
by E-learning
Leonardo da Vinci project, APPEL
2
, RO / 05 / B / FR / PP175026, “Optimization of
the mode of study in simulated enterprises (EEP) by E-learning” offers, from a
synthesis of tasks to be carried out on the following workstations: computer science
and computer service, secretariat – accountancy – management and marketing – sale –
export, to link to every stage of the execution of a job by a student in EEP, tools
evaluated and ordered by considering a pedagogic progress. These tools can be tools of
study, evaluation of knowledge, tools offering a practical exercise, a simulation, a
questionnaire, a pedagogic game, etc.

2.1 Project context
The project is built around the concept of training on line. It makes the assumption that
with a difficulty in the data processing sequence of the operations which are reserved
for him, and in the absence of the director of the EEP or of other formative framing,
the trainee can resort to a tool or a teaching resource on line meeting his needs. This
recourse is carried out via a gate created for this purpose.
The accessible resources are downloadable or consultable on line and student will
have been sensitized beforehand with this working method. It is a question of
optimizing the mode of training on line to make student autonomous in a difficult
situation and to enable him to advance in the acquisition of knowledge. Let us recall
that this project is in a context of reduction of the costs of operation of the EEP,
therefore in optimization of the human and material means to provision of learning.
This project has thus as an aim to introduce e-learning in EEP. It results from a co-
operative work between European partners on the set of themes of the training in EEP
via the ITC, of the exploration of the current practices in this field and a concerted

1
EEP, entreprise d’entraînement pédagogique
2
Optimisation du mode d’APPrentissage en entreprise d’entraînement pédagogique
par le E-Learning





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proposal holding account of specific cultural diversities to each participating country.
Of course, from the beginning of the project, the concept of EEP is quite identical in
each country partners, that is to say a support for a formation individualized in the field
of the tertiary sector, reproducing the principal functions of the services of a company
(except that of the production). In Romania, the EEP are generally established in
university structures.

2.2 Methodology of collecting data on e-learning materials and portal structure
The work completed during the first phase of the project is:
a panorama of tools used and listed in the three countries partners,
the methods of indexing of the tools listed on a basis of resources on line,
the reference frames created starting from the activities and tasks related to each
three functions:
• data processing and data-processing maintenance,
• secretariat - accountancy - management and,
• marketing - sale - export.



Projectinformation

ConsortiumandStructure

Events

Newsletters


Links

Forum

Download

Databaseone-EEP

romoter Organization:
.Asachi"Technical Univesity of
avenue, D. Mangeron, no 67, 70050,
ROMANIA
act Person: Dan Gâlea
++ 40 2 32 278 680/1327
il: dan_galea@cs.tuiasi.ro

Project Coordinator:
Groupement d'Intérêt public formation, insertion
professionnelle del'Académie de Grenoble, avenue
Salvador Allende, no. 17, 38130, ECHIROLLES, FRANCE
Contact Person: M. Jean Noël Pachoud
Tel: 0476234234
e-mail: Jean-Noel.Pachoud@ac-grenoble.fr

http://eep.tuiasi.ro/index_en.html
Database on e-EEP
Figure 1. APPEL Leonardo Project Portal

This research work is addressed to any person having management, training, or
administrative responsibilities within an EEP. Also, results of the project are devoted
to people involved in various functions existing in an EEP. Efforts where to harmonize
common references necessary to the mutual comprehension of the project by the whole
of the European partners participating in the project. This framework of references
results from a collective work on the comprehension of the context, the objectives and





64 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
the expected results of the project. It constitutes a base of shared definitions, in
conformity with the European references.
Simulations of typical E-learning situations into the EEP are developed, the methods of
access to the portal of resources are described (free access versus access prescribed),
and the tools of assistance and of accompaniment of learning worked out by the
trainers are presented.
Methods of use of the portal (Figure 1.) at various levels (administrator of the data,
trainers, and students), methods of possible research for the trainers and learning them,
the actualization of the resources of the gate are developed.

3. Supported Self-Learning and Assisted Self – Learning
Learning Methodologies
Choosing which learning methodology to employ depends on the learning objectives,
the specific characteristics and the needs of the learners and on other factors related to
technology and time. However, it should be noted that the learning methodologies
complement one the other and can be integrated to meet predefined learning
objectives:
• Virtual Classroom. The aim of this phase is to motivate the trainees for the subject.
• Supported Self-learning. Trainees are supposed to acquire the basic concepts of the
subject.
• Collaborative Learning. Discussion and sharing of common tasks and learning
assignments. Possible development of common projects.
Whatever approach or combination of learning methodologies is adopted within an e-
learning context, the following values for student success should be considered:
A. Learner-centred: learners are in control of their learning experience. They make
informed decisions about what and how to learn based on their needs and learning
styles.
B. Engaging: learner commitment; immerse the learner in the experience. The
learning environment should establish relevance, build learner confidence, and
challenge learners with realistic problems and solutions that they can take back to
the workplace.
C. Interactive: learners experience the highest level of meaningful interaction
D. Media support: learners’ needs should be considered and then the appropriate
instructional methods should be determined. The most suitable media should be
selected to effectively and efficiently support the methods and the learners.
E. Content structure: content is organised and structured so that learners can
efficiently remember and transfer what they have learned.
Development scenarios in distance learning. The training can be developed –
according to the needs of the learners and the training provider – taking into account
the different relationships between the “actors” in the system and the different learning
contexts they create.
Online learning relations. There are four possible actors in a learning path: the one who
learns (trainee-learner), the learning materials, the teacher /trainer, the group of peers.
The learning can take place- starting from the learner’s needs or from choices made by
the trainer – according to procedures foreseeing different relations between the “actors”
and creating different learning contexts: Self-learning and Supported self-learning.





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Self learning. The learner relates only with the on-line didactic material. The didactic
material should be self sufficient and complete so that the following functions can be
undertaken: it should contain an interactive element; it should supply and maintain
motivation; it should supply the necessary support; it should set up a control system.
The technology, which is used, should allow the material to be implemented, provide
support and feedback to the tutor. A user-friendly interface allows this objective to be
achieved.
The main advantage of this learning methodology is the lack of costs for the trainer/
teacher/ tutor. Nevertheless this tutor absence is also its main limiting factor.
It is the on-line equivalent of individual studying with the aid of a book: for some users
it is sufficient and it can be adapted for simple topics. However publishing a book is
not training just as giving a book to a student is not studying. Therefore it is limited to
publishing the contents and not on-line training.
This scenario presupposes that the student has the capacity to self diagnose his/ her
own learning needs, to plan a learning path, to select the most appropriate information
from the material available in order to achieve the stated objectives. Also once the
material has been selected the material must be able to autonomously manage it’s own
learning and set out a realistic learning plan.
The methodology of supported self-learning is learner-centred i.e. the learner is
responsible for his/her progress and develops its own learning and problem-solving
strategy. This methodology has a higher degree of flexibility as the learner decides on
the time, the place and the pace of learning. On the other hand, the tutor models,
mediates and explains, redirects focus and provides options. The tutor coaches learners
and in general supports them through the learning process by providing feedback, self-
learning material and an evaluation system. It should be noted that the materials used
for self-learning should allow independent study and should be well prepared,
motivating and properly structured in the following: objectives, content, tasks and self-
assessment exercises, answer keys and motivating and facilitating learning elements.
The main goals of the supported self-learning methodology are described below:
Encourage the learner to learn autonomously, according to one’s own interests,
needs, pace, and time availability.
Individualise learning paths and pace, according to knowledge, skills and
competences previously acquired by the individual learner.
Allow greater interaction between tutors and learners, as it is a learner-centred
scenario.
Encourage confident and continuous personal use of ICT for flexible learning.
Self-learning implies that learning is self-paced. Learners learn through an engaging
and instructionally sound way, which involves high degree of interactivity. Self-paced
courses include various activities such as labs, quizzes, concept builders, simulations
etc. designed to keep the learner engaged in the learning process. In a self-learning
activity each learner is an individual, which learns differently and acquires knowledge
at different rates. The learner has a different background and specific knowledge and
skills gap.
As far as the learning content is concerned, a self-learning model provides multiple
learning modalities, i.e. self-paced learning resources in modular structure, reference





66 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
materials for additional knowledge, assessment tests that allow learner to implement
self-assessment exercises.
Self-learning. The learner is only in contact with online learning materials. Such
materials must be “complete” and “self-sufficient” as they must perform various and
different functions. They must: be interactive; provide and support motivation; provide
all the necessary support; foresee monitoring and feedback activities.
As a consequence, the technology chosen is required to provide materials performing
all the functions listed above. Furthermore it must also offer a user-friendly interface
since the learner is alone while using the materials.
The main advantage of such an environment is a reduced requirement for
trainers/teachers/tutors. But at the same time the lack this support is a limiting factor.
This kind of online learning is the same as the traditional study of a book: for some
learners it could be sufficient and may be suitable for simple topics.
But in the same way as publishing a book or giving it to a student does not mean a
student is being taught, so online learning can’t confine itself to editing contents.
Assisted self learning. The learner can access available on-line didactic material and
has individual tutor support. This can exist in several different situations:
• the possibility of tutor access in problematic or unusual situations,
• contact with the tutor at predefined times for example when defining the learning
path and the final test,
• personalised and constant communication with the tutor.
If the tutor presence or the possibility of communication with the tutor is increased the
necessity of complete and self-sufficient materials is reduced. Also the support and
feedback functions can return to the tutor. The technology should allow for easy
communication between the learner and the tutor for example: e-mail, chat rooms,
web-conference, etc. It is the on-line equivalent of a one to one relationship with the
learner/ learners.
There are two limits: the costs are much higher even if the communication with the
tutor is infrequent when comparing the results achieved in self – learning; the absence
of a relationship with similar learners on the same learning path, which in reality is
found in the classroom.
It can be very beneficial for on-line adult learners who have a personal learning path
and the intervention of the tutor is only requested when defining this path. This
scenario shows the evolution of distance learning. The theories define which type of
distance learning, where printers, audio-visual, cd-rom and computers should be used.
The feed back processes are very similar to those of the “first generation” but include
telephone conferencing and some individual classes with possible seminar scenarios.
Supported Self-learning. The learner is provided with online materials and individual
tutorial support. A wide range of tutorial situations exist: from contacting the tutor only
when needed, to a systematic relationship with him/her, from a tutor that plays a
guidance role only in the final evaluation phase, to a personal tutor that monitors and
supports the learner throughout the whole learning path.
The increased tutor presence in the learning path, reduces the need to develop complete
and self-consistent learning materials, as they are not required to perform the
functions performed by the tutor.





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The technology chosen must facilitate communication between the learner and the
tutor by means of e-mail, chatting, web-conferencing, etc.
The online technology is equivalent to a one-to-one relationship, that is a relationship
between the teacher and the learner.
There are two limitations:
• high costs, unless the relationship with the tutor is occasional
• the absence of any communication with the peer group namely those with whom
the learner shares his/her learning path.
Supported self-learning can be particularly suitable for online adult learning, where it
is important to provide tailored paths and the tutor intervenes as a counsellor, above
all, in the definition of the learning path.

4. Optimising the objectives of individual learning
Learning is an adaptive process; the interactive e-learning system has to support this
process by being adaptive itself. In optimising this kind of support we start our
considerations with widely accepted assumptions about mental processes and
cognition. Supporting the student’s learning process by optimising the objectives of
adaptivity means that: (1) the intended individual learning of the specific knowledge
and skills according to the learning aims and goals has to be optimised and; (2) the
control processes and general skills have to be optimised while; (3) other cognitive
demands have to be minimised taking into account limited cognitive processing
capacity and time constraints.

4.1 Optimising the learning of specific knowledge and skills
Adapting to the student’s pre-knowledge. With knowledge domain structured by
prerequisite relationships according to Knowledge Space Theory an adaptive
assessment of the students pre-knowledge state can be performed by the system. It is
widely accepted that taking the pre-knowledge into account enables the student to
understand, to connect new information with existing knowledge, to use metaphors and
analogies, to be and to feel neither overburdened nor under burdened.
Optimising learning by adapting to the student’s/teacher’s learning aims and goals.
For knowledge domain structured, the learning goal is defined by the knowledge state
which has to be reached by the student.
Optimising learning by adapting to the student’s actual knowledge. Depending on the
actual knowledge, the learning objects made accessible to the student are determined
applying meta data about the prerequisite relationships between the available learning
objects and the knowledge which is necessary for comprehension. Thus the student is
neither overburdened nor under burdened.
Choosing the kind of knowledge level and optimising test and instructional events:
choosing a difficulty level by recognition, recalling, transferring or problem solving
demands; selecting different types of tasks like application, examples, investigation,
theorising, or; defining the state only by performances or also by competencies and
conceptual knowledge or even misconceptions.
4.2 Optimisation of the control processes, general skills and learning strategies
On the other side it means to equip the e-learning system with adaptive tutorial
elements enabling the student to improve his control strategies systematically.





68 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Optimising speed of learning and duration of retention. Guiding the student
during the acquisition of new knowledge aiming not only at effective learning but also
at long term retention.
Optimising by refreshment. The models and results of memory psychology in
the field of forgetting and retention are the basis for the system‘s individual guidance.
Optimising learning by communication, co-operation and collaboration. The e-
learning system should support different types of co-operation and collaboration
strategies for improving comprehension and learning.
Student‘s cognitive and learning style. In it's simple form, only the student's
most preferred way of presenting learning material, e.g. visual, textual, or additive, is
taken into account.
Meta cognition and learning strategies. Basic research on meta cognition found
substantial effects on achievement and performance, and may be the foundation, the
theoretical basis for the long lasting experiences with "learning how to learn"-effects.
Curriculum development and instructional design. This can be the basis for
developing a computer-based tool which allows to develop and to (re)structure
knowledge assessments and curricula.

4.3 Optimising by minimising other cognitive demands
Minimising demands by adapting to the student‘s cultural background.
Adapting to the cultural background of a student seems to be a simple affair, at first
sight.
Minimising demands by adapting the human-computer interface to the user. In
e-learning human-computer interfaces with a minimum of cognitive and physical
demands are necessary. The current solution is, that the student adapts the system to
him- or herself through option- or preferences-menus.

5 References
[1] Albert, D. & Mori, T. (2001), Contributions of cognitive psychology to the future
of e-learning. Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima
University, Part I (Learning and Curriculum Development), 50, 25-34.
[2] SOLE Leonardo da Vinci Project, http://www.tes.mi.it/sole/enhome.htm
[3] APPEL Project, http://eep.tuiasi.ro/fr/index.php?pg=projectInformation
[4] Commission Européenne – Programme Leonardo da Vinci,
http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/leonardo/leonardo_fr.html
[5] Commission Européenne – Programme et Initiatives – E-learning,
http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/elearning/index_fr.html
[6] E-learning Europa Info,
http://www.elearningeuropa.info/main/index.php?lng=fr&page=home&service=5
[7] Réseau français des EEPs, http://www.euroentent.net/
[8] Réseau mondial des EEPs –EUROPEN,
http://www.europen.info/englisch/index.html
[9] GIP – FIPAG, http://www.ac-grenoble.fr/gip-fipag/








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Section

MODELS & METHODOLOGIES




• 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




















70 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta



















































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Web 3D & Virtual Reality - Based Applications
for Simulation and e-Learning

Felix G. HAMZA -LUP
1
, Veronica STEFAN
2

(1) Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA
felix@cs.armstrong.edu
(2) Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania
veronica.stefan@ats.com.ro

Abstract
Knowledge is embedded in people and unlike information, knowledge creation
occurs in a process of social interaction. As our service-based society is evolving
into a knowledge-based society, there is an acute need for more effective
collaboration and more effective knowledge sharing systems for use by
geographically scattered people. This paper investigates the use of 3D
components and standards such as Web 3D in combination with Virtual Reality
paradigms for e-Learning. We are outlining the e-Learning concept in the
European Union context. We are presenting a few case studies and investigating
the application of Web 3D technologies to enhance e-Learning of economic
concepts.

Keywords: Knowledge Transfer, e-Learning, Web 3D, X3D, Virtual Reality


1 Introduction
Web-based knowledge transfer is becoming a field of research which deserves the
entire attention of the research community, regardless of their domain of expertise,
especially because of the potential of advanced technologies such as Web 3D, virtual
reality modeling languages and simulation techniques [24].
In the context of globalized communication, these technologies are becoming
more stimulating through the possibility of creating collaborative spaces for simulation
and training [2]. Knowledge is embedded in people and unlike information, knowledge
creation occurs in a process of social interaction. As our service-based society is
evolving into a knowledge-based society, there is an acute need for more effective
collaboration and more effective knowledge sharing systems for use by geographically
scattered people.
The starting point of this paper is the success story of the 3DRTT project
(www.3drtt.org), a Web-based radiation therapy planning system used for simulation
and training in the medical industry. We would like to transfer this type of solutions in
other fields of training, such as the development of information technology systems in
economics (for example in presenting a virtual space for the organization chart and the
document workflow), and integration with other types of methods and technologies.





72 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The paper is structured as follows. In Section 2 we provide a brief explanation of
the e-Learning concept in the European Union context. In Section 3 we analyze the
components of Web 3D and the associated software components. Section 4 presents a
few case studies and applications developed using Web 3D technologies. In Section 5
we are performing a preliminary investigation of the application of Web 3D
technologies to enhance e-Learning in economics. We close the paper with a set of
conclusions regarding the application of Web 3D in an e-Learning environment and
future work regarding the application of 3D visualization in economics.

2 The e-Learning Concept
The e-Learning concept originated in the corporate literature of Computer Based
Training Systems in the mid-1990 and is a general term used to refer to computer-
enhanced learning. In the specialized literature, e-Learning designates the transfer of
knowledge and education through electronic means. E-Learning involves the use of
IT&C (Information Technology and Computers) paradigms, usually a physical distance
between the sender and the receiver as well as teaching materials available on
Intranet/Internet or on electronic supports like CD-ROMs or DVDs.
Romania as a European country has integrated IT&C in its educational system,
being constrained to cope with challenges like the reform of education in a knowledge-
oriented society. At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, Heads of State and
Government set an ambitious target for the European Union to become "the most
competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of
sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social
cohesion" by 2010 [23]. 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
with the following aims:
• The implementation of the Information Society Technologies (IST) according
to the European Union Framework-Program (FP6, FP7);
• The development of research, projects, and software for e-Learning;
• To promote and develop scientific research for e-Learning, educational
software and Virtual Reality.
Among the elements that need to be taken into account when designing e-
Learning systems are: the target group, the objective, the learning content, the didactic
strategies, resources (budget, time, personnel) and most importantly the technology
used to deliver the content.
Nowadays, we notice a transition to a new Web, the “WWW space being seen
more like a software platform, where the user controls and creates his own data and
information, usually making them available for the others by means of collaborative
instruments”[4]. Web 2.0 is an informal name for the new generation of web
applications, oriented towards social needs, focused on the separation of the relevant
information from the irrelevant one and on “usability tests”, as it is addressed to
persons without much training in computer science, for whom the e-Learning interface
should not be more complicated than the use of domestic appliances (phone, TV etc.).
Web 2.0 integrates the solutions and the services of the old Web 1.5, to which it adds





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innovations such as: RSS, blogs, podcasts, wikis, collaborative bookmark systems, web
API, web services, Ajax, Ruby-on-Rails etc [18]. As technology and knowledge
evolves, more and more educational sites appear on the market [20], [21], [22], [26],
and also conference supported from important companies [11].
Let’s take a brief look at the e-Learning context. According to [3] as illustrated
in Figure 1, the concept of Internet-based learning is broader than Web-based learning.
The Web is only one of the Internet services that uses a unified document format
(HTML), browsers, hypertext, and unified resource locator (URL) and is based on the
HTTP protocol. The Internet is the biggest network in the world that is composed of
thousands of interconnected computer networks (national, regional, commercial, and
organizational). It offers many services not only Web, but also e-mail, file transfer
facilities, etc. Hence, learning could be organized not only on the Web basis, but also
for example, as a correspondence via e-mail. Furthermore the Internet is based not only
on the HTTP protocol, but on other proprietary protocols as well.


Figure 1. Subsets relationships among the group of terms [3]

Distance learning is broader than e-Learning, as it covers both non-electronic (e.g.
written correspondence) and technology-based delivering of learning. Technology-
based learning is delivered via any technology, so it entails distance learning, too.
Resource-based learning is the broadest term because any technology could be used as
a resource in the learning process, where learners are active.

2.1 The e-Learning Program
Through the initiative of e-Learning, the European Commission gained a considerable
experience in encouraging cooperation, in forming networks and in exchanging
students and workers among countries. Basically, e-Learning offers comfortable and
efficient access to novel information and knowledge, new and efficient methods of
teaching, and knowledge evaluation, as well as permanent education and formation.
Another good example for promoting e-Learning is the national educational plan
presented in front of the US Congress in 2005 by the Department of Education. Its
aims are: computer management in schools, online evaluation and e-Learning. “The





74 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
plan was necessary due to the fact that after a decade of technological investments in
education, initiated in 1996, the indicators of scholar performance have remained
unchanged until now”, underlined Susan Patrick, head of the Bureau for Educational
Technology within the Department of State.

2.2 Standards for e-Learning
The standards that lie at the core of e-Learning activities are based on specifications
produced and developed by experts in the field of industry and education. The main
benefits of standardization for the educational system are:
• Accessibility; it allows usage of an e-Learning object situated in a place that is
connected to the system, from any other external point without actually
transferring that object. The system is based on the fundamental principle that
an object created and validated becomes unique;
• Reusability; an object or a content created in a certain place can be utilized
anywhere else on the working platform;
• Viability; the ability of an object to be used as many times in different contexts
according to the training objectives;
• Durability: the objects created on the basis of specific standards remain valid
throughout time regardless of the technological changes.
• Efficiency: the standards raise the final outcome of the training process without
raising its costs along with it.

Currently there are four groups that guide the development of e-Learning standards:
1. AICC/CMI – created a guide in constructing the content of teaching units (i.e.
the objects of training), communicated along with a learning management
system. These standards were founded in 1988
(www.aicc.org/pages/aicc_ts.htm);
2. ADL/SCORM – defined the way in which the contents of the teaching units
can interact within other systems (www.adlnet.gov);
3. IMS - developed a guide to help labeling, testing and packing the content of
the meta-data (www.imsglobal.org);
4. ARIADNE – was created by a group of universities within the European
Community and Switzerland. ARIADNE is not exactly a training system, but
an environment in which the development, the management and the usage of
educational materials with various contents is facilitated (www.ariadne-
eu.org).

3 Three-Dimensional (3D) Content Online: Web 3D
Real opportunities exist for the development of novel educational and training
materials, particularly for science applications where 3D visualization is critical for
understanding concepts. A 3D virtual space brings advantages such as increased
motivation on behalf of the student and increased efficiency in explaining difficult
concepts. There are fields, such as medicine, where the Web 3D-based applications
have proved their utility already [6],[7],[8],[9].





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Developing applications based on the 3D paradigm in the e-Learning context
implies using different types of software tools and frameworks that, considering their
functionality, can be categorized as follows:
• Traditional Web-based programming languages such as HTML, XML, JSP,
ASP, PHP;
• Specific Web 3D standards and programming languages: X3D [1];
• 3D content development tools [14],[15],[16] such as Maya, 3D Studio Max,
SolidWorks;
• Web 3D authoring tools and plug-ins such as X3D Edit; Flux Studio, Bit
Management.
In what follows we are taking a detail look into each of the above components.

3.1 Traditional Web-Based Programming Languages
Probably not much to say here, just that the existing languages like HTML and the
more robust XML (eXtended Markup Language) will continue to find uses in the
implementation of 3D Web-based sites. Merging text, animation, sound and 3D
content can be done using these standards. Java Server Pages (JSP), Active Server
Pages (ASP) as well as PHP can be used to provide the necessary functionality on
different architectures from client-server to n-tire.

3.2 Web 3D Standards and Programming Languages
X3D is an ISO standard with an open architecture and a rich range of capabilities for
real-time graphics processing that is employed in a wide array of domains and user
applications. A successor to VRML, X3D is being developed by the Web 3D
Consortium as a refined standard [10].

3.3 Content Development Tools (3D)
Maya™ is one of the world's leading innovators of 3D graphics modeling technology.
In 2003, the company was awarded an Oscar for technical achievement from the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its development of Maya software,
its professional 3D animation and effects package. The Maya software was employed
in the making of movies like Spider-Man®, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones®, The
Lord of the Rings™. Maya allows development of polygonal models, NURBS (Non-
UnifoRm B-Spline) modeling, as well as the creation of materials and lighting.
Another framework SolidWorks™, allows development of 3D models and rapid
prototyping of 3D shapes from 2D CAD drawings. The newest component 3D Instant
Website (Figure 2) provides a step forward in 3D design communication via the web,
allowing users to publish the designs instantly and to communicate with an entire work
team – other designers, manufacturing staff, marketing management, purchasing
agents, suppliers, and customers [16]. Users can view, rotate, zoom, and pan these
models without having to buy CAD software or install special viewers.






76 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta


Figure 2. SolidWorks in conjunction with the Web

3.4 Web 3D Authoring Tools and Plug-ins
The X3D based web pages need a special plug-in to be installed in the web browser.
This plug-in is an X3D content player. Several companies offer X3D player
implementations for free or on a license-basis
The Bitmanagement Contact X3D Player [12] is one of the best implementations
(based on the number of software “bugs”) that we have found so far on the market
(screenshot in Figure 3). Another X3D player “Flux Player“ was developed by Media
Machines [13]. The company develops also an X3D authoring tool called Flux Studio.




Figure 3. Flux Studio (left), Bitmanagement Software (right) X3D Players

4 Web 3D - Two Case Studies
In what follows we are presenting two uses of Web 3D to enhance understanding of
concepts. We would like to mention that even though the Virtual Reality Modeling
Language (VRML) becomes obsolete and is being replaced by X3D, some of the work
on the cases below has started in VRML and was slowly transitioned to X3D.

4.1 Neural Network
The case study of the application Pruning a neural network, author Finn Årup Nielsen
[17], exemplifies the use of the Web 3D standard, X3D.Reducing a neural network's





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complexity improves the ability of the network to be applied to future examples. Like
an over fitted regression function, neural networks may miss their target because of the
excessive degrees of freedom stored up in unnecessary parameters. Over the past
decade, the subject of pruning networks has produced non-statistical algorithms like
Skeletonization, Optimal Brain Damage, and Optimal Brain Surgery as methods to
remove connections with the least salience. The methods proposed in this model use
neural network method to remove multiple parameters in the model when no
significant difference exists.


Figure 4. View the model with Flux
Player

Figure 5. Importing the VRML code in

The application includes the VRML code describing the 3D model of a neuronal
network and allows viewing using an authoring tool. In order to compare features, Flux
Player, Figure 4, as well as BS Contact Software Management, Figure 6, were used.
While testing the application, we imported the VRML source code, obtained by
using the author’s consent, into X3D using the X3D editor (see Figure 6 and 7).



Figure 6. Used cod X3D with BS
Contact Player
Figure 7. X3D imported rules with
success

4.2 Radiation Therapy Training in 3D
The VRML has been employed to provide the visual web-based interface in the past.
The European Institute of Telesurgery has proposed a 3D anatomical structure
visualization and surgical planning system that allows manipulation and interaction on
virtual organs extracted from CT-scan or MRI data [8].





78 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
With the advent of the X3D standard and its extended functionality, the Internet-
Based systems for simulation gained momentum. The 3DRTT simulator
implementation [25] takes advantage of two technologies, Java and X3D. Figure 8
illustrates a snapshot of the virtual room (denoted 3D Radiation Therapy Treatment -
3DRTT) which models the real environment (treatment room).



Figure 8.A Snapshot of the Virtual Room

The simulator provides an intuitive floating graphical user interface (GUI) for
controlling the angles and locations of the machine’s parts. The user may rearrange the
GUI components to avoid occlusions of important objects. Volumetric slides and
scrolls keep controlling operations simple and naturally fit in the 3D scene.
The Web-based simulator has the ability to precisely detect/predict a possible
collision between all hardware components for a given patient eliminating the need for
backup plans, and saving planning time. In addition, 3DRTT enables the planner to
explore different and unconventional gantry-couch-collimator combinations for
treatment that may give rise to better quality treatment plans.

5 Web 3D in Economics: 3D for Financial Markets and Forecasting
The promise of computers has always been their ability to extend the capacity of the
human mental processes. Nowhere is that promise more fully achieved than in neural
networks and in no field are the implications of greater economic significance than
finance and the application of neural networks in the financial world. Distinct
methodologies solve different problems encountered in the financial world [5].
Asset and portfolio managers, market makers, stock traders, market advisers deal
with an overwhelming amount of information on a hourly basis. The financial market
analysts and traders need better tools for technical analysis. Real-time data of interest
consists of 10's to 100's of symbols that should be followed in time and in relationship
with other important market factors. Large quantities of numerical data are virtually
impossible to understand quickly and accurately with existing tools.
Until very recently the 3D was exclusively used by professionals in other fields
(e.g. movie makers, web designers, etc.). It would be interesting for money traders or
stock market advisers to use 3D graphics easily without spending much time learning
the details of the application. A first step in this direction was taken by the 3DStock
software (illustrated in Figure 9 and 10) [19].





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Figure 9. 3D rep. of Financial historical
data

Figure 10. Financial historical market
data

Each company is visualized in 3D as a tape stretching along the time coordinate.
There are 2 surfaces available, one is the full data loaded and the second is the default
selection of the 10 best performing symbols. The selection can be made with left side
list of all symbols loaded. The height of the tape is proportional to the normalized
performance of the symbol. For easy perception, the performance of the symbols is
colored with a distinct color palette. The advantage of the 3D visualization is that you
can immediately evaluate the performance of multiple symbols at a glance. In the
example above there are 50 companies on the main surface and 10 companies in the
selection surface. According to the palette, best performing tickers are colored as red,
while medium as yellow, worst as dark blue.

Conclusions
3D Virtual Reality, software tools and associated Web technologies are mature enough
to be used in conjunction with advanced e-Learning systems. 3D based content can
enhance communication of ideas and concepts and stimulate the interest of students.
We have provided a brief review of the main software components required to develop
a 3D e-Learning environment.
We have explored two applications of the new X3D standard in neural networks
and medical training. Then we focused our attention on the application of 3D
technology in the economics domain.
Our near future efforts are directed towards the development of a Web 3D platform
for presenting core concepts and phenomena related to economics.

References

Books:
[1] Don Brutzman, Leonard Daly: (2007): “X3D: Extensible 3D Graphics for Web
Authors”, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2007

Conference Proceedings:
[2] Vlada, M., Tugui, Al., (2006): “Information Society Technologies - The four waves
of information technologies”, ICVL 2006, October 27-29, pp. 69-82





80 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
[3] Anohina A.,(2005): “ Analysis of the terminology used in the field of virtual
learning”, Educational Technology & Society
[4] Stefan V., (2007):“La contribution des systemes informatique d’interface dans la
création d’un espace collaboratif dans l’UE élargie “, EUCONF 2007 18-21
April, Rijeka, Croatia (http://www.efri.hr/english/prikaz.asp?txt_id=4569)
[5] Firescu V., Stefan V., (2007): “Instruments financiers et marchés
financiers“,55ème Congrès AIELF 2007-Varsovie, 21-24 May
[6] Hamza-Lup F.G., Sopin Ivan and Zeidan Omar: (2007): "Towards 3D Web-based
Simulation and Training Systems for Radiation Oncology", ADVANCE
Magazine for Imaging and Oncology Administrators, Vol.17 (7), July 2007.
[7] Lau, R., Li, F., Kunii, T., Guo, B., Zhang, B., Magnenat-Thalmann, N., Kshirsagar,
S., Thalman, D., Gutierrez, M., (2003): “Emerging Web Graphics Standards and
Technologie” — Web Graphics Tutorial. In Computer Graphics and
Applications, vol. 23, pp. 2-11.
[8] K. Chirstophe, S. Luc, M. Jacques, (2002): "PACS-based interface for 3D
anatomical structure visualization and surgical planning," Proc. SPIE - Medical
Imaging 2002 Visualization, Image-Guided Procedures and Display, vol. 4681,
pp. 17-24

Internet Sources (last access date August 14, 2007):
[9] http://www.cs.armstrong.edu/felix/html/research.html
[10] http://www.web3d.org
[11] http://education.siggraph.org/committee
[12] http://www.bitmanagement.com
[13] http://www.mediamachines.com
[14] http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=7635018
[15] http://www.the3dstudio.com/product_details.aspx?id_product=3393
[16] http://www.solidworks.com
[17] http://hendrix.imm.dtu.dk/vrml/ANNimation/ANNimation.html
[18] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2
[19] http://www.scienceGL.com
[20] http://www.timsoft.ro:80/index.php?pagina=resurse2
[21] http://www.academiaonline.ro/
[22] http://www.elearning.ro
[23] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/lis1_en.htm

Technical Reports:
[24] Hamza-Lup F.G., (2004): "A Less Intrusive System Monitoring Scheme for
Distributed Virtual Environments", Computer Science, University of Central Florida.
[25] 3DRTT Project: http://www.3drtt.org/
[26] HaptEK16 Project: http://cs.armstrong.edu/felix/projects/HaptEK16/index.html





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n-D Virtual Environment in Construction Education

Mohammed E. Haque
1


(1) Department of Construction Science, Texas A&M University,
College Station, Texas 77843-3137, USA
E-mail: mhaque@tamu.edu


Abstract

The 21st century’s information technology has proven an untapped resource for
construction engineering and technology classrooms. As the modern-day student
becomes more epitomized with a passion for the interactivity of the mouse and
keyboard, it has become essential that the classroom offer an engaging method of
learning. Construction industry in today’s world is becoming enormously complex
as project sizes are increasing and project duration are decreasing. At the same
time designers are conceptualizing ever-complex designs, which no longer can
easily be comprehended by 2D drawings. Despite the excellence of enthused
educators and various textbooks, the associated rigorous theories and rhetoric
make it a tedious academic hurdle for numerous students. Traditional approaches
of understanding construction processes through field trips have always been
hindered by logistic difficulties. In addition to the risks involved with these field
trips, designated sites may not be at the particular stage of construction during the
academic semester to demonstrate the multiple facets within a short duration of
the trips. However, using multidimensional (n-D) visualizations, animations,
virtual reality and walkthrough of various structures in virtual environment
students receive the understanding absent from the traditional approach. The
purpose of this paper is to demonstrate various design and construction
visualization techniques in desktop virtual environments including image
visualization, virtual reality, design animation, walk-through, time-space
relationship visualization in 4D (3D+Schedule), and time-space-cost relationship
visualization in 5D (3D+Schedule+Cost). The techniques demonstrated through
virtual models can potentially be valuable tools not only in the classroom lectures,
but also as effective learner-centred self-directed tools.

Keywords: Virtual reality, n-D Visualization, Construction management,
design/construction education


1 Introduction

Extraordinary growth in 3D graphics, web accessibility and networking presents new
opportunity in education (Blais et al, 2001). Haque (2001) is of the view that traditional
lecture format teaching methods sometimes fall short of conveying the complex
analysis and design principles that need to be mastered in structural design. However
when the theories are exemplified in a virtual environment with multimedia, animation,





82 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
interaction, and manipulated image visualization techniques in a virtual reality
environment, students' conceptual understanding are enhanced.
Visualization has always been an important aspect in the construction industry
and construction education has always laid stress on that aspect. Design professionals
and educators used drawing as a practical tool for seeing, thinking and understanding
their ideas, and for communicating them to others. In education, drawing was often
woven tightly into curriculum and it was expected to play a major role in developing
students’ visual abilities (Anderson, 2002). With the advance of technology 3D
visualization has become very user friendly and objects that were restricted to drawings
in paper can today be viewed in a 3D environment with ease. The Internet revolution
has also changed the world of education with distance learning becoming a more
convenient, accessible and lucrative.
Haque and Saherwala (2004) point out that “As technology rapidly changes, the
importance of educating and training diverse populations of civil/construction
engineering/science students becomes more critical. With the advances in information
technology (IT) over the last decade, the traditional teaching format of having an
individual lecture to an audience has been supplemented, and in some cases, replaced
by the rapid development and implementation of new distance learning methods.”
Hence it is increasingly becoming important to develop a web based 3-D visualization
and animation to explain the various environmental conscious concepts and elements.
Bar charts and network diagrams are typical means to represent and
communicate construction schedules. Individuals having different background and
being unfamiliar with these techniques find it difficult to evaluate and communicate the
schedules (McKinney and Fischer, 1998). Visual 4D planning and scheduling
technique that combines 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) models with construction
activities (time) has proven benefits over the traditional tools (Akbas,1998). In 4D
models, project participants can effectively visualize and analyze problems regarding
sequential, spatial, and temporal aspects of construction schedules. Therefore, more
robust schedules can be generated and hence reduce reworks and improve productivity.
The use of 4D models and their associated database on site results in an average
of 5% savings in cost growth, 4% savings in schedule growth and 65% savings in
rework. Use of these tools, by the project management personnel, pre project planning,
design, procurement and material management, construction, start-up and
commissioning phases of a project can result in unanticipated savings (Griffis and
Sturts, 2003).
Adjei-Kumi and Retik (1997) are of the view that it is the current planning and
scheduling tools rely on intuition, experience and judgment of the construction planner.
These tools fail when it comes to realistic visualization of construction schedules,
therefore Virtual Reality (VR) technology would help practitioners to plan and
visualize their plans in near-reality sense. “4D models are a useful alternative to project
scheduling tools like CPM networks and bar charts. They enable more people to
understand a schedule quickly and identify potential problems” (Koo and Fisher,
2000). In today’s IT world, computer stimulation has reached all facets production,
construction is one of them. 4D modelling in construction helps resolve questions
pertaining to efficiency, production time, costs and most importantly understand the
processes clearly.





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Visual 4D planning and scheduling technique that combines static 3D CAD
models with construction schedules has proven to be beneficial over traditional tools
such as bar charts or network analyses. The concept and development of 4D CAD in
the construction field can be traced back to mid 1980s, when 3D CAD models were
combined with the project timeline to form 4D models, and systems linking 3D CAD
models with schedules started to be developed (Cleveland Jr., A., 1989). However,
representative and influential applications do not appear until late nineties. In the
1990s, high performance computer hardware, complex graphical software and object-
oriented programming made it possible to develop impressive 4D applications (Atkins,
1988). Retik (1997) is of the opinion that integration of geometrical representations of
the building together with scheduling data is the bases of 4D (3D + time) models in
construction domain will prove beneficial for both students and subcontractors
likewise.
Classroom use of IT for teaching science, engineering and technology has
increased dramatically in recent years and has proved to be very effective in various
situations (Haque, 2001, 2004). The student centred distance-learning archetype should
include dynamic demonstration of theoretical engineering models allowing students to
manipulate, experiment, and translate theories into real world applications (2003).

1.1 Research Objectives
The objectives of this research paper were to demonstrate various design and
construction visualization techniques in desktop virtual environments including image
visualization, virtual reality, design animation, walk-through, time-space relationship
visualization in 4D (3D+Schedule), time-space-cost relationship visualization in 5D
(3D+Schedule+Cost), and the concept of multi-dimensional (n-D) construction
visualization. The techniques demonstrated through virtual construction sites can
potentially be valuable tools not only in the classroom lectures, but also as effective
learner-centred self-directed tools.

2 Research Methodology
The primary purpose of this study was to develop a framework to facilitate
development of time-effective n-D models with the use of software prevalent in the
industry. The following applications were used in the study:

• AutoCAD 2007
• Google SketchUp PRO – Version 6
• dxftocsv.exe (non-proprietary application)
• Project 4D from Common Point Inc.
• 4D Suite by Domos;
• MS Project 2003 or higher
• MS Excel 2000 or higher
• 3DS Max
• Dreamweaver MX and Flash MX
• VRML Browsers – Cortona, Cosmo player, and others







84 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The P4D software application from Common Point Inc. classifies it as the most
common software to create 4D models. It solves the primary purpose of the study to
create 5D models for preliminary planning and bidding. Different 3D models were
analyzed to find out the compatibility with P4D software. The framework for the n-D
model discussed in the study is shown in Figure 1.





























2.1 3D Visualization
The image visualization and animations are powerful tools for teaching design courses.
If a student has a difficulty with an analysis and design problem, the animations of the
structural response to loads and the 3-D animated free-body diagrams explicitly show
the foundations of the design mechanics by showing the connectivity between cause
and effect. Several animation clips for construction processes and VRML details for
structures were developed. Figure 2 shows a 3D animation and walkthrough with
VRML details for the construction of reinforced concrete structure. These
animation/visualization techniques provide virtual experiential learning when
combined with interactive design animation and virtual design navigation. These
activities are self-directed, experiential, and personalized for the autonomous self-
directed distance learner.


AutoCAD/SketchUp
Create 2D &3D
(Each activity)
Excel/Database
Cost Estimations
(Each activity)

Geometrical
Information
1.dxf
1.csv
3D Max
Render each
activity
Flash MX
Create animation
with Schedule +
Cost + render
images
Save Flash Movie
Files
MS Project
Schedule
(Each activity)

n-D Model
Use
Common Point/4D
Builders/others
Create n-D
animation
Excel/Database
Activity based
information

Export files
as .jpg
User Interface
2D/3D CAD, Estimation, Schedule, other Database
information, n-D Animation, Flash movies, VRML Export files as .wrl
to create VRML
details
Figure 1: n-D Visualization Model – Flow Diagram





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2.2 4D (3D+Time) Visualization
The linking of schedule activity from MS Project and the relevant CAD component
was quite cumbersome. So an innovative method was established to facilitate
automatic linking of schedule activities with the relevant CAD components. It was
found that the unique feature of the CAD components was their Handle IDs. So an
application called “dxftocsv.exe” was used to extract the handle ID from the 3D model
to incorporate the same to schedule activities. Once the schedule activities were
imported to the n-D environment, they could be readily linked to schedule activity by
using an automatic linking feature of P4D application. Figure 3 shows a typical 4D
Construction Sequence visualization with necessary VRML details.

2.3 5D (3D + Time + Cost) Visualization
The cost estimate was prepared using the spreadsheet application from Microsoft
Excel. Cost estimate for preliminary planning and bidding purposes involves reference
to RS means manuals for historical data. The 3D model in AutoCAD was converted
into a .dxf file. With the help of the dxftocsv.exe application geometric information
was extracted from the 3D model and was saved in a file .csv automatically. The
application produced a Comma Separated Value (CSV) format file, which contained
several geometrical information of the 3D model. This geometrical information was
used to link the cost data automatically into the n-D environment.
Figure 2: 3D Animation and Virtual Walkthrough with VRML Details.
Animated Slab Formwork
VRML Details
Slab Reinforcement
VRML Details





86 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
2.4 n-D Visualization
Methodology as discussed above can be used to integrate different types of data and
information, such as resources, craft-split analysis, craft requirement, lost-time
accidents, cost of rework, weather report, delays and reasons etc. to prepare n-D
models. These features can be incorporated by using Visual Basic application with
database link to pull information and to prepare the project management model with
capability of project monitoring.
























3 Evaluation of the Models
In order to determine the effectiveness of the model by using it as an instructional tool
was conducted in a small sample (graduate students). Initial feedback of the evaluation
of the model was very encouraging. Evaluation of the model using a large sample of
population (undergraduate students) will be conducted in future.

4 Conclusions
This paper describes n-D models of virtual construction sites that can be used for
educational purposes, for students in school and construction workers on site. The
model shows the construction sequence of various construction activities including cost
and other resources management information with time. Considering the interest of
youths in computer games these days, the use of an n-D model will develop a lot of
interest amongst them, and will motivate them to try to better understand and retain
important concepts of construction. Construction models integrated with the schedule,
cost and other construction resource management information can be used to improve
Figure 3: 4D (3D+ Time) Animations with VRML Details
4D Animation
3D Animation
Construction Schedule
Time line





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the design and planning process, which can lead to a more efficient construction
process. All the techniques that were used in this research employed a generic
programming architecture, which was construction type independent, and could be
adapted to other types of construction. These visualization techniques can be valuable
aids not only in teaching in the classroom but also an effective self-directed tool for
open learning via the web.

5 Acknowledgements
This paper is based on graduate research projects of the author’s students,
Rajmohan Mishra, Roop Chanda, Gaurav Shah, and Suketu Shah. The author
sincerely thanks his graduate students for their contributions.

6 References
[1] Adjei-Kumi, T. and Retik, A. (1997): A library-based 4D visualization of
construction processes. Paper presented at IEEE Conference on Information
Visualization, pp. 315-21
[2] Akbas, R. (1998): “4D Modeling and Product Model Transformations in
Experience Music Project” Paper retrieved Nov 20, 2005, from
http://www.stanford.edu/ group/4D/4D-home.html
[3] Atkins, D. (1988): Animation/Simulation for Construction Planning,
Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space. Proceedings of Space 88
pp. 670-678
[4] Anderson, E (2002): Enhancing Visual Literacy through Cognitive Activities.
Paper presented at the 2002 ASEE/SEF/TUB Colloquium, American Society for
Engineering Education. Retrieved on Jan. 23, 2004, from http://www.asee.org/
conferences/international/papers/anderson.pdf.
[5] Blais, C., Burtzman, D., Horner, D., Nicklaus, S. (2001): Web based 3D
technology for Scenario Authoring and Visualization: The Savage Project.
Proceedings of Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education
Conference (I/ITSEC) 2001. Paper retrieved on Jan 20, 2004, from
http://web.nps.navy.mil/~brutzman/
[6] Savage/documents/WebBased3dTechnology-Savage-IITSEC2001.pdf.
[7] Cleveland Jr., A. (1989): Real-time Animation of Construction Activities.
Excellence in the Constructed Project, pp. 238-243.
[8] Griffis, F.H. and Sturts, C.S. (2003): Fully integrated and automated project
process (FIAPP) for the project manager and executive. 4D CAD and
Visualization in construction: Developments and Applications, pg 55 – 73.
[9] Haque, M.E. (2001): Web based visualization techniques for structural design
education. Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education
Annual Conference & Exposition. Paper retrieved Jan 20, 2004, from
http://www.asee.org/conferences/search/01143_2001.pdf.
[10] Haque, M.E. (2003): Visualization Techniques for Structural Design Education.
Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, 2003 ASEE
Annual Conference.
[11] Haque, M. E., Saherwala, S. (2004) 3-D Animation and Walkthrough of Design
and Construction Processes of Concrete Formworks. Paper presented at the 2004





88 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
ASEE Annual Conference. Paper retrieved Aug 27, 2004 from
http://www.asee.org/
[12] acPapers/2004-438_Final.pdf.
[13] Koo, B. and Fischer, M. (2000): Feasibility Study of 4D CAD in Commercial
Construction. J. Construction Engineering and Management, Volume 126, Issue
4, pp. 251-260.
[14] McKinney, K., and Fischer, M. (1998): “Generating, Evaluating and Visualizing
Construction Schedules with CAD tools.” Automation in Construction, Vol. 7,
No. 6, pp. 433-447.
[1] Retik, A. (1997): Planning and Monitoring of Construction Projects Using
Virtual Reality Projects. Project Management Journal, Vol. 3, No. 97, 28–31.







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A Dynamic Programming Approach to
Identify Shortest Path in Virtual learning Environment

Hamed Fazlollahtabar

Mazandaran University of Science and Technology, Babol, Iran
E-mail: hamed.hero@gmail.com


Abstract
Electronic learning (e-learning) has been widely adopted as a promising
solution by many organizations to offer learning-on-demand opportunities to
individual employees (learner) in order to reduce training time and cost. While
information systems (IS) success models have received much attention among
researchers, little research has been conducted to assess the success and/or
effectiveness of e-learning systems in an organizational context. The
development of information technologies has contributed to the growth in online
training as an important educational method. The online training environment
enables learners to undertake customized training at any time and any place.
Moreover, information technology allows both the trainers and learners to be
decoupled in terms of time, place, and space. In this paper dynamic
programming is applied to find the shortest path in the learning environment for
users and AHP (Analytical Hierarchy procedure) approach is used to turn the
qualitative parameters to quantitative one.

Keywords: Virtual learning environment, Dynamic programming,
Analytical hierarchy procedure, Shortest path


1 Introduction
Internet has significantly impacted the establishment of Internet-based education, or e-
learning. Internet technology evolution and e-business has affected all industrial and
commercial activity and accelerated e-learning industry growth. It has also fostered the
collaboration of education and Internet technology by increasing the volume and speed
of information transfer and simplifying knowledge management and exchange tasks.
E-learning could become an alternative way to deliver on-the-job training for many
companies, saving money, employee transportation time, and other expenditures. An e-
learning platform is an emerging tool to corporate training. Employees can acquire
competences and problem solving abilities via Internet learning for benefits among
business enterprises, employees, and societies while at work.
Currently e-Learning is based on complex virtual collaborative environments
where the learners can interact with other learners and with the tutors or the teacher. It
is possible to give to the learner's different synchronous and asynchronous services.
The former group includes virtual classrooms and individual sessions with the teacher
or tutors. The latter group includes the classic didactic materials as well as Web-based





90 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
seminars or simulations always online. These functions can be usually accessed by the
means of software platforms called Learning Management Systems (LMSs). Among
the other functions, the LMS manages learners, keeping track of their progress and
performance across all types of training activities. It also manages and allocates
learning resources such as registration, classroom and instructor availability, monitors
instructional material fulfillment, and provides the online delivery of learning
resources.
User and student modeling is a fundamental mechanism to achieve
individualized interaction between computer systems and humans. It is usually
concerned with modeling several user related issues, such as goals, plans, preferences,
attitudes, knowledge or beliefs. The most difficult task in this context is the process of
interpreting the information gathered during interaction in order to generate hypotheses
about users and students behavior, and involves managing a good deal of uncertainty.
Interactive computer systems deal in general with more meager and haphazardly
collected users’ data than it usually happens when humans are engaged in face-to-face
interaction. Thus, the gap between the nature of the available evidence and the
conclusions that are to be drawn is often much greater. Numerical techniques have
been employed in several cases in order to manage uncertainty, (Conati, C., et al,
2002), and neural networks have been used in order to add learning and generalization
abilities in user models and draw conclusions from existing user profiles (Chen, Q., et
al, 2000); (Magoulas, G.D., et al, 2001); (Yasdi, R., 2000).
In this paper dynamic programming approach is used to identify the shortest path
in VLEs, and AHP method is applied to change the qualitative parameters to
quantitative values.

2 Virtual Learning Environment
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are computer- based environments that are
relatively open systems, enabling interactions and encounters with other people and
providing access to a wide range of resources (Wooldridge, M., 1999). VLEs can
supplement face-to-face teaching methods, or totally replace these teaching methods in
the case of distance learning. VLEs offer a number of advantages over traditional
teaching environments in terms of convenience and flexibility (Carrillo, C.I.P.d.,
2004). There are no geographical boundary limitations for using VLEs. They are
capable of reaching potential learners in remote areas around the world at very low
cost. For these reasons, VLE is becoming one of the fastest growing areas in
educational technology research and development. Many traditional colleges and
universities, individually or in various forms of partnerships, are embracing
information technologies to create new learning models that enhance the effectiveness
and reach of their programs (Alavi, M., Leidner, D.E., 2001).
Researchers and developers are making rapid improvements in the design and
implementation of VLEs, resulting in continuous progress toward successful VLEs.
However, online learning is not always effective and sometimes fails to meet learning
objectives because of the following limitations:
1. Unstructured learning materials. Online learning materials are usually
unstructured across different media, without any close associations with the
eLearning processes (Zhang, D., Nunamaker, J.K., 2003). Learning material is





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 91
distributed without consideration for learners’ capacities and prior learning,
and therefore lacks contextual and adaptive support (Hiltz, S.R., Turoff, M,
2002);
2. Insufficient flexibility. In many current VLEs, the content materials and
choices have been predefined, regardless of the learning process and learners’
differences. Online learners have little flexibility to adapt the learning content
and process to meet their individual needs (Alavi, M., Leidner, D.E., 2001);
(Hiltz S.R., Turoff, M, 2002).
3. Insufficient interactivity. Studying online, by its nature, requires online
learners to be more actively engaged and interact with their VLEs (Hiltz, S.R.,
Turoff, M., 2002). However, some current VLEs are not very interactive.
There is less opportunity for receiving instant responses and feedback from
the instructor or VLEs when online learners need support.

Nowadays there is a growing trend of web-based technology applied for distance
education. Particularly Web-based Educational Systems have many advantages
because they can adapt the course for each specific student. Different types of
computer based educational system are proposed such as follows:
Type 1- Stand-alone learning, in which the direct linking with the virtual
educational system without the presence of teacher or any collaboration is done.
Type 2- There is a remote teaching system in which everyone is conducted with
the aid of individual connections between a teacher and multiple students that provides
a method of teaching more students during a lecture.
Type 3- Indicates a group learning session where multiple connections between
participants are arranged, and thus a level of support for co-operative work is offered.
The advantages of the stated systems for the students is to experience and to
access education and training courses that otherwise wouldn't have taken, And
besides to participate in a distributed learning environment which they feel is
stronger than a traditional, and also getting the opportunity to discuss their own
professional situations with other learners and with their colleagues. From the
teacher view point it is important to experience teaching in virtual university in order
to gain specialized understanding and to offer the possibility of learning to those
learners who would not find it possible to participate in a traditional face to face
experience (Nunez,G.E., Sheremetov, L., 2003). Architecture of a virtual learning
environment is presented in Figure 1.






92 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
User
Computer
User
Computer
User
Computer
User
Computer
Learning Management System
e-Lab
e-Library
.
.
Instructor
Computer


Figure 1. Virtual Learning Environment


3 The proposed model
In this paper a VLE system is proposed based on an individual student's profile. The
aim is to choose the best path correspond to student's interests and qualitative attributes
such as capability, attitude, knowledge level, motivation, and learning style. In this
system a user is encountered with some service providers that support VLE. Each
service provider submits courses and courses are being taught by some instructors. The
layers are presented as a network in Figure 2.
User
1
2
H
1
2
K
1
2
L
R
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
User Service provider Course Instructor Registration
Layer 0 Layer 1 Layer 2 Layer 3


Figure 2. The proposed network






The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 93
The selection of the user is based on the qualitative criteria on each path. To apply
dynamic programming, we need a quantitative value for above paths. To achieve this,
we have to transform the qualitative criteria to numerical values based on the
preferences of the user. The path preferences are associated with their numerical values
as given in Table 1:

Table 1. Path preferences with their numerical values

Preferences Numerical value
Extremely Preferred 9
Very Strongly Preferred 7
Strongly Preferred 5
Moderately Preferred 3
Equally Preferred 1
Preferences among the 2,4,6,8
above preferences


3.1 Dynamic programming for shortest path
Dynamic approach is applied in the proposed network to identify the shortest path for
the user. The dynamic model would be as follows:

Subscriptions:

i Number of layers (intercessor) i= 0,1,2,3
j Start node number j=1,2, …, H; 1,2, … , K; 1,2, … L
j' End node number j'=1,2, …, H; 1,2, … , K; 1,2, … L

Notations:

S
i
(j) The maximum value of moving from the start node to the end nod j in layer i
F
j'j
Numerical value of a path between node j' to node j

Objective function: Shortest path


{ }
0 ) 0 ( ] 3 [
' ] 2 [
. .
) ' ( ) ( ] 1 [
0
' 1
=

+ =

S
j j
t S
F j S Max j S
j j i i


Where F
j'j
is the path numerical value in each layer. Considering the qualitative criteria
an approach should be applied to shift them to numerical values. That approach is
Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) which will be illustrated in the next section.





94 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
3.2 Determining weights by AHP approach
The analytical hierarchy procedure (AHP) is proposed by Saaty (1980). The AHP
method is expressed by a unidirectional hierarchical relationship among decision
levels. The top element of the hierarchy is the overall goal for the decision model. The
hierarchy decomposes to a more specific criterion on a level of manageable decision
criteria is met (Meade & Presley, 2002). Under each criterion, sub-criteria elements
relative to the criterion can be constructed. The AHP separates complex decision
problems into elements within a simplified hierarchical system (Shee, D. Y., Tzeng, G.
H., & Tang, T. I., 2003).
The purpose of the AHP enquiry in this paper is to construct a hierarchical
evaluation system based on the independent factors as capabilities, attitudes,
knowledge level, motivation and learning style. The AHP method could gain factor
weights and criteria, and then obtain the final effectiveness of each path.
One major advantage of AHP is that it is applicable to the problem of group
decision-making. In group decision setting, each participant is required to set up the
preference of each alternative by following the AHP method and all the views of the
participants are used to obtain an average weighting of each alternative.
In this paper regarding to the stated criteria, the following hierarchy is proposed.
The aim is to obtain the numerical value for each path to be used in the objective
function of shortest path. The hierarchy is presented in Figure 3.


Path 1
Learning style
Knowledge
level
Attitude Capability
Numerical value of
each path
Path 2 Path H,K,L
Motivation


Figure 3. The hierarchy of the proposed model


According to Figure 3 the following matrix is used to calculate the numerical value
ratio of paths which are evaluated by capabilities, attitudes, knowledge level,
motivation and learning style of a user based on the preference numbers (A
bc
) in
Table 1:






The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 95

Matrix 1
Capability Path 1 Path 2 Path H,K,L
Path 1 1 A
12
A
1(H,K,L)

Path 2 1/A
12
1 A
2(H,K,L)

. . . .
. . . .
Path H,K,L A
1(H,K,L)
=1/A
(H,K,L)1
A
2(H,K,L)
=1/A
(H,K,L)2
1

The same matrix is used for other criteria (attitudes, knowledge level, motivation and
learning style). After calculating the above matrixes, a matrix that indicates the weights
(W
bc
) of the arc (path) for the mentioned criteria is formed as follows:


Matrix 2
Capability Attitude Knowledge level Motivation Learning style
Path 1 W
11
W
12
W
13
W
14
W
15

Path 2 W
21
W22 W
23
W
24
W
25

. . . . . .
. . . . . .
Path H,K,L W
(H,K,L)1
W
(H,K,L)2
W
(H,K,L)3
W
(H,K,L)4
W
(H,K,L)5


After that the criteria dual comparison matrix is configured as follows:


Matrix 3
Capability Attitude Knowledge level Motivation Learning style
Capability 1 A12 A13 A14 A15
Attitude 1/A12 1 A23 A24 A25
Knowledge level 1/A13 1/A23 1 A34 A35
Motivation 1/A14 1/A24 1/A34 1 A45
Learning style 1/A15 1/A25 1/A35 1/A45 1

Now we reached the weight of each criterion by the above matrix. Therefore, the
weight for each path considering the criteria is achieved as follows:

L L K H M L K H
K L K H A L K H C L K H
L M K A C
L M K A C
W W W W
W W W W W W L K H path for weight Total
W W W W W W W W W W path for weight Total
W W W W W W W W W W path for weight Total
× + ×
+ × + × + × =
× + × + × + × + × =
× + × + × + × + × =
5 ) , , ( 4 ) , , (
3 ) , , ( 2 ) , , ( 1 ) , , (
25 24 23 22 21
15 14 13 12 11
, ,
.
.
2
1






96 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Where W
C
= capability’s weight, W
A
= attitude’s weight, W
K
= knowledge level’s weight,
W
M
= motivation’s weight, W
L
= learning style’s weight, that are obtained by matrix 3.
In this way the weights are calculated to be used as the numerical value of arcs and the
optimal path for user will be identified after solving the stated dynamic programming.

4 Conclusion
In the recent years by growing demand for information and capabilities of accessing
virtual learning, there has been a great interest for E-learning in virtual environment.
We have designed a VLE system that provides the educational requirements of a user.
By such a system we are able to discuss the selection of optimal path for the user.
Regarding to the network nature of the model, dynamic programming is applied to
identify the optimal path. Considering the qualitative criteria of a user for selecting the
paths, AHP approach is used to shift them to numerical values. For future work the
multi user model could be included to find the shortest path with fuzzy inputs.

5 References
[1] Alavi, M., D.E. Leidner, Research commentary: technologymediated learning —
a call for greater depth and breadth of research, Information Systems Research
12 (1) (2001) 1–10.
[2] Carrillo, C.I.P.d., Intelligent Agents to Improve Adaptivity in a Web-based
Learning Environment, Doctoral, University of Girona, 2004.
[3] Chen, Q., Norcio, A.F., Wang, J., Neural network based stereotyping for user
profiles, Neural Computing and Applications 9 (2000) 259–265.
[4] Conati, C., Gertner, A., Vanlehn, K., Using Bayesian networks to manage
uncertainty in student modeling, User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction
12 (2002) 371–417.
[5] Hiltz, S.R., M. Turoff, What makes learning networks effective,
Communications of the ACM 45 (4) (2002) 56– 59.
[6] Meade, L. M., & Presley, A. R&D project selection using the analytic network
process. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 49(1), 59–66. (2002).
[7] Saaty, T. L. The analytical hierarchy process: Planning priority setting, resource
allocation. New York: McGraw-Hill. (1980).
[8] Shee, D. Y., Tzeng, G. H., & Tang, T. I., AHP, fuzzy measure and fuzzy integral
approaches for the appraisal of information service providers in Taiwan. Journal
of Global Information Technology Management, 6(1), 8–30. (2003).
[9] Wooldridge, M., Intelligent agents, in: G. Weiss (Ed.), Multiagent Systems, The
MIT Press, London, England, 1999, pp. 25–77.
[10] Yasdi, R., A literature survey on applications of neural networks for human–
computer interaction, Neural Computing and Applications 9 (2000) 245–258.
[11] Zhang D., J.K. Nunamaker, Powering E-learning in the new millennium: an
overview of e-learning and enabling technology, Information Systems Frontiers
5 (2) (2003) 207– 218.





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 97


A rules based on context methodology
to build the pedagogical resources

Gabriela Moise

Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti
39, Bucuresti, ROMANIA
E-mail: gmoise@upg-ploiesti.ro


Abstract
The main feature of a learning content management system is the capability for
the teachers to build pedagogical resources without higher IT knowledge. So the
computer science offers a lot of software programs all-purpose. An open
problem in this area is to create educational content automatically depending
on the context of the instruction process. In this paper the author defines the
context of the educational process and a set of rules based on the context which
can be turned into a software program.

Keywords: Context for learning process, Rules based on context. Learning
content management system.


1 Introduction
The concept of learning content management system is derived from the concept of
course management system. A course management system is an authoring tool which
enables teachers to produce and manage the pedagogical resources.
Example of LCMSs are the commercial products like WebCT, Blackboard, eCollege
and the open sources like Moodle (at the address
http://www.edtechpost.ca/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/EdTechPost/OpenSourceCourseManage
mentSystems, a list of open source management systems can be found).
Also the concept of LCMS is hard linked with the concept of CMS (content
management system). Boiko shows (Boiko, 2005) that the content management system
is a system with three functions: collecting, management and publishing information in
a unitary whole (like a magazine, newspaper). So, a CMS must be designed from three
points of view:
- collecting system;
- management system;
- publishing system.
The collecting process involves the building of the components, acquiring and
converting them in standardized formats. Speaking from the point of view of building
an electronic course, the components are pieces of information, like the modules of
courses, which according to Adascalitei (Adascalitei, 2007) “must be updated,
improved and adapted in accordance to the needs of the addressee”.





98 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The management function is conductress with the recording, updating of the
components and editing the links between components.
The publishing function is conductress with the automat linking between
components and accomplishing a publication.
The LCMS concept reports on CMS used in the instruction process that helps
teacher to build, organize, publish online courses, track the student progress, offer
communication tools, course statistics. The most important feature is that a LCMS
offers a frame used by teachers to build good courses and used by the students to learn
and to be evaluated.
Short-speaking, a learning content management system is a combination of
hardware and software that enables the users to collect, organize and publish
pedagogical resources and enhances communication between teachers and students.
Ullman C. and Rabinowitz M. (Ullman et al, 2004) show the benefits of using a
CMS in the learning process:
“By using the CMS for the course’s organization, then the purpose of class time
would be almost exclusively devoted to discussion and student activities. Freed from
having to repeat past activities, instructors could become more engaged in the process
of sharing ideas. The students could become more active learners, taking more
responsibility for what they learn and becoming more important in the dynamic of the
classroom.”
2 The context of the learning process
The learning process is the process of converting information received by the human
sensors into knowledge and skills.
The information process involves building a cognitive structure about the learned
material by the students. The students are actively involved in activities of processing,
memorizing, retrieving information and teachers are involved in helping students to
develop the skills of information process, which systematically applied leads to
accomplishing the learning objectives.
In this way, a structure was developed that implies three layers:
1. sensorial input and record;
2. the short term memory (STM);
3. long term memory (LTM).












Figure 1. Information Process
encoding
(through iteration,
SENSORS
ears, eyes
STM LTM
Processing
(after 3-5 sec.)
information stay active
15-20 sec. without
Large capacity
retrieval





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 99
The context of the learning process is defined by a whole of factors that affect
the learning.
To define the context of the learning process, it is necessary to define all the
conditions in which the instruction process unfolds. This is a complex concept noted by
Cole and Griffin (Cole et al, 1987).
The instruction context could be referred as social context, emotional context,
mental context, school context, technological context, knowledge context. In this
paper, we take in consideration some of all factors that affect the learning: motivation,
goals, previous knowledge, interest, teaching styles, learning styles, classroom climate,
parents, preoccupations, hobbies, etc.
















Figure 2. The Context Of Learning Process

Mental context (MC) includes general abilities and knowledge, the intelligence
of the student, mental structure and the capacity of the learner to learn, understand and
practice the material.
Social context (SC) includes the familiar context, familiar stress, friends view.
Technological context (TC) refers on course structure, format, informational
technology, technological equipment.
Knowledge context (KC) refers on previous knowledge, past experience related
on the topic presented in course.
Emotional context (EC) refers on motivation, interest, goals of students.
Affect
Classroom
context
Social
context
Technological
context
Knowledge
context
Emotional
context
Mental
context
Learning process





100 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Classroom context (CC) includes teaching methods, the structure of students
(age, gender, ethnical structure, etc.)
Certainly, it’s an absurdity to affirm that a course is good for all students. So, it’s
necessary to develop a based on context methodology to build e-courses and this
methodology has to be included in the LCMS.














Figure 3. LCMS And The Context Of Education

3 Rules based on context methodology
The general form of a rule is [1]:
[1] ) ; ; ( ) (
2 1 2 1 k n
a a a c c c r K K → ∧ ∧ ∧ = ,
where
n i c
i
, 1 , =
are conditions and
k i a
i
, 1 , =
are actions.

In our case conditions are the contextual factors of the learning process and actions are
pedagogical resources patterns that have to satisfy the pedagogical resources.
So, a rule turns into [2]:

[2]
) ; ; ( ) (
2 1 2 1 k n
p p p cf cf cf r K K → ∧ ∧ ∧ =


The contextual factors are pieces of information (facts): the student is male, the
student is 40 years old, the student is working, the student has no previous knowledge.
Pedagogical resources patterns are recipes of pedagogical resources. These
patterns gather all the experience of teaching and learning in a specific domain taking
into account the contextual factors.
The problem of this methodology is that there aren’t enough patterns for all
combinations of contextual factors.
Let’s consider the rules [3].


Contextual factors
(MC, SC, TC, KC, EC, CC)

Primarily materials
(instructional contents)
LCMS
Pedagogical resources
Rules based
on context
methodology





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 101
[3]
) ( ) (
1 2 1 1
p cf cf r → ∧ =



) ( ) (
2 4 3 2
p cf cf r → ∧ =


) ( ) (
3 6 5 3
p cf cf r → ∧ =

Let’s assume that the learning process is satisfying all the contextual factors from 1 to
6.
If there is a rule of form [4]:
[4]
) ( ) (
6 5 4 3 2 1 l j
p cf cf cf cf cf cf r → ∧ ∧ ∧ ∧ ∧ =

the problem is solved, while we can select it and it can be build a pedagogical resource
using the description
l
p
.
If there isn’t a rule of form [4], the problem is the order of applying the rules from 1 to
3, and how operates the stream of conversion of a primarily educational material
(knowledge) in a pedagogical resource.




Figure 4. The Stream Of Building Pedagogical Resources
One solution is to define a priority to each contextual factor, and the priority of
the rule is the sum of the priorities of the contextual factors that composed the clause of
the rule. So the rules will be selected according to the priority of the rule.
A pattern (description) depends on the domain of knowledge that will be
transferred from teacher to students and the contextual factors.
The pattern is composed by a curriculum and learning objects. The pattern
described in the schema 5 is adapted from Cisco. A Learning Object is built using a
combination of a presentation, a resume, an evaluation and information objects. A
learning object has only one object of instruction. Each Information Object is built
starting from derived objectives from the objective of Learning Object.









Figure 5. A Pattern Of Pedagogical Resource
3
p
1
p
knowledge partial
e-course
partial
e-course
Pedagogical
resource
(e-course)
Evaluation
Presentation
Information
Object
Information
Object
….
Resume
Reading
Lecture notes
Exercises
Simulations
Projects
Bibliography
FAQ





102 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
If the learning process is satisfying the contextual factors no.3 and no.4, the stream of
conversion of a primarily educational material (knowledge) in a pedagogical resource
is represented in the schema 6.

2
p




Figure 6. The Model Of Applying A Rule

Another issue is how apply automatically a pattern to a set of complex information to
result a pedagogical resources. Doubtless the primarily information have to be
structured and the teacher have to help the system to build good pedagogical resources.
A set of rules
:
1
r past_experience=none


p
,


p
=







:
2
r past_experience=all ∧ motivation=good ∧ capacity_to_learn=high → p ,

p
=










:
3
r motivation=enough ∧ capacity_to_learn=enough → p ,


knowledge Pedagogical
resource
(e-course)
Presentation
Information
Object
Resume
Link to another
course
Reading
Lecture notes Evaluation
Presentation
Information
Object
Information
Object
….
Reading
Exercises
Projects
Bibliography
Evaluation





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 103

p
=












:
4
r IT=high ∧ capacity_to_learn=high → p ,

p
=










:
5
r learning_style=visual ∧ teaching_method=project_method → p ,

p
=












Presentation
Information
Object
Information
Object
….
Resume
Reading
Lecture notes
Simulations
Bibliography
FAQ
Evaluation
Presentation
Information
Object
Information
Object
….
Lecture notes:
video, films
Simulations
Evaluation
Presentation
Information
Object
Information
Object
….
Lecture notes: video,
films
Projects
Bibliography
FAQ
Evaluation





104 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
4 Conclusions
The major challenge of the e-learning still remains the process of building pedagogical
resources; while in this process have to contribute a lot of specialist from different
areas like instructional design, domain teaching, web programmers and software
developers. In this paper it was proposed to consider the context of unfolding the
instructional process and a set of rules based on context, which have to be used.

5 References

Books:
[1] AdăscăliŃei, A (2007) : Instruire Asistată de calculator. Polirom.
[2] Boiko, B. (2005): Content Management. Bible, 2nd Edition, Wiley Publishing,
Inc.

Journal Articles:
[3] Ullman, C., Rabinowitz M., (2004) Course Management Systems and the
Reinvention of Instruction. T.H.E. Journal,
http://www.thejournal.com/articles/17014.

Technical Reports:
[4] Cole. M., Griffin, P. (1987): Contextual factors in education. Information
analyses report. Prepared for Committee on Research in Mathematics Science,
and Technology Education, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and
Education, National Research Council. Wisconsin Center for Education
Research, Madison.

Internet Sources:
[5] http://www.edtechpost.ca/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/EdTechPost/OpenSourceC
ourseManagementSystems
[6] http://www.physics.ohio-
state.edu/~lbao/archive/proceedings/PERC_Lee_Bao_2002.pdf





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 105


Case Studies in the UK Knowledge
Transfer Partnership Programme

Professor Laurence Legg
1
, Dr. Philip Holifield
1
, Professor Mircea Galis
2


(1) University of Central Lancashire, Department of Technology, Preston PR1
2HE, United Kingdom, lklegg@uclan.ac.uk
(2) Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Department of Machine Tools and
Industrial Robots, 3400 Cluj-Napoca, 103-105 Muncii Bd., Romania
E-mail: lklegg@uclan.ac.uk


Abstract
This paper introduces the UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme
as a mechanism for technology transfer between academic institutions and
commercial organisations in the UK. The paper outlines the aims, objectives and
organisation of the programme, then explains its operation through two case
studies, one of a small manufacturing company and the other being a medium
sized manufacturing company. Each company had their own specific objectives
and programme of work, which were aimed at significantly impacting on their
future competitiveness. These are presented, with an explanation of how the KTP
programmes were implemented and the results achieved.

Keywords: Instructions, Format, Submitting papers, Proceedings

1 Overview of UK KTP Programmes
Established in 1975 by the then Science Research Council and the Department of
Industry as the Teaching Company Scheme (TCS) this programme of collaboration
between business and higher education was renamed Knowledge Transfer Partnership
(KTP) in summer 2003. It is a Government scheme providing postgraduate training
and development opportunities for high calibre graduates and enabling UK businesses
of all types and sizes to take advantage of the wide range of expertise available in the
UK’s knowledge base, i.e. higher education institutions and, since 1997, public and
private sector research institutions and organisations.
The stated mission of KTP is:
“To strengthen the competitiveness, wealth creation and economic performance of the
UK by the enhancement of knowledge and skills and the stimulation of innovation
through collaborative projects between business and the knowledge base.” (Knowledge
Transfer Partnerships Annual Report 2004/5)
The objectives of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are to:
Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and the spread of technical and business skills,
through innovation projects undertaken by high caliber, recently qualified people under
the joint supervision of personnel from business and the knowledge base provide





106 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
company-based training for recently qualified people in order to enhance their business
and specialist skills
Stimulate and enhance business-relevant training and research undertaken by the
knowledge base
Increase the extent of interactions of businesses with the knowledge base and their
awareness about the contribution that the knowledge base can make to business
development and growth.
The aim of each KTP program is to:
Enhance the business relevance of the Knowledge Base Partner's work
Improve the competitiveness of the Company Partner
Enhance the career prospects of a graduate
As can be seen from the programme aims, KTP is seen by the UK government
management organisation which assesses and selects applications to be a 3 way
partnership between an HE institution, a business, and a graduate. In submitting an
application for a KTP grant, a justification of benefits to all 3 parties must be made.
Benefits available for business have to be described in terms of a business plan that
indicates the amount of investment from the company both in terms of their
contribution to the grant and the time of staff, and any equipment purchases. This is
weighed against the quantified potential return as a direct result of work done during
the programme and for 3 years following completion of the programme.
One of the essential aspects of a KTP is that it must address a strategic company
development that could not be carried out without support from external sources. The
partnership with a University brings the expertise of one or more academic staff to the
company, and a graduate is employed for 1 to 3 years on company premises to
undertake the project.
KTP has been used by a company for such purposes as:
• Diversification - By working with experts from the University, and with a
skilled graduate on-site, additional knowledge can be embedded in the
company and the resources of the KTP used to improve profitability. In this
case the knowledge transfer from Higher Education (HE) to business
compensates for a lack of knowledge or skills within the company to develop a
new product or service demanded by the company’s customer base.
• New products - For companies seeking new products, access to university
expertise and facilities together with a graduate dedicated to a development
programme has proved an excellent recipe for success. The HE knowledge
transferred may include new technology, processes, or the introduction of
design skills and capability.
• Information System Design - KTP programmes in information systems can
provide efficiency savings, a better service for clients, and quality information
for managers. KTP programmes have developed ICT systems for companies
in a wide range of industry sectors from food processing to manufacture. More
recently there has been an interest in e-commerce KTP partnerships.
• Design - For manufacturing or assembly companies, moving into design can
be a crucial business decision. KTP has provided support in terms of expertise
and resource to enable this to happen under the guidance of academic staff
with design management experience.





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• Manufacturing - KTP programmes in manufacture are often combined with
engineering design or CAD to improve company efficiency, cut lead times,
reduce costs, reduce stock levels, increase capacity, as will be shown in the
following case studies.
KTP for academic staff involves the supervision of a graduate for a 1 to 3 year
industry-based project in a company. Time commitment for the academic is 4 hours per
week, and an academic support budget is paid to the University department to release
this time from teaching. Participation in a KTP programme can result in benefits to
academic staff in a number of ways:
• Professional Skills Development - Academics are able to maintain their
professional skills and keep in contact with the latest ways in which these are
applied in business. Many academics are limited in the time available to
develop and enhance their technical skills in a business environment. KTP
provides the opportunities to stay current and apply skills in a commercial
context.
• Academic Support Budget - In every KTP programme there is a budget for
the provision of support to the academic member of staff involved in the
programme. This money is used to release staff in order to do the required
supervision on company premises, but may also be used by the academic to
support their own research/teaching interests e.g. attending conferences,
buying equipment.
• Research Supervision and publication - The graduates employed on KTP
projects often register on higher degrees and produce research papers in
partnership with their academic supervisors. KTP is a means of enhancing the
research profile of academic supervisors.
• Consultancy - KTP may lead on to consultancy contracts with companies.
Many former KTP partners continue to co-operate in research through the
work of the associate (graduate), or through other grant-funded projects.
• Case study material - The projects often provide material to support both
undergraduate and postgraduate teaching through case studies, group design
exercises, or individual projects.
The following 2 case studies of manufacturing companies are an illustration of how
KTP has been used to enable academic institutions and industrial companies to benefit
from each other’s knowledge and skills.

2 Case Study 1
(Micro business, 10 employees, annual turnover £500,000, equipment manufacturer for
the paper industry. 1 Associate for 2 years.)
The core business is the manufacture to original designs of paper unwinding stands
and their automated floor tracking systems for the paper and paper converting industry.
This product range is worth about 40% of the business. The Company wanted to
consolidate this aspect of their business, to reduce the design and manufacturing costs
of the customised paper unwind stands, and to reduce the lead time of this product
range. In achieving these aims there would also be additional spin-off benefits in other
areas of the business and the ability to return to their previous position of 20% market
share.





108 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Table 1: Programme Objectives and the Outcomes
Programme Objectives Objective results
1. Assess the current design
process and existing design and
manufacturing facilities in the
Company. Research and select
a CAD system which will lead
to integrated CAD/CAM with
potential integration of costing,
schedule and other related
activities.
A full in-house design facility and procedures are
now operational, with no reliance on external
agencies, resulting in an annual saving of 4-5K. A
CAD system has been selected, but due to financial
constraints, this has not yet been fully implemented.
This has meant that the full integration of the
separated systems that have been developed has not
yet been achieved.
2. Install CAD system
supported by clearly defined
design procedures. This will
enable the Company to be less
reliant on external design
agencies and develop a design
capability in house, speed up
product development and
reduce costs.
An archiving and design development system has
been introduced which has enabled the company to
have a formal audit trail, hence reducing the risk of
product liability on all jobs, and to rapidly create
product information manuals. This archive system
has also enabled more rapid product design, for
example for a paper unwind (a standard product) the
design time has reduced from 1 week to one day.
The company can more rapidly respond to enquiries
with preliminary drawings, and a reduction in
response time to customer enquiries from an
average of two weeks to 2 days.
3. Rationalise components and
sub-assemblies for variants of
the Company’s standard designs
and cost in terms of labour and
materials. This will result in the
creation of a drawings database
and lead to improved accuracy
for job estimation. Re-design
existing products whilst
maintaining quality to improve
penetration into markets.
The outcome relating to product rationalisation and
standardised product costing system has been fully
completed. Previously all paper unwinds
manufactured were bespoke products, now all paper
unwinds are a standard product with minor
variations for customisation. With the archive
system these variations are recorded for future
reference when spares or repair work is required,
hence reducing future maintenance costs by an
estimated minimum 10K per annum.
4. Implement CAM system and
required procedures. This will
reduce lead time and reduce
manufacturing costs, in
particular those associated with
reworking.
As the project progressed it became clear that the
CAPP system had a higher priority than introducing
CAM, so the emphasis in the programme was
changed to reflect this.
The product costing system gave improved internal
budgeting and cost control and better accounting
information and cash flow forecasts. This system,
plus the rapid production of preliminary sales
drawings, enabled sales to have improved and
timely costing information when negotiating with
potential customers, and to respond more quickly.





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5. Develop CAPP system to
allow the Company to do formal
capacity planning. Improve
product flow and equipment
layout to improve job
scheduling.
Within the scope of the project this has been fully
completed. MSProject was used to plan, control and
monitor manufacturing for some standard products,
and this will continue to eventually bring in all
company products.
Job scheduling and shop floor loading is now
actively planned resulting in better production cost
control; meeting all delivery dates with less overtime
and progress chasing; capacity planning enabling
multiple products to be manufactured within their
planned lead times; reduced stock holding costs due
to synchronised materials delivery and increased
confidence in meeting production plans which has
also resulted in increased floor space.

Prior to and during the time of this project the business environment in which the
Company was operating was in recession. This resulted in 14 UK companies and 2
German companies producing similar products and services going out of business.
Having survived this period, the Company are now in a strong position to capitalise on
more tendering opportunities, and have the capability to undertake larger scale and
higher value projects (from £350K to £1.5 Million projects) hence making the return
to a 20% market share target more feasible.

Table 2: Target Outcomes and Results
Target Outcomes Actual results
Reduced lead times and manufacturing
times hence greater throughput of work.
Turnover is expected to increase year on
year by approximately 20%.
Reduction of rework costs by a
minimum of 50%.
Reduced and reliable delivery times, as
a result of rationalising components and
sub-assemblies for variants of the
Company’s standard designs.
Reduction in manufacturing costs
through more efficient use of people and
machinery. A 40% increase in efficiency
is thought to be achievable.
Reduction of labour costs (estimated at
£5-10k p.a.) in associated activities
which can be automated (stock control,
estimating etc.).
Cutting out external agency costs
(estimate of 4-5k p.a.) for design
functions.
Staff costs reduced by 20K
Overtime reduced by 70K per annum
Rework costs reduced from 20% to 5%
of turnover
Customer enquiry response time reduced
from typically 2 weeks to 2 days
Design time reduction for standard
products of 80%
Reduction in future maintenance/repair
costs of approx. 10K per annum
Reduction in tooling costs by 75% to
approx. £200/month
Increased stock turnover, as stock
holding has been reduced from approx. 2
years to 3 months
Reduction in stock value from approx.
90K to approx. 30K
The above two have resulted from
increased confidence in meeting
deliveries and working to planned
schedules





110 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Re-design existing products whilst
maintaining quality to improve
penetration into existing markets. The
target is to return to a 20% market share
over a five year period.

Increase in floor space by about 30%,
which allows improvements in building
and testing sub-assemblies and products
External design contract work is no
longer needed, saving 4-5K per annum


3 Case study 2
(Medium sized company with nearly 50 employees, annual turnover £2.5 million,
regulator manufacturers. Two associates, each for 2 years.)
The Company is a specialist manufacturer of primary and secondary stage
regulators. Within the core business of scuba diving equipment, both commercial and
leisure, they are world leaders. The Company had been in existence for 10 years and
during this time doubled its turnover annually. They are the largest manufacturer of
this type of equipment in the UK, and have secured the largest segment of the market
in this country. The Company wants to maintain this position, and also to increase
market penetration into the fire-fighting and medical regulator markets.
The Company identified that it must develop an in-house product/ industrial design
facility, in order to compete for effectively in the wider international arena, an area
where it does not currently enjoy the success that it had developed in its home
domestic market.
The Company anticipated the potential for further doubling of sales volume, and a
widening of product variety, as they intend to customise in both product specification
and aesthetics to specific market segments. After a decade of growth, the Company
have reached a stage where they need to completely re-consider their manufacturing
strategy and systems, as they feel the current manufacturing systems will not be able to
fully able to support these changes.
New product design and development were undertaken by one individual within the
company. The company recognises the contribution that a specialist product designer
could make to new product development and also recognises this as a key area where
its foreign competitors were beginning to gain a market advantage. Whilst exemplary
engineering design had allowed the company to perform well in Home and European
markets, more eclectic purchasing tastes, particularly in the Far East require the
company to consider consolidating a sound engineering base with a stronger stylistic/
aesthetic approach to new product development.
The anticipated doubling of sales volume leading to a very large increase in both
parts and parts variety would put enormous pressures on the manufacturing system.
The Company needed to develop a fully integrated manufacturing strategy which
matched both the product development plans and the competitive priorities of the
various product ranges and market segments. The manufacturing strategy plan would
then need to be converted into actual changes in the manufacturing system such that
the Company can keep control of production and production costs, whilst still meeting
customer requirements for the different markets.





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Table 3: Programme Objectives
Associate 1 Objectives Associate 2 Objectives
The definition of an “in house” design
facility to run in conjunction with
engineering design.
A manufacturing strategy plan, which is in
line with marketing business and product
development plans.
Integration of computer modelling at
design/ development stage.
Full implementation of computerised
production control system.
Integration of product/ industrial design
process.
Implementation of a detailed redesign of
the manufacturing system.
Re-design of existing core products. A CIM development plan.
Design of new products Reduction of total manufacturing costs.

The most significant event which impacted the programme was the takeover of the
Company during the programme by a Group. Manufacturing at the Company had to
maintain and increase their own product lines, whilst also introducing the new work for
the Group. This change affected both associates, but had a more significant impact on
the scope and size of the tasks for associate 2. However, the direction of the main
programme objectives did not need to change, though there were some changes to the
project plans to accommodate the takeover and the greater increase in both parts and
parts variety.
As a result of the product design developments by associate 1, increases in
knowledge and capabilities of the Company were:
3 new/re-designed products reached full production, 2 in pre-production and 1 in
prototyping The acquisition of 3D CAD technology, improved design and development
efficiency and increased design flexibility
The introduction of 2.5 and 3 axis CAM machining technology to improve design
flexibility whilst reducing prototyping and manufacturing development lead times and
accelerating the tool-making process
The introduction of product design management systems improved design
communication with other departments by making all information available to all
relevant personnel. For associate 2, all the milestones/deliverables for each of the
objectives were successfully completed, in the context of both the Company and the
Group products/parts.
Production of a manufacturing strategy plan fitted to other company strategic plans.
A re-design of the manufacturing system to support the expansion of the company and
to match the competitive priorities for the product ranges.
Implementation of computer aided production planning and control system.
As a result of the changes in the manufacturing planning, scheduling and control
systems introduced by this Programme, the Company now have the following
integrated systems working: forecasting; capacity planning; master production
scheduling; material requirements planning; stock control; production cost planning
and control.
The work of the programme resulted in the following:
WIP reduced from £110,000 to £17,000.
Reduction of lead-time from 7 weeks to less than 1 week.





112 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Shortage list of components and sub-assemblies reduced to zero.
• Subcontracting no longer required. (From a level of 30% originally.)
• Approximately 1850 hours of capacity saved hence potential for additional
Company sales or Group savings.
• A manufacturing system which is more responsive to market demand and design
changes.
• Manufacture of the initial introductory parts for the Group generated an extra
£106,000 profit during the programme.
• The integration of manufacture of parts for the Group showed the planning and
control systems were robust enough to cope with a large increase in demand.
Benefits to Government and Companies
Latest information (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Annual Report 2004/5) shows
that, on average, the business benefits that can be expected from a single KTP project
are:
• An increase of over £290,000 in annual profits before tax
• Creation of eight genuine new jobs
• An increase in the skills of existing staff.
Put another way, for every £1 million of Government investment in Knowledge
Transfer Partnerships, the benefits achieved by UK businesses amount to:
• £4.2 million increase in annual profits before tax
• The creation of 112 genuine new jobs
• 214 company staff trained.

3 References

[1] Knowledge Transfer Partnerships annual Report 2004/5, 2005, Department of
Trade and Industry






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Education in Manufacturing Engineering
by 3D Interactive Virtual Models

Professor Mircea Galis
1
, Professor Laurence Legg
2


(1) Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Department of Machine Tools and
Industrial Robots, 3400 Cluj-Napoca, 103-105 Muncii Bd., Romania
(2) University of Central Lancashire, Department of Technology, Preston PR1
2HE, United Kingdom, lklegg@uclan.ac.uk
E-mail: mircea.galis@muri.utcluj.ro


Abstract
This paper introduces the main topics related to the Simulation Based Learning.
The paper outlines the advantages of this education technology, then explains its
operation through some case studies achieved by the authors

Keywords: Simulation Based Learning, 3D interactive animated models,
e-learning, Virtual Reality


1 Introduction
In today manufacturing complexity, a comprehensive education in manufacturing
engineering using real processes and equipment it is extremely expensive for any
university and in real terms is alomost impossible. For this reason and many others the
using of 3D interactive models for processes and equipment became a crucial necesity.
There are in recent years many institutions of all levels that use the simulations and
gaming in education, both for children and adults. These modern ways of eduaction
also provide a safe environment for testing problem-solving techniques without the
risks that we encounter in the 'real' world.
Simulation Based Learning is a step beyond traditional e-learning. There are many
deffinitions for Simulation Based Learning (SBL). Jeff Carpenter (e-Learning Director
of InterKinetik) said: “The question of what truly defines simulation-based learning is
often difficult to ask and even more difficult to understand. The definition of
simulation and its benefits are often down played or molded to meet the needs of the
programs being promoted. However, simulation is defined as the examination of a
problem, often not subject to direct experimentation, by means of a simulating device.
This simulating device allows a safe environment for students learning new skills and
for the company that does not want to use its customer base or machinery as a test bed
for practicing those newly acquired skills” [1].
In accordance with Colin Milligan (Heriot-Watt University, UK) a simulation is 'an
interactive computer program that replicates (within limits) some real world object
and/or process'. Any system, large or small, can be simulated, providing that its





114 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
behaviour can be defined by a computer model (algorithm). Simulations allow the user
to dynamically explore the modelled domain, and are open i.e. they do not prescribe
the actions of the user. Within education, the interactive, dynamic and open nature of
simulations puts the user in charge and creates a valuable learning experience”[2].
Or much more simple Daniel Hamburger (CEO of Indeliq Inc.) said: “Simulation
based Learning is learning by doing” [3]
In traditional asynchronous e-Learning, students tend to be restricted to a
predetermined learning path through reading and observation. In simulations, learners
select and pursue experiences assembled as they respond to questions and other
stimuli. This is the essence of simulation and how it differs from traditional instructor-
led learning, from scenario-based learning, from game-based learning, and from other
asynchronous e-Learning.
In the coming years immersive and simulation-based learning will become
increasingly important at any responsible education institution. Learning by simulation
will be a critical bridge for students between theoretical knowledge and the actual
practices.
Traditional methods of teaching facts, concepts, and structure rely on “two
dimensional” lectures and textbooks to convey material that is inherently three-
dimensional and dynamic, creating for many people gaps in understanding. Techniques
of “virtual reality” and “immersive visualization” allow learners of any age or any
stage of training to better understand important concepts from any area.
Simulators are used in distance learning and traditional classroom alike.
Animation based process observations and simulation based active explorations
accompany textual hard-copy descriptions, graphical and animated illustrations, and
acoustics to provide the learner with a comprehensive representation of the structure
and the processes of the domain.
3D Interactive simulation models are being designed to support the process of learning
in the phase between acquiring basic knowledge and the real practice and are aimed at
preparing in-depth knowledge and practical skills by exploring the domain
functionality.

2 The advantages of using of 3D interactive models
Comparing with physical models, the virtual 3D interactive models have some
important advantages such as:
Virtual models are flexible. Because simulated labs are a digital recreation of the real
world that they represent they can be configured in an infinite number of combinations.
Virtual models are scalable. Real technology comes in the size that it comes in with all
the features and functionality intact. Simulated labs can focus on just one feature set or
one aspect of the technology
Virtual simulators are portable. With the advent of the internet the ability to provide
hands-on experience at a distance is now possible. Not too long ago, they only way to
gain hands-on experience was to physically attend to laboratory activities. This has
obviously limitations in both capacity and accessibility.The Virtual Models can be used
for distance education, homework and those with disabilities.
Virtual models are special designed for learning. Therefore they are designed to
provide performance evaluation, feedback and even instruction. Learning scenarios can





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be reset and practiced over and over again. Technical processes can be artificially
slowed down to demonstrate difficult concepts or time consuming processes can be
sped up to not waste time waiting for the process to be completed.
Virtual models are much more affordable.
Virtual models can be updated any time with very low costs.

3 3D interactive models for education in manufacturing engineering
Generally, three – dimensional (3D) animated models are being created to enable
learners to overcome difficulties in understanding/interpreting complex structures, such
as a manufacturing equipment/system. Simulation is a set of “techniques” to replace or
amplify real experiences with planned experiences, often immersive in nature, that
evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.
From the various modalities of simulation the authors option was for Virtual
Reality and Visualization. They used commercial sofware packages for 3D
modelling of real processes and equipment in the area of manufacturing. Our
option is for using of 3D Studio Max in combination with EON Studio, two well
known sofwares. The first one have been used for modelling and achieving of part
of animations and the second one served to complet the animations and setup the
interactivity.
Bellow are two samples from the area of machining. First one, figure 1, shows an
interactive model for a Vertical Maching Centre. The second one, figure 2, combine
more machining equipment and industrial robots to form a Flexible Manufacturing
Cell.



Figure 1. 3D interactive Vertical Machining Centre





116 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta


Figure 2. 3D interactive Flexible Manufacturing Cell

The users can interact with the models as follow:
• Left mouse button – for rotation of entire model
• Right mouse button – for zooming
• Left + Right mouse button – for panning
• By moving the mouse over the “CLOR CHANGER” or over the NC pannel
buttons the user can change the color of the equipment, start the motion for
X/Y/Z axis, rotation of Tool Magazine, Rotation of Main Shaft, start the
motions of Tool Changer.
• By clicking the Green button from NC pannel the user can start a machining
cycle.

5 References
[1] http://www.ltimagazine.com/ltimagazine/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=2032.
[2] http://www.assets.scotcit.ac.uk/hw_inside/inside/primer/
[3] http://www.elearningguild.com/pdf/2/091702DES-H.pdf.





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Learning from Nature:
Natural Computing Meets Virtual Learning

Zhengxin Chen
Department of Computer Science
University of Nebraska at Omaha,
Omaha, NE 68182-0500, USA
zchen@mail.unomaha.edu

Abstract
From an examination on where virtual learning stands in the overall learning
spectrum, we point out the important impact of natural computing on virtual
learning. We survey and analyze selected literature on important role of natural
computing aspects, such as emergence (using swarm intelligence to achieve
collective intelligence) and emotion, to virtual learning. We note that although
scattered efforts have been made in incorporating various natural computing
concepts into virtual learning, more systematic studies of promoting natural
computing as a whole in virtual learning environment are needed. We address
issues related to achieving natural computing-enriched virtual learning,
including the need for investigating a virtual learning architecture (or
framework).

Keywords: Emergence, emotion, natural computing, swarm
intelligence, collective intelligence, virtual learning architecture

1. Introduction: The learning spectrum

As a software system, a virtual learning environment is intended to offer a virtual
environment for learning where the learning process is based on information
technology (IT). Virtual learning environment facilitates computerized learning or
computer-enhanced learning (e-learning). Many projects in virtual learning have been
designed to facilitate teachers in the management of educational courses for their
students, especially by helping teachers and and learners with course administration.
The system can often track the learners' progress, which can be monitored by both
teachers and learners. With advanced learning technology (ALT) it supports, virtual
learning makes learning as a life-long journey easier to achieve than anytime else in
history, and the entire world now becomes an open university.
Virtual learning is concerned with IT assisted human learning and much of
research work in virtual learning addresses various technical issues to enhance human
learning. However, when we talk about learning using contemporary IT techniques, we
should also consider machine learning
(http://robotics.stanford.edu/people/nilsson/mlbook.html), a subfield in AI mainly
concerned with developing algorithms for enhanced performance of computers. Even
virtual learning (for humans) and machine learning are two separate research areas,
they are both concerned with learning with computers, and we would like to include





118 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
them in the same big picture so we can have a better understanding about where virtual
learning stands.
This broad perspective raises an important issue: Virtual learning should not be
simply viewed as just a set of IT tools (or techniques) to assist learning or education. It
reminds us the importance of examining fundamental issues related to learning, such as
nature of intelligence, various forms of intelligence, consciousness and thinking, as
well as recent research progress related to brain and mind, and even about various
forms of life – not just humans, but animals as well, so long as they demonstrate a kind
of learning ability. These studies could shed meaningful insight for better virtual
learning. As noted in [15], in recent years educators have explored links between
classroom teaching and emerging theories about how people learn. Recommended
educational approaches, consist primarily of trying to maintain a relaxed, focused
atmosphere that offers options for learning in individually satisfying ways. One thing
we must be kept in mind is that the brain is complex and while research has revealed
some significant findings, there is no widespread agreement about their applicability to
the general population or to education in particular. Nevertheless, brain research
provides rich possibilities for education [15]. Articles in the new magazine Scientific
American Minds (http://www.sciammind.com/) also shed interesting lights on
brain/mind research and education.
This broad perspective also reminds us that in a virtual learning environment,
many previously impossible things now may become possible because of new
opportunities. In order to take full advantage of virtual learning environment, we would
further ask the question: Is anything setting in between virtual learning and machine
learning? Although this may be an open question subjecting to debate, here we offer a
possible answer: learning from nature through natural computing, which is the
computational version of the process of extracting ideas from nature to develop
“artificial” (computational) systems (“artificial” means human-made). Since natural
computing is aimed to model the nature or even compute with the nature, it looks for
intellectual inspiration from all forms of life (not restricted to human beings) – such as
ants. Since natural computing sets between the research of “full human” (i.e., virtual
learning) and non-human (i.e., machine learning), it fits in the missing link in the
learning spectrum. Amending the hierarchical diagram provided by [1], we have the
learning hierarchy as shown below:
Machine learning
Learning from nature (Natural computing)
Virtual learning (for humans)
Resource-based learning
Technology-based learning

But why should we bother natural computing at all in the context of virtual
learning? The answer is simple: It would benefit virtual learning so that virtual learning
can better achieve its goal. In fact, natural computing is not new to virtual learning
community: As we are going to see soon, projects using various natural computing
techniques have been conducted for virtual learning. Yet we feel there is a need to take
a more systematic look on the rich impact of natural computing in virtual learning.
Virtual learning provides an excellent environment for human learning never existed
before, and natural computing can make significant contributions here. Such kind of





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investigation will eventually benefit the study of natural computing as well, because
the diverse applications in virtual learning extend the horizon of natural computing.
This paper is intended to endorse systematical studies of incorporating natural
computing to virtual learning. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In Section
2 we provide a very brief background on natural computing. Since natural computing is
a big umbrella for many subfields, we have chosen two particular aspects to focus on,
namely, emergence and emotion: In Sections 3 and 4 we review related work for
virtual learning, and offer suggestions for needed research work in these areas. We
conclude our paper in Section 5, where we propose an investigation of an architecture
(or framework) for natural computing-enriched virtual learning. Even due to space
limitation we are not able to present specifics of our ongoing work here, we believe
this paper makes contribution to virtual learning by calling attention to this important
issue.

2. Natural computing: A very brief review
There are numerous resources available for natural computing. For beginners, [4]
provides a comprehensive coverage on the major fields with natural computing. The
brief review in this section is much based on that book.
The philosophy of natural computing lies in that most of computational
approaches natural computing deals with are based on highly simplified versions of the
mechanisms and processes present in the corresponding natural phenomena. Research
work in natural computing can be grouped into three major categories, namely,
computing inspired by nature, simulation and emulation of natural phenomena in
computers, and computing with natural materials. Since the last one does not have
direct impact on virtual learning (at least for now), we will not address it here.
The first category, computing inspired by nature, refers to making use of
nature as inspiration for the development of problem solving techniques. The main idea
is to develop computational tools (algorithms) by taking inspiration from nature for the
solution of complex problems. The diverse areas (or approaches) under this category
include evolutionary computing, neurocomputing, swarm intelligence, etc. Swarm
intelligence refers to a property of systems of unintelligent agents of limited individual
capabilities exhibiting collectively intelligent behavior, and has drawn attention from
researchers to find useful applications in virtual learning (as to be briefly described
later).
The second category, simulation and emulation of natural phenomena in
computers, refers to a synthetic process aimed at creating patterns, forms, behaviors,
and organisms that (do not necessarily) resemble “life-as-we-know-it.” Its products can
be used to mimic various natural phenomena, thus increasing our understanding of
nature and insights about computer models. An interesting area under this line of
research is artificial life, which is the study of man-made systems that exhibit
behaviors characteristic of natural living systems. It has been hoped that by extending
the empirical foundation upon which biology is based beyond the carbon-chain life that
has evolved on Earth, artificial life can contribute to theoretical biology by locating
life-as-we-know-it within the larger picture of life-as-it-could be.
Regardless of computing inspired by nature or simulation and emulation of
natural phenomena in computers, there are several general concepts underlying various





120 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
approaches in natural computing, such as agent, parallelism and distributivity,
interactivity, adaptation, feedback, self-organization, emergence, etc. In addition,
emotion is demonstrated not just in human beings, but many species of animals as well.
Emotion has also been studied in artificial life.
Various natural computing concepts have already been used by authors
working in virtual learning. Much effort has been put on researchers’ “traditional”
favorite such as adaptation. Yet successful employment of natural computing in virtual
learning goes far beyond adaptation. Below we examine selected literature involving
two crucial elements of natural computing and provide comments on their relevance to
virtual learning: Emergence and emotion.

3. Exploring emergence for virtual learning
As a typical demonstration of computational approach for emergence, swarm
intelligence is a property of systems of unintelligent agents of limited individual
capabilities exhibiting collectively intelligent behavior. Swarm intelligence includes
any attempt to design algorithms or distributed problem-solving devices inspired by the
collective behavior of social insects and other animal societies. Swarm intelligence is
an emergent property of the swarm system as a result of principles of the five
principles: proximity, quality, diversity, stability and adaptability. Two main lines of
research in swarm intelligence are either based on social insects, or based on the ability
of human societies to process knowledge [4].
The ability of ants to find short routes between nests and food sources suggests
an approach to cost-effective, flexible and implementable wayfinding support. Paths
identified by ants are not pre-planned, but emerge, spontaneously, as a result of indirect
communication between members of an ant colony – a form of indirect social
navigation. Ants deposit a chemical substance called pheromone which can be sensed
by other ants, thus achieving a kind of stigmergy, which refers to the process of
indirect communication. This property can be very useful for virtual learning. In a
virtual learning environment considered by [2], learners’ interactions with learning
resources and activities are recorded automatically as they progress through a body of
knowledge. The time stamping of these interactions allows learning sequences to be
identified which can be processed and aggregated to derive a given “pheromone
strength” favoring paths along which more learners have been successful. This
information can be fed back to other learners, providing a new source of navigational
guidance indicating “good” ways through the body of knowledge – a self-organizing,
stigmergic approach to wayfinding support.
In another experiment by [13], ant colony optimization (ACO) heuristics was
applied to an e-learning problem: the pedagogic material of an online teaching Web
site for high school students is modeled as a navigation graph where nodes are
exercises or lessons and arcs are hypertext links. The arcs' valuation, representing the
pedagogic structure and conditioning the Web site's presentation, is gradually modified
through the release and evaporation of virtual pheromones that reflect the successes
and failures of students roaming around the graph. A compromise is expected to
emerge between the pedagogic structure as originally dictated by professors, the
collective experience of the whole pool of students and the particularities of each
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Collective behavior as demonstrated from ant colonies and simulated in
computer programs exemplifies collective intelligence (or symbiotic intelligence), an
intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals -
- an intelligence that seemingly has a mind of its own. Yet emergence is not restricted
in collective intelligence. In general, emergence refers to the way complex systems and
patterns arise from a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.
Two influential monographs on emergence should find profound impact on
virtual learning: through a series of narratives to show complex adaptive systems that
display emergent behavior governed by small sets of local rules, the discussion in [7]
may shed useful intuitive thoughts on infrastructural support to achieve emergence in
virtual learning, while [5] provides more technical insights on modeling issues of
emergence in a more general, abstract setting, where emergence is explained through a
reductionist perspective.
Summarizing discussion given above, we have the following observations and
suggestions. Exploring emergent properties using swarm intelligence and other
techniques should be continued and strengthened for research virtual learning. Yet,
current research related to emergence in virtual learning is largely confined in specific
tasks. More systematic studies of the role of emergence in virtual learning are needed,
particularly those related to the overall infrastructure of virtual learning. In addition, in
the context of learning/education (including virtual learning), there is a need to
distinguish emergence as a process (such as emerging ideas) from emergence as a
product (such as an emerging pattern) – a feature which has not attracted enough
attention it deserves. Here is a partial list of issues to be studied about emergence
related to virtual learning:
• Nature of emergence (relevant to learning), such as: differences between
emergence and discovery
• What can be achieved through emergence? – emerging ideas
o Specific creative task (such as construction of analogs through
emergence for analogical problem solving)
• What can be achieved through emergence? – emerging “products”
• Global solution (such as optimization of student pedagogical path)
• Solution for individuals (learning by taking advantage of
emergence), such as how to come up with creativity thoughts in
general
In addition, there is a more general question: Is there a need to have a dedicated
software component at system level to support emergence in a virtual learning
environment? If yes, how to achieve this?

4. Exploring emotion in virtual learning
Recently the importance of emotion in education has drawn attention from researchers.
For example, according to [16], educators may find the most useful information in
research that focuses less on the physical and biochemical structure of the brain and
more on the mind-a complex mix of thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and reasoning.
Studies that explore the effects of attitudes and emotions on learning indicate that
stress and constant fear, at any age, can circumvent the brain's normal circuits. A
person's physical and emotional well-being is closely linked to the ability to think and





122 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
to learn effectively. Emotionally stressful home or school environments are
counterproductive to students' attempts to learn. While schools cannot control all the
influences that impinge on a young person's sense of safety and well-being, classrooms
and schools that build an atmosphere of trust and intellectual safety will enhance
learning. Letting students talk about their feelings can help them build skills in
listening to their classmates' comments. Finding ways to vent emotions productively
can help students deal with inevitable instances of anger, fear, hurt, and tension in daily
life. In an experimental study, [11] interviewed eleven students studying online. These
students identified emotions which were critical to their online learning.
In order to better understand where emotion stands in learning and education,
it would be beneficial to take a look at the two books on general aspects of emotions
with quite different emphases. From a psychological perspective, the experimental
research of [8] showed that emotion can occur without cognitive processing in the
cortex. In particular, we can learn some general principles of emotions by studying
fear. In evolutionary terms, “fearless” animals would have been less likely to survive.
The author further demonstrates that fear can be related to learning and fear learning is
implicit. Although by no means we should endorse any kind of “learning through fear,”
this example does indicate emotion can have impact on education in a controlled
manner, and with more secretes of emotion to be revealed in the future, some of the
previously unknown principles involving emotions can be incorporated into virtual
learning environment. Published one decade later, from a computational perspective,
[9] aimed to establish a theory of how emotions get created. According to this theory,
each emotional state is a different style of thinking. So there is no general theory of
emotions, because the main idea is that each of the major emotions is quite different.
For an adult person, the management is able to use these different ways of thinking
very quickly as part of ordinary, common-sense thinking. What is the indication of this
discussion to learning/education? The notion of emotion as a theory of thinking implies
a potential opportunity to “mint” emotion into “mainstream” education theories,
including those related to virtual learning.
In a recent comprehensive volume directly address the issue of emotion in
education [14], various theoretical perspectives on emotions in education have been
examined, include the discussions on control-value theory of achievement emotions,
self-regulation and social-constructivist learning, emotions as a main component of
attributional theory, implications of goal-theory for achievement-related emotions,
macro-cultural psychology, etc. The theoretical work is complemented with sets of
studies on students’ emotions in educational context, as well as teachers’ emotions in
educational contexts. Such kind of research sheds light for future work of dealing with
the emotion factor in a virtual learning environment.
As the literature surveyed above shows, so far the important issue of emotion
for education is still largely discussed at the traditional classroom setting. Nevertheless
researchers have started addressing this issue in the context related to virtual learning.
For example, [3] presents an analysis of the issues pertaining to computational
emergence and emotion in (cognitive) agent systems and describes how a developing
computational theory of cognition can be used to monitor and manage interactions with
and within complex systems; this would harness unwanted and emergent states and
behaviors before the computational system becomes dysfunctional. In another work,





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[12] describes a modular hybrid neural network architecture, called SHAME, for
emotion learning. In addition, computational experiments on emotion also exist. For
example, [6] proposes the architecture of learning companion agent with facial
expression of emotion. Based on ABC and ToK architecture, the emotion agent
architecture contains five modules to realize the interaction in the world. A particular
part of this research is the transition between emotion space in emotion module and
facial expression space in facial expression module.
Summarizing the above discussion, we note that current research status shows
that emotion for virtual learning is a vast area yet to be systematically explored. Some
basic issues include: From a learning perspective, how many types of emotions can be
distinguished? Under which conditions certain type of emotions should be controlled
and under which conditions educators can take advantage of it? What are basic
operations of emotions (such as filter out, enlargement, etc.) and how to develop
computational mechanisms to support them? Finally, just like the case of the
discussion related to emergence, we may wonder whether there is a need to implement
any forms of emotion at the system level in virtual learning.

5. Conclusion: Investigation of a virtual learning architecture with natural
computing aspects
The main theme of this paper is to call attention to the important role of natural
computing in virtual learning, which should be supported at multiple levels in the
infrastructure of virtual learning. In order to achieve natural computing-enriched
virtual learning, in addition to the observations and suggestions we have already made,
we would endorse the idea of investigating a virtual learning architecture (or at least, a
framework) which incorporates natural computing aspects. At a high level, a kind of
network architecture inspired by biology as proposed in [10] may be implemented.
Criteria for development such an architecture or framework, as well as related research
agenda should be developed.
The “to do” list as provided in this paper is, of course, far from complete. Due
to space limitation, no details of our ongoing work are described in this paper.

References
[1] Anohina A. (2005): The terminology used in the fields of Virtual Learning,
Analysis of the terminology used in the field of virtual learning, Educational
Technology & Society, 8 (3), 91-102, http://www.ifets.info/journals/8_3/9.pdf.
[2] van den Berg, B., van Es, R., Tattersall, C.m Janssen, J., Manderveld, J. Brouns, F.
Kurvers, H. and Koper, R. (2005): Swarm-based Sequencing Recommendations in
E-learning, Proc. 5th International Conference on Intelligent Systems Design and
Applications (ISDA'05), 488-493.
[3] Davis, D. N. (1999): Computational emergence and computational emotion, Proc.
SMC, http://www2.dcs.hull.ac.uk/NEAT/dnd/papers/smc99.pdf
[4] de Castro, L. N. (2006): Fundamentals of Natural Computing: Basic Concepts,
Algorithms, and Applications, Chapman & Hall/CRC.
[5] Holland, J. H. (1998): Emergence: From Chaos to Order, Oxford University Press.





124 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
[6] Huang, C.-C., Kuo, R., Chang, M., and Heh, J.-S. (2004): Foundation analysis
of emotion model for designing learning companion agent, Proceedings of IEEE
International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT),
326–330.
[7] Johnson, S. (2002): Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and
Software, Penguin Books.
[8] LeDoux, J (1996): The Emotional Brain, Simon and Schuster.
[9] Minsky, M. (2006): The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial
Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind, Simon and Schuster.
[10] Nguyen, A., Nakano, T. and Suda, T. (2004): Learning from nature: Network
architecture inspired by biology, ACM Crossroads,
http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1144389.1144391
[11] O’Regan, K. (2003): Emotion and e-learning, Journal of Asynchronous
Learning Networks, 7(3).
[12] Poel, M., op den Akker, R., Nijholt, A. And van Kesteren, A. J. (2002):
Learning emotions in virtual environments. Proc. EMCSR.
[13] Shutz, P., Pekrun R. and Phye, G. D. (eds.) (2007): Emotion in Education,
Academic Press.
[14] Semet, Y., Lutton, E. and Collet, P. (2003): Ant colony optimisation for E-
learning: observing the emergence of pedagogic suggestions, Proc. IEEE Swarm
Intelligence Symposium (SIS), 46 – 52.
[15] Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, How can research on the brain
inform education? Classroom Campus, 3(2),
http://www.sedl.org/scimath/compass/v03n02/1.html









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The integration of the database with
Microsoft. NET Framework

Simona Marilena Ilie
1

(1) Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: ilie.simona@gmail.com

Abstract
The Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) describes the executable code and
runtime environment that form the core of the Microsoft.Net Framework. The
specification defines an environment that allows multiple high-level languages to be used
on different computer platforms without being rewritten for specific architectures.
Microsoft.Net Framework contains Microsoft's commercial implementation of the CLI
for desktop systems, but also encompasses a larger collection of resources, libraries, and
tools. Microsoft provides several such languages, including C#, VisualBasic.Net, C++,
etc. ADO.NET can be used as a powerful XML middleware. The DataSet objects in
ADO.NET can load its data from variant sources: a database server, a local or remote
XML file and any accessible system resources. Once the data is loaded, they can be
either treated as a record table or a virtual XML document.

Keywords: VisualStudio. NET, VisualBasic. NET, ADO.NET, ASP.NET,
XML.


1. Introduction
The .NET Framework platform tries to offer a substantial framework of the object
oriented programming, where the code can be locally executed, "at the distance” or
with distribution on the internet. An important advantage consists in the automatic
management of memory, meaning that destruction the creation of the objects and of the
processes aren’t the programmer’s duty anymore but they are automatically done.
Also, the .NET platform introduces a set of basis classes, as well as a set of basis types
specific for every language from the .NET family, that lightens the passing from one
programming language to the other or even the use of more languages in one
application (the so called “cross-language integration”).
In the dotNET languages family, Microsoft included VisualBasic. NET, Visual
C++ and the new C# (which forms the new package VisualStudio. NET), and other 15
languages, like Java, Perl, Pascal or Cobol.
The .NET platform has two main component parts: Common Language Runtime
(CLR) and the library of classes. Common Language Runtime (CLR) is an universal
execution engine. This allows writing in any language and automatically assures the
memory management, the application installation, the creation and the destruction of
objects and processes as well as the code security. The second component part is the
library of classes, this time completely independent from language, having a XML
infrastructure.





126 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Definitely and firefly, the advantages of the new NET Framework platform are
presented in table no 1.
The use of one specific programming language or of another depends on each
programmer, the .NET platform being portable on almost any programming language,
even talking about Pascal. NET or Cobol.NET. As far as the development of web
applications is concerned the new platform brings a library of classes, server checking
and a new technology of connecting to the database (ADO.NET). Another essential
innovation is the disappearance of the interpreted programs, of the so called
“scriptures” and the passing to real programming languages, through the use in ASP of
the .NET VisualBasic or of C#.

Table no 1 - The advantages of the new .NET Framework platform

Advantages Significance
Common set of basis classes
The same classes and objects are
available in any .NET programming
language, thus being introduced a
compatibility between all the
languages from the .NET family.
Automatic memory management The memory management is made
through CLR, this automatically
creating and destroying the objects
and the processes.
The security of the code access The codes access distributed
towards the system files or towards
the other protected resources , can
be prevented on security levels.
Common types system (CTS) A set of types is directly borne by
CLR. Using this common set the so
called “cross-language integration”
becomes possible, the use of more
languages in the same application.

Microsoft brings along with its new platform a new technology of access to the
database – ADO.NET. The objects for the access to the database have been changed,
passing to the “disconnected” model. ADO.NET. gives up to OLEDB and introduces a
new technology of access to the database. Instead of the old technology, ADO.NET
uses the so called "drivers" (or "managed providers"), which are connected directly to
the data basis. ADO.NET can also read and write XML. Web Services allows the
integration and interoperability between sites, no matter what technology or operating
system are used. This concept will facilitate the portability or the programming
distributed on the Internet and through the Internet. XML and SOAP are the main
technologies that facilitate this thing.
From an architectural point of view, .Net includes four fundamental class
categories: ASP.NET is the following generation of the Active Server Pages
technology, being destined to develop some applications for the Web. A key point of





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the new version of ASP is the possibility of exposition of the applications functions
through the Web services. ADO.NET is the new version of the bookshops set ActiveX
Data Object, offering the access to the sources of relational data or other database.

The integration with Microsoft.NET Framework
SharePoint Portal Server 2003 is substantiated on the basis of Microsoft .NET
Framework. The common software frame (.NET Framework) offers the possibility to
access the bookshops in a similar way, through any application written in a language
compatible with this platform (VB.NET, C#, C++ etc.). Thus, the connections with the
database from the achieved Web Parts, will be administered easier through the object
collection ADO.NET (ActiveX Data Object). ADO.NET offers a higher flexibility in
developing the applications for the Internet, using the XML standard for the data
transfer. The Web services offer special possibilities of integration with different
applications, the barriers concerning the platform being eliminated. Among the
elements of the Web Part type, they can use the Web services and the support for
XML, in this way, a higher level of interoperability being offered. Another important
thing about the .NET applications is the high level of using the code again, this causing
the reduction of the time necessary for the development of specialized components
destined to the SharePoint portal.

2. ADO.NET and database
ADO NET starts with a pattern in which the user opens a connection, executes the
desired operations (data selection, data modification), then closes the connection.
Strategies:
-Stocking data in the memory, in a DataSet object (kept in the memory, an object
one can work with, even after disconnecting from the data source). This strategy
involves creating an object, such as DataAdapter, which helps to get the data from the
source. In the end, the data can be written in the database, using also a DataAdapter
object.
Advantages:
• the possibility to work with a lot of tables simultaneously;
• manipulating the data from a lot of data sources simultaneously (from different
database, XML files, etc);
• facilitating the data exchange with other applications (components) through
XML;
• easy binding to different controls (data-binding);
• using the data without the reinterrogation of the database;
• the possibility of engendering some classes which represent the structure of the
DataSet. The objects defined in this way make the work with the data
extremely easy.
This strategy is more appropriate for the applications such as the desktop (in the
client-server architectures), when people work repeatedly with the same data or
when they work with the architecture "data-binding", which is conceived to work
with DataSets.





128 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
- Executing the operations directly in the database. For this, people use an object
of the type Command. If the object Command returns data (SELECT ...), they can be
stocked in an object of the type DataReader.
Advantages:
- the possibility of executing the commands SQL of the type DDL;
- reduced overhead (the objects of the type DataSet use a lot of memory);
- productivity at programming.
This strategy is appropriate for web applications or in case the selected data is
used only once (reports, etc.).
Data Transformation Services (DTS). This component from SQL Server 2000
allows import, export and transforming the existing data into various database. With its
help, people can establish the connection to any data source using the technologies
ADO.NET, ADO, OLE DB or ODBC. People can access the relational database, the
text files, Excel, Access, Fox Pro. DTS allows transforming the data and populating the
data deposit.

3. The new technology web ASP.NET
ASP gave up definitively at the "scripts" (interpreted programmes), once ASP.NET
appeared, the transition to the concept of compiled pages was made. The code can be
written using any of the programming languages from the family dotNET. The
compilation of the page is made at its first rolling, the result of the compilation being
stocked separately. A new compilation of the code takes place only when the
respective page has been changed. Another news is that ASP.NET uses the .NET
platform, which means the access to its class bookshop, that contains some objects
very useful to the developers of web applications.
Briefly, the main advantages of the new ASP.NET are presented in the following
scheme (table no. 2):
Through truly compiled active pages, the pseudo-languages are eliminated (the
"scripts") and through the access to the real languages of communication and the
engine CLR, the code will roll much faster. Thus, people can navigate visibly faster.
Through some code files, the object code was separated from the graphic interface in
distinct files.
ASP.NET brings the new concepts of web forms and server controls. The web forms
and server controls are in ASP.NET objects included in the .NET bookshop and they
allow the programmers to write the code in a manner guided by the event, similar with
the forms and Windows controls. On the ASP.NET forms they can attach server controls
similar with the classic controls from Windows and then, using a chosen language, they
write the programme using standard events such as OnClick, OnFocus etc.
The new server controls from ASP.NET are not HTML tags anymore, but
programmable objects, but, though, in the aspx file (on the server) they are really
objects, in the navigator they are transformed into the old "input" tags. The real
advantage that the new controls bring is the fact that they maintain the values between
several successive connections. Thus, it is not necessary anymore to resend the values
of the fields in a form the navigator to the server.





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Table no.2. The main advantages of ASP.NET

ADVANTAGES Significance
ASP compiled Using the languages VisualBasic.NET
and C# instead of the interpreted
programmes (scripts) makes the code to
roll much faster.
Code files
Now, it is possible to separate the
interface from the logical code in two
different files, even allowing the code
compilation.
No cookies The variables stocked in the Session
object can be transmitted now to the
navigator, without using the controversial
cookies.
Web forms and server controls The programmers can write now the code
in a manner guided by events, similar
with the forms and Windows controls.
ADO.NET The access objects to the database have
been changed and the paradigm used now
is, to a certain extent, that of the
discontinuous pattern.
Web services Having XML native, ASP.NET allows
now the fast creation of accessible
components from the distance through
HTTP, XML and SOAP.


Through truly compiled active pages, the pseudo-languages are eliminated (the
"scripts") and through the access to the real languages of communication and the
engine CLR, the code will roll much faster. Thus, people can navigate visibly faster.
Through some code files, the object code was separated from the graphic interface in
distinct files.
ASP.NET brings the new concepts of web forms and server controls. The web forms
and server controls are in ASP.NET objects included in the .NET bookshop and they
allow the programmers to write the code in a manner guided by the event, similar with
the forms and Windows controls. On the ASP.NET forms they can attach server controls
similar with the classic controls from Windows and then, using a chosen language, they
write the programme using standard events such as OnClick, OnFocus etc.
The new server controls from ASP.NET are not HTML tags anymore, but
programmable objects, but, though, in the aspx file (on the server) they are really
objects, in the navigator they are transformed into the old "input" tags. The real
advantage that the new controls bring is the fact that they maintain the values between
several successive connections. Thus, it is not necessary anymore to resend the values
of the fields in a form the navigator to the server.





130 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
This is only a part of the news brought by Microsoft, but the main idea is that
ASP.NET uses to the full the advantages of the new platform.NET Framework and the
engine CLR (Common Language Runtime), as memory management and security. The
logical code of the ASP pages is now separated from HTML, in a distinct file, and
compiled in what Microsoft calls "assemblies", which offer a higher speed of execution
and the power of the "true" languages of programming.
ASP.NET offers the implementation of the Web Services concept, through the
inclusion of some technologies such as XML or SOAP. They facilitate the transfer of
the data on any platform, operating system or language. The code will be written in the
same way, but the compiled result is distributed through the Internet, no matter if it
uses a home PC, a laptop, a cell phone or PDA.

4. The use of XML for integration in the heterogeneous mediums

XML(eXtended Markup Language) is the centre of several new technologies,
representing the language of the new informational era.
The scripting languages rolled on part of the server (ASP and its successor
ASP.Net; PHP;JSP etc.), are already mature technologies, which offer the possibility to
develop some complex applications destined to the Web.
The creation of a universal language which can be understood by all this diverse
equipment, has become an imperious necessity. XML is the answer to these
solicitations, representing a new step in the evolution of the informational era and
facilitating the data exchange between diverse equipments.
XML or eXtended Markup Language is in fact the brother of HTML language
(HyperText Markup Language), and there is a series of similarities, but also
fundamental differences between the two languages. First of all, both of them have a
common origin represented by SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), this
one being a general language, which offers the users the possibility to organize their
documents and data in an electronic format.
Unlike HTML, XML language offers the user the possibility to build his own set of
labels which is going to be used in formatting the respective document. Thus, a special
flexibility is offered, this element being necessary to define the specialized electronic
documents.
SGML is very complex, being very difficult to use on a large scale and that is why
they created a simplified system represented by XML.
HTML defines the way of displaying the information, emphasizing their form and
aspect. Unlike this one, XML deals with the way to define and stock the information,
being destined particularly to organize the electronic data.
HTML will be destined to build the Web pages, but XML is the technology which
will facilitate the information exchange from the database.
The particular way in which the information from the XML file will be displayed
in the browser, can be done using the XSL style papers. The style papers have a similar
role with the declarations of formatting from the CSS files (Cascading Style Sheet). In
this way, they can establish a table like structure of displaying the data, the colours and
fonts to format the information and also other elements of formatting the data from the
XML file.





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Though, despite adopting XML on a large scale, the efficient development of the
goods transaction is in danger because of the viruses and all the advantages derived
from the simplicity and rapidity of this XML protocol can be annulled by its instability
and bad security. The firewall XWall solution already offers protection against the
attacks through XML, it is conformable to WS-I Profile, assures WSDL Access
Control and XML Schema Restriction.

4.1 XML and the database:
XML represents the easiest and also the most efficient way to transfer the data
through the Internet.
XML is a kind of container in which the information from the database is stocked
and distributed through the Internet, assuring that the data stocked in these files will be
accessible for any device and on any platform.
XML in comparison with other means of transferring the data, has the advantage of
simplicity, of efficient organization of information and also of transferring the
information on any platform or device.
The last versions of the administration systems of the well-known client-server
database (Oracle, SQL Server or IBM DB2) have integrated the support for XML
technology, thus the users having the opportunity to do these operations very easily
with the help of some supplementary parameters to the SQL instructions.
SQL server is a system of relational database client-server, having SQL language
as support in database exploitation. Essentially, this architecture needs a central
database on a server, which is accessed by many clients at the same time. These clients
connect as users in the local network or as users of the Internet.
The consultation and updating of the database through the Internet needs some
applications which will be rolled in the Web browser and will be interconnected with
the data basis through some ASP scriptures or XML technology. The access of the
Internet users also implies the collaboration between the database server and the Web
server (for instance, Microsoft Internet Information Server), the two components
working in tandem to fulfill the demands of the Internet users.

4.2. The conversion of the documents
The conversion of the documents represents one of the key activities of the
eContent Solutions division. It is about the conversion of the documents on paper
support or different customary electronic formats in the process of creating the
documents (Word, PDF, Quark, FrameMaker, etc) towards "intelligent" organized
formats (XML, SGML) or towards formats used for publishing on the Internet and for
electronic books (HTML, lit, OeB, Adobe eBook Reader, etc.). Being organized, the
content can be introduced in the systems of documents management or intelligent
archives, always having the opportunity of securized distribution on multiple supports:
Internet, CD-ROM, database, wireless devices.

5. Conclusions
The new Microsoft technology facilitates the real "portability" of applications and
languages for programming because since now, people can talk about distributed
applications and cross-language applications.





132 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The platform also introduces a new technology of access to the database -
ADO.NET. The objects for the access to the database have been changed. ADO.NET
gives up OLEDB and introduces a new technology of access to the database, passing to
the pattern "disconnected" (no connexion). Instead of the old technology, ADO.NET
uses the so called "drivers" (or "managed providers"), which are connected directly to
the data basis. ADO.NET can also read and write XML. Web Services allows the
integration and interoperability between sites, no matter what technology or operating
system are used.
XML is a central element of several mediums of development for the applications
or administration systems of the database. It functions on any platform, it is well
supported and it doesn't need a licence. It is modular, it allows defining a new
document format combining and using other formats again.
XML standard represents the ideal solution for archive and document management.
It facilitates the use, exchange and efficient exploitation of the information (index,
intelligent search), allows the term reduction and the publishing costs - a unique
investment that does not require supplementary costs.
The transaction solution supported by XML replaces successfully the expensive
methods based on the proprietor code which assured the transaction connection
between two or more companies.
ASP.NET offers the implementation of the Web Services concept, through the
inclusion of some technologies such as XML or SOAP. They facilitate the transfer of
the data on any platform, operating system or language. The code will be written in the
same way, but the compiled result is distributed through the Internet, no matter if it
uses a home PC, a laptop, a cell phone or PDA.


References:

[1] Developing Microsoft® ASP.NET Web Applications Using Visual Studio®
.NET, Microsoft, U.S.A., 2002;
[2] Developing XML Web Services Using Microsoft® ASP.NET, Microsoft,
U.S.A., 2002;
[3] Programming with Microsoft® ADO.NET, Microsoft, U.S.A., 2002;
[4] www.ado.net;
[5] www.asp.net;
[6] www.xml.com;
[7] www.microsoft.com;
[8] www.softrom.ro;
[9] www.softnews.ro.






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Tools designed to ensure quality of educational programs at
ODL Department of Bucharest University

Michaela Logofătu
1
, Anişoara Dumitrache
1
, Mihaela Gheorghe
1


(1) University of Bucharest, ODL Department
Bvd. M. Kogălniceanu, no. 36-46, Building C, 1st Floor, ROMANIA
E-mail: logofatu@credis.ro

Abstract

This paper wishes to be an analysis of distance learning post-graduates programs
from the fundamental field of Computers and Information Technology. The
analysis is made concerning generic norms, which have been grouped as it
follows: programs’ justification, structure and content of study programs,
teaching-learning environment, quality management, and assessment of
instructors/teachers.
The tools we have used are surveys made online or printed applied to learners
during the entire period of study. The results we obtained have been used to
improve quality and effectiveness of educational process.

Keywords: Education, Postgraduated Studies, Survey

1 Introduction

To insure quality of training process is a complex problem. For us it may be easy to
offer study support materials according to the requests of university education, access
to all type of training of communication in order to get the best results. A definition of
quality considers it as the degree in which a group of intrinsic features fulfill the
requests.
In order to support our students and to give them solution for their problems as well as
to have a feedback from them, we’ve made a survey, which was given to post-
graduates students (master, post-graduates specialty studies, professional conversion
studies) from the first and second year of study.
The questions are related to their usual activities, study process, quality of study
materials, but also to the communication process with the course manager and
professor. All answers were anonymous, by this we’ve assured the objectiveness of
answers and a correct assessment.
At the University of Bucharest ODL Department and Technologies Department carry
on post graduates courses for 27 specialties, 7 of them in the field of Computers and
Information Technology: master (Computer Networks, IMRI, SSI, Information and
Communication Technology in Education) and post-graduate courses, Applied
Informatics.





134 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
2. Study programs’ justification
The programs have as objective the development of skilled personnel in the field of
Computers and Information Technology and Computer Networks. The latest European
study made by IDS and requested by CISCO Systems shows that by 2008 Europe will
record a lack of almost 500.000 of technicians in the field of network advanced
technologies. This study was conducted in 31 countries from Europe and the greatest
shortage is recorded in Eastern countries, mainly non-EU members. These shortages
will have a negative influence on the competition of EU countries on the world market.
The target group consists mainly but not exclusively of graduates of science-
techniques faculties. Compulsory requests refer to knowledge from information
technology field and technique English.
In order to fulfill requests of a large segment of adult learners who have an active
professional life, distance education become the best answer for their training. By
alternation between periods of individual study with face-to-face meetings with
tutors/trainers for lab works, synthesis lessons or counseling, learners receive the
possibility to learn in his/her rhythm in a personal environment, collaboration in his/her
learning process as well as access to assisted study, where he/she gets counseling and
guidance.
Programs length is of 4 semesters (120 credits) and it ends with dissertation
exam and graduates receive master or postgraduates diploma from the University of
Bucharest.
− The principles on which ground the courses are:
− Coverage of a general area of problems
− Assurance of specialty knowledge
− Formation of practical skills and abilities to works with complex
technological equipments (through lab works and specialty practice)
− Flexibility because the contents can be modify accordingly to evolution
and dynamics of products and IT Technologies
− Personal development of the learner which refers to his/hers ability to
learn, to continuous perfection and ability to study using e-learning
technology materials.
The study programs benefit by specials labs with modern equipment provided by
CISCO Systems, a s well as e-learning format CISCO courses.
Learners have access to the Department’s Virtual Campus, including all
communication services of it (chat, forum, mail, study materials, calendar).

3 Tools designed to ensure quality
The “products” of university education are ability and knowledge, immaterial products
which are given to society in different forms:
− Training of specialists for certain fields,
− Scientific research and applied, consultancy and expertise,
− Involvement of scholars in society’s life.
The final product can find its expression in the received abilities and knowledge,
which allow to graduates successful access to professional life.
The quality of the educational process requires defining a coherent profile of
training for every faculty, to identify opportunities for study programs, to create





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appropriate study plans and analytical programs, identification and application of best
practices, establishment of norms and procedures of assessment of quality, insert of
feedback concerning the structure and quality of educational activity and its
improvement as a result of these investigations.
The client is defined as organization or person who receives a product. He can
be buyer, user, beneficiary or consumer of this product. In the situation of high
education financed by the state, the main partner of the university is the society. The
university represents the interface of client-provider relation in which interfere central
governmental institutions, companies, organizations etc.
The clients of a higher education institution are:
− Students, who have their own requests and expectations from the higher
education institution,
− The management and personnel
− Pre-graduates institutions, which deliver candidates to university
− Community and the international academic environment.
The students are an element specific to the activity of the university. They have
to receive inside an institutional framework the right to detailed counseling about the
training process and the educational activity in general. Quality means among others
training of students and their representative on the modalities of organization, the
relation with the trainers and professors and the university, modality of expression of
requests and expectations. Their real involvement in university’s life and development
among young people of a new organizational culture are parts of the management of
quality system.
In order to assure quality in distance learning system of education we use
surveys. These are applied periodically to students at the end of every semester/ year.
Surveys can be online or printed and in both cases the answers are anonymous.
Surveys are part of the internal evaluation process of our institution and they
focus on the communication aspect, improvement of study materials, and activity of
professors/trainers.
The questions have been formulated by the commission of internal evaluation
having the intention to reflect aspects related to distance education. To reckon results
during the period of study ensure the quality of the educational process. The
information received can lead to improvement of education in the next semester.
The surveys include questions with different answers from which the students
chose, estimation scales and free answers.
Online surveys are posted after the students have been informed about them and
they are active and can be accessed a specific period of time. Printed surveys are given
at the end of the university year during an organizational meeting and the students have
to fill them in that moment. This kind of survey is used to evaluate the
professors/trainers.

4 The analysis of surveys
Communication is the key of success in the open distance learning system. So that all
students don’t feel isolated by the learning community he is a part of, it is necessary
that he be permanently implicated in learning and communicating activities
In the following lines we’ll present the relevant questions for our subject.





136 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The question about communication with the specialty manager, regardless the
modality in which this communication was done (mail, phone, Virtual Campus) has the
following answers: 11% of the interviewed declare they were satisfied by their relation
with the manager of specialty, 35% consider that the communication is well ensured,
while 54% think it’s excellent.
Like we’ve mentioned before, communication with the specialty manager is
permanent during tutorial meetings and especially between them. In figure 1 we have
the graphical representation of these answers.

Appreciate the communication with manager
35%
11%
54%
Satisfied
Good
Excellent

Fig.1 Graphical representation of the communication with manager of specialty

It’s known the fact that in distance learning it’s very important interpersonal
contact. This is why tutorial meetings are important not only for practical activities, but
also because they offer the possibility to have contact with the rest of the people
(colleagues, professors).
At the question about this aspect, 40% of students considered that during tutorial
meetings the most important element is the contact with professors, 10% with
colleagues, 30% appreciate the training aspect of tutorial meetings and 20% of them
the motivational one.

Face to face meetings are necessarily for:
40%
10%
30%
20%
need to interact with
proffesors/tutors
communication with
colleagues
training aspect
motivational aspect

Fig, 2 Graphical representation of interpersonal contact

Study materials. To make study material for distance learning is a laborious
process. It can be used last hour technologies, but it’s very much needed to structure
again the information. It’s necessary to include self evaluation themes, explanations
and examples, because the student doesn’t have direct support from professor.





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The first question is general and it concerns students’ preferences about
they way the courses are delivered. The answers are presented in the following
graphic:
Acces to courses
22%
43%
35%
On-line
CD
Printed

Fig. 3 Graphical representation of preferences in access to courses

Subsequently, it is presented the results of a set of questions about the utility of
the study program they’ve followed.
At the question requiring a general appreciation of the master program
considering information technologies, students were asked to give a mark from 1 to 4,
where 1 stays for useless and 4 for necessary). Results are represented in the below
figure.

Ut ility of t he study program
1%
22%
75%
2%
uselless
Litlle
Useful
Essent ial

Fig. 3a General appreciation of the master program

Another question is related to masters’ programs curricula which were created so
that it allows students to accumulate knowledge to get except the master diploma, the
internationally recognized certification from CISCO and Microsoft.
This is why they were asked to give marks to the importance of study of
international curricula (1- no importance, 4-very important), taking into consideration
that study support materials for most of the subjects are official courses of CISCO and
Microsoft.






138 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Appreciat e t he import ance of an int ernational curriculum included in t he
study program
80%
17%
3%
Very import ant
Important
Litt le

Fig. 4 Appreciation regarding the study program


The assessment of professors by students
This subject has a major importance in the educational process being an effective
tool for assurance of quality.
Taking into consideration that in distance learning the main focus is on creation
of study materials from the point of view of structure and modality of presentation, but
the teaching process is different from the traditional system. The main difference
between the two systems is given by the fact that in distance education the period of
time in which direct contact student-professor is missing is quite long and the student
has to learn by himself.
Periodically, students receive from professor/tutor surveys of assessment, in
which they judge professor’s activity, meaning: teaching methods which he/she uses,
using of course time, style clearness, communication abilities, availability towards an
open relation to students, organization of course etc. based on the received results by
each professor, we can improve study materials, but also the methods professors use to
approach students and courses.
Professors’ feedback is very important for students’ activity and to make them
keep the same rhythm of study. It’s well known the fact that distance learning focuses
on students’ needs and on his/her own rhythm of study. In order to guide as good as
possible the students in the periods of time between the tutorial meetings, at the
beginning of each semester they receive the plan study, which conduct them in the
learning process.
Students benefit permanently by professors’ assistance through email and portal.
The question about the quality of feedback received from professors, we got the
subsequent answers: 27% declared they are discontented with the feedback, 62% are
satisfied with it and only 11% said the feedback was good. (figure 5).
Another question is linked with the importance of a personalized feedback from
professors. 43% of interviewed think this would help them very much in the process of
knowledge assimilation, 13% think that this would help much, 33% little, while only
11% think this would help them very little. (figure 5).





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How do you appreciatethe feedback
from the tutor/professor
62%
11% 27%
Unsatisfying
Satisfying
Good

Do you consider personalized
feedback as being support ive to your
learning effort and act ivit ies?
13%
33%
11%
43%
Very much
Much
Litlle
Unimportant

Fig.5 Importance of a personalized feedback from professors

At the question connected to the reasons which might determine students to
abandon classes, most of them said that disagreement between courses’ program and
their expectations is a good reason (56%), for 40% financial problems are the most
important reason and 4% evoked personal reasons for such a decision.
Graphical representation for this question can be seen in figure 4.
Drop out reason
40%
56%
4%
Financial problems
Differences bet ween
demands and st udy
program
Other

Fig. 6 Answers regarding drop out reasons


5 Conclusions
Educational programs allow graduates to get the abilities which the labor market
seeks. Through implementation of university and post-graduates programs, graduates
are absorbed rapidly by the labor market, in private or public institutions. Nevertheless,
through implementation of CISCO Networking Academy (by partnership with CISCO
Systems) and Microsoft IT Academy, we offer to our students the possibility to study
and perfect themselves in the field of information technologies respecting international
standards. The courses within international educational programs help to create
abilities requested by a job in IT field, where, at the moment, is identified the need for
more employees. All these programs have been adopted after a keen analysis of labor
market and by taking into consideration its needs.





140 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

6 References

Books:
[1] Hurton W. (2000): Designing Web-based training, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
[2] Logofătu B. and collab. (2003) Virtual University, CREDIS Printing house,
Bucharest
[3] Popescu S., Brătianu C. (coord.), Atanasiu G., Rusu C., Oprean C., Curaj A.,
Buzărnescu Şt. (2004): Quality’s Guide in Higher Education, Ghidul calităŃii în
învăŃământul superior, CALISRO Project, Director Ioan Pânzaru, University of
Bucharest Publishing House, Bucharest
[4] Roland A. (1991): L’évaluation formative. Une analyse critique, De Boeck,
Bruxelles

Conference Proceedings:
[5] Burdescu D. D., Mihăescu M. C. (2003), Internet applications for online testing
and examination students, eLearning National Conference “Internet and
Education”, ODL Department, University of Bucharest, Bucharest
[6] Dumitrache A., Mateiaş A., Gheorghe M. (2005), Virtual campus in continuous
student’s evaluation, In Proceedings of E-learning and educational Software
Conference, National Defence University, Bucharest
[7] Ileana A. E., (2003) Some pedagogically aspects about using Internet into
didactically process, eLearning National Conference “Internet and Education”,
ODL Department, University of Bucharest, Bucharest
[8] Munteanu M., Munteanu A. M. (2003) User interface impact within Learning
system students performance, eLearning National Conference “Internet and
Education”, ODL Department, University of Bucharest, Bucharest
[2]





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E-manager – A New Professional Profile
in Tourism Landscape

Andrei Dumitrescu
1
, Tom Savu
1


(1) POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest,
Department of Production Engineering,
313 Splaiul Independentei, RO-060042, Bucharest, Romania
E-mail: dumitrescu.andrei@yahoo.co.uk


Abstract
This paper presents the work performed up to this date by an European
partnership in order to develop a new professional profile in the tourism sector
and to design the associated curriculum. The new professional profile is the e-
manager - the professional who uses and manages ICT tools in order to monitor
and control activities in a tourism organisation in a more effective way. It was
decided from the very beginning that the method of learning will be online
learning and it will be done using a new specialised portal. The work started
with the establishment of the methodology for defining the profile and for
designing the curriculum. Afterwards, an initial study was carried-out in each
partner country. The study was focused on the state of the art of tourism and
tourism learning (especially the online learning in tourism). The profile was
finally defined. There were established national networks with stakeholders in
tourism and learning in order to ensure that their interests are best served. The
subsequent work was done involving the stakeholders. Finally, the curriculum
for e-manager was designed.

Keywords: online learning, professional profile, tourism learning

1 Introduction
Professionals from tourism and education discovered that ICT has a great impact on
the tourism business. Electronic commerce and revenue management are heavily
influenced by ICT.
In this new environment, tourism professionals need skills to identify opportunities
in the new tourism market. ICT enables direct communication with clients and
improves efficiency and effectiveness of customer service, trading and product design
related processes. At the same time, ICT makes competition harder and demands
continuous investments. ICT provides new tools and enables new distribution channels.
It supports tourism innovations and vice versa. ICT development has created a new
business environment, e-tourism. These continuous developments require new skills.
Tourism professionals need skills for successful navigation in tourism value net.
Many of these skills develop with work experience, but tourism educational institutions
should provide sufficient knowledge and practice to meet emerging skill requirements
in the tourism labour market. ICT should be studied in the context of its application.





142 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In this context, professionals from different countries decided to join their forces
and competencies in order to develop innovative digital contents for ICT skills in the
tourism firms, especially SMEs, as a result of the common work of a multi-stakeholder
network.
The framework is the Leonardo da Vinci programme and the project received the
name e-Talents. The European partnership includes:
• BDF - Balear Development and Training (Spain);
• RKW - Rationalization & Innovation Centres (Germany);
• UETP Action Link/Action Synergy (Greece);
• FETE-UGT - Federation Teaching Workers – General Trade Union (Spain);
• Ármuli Comprehensive Secondary School (Iceland);
• ISQ - Institute of Welding and Quality (Portugal);
• POLITEHNCA University of Bucharest (Romania).
The objectives of the project were decided to be:
• Ensure that the tourism sector workforce acquire the necessary skills and
knowledge for their job and personal development, which has a direct
influence on European competitiveness and economic growth, and thus helps
to create more and better jobs.
• Contribute to the development of digital contents which is a fundamental
element of the knowledge society.
• Offer an integral virtual platform for learning, evaluation and accreditation of
professional competencies in the tourism sector.
• Involve the final users and other stakeholders into the process of e-learning
contents development and delivery in order to reach transparent and portable
ICT skills certification and employment.
The partnership aimed to address the following target groups:
• Employees and managers in SMEs in the tourism sector;
• The unemployed with experience in the tourism sector;
• Tourism companies and SMEs;
• Tourism associations.

2 Establishment of methodology for definition of the new professional
profile and for design of the associated curriculum
The partnership analysed carefully the context of tourism in Europe and also the trends
in online learning. It was decided that it will be used the following methodology for
definition of the new professional profile and for design of associated curriculum:
1. Initial study;
2. Definition of professional profile;
3. Establishment of a network of stakeholders;
4. Establishment of the associated curriculum;
5. Development of online learning tools;
6. Piloting;
7. Evaluation and Quality Control (as a continuous activity).






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3 Initial Study
The initial study was carried-out mainly by three methods:
• Desk research;
• Focus groups;
• Questionnaires.
All the partners applied the above methods for the tourism field in their country. The
Romanian partner (POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest) was responsible with the
synthesis of all information gathered using the three methods. The report made by the
Romanian partner was rather extensive. In this paper, only the tourism learning and
especially the tourism online learning will be presented.

3.1 Desk Research
The desk research revealed that in all partner countries, the tourism knowledge and
skills can be acquired in high schools, vocational training institutions and universities.
The most common tourism courses taught in high schools and similar vocational
institutions are: tourism worker; tourist agency specialist; tourism and restaurants;
culinary art; hotel/restaurant techniques; hotel technician; hotel maid; tourist guide;
mountain guide.
The most common tourism courses taught in universities are: tourism studies
(diploma in tourism); tourism and services; geography of tourism; management of
tourism companies; planning, management and policies in tourism; business
administration - tourism management; business administration - travel and tourism;
rural tourism.
There are some differences in education and training systems between the
countries of the e-Talents partnership. Differences regard types of education and
training institutions, affiliation to different ministries and certification. Usually, the
Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour are in charge with tourism learning.
Distance learning courses in tourism exists, but few of them are genuine e-learning
courses. In all partner countries, tourism e-learning is in an embryonary stage.
Often, e-learning courses are just an adaptation of face-to-face courses for online
use. The e-books are the same with textbooks, curriculum is the same and examination
methods are the same.
Some elements of e-learning exist in the following types of education and training:
distance learning with downloads and blended learning. These elements are:
• E-mail communication between learner and tutor;
• Virtual libraries with e-books;
• Virtual classrooms.
A common problem in e-learning nowadays is that learners have more and more
knowledge and skills in ICT. The result is that the courses should be updated more
often than before.
Other problems detected regarding e-learning are:
• Some courses are in foreign languages (English, Spanish).
• There are courses with no proper accreditation.
• The content of some courses is obsolete.
In some countries, there are specific barriers to e-learning:
• Computer illiteracy;
• Low usage of Internet at home.





144 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
3.2 Focus groups
All the partners organised one or more focus groups in order to determine the need for
ICT knowledge and skills in the tourism sector. The participants at focus groups were
stakeholders in the e-Talents project. The type of organisations that were represented at
workshops is displayed in Table 1.

Table 1. Distribution of participants’ organisation (across partnership)

Type of organisation No. participants
Hotel 11
School / University 5
Travel Agency 4
Training Centre/Agency 3
Enterprises Associations 3
Tourism Related Services 2
Tourism Information Organisation 2
VET Organisation 2
Tourism Marketing Organisation 1
Research Institute 1

The participants at workshops discussed about the introduction of ICT in the
tourism sector and about professional knowledge and skills required by this new mean
of work.
ICT was introduced in tourism rather late, because ICT specialists adapted with
difficulty to the needs of tourism industry. The application of ICT in the hotel industry
has been fairly recent. Smaller hotels tend to be further behind, especially those that
neither plan nor have a clear vision of future needs. ICT was considered not just a new
tool, but another technique.
There is a considerable difference between large and small hotels regarding the
introduction of ICT:
• Large hotels implemented ICT quick and in all departments.
• Small hotels were reluctant to introduce ICT and when they did it, they used it
only for reception and bookings.
Owners of small hotels were reluctant to introduce ICT because they were not
convinced of its benefits. Also, they were afraid of high costs for investment and
maintenance. ICT was introduced in tourism agencies on a larger scale than in hotels.
Personnel with high qualification (not particularly in ICT) and young personnel
welcome the introduction of ICT. Older personnel and personnel with low qualification
opposed training in ICT, even when they faced unemployment.

3.3 Questionnaires
The Romanian partner designed a questionnaire aimed to identify and rank the
organisations’ need for skills in ICT. The questionnaire was conceived following the
general rules from the specialised literature (Aaker et. al., 1995; Dillon et. al., 1987).
Later, the questionnaire was analysed by the partnership and some improvements were
made.





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The questionnaire was composed by the following sections:
• General information about the respondent’s organisation;
• Personal data of the respondent;
• General ICT competencies needed in a tourism company;
• Department comparison from the point of view of ICT skills;
• Specific ICT skills needed in specific departments.
The “general ICT competencies” section consisted from a list of competencies (ability
to use computer, ability to process elementary text and graphics etc.). Each competence
from the list was evaluated by the respondent in terms of importance and availability
on the labour market. Actually, the respondent had to assess the importance of
competence by assigning a mark from 1 (not important) to 5 (very important). Also, the
respondent was asked if he/she is able to find a person with the considered competence
in the labour market (option A) or prefers to train the employee within the company
(option B).
There were evaluated using the questionnaire no less than 34 ICT competencies. The
respondents were actually the participants at focus groups. The questionnaires from all
partner countries were processed. Because of space constraint, the results are presented
in a synthesised manner in Table 2.

Table 2. Questionnaire results

Competence
Importance
[1 - 5]
Option A
[%]
Option B
[%]
Using a computerised system 3.66 79.52 20.48
Using computer files 3.91 74.07 25.93
Processing text and graphics 3.94 80.39 19.61
Using a spreadsheet editor 4.14 83.33 16.67
Using databases 3.66 53.42 46.58
Communicating through internal
networks
3.58 58.62 41.38
Using Internet 3.89 90 10
Designing web pages 3.71 60 40
Using software tools for project
management
3.55 56.25 43.75
Presenting the information 4.02 52 48


4 Definition of e-manager
From the results of the initial study emerged the need for a new professional profile.
The new professional profile should have management and ICT competences. This
new professional profile was foreseen in a certain degree from the start of the project.
At that stage, it had received its name – e-manager.
In a transnational meeting of project’s partnership held in Bucharest, the results of
the initial study were analysed in-depth. After several discussions, the partnership
agreed on the following definition of e-manager.





146 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The e-manager is the professional who uses and manages ICT tools in order to
monitor and control activities in a tourism organisation in a more effective way.
The competences of the e-manager are strongly related to the knowledge and skills
associated to computer programmes used in different departments of the tourism
company.
Afterwards, national stakeholder networks were established and continuously
consultated in order to ensure that the stakeholders interests are taken into
consideration when the online course is designed.

5 Establishment of curriculum for e-manager
From the very beginning, it was decided that the modules for e-manager will be
delivered only online and they will available on a learning portal. The e-learning
contents will be uploaded at http://www.etalents.eu/.
The e-learning contents will have 3 modules:
Module 1. E-Administration
• Customer Relationship Management
• Booking
• Customer movement
• Human Resource Management
• e-marketing
• e-business
Module 2. E-Quality
• ISO 9001
• Environmental ISO 14001
• Stock control
• Maintenance
• Food and Beverage
• House Keeping
Module 3. E-Accounting
• e-Finance
• e-Banking

6 Conclusions
The partnership of an European project is in the process of designing an online course
for a new professional profile in the tourism sector: the e-manager. The process
followed the recommended path: identification of need on the market; study of market,
definition of profile, design of curriculum and design of contents.

7 References

[1] Aaker, D.A. et. al. (1995), Marketing Research, John Wiley & Sons, New York;
[2] Dillon, W. et. al. (1987), Marketing Research in a Marketing Environment, St.
Louis;
[3] D’Angelo, G. et. al. (2007), Dalla Didattica alla e-Didactics - Paradigmi,
Modelli e Tecniche per l'"e-Learning", Liguori Editore, Napoli.





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Exploring the concept of identity and meaning-making in the
space between virtual and real worlds

Simon Paul Atkinson

Director - Learning & Teaching Support Unit,
University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX,
United Kingdom s.p.atkinson@hull.ac.uk

Abstract

With the emergence and popularity of online social networking technologies
(Web 2.0) students are exploring new concepts of self, identity and community
both in real and virtual spaces. New theories are necessary to develop social
policy responses, including those of educational systems and institutions, to the
consequences of these new conceptualisations. We present an original theoretical
model, the 3V model, to assist in the interpretation of existing theory, illustrated
through an exploration of higher education students’ concept of identity in the
interface between the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds. We wish to explore whether the
theoretical and methodological instruments available within the broader Social
Sciences are adequate to examine emerging notions of identity. We adopt one
well established anthropological instrument for identifying generalised value
differences within contemporary cultural settings, the Kluckhohn - Strodbeck
Value Orientation Preference Model, and apply it to both real-world and virtual-
world personas within a single sample. Our emergent theoretical model outlines
a set of complex assumptions concerning the concept of the "real-virtual"
interface; it presents an internal structure to this realm and provides a
framework for further empirical study.

Keywords: Social Networking, Web 2.0, Value Orientation, Culture

Introduction

We began our enquiry by exploring the apparently simple question as to whether
internet use, specifically Online Social Networking Tools (OSNT), currently popularly
termed Web 2.0, such as MySpace, BeBo, FaceBook or Flickr, changes the social
practices, behaviours and socio-cultural expectations of their users. We ask this
question as educators in an institution that embraces the concept of lifelong learning
and provides tertiary level programmes for Early Years (Kindergarten) practitioners
through to professional development programmes for mature practitioners in Higher
Education. The concept of ‘digital literacy’ has become a frequent point of professional
debate. We believe the lack of awareness across the educational sectors within a single
national state’s education system of the impact on learners of varying levels of e-
literacy suggests that the real impact of technology adoption on learner performance,
expectations and behaviour is poorly understood. Universities seeking to provide





148 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
flexible and effective access to digital support for learning must understand how
patterns of user engagement are changing and what the consequences of this change
might be.
However, we have a wider philosophical concern which is that the internet, as a
phenomenon, is not yet being regarded in a suitably holistic way, that it is as yet rare to
see genuinely interdisciplinary teams undertaking a critical analysis of the phenomena
of the internet. This is understandable, since the task would appear truly gargantuan.
None the less there is, we believe, a need to reassess our approach and to provide
colleagues from all social science disciplines with a conceptual framework that allows
them to invest their specialist traditions, investigative models and theoretical
approaches. We aim to present a model, the 3V model, to support this emerging
conceptual framework.
Our empirical study, throughout the Autumn of 2007, is situated in the context of
extensive hands-on engagement with learners in digital media production and the
background of theoretical constructs from a broad range of social sciences. The
theoretical constructs that underlie our work are extremely diverse, from Political
Science’s interest in power and representation, Elitism and Pluralism, through to
Computer Science.s interest in Actor-Network Theory. We have considered and
explored Georg Simmel’s notion of ‘stranger’ (Simmel 1949), and of Alfred Schütz’s
exposition of ‘intersubjectivity’ in the field of phenomenology, the notion that shared
cognition is essential in the formulation of ideas, notably in the process of meaning-
making (Schütz 1967). We have been particularly influenced by the tradition of
Cultural Historical Activity Theory and more latterly the concept of "knotworking"
developed in the work of the Scandanavian Activity Theory movement, specifically
development of a hypothesis on co-configuration expansive learning (Engestrom,
Engestrom et al. 1999). We have also drawn on the work of Communications and
Media Studies from Innis’ space-time considerations (Innis 1951) to Michael Cole and
Jan Derry’s assertion that we are the technology we apply (Cole and Derry 2005).
In this short paper we lack the scope to review much of this theoretical context
adequately however, we will identify current work with respect to ‘loose web’ theory
which identifies the inter-related technologies that make up the internet and, whilst
acknowledging the difficulties of conceptualising the web as a whole, suggests that the
sum total of communication produced through these associated means can be identified
and its internal and external impacts studied. Cultural Production Thesis seeks to
explore the difference in scale of individual engagement with the means of cultural
production between the twentieth century’s television and radio mass media
participation, essentially a passive activity, and the mass cultural participation of the
internet (Burnett and Marshall 2003). Early forms of the Cultural Production Thesis,
which predate the onset of mass blogging and the majority of OSNT, still fail however
to recognise the quantum leap from participation in mass internet communications to
the mass cultural production of content.
The expectation that the web can, and will, impact on society is part of the
technological determinist approach. This approach has developed into the disciplines
of computer science in both cybernetics and artificial intelligence and helps to define
the internet as a living organism or an evolutionary system. Equally there is valuable
insight in the fields of linguistics and discourse theory as well as an already significant





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body of research relating to the macro and micro-economics of the internet and to its
associated politics, issues of copyright and censorship.

From Activity to e-Tivity

There is undoubtedly a shift in the conceptualisation of space and time in
communications, and in the individual as producer of communication, with the rise of
social networking technology. Given the extremely diverse discipline framework in
which we seek to place our enquiries we are extremely conscious of the need to
acknowledge the degree to which terminology varies markedly between disciplines and
languages.
Both technology and intelligence are contested and divergently applied terms
across the social sciences. Technology conjures up images of the range of C&IT
technology, electronic and digital computers, ITC, communications, as well as cars,
planes and physical constructions of all kinds. This view of technology is also that
described by Neisser (Neisser 1976) and others as ‘academic intelligence’. Michael
Cole argues this is an inadequate conceptualisation of technology and intelligence,
arguing that not only are the two indivisible but that technology needs to be broadened
to not only include the tools commonly defined as technology, but also the context of
deployment in their social context (Cole and Derry 2005). This rich vein of research
theory in the tradition of the Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists suggests that
technology is then social milieu as well as ‘tools’. This is a step beyond the territory of
the ‘Social construction of technology’ with its roots in the work of Bruno Latour,
which posits that technology is not so much a determinate of human action, but that
rather, human actions serve to shape technology. Cole suggests that technologies
should therefore be envisaged as forms of ‘tool-mediated social practice’. This
develops Piaget’s notion that intelligence is the process of adaptation to the conditions
of life.

Concepts of Identity and Meaning Making

We wish to explore whether existing theoretical and methodological instruments
available within the broader Social Sciences are adequate to examine emerging notions
of identity in the context of OSNT.
The internet offers something potentially new for the study of cultural values, a
space which is in one respect truly universal, not bound by time or geographic location.
Whilst still dominated by the medium of English language (an opportunity for future
research), this globally accessible space offers an exciting context in which to explore
value change. We posit that actors in the virtual space of FaceBook or Second Life,
adopt different cultural values from those they would assume in the real world, that the
technology through which new generations (irrespective of age) are learning to mediate
social practices is changing the underlying value constructs of their users.
The proposed ‘3V’ model seeks to describe the set of complex assumptions
concerning the concept of the ‘real-virtual’ interface; it presents an internal structure to
this realm and provides a framework for further empirical study. The 3V model aims to
identify the nature, position and impact trajectory of technology on social relations on
three axis, the first V is Virtuality, the second V is Veracity and the third V is Values.





150 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Virtuality
Georg Simmel (1858 – 1918) a pioneer of the ‘social structure’ suggested that
there were significant differences between life patterns of urban and rural people, that
the pedestrian pace and long-term physical association with place in rural contexts
allowed the development of deeper connections than was possible in urban settings, but
encouraged a narrow and conformist tendency in social thought which stifled
originality and personal expression. Urban life, in contrast, was one of the indifferent
stranger, oblivious to each other’s patterns of behaviour, allowing individual
expression but encouraging a dispassionate attitude to the overwhelming amount of
activity that surrounds one, sometimes leading to isolation. Whilst Simmel idealises the
nature of Man’s sociability as the "the free-playing, interacting interdependence of
individuals", his assertion that "all the forms of association by which a mere sum of
separate individuals are made into a 'society,'" has particular relevance to our
understanding of OSNT ability to create networks of peers (Simmel 1949).
This has interesting relationships with the work of the political economist H.A.
Innes on the Centre and Periphery in communications theory and the idea that space
and time are directly related to the patterns of communications within specific
traditions. Innes sought to develop a grand theory of history that sought to explore
culture’s relationships to space and time. His thesis was that less technological, non
broadcast means of communication, typified by oral cultures, placed their emphasis on
the relationship with time, the preservation of knowledge and the perpetuation of close
traditional relationships. More technologically sophisticated broadcast based forms
encouraged an emphasis on spatial reach, and considerably less on time related
concepts (Innis 1951).
Taken together, Simmel and Innes, in different fields, languages and contexts,
describe a pattern of cultural development in which stable physical, peripheral and
‘narrowband’ communication amongst the familiar, contrasts with the urbanised,
technologically sophisticated ‘broader-casting’ to ‘strangers’. However, within the
environment of social networking tools such as MySpace or Facebook, there is
precisely a blend of these two domains. Innes’s question that the relative stability of a
culture is dependent upon the balance and proportion of their media is one with
obvious implications for the study of the Internet. The concept of space is one crucial
element in our model which we describe in terms of Virtuality.

Veracity
Semiotic analysis drawing on textual and historical analysis has explored the
formations of meaning from the web diverse sources. Whilst the printed text has
established conventions, of peer-review, and authoritative publishing houses, the value
of the world-wide web as a source of information remains highly contested, not least
amongst academics. We are not directly concerned with the factual accuracy of
individual elements of information placed on websites. Rather we are interested in the
ability of the individual to suspend their externally imposed boundaries of space, time,
gender, ethnicity, age and social status and to express themselves independently of the
real-world. This area of our research model will build on the work of cyberculture
theorists such as Nakamura in exploring individual’s sense of personal identity





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development (Nakamura 2002). The concept of identity is the second element in our
model which we describe in terms of Veracity.
Values
There has been considerable interest in the development of instruments to
measure cultural values, notably with a view to establishing commonalities across
geographically dispersed peoples as well as sub-groups within single political states
such as the Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck model described below. Most of these have
been focussed on apriori cases of defined cultures, whereas we are interested in newly
emerging cultures and are seeking to measure cultural value shift. The concept of
Values, perhaps the most contested, is the third element in our model.

The 3V Model

Models applied to the learning context directly, such as the 4-E model cited by
Collins (Collins and Moonen 2001), provide an insight into how one may measure the
effectiveness and likelihood of adoption of a technology. It does not however assist in
the understanding of what impact the adoption of such technology might have on users
in the immediate and longer term. Existing models acknowledge the importance of the
broad range of environmental factors, but do not illustrate how the environment might
be most directly affected.
In the model illustrated below we have created a three dimensional space for
theorising the impact of existing and emerging social networking tools. We propose
that tools can usefully be evaluated in terms of these three dimensions, Virtuality,
Veracity and Values along a continuum of ‘virtual-real’, ‘trustworthy-uncertain’,
‘stable-unformed’ respectively. We suggest that, like the Activity Theorists, the
emergence of new forms of social mediation is the result of ‘rupture’ and we should
therefore look to assess the degree to which a social networking tool defies, contradicts
or alters existing patterns of interaction.

Figure 1 - 3V model






152 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In the model above we might suggest that the OSNT, represented by ‘A’, is an
avatar engagement in Second Life, where the degree of Virtuality is nearly total,
although less so arguably than text based fantasy, where the Veracity of representations
cannot be guaranteed as there is little or no opportunity to verify the truthfulness of
representations made, and where the Value systems are too new, given the recency of
the technology, to be known. By contrast ‘B’ might be used to suggest the position of a
face-to-face encounter in the classroom.

Exploring the Values dimension of the VOM-3V model

We are adopting, and adapting, one well established anthropological instrument
for identifying generalised value differences within contemporary cultural settings, the
Kluckhohn - Strodtbeck Value Orientation Preference Model (Kluckhohn and
Strodtbeck 1961), and are applying it to both real-world and virtual-world personas
within a single sample.
The origins of the Value Orientation Preference Model (VOM) are in the work of
the Harvard Values Project in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s in which a team
of anthropologists believed there was predictive potential in an instrument which could
distinguish cultures based on their responses to five common human concerns. The five
elements have been challenged and refined, however, the original model still has merit.
The VOM suggested there were three possible responses to each of the five contexts
presented and that the ranking of these fifteen elements could define the ‘character’ of
a given culture. These responses were described as ‘value orientations’. A brief
summary of these dimensions is detailed in the table below. For a clear exposition of
the original VOM see Kohl (Kohls 1981) and Russo (Russo 2000).

Table 1 - Five Common Human Concerns and Three Possible Responses

Concerns/ orientations Possible Responses
Human Nature Evil Mixed Good
Man-Nature
Relationship
Subordinate to
Nature
Harmony with
Nature
Dominant over
Nature
Time Sense Past Orientation Present Focussed Future Focussed
Activity Being Being-in-
becoming
Achievement
(“Doing”)
Social Relations Hierarchical Collateral Individual


Whilst there is recognition that each culture will express all three possible
responses at some time, a pattern of intra-cultural stability is theorised. Diversity
within any given culture is acknowledged and acculturation is also anticipated. The
VOM has been applied, and found to be useful in a wide range of disciplines where an
interest in ‘value orientation’ persists, including in higher education with language
students (Ortuno 1991) and those in dentistry (Marino and Stuart 2005).





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Kluckhohn - Strodtbeck themselves were clear that they did not see the model as
complete and that further requirements were encouraged. We have sought to review the
VOM in the light of the 3V model and intend applying the spatial dimension as
suggested by Michael Hills (Hills 2002) and others. The concept of spatial
responsibility as being an individual or collective endeavour has obvious application in
considering values in OSNT.

Table 2 - Space as an additional dimension

Concerns/ orientations Possible Responses
To whom does ‘space’
belong?
Individuals Families or
Groups
Everybody

Hills suggests dimensions relating to work, gender and state-individual
relationships and in subsequent iterations we will seek to clarify dimensions to explore
value responses to Veracity and Virtuality.
The essential methodological instrument of the VOM is a survey, consisting of
approximately 16 situations based around the basic five dimensions, sometimes more,
with associated questions. Originally designed in a story/response format to aid those
with differing levels of written comprehension, the instrument can be read, or listened
to, and has therefore proved effective with both non-literate and literate respondents.
The tool can be applied to provide a research-focussed analysis of cultural differences,
or as a developmental awareness-building tool to formulate social policy.

Conclusions

In our current research we will apply a modified VOM to online groups and ask
them to complete the survey instrument ‘within’ their virtual space. We will then
develop real world control groups to explore whether individuals carry their value
orientations with them from their immersive virtual world experiences into their real
world experience, or whether they undertake a personal acculturation of the virtual
world based on their real world core values. We expect the results of these enquiries to
illustrate the complexities of examining the inter-section between the ‘real’ and
‘virtual’ experiences of today’s Higher Education students.
We are anxious to see the results of these pilot studies in the Autumn of 2007
and recognise that their statistical value will be limited. It is our hope that other
researchers will see value in applying their research models, and the VOM-3V model,
to cohorts and assumed communities in a similar fashion. A significant number of
parallel studies will reveal whether there are distinct cultural value traits, shifting
patterns of behaviour and attitude, within the OSNT worlds.

References

[1] Burnett, R. and P. D. Marshall (2003). Web Theory: an introduction. London,
Routledge.
[2] Cole, M. and J. Derry (2005). We Have Met Technology and it is Us.
Intelligence and technology: the impact of tools on the nature and development





154 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
of human abilities. R. J. Sternberg and D. D. Preiss. Mahwah, New Jersey,
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: xxiv+248.
[3] Collins, B. and J. Moonen (2001). Flexible Learning in a digital world. London,
Kogan Page.
[4] Engestrom, Y. E., R. Engestrom, et al. (1999). When the Centre Does Not Hold:
The Importance of Knotworking. Activity Theory and Social Practice. S.
Chaiklin, M. Hedegaard and U. J. Jensen. Aarhus, Aarhus University Press.
[5] Hills, M. (2002). "Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's values orientation theory."
Online Readings in Psychology and Culture Unit 6, Chapter 3. Retrieved 10
July, 2007, from http://www.wwu.edu/~culture.
[6] Innis, H. A. (1951). The Bias of Communications. Toronto, University of
Toronto Press.
[7] Kluckhohn, F. R. and F. L. Strodtbeck (1961). Variations in value orientations.
Evanston, IL, Row, Peterson and Company.
[8] Kohls, L. R. (1981). Developing Intercultural Awareness. Washington, D.C,
Sietar Press.
[9] Marino, R. and G. W. Stuart (2005). "The validity and reliability of the Tertiary
Student Values Scale (TSVS)." Medical Education 39: 895-903.
[10] Nakamura, L. (2002). Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet.
London, Routledge.
[11] Neisser, U. (1976). Cognition and Reality: Principles and Implications of
Cognitive Psychology. San Francisco, W H Freeman & Co.
[12] Ortuno, M. M. (1991). "Cross-cultural awareness in the foreign language class:
The Kluckhohn Model." The Modern Language Journal 75: 449-459.
[13] Russo, K. W., Ed. (2000). Finding the middle ground: Insights and applications
of the Value Orientations method. Yarmouth, ME, Intercultural Press.
[14] Schütz, A. (1967). The Phenomenology of the Social World. Evanston, IL,
Northwestern University Press.
[15] Simmel, G. (1949). "The Sociology of Sociability." American Journal of
Sociology 55(3): 254-261.





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Attitude of VET Trainers towards
Virtual Training in Turkey and Romania

SAHĐN Mehmet
Technical Science College, Selcuk University, Konya, TURKEY
E-Mail: mesahin@selcuk.edu.tr

MIHAI Aura
Gh Asachi Technical University of Iasi,
Faculty of Leather and Textile Engineering, Romania

Abstract

Virtual learning and teaching has been a scope of trainers as well as trainees in
vocational education and training field. Traditional ways are being replaced by
computer-assisted approaches, the main tools of which are web-based virtual
training environments, interactive CD-ROMs, etc. However, the use of these
training tools is not so common as in other fields of teaching and learning. This
paper aims to present the attitudes of trainers towards virtual training tools
employed in VET organisations at university level in Turkey and Romania. The
present status of virtual training from trainers’ perspective is determined based on
focus group interview technique. The data is evaluated using qualitative research
approach. The findings indicate that most of the trainers employed in VET
organisations in both countries need more knowledge about virtual training
environment itself and how to use it.

Key words: Virtual Training, VET Trainers, Attitude of Trainers


Introduction

There are numerous virtual learning environments and, in parallel with this, there are
various approaches and tools for creating a virtual learning environment. When we talk
about “virtual learning”, in fact, our stress is on two things: computer technology and
education. Computer technology is made up of many sub-categories while education is
made up of many sub-categories derived from educational models. The use of
computer technology enables us to make up learning tools, online learning facilities,
cooperative learning aids, web-based learning, etc. In general use, the tool created for
this purpose is based on a server to provide learning. In this virtual environment, we can
see many aspects of learning, such as material sharing, student assessment procedures,
question and answer platforms, etc. (Milligan, 1999). However, this does not mean that
virtual learning is limited to such an environment on a server. Computer technologies, like
CD-ROMs and DVD-ROM are also considered in this category. Nevertheless, it is to be
accepted that the virtual environment presented online is dynamic while the CD-ROMs and





156 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
DVD-ROMs seem to be static, that is, they are fixed and cannot be changed in terms of
new changes or conditions in the field that is to be learned through this virtual
environment. However, nowadays, since computer technology has advanced, the
facilities to provide both CD-ROMs and on-line environments (WebCTs) have come to
be more sophisticated and dynamic.

During the 60's and 70's, teaching and learning tools were nothing but a piece of chalk
and a blackboard eraser, teachers and students who met each other face to face inside
the classroom during class. In the 80's, videotape programs were used as teaching aids.
In the 90's, one-way teaching by computer arrived. And finally today's advanced
computer and information network technology has revolutionized our teaching and
learning methods. In accord with the development, learning environment has also
changed. Students can listen to their teacher or trainers in distant classrooms through
PC's and get a simultaneous view of their teachers and texts as well. They can ask
questions and record the "class" for repeated viewing. Training organizations can
conduct professional training directly via the computer network. These learning
environments are not so different from a teacher-guided class with discussions and
tests as well.

In the report “Studies in the context of the E-learning Initiative: Virtual Models of
European Universities” (PLS Ramboll: 2004), a key concern was how virtual mobility
is being supported in European universities through ICT integration and e-learning.
The report found that the majority of universities face major challenges in promoting
ICT integration. ICT strategy is very important and those universities that have an ICT
strategy are significantly ahead in integration of ICT in administration and organisation
and networking. Integration of ICT and e-learning is politically important in the EU in
terms of internationalisation and globalisation of education, student demand and
interest in increasing the quality of education through ICT. At the national level,
integration of ICT should become a key priority with national and regional institutions
making a commitment to ITC and the development of networks. There must be
increased national flexibility with a commitment to support common standards of
quality and assessment and to develop national and international metadata standards.

Virtual learning can be defined as any kind of ICT-based learning arrangement where
we can find any combination of distance and face-to-face interaction, and where some
kind of virtual time and space is present. However, virtual learning, like learning in
general, is to achieve certain pre-defined objectives. These educational objectives form
a hierarchy as described in the 50s and 60s (Bloom, B. S., 1956) and his colleagues
(Dave, R. H., 1969) in the three fields of personality development: cognitive, affective
and psychomotory (taxonomy investigations). Considering this, we can say in order to
obtain competent knowledge, virtual learning should be based on four levels of
environment: (a) through the acquisition of knowledge (facts, concepts, relations,
regularities, procedures, etc.) that is dynamic and integrated into a system - type; (b)
the application and practice of knowledge (acquisition of expertise and abilities)
through students' interaction - type 2; (c) processing the syllabus requires the co-
operation of students (student-teacher communication system - virtual classroom) -





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type 3; and (d) processing the syllabus through group work, the combination of
traditional classroom and electronic education - type 4.

An extensive research (Waldheim: 1987) proved that most people learn most efficiently
with one of the three perceptive modalities (visual, auditive, kinaesthetic) and tend to miss
or ignore information presented in either of the other two. Accordingly, there are visual,
auditive, and kinaesthetic learners. Visual learners remember best what they see: pictures,
images, diagrams, flow charts, animations, and videos. If something is simply said to them,
they will probably forget it. Auditory learners remember much of what they hear and
more of what they hear and then say. They get a lot out of discussion, prefer verbal
explanation to visual demonstration, and learn effectively by explaining things to others.

Most learners are visual while most teaching is verbal, namely the information presented is
predominantly auditory (lecturing) or a visual presentation of auditory information (words,
symbols written in texts and handouts, on transparencies, on a chalkboard, or on a screen).
In an electronic teaching-learning environment it would be very important that a learner
could select the appropriate modality forms for him. Therefore the electronic teaching
materials could content encoded information in different forms by which the learner can
choose the adequate modality forms. The developer can attach any verbal and/or written
interpretations to animation and can place any interactive elements in this media type by
which the students can guide their own learning.

Virtual Learning Environments are inevitably designed with a pedagogical model in
mind, that is, not made explicit (Britain and Liber, 1999). It should be kept in mind that a
virtual learning environment has pedagogical significance as well as encourages
community and collaboration. Modern information technology provides new paradigms
to explore and present information. Multimedia technology entails voice, audio, video
and computer visualization in an integrated way. The combination of these
technologies in a new type of multimedia environment provides for a new generation
of computer-assisted learning. In this context, virtual environments allow to learn
assembly tasks and repair routines without the presence of a physical model. However,
SME-sized industrial companies and institutes of vocational education do not have the
technology and pedagogical skills to develop such a new generation of multimedia
learning systems for their needs.

Changes in the educational paradigm will have to lead to essential changes in teachers’
training and train the trainer programs. These changes in the educational paradigm are:
a) the use of new technologies to enhance learning and to implement new learning
technologies; b) the major change of the role of teachers and trainers from
disseminators of knowledge to managers of learning. Technical teacher training
institutions may have a driving role in the expansion of these changes in higher education.
In technical vocational training, the emphasis has always been on technical knowledge.
The knowledge and skills for integrating Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) adequately into the learning process is an aspect of the future professional
practice of teachers and trainers. The importance of this aspect makes it necessary to
anticipate on this development by including core specifications for the use of ICT in





158 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
the formal job qualifications for teachers and trainers and thus in their education. At
the same time, the development of future teacher training should be based upon the
same principles as are foreseen for the future educational and training practices in
general: monitoring, reflection and research of emergent practices of successfully
incorporating technology, individual and flexible delivery of courses and other
services. Furthermore, industry throughout Europe emphasizes the need of having a
highly professional and well-trained workforce. Obtaining new knowledge and new
skills in an attractive and modern way are of equal importance to vocational training.

The aim of this study

This paper aims to present the attitudes of trainers towards virtual training tools
employed in VET organisations at university level in Turkey and Romania. The present
status of virtual training from trainers’ perspective is determined based on focus group
interview technique to evaluate using qualitative research approach.

The limitations of this study

The universe of this study consists of the trainers involved in technical and vocational
training organizations at university level in Turkey and Romania. However, the samples
are chosen from two technical and vocational faculties and on technical science college
in Turkey and one technical faculty in Romania. In a complete study regarding the use
of virtual training tools, both the trainers/teachers and the trainees/learners, as the final
target group, should be involved. Yet, this study is only based on the interview done
with the trainers. This again can be seen anther limitation.

Material and method

The Focus Group Interview
This study is based on a qualitative research technique: focus group interview. The
meeting room was quiet, comfortable, and free from outside distractions. Participants
all sat around a table so they could see each other. The chairs were comfortable. Light
refreshments were served in such a way as not to distract from the discussion.

The authors were the facilitators to the focus group discussion done in Turkey and
Romania. The facilitators directed the discussion without being a part of it. The
facilitators were able to create a relaxed, informal atmosphere where people felt free
to express their opinions. The facilitators avoided expressing their own opinions or
making judgments on the opinions of the participants. The facilitator asked a series
of open-ended questions from general to specific in order to get the participants to
express their opinions, experiences, and suggestions. The facilitator allowed the
discussion to lead in new directions as long as the topics pertained to the subject of
the focus group interview. All members of the group were encouraged to participate
so that only one person should not be allowed to dominate the discussion. The
sessions were tape recorded and transcribed after the meeting. A member from each
group checked the texts.






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Four groups were formed of the trainers who were willing to participate in the
interview. All of them had their PhDs in Technical Education or Sciences. In the Turkey
part of the study, two groups were formed. In each group, two trainers were from the
Technical Education Faculty, two trainers were from Technical Vocational Faculty and
one trainer was from the Technical Science College. Two of the trainers were females
and three were males in each group. In the Romanian part, the same number of groups
of the same number of trainers was formed from the Shoe Design and Technology and
From Clothing Technology departments of the Faculty of Leather and Textile, “Gh.
Asachi” Technical University in Romania. Each group consisted of two males and three
females. For the interview, the same procedures were applied in each party.

The open-ended questions were arranged in such a way as to learn about the following:
1- Are the trainers for or against using ICT in classes?
2- Do they find themselves well prepared to manage virtual learning tools?
3-What types of virtual learning tools do they prefer?
4- Do they find virtual learning facilities sufficient in their training organization?

The findings with less support than the half of the participants were ignored here.

The Data Analysis
The focus group interview generated a lot of information. This information was coded
and summarized for analysis and discovery. The tape recording was transcribed,
omitting the names of the speakers and using codes like T1, T2, … for the participants
in Turkey and R1, R2, … for the participants in Romania. After the discussion was
carefully typed, the authors read the transcript looking for key words and concepts that
reoccur. Then the keywords were grouped and phrased into categories. After the key
words and phases were grouped into categories, the interpretation step began and the
central themes and issues emerged.

Findings

With the analysis of the data collected through the focus group interview, the following
were found:

1- All the trainers/participants are for the use of ICT and other virtual training
tools in the classrooms: “For me, virtual training and learning is necessary and
will be essential in the future”, “I am aware of the fact that using ICT is
necessary in the classrooms”, “I feel it necessary while teaching in the
classroom” are the common statements by the participants.

2- All the trainers think they need more training to use this approach in their
classes: “I feel it necessary but I don’t know what to use and how to use”, “I
want to use it but where and how? I must learn more”, “My organisation should
provide me with more facilities and more training to apply such approaches in
the classroom” are some of the common expressions by the participants.






160 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
3- All the participants agree that their organisations lack sufficient infrastructure
regarding virtual training: “I have a computer and can use it only to prepare
lesson materials”, “personally I can not afford to buy such equipment for that
purpose”, “My organisation has such facilities but they are outdated and cant be
used for this purpose” are the statements commonly expressed by the
participants.

4- Nearly all the participants/trainers complain that they are overloaded with the
lessons and don’t have enough time to work with such tools: 16 of the
participants (10 from Romania and 6 from Turkey) blame their organisations
for overloading them with the lessons. “Still I can use ICT in my classes but I
have so many lessons and students”, “My organisation should give me fewer
lessons, more time and more money”, “I have too many classes and I can use
my laptop only to prepare some documents for my classes” are their common
expressions.

5- More than half of the participants feel that their organisation is not suitable for
such training: 10 participants form Turkey and 6 participants from Romania
express that their organisation is not physically fit for such training. “I want to
use it but where and how?”, I have … so many students and cant use such
approaches in narrow classes with too many students”, “Classes in my
organisation do not have enough technical facilities to use these things” are
their typical expressions.


Discussion

The findings above indicate that virtual learning in Turkey and Romania is still in its
formative period. However, virtual training appears to offer an option for the students
in both countries. It can provide instructionally effective, highly interactive learning
experiences that are flexible, equitable, and responsive to individual needs (Rogers,
1996). It will at the time lessen the expenditure spent on education as studies show that
it is more cost-effective than traditional programs, especially with large student
enrolments and a good support system for students (Daniel, 1996). Unit costs per
student are below those of conventional programs (Daniel, 1996).

All the trainers/participants are for the use of ICT and other virtual training tools in the
classrooms. That means the trainers do not have resistance to enter in the technological
era, unlike the ones detected by Franco A. J. (2004) in his article The Challenges Of
Virtual Education. There are probably two big factors that influence this resistance:
ignorance and lack of motivation, the last one due to certain unconscious resistance.
From this point of view, it is possible to say that all the trainers in both countries are
aware of this training tool and they have enough motivation.

All the trainers think they need more training to use this approach in their classes. They
are also aware that they have to be trained to change their pedagogical level in such a





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way as to be in accord with the pedagogy required by virtual training approach. It is a
fact that to teach in a virtual classroom doesn't mean to film a traditional class and to
put it in the internet so that the students attend virtually; neither it means to record it, to
transcribe it in text and then to copy it in a web page. It means to transform the
traditional pedagogy toward an electronic pedagogy in which the professor becomes a
facilitator of the student's learning process and an active pedagogy supporter. This
"new" pedagogy supposes that the teacher should be qualified in new pedagogic
techniques. This can only be achieved through a well-designed training programme for
the trainers.
All the participants agree that their organisations lack sufficient infrastructure
regarding virtual training. There is a lack of technical and didactical support to
trainers/teachers for using ICT, in terms of using web-based platforms/ systems or
digitisation of teaching materials. They rightly accuse of the training organisations, as
they do not have essential infrastructure for virtual training. Here, the strategies will
promote training in the new techniques, and the administrative staff should make the
necessary to push trainers to participate in them, since we have verified that when this
process depends in the trainers’ will, they resist changing.
Nearly all the participants/trainers complain that they are overloaded with the lessons
and don’t have enough time to learn themselves how to work with such tools. Many
trainers allege that excessive workload is the one that doesn't leave time to do research
or to enter these new fields of the virtual education. The board of the university can
establish mechanisms to verify this and, in that sense, to make the appropriate
modifications so that in each professor's workload there’s a space in this sense.
More than half of the participants feel that their organisation is not suitable for such
training. To implement technologies that allow virtual training, it’s necessary to have
more WebCT equipment all over the learning environment. Both the trainers and the
trainees can be provided with a computer with an internet connection. The
technological equipment and the physically fitness of the classrooms for this purpose
can be ensured if the overall approach of a training organisation is towards ICT use in
learning environments.

Recommendations

The following recommendations can be given to eradicate the challenges displayed
above:
a. It is clear from the findings that the trainers employed in VET need special
training for virtual training. Teaching in virtual learning environments needs
competence in technological (so-called hard skills) and organisational aspects as well
as new skills in applying relevant didactical methods, moderating/facilitating, etc. (so-
called soft skills).
b. Technological tools should be provided by the training organisation so that the
trainers can facilitate them easily.
c. Learning environments, resources and materials must be specifically designed
for virtual learning.
d. The division of labour for trainers and other staff involved in virtual training
should recognise the difference in virtual learning environments workloads.





162 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
e. The use of virtual learning environments needs to be promoted through
collaboration at the national and European level so that more innovative and
standardised virtual training materials can be available.
f. International virtual learning environment activities demonstrate physical and
economic problems, and thus such challenges should also be addressed.


References

[1] Bartlett, F. C. (1932 reprinted in 1977) Remembering: A Study in Experimental and
Social Psychology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[2] Bloom, B. S. (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Cognitive Domain,
McKay, New York.
[3] Britain, S. and Liber, O. (1999) 'A Framework for Pedagogical Evaluation of
Virtual
[4] Daniel J.S., (1996) Mega-universities and Knowledge Media: Technology
Strategies for Higher Education. London: Kogan Page.
[5] Dave, R. H. (1969) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and Achievement Testing.
In: Developments in Educational Testing, University of London Press, London.
[6] Environments' JTAP Report 041. http://www.jtap.ac.uk/reports/htm/jtap-041.html
Bednar.
[7] Franco A. J, (2004), The Challenges Of Virtual Education, e-Journal of
Instructional Science and Technology (e-Jist), Vol. 7.
[8] Milligan, C. (1999) The role of VLEs in on-line delivery of staff development.
JTAP Report 573. http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/jtap-573.
[9] Ramboll, PLS (2004), Studies in the context of the E-learning Initiative: Virtual
Models of European Universities (Lot1). Draft Final Report to the European
Commission, DG Education and Culture. Available at http://elearningeuropa.info
(03-03-2005).
[10] Rogers S.M., (1995). "Distance Education: The "Options Follow
Mission," AAHE Bulletin, volume 48, number 4 (December), pp. 62-66.
[11] Waldheim, G. P. (1987): Understanding How Students Understand.
Engineering Education, Vol. 77, No. 5.





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WEB-BASED LEARNING IN MECHANICAL DESIGN

Süleyman Yaldız
1
, Süleyman Neşeli
1


(1) Technical Science College, Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey
E-mail: syaldiz@selcuk.edu.tr


Abstract

Nowadays virtual learning is regarded as one of the most important approaches
in VET as well as in other educational fields. This paper is based on an
experimental period in which a virtual training environment
(www.autocadokulu.com/portal/index.php) was used to train the students
virtually in machine designing. After the training period, the successes rate of the
previews year and this experimental period were compared. In addition, the
students were interviewed regarding the advantages of virtual learning. The
results obtained from both the tests and the interview show that students are
much more interested in virtual learning and they mostly find it useful. However,
it seems that both the trainees and the trainers should be encouraged and
technically supported to make full use of virtual learning environment.

Keywords: Virtual learning, Web-Based learning, Machine designing.


1. Introduction

One of the undeniable facts of our time is that the developments as to the information
and technology, thus, information technology, has reached an un-preceded pace. This
leads to two facts: one is that the knowledge is rapidly demoded, and the second is that
knowledge is to be updated. The relation between these two fields demands that
education or training should be sustainable. However, formal education is not expected
to be life long. The solution of this challenge is again provided by technology.
Information technology and especially web based asynchronic education as opened the
second door: non-formal education. This web based education approach has
revolutionised the traditional educational and training methods and at least, it has
compelled the traditional method to revise themselves (ODTÜ, 2007).
As the internet has developed rapidly, WWW (World Wide Web) has become an
efficient, interactive and dynamic tool to transfer training. Many higher education
organisations have stated to use web for educational purposes. Some of these
organisations have enough potential to provide education through well-designed Web-
based learning tools (Bay and Tüzün, 2002).
Web-based learning seems to meet the needs in this field via the proper dialogue.
When compared with the traditional tools, this learning tool more dynamic and thus it
has been regarded as a very important tool in teaching and learning programmes. The
learners can choose the right time, frequency and place for themselves while making





164 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
use of this learning tool. With audio, video, graphics, 2D or 3D animations, with the
other structures and materials to get instant response, this learning tool has been more
dynamic and lasting learning environment (Demirli, 2002).
This learning environment, which is a virtual learning environment, can provide
easy communication with others, self-learning and management of their time. The
learners who have access to related web pages, subscribe the virtual libraries, take
place in e-mail groups, enter any information sharing environments (like virtual
libraries, news services, etc.) can have many skills including material use in the related
field. What is more, as the learners encounter new knowledge, there is the possibility to
learn accidentally (Davenport ve Erarslan, 2001).
Interactive web pages, e-mails, file transfer, discussion and news groups,
chartrooms, etc. help the learners and trainers to have synchronized and/or
asynchronised communication (Demirli, 2002). According to Wyld (1997), internet
and web technologies can provide both communication among people on the large
scale and entry into a large amount of knowledge. It can also meet many learning
styles, support active learning and present actual life experience. It can focus on
knowledge formation rather than knowledge transfer (Gürol ve Demirli: 2001).

2. The Aim of the Study

Given the conditions in our modern age, it seems inevitable to make use of the internet
technology in teaching and learning environments. At this point, with the use of the
internet technology, the web based learning implementation comes to fore. Many
public and non-public training organisations already use web-based training and, in
addition, they assign much time and money for further research studies. This study,
web based manufacturing training process is analysed based on an experimental period
using a web based programme.

3. Method

3.1. Limitations
The following can be regarded as the limitations of this study:
The experimental period is limited to one semester (2006-2007 autumn
semester).
www.autocadokulu.com and its links related to AutoCAD training were the
training web pages.
2B design topics of AutoCAD 2004 package program was applied in the
“Computer Aided Design” classes.

3.2. Research design
In this study, the ideas of the trainees about web-based training were determined using
Likert surveying model.

3.3. Universe and sampling
The research was carried out at Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey. The samples were
formed of 28 second grade students at the Technical Science College of Selcuk
University. Only 26 of them were volunteers to answer the questionnaire.





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3.4. Data collection
The data were obtained with a questionnaire of 1 section with 23 questions determined
with the help of the experts.

3.5. Analysis of the data and interpretation
The questionnaire filled by the students involved in the experimental implementation
gave the students’ opinions about the implementation. Then, these answers were
analysed based on their frequency and percentage and interpreted. This way, the order
was formed and interpreted considering their percentage too.


4. Findings and Interpretation
Table 1 shows how the students were motivated and to what extent their expectations
were met with this implementation.

Table 1. Findings Regarding Students’ Motivation and Expectations From Web-Based
Training Period.

Qn Option f %
1 I don’t want to take place in such an Yes 1 3,8
implementation again Partly 4 15,4
No 21 80,8
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
2 I liked this implementation very much Yes 23 88,5
Partly 3 11,5
No - -
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
3 I had answers to all questions in Yes 8 30,8
my mind in this period Partly 15 57,7
No 3 11,5
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
4 My previous opinion has not changed Yes 1 3,8
positively towards web based learning Partly - -
No 25 96,2
Total 26 100








166 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Qn Option f %
5 I would like all my lessons Yes 14 53,9
(except applied ones) to be done like this. Partly 9 34,6
No 3 11,5
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
6 I took more pleasure from such a Yes 13 50,0
learning model. Partly 11 42,3
No 2 7,7
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
7 I felt that I accomplished an Yes 6 23,1
important task. Partly 17 65,4
No 3 11,5
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
8 I had no sufficient reply for my Yes 5 19,2
strong and week points. Partly 7 26,9
No 14 53,9
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
9 I think it is more efficient than the Yes 14 53,3
traditional training models. Partly 7 26,9
No 5 19,2
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
10 Time and place flexibility Yes 3 11,5
increased my performance Partly 6 23,1
No 17 65,4
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
11 I had a chance to ask questions that Yes 17 65,4
I didn’t want to ask in classroom. Partly 6 23,1
No 3 11,5
Total 26 100





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Qn Option f %
12 The discussions in it made me Yes 20 76,9
learn the topics better. Partly 6 23,1
No - -
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
13 It helped me to set up the relation Yes 23 88,5
between the theory and practice as Partly 3 11,5
it gave priority to practice. No - -
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
14 The time given for the tasks Yes 1 3,8
was not sufficient. Partly - -
No 25 96,2
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
15 It helped me to make use of Yes 13 50,0
my practice performance very well. Partly 12 46,2
No 1 3,8
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
16 The content of the classes Yes 25 96,2
was sufficient. Partly 1 3,8
No - -
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
17 I got pleasure out of the tasks Yes 24 92,3
assigned to me. Partly 2 7,7
No - -
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
18 The discussion activities carried Yes 21 80,8
out on e-mail, chatroom and news Partly 4 15,4
bulletin helped me to have new No 1 3,8
points of view.
Total 26 100





168 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Qn Option f %
19 It helped me to make up new products. Yes 15 57,7
Partly 6 23,1
No 5 19,2
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
20 There was the same boredom Yes 2 7,7
I experienced in the traditional Partly 4 15,4
classroom environment. No 20 76,9
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
21 The period for implementation was enough. Yes 15 57,7
Partly 5 19,2
No 6 23,1
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
22 The implementation period was Yes 4 15,4
longer compared with the traditional Partly 6 23,1
classroom environment. No 16 61,5
Total 26 100

Qn Option f %
23 Implementation management of Yes 23 88,5
updating of the web pages, eradicating Partly 3 11,5
some shortcomings on the pages, No - -
replying the emails in a relatively
short time was satisfactory.
Total 26 100

When we think of the data in table 1, 80,8% of the students wanted to take place in
such a learning activity. 88,5% of the students got much pleasure out of this
implementation while 76,9% of them felt the boredom in the traditional classroom
environment was not present in this model. This means the application got the support
of the students.
96,2% of the students agreed that the web-based model changed their opinions
regarding this kind of virtual training in a positive manner. This means that the
application was able to help the students’ attitudes towards internet use to change
positively.
61,5% of the students accepted that this way of learning could help them to use
their time more efficiently compared with the traditional ways of learning. According





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to the students involved in the research, this learning tool is able to give them flexible
time, place and pace flexibility. This in turn helps them to have higher performance
(65,4%).
76,9% of the students expressed that the discussion facilities on the web page
learning environment helped them to learn more efficiently while 65,’% of them
expressed that they were able to ask questions more freely compared the limitations in
the traditional learning environments. However, 57,7% of them said they could find
answers to the questions in their minds only partly. This indicates that such
asynchronic implementations can partly answer to the instant questions. Also, 53,9% of
the students got satisfactory replies to their weak and strong points.
However, only 53,3% of the students fully and 26,9% of them partly think that this
implementation is more efficient than the traditional learning environments.
The time assigned for the tasks to be carried out was found sufficient by 96,2% of
them while 57,7% of them found the whole implementation period satisfactory. It is
understood that the students want such more time to such learning periods.

5. Conclusion

It is clear that the web based learning approach has been liked and adopted by the
students. Such interactive implementations ensure the students to be actively involved
in the learning process. Without time and space limitations, it can be regarded as one of
the most significant learning environments of our modern age. This also can help to get
higher performance.
In the traditional learning environments (classrooms), the boredom arising from
listening passively only to what is uttered can be eradicated by using such active and
dynamic learning tools. It also helps a good communication between the teacher and
the learner. The questions that can be avoided in the traditional classrooms can be
expressed and replied easily in such a learning environment. However, there is some
kind of trouble in answering instant questions, as such implementations are
asynchronic.
In the web pages with interface in such implementations, there should be an
interactive and dynamic structure in addition to visual aids and educational pedagogy.
This is important as the material designed for this purpose is one of the main factors
that is likely to affect the student performance.
The management of this implementation efficiently will have an impact of the
outcome. In addition, although the students are active individually, there seems to be
less cooperation between them (Demirli, 2002).

6. Refernces

[1] Bay, Ö. F., Tüzün, H., (2002): Yüksek Öğretim Kurumlarında Ders Đçeriğinin
Web Tabanlı Olarak Aktarılması-II. Journal of Polytechnic, Vol: 5 No: 1 pp.
23-33.
[2] Demirli, C., (2002): Web Tabanli Öğretim Uygulamarina ilişkin Öğrenci
Görüşleri. Working Paper. Fırat Üniversitesi, Teknik Eğitim Fakültesi, Elazığ.
[3] Goldsmith, T. E., Johnson, P. S., Acton, W. H., (1991): Assessing Structural
Knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 88-96.





170 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
[4] Gürol, M., Demirli, C., (2001): Uzaktan Eğitimde Oluşturmacı Tasarım ve
Uygulanması. Uluslararası Eğitim Teknolojileri Sempozyum ve Fuarı Bildirileri,
Sakarya.
[5] http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/~david/desymposiom/VirtuallyThereTur.doc
[6] http://www.ii.metu.edu.tr/EMK/ilkeler.html
[7] http://idea.metu.edu.tr/
[8] Đşman, A., (1998): Đnternet ve Eğitim, Uzaktan Eğitim-Distance Education. 1998
Yaz 1999 Kış, 86-91.
[9] Onay, Z., Yalabık, N., (1998): Bir Üniversitede Internet Üzerinden Asenkron
Öğrenme Đçin Yapılanma Modeli. Second International Distance Education
Symposium, Ankara.
[10] Wyld, S., Eklund, J., (1997): A Case Study of Comminication Techcnogly
Within The Elemantary School. Austrialian Journal of Educational Technology,
13(2), 144-164.
[11] Yiğit, Y., Özden, M. Y., (2006): Web Tabanlı Eğitim Materyali Đçerisinde
Internet Üzerinden Görüntü Aktarımı. Working Paper, Bilgisayar ve Öğretim
Teknolojileri Eğitimi Bölümü, ODTÜ






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Improvements In The Learning Reached With The Use Of
The New Methodologies And Technologies
At Qualifications By E-Learning

Fabricia Ferreira de Souza
1
, Lucia Regina H. R. Franco
1


(1) Federal University of Itajubá
Caixa Postal: 50, CEP: 37500-903, Rua: BPS, B.: Pinheirinho, Itajubá-MG, Brasil
E-mail: fabricia@unifei.edu.br, lfranco@unifei.edu.br


Abstract

The article mentions the research to it based on the data of the courses of
Qualification in Virtual Environment for EaD, offered by EaD of the UNIFEI
(Federal University of Itajubá) in the period of 2003 the 2007.


1 Introducion
The used model in the (EaD) of the Federal University of Itajubá (Unifei) is the virtual
classroom, that if characterizes for the geographic separation of the students and the
teacher. Many resources can be used in this model in search of the best performances
of learning (Nunes, 2002).
This research shows the analysis of the methodological and technological
improvement applied in the courses of qualification in virtual environment for EaD, it
shows the main changes carried through in the tools of the virtual environment of
Teleduc learning. The problems and solutions found during the execution of the
courses in the period of 2003 the 2007, had contributed for the innovation in the
methods and applied techniques in the courses given in six years. In the beginning EaD
team of the Unifei found barriers and difficulties in evaluating and applying exercises
in the courses, by this reason each inserted activity in the tools of the Teleduc had been
renewed at the time that the doubts, solutions, appeared between students and tutorial
professors/of the courses. The results are presented in graphs that show the evolution in
the percentage of the abandon, accesses and approved in the courses. The performance
of the learning of the students increased, and this result is important so that the
strategies implanted for the EaD team continue to be argued and renewed to each
course
2 Analysis of the evolution and perfectioning of the used strategies of
learning in the tools of the Teleduc
The first groups of the course of Qualification in Virtual Environment for EAD had
initiated in 2003. Many barriers had been surpassed with the search of better solutions
in the applications of activities and evaluations.





172 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The Teleduc is an environment that allows the creation, participation and
management of virtual courses. It was developed by Nied (Nucleus of Computer
science Applied to the Education) of the Unicamp. The first versions had errors that
had been corrected at the time that the users interacted and communicated themselves
through this environment (Amorim, Armentano, Miskulin and Rosana, 2005).
Below it follows the analysis carried through in each tool of the Teleduc point out
the update of the technological resources, the improvement of the activities, the
interactivity and the performance of the participants.
2.1 Course Dynamic
The dynamic of the course is a space where the tutorial/professor inserts the
description of the course, with its objectives, methodologies, resources, etc (Ferreira,
2003). During the evolution of the course of qualification in virtual environment the
team was worried in improving the applied activities and bringing up to date the
technologies. The changes had occurred only in the type of technology, therefore with
the addition of experiences, the team suggested to analyze other forms to produce the
dynamics of the course. In the development beginning of the dynamic course was
carried through the PowerPoint. At the time that executed the courses, perfected the
use of the technologies exploring other tools for the production of the dynamics of the
course, as example the Flash.
2.2 Agenda
The agenda is a place where the author of the course inserts information, tips and
suggestions on subject treated in the lesson of the day or the week (Ferreira, 2003). The
described guidance in the courses offered in 2003 were carried through in the publisher
of text of the proper Teleduc. The EaD team of the Unifei observed many suggestions
of the participants sent by the mail tool, and through the analysis of critical and the
suggestions, the changes had occurred in the structure of the descriptions of the
agenda. Before the edition was simple, without space between lines and without
prominence of words, this formatting makes it difficult the reading of the text and
interpretation. The alterations had occurred when the team perceived that these details
are important for understanding of the reading, and had started to produce the
directions of the agenda in files HTML, with break of line, emphasis in the main
words, arrows, animations, etc.
2.3 Activities
In the tool activities the Course tutor organizes in folders the daily or weekly lessons
and inserts the activities foreseen for each lesson or week (Tarouco, 2007). The
lessons have instructions so that the students find the readings of the day and to make
the considered exercises. The inserted directions in the executed courses of 2003 and
2004 so that the students elaborated the activities of the lesson, were described of
simple form, but the structure and formatting of the course made it difficult the
understanding of the text, had also little information to instruct the students to realyse
the activities.
The team prepared and applied evaluations on the level of satisfaction of the
students in relation to the course, and with the results it looked for to improve the





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instructions of the lessons and activities. In the courses offered in 2005 and 2006, in
the first lesson it is available directions and awareness as much the importance of the
paper of the members in the courses in the distance.
2.4 Support Material
The material tool of support is a place where the Course tutor fits the referring readings
to the subject of the lesson (Tarouco, 2007). The content is available in the digital
book, a system multimedia that have specific places for text, figures, statisticians,
dynamic, quizess, glossaries, FAQs, indices and buttons (Frank, 2007). For the time
being not yet it had changes in this tool and the digital book always is brought up to
date, getting good resulted.
2.5 Readings
In this space are complementary available readings on the subject of the lesson
(Tarouco, 2007). The main function of the complementary texts is to awake the student
to read and to complete its current knowledge with subjects or news. It did not have
changes in this Tool.
2.6 Frequently Asked Questions
The space for frequent questions is where the Course tutor inserts questions and
answers that frequent are sent by the students (Tarouco, 2007). This tool was not much
used in the courses of 2003 and 2004, and during this period the team received many
doubts through the interaction and communication in debate (forum), mails and chats.
In the current courses the support of this tool, comes collaborating for the explanation
of brief doubts and assisting the participant in the interaction with the environment
2.7 Required Stop
The obligator stop refers it the closing of one determined subject displaying the main
ideas debated until the moment (Otsuka, Lachi and Vahl, 2003). In this place the
Course tutor can request a reflection of everything what already he was seen until the
moment, for then initiating a new stage of the course. The use of this tool had
beginning in 2005, when the EaD team perceived the real utility of a stop to review and
to reflect on the subjects of the courses. The obligator stop helps the participant to
organize its knowledge and ideas for next stage.
2.8 Bulletin Board
This space it is directed to whom want to leave messages, to put significant links,
notice, news, etc. (Otsuka, Lachi and Vahl, 2003) The Wall always was used in courses
of qualification and actually had been used, but with more frequency and news. The
information, search results and researches, putted by students has been evaluated and
reused as a offered information in a subsequent classes allowing a regular update of
information.
2.9 Discussion Forums
This asynchronies tool is often used in these virtual courses. The tutor presents a
question or affirmation to motivate the reflection through the discussion and





174 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
knowledge changes about some topic.(Oeiras and Rocha, 2006) This activity has
been always requested in a qualification courses and the improvement was current in
2003 until 2007, with new topics of EaD updated.

2.10 Chat
This tool makes the interaction of the participants in a real time, that is why named
asynchronies tool (Lachi, Otsuka and Rocha, 2005). The brief dialogue among the
students and tutors allows to elucidate doubts and debates that helps knowledge
construction. The use of this tool as an activity that forces knowledge of a topic it had
been seem in a previous activity makes this moment a tool to evaluate if the students
did the activity correctly. If was well guided, the student will participate of this chat
knowing that will collected by that, and this stimulates him to put their activities daily,
improving the learning.
At the other hand, the chat is useless to the medium and bigger amount of students.
With the experience the evidence of this fact encouraged the team to stimulate different
moments to each small group.
Observing the register of participation in a period 2003 and 2006, notice that the
students available time to participate in the chat it was limited, so fixed schedules to
the meeting wasn’t good to all, so some could participated and others not, and in
another moments they couldn’t meet with the same they had been meet in another time.
This obstacle turns this tool more complicate to use in a effective form. Actually the
Ead team analyses the ways to dominate this difficulty doing the research of
participants access, alternative activities that makes easy in the certain moment the
participating of all and in others activities of some groups with the same available time.
2.11 Mail
The mail is a tool to change informations and elucidates doubts (Paixão, 2002) In these
courses the tutors have 24 hours to answer the e-mail participant. The change of
information by mail makes possible to the EaD team to improve the qualification
courses in a virtual environment.
Although this little time for the reply (in an actual course the student alone has it in the
next meeting with the professor) was learned that the promptness in the reply was a
determinative factor student to give continuity orderly (and many times to it, entering
some times to the day) to complete its dependent activities of some reply. In this way
the team improved their methodology determining that the students had to order the
doubt for all the tutors and that any tutor would have to answer to it as soon as
received, with copy for the other tutors.
2.12. Groups
The tool Groups is a space to the participant realize collaborative and cooperative
works (Oeiras and Rock, 2006). The students can determine a subject, form groups,
argue and produce activities together. Who participates of the group always gets good
resulted in the learning performance, and the EaD team is worried in perfecting the
dynamic of groups, observing rightness and correcting errors.






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2.13 Portfolio
The portfolio is used so that the participants makes available all the activities carried
through during the course. The virtual dynamic are requested in the tool activity and all
the production filed in the portfolio is evaluated by the tutor (Passion, 2002).
The participation of the students depends on its effort and disposal in carrying
through the activities, therefore the portfolio tool is evaluated to each activity or
requested dynamics for the course tutor. The principle the students little made familiar
to the environment, did not send the activities in the portfolio and observing this
difficulty the EaD team started to emphasize this tool and to charge more the
participation of the students in the portfolio. In the current courses the performance of
the students increased becoming the portfolio a frequent used tool.

The changes carried through in the enclosed activities in each tool of the Teleduc,
were result of the comments and analyses carried through for the EaD team of the
Unifei, through the difficulties, errors, critical corrections, suggestions and of the
members. This experience was transformed into strategies that reach good
performances of learning. Throughout the period of updates, the Teleduc acquired new
tools and the EaD Team approved the new features applying in the qualification
courses. It observes below the new tools:
• Intermap: one of the first carried through and available important updates in the
courses in 2003, its function is to register the interaction of that they have access the
course and if they communicate through the mail, forum and chat.
• Evaluations: update carried through in 2004 middle, this tool allows that the tutor
inserts valuing activities with date of beginning, ending and maximum value of note.
• Exercise: also it is a tool carried through in 2004, accept that the tutor creates,
edits and manages exercises on the subjects of the lessons.

All these options offered for the environment of Teleduc learning contribute for
construction and intellectual development of the pupil who participates and has access
the course. The tools have functions, however the pedagogical methodology
strategically is elaborated by the EaD team of the Unifei.
3 Methodology and procedures of analysis

For the elaboration of the present article, it was adopted the following procedures with
the authorization of the coordinator of the team Lucia Franco:
- Analysis of all the courses of qualification in virtual environment offered by the EaD
team enters 2003 the 2006. The access was carried through login and password,
supplied for the coordination.
- The number of accesses of the participants was observed, considering that the
courses were executed in 25 days with daily lessons. The run away pupils had low
participation, with in the maximum 10 accesses. This analysis was carried through in
the Tool Accesses of the TelEduc. To get the percentage of run away students, the
number of students with equal or lesser access was added that 10 that they had not
gotten notes. One noticed that the students with this access, in one determined moment





176 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
they had left to carry through the activities and to have access the course. - To get
information on the increase in the participation of the courses, the equal accesses or
above of 25 for the participants had been analyzed who had carried through the
activities.
- They had been analyzed and considered as approved the students with it average
equal or superior the 7.
- The graphs had been produced in the program excel
4 Analysis of the results after the innovation of the activities
The improvements effected in the methods and activities of the courses had resulted in
the reduction of the evasion indices and in the increase of or the above equal number of
accesses the 25. The average of 25 accesses for students was stipulated by considering
that the courses are given in 25 days with daily lessons. Graph 1 below shows to the
evasion percentage and graph 2 shows the number of accesses:

Evasão
17,0%
8,0%
7,5%
4,5%
2,7%
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003

Gráfico 1: Porcentagem de evasão no decorrer dos anos


Acesso maior ou igual a 25
63,00%
80,00%
81,00%
83,00%
88,00%
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003

Gráfico 2: Porcentagem de acessos maior ou igual a 25





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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 177

In the course of 2005 until 2007, had the increase of student approved in the 2007
courses, being that in 2005, 7 courses had been analyzed, 2006 had been analyzed 9
courses and in 2007 had been analyzed 2 courses, then comparing the number of
courses with the number of student, it notices that it also had the increase in the
participation of the qualification courses. Observes the graph below that it shows the
percentage of the approved ones in last the three years:


Numero de aprovados
79,0%
82,0%
90,0%
72,0%
74,0%
76,0%
78,0%
80,0%
82,0%
84,0%
86,0%
88,0%
90,0%
92,0%
2005 2006 2007
2005
2006
2007

Gráfico 3: Gráfico de alunos aprovados nos últimos três anos

The technological and methodological advance in the courses of qualification in virtual
environment of learning provided good results in the performance of learning of the
participants and becoming more accessed and less abandon courses. The EaD team
learns with the barriers and difficulties found for the student and innovates its methods
and techniques to each experience acquired in the period execution of a course. The
suggestions and critics of the students are analyzed and argued in group, thus all of the
team renew its knowledge and place in practical their innovative ideas.
4 Conclusion

The initiative and struggle to the program of qualification in virtual environment for
EaD, had been the excellent factors that had given beginning to the first courses given
for the EaD team of the Unifei. It had been analyzed six years of experience of
qualification in EaD. This research covered all the courses given up to 2007, showing
the main changes in each tool of the Teleduc. The opinion of the students contributed
for this innovative advance, and the addition of the experiences provided to more
knowledge the EaD team.
This analysis collaborated for the growth and adjustment in the methodologies that
are applied currently, shows for the team how much it is important to continue
approving the opinions of the students and to analyze each difficulty found in the
activities and dynamic of the courses. The doubts of the students sent by the mails are
another important factor that always it must be argued in group for the team, therefore
the solution and reply for the found problems, generate innovative ideas that can be
applied, getting good results.





178 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
5 References

[1] Amorim, Joni A., Armentano, Vinícius A., Miskulin, Mauro S., Miskulin,
Rosana G. S. (2005): Use of the Teleduc as a complementary resource in actual
education, Revista Brasileira de Aprendizagem Aberta e a Distância, 12.
[2] Felder, R. M., (2002): Learning And Teaching Styles In Engineering Education,
Engr. Education, June.
[3] Ferreira, T. B. (2003): Evaluation Manager: The Tool of Aid you the Formative
Evaluation will be the Environment of Education in the distance TelEduc, State
University of Campinas, Campinas - SP.
[4] Franco, L. R. H. R., Tool developed for support to the professor: Digital book.
Federal university of Itajubá, Itajubá - MG. Had access in 15 of May of 2007.
http://www.ead.unifei.edu.br/
[5] Lachi, R. L., Otsuka, J. L., Rocha, H. V. (2005): Use of Agents of Interface in
the Support to the Analysis of Sessions of Chat, Institute of Computation - State
University of Campinas, Campinas- SP, 2005.
[6] http://www.nied.unicamp.br/
[7] Nucleus of Computer science Applied to Education (NIED). Updates, State
University of Campinas, Campinas - SP. It was access in 18 of May of 2007.
[8] Nunes, I. B. (2002):. Notion of Education in the distance, State University of
Campinas.http://www.rau-tu.unicamp.br/nou-rau/ead/document/?code=3
[9] Oeiras, J. Y. Y., Rocha, H. V.(2006) Online learning: tools of communication
for contribution, Institute of Computation - State University of Campinas,
Campinas - SP.
[10] Otsuka, J L., Lachi, R. L., Vahl, R. (2003) Use of Agents of Interface in the
TelEduc Environment, New Technologies in the Education, CINTED-UFRGS.
[11] Paixão, L E. S. (2002): The Interaction in the Education in the distance, Federal
University of Santa Catarina, Program of Post-Graduation in Engineering of
Production.
[12] Romani, L. A. S. (2000): InterMap: Tool for Visualization of the Interaction in
Environments of Education in the distance in the Web, State University of
Campinas, Campinas - SP.
[13] Tarouco, L. M. R. (2007): Tutorial basic at the TelEduc environment, Federal
University of the Rio Grande Do Sul, Center Interdisciplinar de Novas
Technologies in Education (CINTED).http://penta3.ufrgs.br/tutoriais/teleducv3/.








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E-learning multimedia applications:
Towards an engineering of content creation

María Dolores Afonso Suárez
1
, Cayetano Guerra Artal
1
, Fco Mario Tejera
Hernández
1


(1) Instituto Universitario de Sistemas Inteligentes y Aplicaciones Numéricas en
Ingeniería (IUSIANI). University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Edif. Departamental de Informática y Matemáticas, Campus Universitario de Tafira.
35017. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. España.
E-mail: mafonso@dis.ulpgc.es

Abstract

In the same manner that e-learning applications are becoming increasingly
important at the university, there are still some critical questions that should be
solved with the objective of making use of the potential offered by current Web
Technologies. The creation of contents that are able of capturing the attention of
interest of the students and their disposal in an appropriate way constitute the
main purpose of this work.
The teaching content engineering expounded shows the different stages that should
form part of the process. A development team, composed of different professional
profiles, will work together with the lecturers of the subject to which the contents are
been created, i.e. multimedia videos and interactive applications. This process
should be developed according to a methodology that assure the use of appropriate
resources, all that tasks -suitable of being- should be modularized and factorized.
This paper presents the acquired experience in the development and use of
multimedia contents for e-learning applications, created for some of the subjects
of the degree in computer science engineering. The deliveries of these contents
make use of Internet and video streaming techniques.
The result of the work shows the students satisfaction, including their comments.
Keywords: Teaching content engineering, Didactic objectives, Active
learning, Passive learning.

1 Introduction
During recent years University Education has experienced an important progress with
respect to the resources used for lecturing. Techniques have changed from traditional
blackboard methods to the use of projector transparencies (slices) and, later on, the use
of video projector and PowerPoint to present the content of the lessons. Nowadays, the
use of these technologies has become more common.
As far as content availability for the student is concerned, it has passed from
traditional notes taken in classrooms, books and photocopies to digital format of books
or notes taken in classrooms, which are available in the subject’s web page. In fact, the





180 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
universities use to place courses on the web focusing on information delivery rather
than learning.
The proposal of European Higher Education Area provides the framework to take
an important step forward in techniques used in lectures and in the methodology used
to create them. For this reason, new methodological approaches are introduced in order
to value an active learning “(Barry, 2006)” as opposed to a traditional passive learning.
To value the effort that students should make in order to assimilate knowledge and not
only consider the number of hours of attendance to classes. The use of e-learning
techniques makes this easier; its wide range of application allows increasing education
quality and delivery of information.

2 E-learning in EHEA
The European Higher Education Area proposes the setting up of a convergence
process of educational material in Europe. New methodological approaches are
introduced in order to value an active learning as opposed to a traditional passive
learning. To value the effort that students should make in order to assimilate
knowledge and not only consider the number of hours of attendance to classes. All this
is made easier by using an e-learning [2] approach, whose extensive work field, in all
range of subjects, allows the quality of education and its availability to increase [1].
The creation of multimedia contents for e-learning could be developed together
with other European Universities, and its use could be shared within the same
knowledge areas. This allows a new common line of work to be opened. It will be
possible to promote European cooperation to guarantee the quality of higher education
using comparable methodologies and criteria.

3 Teaching content engineering
We understand for that concept the whole methodological corpus that allows inserting
development e-learning technologies in the production of didactic solutions with
appropriate invests in production time, resources and person/hour.
In this manner, the creation of contents will be developed in a systematic way,
planning the process and using adequate techniques. The integration of these
techniques and the extent of the teaching material development project require a
multidisciplinary team.
This multidisciplinary team composed of a group of different professional
profiles will carry out different tasks using a wide variety of technologies. These tasks
will come together in order to create a production line to maximize results.
The improvement of productivity and quality in teaching content creation will
constitute the main objective of this engineering “(Shackelford, 2002)”.
The proposed engineering of teaching content is carried out by means of a
methodology, which divides the multimedia production process into phases and assigns
tasks to each member of this professional development team. All these different phases
include research on suitability of the content for e-learning, a previous analysis to
select multimedia techniques to apply, the development of the contents based on the
project design and, finally, the maintenance. With respect to the multidisciplinary
team, it will be composed of a project manager, programmers, designers, and
multimedia experts, as well as the lecturers of each subject.





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4 Methodology
The obtaining of an optimum workflow “(Pedrosa and Petitz, 2007)” and the use of
resources by the different production tasks is the main purpose of the proposed
methodology. For that, we define different production phases.

4.1 Suitability of the content for e-learning.
To create multimedia material for subjects using e-learning techniques means a
considerable resource investment. Therefore, some factors, which help to make a
decision about its profitability, should be taken into consideration. In this first phase a
study on the suitability is made in accordance with the factors below:
The content validity. The period of time in which teaching contents do not need
to be updated.
The number of students who attend classroom training. This factor takes into
consideration the number of resources used in their learning.
The modularity and reusability of independently operable units, which are part of
the total structure for creating more contents.
4.2 Contents analysis
The creation of multimedia contents is carried out through the division of teaching
contents in didactic objectives. In this phase the modularization of content takes place.
The extraction of the lecturers’ knowledge will be necessary for the selection and
proposal of different multimedia didactic elements, which will constitute part of these
multimedia didactic units.
It is recommendable to follow a methodology belonging to knowledge engineering,
where the knowledge is produced according to the lecturer’s subject specific
knowledge, and contains the knowledge and analytical skills of one or more human
experts.
To achieve this aim, the tasks below are introduced:
Meetings with the lecturers. In these meetings lecturers expound the teaching
objectives of the subject, explain the lesson content and the current way to
portray the contents to the students.
The selection of lessons for multimedia format. The project manager, together
with the lecturers, carries out the selection of lessons for which multimedia
teaching content will be created.
Proposal and techniques selection “(Horton and Horton, 2003)”. According to
the techniques selected, and the modules repository, the project manager makes a
proposal to the lecturers.
4.3 Development
Starting from the analysis of the previous phase, a formal design is carried out, this
formal design will identify the activities and work planning that will be done under the
supervision of the project manager “(Dublin and Cross, 2002)”. Therefore, this phase is
structured as shown below:





182 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Formal design includes all the multimedia didactic elements to be used. In
accordance with this design, both human and material resources are managed. It
is a process of problem solving and planning for reaching the objectives of the
project.
Development of interactive applications will follow a development methodology
belonging to software engineering.
Creation of videos, for which the work will be divided into: script writing,
recordings, postproduction and codification “(Casteleira and Leão, 2007)”.
On-line disposition of multimedia contents, becoming, this way, accessible for
the students.
In the process the creativity of the development team is considered fundamental.
4.4 Maintenance.
Once the project is finished, it is difficult to assure that it will work properly unless it is
tested. In order to realize a high quality solution, testing throughout each phase of the
process is proposed.
The project team should be involved in the maintenance phase. They are expected
to work on their known issues and prepare for a new release of the created material.
In order to detect defects and deficiencies in the multimedia material, some tasks
are introduced
Interviews with lecturers and students, to know first hand how they feel about
this new content to use, in various aspects: accessibility, manage, design.
Questionnaires for recover statistics results about all the aspects to be evaluated.
Comparison of academic results, where an evaluation report will be made, and
academic results will be compared with those of other groups of students that
have made use of traditional learning methodologies.
All these tasks will help to obtain a constructive feedback and to enhance and
optimize this multimedia material and its different aspects evaluated. A thorough study
of time and staff required for project development will take us to a suitable planning
and this to an appropriate economic investment.
Therefore, cost and resources affect directly in the amortization of the investment
made for the creation of contents.
5 Resources

Among the means that will be used to carry out this technology we find both human
and material resources. The competences of the multidisciplinary team are defined by
different profiles:
Lecturers, whose main tasks include the structure of the subject program, script
writing, and the proposal and collective agreement with the project manager on the
multimedia didactic units.
Project manager, who advises lecturers, coordinates efforts of the development
team and assigns tasks according to the planning made.





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Designers, which will carry out tasks of graphic design, user interfaces
development, and 2D - 3D elements creation.
Analysts/programmers to analyze and develop software application and programs.
Multimedia technicians, in charge of recording, editing, and postproduction.
The material resources are comprised of: a recording studio, where recording of
lessons are made. All these raw recordings are processed in an editing room. Finally,
all the software and interactive applications are created in a development room.
6 Lecturing experiences
For the evaluation of e-learning techniques in lecture content, some subjects have been
selected. Specifically, the subjects correspond to bachelor and graduate degrees on
“Computer Science Engineering”, Multimedia and Automaton Theory and Formal
Languages II. Specially, the subject of Multimedia has the particular feature of
covering two fundamental aspects in the teaching of computer science knowledge. On
the one hand, we find purely theoretical and mathematical content which supports
audio compression, image and video technologies. On the other, we find content that
makes reference to the use of multimedia tools and web programming languages. In
particular, the subject of Multimedia has a teaching timetable of 30 theoretical hours
(twice a week), using traditional classrooms, and other 30 hours of practical lessons in
the laboratory. The prepared material embraces half the timetable in the classroom. The
content generated for Automaton Theory and Formal Languages II corresponds to the
practical exercises of the subject.
As lecturers can now count on this new multimedia teaching material, the
methodology, which has been followed till now in Multimedia, has changed
substantially. Firstly, the students still have the same number of learning hours;
however, they receive some lessons by means of video in a dedicated server. This
means that they receive, weekly, one hour in the classroom and another one through
video streaming. This new material allows traditional lessons to be divided into two
groups. In this way the lesson in the classroom is repeated and the student attends the
most convenient classes. Therefore, not only do they not miss the opportunity to ask
the lecturer doubts, but also the number of students is reduced, allowing a more
personalized treatment. With respect to Automaton Theory and Formal Languages II,
the prepared material only provides support to the personal training of the student.
The results of this experience have been very positive. Students have valuated
unanimously this new teaching model as completely recommendable. Even, the
students have taken part in the improvement of the material contributing with their own
ideas, needs, and wishes, like including random questions in order to implement
interactivity “(Rheeder, Diseko and Lautenbach, 2007)”.
From the valuation questionnaire issues below are recovered:
Multimedia videos are very appreciated. No comments were made about
accessibility or reproduction difficulties or even misunderstanding. Although students
think it is necessary: the inclusion of subject's content in a pdf format file and an index
to facilitate access directly to each unit of the lesson. And just only one student pointed
out that the teacher should propose more practical material in the classroom.
The valuation questionnaire results are represented in Table 1.





184 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Table 1. Results from bachelor and graduate degrees on “Computer Science
Engineering”


Totally
disagree
Disagree Average
Above
average
Excellent

1
Multimedia videos expound the
subject suitably and clearly
0 1 7 29 35 72
2
This way of teaching facilitates
the subject's understanding
0 1 7 30 34 72
3
Lessons in the classroom can
be improved, since doubts are
resolved and illustrated by real
and practical examples, as well
as debates are proposed
2 7 17 17 26 69
4
I think this multimedia content
is suitable for teaching the
subject, I would like to study
another one using this type of
material
0 1 2 25 44 72
5
I have had some kind of
difficulty accessing videos
48 11 8 3 1 71
6
With the use of this material I
can make my lessons schedule
compatible with other subjects
and other activities
1 2 3 11 55 72
7
My general assessment is good
0 2 3 26 41 72
Total number of answer: 500
As we can observe, percentage for the last one question is quite good. Figure 1.

Figure 1. Graphical representation for general assessment.
Results from bachelor and graduate degrees on “Computer
Science Engineering”
My general assessment is good
0%
3%
4%
36%
57%
Totally disagree
Disagree
Average
Above average
Excellent
Totally disagree - Unacceptable
Disagree - Less than what expected
Marginal - Average
Agree - Above average
Totally agree - Excellent





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With respect to the academic efficiency revealed in the assessments, we should say
that the percentage of success in the exams remains constant if we compare with the
results of past years where lessons were taught in a traditional way. However, a
particular fact, which is known by all lecturers when the exams’ dates come close,
should be commented. In the previous weeks to exam dates the students come more
frequently, and in many cases only on those dates, to the tutorials. It is remarkable that
during this teaching experience there have been practically no consultations in tutorials
in all the academic year, not even on dates coming up to the exams.
7 Future research
The acquired experience in the development of multimedia contents for e-learning
applications shows that this emergent task should be tackled through the use of a
systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, manage and
maintenance of this teaching content material.
In the near future, we will test the process of development of a new project from
the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This project involves the creation of
multimedia material for subjects of three different areas: the technical area, the health
care science area, and the human, society and legal area. The election of the subjects
has been made according to the factors expounded in the phase of suitability of the
subject.
It has been preferential for the technical department to choose subjects of the first
courses of various degrees with similar contents, what implies a considerable number
of lessons in common. So that, there will be subjects with the 85 or 90 per cent of their
content delivered with multimedia material, which is more profitable than having only
one or two subjects with the 100 per cent of the content delivered with this new
material. The subject is named mathematics in some degrees and calculus in other
ones.
Something similar has happened in the other two knowledge areas: in the health
care science area anatomy has been chosen, this is a subject of the first course of
“Medical Degree” with a huge number of students. For the human, society and legal
area has been chosen constitutional law, which corresponds to two different degrees:
“Law” and “Economics and Business Sciences”, degrees with a large number of
students in the first courses too.
In this way, we will delve into each phase of this new engineering focusing on
improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the development of multimedia
contents for e-learning in these subjects selected.
8 Conclusions
New information technologies and e-learning will be indispensable tools in lecturing in
the near future. The increasing bandwidth available for Internet connection and
multimedia capacities found in current computers allow them to be used as a
completely valid way for teaching. However, the lack of multimedia content
production is a very important cause that limits an e-learning widespread.





186 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The creation of large-scale teaching content for lecturing needs a production
methodology to assure the optimization of resources and, therefore, a reduction in
costs. This work intends to contribute with the methodological lines applied in the
production of multimedia teaching content for lecturing.
New teaching methodologies require new teaching aims; the role of lecturers in the
new educational process should be restated in the whole educational process. Lecturers
should reduce the time dedicated to teaching lessons using traditional blackboard
methods. This activity could be mainly, replaced by e-learning techniques. Lecturers
could dedicate time to activities that offer a better quality in teaching, transmitting
motivation about the subject being studied and directing the students in their studies
“(Fraser 2006)”.
The future of teaching in the European society should see an improvement in the
quality of education, its availability, and a lower cost for students as well as for
educative organizations.
9 References

[1] Bill Shackelford. (2002). Project Managing e-learning. ASTD. EEUU.
[2] William Horton, Katherine Horton. (1
st
edition 2003). E-learning tools and
technologies. Wiley. EEUU.
[3] Lance Dublin, Jay Cross. (2002). Implementing E-learning. ASTD. EEUU.
[4] http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/higher/higher_en.html
[5] http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/elearning/index_en.html
[6] Karen Fraser (2006) A Blended Learning Approach to Teaching “Introduction to
Multimedia” - The E Bit!. AISHE Conference 2006.
[7] Dr. Almar M. Barry (2006) Creating and Sustaining an Effective Learning
Environment!. AISHE Conference 2006.
[8] Raquel Pedrosa and Sara Petitz, (2007) Production of interactive contents for
training in e-learning environments-procedures and methodologies. IADIS
International Conference e-Learning 2007.
[9] Joel Casteleira and Paulo Leão, (2007) Production and distribution of contents in
digital video of quality for the distance learning. IADIS International Conference
e-Learning 2007.
[10] Riana Rheeder, Rabaitse Diseko and Geoffrey Lautenbach, (2007) The design of
interactivity for a web-based learning environment at a higher education
institution. IADIS International Conference e-Learning 2007.







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E-Learning Indicators: A Multidimensional Model
for Evaluating and Planning E-Learning Solutions

Bekim Fetaji
1
, Majlinda Fetaji
2


(1,2) Communication Sciences and Technologies Faculty
305.21, Ilindenska bb, SEEU campus, 1200 Tetovo, Macedonia
E-mail: b.fetaji@seeu.edu.mk

Abstract

As a number of recent studies suggests the big breakthrough of using networked
computers in education has not been achieved yet. Literally, thousands of
E-Learning projects have been carried out that greatly differ in their outcomes.
Very often it is difficult to assess how successful or unsuccessful these projects are.
The evaluations of E-Learning projects very often emphasize the positive aspects
of the approaches that have been followed and do not discuss in details the
drawbacks, disadvantages, or reasons for the failures. In addition, new
technologies or new methodologies applied in such projects are used as buzzwords
to highlight their success. Until now, however, there is no a standardized way of
evaluating E-Learning projects, their outcomes, future potential or their
advantages and disadvantages. The main purpose of this research was to
investigate possible approaches for systematic evaluation of E-Learning solutions.
The result of this work is a multidimensional model of so-called E-Learning
indicators. A practical value of that approach was analyzed in a number of case
studies which are presented.

Keywords: e-learning, indicators, enhanced learning, evaluation of e-learning
solutions


1 Introduction
One of the strongest arguments for promoting e-learning lies in its potential to improve
and even revolutionize teaching as well as in aspects of learning to minimize the
dimensional constrains of time and location. Recently there are a lot of studies show
scepticism in thoughts about e-learning successfulness in general. The research
question from which we started was: What makes a successful e-learning? In order to
define and analyze this we have proposed, assessed, measured and evaluated e-learning
factors that substantially influence learning. The purpose was to raise the awareness of
the factors influencing e-learning in order to enhance learning and identify the nature
of obstacles being faced by e-learners. We propose this methodology approach in
developing any e-learning initiative. Because there are to many factors,
personalization’s and specifics related to each situation and circumstances we consider
that would be wrong offering one size solution for all.





188 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Therefore we propose to asses and improve the overall e-learning quality and
dissemination of knowledge for each e-learning initiative and particular situation by
defining and measuring e-learning indicators for the specific circumstances, specifics
and technology solutions. Then based on the results of the measured and evaluated
e-learning indicators to develop sustainable e-learning initiative. We have proposed
18 e-learning indicators that were assessed, measured using Angel Learning
Management System (LMS), and further evaluated. As a result of our analyses we have
seen that e-learning content and attention in an e-learning process are the key factors
referred to as e-learning indicators further in our study that influence and have a high
impact on e-learning. Using this approach the objective was to determine the general
issues, deficiencies and barriers in e-learning and propose a solution for them by
undertaking different Case Studies and experiments.

2 E-learning Indicators
We have defined the e-learning indicators as the important concepts and factors that
are used to communicate information about the level of e-learning and their impact on
learning that could be measured and described then in simpler terms. We have defined
as e-learning indicators: (1) learner education background; (2) computing skills level
(3) type of learners they are, (4) their learning style and intelligence, (5) obstacles they
face in e-learning (e-learning barriers), (6) attention, (7) e-content (suitability, format
preferences), (8) instructional design, (9) organizational specifics, (10) preferences of
e-learning logistics; (11) preferences of e-learning design; (12) technical capabilities
available to respondents; (13) collaboration; (14) accessibility available to respondents;
(15) motivation, (16) attitudes and interest; and (17) performance-self-efficacy (the
learner sense their effectiveness in e-learning environment), (18) learning outcomes.
We have used focus group and a web based survey of academic staff and students for
the research of e-learning indicators following guidelines from Fetaji et al. (2007).
The e-learning indicators are assessed then measured and evaluated for the
virtual learning environment Angel Learning Management System-LMS. The analyses
and specification of the e-learning indicators: (1) learner education background
together with his cultural background is set as indicator since it is a direct factor that is
associated and impacts e-learning. According to Gatling et al, (2005), students today
come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and educational experiences outside of the
traditional classroom. How do students construct meaning from prior knowledge and
new experiences? Based on this facts and interviews with e-learning specialist we have
set it as important indicator. (2) computing skills level of the learner is set as indicator
since it directly influences the way e-learning because of the computing skills
requirements. “As we move toward the 21st century, anyone who is not “computer
literate” will find themselves at a disadvantage when competing in the job market.”
(Johnson, Gatling, Hill, 1997). The indicator (3) type of learners they are depends
primarily on the balance in the two dimensions of the Learning Style scale model
formulated by Richard M. Felder and Linda K. Silverman according to Felder &
Soloman (n.d). The importance of the type of learner and (4) their learning style is for
the both sides: instructor and student. For instructors it is of importance since it reflects
the preferences of Learning style in their teaching and delivery style to students. We
advise to tend to use each learning style to teach also in a delivery type suited to other





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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 189
types of learners and truing to bring it closer and generalize to include all the types
using visualization and verbal communications, as well as other communication tools.
The indicator (5) obstacles they face in e-learning (e-learning barriers) is set as
important based on interviews and speaking with e-learning specialists. Indicator (6)
attention is set as very important, attention cues when the learners begin to feel some
mental workload, Ueno, M. (2004). (7) content (suitability, format preferences), e-
learning content we consider as vehicle of the e-learning process and knowledge
construction. The quality of the virtual learning environment is mainly depending on
the quality of the presented e-learning content. Fetaji, B. (2006). Indicator (8)
Instructional design has gained significant prominence in e-learning for a number of
compelling reasons. One of them is the possibility for instructional design to
systematically address the need for creating and evaluating students’ learning
experience as well as learning outcome. The other is instructional design can help
faculty to focus on using the appropriate format and tools for the appropriate learning
objectives. Fetaji, B. (2006). (9) indicator organizational specifics - every organization
has its specific business processes that influences and impacts e-learning, Galotta et. al.
(2004) (10) preferences of e-learning logistics- targeted at learners of different
experience levels and organizational background/hierarchy, based on the ELA model-
the European Logistics Association (ELA), Zsifkovits (2003); (11) indicator
preferences of e-learning design; designing instruction that acknowledges that students
differ in their learning preferences and abilities and that instruction needs to be flexible
to address these differences, Kumar (2006). The next indicators (12) technical
capabilities available to respondents (13) collaboration; (14) accessibility available to
respondents, ares defined as important indicators in discussions with e-learning
specialist and experts; (15) motivation, Motivation is essential to learning and
performances, particularly in e-learning environments where learners must take an
active role in their learning by being self directed (Lee, 2000). (16) attitudes and
interest; A review of studies on attitudes toward learning and using information
technology in education has revealed that most studies have shown that students’
attitudes toward technology are critical, Liu et. al. (2004); (17) performance: self-
efficacy (the learner sense their effectiveness in e-learning environment); Self-efficacy
refers to people beliefs about their capabilities to perform a task successfully at
designated levels, Bandura (1997). (18) According to Jenkins, A. and Unwin, D.,
(1996) learning outcomes are defined as statements of what is expected that a student
will be able to do as a result of a learning activity. It is set as important indicator in
order to become effective in meeting students’ needs.

3 Evaluating e-learning effectiveness
Major challenge for e-learning researchers is to assess e-learning effectiveness.
In order to do that we have proposed a methodology, called ELUAT (E-learning
Usability Attributes Testing), which combines an inspection technique with user-
testing based on 4 usability attributes we have set. The usability attributes we have set
are: 1) Time to learn, 2) Performance speed; 3) Rate of errors; 4) Subjective
satisfaction. The e-learning-methodology is necessary for presenting the e-learning in
an efficient aspect.
The theoretical basis are pedagogical conceptions defined from Klauser et all (2004):





190 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
− Learning according to the constructivist perspective,
− usability of the e-learning environment and
− research about user opinions.
We have based the measuring instrument on the use of predefined evaluation tasks
(PET), which precisely describe the activities to be performed during inspection in the
form of a predefined tasks, measuring previously assessed usability attributes. We
have named it as PET inspection technique and using this technique we evaluated
usability attributes using evaluation tasks for a particular scenario. Evaluation tasks in
this technique are determined throw designing several user scenarios and choosing the
scenarios that include the most of the options of the software. This kind of approach
using this technique has shown very effective, straightforward and useful in
determining the distance between learner activities and preconceived scenarios in
several research project we conducted. Using the ELUAT methodology and PET
inspection technique we have gathered information on interactions between human
actors (intervention strategies and content). Scenario contains at least a collection of
components and a method. The components are roles, activities or activity-structures,
which role does what (which activity) and at which moment is determined by the
method which is made up of one or many plays formed by a series of acts. In an e-
learning environment, information obtained from learner activity contain a certain
pedagogical semantic. The observed route of a learner has been used to give feedback
information on the level of learning and its effectiveness. We have considered the next
learning modeling approaches: the content-oriented, the tool-oriented, and the task-
oriented approach, and we have chosen the task oriented approach for which we
developed the methodology to suite to our specifics.

Fig. 1. PET inspection technique task based form
Time for:
Task n#
T
a
s
k

c
o
m
p
l
e
t
i
o
n

H
e
l
p

s
e
a
r
c
h

R
e
c
o
v
e
r

f
r
o
m

e
r
r
o
r
s

M S E R O H F *


Time to Learn: Total:


The PET inspection technique uses the next measurements: M – Menu Error; R – Repeat
task; F- Frustrations; S – Selection error; O – Uses online Help, E – Other errors, H - Help
calls, *-Subjective Satisfaction (5-very high, 4-high, 3-average, 2-low, 1-very low).

This methodology and the inspection techniques have been used in several different
research projects and it produced valuable information for the design of the subsequent
studies and proved as viable methodology and technique.
In order to evaluate the e-learning impact, the following main research questions were
analyzed:





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1. What are the usage implications for the student population?
2. Does the teaching approach embodied in the program contribute to perceived
learning gains?
3. What are the opinions, feelings on the learners regarding the system usability
and effectiveness in regards to learning?
We have tried to build our teaching and learning system based on two foundations: the
needs of the intended students, and the learning outcomes of the course or program
(i.e., the knowledge, skills, and attributes that students want). Our e-learning system
was based on a plan that flow from a full understanding of these two fundamentals.
An understanding of the technological background of the intended students is crucial,
including their expectations, their financial and other resources, their access to the Web
or other online networks, their bandwidth limitations, and any other pertinent
information about their preparedness and ability to participate equally and fully in the
learning experience. In reality, of course, such a complete picture is rarely available,
and a judgment call must be made on how much the system employs technologies that
we know the students are familiar with and have access to, versus those that are new
and unfamiliar, but are expected to become widely available. A good example is the
extent to which distance students have access to high-speed connectivity.
Considerations of student demographics and other factors would, of course, affect the
timing of such a decision.
The clear identification of the learning outcomes is useful in many ways: in the design
of a learning assessment system, in determining the degree of prior learning considered
necessary, and in measuring the quality of the offering. The curriculum and associated
teaching and learning system was devised and cross-referenced with those ends clearly
in mind. The designed system project from its first design stage is set to comply with
the Nielsen (2000) nine basic usability principles:

1. Use simple and natural language.
2. Speak the user’s language.
3. Minimize user memory load.
4. Be consistent.
5. Provide Feedbacks.
6. Provide clearly marked exits.
7. Provide shortcuts.
8. Provide good error messages.
9. Prevent errors

We have chosen Empirical evaluation method and contextual inquiry, interviewing and
observing users in context, in which a prototype is constructed and tested by users in
real-world environment iteratively.
We defined two classes of users as shown below.

USER
CLASS TYPE ACCESS
1 Course
Administrator
Full
2 Learners Limited (Reading, uploading files)

Class 1 – Course Administrator Users / Full access
Class 2 – Learners Users / Limited (Reading, Uploading files access)





192 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In addition, we conducted performance measurement test to quantify usability
requirements such as time to complete a task, time to learn, rate of errors and
subjective satisfaction. We also made observations by watching the users with different
backgrounds in computing and took notes by watching them using the prototype in
every stage of development. For the final prototype we conducted Usability testing on
full product and made testing on several users, different then the ones we used in the
prototyping stage.
As indicated above in User classes, we have two user classes: Class-1 and Class-2. we
have included the following usability attributes:
• Time to learn
• Speed of Performance
• Rate of errors
• Subjective satisfaction
Since planning is the most critical part for a successful test we have observed and
followed the guidelines from Dumas and Redish (1999):
The general concerns of the test were: How well the help provided is? What is the
learning and usage curve for the system? Obviously the user will be faced with a lot of
decisions. The system is designed so that the user faces common and familiar interface
and environment. The general goal therefore is: To improve the help options available
to users so the novice user can without to much of a struggle find the information they
need and start using the system.
Specific concerns were: How well the interface design, menu navigation, shortcuts, tips
and the overall system performance are. How well can the user understand the logic
behind the system and perform efficiently. The specific goal therefore is: To improve
the interface design, menu navigation, shortcuts, tips and the overall system
performance.
Ways to measure specific concerns we used were:
• Number of wrong menu choices and selection errors as well as other errors
• Time to complete tasks
• Time to recover from errors
• Time to learn
• Rate of errors and
• Subjective satisfaction.
The overall testing strategy that the project had followed is divided into: One-on-one
testing and a group testing using the Co-discovery technique (working together) and
active intervention technique (the observer is actively participating and assisting).
We had 10 participants who have tested the software. Five of them were course
administrator users while five learners users. On-on-one testing had included five
people from staff, most of them administrative users. The group testing has been
performed on one group consisted of two participants, who were absolute novice
learners users while active participation has been used for three other novice learners
users.
After the usability test we had collected a great deal of data from the 10 participants we
had, were 5 of them were experts while the other 5 novices. In order to handle those
data we have used the triangulation technique from Dumas and Redish (1999), were we
look at all data at the same time to see how the different data supports each other.





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Figure 1. (Triangulation technique) Dumas and Redish (1999) p.310

We tabulated the data for the performance measurements using the next usability
attributes: time to learn, speed of performance, rate of errors, Subjective satisfaction,
and Frustration for the both classes of users Experts and novices.

Table 1. Usability research for Class-1

Usability
Attribute
Measuring
instrument
Value to be
measured
C
u
r
r
e
n
t

L
e
v
e
l

a
v
e
r
a
g
e

W
o
r
s
t

a
c
c
e
p
t
a
b
l
e

P
l
a
n
n
e
d


t
a
r
g
e
t

l
e
v
e
l

B
e
s
t

p
o
s
s
i
b
l
e

Time to learn
Task
Scenario
Time to
complete task
18.8 s 30 s 20 s 10 s
Speed of
performance
Task
Scenario
Time to
complete task
63 s 120 s 90 s 45 s
Rate of errors
Task
Scenario
Number of
errors
0.43 2 1 0
Subjective
satisfaction
Task
Scenario
Satisfaction
degree of users
4.03 3 4 5
* number. Subject satisfaction scale: very high high average low very low
5 4 3 2 1

Table 2. Usability research for Class-2

Usability
Attribute
Measuring
instrument
Value to be
measured
C
u
r
r
e
n
t

L
e
v
e
l

a
v
e
r
a
g
e

W
o
r
s
t

a
c
c
e
p
t
a
b
l
e

P
l
a
n
n
e
d

t
a
r
g
e
t

l
e
v
e
l

B
e
s
t

p
o
s
s
i
b
l
e

Time to learn
Task
Scenario
Time to
complete task
14.8 s 21 s 60 s 8 s
Speed of
performance
Task
Scenario
Time to
complete task
16 s 25 s 90 s 10 s





194 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Rate of errors
Task
Scenario
Number of
errors
0.43 3 2 0
Subjective
satisfaction
Task
Scenario
Satisfaction
degree of users
4.03 3 4 5
* number. Subject satisfaction scale: very high high average low very low
5 4 3 2 1

We organized and analyzed the problems appeared from the testing in two dimensions:
Scope (how widespread is the problem) and Severity (how critical is the problem)
Based on the problems identified we have changed the appearance of the interface and
also provided more information on one page instead of several pages as previously.
This will make it more usable according to the usability test and users comments.
Generally the system is very much appreciated and well welcomed specially from the
novice users. The option to submit different file types by uploading them is most
appreciated together with the scrolling announcement section. Almost all the course
administrator gave positive remarks and appreciations especially for the ease of use,
simplicity-almost flat learning curve and logical interface as well as the speed of
content management, adding, storing and changing content. Most of the users from this
group have expressed the desire to use the system in the future, and referred to it as
very logical and efficient and the entire project as a wonderful idea. Also from the
learner users is appreciated the accessibility of content its logical appearance and
simplicity. We also used the general principles and guidelines for HCI regarding the
software design from Pressman (2005), and general principles and guidelines for
document design and guidelines for online documentation Dumas and Redish (1999).
All this guidelines were closely advised and reviewed when designing the Intranet
Gateway system.

4 Conclusion
In order to answer the question what makes a successful e-learning we took the
approach with e-learning indicators. We have proposed, assessed measured and
evaluated the e-learning indicators that we think communicate the information about
the level of e-learning and their impact on learning as such that could be measured and
described then in simpler terms
Using this kind of approach we have concluded that in order to have a successful e-
learning no longer the general criteria or the same guidelines for all learners can be
applied but individual learning services are needed that support learners according to
their subjective preference profile.
The research study is following the e-learning trends needs and tries to address the
issues and deficiencies from the findings realized in the secondary research.
The research study makes several contributions. First, it proposes an E-learning
indicators methodology approach when undertaking any e-learning initiative. In order to
define and analyze what makes successful e-learning, e-learning factors that substantially
influence learning must be assessed, measured and evaluated. The purpose of this is to
raise the awareness of the factors influencing e-learning in order to enhance learning and
identify the nature of obstacles that will be faced by e-learners. We propose this





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 195
methodology approach in developing any e-learning initiative. Because there are to many
factors, personalization’s and specifics related to each situation and circumstances we
consider that would be wrong offering one size solution for all.
Therefore we propose to asses and improve the overall e-learning quality and
dissemination of knowledge for each e-learning initiative and particular situation by
defining and measuring e-learning indicators for the specific circumstances, specifics
and technology solutions. Then based on the results of the measured and evaluated e-
learning indicators to develop sustainable e-learning initiative.
Secondly, the study proposes an e-learning indicators-(ELI) development model to be
used for developing e-learning software solutions by concentrating on previously
assessed e-learning indicators. The research is conveying the need for close correlation
of software development and e-learning indicators. The research is proposing a new
way of tackling the process of creation of e-learning solutions as interactive
environments by integrating and undertaking the software engineering approach based
on e-learning indicators. We recommend that technology should adapt to theories of
learning and e-learning indicators we have assessed earlier. The proposed ELI process
modelling based on e-learning indicators should be used as guidelines in development
of e-learning software solutions.
Thirdly, the study proposes an ELUAT (E-Learning Usability attributes Testing)
methodology for assessing e-learning effectiveness through the PET (Predefined
evaluation Tasks) inspection technique.
Fourthly, the study proposes PTPMELUAT methodology approach when designing
and evaluating e-content and attention indicators, in order to asses the correlation
between the e-content and attention defined as the most influencing e-learning
indicators. This methodology is combining different types of testing: Psychometric
tests, Psycho physiological measuring, and ELUAT through PET testing.

5 References
[1] Gatling, S., Stevens, G. & Quarless, D. (2005). A Case Study: E-Learning
Strategies for Diverse Middle School Students. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.),
Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education
International Conference 2005 (pp. 3553-3558). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[2] Johnson, K., Gatling S., Hill, J. (1997). The Black College Guide. New York:
Middle Passage Publications, Inc.
[3] Felder & Soloman: LEARNING STYLES AND STRATEGIES, (Richard M.
Felder & Barbara A. Soloman) (online Accessed: 20 October 2006)
http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-public/ILSdir/styles.htm
[4] Ueno, M. (2004). Animated agent to maintain learner’s attention in e-learning.
In G. Richards (Ed.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in
Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2004 (pp. 194-201).
Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[5] Lee C.Y. (2000) Student motivation in the online learning environment. Journal
of Educational Media & Library Sciences, 37(4), 365-375
[6] Fetaji, B. (2006). Issues and solutions in authoring e-learning content in South
East European University. In P. Kommers & G. Richards (Eds.), Proceedings of





196 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and
Telecommunications 2006 (pp. 254-259). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[7] Galotta, C., Zanetti, D., Krejci, D., Oliveira, K. & Rocha, A. (2004).
Organizational Learning Based on a Customizable Environment for Knowledge
Management Using Intranet. In G. Richards (Ed.), Proceedings of World
Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher
Education 2004 (pp. 2626-2633). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[8] Zsifkovits, H. (2003). E-Learning for E-Logistics: Planning and Implementing A
Modular Training Program. In G. Richards (Ed.), Proceedings of World
Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher
Education 2003 (pp. 845-849). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[9] Kumar, P. (2006). Using Universal Design Principles for e-learning. In T.
Reeves & S. Yamashita (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning
in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006 (pp. 1274-
1277). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[10] Liu, L., Maddux, C. & Johnson, L. (2004). Computer Attitude and Achievement:
Is Time an Intermediate Variable?. Journal of Technology and Teacher
Education. 12 (4), pp. 593-607. Norfolk, VA: AACE.
[11] Bandura, A. (1997), Self –efficacy: The exercise of control. New York. W.H.
Freeman.
[12] Jenkins, A. and Unwin, D., (1996) NCGIA GISCC Learning Outcomes (Web
site ) http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/giscc/units/format/outcomes.html






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Measuring e-learning effectiveness through
e-content and attention correlation

Bekim Fetaji
1
, Nada Pop-Jordanova
2
, Jordan Pop-Jordanov
2
, Tatiana
Zorcec
2
, Silvana Markovska
2

(1) Communication Sciences and Technologies Faculty, South East European
University 305.21, Ilindenska bb, SEE University campus, 1200 Tetovo, Macedonia
(2) Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Krste Misirkov br.2, P.O.Box 428, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
E-mail: b.fetaji@seeu.edu.mk


Abstract
This paper is a result of practical research activities focused on testing e-learning
indicators: e-content and attention as well as their interrelated correlation. In
order to investigate further on the possibilities of improving and increasing
accessibility to e-content and attention, both assessed from a previous study as
most influencing e-learning indicators, we have realized empirical research
analyses focused in testing this indicators and their correlation. We have
combined neuroscientific testing approach combined with psychometric testing
and software engineering usability testing as new methodology for assessing
e-learning effectiveness. Combination of all this methodologies in assessing and
measuring attention based on e-content we named as PTPMELUAT methodology.
Such examination is critical considering the promises, organization and
management, heavy investments, expectations, and exponential growth associated
with e-learning effectiveness..

Keywords: e-learning, indicators, enhanced learning, evaluation of e-learning
solutions


1 Introduction
In order to investigate further on the possibilities of improving and increasing
accessibility to e-content and attention, that from the previous study Fetaji, B., (2007)
both were assessed as most influencing e-learning indicators, we have realized
empirical research analyses focused in testing this 2 indicators and their correlation.
We have defined e-learning indicators based on our previous study Fetaji, B., (2007)
as: (1) learner education background; (2) computing skills level (3) type of learners
they are, (4) their learning style and intelligence, (5) obstacles they face in e-learning
(e-learning barriers), (6) attention, (7) e-content (suitability, format preferences), (8)
instructional design, (9) organizational specifics, (10) preferences of e-learning
logistics; (11) preferences of e-learning design; (12) technical capabilities available to





198 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
respondents; (13) collaboration; (14) accessibility available to respondents; (15)
motivation, (16) attitudes and interest; and (17) performance-self-efficacy (the learner
sense their effectiveness in e-learning environment).
The content developed for e-learning is very different from the classical one - the print
based. Preparing quality e-content delivered digitally is probably the major aspect for
long term success of any e-learning endeavor. It is the content, however, that learners
care for and they judge it with how much they learn from it. However understanding
and managing attention is considered as very important determinant of successful
learning. In order for the e-learning content to be considered successful it has to be
good in getting attention.
Attention by its nature is intangible asset and it is difficult to document its presence
and to asses it. Attention cues when the learners begin to feel some mental workload,
Ueno, M. (2004). In order to define the exact correlation between e-content and
attention we have tested them in order to find out the exact impact and correlation
between these two factors in e-learning level and effectiveness.

2 Research methodology
The research method was exploratory research to determine the best research design
and then followed by empirical research to describe accurately the interaction between
the learners and the system being observed focusing on e-content and attention. We
have defined e-learning indicators as important concepts and factors that are used to
communicate information about the level of e-learning and their impact on learning
that could be measured and described then in simpler terms.
In order to asses the correlation between the e-content and attention we have chosen an
approach of combining different methodologies: Psychometric tests, Psycho
physiological measuring, and ELUAT (E-learning Usability Attributes Testing)
methodology. For the needs of our research we have used the methodology called
ELUAT (E-learning Usability Attributes Testing) and as measuring instrument the PET
(predefined evaluation tasks) inspection technique from Fetaji, B (2007).
Combination of all this methodologies in assessing and measuring attention based on e-
content we named as PTPMELUAT methodology. This methodology approach was
realized in order to asses the correlation between the e-content and attention
approaches in combining different types of measurements which was realized using
Task based learning.

3 The experiment
The experiment was based on the developed PTPMELUAT methodology consisted of
3 (three) types of testing and measurements:
1. Psychometric tests
2. Psycho physiological measuring - Biofeedback test
3. ELUAT (E-learning Usability Attributes Testing)
The psychometric test was the first testing realized and it was independent from the
other two. The objective of the first testing was to asses the visual conceptualization
and the type of learner the students respondents were.
The second and third testing and measurements were realized simultaneously and were
conducted in parallel. The objective of the second testing was to measure the attention





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of the student respondents based on their task based learning process. The objective of
the third task was to measure the e-learning effectiveness assessing the e-content. The
student participants were given 5 tasks in using Angel (www.angellearning.com)
information system:
1) TASK 1 - Read the lecture material
2) TASK 2 - Read the practical material
3) TASK 3 - Work on practical assignment announce its results
4) TASK 4 - Do a quiz that has questions based on the previous tasks
5) TASK 5 – Go to a discussion Forum and discuss their opinion
Before each task each student was first tested using the second biofeedback test and
then moved to doing the next task. While doing the tasks they were at the same being
observed and measured using the ELUAT methodology and then went back to the
second testing, and then back and forth until they have finished all their tasks

3.1 Psychometric test experiment
The Trail Making Test (TMT) Schmidt, M., (2006) is measuring abilities of visual
conceptualization and visual-motor tracking as well as attention and concentration. It
has two forms - form A and form B. In form A, subjects are asked to complete number
connection task (1, 2, 3…) while in form B, subjects are asked to complete a number -
letter connection task (1-A, 2-B, 3-C...), requiring them to switch between two sets of
stimuli, hence adding the cognitive load of directing behavior according a complex
plan. Developed by the U.S. Army around 1944, the test became part of the Army
Individual Test of General Ability and was given the name Trail Making Test, and is
now part of the Halstead-Reitan Test Battery and the test is considered to be within the
public domain and thus may be reproduced without permission. The test was
standardized by Partington and Leiter who found the test to be a good predictor of
general mental ability Kay, Gary G. (1984). Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
(RAVLT) is one of the most common and useful methods of assessing memory
functioning. Using the word list-learning paradigm, subjects are asked to remember as
many words as they can in five repeated readings. According to Schmidt, M., (2006)
the RAVLT is useful in evaluating verbal learning and memory, including proactive
inhibition, retroactive inhibition, retention, encoding versus retrieval, and subjective
organization. The Auditory Verbal Learning Test was developed by André Rey and
first published in France in the 1960’s. The list learning format that it utilizes has
become virtually the standard for verbal learning tests as can be readily seen when
examining the California Verbal Learning Test, WMS-III Word Lists Test, and
Hopkins Verbal Learning Test.

3.2 Psycho physiological experiment
Is realized with Instruments constructed by Biofeedback Computer Systems
Laboratory, Research Institute for Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Novosibirsk,
Russia.
We have realised this measurements having as subject 36 students from South East
European University- Tetovo, Macedonia (http://www.seeu.edu.mk).






200 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Figure 1. Psycho physiological measuring with biofeedback

The biofeedback test situation was to reveal impairment of performance abilities by
immersing a person into psycho physiological model of stress situation (as stress we
comprise the learning tasks). We have based the psycho physiological measuring with
biofeedback on RALLY, which is a car race game. The speed of player’s car depends
on his heart rate (HR).











Figure 2. RALLY car race game for measuring biofeedback

The calmer the subject is, the faster the car moves. The monotonous condition is
simulated by long flat road, and the task to reduce HR induces development of fatigue
in the subjects.


Figure 3. Psycho physiological measuring with students - biofeedback on RALLY
Pulse
detector





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Time of reaction to the obstacles which appeared occasionally on the racer’s way
measures the power of the distributed attention and correlates with the performance
level. The game-based biofeedback technology in our study was used to achieve the
following goals:
− to model situation of ambiguity
− to reveal individual stress response pattern
− to train self-regulation techniques
The experimental situation involved high level of ambiguity for subjects because:
− Biofeedback method appeared to be new and unknown for a subject
− Information incompleteness for a subject was based on the use of uncertain
instructions
− A subject was aware of the aim of the experiment but was not instructed how
to achieve this aim
In this test, attention concentration level was registered determined by the latent
response time (RT) to obstacles (rocks appearing on the road). Successful performance
during stress test depended on the subject’s skill of heart rate control.
We calculated: reaction time (RT), omissions (inattention), commissions (impulsive
reactions) and time of performance (PT) as indicators of attention and concentration
and heart rate (HR) as indicator of stress-regulation ability. We had student participants
out of which: 36 healthy students, 12 girls, 24 boys, mean age 20, 9 ± 2, 15
Example for RT of one student:


Figure 4. Reaction time for one subject

The reaction time is diminished 60%, which is an excellent result.

4 Software Engineering Usability Experiment
Major challenge for e-learning researchers is to assess e-learning effectiveness.
In order to do that we have proposed a methodology, called ELUAT (E-learning
Usability Attributes Testing), which combines an inspection technique with user-
testing based on 4 usability attributes we have set. The usability attributes we have set
are: 1) Time to learn, 2) Performance speed; 3) Rate of errors; 4) Subjective
satisfaction. The e-learning-methodology is necessary for presenting the e-learning in
an efficient aspect.





202 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The theoretical bases are pedagogical conceptions defined from Klauser et all (2004):
− Learning according to the constructivist perspective,
− Usability of the e-learning environment and
− Research about user opinions.
We have based the measuring instrument on the use of predefined evaluation tasks
(PET), which precisely describe the activities to be performed during inspection in the
form of predefined tasks, measuring previously assessed usability attributes. We have
named it as PET inspection technique and using this technique we evaluated usability
attributes using evaluation tasks for a particular scenario.
Evaluation tasks in this technique are determined throw designing several user
scenarios and choosing the scenarios that include the most of the options of the
software.
This kind of approach using this technique has shown very effective, straightforward
and useful in determining the distance between learner activities and preconceived
scenarios in several research projects we conducted.
Using the ELUAT methodology and PET inspection technique we have gathered
information on interactions between human actors (intervention strategies and content).
Scenario contains at least a collection of components and a method.
The components are roles, activities or activity-structures, which role does what (which
activity) and at which moment is determined by the method which is made up of one or
many plays formed by a series of acts. In an e-learning environment, information
obtained from learner activity contain a certain pedagogical semantic.
The observed route of a learner has been used to give feedback information on the
level of learning and its effectiveness. We have considered the next learning modeling
approaches: the content-oriented, the tool-oriented, and the task-oriented approach, and
we have chosen the task oriented approach for which we developed the methodology to
suite to our specifics.


Time for:
Task n#
T
a
s
k

c
o
m
p
l
e
t
i
o
n

H
e
l
p

s
e
a
r
c
h

R
e
c
o
v
e
r

f
r
o
m

e
r
r
o
r
s

M S E R O H F *


Time to Learn: Total:


Table 1. PET inspection technique task based form

The PET inspection technique uses the next measurements: M – Menu Error; R – Repeat
task; F- Frustrations; S – Selection error; O – Uses online Help, E – Other errors, H -
Help calls, *-Subjective Satisfaction (5-very high, 4-high, 3-average, 2-low, 1-very low).
This methodology and the inspection techniques has been used in several different
research projects and it produced valuable information for the design of the subsequent
studies and proved as viable methodology and technique.





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We have chosen Empirical evaluation method and contextual inquiry, interviewing and
observing users in context, in which a prototype is constructed and tested by users in
real-world environment iteratively.

5 Results and analyses

Figure 5. Reaction time in male subjects


MALES T-test showed significant changes of the reaction time between RT 1 and RT
6, (p<0.009), RT 1 and RT 2 , (P<0.01) and RT 5 and RT 6, (p<0.02)
The number of omissions is much greater after the first task. Interpretation: Difficult
task or the students feel tired.


Figure 6. Number of omissions in male subjects


No changes in the time of performance. After a few worse results, the students
manifested improvement of the total time for performance (adaptation in the test
situation)





204 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Figure 7. Time of performance in male subjects

The commission’s number is much greater after the third task (they are bored or tired,
or the task is to hard?)


Figure 8. Number of commissions in male subjects

No changes in heart rate (it must be under 10% for success) They didn’t understand
the self-regulation through sympaticus/parasympathicus balance


Figure 9. Heart rate in male subject





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2) FEMALES: The t-test showed significant changes of the reaction time between RT
1 and RT 6 p<0.03 in females.

Figure 10. Reaction time in female subject

Omissions are greater after the four task (attention is diminishing because of boring or
tiredness)


Figure 11. Number of omissions in female subjects

The greater impulsive reaction (commissions) after the 5-th task could be interpreted
with the feeling of boring / fatigue. Statistical analysis showed significance at the level
p<0.03.


Figure 12. Number of commissions in female subjects





206 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Heart rate is more flexible in girls, but they still didn’t succeeded great changes


Figure 13. Heart rate in female subjects

WHOLE GROUP Testing are given below:


Figure 14. Reaction time in the whole group

T-test showed significant results for: RT 1 and RT 2 (p<0.004), RT 5 and RT 6
(p<0.009) and finally RT 1 and RT 6 (p<0.0005).


Figure 15. Number of omissions





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Number of omissions in the second session is much greater than in the assessment
which means “difficult task/ distractibility/ lower attention”.


Figure 16. Impulsive reactions in the whole group

The impulsive reactions (low attention/distractibility) are accentuated after the third
session (practical issue of the e-learning method).

Figure 17. Heart rate in the whole group

All students didn’t succeed to learn how to manage the autonomic nervous system.
Heart rate stays unchangeable.
Indices of Effectiveness Indices of Effectiveness
% 100
1
2 1
1



=

=
N
N
i
R
R
i
R
E
RR
RR RR RR RR
% 100
1
2 1
1



=

=
N
N
i
RT
RT
i
RT
E
RT
RT RT RT RT RT RT RT RT
RR = 1
if ERR > 1%
RT = 1
if ERT < 10%
RR = 1
if ERR > 1%
RT = 1
if ERT < 10%
Subjects (players) Subjects (players)

Figure 18. Indices of effectiveness





208 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The overall testing strategy for Usability testing was divided into: One-on-one testing
and a group testing using the Co-discovery technique (working together) and active
intervention technique (the observer is actively participating and assisting). We defined
one class of users. In addition, we conducted performance measurement test to quantify
usability requirements such as time to complete a task, time to learn, rate of errors and
subjective satisfaction. All the participants have tested the software. After the usability
test we had collected a great deal of data from the participants we had. In order to
handle those data we have used the triangulation technique from Dumas and Redish
(1999), were we look at all data at the same time to see how the different data supports
each other.



Figure 19. (Triangulation technique) Dumas and Redish (1999) p.310

We tabulated the data for the performance measurements using the next usability
attributes: time to learn, speed of performance, rate of errors, Subjective satisfaction,
and Frustration for the both classes of users Experts and novices.

Table 1. Usability research

Usability
Attribute
M
e
a
s
u
r
i
n
g

i
n
s
t
r
u
m
e
n
t

V
a
l
u
e

t
o

b
e

m
e
a
s
u
r
e
d

C
u
r
r
e
n
t

L
e
v
e
l

a
v
e
r
a
g
e

W
o
r
s
t

a
c
c
e
p
t
a
b
l
e

P
l
a
n
n
e
d

t
a
r
g
e
t

l
e
v
e
l

B
e
s
t

p
o
s
s
i
b
l
e

Time to learn
Task
Scenario
Time to
complete task
217.8 s 360 s 180 s 150 s
Speed of
performance
Task
Scenario
Time to
complete task
67 s 120 s 80 s 45 s
Rate of errors
Task
Scenario
Number of
errors
0.43 2 1 0
Subjective
satisfaction
Task
Scenario
Satisfaction
degree of users
3.94 2 4 5
* number. Subject satisfaction scale: very high high average low very low
5 4 3 2 1






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6 Conclusion
This study found a strong correlation between the two e-learning indicators: e-content
and attention. Such findings are consistent with the idea that e-learning content (e-
content) is the main vehicle behind knowledge dissemination and increased learning
and it is primarily depended on learners attention. Measuring the attention and e-
content through the realised tests we have concluded that the attention is dropping after
the first task and later after the second task is again increasing. Rey Auditory Verbal
Learning Test (RAVLT) showed highly organized ability for learning new knowledge
as well as attention and concentration, which can be seen from the progression in the
obtained new knowledge. Female subjects are learning much faster than the male
subjects. No changes in the time of performance. After a few worse results, the
students manifested improvement of the total time for performance (adaptation in the
test situation). The commission’s number is much greater after the third task (they are
bored or tired, and the task is to hard). Omissions are greater after the four task
(attention is diminishing because of boring or tiredness). The greater impulsive
reaction (commissions) after the 5-th task could be interpreted with the feeling of
boring / fatigue. Statistical analysis showed significance at the level p<0.03. Based on
this evaluation of e-learning effectiveness we concluded that the attention curve in the
beginning after the first task is falling because of the e-content heavy requirements,
while later is raising again while the e-content is becoming much attractive and the
student attention is raising and with this the overall e-learning effectiveness. We
propose this methodology and measurements to be realized in order to evaluate the
effectiveness of an e-learning system and find out the correlation of e-content and
attention curve for each particular system. Defining this will give an insight what can
be improved on either of one of the e-learning indicators.

References

[3] Fetaji, B., (2007). Assessing, measuring and evaluating e-learning indicators. In
P. Kommers & G. Richards (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on
Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007.
Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
[4] Ueno, M. (2004). On at-causatives of transitive verbs in Chaha. In A. Simpson
(Ed.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Meeting of the Berkeley
Linguistics Society—Special Session on Afroasiatic Languages (pp. 109-121).
Berkeley, CA: BLS
[5] Butler M, Retzlaff P, Vanderploeg R.(1991) Neuropsychological test usage.
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 1991;22:510-512.
[6] Schmidt, M., (2006) “Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test: a handbook
(RAVLT)” (online, retrieved 23 april 2007 from:
http://www.jvrafrica.co.za/JvR%20Web%20New/Tests/RAVLT.htm )





210 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
[7] Kay, Gary G. (1984). Neuropsychological Investigation of the Processes
Underlying Performance on the Extended Trail Making Test. Dissertation
Presented to the Faculty of Memphis State University.
[8] Joseph S Dumas and Janice C. Redish (1999) “A practical guide to Usability
Testing” revised edition, Pearson Education Limited
[9] Klauser, F.; Schoop, E.; Gersdorf, R.; Jungmann, B. & Wirth, K. (2004): The
Construction of Complex Internet-Based Learning Environments in the field of
Tension of Pedagogical and technical Rationality, Research Report ImpulsEC
10, Osnabrück, 2004.








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Innovative teaching and learning technologies
used in pre-university system

Liliana Violeta Constantin
1
, Livia Dinica
2


(1) National College “Elena Cuza”, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: liliana2009constantin@yahoo.com
(2) School Inspectorate of Bucharest, ROMANIA


Abstract

The future of a society which is in progress and development is represented by the
use of the information technology and of communication in the didactic process. In
this way, learning becomes interactive, in correspondence with the individual
needs and the performances of the students. Using the modern technologies in the
learning process is a more difficult action to achieve with the miss of quality
software, the high costs, and the miss of specialized personnel, the resistance at
the change of the students, the professors and the parents. Although the
advantages of using the TIC in education are numerous, the student must achieve
when it is possible, real experiments because the nature offered the possibility of
researching and the direct learning. The laboratory experiment is a good method
for developing the scientific way of thinking and the practical abilities. The student
must perceive the learning process as a progressive transformation achieved after
the interaction with the objects of knowledge, with the situations of life. This is
why, the most efficient approaching of the practical and theoretical physics is to
be achieved joining the traditional methods with the modern ones. This work
presents a laboratory lesson: “The study of the uniform straight movement”. The
students had at their disposition laboratory equipment and a simulation with
Macromedia Flash MX Professional. Also, they had at disposition a laboratory
paper which must be completed by the students. In this way is creating an
adequate climate for learning and for a permanent competition.

Keywords: Modern technology, TIC, Real and virtual experiments

1. Introduction
To experiment means to provoke with conscience some phenomena in determined
conditions for their study and of the laws which govern them? In the scene of the
physics hours the students observe the conditions in which a precise phenomenon
appears, they stabilize the cause reports, they discover the factors which influence the
experiment, and they record the phenomenon. In this way, when they realize and
experiment, the students are in a permanent activity of observation, of searching,
trying, interpretation, appreciating the results obtained in the experiment way.





212 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The experiment represents in this way a source of direct information but also a
modality of developing the spirit of observation, of inductive investigation, of causal
thinking. He develops at students’ actionable abilities, the objectivity, the analytic
spirit in reworking and interpretation process of the dates, cultures the patience, the
attention, the perseverance, the order, the discipline and creativity.
We can say that in the study of physics achieving experiments is extremely useful
because the development of the theory is made by starting from some experimental
observations which determine the introduction of some notions and physical measures,
the construction of some logical theories, complete and coherent. As a Chinese
proverb said: “an image replaces 1000 words”.
The endowment inadequate with equipments of the laboratories determines the
effectuation of some demonstrative experiments or even their replacement with some
summary explanations. In this way the interest of students for the study of physics is
reduced considerably!
This is why there must be made efforts for buying computers which can allow the
realizing of virtual experiments but also the presentation of some sequences filmed
during the effectuation of the real experiment. These aspects offer the students the
possibility to familiarize with the laboratory equipment, with the work methods. In this
way the virtual and classic experiment complete each other!
This work presents a laboratory lesson in which is effectuated not only the real
experiment but the virtual one in the purpose of creating an adequate climate for
learning and for a permanent competition. At the study of the uniform straight
movement the students had at their disposition laboratory equipment (instruments) and
a simulation with Macromedia Flash MX Professional. Also, they had at disposition a
laboratory paper which must be completed by the students. This work paper has the
following structure:
2. The experimental study of the uniform straight movement

2.1. The Purpose of the work:

The determination of the speed of an ink drop which moves through oil and the
drawing of the
) ( t f x ∆ = ∆
graphic;
The demonstration of the fact that in the uniform straight movement the line on
which the material point moves is practically a straight one and the speed in constant in
time;

2.2. The Principle of this work:
The uniform straight movement is the movement in which the trajectory is a straight
line and the speed has constant value (the acceleration equals zero).
The law of acceleration: a=0;
The law of speed: v=constant;
The law of space: x=x
0
+v(t-t
0
);
Particular cases:
x
0
=0 result x=v(t-t
0
)





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t
0
=0 result x=x
0
+vt

x
0
=0 and t
0
=0 result x=vt


2.3. The used didactic materials:
Gradated cylinder, oil, ink, chronometers, millimeter paper, ruler, pen, calculator,
and pipette.


Figure 1. The used didactic materials





214 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
2.4. The way of work:

There are drawn different marks on the gradated cylinder and it is measured the
distance between the marks. It is introduced oil in the gradated cylinder. With the help
of the pipette it is introduced in the oil a drop of ink. It is easily pushed the ink drop for
detaching from the superficial area and for the oil fall. On the drop actions its own
weight, the Archimedes force and the resistance force at the advance through the oil
(this force is in a direct proportion with the drop’s speed). The movement can be
considered as a uniform straight one. It is time in which the ink drop gets down from
the zero mark at the other ones. There are used other chronometers manipulated by
more students. Each student chooses a mark. All students start their chronometers
when the ink drop reaches at the zero mark. Each student stops its chronometer when
the ink drop reaches the fixed (chosen) mark. It is recorded in a table the distance made
by the ink drop and the time in which is realized this distance. It is calculated the speed
of the drop using the relation:
0
0
t t
x x
t
x
v


=


=



Figure 2. The Study of the uniform straight movement-real experiment







The 2
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Figure 3. The Study of the uniform straight movement-virtual experiment

2.5. The experimental results:

Nr. of the
determination
X
(cm)
∆t (s) v
(cm/s)
vm(cm/s) ∆v(cm/s) ∆vm(cm/s)
The drop 1 5 3,82 1,30 0,0225
10 7,60 1,31 0,0125
15 11,14 1,34 0,0175
20 14,88 1,34
1,3225
0,0175
0,0175
The drop 2 5 5,06 0,98 0,0175
10 10,37 0,96 0,0025
15 15,64 0,95 0,0125
20 20,70 0,96
0,9625
0,0025
0,070625
v= (vm+or-∆vm) cm/s

2.6. The graphical representation:

Picatura 1
0
5
10
15
20
25
0 5 10 15 20
t(s)
x
(
c
m
)
Series1






216 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Picatura 2
0
5
10
15
20
25
0 5 10 15 20 25
t(s)
x
(
c
m
)
Series1

Figure 4. The graphical representations achieved in Excel
2.7. The causes of the measurement mistakes:
The inattention of the student which makes the determinations, the imprecision of
the measurement instruments, the impossibility of forming identical drops, the
incorrect read of the indications of the used measurement instruments, the conditions in
which it is realized the experiment.

2.8. Conclusions:
In the limit of the experimental errors it can be said that the trajectory of the ink
drop is a straight line and the speed is approximately constant.

The laboratory work was realized on groups of students, in a way in which each
student had a well defined responsibility. In this way it is developed the spirit of team
work, the competitively and value appreciation character, the ability of using the
modern technologies and of the laboratory equipment. The laboratory work papers
were presented and discussed with the entire class. Also, the students elaborated
different projects in which they presented the applications of the uniform straight
movement. The students have created numerous problems, indicating the methods of
solving them; they created rebuses and numerous applications on the computer. For
achieved the projects they used the CD-ROM encyclopedias, the search engines. In this
way they have completed and diversified their knowledge. Using the electronic mail
they changed opinions, thoughts with students from other parts of the Globe. They
analyzed the similarities and the differences between the Romanian teaching system
and the foreign teaching system. The communication through the internet allowed the
professor to reply at the student’s questions and to guide them in achieving the projects
even when they weren’t at school. This method of communication cannot be used by
all the students because of the fact that they don’t posses an internet connected
computer or don’t know enough how to use the computer. The materials realized by
the students who used modern technologies were much more interesting then the ones
worked by the students who used only the books found in the library.





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Fixing the knowledge is realized with the help of some supplementary work tasks
and with the help of a rebus realized in Excel which synthesizes the theoretical and
practical learned notions. The atmosphere is relaxed and so the fear of mistaking is
taken away from the students. Alex F. Osborn said: “The fear paralyzes the ideas, the
creativity.” Many discoveries and good ideas were lost in time because of the fear of
not mistaking.

E
A
1
2
3
4 C D
5
6
7
B F

The Rebus

1. Is formed from: reference body; moment of time of reference; instrument for
measuring the distance; instrument for measuring the time;
2. The movement in which the speed of the object decreases;
3. The statement in which an object which occupies the same position in front of
the reference object in any moment from the analyzed time interval ;
4. CD-The movement in which the trajectory of the material point is actually a
straight line;
5. The physical measure defined by the mathematical expression:
0
0
t t
x x
t
x
v


=


=

6. The curve described by an object during the movement or the group of points
which represents the successive positions of the object;
7. The movement in which the speed of the object increases;
EF-The movement in which the speed of the object remains constant in time;
AB-The statement, in which an object exists, object which occupies different
positions in front of the reference object at different moments from the analyzed time
interval.






218 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Conclusions
Such a treatment of the experimental works in school allows the attraction of
students towards the study activity, towards the understanding of the matter in a short
and efficient time and forming the necessary competences for the personal
development and of the society in which they live!

References
[1] Constantin Mantea, Mihaela Garabet, Fizica, Ed. All, Bucureşti, 2004
[2] Anghel Sorin, Malinovschi Viorel, Iorga Siman Ion, Stănescu Costel, Metodica
predării fizicii, Ed. Arg Tempus, Pitesti, 1995
[3] Liliana Ciascai, Didactica fizicii, Ed. Corint, Bucureşti, 2001
[4] http://www.google.com
[5] http://www.yahoo.com







The 2
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E-Learning and E-Pedagogy in now days

Liliana Violeta Constantin
1
, Ovidiu Florin Caltun
2


(1) National College “Elena Cuza”, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: liliana2009constantin@yahoo.com
(2) Faculty of Physics, Al. I. Cuza University, Iasi, ROMANIA
E-mail: caltun@uaic.ro


Abstract
The main task of modern education, based on e-learning is developing and
programming the creative existing forces in every individual. The fundamental
problem of the teachers is “what can be done for stimulating students’
creativity?” The most important condition of stimulating the student’s creativity is
the fact the teacher has to know what “being creative” means, to have basic
knowledge about creativity, about the psychology of creativity, about the
possibilities of developing it during the teaching process. The teacher himself has
to learn to be creative, to give the proof of his own creativity. Thus, between the
students’ and teachers’ creativity there is a close connection. In his activity of
teaching-learning-evaluation the teacher uses strategies that are meant to
cultivate the intellectual flexibility. This work presents a few of the methods that
are used in Romanian schools in order to increase the students interest in learning
physics. The methods consists in teaching, learning and evaluation with aided the
computer. The students learn with the help of educational computer programs,
real and virtual experiments, crossword puzzles and didactical movies. The
evaluation is performed in modern way, the students are given tests that include
various sorts of items, portfolios, projects, essays and graphs. By using these
methods we assure the development of numerous practical and intellectual
abilities of our students.

Keywords: Modern education, E-learning, Pedagogy


1. Real and virtual experiments
The study of Physics is based on the direct contact of the student with the reality, on
the realising of real experiments. Although, in the last time they gave up realising real
experiments in the place of virtual ones, because of unsuitable utilities of school
laboratories, because of the fact that the preparation and the realising of real
experiments uses time and didactic material, imposes protection measures for the
students and for the professor.
Using the computer, the student doesn’t need to retain important quantities of
information, only to think logically and to know how to bring under control the
information he needs. Also, the student is motivated to learn independently, becoming
a human being capable of self-education.





220 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
He can traverse the disposed material in a proper rhythm. The educational soft
programs and editors allow a better agreement with the matter, in a short time; allow
the implication of all the students in the study activity and a different approach of all
notions in function of each student’s level of knowledge and intelligence. In the case of
an estimate, it is eliminated the subjective character of human being, the student being
protected by the whims of the professor.
Also, the students can modify very easy the conditions in which the experiment
takes place, they can repeat it for a sufficient number of times so that they can follow
the way in which the studied phenomenon take place, can extract by themselves the
conclusions, can enunciate laws, can design and construct new experiments or can
verify the solutions of some theoretical problems. With the help of the computer they
can realise complex calculations in a very short time, can realise graphics or make
papers.
Using the computer has also disadvantages like: the absence of very good soft
programs, high costs (expensive programs),the absence of a specialised personnel and
of adequate equipment, the resistance at the change of didactic personnel, of the
parents, of the students. Also, the educational soft cannot reply at all the unexpected
questions of the students, so that, the professor will always own the most important
role in education. The computer can cause the loss of calculation and investigation of
reality abilities, the damage of human relations.
The real and virtual experiment must complete each other for giving students the
possibility to compare the real system with the virtual model.

2. Methodological considerations
For realising this study there were chosen three classes of the 9th grade with general
levels of approached character (chosen after the administration of some tests at the
beginning of the school year).The classes are of decreased level to average.
At the first class the matter was traversed in accordance with the classic methods of
teaching-learning. The theoretical notions were presented using the chalk, the
blackboard, the manual and the problems gathering. The students have studied the
properties of images in lenses realising the real experiment.
At the second class students used educational software, feigning the forming of an
image (image of an object) through a lens.
At the third class the theoretical notions were presented in a modern manner,
attractive, on the computer. The question:”Why lenses?” and the presentation of some
applications of the lenses is mint to incite the curiosity of the student.



Figure 1. The applications of the lenses





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This curiosity is amplified (increased) by the wish of knowing how did lenses
appeared, how did they evolved. In the lesson is presented the history of lenses, then is
given the definition of lenses and is realised the classification of them. There are
evidenced the geometrically characteristics of lenses. It is explained why in the
geometry optics are used the thin lenses and are established the equations of lenses.
There are designed and constructed the images of an object through a lens with the
help of the educational software and are given their properties. In the mean time are
presented the real sequences filmed in the physics laboratory. These sequences make
familiar to the student, the laboratory instruments and the way of work. Also, there are
presented associations of thin lenses and the telescopic system.











Figure 2. The experimental device and the lenses


















222 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta



































Figure 3. The image of an object through lenses

The settlement of knowledge is realised through a word game structure.
After the traversing of the lesson and the agreement of the notions, the students are
challenged to resolve, organised in teams, problems experimentally. The tasks of work
are worded in the following terms: obtain, project, realise without indicate the way of
work or the necessary materials. In this way it was demanded to the students to
determine the focus distance of a convergent lens and the focus distance of a divergent





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lens, to realise an experimental montage through which we can obtain a real, straight
line image of a real object.
After the solving of the experimental problems which implied the realising of some
scientific investigations, students realised laboratory papers and the conclusions were
analysed in the class.
It was concluded the fact that the interest for the lesson was bigger at the students
which used the educational software. Even the under average students set questions
and took notes for different aspects in their note books.
At the class, where was used only the educational software existed some
difficulties. Because not every student had minimal abilities for using the computer and
being numerous classes, (in average 30 students), for one professor was hard to follow
the way of work and understanding of the entire phenomenon by all the students.
The atmosphere was disturbed by those students who, not having sufficient
knowledge in the informatics domain, got stuck. These shortcomings were reflected in
the notes from the tests received by the students.
At the third class, where the theoretical notions were presented in a different
manner, the performances of the students were much over average. They had the
satisfaction of success and of obtaining some creative solutions at the experimental
problems. The creativity of students manifested even when they had to answer at the
question:” At what uses the realised experiment in day by day activity?” From the
essays which the students presented in the following lessons resulted an important
interest of them for the proposed theme. The cause can be easy infered: they had to
capitalize their work, finding useful applications for what they have created and
undertake.



Figure 4. A crossword puzzle





224 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta


Figure 5. Student’s projects



Figure 6. The test

After the application of the tests containing identical items were obtained the
following results: The statistic dates were analysed with the program (Editor) EasyPlot.
The conclusions are the following:
At the first class the distribution of the marks is roughly Gaussian, the average
being of 5.50, a value which is in concordance with the waited aspect, the class being
average like (as) value.


mark 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Nr. of
students
0 0 2 5 8 8 4 2 1 0

Arithmetical average = 5, 50






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0
2
4
6
8
0 2 4 6 8 10
eqn: aexp(-((x-b)/c)
2
), R:0.403,
a=8.40559, b=5.43417, c=1.99726
Nota
N
u
m
a
r

e
le
v
i
c
a
r
e

a
u

o
b
t
in
u
t

n
o
t
a

r
e
s
p
e
c
t
iv
a


At the second class the arithmetical average is of 6.90, but an inspection of the dates
reveals a double-modal distribution, which does not allow a correct conclusion on the
situation of the class, even if it indicates a rise of the average in general. This aspect is
in the favour of using the educational soft. The double-modal distribution indicates an
inhomogeneous structure of the class. An important part of the students had a high
average, 7.70 and the other part a low average, 2.3 which indicates the fact that these
students didn’t had the necessary knowledge for using the computer.

mark 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Nr. of
students
0 3 1 1 1 2 8 7 4 3
Arithmetical average = 6, 90

0
2
4
6
8
0 2 4 6 8 10
eqn: aexp(-((x-b)/c)
2
), R:1.55,
a=7.67713, b=7.70394, c=1.85917
Nota
N
u
m
a
r

e
l
e
v
i

c
a
r
e

a
u

o
b
t
in
u
t

n
o
t
a

r
e
s
p
e
c
t
i
v
a


At the third class the arithmetical average is over the average level, an element
which indicates that using not only the real experiment but the virtual one, the team
activity and the provocation of the students through experimental problems leads to the
increase of the performances of the students and the interest for studying physics. The
average (arithmetical average) at this class was of 7.80.Using the virtual experiment





226 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
brings a benefit with the condition that all the students must know how to use the
computer. This factor imposes the reanalyse and the restructure of the entire teaching
system and the altering process of the school program (methodical elements and related
factors/particularities) through the introduction of informatics hours at all the profiles.
It should be worked with small groups of students or with two/three professors at the
hour for allowing the simultaneous access of the students at the presented notions.

mark 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Nr. of
students
0 0 0 1 2 3 5 8 7 4
Arithmetical average = 7, 80

0
2
4
6
8
0 2 4 6 8 10
eqn: aexp(-((x-b)/c)
2
), R:0.556,
a=7.51514, b=8.23291, c=2.40572
Nota
N
u
m
a
r

e
le
v
i
c
a
r
e

a
u

o
b
t
in
u
t

n
o
t
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r
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s
p
e
c
t
iv
a


3. Results and conclusions

Although using the computer brings benefits, the student must not be transformed in
a”robot” who knows only how to use it! The computer must help the student by
offering him a source of reference material (informational material); develop his way
of thinking, culture and creativity! In this way the students must be attracted, realising
some hours in which they use not only the virtual experiment but the real one!

References

[1] Leontina Nasta, Margareta Giurgea, Optica, Ed.Academiei, Bucureşti , 1998
[2] Liliana Ciascai, Didactica fizicii, Ed. Corint, Bucureşti, 2001
[3] Constantin Mantea, Mihaela Garabet, Fizica, Ed.All, Bucureşti, 2004
[4] Anghel Sorin, Malinovschi Viorel, Iorga Siman Ion, Stanescu Costel, Metodica
predării fizicii, Ed. Arg Tempus, Piteşti, 1995






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Web-based learning methods and online education

Liliana Violeta Constantin
1

(1) National College “Elena Cuza”, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: liliana2009constantin@yahoo.com


Abstract
The internet is an extraordinary middle of communication which implies changes
in the way of thinking and perception of the world, in the way of reporting at the
surrounding reality. In this way, more and more students spend their time in front
of the computer because the web-based learning offers them interactivity, the
independence for equipments, distance and time. The complexity of this situation
imposes restructures of different educational aspects. The accent must be moved
towards making conscience of these methods, cooperation, towards analytic and
selective thinking, towards adaptability and the interpretation of the ever changing
world. The digital technologies must not represent a simple add in the list of
didactic materials, they must be entirely integrated in the service of the education.
In this way, the act of learning isn’t considered any more to be the effect of the
perspectives and the work of the professor, but the fruit of the interaction between
the students and the computer and of the collaboration with the professor. The
lessons become more attractive, more interesting, and easier to understand. The
internet navigation allows the students the development of their individual study
competences, of analysis and selection of the information obtained by visiting
different web pages. The paper presents a web page created for informing and
gathering documentation of the students. This project permitted increase the
efficiency of the learning activity, the responsibility of the students as well
strengthens of the human relation. It used the programmes: Dream weaver, Flash,
Fireworks.

Keywords: Computer, Web page, Online education
1. Introduction
The modern teaching has to be based on the creative teaching, on the active
participation of the student during the classes, on the utilization of some teaching,
learning, evaluation methods which can attract the students in the activity of studying.
Living in an informational world, students spend good part of their time in front of the
computer. This is the reason for it uses ever more the system Web-based learning.
The instruction and the learning based on the Web offer the students interactivity
(the possibility of opinion change, materials), a multimedia medium (the materials
present at least two multimedia elements: text, graphic, audio sequences, animation,
video, etc.), an opened medium (there can be accessed different web pages or
applications), a synchronic and non-synchronic communication medium, independence
in front of the equipment , distance and time (students can use any computer connected
at the Internet and can communicate with persons from all over the world).





228 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Also, the students can visit a lot of more web pages or can realize web pages for
presenting the school, the city, the country (with touristy objectives) ,of culture,
customs and traditions of the Romanian people, of the didactic material elaborated by
them and their teachers (professors), of information (subjects and correction standards
for different exams and school competitions, scientific and cultural-artistic
manifestations, books and school reviews, preparation and perfection courses for
students and for professors, graphics of the Olympiad actions and exams, official
documents, discussion forum, marks of the students and dates about their activity in
school, advertisements and the small publicity, statistics realized by the students on
diverse themes, messages, optional courses, faculties and colleges).
The demands of this system are complex and solicit the students the development of
the flexible thinking, of the creativity, of the friendship relations, of collaboration, of
appreciation of the work, of the values. Stimulates the participation of the students at
learning activities, determines them to have trust in their powers and ameliorates the
professor-student relation. The achieved knowledge becomes more solid and the
students get conscience of the fact that nothing can be realized without work. It assures
the activity centered on the student, the change in the daily routine. The web pages can
be modified, readapted during his function in relation with the opinion of the entire
person which visits that site.
For achieve a web page is use Hyper Text Markup Language. The HTML represents
the basic programming language in the web-design domain. It consists in different
declarations, functions, prototype expressions, usual signs, hyperlink elements, anchors,
design script-code structural particularities. In its complex structure can be inserted
different script codes for improving the aspect of the web page and the respective
structural particularities. PHP, Java Scripts, Apache Servers can be linked with other
structural elements of the main page in order to create web databases, search engines,
independent servers, “sign-in” and formulary structures; all of these aspects based on
modular and complex script codes are designed by different programmers (IT
developers) especially for being used in website structures. There are websites designed
especially for testing and exposing modules (website design script codes), in order to be
used for implementation or, by modifying there structures, for creating new complex
integrated domain websites. The general aspect of a website must contain the following:
• a well-defined structure (with pre-worked ideas –script, formulas, etc.- and
design elements in order to create an easy navigation; this aspect supposes a
good script module for the formal presentation of the page);
• an integrated database (with all the script programming ideas in order; for
search engines, formularies, complex separated databases);
• a well structured plan from graphic point of view (this aspect consists in
preventing overlaps in layer structures and frames, a well-fitting area for the
website’s structural elements –buttons, graphics, animations, fireworks
structures, director structures, freehand structures, etc.; a navigational character
from all points of view; a in-line page arranging and all structures order).
• and last but not least, a good network connection with the domain provider (a
good database, material transfer –Smart FTP Client, for example -; a good link
general structure and in-line web pages)





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Take these things into account it’s possible to create a good web site for informing
and gathering documentation the students. In this work is presented such web page.

2. The structure of this web-page
This web page represents a structural background which contains not only materials
in script format (direct on the internet or downloadable) but also graphics, images or
other multimedia elements. The site is easy to navigate so that the searched information
from the respective domain is immediately obtained. The users of this site have the
occasion of visualizing other informative projects (this aspect being certified by the
presence of the links) and of receiving by email information from the searched
scientific domain (the newsletter functions).



Figure 1. The main page of the web site

The main purpose for constructing and developing this web site is to create a virtual
informational base, precisely, a virtual library with informational material belonging
especially to domains (Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Informatics-
Programming Languages, Romanian Languages, Psychology etc.).




Figure 2. The page with matters of the web site





230 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

The format, interactive, structural and complex shape of this webpage, with
different not only internal connections but also external ones will represent an ideal
informational source not only in the presented domain but also in the external
structures. For each matter or informational domain exists a “tree” structure with
different sides or imbrications (“branches”), particularities which attest or name the
structural character and also well-organized of this webpage, of the presented structural
work. The “branches of the tree” represent the sides of the matter or informational
domain presented in the main structure, so, accessed they will introduce new structures
like the ones described until now, an element or a factor which attests the navigational
character of this page in HTML version.
For a precise example of these structural particularities it will analyze the case of
the matter or informational domain named Informatics-Programming Languages. For
the “trunk of the tree” it has chosen the structure: ''Pascal Language-Algorithms,
Techniques, Programming Methods'' (Characteristics, Presentation particularities,
Examples, Different Connections) with it's 'branches' from the main domain:
Backtracking Method (The definition of the method, Structural particularities,
Examples, Characteristics, Different presentation structures, Different problems and
exercises proper to the presented method, The reappearing structure of Backtracking
Method and the major differences regarding quality, presented by both structures) -
Divide et Impera Method (Structural particularities, The definition of the method,
Examples, Characteristics, Different presentation structures, Problems proper for the
Method, Classic Algorithms, Structural relations or connections with other methods of
Pascal Language)-The Reappearing technique (Notion and definition of technique,
Structural particularities, Examples, Characteristics, Problems proper for the presented
technique/Quick Sort, The problem of the towers from Hanoi, Fibonacci reappearing
expression (the current reappearing version /the economic version, Internal and
external relations, the direct character of the Reappearing technique, Different
informational material)-Under-Programs (Functions and Procedures in Pascal
Language)-(Different problems which use this domain of programming, One-
dimensional tables, Informative structural presentation, The operational character,
Particularities of this domain)-Explanatory Memorial for Programming in Pascal
Language (Informative, Structural presentation, Different programming techniques and
structural relations, connections, The informative domain in relation with the
Informational Material of Pascal Language, Other problems proper for the presented
domain, Connections with other Programming Languages/ C++)-DOWNLOAD
SECTION-NEW Informational Material Section-Web pages (Web design explanatory
memorial structure).






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Figure 3. The page with matters of the web site (Informatics)

Also, in the presented main informational material section (website interface) which
contains material from Physics domain: movies, simulations of the complex processes
and phenomenon, power point presentations, problems, subjects and correction
standards for different exams and school competitions, projects of the students, posters
and poetries achieved by students. The visitors have the possibility of visualizing Flash
graphics or other structures which have the role of realizing the relation with the
physics theory and also of creating a domain of development for teaching activity.




Figure 4. The page with matters of the web site (Physics)





232 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In the section called Alfred Nobel it can find data about the winners of the Nobel
prize in the last time like: Albert Einstein or Johannes Diderik van der Walls. This
section has in the foreground the person that has changed the world through the
invention of the dynamite.
In 1866 the Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896)
invented the dynamite, that would be much used in many construction works, and not
only. The inventor of the dynamite became a rich man thanks to it. Alfred Nobel
worried, because of the destructive goals for which it would be used. That made him to
dedicate his fortune to peaceful actions. At his death, he left 9 million dollars that was
used for some prizes in his memory. The Nobel prize is granted every year in
Stockholm, on 10 December. The Nobel prizes for Physics are decided by The
Swedish Academy in Stockholm.



Figure 5. The section called Alfred Nobel

In the section for Romanian Language are present the informative materials about
different writers, poets and their literary works. Vast and beautiful images gallery is
dedicate for poet Mihai Eminescu. Also, are presented the movies about the life and the
career of the Romanian poetry star.







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Figure 6. The page with matters of the web site (Romanian Language and Literature)

The section dedicated to the contacts was created for the communication with the
visitors of this site. One address of e-mail facilitates the virtual contact with the
persons that are visiting this site. Of course on this address of e-mail it can send
students’ suggestions concerning the site, concerning the pieces of information that are
on it or that it would want to see on it. The visitors can send different papers, essays,
music, pictures of nearly any field. These ones will be introduced into the structure of
the site.



Figure 7. The section dedicated to the contacts

The HTML design allows, also, the include in the structure of the page of some
graphic external elements (Fireworks, Director 8, Shockwave) and internal structures
like: tabular data with or without reference, linkage structures, frameset inserting,
rotating images and different effects applied not only on the text (script) but also on
other structures or under-structures (Java language script). For realizing this web page
it has chosen the website editor Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0, a structure which
helped us in the construction and concrete aspect of all the mentioned particularities.
Using integrated structures like Word (Office), PowerPoint (Office), Macromedia
Flash 5.0, also WinZip archives, it succeeded in giving, until now, a structured
informative domain, integrated and navigational, a web page which has the purpose of





234 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
creating one of the biggest informational fields, not only from the national point of
view, but from the international perspective.
Even though, the interface or the main structure of the presented page doesn't imply
an ideal domain from graphic point of view and the stile of presentation (design), the
webpage offers a structured space for all kinds of informational material belonging to
the presented domains. It can be easily observed that it is trying to put an accent not
only on the quality but also on the quantity, the presented webpage activating under the
motto by which, not the presentation counts the first place, but the informational
content.

3. Conclusions
It can be concluded that this page of internet presents and will present a structured
background with a line of materials more and more complex, which will constitute a
point of reference for the modern teaching system, based on the individual learning,
independent work and research. In this way the attitude of the students in front of
school and society will be radically changed in good!

4. References
[1] Constantin Mantea, Fizica, Ed. All, Bucureşti, 2000
[2] A.Hristev, V.Falie, D.Manda, Fizica , Ed.Didactică şi pedagogică, Bucureşti, 1992
[3] Anghel Sorin, Malinovschi Viorel, Iorga Siman Ion, Stanescu Costel, Metodica
predarii fizicii, Ed. Arg Tempus, Piteşti, 1995
[4] Liliana Ciascai, Didactica fizicii, Ed. Corint, Bucureşti, 2001
[5] http://www.google.com
[6] http://www.yahoo.com






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Educational Technology and
the Problem of the Design of the Electronic Textbooks

Elena Răilean

University State of Moldova
Mateevici street, 30, MD 2009, MOLDOVA
E-mail: raileanu@usm.md


Abstract

This article starts from the premise that, to be effective, the design of the electronic
textbooks has to be related to the educational paradigm. However, in contrast to
many of the definitions of the educational technology, which focus almost
exclusively on the teacher – centered learning environments, this article discusses
new concept of the educational technology focused on the design of the student –
centered learning environments. Following the review of the literature in general,
which highlights the process and the product aspects on educational technology,
the article proceeds to introduce a definition that integrates the process and the
products in one totality. The article is followed by the description of the problems
of the design of the electronic textbooks and proposes an innovative approach that
is an example of the applying theoretical concepts into real didactical process.

Keywords: Educational Technology, Process, Product, Electronic Textbooks

1 Introduction
Educational technology has been defined as a process and as a product (Mândîcanu,
1994; Anglin, 1995; Matei, 1995; Ely, 1996; Marsh, 2005). But, the process and the
product are two important elements in the definition of technology in general. For
example, Anglin (1995) views technology as a “sistemic and systematic approach of
behavioral sciences and other knowledge to problems solutions” that includes
“processes, systems, management, human and non –human tools for assessment and
the models of solutions.
In the science of education there are used the following notions: educational
technology, instructional technology, pedagogical technology etc. Matei (1995)
observed that educational technology is a “set of theoretical knowledge about learning
and education, about psychology of learning and about the methods, procedures and
action – heuristic operational strategies and auxiliary mechanical methods applied with
the aim to personalize students according to the educational ideal”. The author
identified educational technology as a process: the application of the scientific
principles (Matei, 1995 with reference to Devis, 1977) and as a product: the media
resulted from the revolution of the communication tools (Matei, 1995 with reference to
Black, 1977).





236 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Ely (1996) says that the term of the instructional technology is traditionally
applied for the process of teaching and learning through intentional use of teaching
/learning strategies and communicational media, but educational technology is a larger
term including all aspects of the educational promptitude. These ideas could be
validated using the historical method of research. So, the term “audiovisual
communications” was defined by the Commission on Definition and Terminology of
the USA in 1963 as “that branch of educational theory and practice primarily
concerned with the design and use of the messages which control the learning process.”
In 1972 AECT’s Committee on Definition and Terminology, chaired by Donald P. Ely,
embraced the definition of the educational technology: “educational technology is a
field involved in the facilitation of human learning through the systematic
identification, development, organization and utilization of a full range of learning
resources and through the management of these processes” (Molenda, 2003, p.28).
Soon, in 1977 in a 169-page book, The Definition of Educational Technology the term
was defined as “a complex, integrated process, involving people, procedures, ideas,
devices and organization, for analyzing problems and devising, implementing,
evaluating and managing solutions to those problems, involved in all aspects of human
learning” (Molenda, 2003, p.28). The term instructional technology was firstly
separated by the term educational technology and applied for situations in which
learning is purposive, controlled and centered on problem-solving processes. Later, in
1994 the term instructional technology was defined as “theory and practice of design,
development, utilization, management and evaluation of processes and resources for
learning” (Molenda, 2003, p.36). This definition equated instructional technology with
the instructional design process.

1.1 Educational Technology and Instruction Design Paradigms
What is the definition of the educational technology? We will try to find the
understanding of the concept comparing the definition of educational technology with
the concept of the instructional design paradigms.
During 1970 -2000 there are accepted three paradigms of the instructional
design (Brusilovsky (2003). The first, AI-CAI paradigm (artificial intelligence -
computer aided instruction), accepted after 1970, included instructional material into
automatic system of instruction. So, electronic textbooks were components of the
complex system and, in this case we saw a technological product. Between 1980-1990,
in the concept of ITS (Intelligent Tutorial Systems) paradigm, the main technology was
problem –solving. This case is more related to the instructional process. In 1990-2000
in the concept of AIWES (artificial intelligence and web educational systems)
paradigm the instructional material was based on on-line articles, presentations and
web –based examples. If so, to follow the instructions the student had to be included
into the active learning process. After 2000 the condition of active inclusion of the
student into learning process is a vaster accepted concept. Midoro (2005) with point of
the Sandholtz, Ringstaff and Dwyer’s (1997) study identifies the shift that will take in
the change of teaching to learning.
Paradigms are essential for instructional design in order to include diverse
approaches. This may be necessary for the determination of the statute of educational
psychology in accordance with educational technology. Полат et al. (2004) described





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the student – centered paradigm and observed that electronic textbooks have the best
didactical characteristics for the realization of the task of a new conceptual textbook
(technology as product!). In the author’s point of view the electronic textbook could
include diverse cognitive information presented to students as primary resource for
thinking, new methods and technologies for learning and the possibility of individual
informational search.
Юнина (2007) describes humanist paradigm accepted in philosophy,
psychology and pedagogy and three main principles: humanist that sets up the student
as a central figure of the didactical process; humanization, which means humanization
of instructional context and information with point of the informational –
communicational technologies in instruction, management and scientific research. The
practical implementation of the above mentioned principles needs active inclusion of
the learner into student – centred environments (technology as a process!).
However, recently, with the advent of the new educational paradigm, the
concept of learning environments has been shift. Does the shift from teaching to
learning environments change the concept of educational technology?
In our point of view the educational technology is a process that conducts to
product. Our definition is: educational technology is a valid process in case when
directly contributes to developing the finite technological product that can be
demonstrated. The technological product could have different forms: graph of
knowledge, all or selective inclusion portfolio of students’ work, competences etc.

1.2 New Educational Paradigm and Instructional Design
As it was mentioned above the educational technology can be considered a vaster term
comparatively to instructional technology. Sara McNeil (2007) observed that
instructional technology is equal to instructional design plus behavioral development
and described the instructional design as process, product, science and domain. Is it
possible to be true? Let’s us analyse this approach deeper.
In the concept of the new pedagogy paradigm the student has greater
responsibility for his/her own learning. Students’ role is established on the basis of
personality. But, in static, adaptive, interactive or intelligent technologies the computer
program “adapts” the instructional context to psychological characteristics of the
students. The adaptation is based on a dialogue scenario fulfilled totally by the teacher,
or partially and totally by the instructional system. Adaptation is achieved artificially
through adjusting and distributing dates from data base by the real teacher to a real
student. This technology was elaborated in concept of the teacher - centered paradigm
which places real teacher or the electronic textbook in the role of the main resource of
knowledge or the source for all possible answers.
The adaptation of the educational software to psychological characteristics of
the learner contradicts with Piaget theory and their derivates. For example,
Bhattacharya and Han (2001) demonstrate that biological development and the process
of forming the personality is guided by the principles of adaptation, which includes
processes of assimilation and accommodation and organization – the changing of
complex cognitive structures with elementary level – scheme.
This point of view has been extended by Atherton (2005) that observed a
dialectical interdependence between the processes of assimilation and accommodation.
In the process of assimilation the human perceives the information from the medium





238 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
and interiorize it. In the process of accommodation the internal medium has been
adjusted to new situation. So, the human adjusts practice to theory in the processes of
assimilation and theory to practice in the processes of accommodation.
The adaptation of the educational software to psychological characteristics of
the learner could increase memory, but not thinking. The memory and thinking are two
different psychological processes that rely to two different mechanisms. Memory
depends, first of all, of the capacity of memorization and includes encoding, corning
and recovering, but thinking has two sides: informational side and operational side. As
it was analysed by Zlate (1999) the informational side includes generalized forms of
the reflecting of the characteristics of the objects and essential cognitive units of
thinking, but the operational side – ensemble of operations and mental procedures of
transformation the information.

2 The problem of the design of the electronic textbooks
Interactive, intellegent and adaptive electronic textbooks are used by real students to
gain knowledge or to form abilities and competences in an individual manner. But,
how can the electronic textbooks be designed to proposed an individual path in
forming the students knowledge /abilities /competence? The problem is that all
“interactive, intelligent and adaptive electronic textbooks” have a similar structure
(menu, theory and test, learning models) and a similar context, including multimedia
(voice, video, animation) and artificial intelligence (pedagogical agents, pedagogical
model). The difference consist in different technologies for “curriculum sequencing,
adaptive presentation, intelligent analysis of student solutions, interactive problem
solving support, adaptive navigation support, example based problem solving and
interactive collaboration support” (Brusilovsky, 1999).
Designing the functional structure for electronic textbooks there could be solved the
above mentioned problems. In our point of view the functional structure is based on
structure – context methodology. By structure – context methodology we mean the
principles, methods and techniques used as catalyst in the process of acquiring the
understanding in the domain. Starting with Taylor’s (2005) approach for the
understanding: “students who possess a mature understanding of a subject are capable
of explaining, interpreting, and applying the subject. They have perspective, empathy,
and self-knowledge there was determined the principle of the designing the electronic
textbooks.
The structure – context methodology intends to offer a means of developing a
self-regulated learning experience to students in a powerful learning environment. This
model is based on systemic approach of pedagogy in the context of philosophy,
psychology, physiology and cybernetics. Emphasizing the humanist paradigm, the
methodology accentuates the importance of learning by doing in the process of forming
the competence through technology e-manual in e-portfolio.
2.1 The principles of the design of the electronic textbooks
The principles of the design the electronic textbooks were divided according to the
three-dimensional model. In such context P1 integrates physiological, psychological,
didactical principles with cybernetic technique; P2 – the principles of assimilation and
accommodation to real life and P3 – the philosophical concepts that correlate with
educational paradigm.





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P1
Physiological principles
The principle of the students’ physiological level: the design of the instructional context
depends on the students level of development (physiological age) and the cognitive level
(didactical age). The design of the electronic textbooks for pre-university level needs to
respect the principles of Piaget Genetic Epistemology of Learning (Huitt, 2003), but the
design of the electronic textbooks for adult learners - Andragogy principles of learning
(Knowles, 1986).
The principle of the limit character of the number 7±2 number: instructional context can
include only sentences with length 7 ±2 words. As it was mentioned by Розина, 2003 in
the fast reading the learner uses to read only the first sentence of each paragraph in
correspondence with number Ингве-Миллер.

Psychological principles
The principle of specific characteristics of psychological processes: integrate concepts,
prototypes, schemes and rules (Miclea, 2003) with analysis and synthesis, abstraction
and generalization, and comparison (Zlate, 1999). This principle validate directly the
proposed definition for educational technology in concept of the student – centred
paradigm. Analysis and synthesis, abstraction and generalization, and comparison are
the main operations of thinking, and concepts, prototypes, schemes and rules are the
forms (or products) of thinking.
The principle of multimedia: uses multimedia (“pictoral mode” Spencer, 1991) as
medium to maintain attention and motivation.
The principle of gestalt units: distributes uniform information on display in
correspondence with principles of proportion, accent, unit and balance (Машбиц 1988)
and apply graphs (Зайцева et al., 1989; Lanzing, 1997; Кречетников, 2002).

Didactical principles
The principle of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinare: determine the interdependences
between what was leant and what will be studied with the electronic textbook at the early
stage of design (Ильина, 1969). It’s better to present the item in form of judgment and
not as a simple question (Машбиц 1988).
The principle of specific methodic of domain: use the taxonomy of the active verbs in
correspondence with the domain (Anderson, 2000; Paterson, 2000).
The principle of leadership in instruction: apply linear, branched or blended learning in
dependence on level of the student’s knowledge (Ertmer and Newby, 1996).
The principle of specific characteristics of computer – student communication – the
computer based communication is hard regulated and technological established
(Машбиц, 1988) that means integration of synchronically and asynchronies forms of
communications (Розина, 2002; Sava, 2003).
Principle of didactical characteristics of informational –communicational technologies:
use feedback and diversity of the computer educational resources distributed through
Internet (Полат et. al., 2004).

Cybernetic technique: apply concept mapping in the processes of structuring the
instructional material and in forming the graph of knowledge (Novac, 2006).

P2
The necessity to take into consideration the external influences of environment in the
process of designing the electronic textbook has become important in close connection
with the role of informational –communicational technologies. As it was mentioned by





240 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Golu (1993), Bhattacharya and Han (2001); Atherton (2005); Roberts (2005); Midoro
(2005) the personality is a bio – psycho – socio - cultural totality that realize a specific
adaptation to medium. We identified two principles:
The principle of integration of the instructional context with socio-cultural needs of
society: use real, authentic and meaningful tasks.
The principle of collaborative learning: apply computer –supported collaborative
learning that can provide “an ideal environment in which interaction among students
plays a central role in the learning process” (Robets, 2005).

P3
Analysing the state of art in philosophy of learning there were identified two principles
for the design of the electronic textbooks.
The principle of contemporary paradigm of education: to design and to elaborate
the educational environments in which student has a central active role in the process of
forming the knowledge; the instructional context is humanized and the informational –
communicational technologies are related to all students activities.
The principles of hermeneutics: to elaborate the instructional context as author’
text. The author’ text can be viewed as a generator of the personalized instructional
context that demonstrates the student understanding of a subject through his/her own
point of view based on past and current knowledge, abilities and competences.

3 Practical applications
One of the possible practical applications of the three –dimensional model of the
design of the electronic textbook is technology: e-manual in e-portfolio. The process of
designing the technology has combined the theoretical instructional functional context
of e-manual with individual practical building of the e-manual by the student. Such an
approach has permitted the development of an interactive structure consisting of two
parts: the theoretical part and the practical application.
In the design and elaboration of the theoretical part has used the concept mapping. This
technique permits to obtain a well -structured instructional context. There are two
forms of a possible distribution of instructional context textbooks: through the free
source Moodle or through the diskette (figure 1).










Figure 1 Electronic textbook and electronic portfolio

As it can be observed from figure 1 the final form is the electronic portfolio created
individually by each student. Instructional context has included a variety of
instructional and assessment methods and techniques for learning. For this self-
regulation is based on acquiring new knowledge in the process of maintaining the





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motivation through concentration the all activities for solving one main concept.
According to the requirements, the concept can be meaningful for the student. For
example, in electronic textbooks for Informatics it was proposed to study the second
module “Microsoft Word” preparing an article about the most important question.
Then the student will study the options for editing, inserting a table and apply
formulae, including the result in his file.
At the end of the first module the students have their e-mails and use the e-mail to
be included into collaborative classroom or for peer assessment methods. As it can be
observed, the individual methods have been completed by collective methods of
instruction and assessment. An important moment is extension of the cognitive
scheme. For these the electronic textbooks have included comparison the some
concepts studied in different computer programs. For example, in the process of study
the menus of Microsoft Excel the student will compare between the options of Word
and Excel. Was observed that at the end of the third module, the students demonstrate
good knowledge in Word, Excel and Internet, they have their own CVs, and an article
imported for him/her with page title, tables, diagrams, literature and a correctly
formatted text.
We cannot study for school, but for life, Seneca says, and this idea was the main in
the design of the electronic textbook. One important moment is that students at the final
stage demonstrate their understanding through concept mapping. To create the concept
map for each chapter students use and adapt what they know in drawing context. As a
result presented information in graphical and symbolic ways integrates and converts
information for all students. On the other hand the most important operations: Find, Send
to, Save, Save As, Copy, Paste, Delete and Rename had become automatic.
The obtained results were analyzed using SPSS v.10. It was observed that the
students perform all the tasks and that marks increased from 6.88 to 9.56.

4. Conclusions
Reflecting in our practice in designing a electronic textbook based on three –
dimensional model we have proposed a new definition for the concept of educational
technology and identified the physiological, psychological, didactical and philosophical
principles of the elaboration of the electronic textbooks.
The principles were tested by the technology “electronic textbook in electronic
portfolios” into real didactical process. In the proposed approach we tried to impose a
minimum of structure in order to encourage the students to make their own contexts
based on individual preferences and needs.


5. References
[1] Anglin, G. J. (1995). Instructional technology: past, present, and future.
Englewood
[2] Atherton J. S, (2005) Learning and Teaching: Assimilation and
Accommodation: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/assimacc.htm
[3] Brusilovsky, P. (2003), Adaptive and Intelligent Web-based Educational
Systems, International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education 13 (2003)
156–169 IOS Press





242 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
[4] Bhattacharya, K. and Han, S. (2001). Piaget and cognitive development. In M.
Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.
[5] Ely, D.P. (1996) Instructional Technology: Contemporary Frameworks.
International Encyclopaedia of Educational Technology, 2nd Edition. Oxford:
Pergamon
[6] Huitt, W. (2003). A systems model of human behavior. Educational Psychology
Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University
[7] Golu M.( 1993), Dinamica personalităŃii, Bucureşti
[8] Mândîcanu V (1994). Tehnologi educaŃionale moderne, Chişinău, Vol.1
[9] Marsh G.E. II (2005), Constructivism, and Instructional Technology
http://www.healthnet.org.np/training/msoffice/access/WW189.htm
[10] Miclea Mircea(2003): Psihologie cognitivă: Modele teoretico-experimentale,
Iaşi: Polirom
[11] Matei (1995), Pedagogie, Bucuresti
[12] Molenda M. (2003), Association for Educational Communications and
Technology In the 20th Century: A Brief History, Copyright AECT, 2003.
[13] Midoro V.(2005): A Common European Framework for Teachers’ Professional
Profile in ICT for Education, Edizioni MENABO: DIDACTICA, p.159
[14] Ertmer, P.A. & Newby, T.J. (1996). The expert learner: strategic, self-regulated,
and reflective. Instructional Science 24: 1-24. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic
Publishers
[15] Полат Е. С., Бухаркина М. Ю., Моисеева М. В.(2004): Теория и практика
дистанционного обучения. М: Академия.
[16] Юнина Е. А.(2007), Технология качественного обучения в школе. - М.,
С.210
[17] Zlate Mielu (1999), Psihologia mecanismelor cognitive, Iasi: Polirom
[18] Spencer K., Modes, media and methods: the search for educational
effectivencess, British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol.22, Nr.1 (1991)
[19] Taylor V., Online Group Projects: Preparing the Instructions to Prepare the
Students. In in book Computer –supported collaborative learning in higher
education/Tim S.Roberts, editor. Idea Group Publishing, 2005.-p.19-50
[20] Зайцева Л. В. Новицкий Л. П., Грибкова В. А.(1989): Разработка и
применение автоматизированных обучающих систем на базе ЭВМ, Рига:
Знание
[21] Машбиц Е.И.(1988): Психолого-педагогические проблемы
компьютеризации обучения. – М.: Педагогика







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Alternative Ways to Approach Math

Tamaş Carmen Daniela

Teacher of mathematics, No.1 School „Iorgu Radu”,
Bârlad, România, e-mail:danatamas@yahoo.com


Abstract:

Since 2005 my school is involved in a school development Comenius project,
“PROLINE” (project orientated learning in networks). It’s main aim: introducing
ICT in regular classes, especially Math. During these years I had used alternative
ways to approach Mathematics, such are: web-quests, educational games,
interactive lessons, virtual lessons in AEL (electronic assistant for high-schools),
interactive quizzes, using yahoo-groups for homework assistance and starting 2006
interactive whiteboard, from year 1 to year 6, in cross-curricular classes, extra-
curricular activities related to the project, as well as in regular Math classes.
The aim of this paper is to present the impact of using these new ways mainly on
the pupils, but also on the teachers and the school, as well as presenting two of the
outcomes made with the pupils in year 5: an interactive Math dictionary for fifth
grade and a e-brochure of useful web-sites.

Introduction
There is no such thing as a perfect way to approach Math. In Romania there is a
traditional way to approach Math, a valuable and verified one and this way should be
preserved as it is. But on the other hand, there are a few objectivs, even in the national
curriculum, that can not be reached in this way: For instance „pupils should find new
ways to solve problems” or „pupils should expailn their solutions to the other
colleagues” [1]. For the first one, traditional way would ensure traditional methods,
and for the second one there isn’t enough time to practice that. Then the Math exams
and assessments are all written and individual ones, in this way ignoring the team work
as well as different ways of presentation of the results of the work. Pupils should be
able to learn from early ages to work in teams, to give and receive feed-back, to
undertake learning roles, to experience new and unsuall ways of approaching
problems. If we are looking at the traditional way of teaching Math we can see it
hardly has anything in common with practical problems or issues or with using
computers and Internet. So pupils who have abilities of using computers and Internet
from very early ages can’t use their skills within Math classes, hardly make a natural
connection between real world and Math, and most of the time thinks that Math and
games have northing in common. I had always thought that in teaching Math to pupils
up to 13 years old we should use different methods and new alternatives to approach
Math, methods that should emphasize more the natural abilities of the children of these
ages. Methods that should take in account and valorize their passion for playing games,
the competitivity spirit, their need to talk and explain, their natural tendencies of
undertake roles in teams and to work in teams, and their trend of using computers and





244 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Internet in almost anything. Therefore I tried to adapt, imagine and use the following
methods in Math classes at children aged from 7 to 13 years and… it works.(web-
quests, yahoo.groups, interactive lessons and quizes, educational games, using of
interactive whiteboard).

Advantages of using these alternative ways are:
- Web-quests: the pupils construct their own knowledge and so learn more thoroughly,
take advantage of more learning styles( aural, kinesthetic, visual), learn to work in
teams, they themselves decided how to divide the labor according to the team
members’ interests and talents; pose real problems, challenging pupils to generate and
test ideas for significance and usefulness.
- Using the yahoo-group for homework assistance: Encouraging to continue in spite of
their initial mistakes, correction of exercises in an interactive way to guide the pupil,
contact with the teacher by email, a forum for questions, contact with the teacher and
other pupils on an interactive chat
- Educational games: learning mathematics is more pleasant and more fun, pupils aim
to improve their mathematics result to the best of their potential, no matter how long it
takes, the improving results are recorded and this encourages the pupils, the same
series of exercises can be redone several times; pupil concentrates better in front of his
PC than in a class; the system of accumulating points as one goes along stimulates the
pupil to succeed
- Interactive lessons and quizzes: each pupil can progress at his own rhythm; no
lassitude because the selected statements are presented vary unceasingly and in a
random way; the anchoring of errors is avoided because the exercises are corrected
immediately; an interactive correction is proposed in order that the pupil can begin the
exercise again -part of the process is to allow the problem through to its resolution; the
pupils are often requested to play an active role in the correction; they do not receive
the solution in a passive way, they are guided stage by stage through the correction to
the correct answer.
- Interactive whiteboard: allow more varied, creative and seamless use of teaching
materials; encourage learner participation, through the ability to interact with materials
on the board; learners do not need to use a keyboard to interact with the technology,
increasing access for learners with disabilities; allow tutors to share and re-use
materials, through the save and/or print features of the whiteboard, thereby reducing
workload.

Presentations of the methods used so far and their results
1.askdana-group
I found on the internet at www. mathforum.org/dr.math-an interesting site. Ask Dr.
Math is a question and answer service for math students and their teachers. A
searchable archive is available by level and topic, as well as summaries of Frequently





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Asked Questions .In fall of 1994 the Geometry Forum (now the Math Forum)
discovered a dormant project called "Ask Prof. Maths," where K-12 students could
send in math questions and get personal answers. They decided to revive the program,
using Swarthmore College math students as 'Math Doctors' – they where called the
'Swat Team' - students who loved to answer questions from other students. By the fall
of 1995, the rapidly increasing volume of questions required that new members of the
staff be recruited from other colleges around the country. By the year 2000, there had
been over 300 volunteer 'Doctors' from all corners of the globe. Students submit
questions to Dr. Math by filling out our Web form. Answers are sent back by e-mail,
and they then gather the best questions and answers into a searchable archive organized
by grade level and topic[4]. In September 2006 I decided to adapt this idea, so together
with my 27 pupils we form a yahoo-group, called “askdana”. My pupils have Math
classes from Monday to Thursday, and every day they get homework, except their
homework is checked every Friday, not daily. Meanwhile my pupils can ask questions
regarding their homework to me as well as to their colleagues, everyone receive every
question and every answer in his/hers e-mail box. After a year of trial, I can say the
idea works, some of the pupils are already sending reply with ideas or answers even
before I check my e-mail, and some times there is a very interesting change of solving
ideas in the group. The pupils get used quickly with the system, the ones gifted to Math
were willing to undertake “Math Doctors roles”, and the other pupils find it more
comfortable to ask a question and get a hint to or from a colleague, instead of an adult.
All in all, I can say for my pupils, homework for Math is not such a hard thing to do
anymore, the parents are satisfied with the idea, and after the first two months I can
admit it is not a hard time consumer for me either. Where it can be used? At any
classroom, as long as all the children have at home Internet access, so no
discrimination is possible, and as long as the children are willing to use it. At the
beginning it is challenging and time consumer for the teacher, because it needs a daily
check out and answer, but when some of the children undertake active learning roles
things are going smoothly.

2. Web-quests
As one can see on www. webquest.sdsu.edu a WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson
format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the
web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University in
February, 1995 with early input from SDSU/Pacific Bell Fellow Tom March, the
Educational Technology staff at San Diego Unified School District, and waves of
participants each summer at the Teach the Teachers Consortium. Since those beginning
days, tens of thousands of teachers have embraced WebQuests as a way to make good
use of the internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st
century requires. A real WebQuest....is wrapped around a doable and interesting task
that is ideally a scaled down version of things that adults do as citizens or workers,





246 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
requires higher level thinking, not simply summarizing. This includes synthesis,
analysis, problem-solving, creativity and judgment, makes good use of the web. A
WebQuest that isn't based on real resources from the web is probably just a traditional
lesson in disguise. (Of course, books and other media can be used within a WebQuest,
but if the web isn't at the heart of the lesson, it's not a WebQuest.), isn't a research
report or a step-by-step science or math procedure. Having learners simply distilling
web sites and making a presentation about them isn't enough., isn't just a series of web-
based experiences. Having learners go look at this page, then go play this game, then
go here and turn your name into hieroglyphs doesn't require higher level thinking skills
and so, by definition, isn't a WebQuest[5].

The webquest formula[2]. :
WebQuests develop problem-solving skills, and provide an avenue for seamlessly
integrating technology into the curriculum. And creating one is easier than one might
think! Many sites are available to provide examples of the steps that one goes through
during the creating process. One of the most thorough is Bernie Dodge'sWebQuest
Page. According to Dodge, the six Building Blocks of a WebQuest are:
• The Introduction orients students and captures their interest.
• The Task describes the activity's end product.
• The Process explains strategies students should use to complete the task.
• The Resources are the Web sites students will use to complete the task.
• The Evaluation measures the results of the activity.
• The Conclusion sums up the activity and encourages students to reflect on its
process and results.
First time I had heard about the web-quest was at the first project meeting, in October
2005 in England, in the school development Comenius project called PROLINE-
project orientated learning in networks, in which my school have partners 2 schools
from England one from Germany and another school from Romania. After the project
meeting I started to do some research on the Internet regarding web-quests, then I used
some of the web-quests in the pilot classes and in optional classes( on top I think there
are www.adrianbruce.com/Symmetry/-an excellent webquest about symmetry;
Learning Roman numerals from www.techtrekers.com/webquests/#Math) and
afterwards I created a few webquests: “The power of powers”-a webquests using flash-
cards in order to calculate the powers, to recognize and use the rules of the powers;
“Tales with fractions” – a webquest in which the pupils were invited to solve and
illustrate the most famous tales with fractions; “Symmetry”-a webquest with and about
symmetry and antisymmetry; “A day with Harry Potter”-a webquest to discover the
rules of sequences of numbers; „The magical world of natural numbers”-a webquest
about the properties of natural numbers, “Advertising for my planet”-an astronomy
webquest to find out more about the planets in the solar system[6]. The webquests had
a good effect on the pupils, I used them mainly in optional classes, in extracurricular





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activities regarding to the project, for final revision, I presented them in teacher’s
meetings, in Math’s magazines, at a national symposium, the colleagues from my
school and from other schools asked me for the webquests and used them as well. To
use any of these webquests one can access www.proline.go.ro or www.bro.go. One can
use webquests as an assessment at the end of a unit, in the final recap period, when
reinforcement of old notions is required. I used it mainly in optional classes, because
usually it takes more than one hour to use a webquest. It is of particular use for SEN
pupils who may find and fulfill their learning role as well as for kynesthesic and visual
pupils.

3. Educational games: I would say educational games are a must for pupils up to 12
years old!
Starting 2007 together year 5 and year 1 we manage to bought an interactive
whiteboard for our classroom. And for year 1 Math truly became fun: 1 hour per day
they played educational math games from www.funschool.kaboose.com[7], as well as
from www.primarygames.co.uk[8]. What happened as a consequence: the pupils math
skills had improved, thier calculus speed improved, their response to Math challenges
is much better, their motivation for learning Math had increased. In addition to that
they are more confident in using computers and they managed to work with the English
words in order to play the games. This extra hour per day was after their daily schedule
and of course it was not compulsory, but there many days when parents and primary
teacher faced real difficulties in their attempt to put an end to this hour! We can use
educational games as a reward for pupils that are doing all the required tasks, or as a
sequence of 10 to 15 minutes to increase or reinforce interest for a specific issue.
Pupils in year 5 also enjoyed educational games, but they prefered to do this in some
extra hours at the end of the week, as well as to ubdertake tutoring roles for their
colleagues in year 1. There can be use in regular Math classes as well as we have
computers or interactive white board in the classroom.

4. Interactive lessons and quizzes:
I found the interactive lessons and quizzes most useful and attractive, there is a huge
range you can chose from available on the Internet, already made, tested, classified
according to topic, age, subject, free…I liked a lot the Quiz lab because it helped me
create my own quizzes, in a fast and easy manner using their templates. The pupils
usually love the interactive lessons mainly because they are interactive and they love to
interact, as for the quizzes, the pupils would like them far more than the classical tests
due to their graphics and because they can check their answers almost immediately. Of
course in order to do all these a good level in English is required both for children and
the teachers, as well as access to computers and Internet into the classroom. For the last
one, no matter how hard it seems now, we must be aware that this is the future, as for
the first one I admit it is hard to start, the beginning is even harder, but once most of





248 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
the children have reached a fair level in English, confidence in using it and a good
language control, the advantages are far more important than the obstacles. Some time
ago I was thinking that it would be a good idea to have a bank with interactive lessons
and quizzes in Romanian, more tackled on our curriculum, than Ael virtual lessons
covered this, then I thought maybe trying CLIL might be a god idea, meaning teaching
Math using English as a communication vehicle, now I would say any way that enable
our pupils to have access to these resources seems good to me. We can use them as an
alternative way of assessment, in practicing sequences with the whole class, in
demonstrative ways of solving problems, they are particular good for competitions
between groups.

5. Interactive whiteboard:
An interactive whiteboard is a product on which you display your computer desktop
and then interact with the information. It allows the teacher or presenter to access and
display information from the Internet, run live video from a camera, and deliver CD-
ROM presentations and control software from a single location. Connected to a
computer and projector, an interactive whiteboard becomes a powerful tool for
teaching, collaborating and presenting. An interactive whiteboard is touch-sensitive,
where your finger can act as a mouse or a pen. With the press of a finger, you can
access and control applications on your computer or write, draw, and highlight on the
board using electronic pens and erasers. The large image and a focal point in the room
support learning outcomes both in terms of motivation and understanding. An
interactive whiteboard provides whole-group access to a wide range of activities before
individuals embark on independent work. From the Internet to educational software,
there is an abundance of multimedia resources available to engage students'
imagination and intellect. Delivering exciting lessons with these materials can be
difficult if teachers and students have limited access to computers. With an interactive
whiteboard, teachers can combine a LCD or DLP projector and a computer with the
board to create visual and interactive computer-based lessons that involve the whole
class. An interactive whiteboard makes the instructor's computer visible to the whole
group, creates an interactive teaching environment, enhances computer-based
instruction, and is time-saving. Students are eager to participate, and all eyes are where
they should be, focused on the lesson material. Interaction appeals to every student,
especially those with a hands-on learning style[3].
First time I saw and use an interactive whiteboard was in October 2005 during the
project meeting and I was determined to use one in my classes. It took me almost two
years but starting March 2007 I have one in my classroom and I am using it in every
Math class, in different sequences of the lesson and the effects on the pupils are
overwhelming. Together with my partners in the project, we made a brochure with
useful websites, for pupils aged between 4 and 14 years, the electronic version of this
brochure is available on the project’s e-journal: www.ejournal.fi/PROLINE. I am using





The 2
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International Conference on Virtual Learning, ICVL 2007 249
the interactive whiteboard in every Math class, except for the ones when pupils have
written assessments, sometimes for 10 to 20 minutes, sometimes for more, in different
sequences of the lessons. I also had interactive quizes using the interactive whiteboard,
especially for competitions between groups but for individual assessment as well.

The brochure of useful websites
This brochure of useful web-sites is one of the end products of the school-development
project “PROLINE-project orientated learning in networks". PROLINE is a project
started in 2005 in partnership with two schools from England ((St. Andrew’s Primary
School from Buckland Monachorum and Oreston Primary School from Plymouth); a
school from Germany (Franziskus Grundschule-Dortmund) and two schools from
Romania (Şcoala nr. 10 "Mihail Sadoveanu" - Vaslui and Şcoala nr.1 "Iorgu Radu”-
Bârlad).The pupils involved developed their key competences of communication
(including in foreign languages), both directly and virtually (by e-mail), computer
operating, use of Internet, use of ICT at all classes. The pupils with special educational
needs can access different web-sites especially created to help them achieve better
results. The pupils want to use ICT to a larger extent at regular classes and therefore
we consider the brochure a useful tool for children, teachers and parents. The brochure
contains 150 web-sites in alphabetical order. Each site has a short description of
subjects where to use it, target audience, special observations. All information is in
English, Romanian and German. The web-sites enable school progress offering (in
electronic format, as a web page on the project’s e-journal) direct, quick and easy
access to several interactive resources for all subjects. The resources adapted for the
interactive whiteboard, worksheets, games, interactive and on-line activities stimulate
the creativity and motivation of pupils and teachers. In its electronic format, the
brochure can be updated and improved. Any user of an interactive web-site wishing to
make this site popular can do so by an e-mail on the e-journal or by posting a comment
on the e-journal. [9]

The edictionary
The dictionary is on going, it was one of the projects for final assessments in year 5
this year. The pupils made small powerpoint presentations for the main Math notions
they had learnt in this year and are about to post this edictionary on their class site as
well as on the ejournal as soon as possible. Using an attractive graphic, involving
pupils as active participants in the creation of the edictionary, being available on the
Internet, all these are making the edictionary more desirable than the usual Math
glossaries.
In conclusion ,to rephrase an old Romanian proverb, as Math teachers we should have
the power to preserve what needs to be preserved, the courage to change what needs to
be changed, and most of all the wisdom to choose between these two in the interest and
for the benefit of our pupils.





250 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Refferences:
[1] Programa de matematică, clasele V-VIII (National curriculum for year 5 to 8)
[2] Tamaş Daniela „About web-quests”, in Meridian Matematic Vasluian (Vaslui
Math meridiam), Math magazine no.6, 2006
[3] Tamas Daniela, „Using interactive whiteboard in Math classes”, presented at the
national symposiom EficienŃa şi modernitate în învîăŃământ (Modern and
eficientcy in teaching), April 2007, Bârlad
[4] www. mathforum.org/dr.math
[5] www. webquest.sdsu.edu
[6] www.proline.go.ro and /or www.bro.go
[7] www.funschool.kaboose.com
[8] www.primarygames.co.uk
[9] www.ejournal.fi/PROLINE

Note: Special thanks to miss Anca Tamaş, for help and support, for being a source of
original ideas as well as the reason why for finding these alternatives.





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Contents

MODELS & METHODOLOGIES


No Paper and Authors Page
1. Web 3D & Virtual Reality - Based Applications
for Simulation and e-Learning

Felix G. HAMZA -LUP, Veronica STEFAN

71
2. n-D Virtual Environment in Construction Education

Mohammed E. Haque
81
3. A Dynamic Programming Approach to
Identify Shortest Path in Virtual learning Environment

Hamed Fazlollahtabar
89
4. A rules based on context methodology
to build the pedagogical resources

Gabriela Moise
97
5. Case Studies in the UK Knowledge
Transfer Partnership Programme

Laurence Legg, Philip Holifield, Mircea Galis
105
6. Education in Manufacturing Engineering
by 3D Interactive Virtual Models

Mircea Galis, Laurence Legg
113
7. Learning from Nature:
Natural Computing Meets Virtual Learning

Zhengxin Chen
117
8. The integration of the database with
Microsoft. NET Framework

Simona Marilena Ilie
125
9. Tools designed to ensure quality of educational programs at ODL
Department of Bucharest University

Michaela Logofătu, Anişoara Dumitrache, Mihaela Gheorghe
133
10. E-manager – A New Professional Profile
in Tourism Landscape

Andrei Dumitrescu, Tom Savu
141





252 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
11. Exploring the concept of identity and meaning-making in the space
between virtual and real worlds

Simon Paul Atkinson
147
12. Attitude of VET Trainers towards
Virtual Training in Turkey and Romania

SAHĐN Mehmet, MIHAI Aura
155
13. WEB-BASED LEARNING IN MECHANICAL DESIGN

Süleyman Yaldız, Süleyman Neşeli
163
14. Improvements In The Learning Reached With The Use Of
The New Methodologies And Technologies
At Qualifications By E-Learning

Fabricia Ferreira de Souza, Lucia Regina H. R. Franco
171
15 E-learning multimedia applications:
Towards an engineering of content creation

María Dolores Afonso Suárez, Cayetano Guerra Artal, Fco Mario
Tejera Hernández
179
16. E-Learning Indicators: A Multidimensional Model
for Evaluating and Planning E-Learning Solutions

Bekim Fetaji, Majlinda Fetaji
187
17. Measuring e-learning effectiveness through
e-content and attention correlation

Bekim Fetaji, Nada Pop-Jordanova, Jordan Pop-Jordanov, Tatiana
Zorcec, Silvana Markovska
197
18. Innovative teaching and learning technologies
used in pre-university system

Liliana Violeta Constantin, Livia Dinica
211
19. E-Learning and E-Pedagogy in now days

Liliana Violeta Constantin, Ovidiu Florin Caltun
219
20 Web-based learning methods and online education

Liliana Violeta Constantin
227
21 Educational Technology and
the Problem of the Design of the Electronic Textbooks

Elena Răilean
235
22 Alternative Ways to Approach Math

Tamaş Carmen Daniela
243





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Sections

TECHNOLOGIES &
SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS


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

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








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On teaching data analysis and optimisation using software tools

Grigore Albeanu
1
, Florin PopenŃiu-Vlădicescu
2
,

Liviu Şerbănescu
3


(1) UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies at University of Oradea,
University Street, No. 1, 410087, Romania,
E-mail: galbeanu@gmail.com; http://www.ad-astra.ro/galbeanu/
(2) City University, Department of Electrical, Electronic & Information Engineering,
UNESCO programme, Northampton Square, London EC1V OHB,
E-mail: Fl.Popentiu@city.ac.uk; http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/~pop/
(3) Astronomic Institute of Romanian Academy,
CuŃitul de Argint Street, No. 5, 040557, Bucharest, Romania,
E-mail: livius@aira.astro.ro; http://aira.astro.ro/


Abstract
Teaching 'Data analysis and optimisation' deals both with theoretical aspects and
simulation tools. This paper describes an approach based on using a software
package useful both a teacher's tool and a stand-alone unit adequate for learning
and research. The following major themes will be considered: linear and non-
linear regression, linear optimisation (the simplex method), non-linear (one-
dimensional, multivariate search, gradient-based methods) and stochastic
optimisation techniques including problems of minimal risk and problems of
assumed risk. All subjects are covered both for small and large size problems.

Keywords: higher education, data analysis, optimisation, computer-aided
instruction


1 Introduction
The investments of Europe in using ICT for performance improving in science,
technology and current life, demonstrates a special “interest in discovering and
implementing effective methodological/learning strategies and suitable applications, in
order to deliver education services to meet both student’s learning needs and
institutional educational aims”, as (Dondi et al. 2006) remark. Also, according to
(IoniŃă, 2006), “many universities are expanding their range of courses available across
the Internet by offering their programmes in a number of languages”. However, any
important Higher Education Institution has a clear interest not only for basic education,
but also for research. A research consortium is interested to produce not only
knowledge, but also financial resources to survive. In this situation, the usage of
software resources can be permitted only to the consortium members. This is the main
reason to use a special approach in using ICT for learning and research. This paper
describes an approach based on using a software package useful both as a teacher's tool
and a stand-alone unit adequate for learning and research. The following major themes





256 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
are covered: linear and non-linear regression, linear optimisation (the simplex method),
non-linear (one-dimensional, multivariate search, gradient-based methods) and
stochastic optimisation techniques including problems of minimal risk and problems of
assumed risk. All subjects are covered both for small and large size problems, based on
transformation methods.


2 The challenge of teaching data analysis
Depending on the field of interest, teaching data analysis is a great provocation. There
are different approaches when consider theoretical mathematics, or applied
mathematics in different fields. Also the vision can be different depending on science
domain: business, biology, engineering, and social science.
The common used methods of data modelling are based on linear (Weisberg,
2005) and nonlinear regression (Bates & Watts, 1988). However, new approaches
based on time series analysis, modelling and forecasting are request by the dynamic
evolution of the current life (Madsen et al, 2006).
Teaching data analysis can use off-line tools and online software systems based
on Web technology. However, we found that online teaching can experience
sometimes unavailability of resources.
Stand-alone software, available locally, is the best solution during teaching
activities. If such a system supports interactive learning, the students will really
appreciate is functionalities related to data analysis. Also, such a system can be used
during diploma preparation or for master/PhD investigations.


3 The challenge of teaching optimisation methods
To optimise the behaviour of a system is an important request nowadays. The
optimisation techniques play a special interest for both undergraduate and graduate
people. There are classic optimisation approaches (as most of the methods considered
in the next section) but also, new optimisation approaches based on natural computing,
soft computing etc., are available. It is difficult to accommodate, in one course, all
these techniques, and it is not efficient to create a software system supporting all
current optimisation procedures.
Linear and nonlinear programming, stochastic programming and an introduction
to game theoretical approaches are only some chapters to be parts of the background of
every graduate student. If it is necessary, these topics will be used not only during a
master or PhD program but also for solving applied problems.
We found that the following references are important enough to be used during
teaching optimisation methods: (Fletcher, 1980, 1981), (Luenberger, 1984) and
(Bazaraa et Sherali, 2006).
The usage of commercial software is recommended if the institution has the
requested financial resources and the people involved in Teaching/Learning/Research
prove programming techniques. Otherwise, special software units can be used for
every subject.






The 2
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4 Software functionalities supporting teaching, learning and research

4.1 General rules
A syntactic analyser has been created for the software is used to take over a variety of
nonlinear functions. The loaded strings must follow some rules, in order to use it:
• The functions can be written as a combination of other functions, having
lengths of hundreds of characters. The allowed functions are: pow(a, b)
equivalent to a
b
, where a and b are real numbers or might be also another
functions; sin(a) where a may be a real number or another function; cos(a)
where a may be a real number or another function; log(a) meaning natural
logarithm, where a may be a real number or another function; exp(a)
equivalent to e
a
where a may be a real number or another function.
• For one-variable cases the variable is named x. For multivariable cases the
variables are named xi, where i = 1...n. The operators allowed are: +, -, /, *. The
operator (-) is always put between brackets, for example -x1-x2-12.6*x3 will be
written as (-1)*x1+(-1)*x2+(-12.6)*x3. Multilevel brackets can also be used.
• The maximum number of variables, for the version 2.0 is 19 for the geometric
methods (the peaks number of the complex being of maximum 20), and 20 for
other cases. For the Simplex method, we have 70 variables (including the
supplementary variables). The implicit restrictions must be inserted without the
inequality signs.

4.2 Identification techniques
Both linear (Ymodel = a
0
+a
1
x
0
+ a
2
x
2
+ a
3
x
3
+...+ a
n
x
n
) and nonlinear (Ymodel =
a
0
+a
1
f
1
(x
1
’) +a
2
f
2
(x
2
’) +a
3
f
3
(x
3
’) + ... +a
n
f
n
(x
n
’)) models can be explored. The data for
the nonlinear (Figure 1a) and linear models can be taken over from a file or may be
input directly into the dialog box. The implicit extension of the data file for the
nonlinear model is *.dnl. The results can be saved (Figure 1b) and visualized (Figure
1c). The file structure for the nonlinear model is: number of variables, number of
functions, number of measurements, and the list of functions. The table has in columns
the input variables and in the last column the output variable. The data separator is (at
least one) space character. Each row from the table represents a measurement.
The work on variables’ subgroups allows taking into consideration groups of
variables either selected clearly by the user, or with automatic generated combinations,
the model being realized only on group level. In the case of automatic generated
groups of variables the program detects the combination that has the best adequacy
factor (see Figure 1b). The maximal number of combinations, for which the maximal
adequacy of the model is found, is of 5000. The implicit selection of each variable
from group is realized by clicking on the respective column. If no selection is made,
there are taken into consideration all the input data.
In the linear case, the program allows to be taken over 20 input variables and
1000 measurements; it may be extended without a modification in the source of the
software (the code). The implicit extension of the input data files for the linear
modelling is *.dat. The input data file structure for linear modelling is the following:
number of variables, number of measurements, the table having on columns the input
variables and on the last column is the output variable.





258 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

a) Nonlinear modelling b) Saving the results


c) Graphical visualisation
Figure 1: Data analysis for model identification

4.3 Optimisation techniques and transformation methods
Optimisation procedures and simulations are implemented for linear problems
(Simplex: min c
T
x related to Ax = b or Ax < b), nonlinear problems (Coggins, Gold
section, Rosenbrock, Nelder-Mead, Box, Cauchy, Fletcher-Powell, Fletcher-Reeves,
Rosen, Newton-Raphson), stochastic problems (minimal risk, assumed risk) and game
theoretic approaches.
Figure 2 illustrates some details of implementation for easy understanding during
teaching, learning or research experiments.
The problems with minimum risk have the form: min[ α = p(c
T
u < y
0
)] related to
Au ≤ b, u ≥ 0, while the form of the optimisation problems with assumed risk is: max [
c
T
u], Au ≤ b, p( c
T
u < y) = α. The BOX method is used to solve the embedded
optimisation problems.
For large problems, during Teaching/Learning/Research activities, the methods
of Rosen (-linear) and Benders (-nonlinear) are available to be used (Figure 3).





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a) The Simplex Window b) The BOX method

c) Stochastic optimisation d) A game theoretic approach

Figure 2: Interactive options for Teaching/Learning/Research on Optimisation

Figure 3: Using Rosen/Benders methods





260 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Lagrange multipliers approach is also available. Transformation techniques by
penalty procedures (including the multivariable case) as well as for dual programming
are implemented and well suited for solving large problems.

5 Conclusions and future developments
A computer-aided Teaching/Learning/Research approach was described using a
complex software system for data analysis and optimisation. The current version of this
system was implemented in Borland C++ Builder (being available to the consortium),
and there is a strong request for a Java version (to be a public software). For the future,
not only a Java based implementation will be considered, but also the collection of
methods will be increased.

6 References
[1] Bates D.M. and Watts D.G. (1988): Nonlinear regression analysis and its
applications. Wiley & Sons, New York.
[2] Bazaraa M.S. and Sherali H.D. (2006): Nonlinear programming. John Wiley &
Sons, New Jersey.
[3] Dondi, C., Mancinelli Elisa and Moretti, M. (2006): Adapting existing
competence frameworks to higher education environments. In I. Mac Labhrainn,
C. McDonald Leg, D. Schneckenberg and J. Wildt (Eds): The Challenge of
eCompetence in Academic Staff Development. CELT, Galway, 19-28.
[4] Fletcher R. (1980): Practical Methods of Optimization. Vol. 1: Unconstrained
Optimization. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.
[5] Fletcher R. (1981): Practical Methods of Optimization. Vol. 2: Constrained
Optimization. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.
[6] IoniŃă A. (2006): Trends in Professional Learning in the Framework of
Knowledge Society. In M. Vlada, G. Albeanu and D.M. Popovici (Eds):
Proceedings of the 1
st
International Conference on Virtual Learning (ICVL
2006). Bucharet University Press, Bucharest, 29-36.
[7] Luenberger D.G. (1984): Linear and nonlinear programming. Addison Wesley,
Reading (2
nd
ed.).
[8] Madsen H., Albeanu G., Burtschy B. and PopenŃiu-Vlădicescu Fl. (2006):
Addressing Time Series Modelling. Analysis and Forecasting in e-Learning
Environments. In M. Vlada, G. Albeanu and D.M. Popovici (Eds): Proceedings
of the 1
st
International Conference on Virtual Learning (ICVL 2006). Bucharet
University Press, Bucharest, 37-44.
[9] Mathews J.H. and Fink K.D. (1999): Numerical Methods using Matlab. Prentice
Hall, Upper Saddle River (3
rd
ed.).
[10] SISCON - software for the optimisation of large systems. An auxiliary tool for
the PoLogCem, NATO Science CLG 979542, 2004.
[11] Weisberg S. (2005): Applied linear regression. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.







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Virtual Manufacturing Environments –
The Future of Education in Manufacturing

Professor Laurence Legg
1
, Professor Mircea Galis
2


(1) University of Central Lancashire, Department of Technology, Preston PR1 2HE,
United Kingdom, lklegg@uclan.ac.uk
(2) Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Department of Machine Tools and Industrial
Robots, 3400 Cluj-Napoca, 103-105 Muncii Bd., Romania
E-mail: lklegg@uclan.ac.uk


Abstract
This paper presents some considerations about Virtual Manufacturing and the way
in which the Virtual Manufacturing Environments are used in teaching/learning/e-
learning. The aspects of information transfer/acquisition by using images are
outlined too. The paper presents the structure of an e-learning module in
manufacturing engineering, achieved by the authors, and points out some relevant
examples. Finally, the way, in which users can manipulate a Virtual
Manufacturing Scene via the Internet, is shown

Keywords: Virtual Manufacturing, 3D animated models, e-learning, Virtual
Reality


1 Introduction
In today manufacturing globalization is the major trend, both in terms of markets and
partners. This means that the companies want to sell their products all over the world
and that the supply chain members are also located all over the world. As a
consequence, the information flow among all business actors is dramatically growing
and has to be shared. Taking into account this crucial trend it is obvious that education
in manufacturing has to follow this route. In other words, today training/learning of
manufacturing has to cope with a huge amount of information that has to be
delivered/acquired, stored, selected and used. It is generally accepted that Virtual
Manufacturing (VM), with all its branches, inclusive Virtual Manufacturing
Environments (VMEs), is the key to answer to present/future manufacturing
challenges.
Virtual Manufacturing Environments for education in manufacturing might be
discussed in various ways. Using Virtual Environments for manufacturing technologies
has been in fashion for some time. On the other hand, there is a great enthusiasm for
promoting a new IT branch that is Virtual Reality, as a major factor in future
environments for training and education.
“The use of a Virtual Enterprise (VE) is becoming increasingly prevalent, and that
has been made possible, in part, due to the significant advances in communication and





262 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
information technology in recent years. A manufacturing system is one of the
competitive factors that forms an effective VE” [1].
In its broadest sense, the construction of VMEs has to be seen as a design problem.
The authors think that interactive visualization in product development, training and
education as well as for simulating and representing complex technical relationships is
the core of future manufacturing, both in education and in real enterprises.
Companies have to manage their products, which are rapidly becoming more
complex and varied, for their entire Product Life Cycle, which now spans from
development to include a recycling phase. The use of images can enhance
communication significantly; hence, one solution could be to link Virtual
Manufacturing (Digital Manufacturing) with 3D immersive digital visualisation that
enables interaction with the product design through the development process and in the
planning and preparation of the manufacturing processes. The costs for creating
downstream visual communication for documentation, training and support of complex
tasks throughout the product life cycle are always increasing. To control all these,
companies need to balance and optimise among the CAD solutions and visualization
software.
The authors believe that a combination between 3DStudioMax and EON Reality
software can lead to solve these problems with good results both from economical and
technical viewpoints.

2 Virtual Manufacturing
“The term ‘virtual’ has been widely used in many sectors for technical terms such as
virtual machines, virtual reality, virtual memory, virtual team, and so on. From the
early 1990’s, the word ‘virtual’ has also been used in the manufacturing field. Jones et
al. introduced the virtual reality for manufacturing simulation “ [2].
In its broadest meaning, the manufacturing can be defined as the way of solving
society’s material needs. How can the virtual (digital) manufacturing be defined? First
of all, it has to be emphasised that within academic and business environment many
terminologies and definitions are used for this concept. Among these, very spread are:
virtual manufacturing, digital manufacturing, e-manufacturing, e-factory, virtual
factory and so on. As a consequence, a single definition accepted by all the actors
involved in the manufacturing area, has not been set up so far.
However, there are some people and organizations that, by their results, can claim
the right to establish a definition for this modern and so much in vogue concept in the
manufacturing world. In this respect, some opinions are presented below:
"The foundation of digital manufacturing is built upon an open data management
platform that can support multiple disciplines, including product design and
manufacturing, and share data with complementary applications upstream and
downstream for all to participate in as needed", says Al Hufstetler, vice president of
digital manufacturing, business strategy and marketing for Maryland Heights, Mobased
UGS PLM Solutions [3].
“Digital Manufacturing -A key tool for better products faster. Digital
Manufacturing is the integrated development and manufacturing simulation of a
product, which clearly communicates the product and the manufacturing processes for
the product” [4].





The 2
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“Digital manufacturing may have as many definitions as there are vendors to
support the concept, but the one thing for sure is that its success rests with the ability to
simulate, communicate and act upon digital data system wide. In its truest sense, digital
manufacturing comprises technology and business practices that let users collaborate,
author, review, design, program, document and share all aspects of a business
digitally”[5].
There are three paradigms of Virtual manufacturing (VM), Design-Centred VM,
and Production-Centred VM, Control-Centred VM.
More or less, from all these approaches, it is obvious that it can be accepted that
VM is a concept that covers the entire Product Life Cycle (PLC) and it integrates the
entire information amount and flow by electronic means. VM solutions enable the
continuous creation and validation of the manufacturing processes throughout a
product’s life cycle.
Two motivations for using VM are underlined bellow:
VM is to enhance people's ability to predict potential problems and inefficiencies
in product functionality and manufacturability before real manufacturing occurs.
• “In the future, adaptability of the structure of production will become an
important competitiveness factor for companies. However, as company structures
change, so also do value-adding structures alter. Future production structures must
therefore allow for continuous alterations in planning and configuration. A possible
solution is the use of hierarchical system technology for structuring companies.
Furthermore, by decentralizing and self-organizing performance units and by
networking production right up to Virtual Enterprises, a closer proximity to customers
can be achieved”[6].

Using the VMEs in education
There are some areas of education such as physics, chemistry and all engineering
branches, where, if learning is too much language-based, conceptual, and abstract, very
important side effects might appear. This is due to the fact that they have quite a little
"feel" and understanding of the qualitative dimensions of the phenomena they study.
Therefore, there is a strong need to root learning in experience. By doing this, the
students will get a deeper and more robust understanding of the subject matter.
“Understanding focuses on application and knowledge-in-action offers the best
potential for knowledge transfer, the creative application of knowledge, and the
construction of new knowledge”[7].
For the areas mentioned above, the education will be extremely expensive and
almost impossible in physical laboratories for all subjects of study. On the other hand,
the universities can’t afford to keep laboratories at the state of the art. To achieve the
goal of setting education on the experience-based track, the VMEs is one of the most
appropriate solutions, also from education costs point of view.
To sum up, the advantages of using VMEs in manufacturing education are:
More effective learning/teaching and quicker comprehension, higher retention, and
greater productivity.
Communicate complex processes at a glance. A well-designed environment can
help students experience things in a larger context and pick out useful information
from complex systems.





264 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Reduce training costs. In some cases it might be possible to provide remote access
to expensive laboratory hardware.
Less geographic and language barriers. One can integrate interactive learning
objects into a VME and have people learn in that environment by working and
communicating with others.
• VMEs are generally interactive and 3D and these features maintain trainee
interest and involvement, making learning more intuitive and fun.
3D environments have the potential to situate the learner within a meaningful
context to a much greater extent than traditional interactive multimedia
environments
3 3D animated models the core of VMEs
Generally, three – dimensional (3D) animated models are being created to enable
learners to overcome difficulties in understanding/interpreting complex structures, such
as a manufacturing equipment/system.
Using 3D models for online teaching/learning /e-learning adds a new dimension to
the entire process of education. By interaction with 3D animated models the whole
teaching/learning process can be greatly enhanced. Till the last few years one would
hesitate to use 3D animated models for online education, mainly due to the large size
of files and the need for the original software for interacting with the model.
Solutions for creating the 3D animated models, currently available on the market,
are quite divers. The authors propose the use of authoring tools such as Flash (from
Macromedia) or 3D Studio Max (from AutoDesk). These will offer a good equilibrium
between the costs and modeling facilities. The animation to be disseminated is
typically authored frame-by-frame using these tools. An important disadvantage of
these tools (and this is true for any other currently solutions) is that both require
considerable effort for the creation of models.
The authors gained expertise in the creation of 3D digital models for manufacturing
processes and equipment using the software 3D Studio Max. Despite the fact that it is
very well known among creators in the field of arts, movies, electronic games
industries, this software is highly appropriate to create 3D digital models for
manufacturing too. Like any other CAD software it has all functions that a creator
needs.
Among the main features of 3D Studio Max one might be underline:
• Special effects and rendering facilities.
• VRML features available to publish 3D animated models on the Net.
• Place photographs and film as a presentation's backdrop and integrate sound
with the presentation.
• Subtle visual effects.
• Powerful materials editor.
• One of the best modules for animations.
• Using merge command the users can pickup different components from a
virtual library and combine them, as they need.
The Interactive 3D and Virtual Reality Software from EON Reality Inc brings the
power and versatility of advanced, high-end simulation technology to the PC platform
and the Internet. By using the EON Raptor plug-in for 3D Studio Max, the 3D





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animated digital models can be easily transferred to the EON Reality Studio, where the
user can manipulate the scene with EON immerse facilities. Moreover, from Eon
Studio it is easy to make an EON type file for Net and, using a free EON Viewer, to
manipulate and examine the scene by: panning, rotating, zooming and stopping/starting
the animation.
From 3D it is not too complicate to jump to the next step, that is 4D meaning 3D +
time. In this way, the learners will visualize the transformation of the manufacturing
scene over time.
Interactive 3D/4D models can be obtained both from 3D Studio Max and EON
Studio. From 3D Studio Max the developer of the e-learning contents can choose either
to export the model as an “avi” file (specific extension for animation files) or as a
“wrl” file (specific extension for VRML file). In both situations the user will use free
commercial players (like Windows Media Player, Quick Time) and browsers (like
Cortona). By using avi files, the learner can stop and play the animation at any segment
of time. By using wrl files the end user can interact with the model by zooming,
panning, rotating and starting/stopping the animation. The quality of the models is not
the best, as might be seen in Figure 1. Nevertheless, the users can freely examine the
model, by using the interface buttons.
By exporting the files from 3D Studio Max in EON Studio and creating an “edz”
file therein (that is a specific EON file for NET) the quality of the models is
considerably improved and interacting with them is very fast (see the samples from
Figure 2).




Figure 1: A sample of 3D animated model for Net using CORTONA browser





266 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta


Figure 2: A sample of 3D animated model for Internet using EON Studio

4. A sample of e-learning module that uses elements of VMEs
The e-learning module in manufacturing engineering has two active frames. The first
one, a left vertical column, involves the module contents. The second one is a working
frame (target frame) and all requested topics will appear here as user order.
The module is structured on 4 levels. In the first level the user might have contact
with the home page (see Figure 3). In the left frame, the chapters of the module are set
up, such as: manufacturing, products and parts, materials, primary manufacturing
processes, manufacturing by machining, classical machining, no conventional
machining, NC machining and machining centers and so on.
The second level of the module appears when the user asks for a topic by clicking
one of the chapters (main heading) from the contents. If for example the user wants to
study about NC machining and machining centers, he will click on it and in the target
frame will appear all the subchapters related to this topic (see Figure 4).
Further on, the user can choose any subchapter from the menu and thus enter the
third level of the module. Here, the topics are treated by means of text, sound and by
3D (in fact 4D) animated models both for processes and equipment. The main feature
of the e-learning module is that it uses a large amount of such models at all steps. The
models appear in the third level, but to get closer to these the user has to go to the
fourth level, by clicking the icon net to the model (see Figure 4 and Figure 5).






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Figure 3: The home page of e-learning module

Further on, the user can choose any subchapter from the menu and thus enter the third
level of the module. Here, the topics are treated by means of text, sound and by 3D (in
fact 4D) animated models both for processes and equipment. The main feature of the e-
learning module is that it uses a large amount of such models at all steps. The models
appear in the third level, but to get closer to these the user has to go to the fourth level,
by clicking the icon next to the model (see Figure 5).



Figure 4: A sample of the second level of the
module with its related subchapters.

Figure 5: A sample of the third level of the
module with a small image
of a 3D animated model
The module can be delivered both on CDs and via the Internet.









268 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
5 References
[1] ***, 2000, International Journal of Production Research, Taylor & Francis,
Volume 38, Number 17, pp. 4113–4128.
[2] Storch, R.L., Farnsworth, K.D, 1993, “Virtual Reality for Manufacturing
Simulation,” Proceedings of the Winter Simulation Conference, G.W. Evans, M.
Mollaghasemi, E.C. Russell, W.E. Biles (eds.), pp.882-887.
[3] Fretty, P, 2004, Advanced Manufacturing, www.latitudecg.com.
[4] Pilley, A. D., Beaumont, A. J., Robinson, D. and Mowll, D, 1994, “Design of
experiments for optimization of engines to meet future emissions targets”. 27th
ISATA www.qmisolutions.com.au
[5] Feurer, Z, 2003,” Managing Manufacturing Processes”. In Manufacturing
Engineering, Vol. 131 No. 2.
[6] Westkämper, E, 2004, “Stuttgart Model of Virtual Enterprises”, CIRP, Journal
of Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 33, No1.
[7] Chee, Y.S, 2001, “Virtual Reality in Education: Rooting Learning in
Experience”. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Virtual
Education, Busan, South Korea, pp. 43–54.






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The Implementation of E-Learning Systems
for the On-line Courses Management

Simona Marilena Ilie
1
, Cristian Pavel
1

(1) Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: ilie.simona@gmail.com
cr.pavel@clicknet.ro

Abstract
The virtual environment represents the tool through which the access to the course
material, is ensured, teacher-participants interaction is achieved as well as the content
management and the course activities. These learning environments permit the use of
multimedia technologies through text incorporation, images, audio, video files or
animations.
Like an instrument for the courses editing HTML (HiperText Markup Language)
language was used, which represents a subset of SGML (Standard Markup Language).
For implementing an online courses program or some online collaboration spaces,
one of the important decisions are referred to the virtual environment - VLE - Virtual
Learning Environment or LMS - Learning Management System, where these will take
place.

Keywords: E-Learning, Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Management
System, HTM - HiperText Markup Language


1. Introduction
The meaning we accept for e-learning is synonymous with online education, online
courses, Web-Based Learning, which doesn’t suppose an interaction, permanent
communication with a teacher.
E-Learning, like the convergence between learning and Internet, requires that:
• The process of learning takes place in a virtual classroom;
• The educational material is accessible on the internet; it includes text, images,
sending to other online resources, audio and video presentations;
• The virtual classroom benefits from a teacher orientation (facilitator,
moderator) who plans the activity of the participants’ group, subjects to their
debate aspects of the course in asynchronous conferences (discussion forums)
or synchronous (Chat), delivers auxiliary resources, comments on homework,
showing everyone where they had to insist;
• Learning becomes a social process, through interaction and collaboration, the
group of the participants and the instructor, forms during the course, many
times and after, a virtual community;
• The course material has a static component - that prepared by the facilitator
together with a team specialized in instructional design - and a dynamic one,
resulted from the participants’ interaction, from the suggestions, clarifications,
commentaries, resources brought by these.





270 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Most of the means of E-Learning permit the monitoring of the participants’
activity, the work in subgroups, the audio and video interaction.

2. Virtual Means of Learning
Then when a learning institution wants offer a program of online courses or spaces
of online collaboration, one of the important decisions refers to the virtual environment
VLE - Virtual Learning Environment or LMS - Learning Management System, where
these will take place.
Choosing environment depends on the number of courses, participants and
teachers, on the course duration.
The facilities which are offered by the majority of the environmental places:
- Secure and controlled access to the environment - each user has an account; the
environmental use is made from a web browser; the users have specific rights
related to the use and administration of environment; the participant’s activity
and portfolio can be seen; some environments have the possibility of
automatically evaluating the competences and the training needs;
- Access/management of the course content – theoretical models in different
formats (HTML, audio, video), templates for the new materials development,
the activities planning, access to resources, online libraries;
- Communication – with the teacher and between participants through
asynchronous conferences (discussion forums), chat, e-mail; some environments
have the facility of transmitting private messages (like an e-mail sent into the
course space);
- The participants’ assessment – sending homework, creating and managing
questionnaires;
- It can offer the possibility of working in teams, with parts of private
communication;
- Administration- account creation, course components administration.
The users can be classified in:
• Participants (students)
• Teachers (facilitators)
• Developers (designers)
• Administrators
Criteria taken into consideration when comparing VLEs:
1. technical specifications,
2. facilities to create teaching material,
3. equipment and facilities for the members’ activity,
4. the facility and the intuitivism of exploring,
5. the potential for communication, collaboration ,
6. respecting the E-Learning standards,
7. hosting.
A virtual environment is just the tool through which the access to the course
material is assured, the teacher-participants’ interaction is made, as well as the
management of content and of the course activities. Not even the most sophisticated
environment can’t replace the teacher and his art to engage and motivate participants in
a learning and collaboration process.





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In the specialized literature there are some terms that refer to the learning
environments:
- LMS - Learning Management System – complex system, with the above
mentioned facilities, for all the four categories of users; other met
denominations are Knowledge Management System, Course Management
System, Academic Management Systems, Student Management Systems;
- LCMS - Learning Management Content System - system that allows the
editing, but also the access to the E-Learning materials;
- CMS - Content Management System - system for editing materials.


3. The Description of Application
The program contains the following modules: information, calendar, students,
forum, chat, tutorials, online tests, the platform administration.

3.1. Information
At a department level there is a page which contains the latest news. For each
announcement the date, the title of the announcement and the content of this can be
displayed.
To read them one can enter a site and make a link to obtain announcements in RSS
format, with the help of a RSS Reader program. A program like this is Active Web
Reader (link), a free program that allows the news administration in RSS format from
different domains. The list of the RSS channel is stocked under the form of a tree
(Explorer type), where the directors represent domains or sub domains. For each
announcement the title of this and a short description are displayed, the associated link
indicating the page on the site where this is completely displayed (Fig 1).

3.2. Calendar
To highlight the main events a calendar may be introduced, through which the
course days, the exam days and even the meetings with teachers or other events can be
watched .

3.3. Students
In order to better know the course colleagues and to facilitate their communication,
in this page the students and their e-mail addresses have been introduced.
Also from here messages can be transmitted to the addresses selected by every
student depending on whom these are addressed to.

3.4. Forum
The forum allows the user the communication with the teacher. The moment the
user enters the forum he sees the number of questions and answers received for every
domain.
Through selecting a domain, then a question the user can see all the answers at that
question. After selecting a question, this can be erased or modified. In the users’ case
these operations are permitted just for their own questions (Fig 2).






272 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Figure 1.


Figure 2.





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3.5. Chat
This type of communication permits the sending of short messages among persons
working in the network; the messages are stocked on a server until they are received.
This service can be compared to the e-mail, with the difference that here
communication is synchronous, the messages appearing automatically on the involved
persons’ screen. This way of communication is useful for organizing conferences
between two or more users, in the conditions of a breadth of limited tape.

3.6. Tutorials
The tutorial page contains a set of lessons divided on domains.
The editor contains the most used elements for creating a course, options to add
files on the site as well as the possibility to introduce HTML code if the use of some
more complex constructions is wished. The files that contain these lessons can be
under the form of: text, HTML, Power Point.
The access to a certain course can be restricted through the use of accounts and
passwords (Fig. 3).
In the next images a course in HTML format is presented. The tutorial is displayed
divided on chapters (Fig. 4).
Because for understanding the elements presented in a lesson some knowledge is
needed the establishment of some preliminary questionnaires to condition the access to
the respective tutorial is allowed.
The checking of the level of understanding the presented information can be done
with the help of a final self-assessment test or with points. The application of this
mechanism permits the organization of the tutorials in a graph of dependence,
determining the users to look down on them in a certain order.
The accession degree and the completion of the tutorials from the selected
department can be watched.

3.7. On-line tests
Creating on-line tests, supposes first the introduction of some data that will identify
them (title, the author’s name, description), but they will also indicate the type of this,
the way in which the evaluation of the results will be made, with or without the errors’
explication, with or without points for the chosen answers.
The completion of a questionnaire supposes the bill sticking of the questions
whose answers will be selected with or without the possibility of returning to the
selection made.
Another option is that of introducing a maximum time of completing the
questionnaire.
To complete the questionnaire the introduction of a lot more questions through
completion. Thus a question requires a text, a variant of answer (only one correct
answer or more) and, optionally, an image to what the reference is made. Each such
question will have more options of answers, each one having a text, a value (true
answer/false answer) and, in the situation in which a questionnaire with the explication
of the mistakes is created, explication for the wrong election of this answer.






274 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Figure 3.


Figure 4.





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A return to the questionnaire can be made by introducing new questions or by
erasing some of the old ones. The general data of a questionnaire, as well as the title,
and the description can be also changed.
When selecting a questionnaire it appears the list with the users that completed
them, and when selecting a user the answers are listed. There is also the possibility of
erasing all the results registered for a questionnaire.

3.8. The Administration of the Platform
The administration page allows the modification of the information about the
institution, users, departments, and the distribution of the users on departments. This
page is reserved to the super users that can modify all the data about their institution.
These data is referred to departments, announcements and the distribution of the
users on departments. At the level of a department the domains for tutorials and for the
forum can be defined, inclusively administrated by facilitators (Fig. 5.).


Figure 5.

4. Conclusions
The possibility of administrating the online courses for learning institutions or
different firms is an important facility, allowing these to implement an E-Learning
system without a hardware infrastructure being necessary, diminishing the cost of
implementation.
The main advantage of this solution is represented by the integration of the main
modules necessary in the online learning process, being able to be used without the





276 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
help of other programs. Still to become a performed solution, the subsequent
developments must take into consideration the addition of some facilities like:
- The diversification of the type of questions for questionnaires, including
questions at which the user can answer through the completion of a field text;
- The addition of media elements in the editor of tutorials;
- The creation of materials to respect the standards in E-Learning (ex: SCORM);
- The offer of some particularized templates for tutorials, questionnaires and
even the entire application;
- Mechanism of analysis to permit the making of some more detailed reports,
including comparative analyses or the watching of the participants’ evolution in
time;
- The making of a page for users, where these can see their situation and the
possible messages addressed to them;
- The making of a system of announcements at level of department;
- The requirement of receiving notices on e-mail;
- The possibility of creating domains protected by password or in which the
access should be permitted just too some users, to be used for discussing
different team projects.

References:

1. Brett Spell - Professional Java Programming, Wrox Press, Chicago, 2000;
2. Carmen Holotescu - Ghid eLearning, Universitatea Politehnica Timişoara,
2005;
3. Introduction to Programming, Microsoft, U.S.A., 2004;
4. Michael Morrison - HTML & XML for Beginners, Microsoft Press, Redmond,
Washington, 2001;
5. Microsoft® Security Guidance Training for Developers, Microsoft, U.S.A.,
2002;Carmen Holotescu – Curs PHP si My SQL (curs online) – Timsoft;
6. Microsoft® Security Guidance Training for Developers II, Microsoft, U.S.A.,
2004
7. Walter Savitch - Java: An Introduction to Computer Science & Programming,
Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2001;
8. www.microsoft.com
9. http://www.timsoft.ro







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ICT Challenges in education:
Reflections from a developing country: Iran, with reference to
the statistics from computer science students

Roya Ensafi
1
, Amin Zamiri
1
, Mohsen Kahani
1

(1) Computer Engineering Department, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad,
Mashhad, P.O. Box 982323, Iran
E-mail: ensafi_roya@ieee.org

Abstract
In this paper, factors affecting the development and effectiveness of ICT in Iran’s
educational system, based on survey results from a group of computer engineering
colleagues are discussed. Participants in the study were 22 students studying in
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, selected through a voluntary basis from a pool
of students who had taken at least one web-based class at the university and were
also familiar with Social Informatics, using a stratified sampling technique. The
sample contained 20 to 23 years old male and female students. The emerged
themes from the answers to questionnaires are categorized into five main titles:
Hardware infrastructures, language proficiency and native language content,
cultural attitude and tendency, application of ICT in primary and secondary
schools, and Learning effectiveness in virtual classes. These main categories are
discussed through the rest of the paper in addition to a brief review of Iran’s
current educational system.

Keywords: E-Learning, Web-based Education, E-Pedagogy, Communication
Technology

Introduction
The impact of Information and communication technology (ICT) in the past two
decades has been enormous (Oliver, 2001).ICT is a force that has changed many
aspects of people’s lives. As technology rapidly changes, more cost effective and more
powerful technologies with great potentials for education continue to emerge and new
types of people are needed. Indeed, in today’s information and knowledge-driven
world, a completely new set of skills is required (Hawkins, 2002).
In response to developing countries’ demand for strategies to prepare their youth to
compete in a world driven by information, technology, and knowledge, the role of ICT
tools in education should be more emphasized. There have been a number of factors
impeding the wholesale uptake of ICT in education. These include factors such as: lack
of funding to support the purchase of the technology, lack of training among
established teaching practitioners, lack of motivation among teachers to adopt ICT as
teaching tools (Starr, 2001).
As education has been an important part of Iranian’s strategy for economic growth
and fight against poverty and has contributed to level out social differences, the main
focus in this article is on the major challenges to the realization of ICT-related goals in
schools which are categorized into 5 different titles: Hardware infrastructures,





278 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Language proficiency, Cultural attitude and tendency, Application of ICT in primary
and secondary schools and Learning effectiveness.
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is a state university in Razavi Khorasan province.
Located in Mashhad, the university was established in 1949, making it the third oldest
major state university of Iran. It is the largest university in northeast Iran, and has a
large faculty.

Methodology
Participants in the study were 22 students selected through a voluntary basis from a
pool of students who had taken at least one web-based class at the Ferdowsi University
of Mashhad and were also familiar with Social Informatics and IT principles, using a
stratified sampling technique. The sample contained 20 to 23 years old male and
female students. Forty percent were junior and sixty percent were senior computer
engineering students and eleven of them lived in dormitory.
The students were given a set of questions intending to study their first experience
of facing ICT tools in their educational life. The answers brought a wealth of
information which the authors have consolidated into this research article.

Results
The study reveals the challenges which students perceive as major impediments for
realizing university based ICT objectives. These challenges fall into two main
categories: Global Challenges and Student Challenges as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. The Major Obstacles to the Realization of ICT-related Goals

Area Respondent Theme
1.Hardware
infrastructures

• Insufficient computer laboratories and
poor maintenance.
• Not enough computers with simultaneous
access to Internet.
• Laboratory coordinator not skilful enough.
2.Language proficiency,
native language content

• Insufficient native language content over
the web.
• Poor quality of local content and
applications.




Global
Challenges

3.Cultural attitude and
tendency
• Teacher-dependant students and
instructors.
• Unfamiliarity with online communication.
1. Application of ICT in
primary and secondary
schools
• National university entrance exam.
• Restrict education infrastructure and
policies.



Student
Challenges

2. Learning effectiveness • Unfamiliarity with team work.
• More interaction in face to face learning
mode.
• Huge gap between the learner’s use of
ICT in their personal lives and their
experiences of ICT in education.






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1. Global Challenges

1.1 Hardware infrastructures
Developing countries have a significantly lower level of diffusion and use of ICT than
in the developed countries (Sharma, 2003). The main obstacles in the growth of e-
learning in Iran is not the high price of computers, but rather the lack of government
budgets for equipping universities, schools and public places with new computers and
suitable hardware infrastructure.
In the case of this study, there is no computer laboratory available in the
university’s dormitory, and just one public laboratory with 30 computers for all 250
computer engineering students, where 75 percent of the students participated in the
study have stated that they have at least one personal computer at their homes among
which 45 percent are students living in other cities and have no access to their PCs.
The study shows that 80% of all participants and 100% of student in dormitory
suffer from the lack of physical infrastructure especially high-speed internet
connection, to carry out their online courses.
Getting computers into universities and institutions is relatively easy but keeping
them up and running is a greater challenge. More than 70 percent agree that laboratory
coordinators are not skilful enough in resolving technical problems. This is not because
of the lack of human resources since the ever-growing computer educational centres
provide several courses with different diplomas in various fields of hardware and
software for the interested people. But once again, the main reason here is the lack of
assigned funding to keep the labs working.

1.2 Language proficiency, native language content
Language plays an important role in influencing the Internet usage. Since the Internet
is dominated by English language content, English speaking countries have a strategic
advantage in popularizing the use of the Internet (Xiaoming and Seet Kay, 2004). On
the other hand, non-English speaking countries such as Iran face enormous difficulty in
tapping the potential of the Internet as an information source. More than 60 percent of
student stated insufficient native language content over the web as the main reason
they can’t use the internet as a reliable source to broaden their learning experience.
Though, there have been great efforts by both governmental organizations and
Iranian corporations to
compensate for this lack of
high quality local content
over the web, the rate of
growth of such supervised
information websites do not
fulfil the need of huge
Iranian internet users.
(Among them websites like
roshd.ir -related to the
ministry of education- and
tebyan.net - a-non profit
organization - could be
mentioned.) This is mainly
Average asking teachers
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
less than 2
times
2 to 5 times 5 to 10 times more than 10
times
Oral
Email


Figure 1. Average Number of Asking Teachers in a Course
by Students including Class Sessions for Oral chart





280 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
considered to be caused by the serious lacks of qualified people, investment, financial
resources and entrepreneurial initiative.

1.3 Cultural attitude and tendency
Students, adapted to teacher-dependent educational system rather than self-directed and
motivated, are more comfortable with a teacher-controlled learning as 75 percent of
participants preferred the traditional modes of teaching over their new experience. The
study can be supported by the idea of Akerlind and Trevitt (Akerlind and Trevitt ,
1995) who argue that resistance to change is likely to be greatest when it conflicts with
the students’ past learning experiences, particularly when it also involves using the
technology to foster a more active, self-directed style of learning. As R. Oliver (Oliver,
2001) shows in his study on the role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century,
contemporary learning settings now encourage students to take responsibility for their
own learning, through technology-facilitated approaches, which is in contrast with the
current Iranian students’ content-centred curricula.
Also, the study reveals that both students and teachers are not familiar with this new
way of communication to solve their problems. More than 70% preferred to ask orally
rather than using e-mails to contact their teachers.
The learners believe that except the new and young professors who have completed
their P.H.D within the past few years, the ICT role in education is neglected by most of
the professors. 30 percent of the students agree that ignorance is one of the core
reasons that ICT is less integrated in the educational system. Most teachers don't use
ICT in education, though enough computer infrastructures are available for some in
major universities in Iran, mostly because they are generally not aware of how ICT can
be used in the learning environment.
On the other hand, 60 percent of students believe that some teachers do not have
enough time necessary to update their skills, experiment with and exploit opportunities
provided by the virtual classes.

2. Student Challenges

2.1 Application of ICT in primary and secondary schools
Iran's current educational system consists of Elementary, Lower Secondary
(Guidance), Higher Secondary and Pre-University programs. All public and private
institutions are under the control of Ministry of Education and Training.
During the last 25 years, Iran's population has increased dramatically. According to
the latest estimates (2006), Iran's population is 70,049,262 (National reports, 2006),
and out of that more than 30% are less than 18 years of age(EDUTEX IRAN, 2007).
More than 1,200,000 high school students take part in the highly competitive annual
national university entrance exam, known as Konkoor, in the hope of getting a better
career and a higher social prestige.
Konkoor is a national exam taken in all cities at the same time with the same
conditions (about 200 4-choice questions in different areas which have to be answered
in a four-hour time), and thus taking Konkoor successfully requires a special set of
skills which has become the main goal in pre-university education. Educational
institutes or high schools are judged by the number of their successful students in
Konkoor (i.e. students who has successfully applied for major universities) This focus





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on solely having more students applied to universities has affected the secondary
education severely, in a way that the use of tools for enhancing the student’s
educational experience (e.g., ICT tools), are ignored most of the times, despite the fact
that motivational impacts of ICT upon learning are broadly similar and positive for
both primary and secondary school pupils. (Passey et al, 2004)
Besides, students and educators are different today, in the information age, than
they were in the industrial age, and they will continue to change as new ages emerge.
(Huebner and Wiener, 2001)
Because of no useful structure for learning, the new ways (such as an online
professional development community for schools and teachers) are not workable in
schools across Iran. So , the lack of overall policy and poor harmonization of
initiatives, and also restricted infrastructure in education have led to randomly adoption
of different systems and standards, unnecessary duplication of efforts, and wastage of
already scarce resources.

2.2 Learning Effectiveness
Today’s networked world demands a workforce that understands how to use
technology as a tool to increase productivity and creativity (Hawkins, 2002). But, the
real experience of many of the learners, though, is that education is failing to keep up
with them and understand what they are doing with technologies. The study shows that
although 60 percent of students were satisfied with the new way of learning, they
believe that class existence can help them more than virtual classes. A study by Joseph
and Bejan (Kizito Bada and Khazali, 2006) also reported that there is a general feeling
that face-to-face based learning programme allows learners to interact more closely
with the facilitators and there is more value for money. Recognition of e-learning as a
viable method is still a major challenge.
There is a huge gap in the contrast between young people’s use of ICT in their
personal lives and their experiences of ICT in education. Today’s learners are having
new practical experiences and engaging with new forms of practical learning on a daily
basis. This tide of practical learning, because much of it is happening beyond the
school walls in bedrooms and on the streets, is difficult to quantify and assess.
Students are more stressful because they are not aware of other students and they
also believe that they are not familiar with team work which would be the vital way to
reduce their stress. This finding is supported by other studies such as (Hunt et al,
2002), much of the current interest in on-line learning has been driven by its potential
to harvest the benefits of collaborative learning through the establishment of learning
communities. Group work is thought to facilitate learning in a number of ways. Cohen
(Cohen, 1984) found that working with others reduced uncertainty when faced with
new, complex tasks and increased engagement with the task. Others have shown how
the nature of the interaction between students provides alternative models of thinking
and clarification of concepts as they are forced to defend or explain their own views
(Sharan, 1980).

Conclusion
The development of the school curriculum and its implementation to the information
age does not simply mean taking some specific actions, but referring to the change of
the educational system as a whole. The results convinced us that it should include





282 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
systematic change of organizations, environments, and human minds as well as
physical changes toward the achievement of digital equality and all organization have
to work together to make systemic change.
Also, There is the awareness with both the government and private sector actors
that the key to a widespread and beneficial diffusion of ICT is to provide local content
and produce local products, hence to move from a “network-centred phase to a content
centred one”. (ZEF Bonn, 2002)
The study was conducted in the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, one of the biggest
universities of Iran. The future studies should consider different locations in different
to get a broader view for generalization of research outcome.

References
[1] Akerlind, G. and Trevitt, C. (1995): Enhancing learning through technology: when
students resist the change.
[2] Cohen, E.G. (1984): Talking and working together: Status, interaction and learning,
in the social context of instruction.
[3] EDUTEX IRAN, (2007): Available at: http://www.expam.com .
[4] Hawkins, R. J.(2002): Ten Lessons for ICT and Education in the Developing World.
Available at: www.cid.harvard.edu/cr/pdf/gitrr2002_ch04.pdf
[5] National reports, available at: http://www.sci.org.ir/portal/faces/public/census85
[6] Huebner, K. M. and Wiener, W. R. (2001): Distance Education in 2001
[7] Hunt, L. M. and Thomas, M. J. W. and Eagle, L (2002): Student Resistance to ICT
in Education. In IEEE Proceedings of the International Conference on Computers in
Education (ICCE’02).
[8] Kessy, D. and Kaemba, M. and Gachoka, M.(2006) : The reasons for under use of
ICT in education: in the context of Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. In Fourth IEEE
International Workshop on Technology for Education in Developing Countries
(TEDC'06) pp. 83-87
[9] Kizito Bada, J. and Khazali, B. (2006): An Empirical Study on Education Strategy to
E-learning in a Developing Country. In Proceedings of the 4th IEEE International
Workshop on Technology for Education in Developing Countries (TEDC’06).
[10] Oliver, O. (2001): The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a
change agent for education. Edith Cowan University.
[11] Passey, D. and Rogers, C. and Machell, J. and McHugh, G. (2004): The
Motivational Effect of ICT on Pupils. Department of Educational Research Lancaster
University
[12] Sharma, R. C. (2003): Barriers in Using Technology for Education in Developing
Countries. In Proceeding of Information Technology: Research and Education, 11-
13 Aug. 2003 Page(s): 521-522.
[13] Sharan, S. (1980): Cooperative learning in small groups: Recent methods and effects
on achievement, attitudes and ethnic relations. Review of Educational Research,
1980. 50(2): p.241-71.
[14] Starr, L. (2001): Same time this year, Available at http://www.education-
world.com/a_tech/tech075.shtml
[15] Xiaoming, H. and Seet Kay, C. (2004): Factors Affecting Internet Development: An
Asian Survey.
[16] ZEF Bonn. (2002): Information and Communication Technologies for Development.
The Center for Development Research, University of Bonn





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OLC, On-Line Compiler to teach programming languages

Cayetano Guerra Artal
1
, María Dolores Afonso Suárez
1
, Idafen Santana
Pérez
1
, Rubén Quesada López
1

(1) Instituto Universitario de Sistemas Inteligentes y Aplicaciones Numéricas en
Ingeniería. Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
E. D. de Informática y Matemáticas, C. Univ. de Tafira, 35017, ESPAÑA
E-mail: mafonso@dis.ulpgc.es
Abstract

The advance of Internet towards Web 2.0 conveys the potential it has in a wide
range of scopes. The ongoing progress of the Web technology and its availability
in teaching and learning, as well as a students’ profile increasingly more used to
managing an important amount of digital information, offers lecturers “(Clearly,
2006)” the opportunity and challenge of putting at students’ disposal didactic
tools making use of the Internet “(Gráinne, 2007)”. Programming is one of the
essential areas taught in university studies of Computer Science and other
engineering degrees. At present, it is a knowledge acquired through tutorial
classes and the practice with different tools for programming. This paper shows
the acquired experience in the development and use of a simple compiler
accessible through a Web page. In addition it presents a teaching proposal for its
use in subjects that include programming languages lessons.OLC – On-Line
Compiler – is an application which greatly lightens the student’s workload at the
initial stage of programming. During this initial period they will neither have to
deal with the complexities of the installation and the configuration of these types
of tools, nor with the understanding of multiple options which they present.
Therefore students can concentrate on the comprehension of the programming
structures and the programming language to be studied.

Keywords: Compiler, e-learning, interactivity, virtual laboratory, web 2.0,
video tutorials.

1 Introduction
New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) still imply changes in a
wide range of society scopes. A society in which the information, its use and
distribution in digital format are part of a number of tasks carried out every day.
New generations understand their environment in a natural way as well as the use of
these technologies. This is reflected in university students who are increasingly getting
used to managing this kind of information.
From the beginning Internet has meant a milestone in communication at a world
wide level. It provides Net users with an hypertext document system with a rich
content and hyperlinks that allow to reference another resource: text document, image,
animation, audio or video.





284 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In its beginning, information was contained in HTML pages that were not updated
very frequently. From here its evolution was directed to dynamic HTML pages that
make use of CMS with data bases. Next, it was directed to Web 2.0, a concept that has
turned into reality in Internet, through which contents and the way of interaction with
these contents in Internet have changed. Users, from sharing these contents, have
turned their role into the edition and classification of them.

2 Web 2.0
This term, Web 2.0 “(O’Reilly, 2004)”, coined for the first time in 2004, makes
reference to a new vision of the Web which has evolved towards users’ communities,
interaction and social networks.
Amongst the technologies that bring the Web 2.0 into reality we find: the ones that
use the Web platform to host desktop applications; the ones that separate content and
design using style sheets; the ones that support RSS or the ones that allow the
management of users and communities.
In the same way, there exists a set of Web services that can be considered
indicators of the advance towards Web 2.0. These services provide communication
mechanisms that make it possible to present information to users actively. Amongst
these services we can find advertising services, shared photo-database, community-
generated tag database, delivery of contents, encyclopaedias or personal web pages.
Web navigators have experienced an important progress with regard to their
function. They have been evolving from their beginnings, in which their function
consisted in showing the contents of static web pages and their hyperlinks. Later on
they went further, interpreting the interfaces that show one or various data bases’
content. At present they support newest technologies that allow not only the interaction
with dynamic web pages but also a wide range of web services. Amongst them social
networks, that promotes information interchange between users.
Internet has undergone a change which has made it become a relevant instrument
for teaching and knowledge spreading “(Brey, 2005)”, no matter the subject area.
The presence of e-learning in Internet has allowed increasing education quality and
its disposition. Its use to create teaching applications is fully interesting, being able to
use, among other features, interactivity “(Rheeder, et al, 2007)”.

3 OLC: Learning Programming
Nowadays, programming is one of the essential areas taught in university studies of
Computer Science and other engineering degrees, as well as in diplomas of Computer
Science. At present, it is a knowledge acquired through theoretical classes and the
practice with different tools for programming such as editors, compilers, linkers,
debuggers or interpreters. In addition to this we find teacher tutorial classes.
Being included in all programming subjects, compilers generate the executable
programs made of the instructions written by the programmers.
Compilation is a process carried out by means of the succession of a set of
operations through which, using the instructions written in a programming language,
we obtain the code written in another language that is understood by the computer.
This is how we obtain executable programs.
The Web 2.0 is at its very peak, this fact and the change in the web navigators’
function allow to make use of them as production tools such as text editors,





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spreadsheets or, as we expound in the present work, a compiler. In this way we can
move a multilanguage IDE from a computer to a Web page.
OLC –On Line Compiler- is an application which greatly lightens the student’s
workload at the initial stage of programming. Its use is especially intended for subjects
where the students must learn how to make programs.
During this initial period they will neither have to deal with the complexities of the
installation and the configuration of these types of tools, nor with the understanding of
multiple options which they present. Therefore students can concentrate on the
comprehension of programming structures and the programming language to be
studied.
The use made of the compiler in this initial stage is restricted to create programs
from a set of instructions free of errors. The student will have written these instructions
and the compiler will have helped to correct them.
This way in later stages of the learning process and once the students have
acquired the basic knowledge of the programming structures and the programming
language, they can start using compilers with more complexities in the installation and
configuration tasks as well as with a higher number of options. The knowledge
acquired by the students in this first stage of the learning process helps them to get a
better comprehension of the use and handling of the compilers.
3.1 Functionality
OLC interface is simple and intuitive. An interface defines the communication
boundary between two entities, in this case between the students and the application.
After the student identification, s/he must choose the programming language with
which s/he is going to work. This can be performed from the selection language menu.
Fig. 1.

Once the programming language is chosen, the screen on Fig. 2 will be displayed.
The tabs menu located at the top of the screen, offers users the navigation through
the editor, the files, the tutorials and other sections.
In the section “My files” a list with the user’s files located on the server for that
language is shown. These files are displayed by the last modified date.

Fig. 1. Welcome screen. Where the student chooses
the programming language to work with.





286 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The students can manage their files using the available options. They can also load
files in the server and work with them.
Under the tabs menu, the tools bar can be found, whose options make it possible to
work with different files and the code.
Below the screen is divided into two text areas:
One for the code, at the top, where students will write the code of their programs.
One for the results, at the bottom, only for reading, that will give information about
the different actions performed in the files.
Local files are shown as a list with a colour code used to identify them. Fig. 3.
Apart from the local files the application has a set of tutorials in video. By using
them the information transmition can be carried out in a more efficient and interesting
way for students.
Through these videos Fig.4, a learning process can be established. These video
tutorials have got a clear purpose: to assist users in learning how to manage the
compiler and to follow the practical classes.

Fig. 2. OLC Work screen. With the tabs menu, the tools bar, and
two text areas: one for the code and the other one for the results.

Fig. 3. List of local files, with a colour code used
to identify them.





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These video tutorials are delivered through files embedded in the web page of
OLC. This kind of material has got an increasingly didactic interest, since students will
have the possibility of viewing again those chapters of the video where some doubts
may have arisen. They could do this as many times as necessary and from any device
“(Neal, 2006)” with an Internet connection.
In the server we can find also a set of local files with examples.
The teachers after the lessons can propose practical exercises using the different
examples that can be found in the folders on-line. During the teaching period they can
check the results of students’ work, directing them in their learning process.

4 Teaching proposal with OLC
The subject “Fundamentals of Computer Science” is taught in the first year of various
engineering degrees, amongst them the degree of “Chemical Engineering” of the
“School of Industrial Engineering” that belongs to the University of Las Palmas de
Gran Canaria.
This subject, in this degree, is taught in the second term of the first academic year.
Its aim is that students acquire basic knowledge of Computer Science in the
theoretical classes and basic knowledge of programming in the practical classes. The
theoretical hours are taught in the theory classrooms and the practical hours are taught
in the laboratory. This is a classroom equipped with computers, one for each student,
and connected to Internet.
Programming knowledge is necessary for the use of certain tools that students will
use in the following academic years, such as programmable calculators or software like
Matlab.
The number of teaching hours is three of theoretical lessons per week using
traditional methods and one hour of practical lessons. This means fifteen practical
hours during the term.
- In the first five hours of practical classes basic knowledge of programming, tools
to use and C language are introduced. In the first hour of these five an introductory
class of OLC will be taught. The following four hours the lessons will be taught
through the video tutorials that will indicate how to make use of OLC and will ask the
students to work with the examples proposed by the teachers. These first exercises will
consist of simple programs that students will have to edit, modify and compile.

Fig. 4. Multimedia tutorials.





288 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
- In the following five hours, students will work in the modification and creation of
computer programs. The proposal of modification made by the teachers will consist of
making changes in programs that make use of a bit more complex structures than the
ones used in the previous phase. A group of ten exercises could be completed, two for
each practical hour, with an increasingly difficulty.
- For the last five hours the students must work in a practical exercise proposed by
themselves. Teachers must give their approval to this proposal computer program. This
will be the final exercise to evaluate and should be made with a more powerful
compiler. At this stage of the learning process, students must already control the use of
the compiler and its different options.
The independence acquired by the student after these stages using OLC and their
control in the comprehension and use of other compiles should be noticeable.
The assessment process will take into account the valuation of the supervision of
their work with OLC and the final exercise proposed.
According to this approach, using OLC compiler the role of teachers is greatly
restated. They could dedicate time to transmitting motivation about the subject being
studied and directing the students in their studies. Besides, the supervision of their
work and the evaluation is a continuous process that could be done completely on-line.
The role of students has also changed. The use of this kind of applications gives
them more autonomy than in previous academic courses.

5 Didactic perspective
The work developed has been exposed to a group of five teachers “(Anderson, 2002)”
whose subjects deal with programming. All these subjects are included in the first
academic year of several engineering studies.
Different opinions about the exposition have been found “(Lautenbach, 2007)”. The
features that the teachers have taken into account to give their viewpoint about OLC
have been: the professional profile their students will have in the future; the use they
will make of programming both in the academic and professional field, and the level of
knowledge they must achieve during the academic course. To a lesser extent they have
considered the percentage that programming has in the final evaluation and the number
of hours they must dedicate to the practical part of the subject.
- Teacher one. He teaches “Basic Knowledge of Computer Science” belonging to
the first course of “Chemical Engineering”. “To me the teaching proposal is the right
one”. “The students find many difficulties in the understanding of compilers at the
initial period of learning programming”, he thinks. Furthermore, “sometimes even the
use of computer is complex for them, although they learn quickly”. Professionally they
will unlikely need to make computer programs. Nevertheless, “in the following
academic years, surely, they will need to understand what variables are and how to
make use of them in small computer programs as well as using them in small functions
created for MatLab”. According to the teacher in their senior thesis, it is very probable
that they will only need to manage statistics information and make some update or
modification in a small computer program in order to obtain some of this information.
- Teacher two. She is the responsible for the practical part of the subject
“Fundamentals of Computer Science”. This subject corresponds to the group of
training complements in the degree in Industrial Organization Engineering. “In my
opinion the teaching proposal with OLC is very well structured”. “Maybe the level of





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knowledge shown in the video tutorials is high, since generally the students who apply
for this degree do not have interest in programming”. “The number of students that
choose the subject is low. They try to pass the subject without paying attention to the
tools they are using”. “Professionally it is not probable that they will make use of these
programming skills in the future”. “That is why the percentage of the final evaluation
is low, although the use of multimedia material could be proposed for other subjects,
since these multimedia tools are ideal for teaching”.
- Teacher three. He is the coordinator of the subject “Programming Methodology”
belonging to the first course of “Technical Computer Science Engineering”. He thinks
it is a good proposal. In his department they have thought to develop a similar tool.
However, they have not considered using multimedia tutorials, just only help files. “We
should take advantage of these multimedia capacities”. His students will surely use the
programming knowledge both at an academic level and in their professional life.
- Teacher four. She has taught “Fundamentals of Computers” in the first year of
“Computer Science Systems Engineering”. She finds the teaching proposal with OLC
interesting. In fact in “Fundamentals of Computer” she uses a program developed for
students to use in order to create computer programs in assembly language. Thus they
will not have to make use of the machine compiler. According to her, “the students are
well trained in Computer Science; therefore they do not need to begin with a tool so
simple”. However “there exists a fundamental aspect of this tool that should be
exploited: to have production tools in the Web. Undoubtedly they mean a great
advantage”, she thinks. Proposals with more functions and accessible from the Web
would be very interesting for her students.
- Teacher five. She teaches “Basic Knowledge of Computer Science” belonging to
the first course of “Public Works Technical Engineering” in all its three specialities:
“Hydrology”, “Civil Building”, and “Urban Transport and Services”. She thinks that
the proposal is of no interest for what she needs, bearing in mind the number of
practical lessons per week and the teaching content, which do not match together. She
believes that in the future students will not make much use of this programming
knowledge. “It is quite complex to make them understand some concepts. We are just
in a period in which not all the students who reach university studies are equally
trained in Computer Science, and only some of them have got a computer at home”.

6 Conclusions
This work proposes an interesting initiative in the field of e-learning: to portray
interactive applications on-line for didactic use. A simple compiler accessible from the
Web provides students with an easy way to learn at the initial stage of programming.
OLC makes use of multimedia contents to support teachers in the teaching process.
These contents show how to work with it and with the programming language.
Apart from these there are further advantages, such as having at students and
teachers’ disposal the compiler through the Web and the possibility of making use of it
at any time and from any computer with an Internet connection. Thus barriers of time
and space are eliminated. Students will have access to the compiler, the contents and
the files with which they have been working. Besides, there is no need to save the work
in store devices nor to install software.
To have remote virtual laboratories increases their efficiency and reduces the costs
of the resources used in learning.





290 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
OLC could not compete with the powerful traditional IDE’s due to its limitations
for the expert software development, but undoubtedly it fills the void that exists in the
area of teaching programming at the initial stage.
This experience has already passed from the development phase to the
experimental one. At present we are working on a research of those subjects that
include programming languages lessons, and the use of OLC could be suitable.
As many other initiatives, to promote its acceptance and to achieve its use depend
on Programming teachers, who have already valued the application positively and
favourably. According to their opinion, to introduce the students in the field of
programming is hard in the initial stage. Not only for the complexity of the control and
data structures and the programming language to learn, but also for the complexity of
the tools they need to use, such as compilers, bearing in mind that students only need to
make use of a reduced number of functions at their initial period of their studies.
Using this kind of applications with multimedia contents allow teachers to dedicate
time to activities which improve the quality of teaching, transmitting a further
motivation about the subject to be studied and the results they can obtain, as well as
directing students closely in their studies “(Fraser, 2006)”.
In the near future, we will continue this line of work. Our new projects involve the
development of other applications accessible from the Web “(Leene, 2006)”, used as
OLC, in e-learning field. Some of these applications will count on a key feature:
interactivity “(Valente and Sampaio, 2006)”. Thus students will develop new working
methods in order to ensure participation.

7 References
[1] Anderson S. “Working together to develop a professional learning community”. HERDSA
2002.
[2] Brey P. “Evaluating the social and cultural implications of the internet”. Vol. 35, Iss. 3
(September 2005). ACM Press.
[3] Clearly J. “A case of study of Changing Assessment Procedures”. AISHE Conf: NUI
Maynooth, Au31
st
– Sep1
st
06: Creating and sustaining an Effective Learning Environment.
[4] Fraser K., “A blended Learning Approach to Teaching” Introduction to Multimedia, The E-
Bit!. AISHE Conf. 2006.
[5] Gráinne C., “Making sence of today’s technology-enhanced environment for learning:
rethinking student and teacher roles” IADIS Int. Conference e-Learning 2007.
[6] Lautenbach G. “Engaging with e-learning: emerging epistemologies and increased
pedagogic vision in higher education”. IADIS Int. Conference e-Learning 2007.
[7] Leene A. “The MicroWeb”. Using Content in theory and practice MicroLearning 2006,
Innsbruck – 7 June 2006.
[8] Neal L. “Predictions for 2006: e-learning experts map the road ahead”. Volume 2006 Issue 1
(January 2006). ACM Press. New York.
[9] O’Reilly T. “What Is Web 2.0 - Design Patterns and Business”. Models for the Next
Generation of Software.
[10] Rheeder R., Diseko, R. Lautenbach G. “The design of interactivity for a web based learning
environment at a higher education institution.” IADIS Int. Conference e-Learning 2007.
[11] Valente P., Sampaio P. “Defining Goals for the design of Interactive Multimedia
Documents”. In Proceedings of World Conf on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and
Telecommunications 2006 (pp. 955-962). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.





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Brain Image Analysis with ImageJ and OriginPro

Emilia Dana SeleŃchi
1
, Octavian G. Duliu
1

(1) University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics,
Department of Atomic and Nuclear Physics, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: seletchi@gmail.com


Abstract
Computed ImageJ is a public domain Java image processing program suitable to
measure distances such as Feret’s diameter, to calculate area and pixel value
statistics of user-defined selections and to provide density histograms and line
Profile Plots. By using ImageJ we performed measurements on thin-section X-ray
computed tomography (CT) of a brain tumor such as: standard deviation, integrated
density, mean and modal values, skewness, kurtosis, etc. OriginPro is a specialized
program for data analysis providing several methods of fitting functions and Fast
Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis. It can also generate histograms, power spectra,
Profile Plots, Profile Contour Plots and 3D Color Surface Maps of CT images.
Image processing and data analysis on X-ray CT scans allowed us to display the
characteristic pattern of normal and ischemic brain.

Keywords: Feret’s diameter, histogram, skewness, kurtosis, Fast Fourier
Transform


1. Introduction
Computed Tomography (CT), originally known as Computed Axial Tomography
(CAT) is a powerful nondestructive evaluation technique for producing 2-D or 3-D
cross-sectional image of body tissues and organs. X-ray scans furnish detailed images
of an object such as dimensions, shape, internal defects and density for diagnostic and
research purposes. The image-analysis technique includes: image acquisition, image
processing, measurements, data processing, and interpretation.
As the x-ray passes through tissue, the lower-energy components are attenuated
more rapidly than the higher-energy components. Any attempt to reconstruct the image
from the unprocessed data without making appropriate corrections for the beam
hardening will result in error. These errors give rise to beam-hardening artifacts,
defects such as dark bands that are observable in the image. The non-linear relationship
between the projection of the object, λ and µ causes the problem [1,5]:
(1)
( ) | | ( )
( )


∫ ∫

− =
max
max
E
0
E
0 l
dE E S
dE dl y x, µ exp E S
ln λ
where the source spectrum S(E) is defined such that S(E) dE is the energy fluence in
the energy range E to E+dE. The main effects of this artifact show up as a false
reduction in density in the centre of a uniform object and the creation of false detail in
the neighborhood of bone/soft tissue interfaces. This problem is caused by the different





292 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
paths lengths of tissue through which the projection are measured. Another problem is
caused by the unhomogeneous nature of the object studied. The energy dependence of
the linear attenuation coefficient varies according to the type of material: bone, water-
equivalent tissue, air, etc. resulting additional artifacts into the image.
A reduction of the noise level requires the increasing of x-ray intensity or data
acquisition time, leading to the increase in patient dose. The radiation dose depends on
multiple factors: volume scanned, patient build, number and type of scan sequences,
desired resolution and image quality. X-ray CT, do expose the patient to a certain
amount of radiation which should be the lowest in accordance with the radiation
protection principle ALARA (as low as reasonable achievable) [2]. The typical
effective dose for an X-ray CT brain scan (without contrast) is about 2-3 mSv. Modern
CT scanner can acquire data in a continuous helical or spiral fashion, shortening
acquisition time and reducing artifacts [3].
This paper reveals our results concerning the analysis of X-ray CT brain scans by
using ImageJ and OriginPro software [6].

2. Results and Discussions

21. Image Processing
Image processing techniques can help to differentiate the abnormal tissue
growth (tumors) in question from other tissues, providing more detailed information on
head injuries, stroke, brain disease and internal structures than do regular X-ray CT
scans. By using suitable programs into the first stage we performed multiple processing
on a typical tomographic image of a normal brain – S1 (Subject 1) and ischemic brain
– S2 (Subject 2) illustrated in Fig.1.a,b
The binary threshold level indicates the intensity level at which binary segregation
occurs in digital image. Binary segmentation reduce the vast information content of a
grayscale image that has 256 possible intensities values (8-bit image) while the features
of interest remain recognizable. This technique can be used in X-ray CT analyze of
brain tumors, because a large number of feature recognition and classification
algorithms operate exclusively on binary images (Fig. 1.c,d).
One of the methods of automatic threshold selection is based on viewing the gray-
level histogram of an image as an estimated probability density function of the gray-
levels including samples and background pixels. Considering that the sample pixels
and background pixels are normally distributed but contained in separate classes. The
gray-level histogram is displayed as an approximation to the sum of two normal
distributions, given by the equation [4]:
(2)
( ) ( )


− +


− =
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
1
1
σ 2
µ g
exp
π 2 σ
1
σ 2
µ g
exp
π 2 σ
1
p(g)
where p(g) is the percentage of black pixels desired, µ(k) and σ(k) (for k = 1,2)
represent the mean and the spread, respectively, of Gaussian distributions that
approximate the sample and background pixel distributions.
Adobe Photoshop filters used in conjunction with Corel PHOTO-PAINT
processing enable to apply automated effects to an image, allowing us to correct
lighting and perspective fluctuations. Hue represents color, saturation indicates the
color depth or richness and lightness shows the overall percentage of white in the





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X-ray CT images. For clarity some regions are made transparent while the significant
details can be easily seen (Fig. 1.e,f).
a) b)
c) d)

e) f)

Figure 1. - RGB-X-ray CT scan of
(a) S1-normal brain (1911 × 2311 pixels), (b) S2 abnormal brain (1669 × 1706 pixels), - 8-bit images
performed after Adobe Photoshop – Image Adjustment – (Threshold - Level 82) folowed by ImageJ–
Filter (Variance: Radius 5) Process: Enhance Contrast (Saturated Pixels 2%, Equalize Histogram on
X-ray CT scan of (c) S1 normal brain (d) S2..abnormal brain,
- Corel PHOTO-PAINT effects: Color Transform (Psychedelic: 92 level) followed by Adobe
Photoshop multiple filtering: Stylize (Trace Contour: 255 level, Upper Edge followed by Find
Edges) and image adjustments: Invert followed by Hue (119)-Saturation (0)-Lightness (0) on X-ray
CT scan of (e) S1 normal brain and (f) S2 abnormal brain






294 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Histogram illustrates the number of pixels distributed on X-ray CT image (y-axis) for
each level (gray value) from darkest (0) to brightest (256). The total pixel count was
also calculated and displayed, as well as the mean, modal, minimum and maximum
gray value by using ImageJ program (Fig. 2.a,b). Min (0) and Max (255) represents the
minimum and maximum gray values within the X-ray CT image. The Mode (Modal
Gray Value: 10 and 15 attributed to S1 and S2 respectively) was computed as the
midpoint of the histogram interval with the highest peak. Figure 2.a indicates that all
the pixels had been shifted to the left, shadow side of the histogram. For this reason I
concluded that there are no pure whites in the S1 X-ray CT normal brain scan.
a) b)

Figure 2. – ImageJ-histograms of S1 X-ray CT normal brain scan (a) and S2 X-ray CT ischemic
brain scan (b)

Mean is the sum of the data in a frequency distribution divided by the number
of data elements.
(3)
n
x
x
n
1 i
i
_

=
=
The standard deviation (σ or Std Dev) is the most common measure of statistical
dispersion. If the data points are close to the mean, the standard deviation is small; on
the contrary, if many data points are far from the mean, then σ is large. The standard
deviation of a discrete uniform random variable X can be calculated as follows:
(4)

=
|
|
¹
|

\
|
− =
n
1 i
2
_
i
x x
n
1
σ
where x
1
, x
2
, x
3
,...x
n
are real numbers with equal probability and
_
x is the sample mean
In probability theory and statistics the variance (σ
2
) and the standard deviation of a
probability distribution or random variable are both measures of the spread of the
distribution about the mean (expected value).
Profile Plot displays a two-dimensional graph of the intensities of pixels along a
line (x-axis or y axis) within the X-ray images (Fig. 3. a,b). For plotting the S2 X-ray
CT of abnormal brain we have been used the figure 1.b. The highest peaks in Profile
Plots on x-axis (
1
h = 153 a.u.) and y-axis (
2
h = 193.667 a.u.) describe the tumor
location, being calculated by us in the range 6-6.7 cm and 1.33-2.23 cm respectively.





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High peaks depict low density tissues (lack of tissue) while boundary valleys with
lowest gray values show calcified tissue in Profile Plots on x-axis and y-axis.

a) b

Figure 3. a,b - ImageJ Profile Plots of S2- X-ray CT abnormal brain scan – a) on x-axis:
1
x =
6 cm,
2
x = 6.67 cm, b) on y-axis:
1
y = 1.33 cm,
2
y = 2.23 cm

In order to acquire the power spectrum as a function of frequency we have been
applied the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis by using the profile plot values (Fig.
4. a,b) and the histogram values (Fig. 5. a,b)
a) b)

Figure 4. a,b - OriginPro FFT analyze of S2- X-ray CT abnormal brain scan on:
(a) x-axis and (b) y-axis, using the plot values

a) b)
Figure 5. a,b - OriginPro FFT analyze of S2- X-ray CT normal brain scan on
(a) and abnormal brain (b) using the histogram values






296 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Particles Analyze command counts and measures objects in binary or
threshold images. Once the image has been segmented we can obtain various
information regarding particle size and numbers. By using ImageJ software we can
also perform a set of measurement on a selected object (the brain tumor showed in Fig.
1.b.). The Integrated Density represents the sum of the values of the pixels in the
selection, being equivalent to the product of Area and Mean Gray Value. The Feret’s
Diameter (caliper length = 1.030 cm) is the longest distance between any two points
along the selection boundary. The measurement results are presented in calibrated units
(Table 1).

Table 1. The measurement results of a brain tumor

Area(cm
2
) 0.447 Min/ Max 53/195 Skewness - 0.032
Std Dev 29.737 Mean gray value 116.770 Kurtosis - 0.234
Circularity 0.955 Modal gray value 133 Perimeter (cm) 2.426
Integrated Density 52.200 Median 119 Feret’s diameter (cm) 0.933

A fundamental task in many statistical analyses is to characterize the location
and variability of data set, including Skewness (skew, g
1
) and Kurtosis (kurt, g
2
).
Skewness is a parameter that describes the asymmetry of a PDF (Probability Density
Function) while Kurtosis is a parameter that depicts the shape (the degree of
peakedness) of a PDF. These statistical measures were used to describe the distribution
of observed data around the mean. Negative values for the Skewness (-0.032) show
data are skewed left and negative Kurtosis (-0.234) indicates a ’’flat distribution’’. A
distribution with negative kurtosis is called platykurtic or platykurtotic. For a sample of
n values the sample skewness is written as:
(5)
2 3
n
1 i
2
_
i
n
1 i
3
_
i
2 3
2
3
1
x x
x x n
m
m
g

|
|
¹
|

\
|

|
|
¹
|

\
|

= =





where x
i
is the i
th
value,
_
x is the sample mean, m
3
is the sample third central moment
and m
2
is the sample variance. For a sample of n values, the sample kurtosis is given
by:
(6) 3
x x
x x n
3
m
m
g
2
n
1 i
2
_
i
n
1 i
4
_
i
2
2
4
2

|
|
¹
|

\
|

|
|
¹
|

\
|

= − =


=
=


where m
4
is the fourth sample moment about the mean, m
2
is the second sample
moment about the mean (the sample variance), x
i
is the i
th
value and
_
x is the sample
mean.





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Origin Pro 7.5 software converts each pixel to an RGB value giving the
corresponding matrix cell an index number to a gray scale palette, based on the RGB
value of the pixel. By using this software we have been created Profile Plots, Profile
Contour Plots and 3D Color Surface Maps of CT images.
Contour Plot is useful for delineating organ boundaries in images. The X-ray
CT image of the abnormal brain can also be plotted using a graph template that
includes X and Y projections. While the X-ray CT scan show a tumor located in the
middle frontal gyrus, the Contour Plot (Fig. 6.) reveals additionally data about other
brain tissue damages in both hemispheres.

a) b)

Figure 6. Profiles Contour Plot of X-ray CT (a) S1 normal brrain and (b) S2-abbnormal brain
scan – OriginPro application (RGB images)


3D Color Surface Map displays a three-dimensional graph of the intensities of pixels
in a gray scale or pseudo color image (Fig. 7. a, b. and fig. 8. a, b.).


a) b)

Figure 7. – 3D Color Surface Map of : (a) S1- X-ray CT normal brain scan
(b) S2- X-ray CT abnormal brain scan - OriginPro applications







298 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
a) b)

Figure 8. - 3D Bars Graph of: (a) S1- X-ray CT normal brain scan
(b) S2- X-ray CT abnormal brain scan - OriginPro applications

3. Conclusions

Image enhancement technique allows the increasing of the signal-to-noise ratio
and accentuates image features by modifying the colors or intensities of X-ray CT
brain image. The X-rays penetrate the tissues differently depending on the type of
tissue. The solid tissue, such as bone, appears white and the air appears black. Image
processing of X-ray CT scans displayed the characteristic pattern of a normal and
abnormal brain showing calcified and lack tissues or asymmetric perfusion in both
hemispheres correlated with the neurological disease. Image analysis with OriginPro
7.5 and ImageJ programs revealed Hisograms, Profile Plots, Power Spectra,
measurements on a brain tumor with a Feret’s Diameter of 0.9333 cm and 3D Color
Surface Graphs.

References

[1] Barrett H.H., Swindell W. – Radiological Imaging, The Theory of Image Formation,
Detection and Processing, Vol. I, Academic Press, New York, USA, 1981, P. 438-
439,
[2] George M.S., Ring H.A., Costa D.C., Ell P.J., Kouris K., Jarritt P.H.– Neuroactivation
and Neuroimaging with SPET, Springer-Verlag, London, 1991, P.8.
[3] Hawnaur J. – Diagnostic radiology, British Medical Journal, 319(7203), p. 168-171,
[4] Spring K.R, Russ, Parry-Hill M.J., Fellers T.J., Burdett C.A., Stamper J.A., Zukerman
L.D., Cusma A.M., Davidson M.W. and Davidson M.W., Abramowitz M. – Binary
Slicing of Digital Images (Interactive Java Tutorials), Olympus America inc., and
The Florida State University, 2007.
[5] Webb S. – The Physics of Medical Imaging - Medical Science Series, Institute of
Physics Publishing Bristol (Great Britain) and Philadelphia (USA), 1996, P.124-
125.
[6] ImageJ 1.37 v, OriginPro 7.5, Corel PHOTO-PAINT 12, Adobe Photoshop CS2
software and their tutorials.





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Digital Image Processing using
MATLAB and STATISTICA

Emilia Dana SeleŃchi
1
, Octavian G. Duliu
1
1
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics,
Department of Atomic and Nuclear Physics, Bucharest, ROMANIA
E-mail: seletchi@gmail.com


Abstract
By using MATLAB 7.0.1., in a wide range of applications including image processing
and visualizing data we performed statistical function such as: mean median, range and
standard deviation, displaying image histogram and plotting the profile of intensity
values on an X-ray CT scan. The plot fits panel allowed us to visually explore multiple
fits to the current histogram data. We have been also created 2-D Stem Plots, Bar Plots
(Plotmatrix), Polar Plots, Contour Plot, Vector Fields Graphs(Feather Graph and
Compass Graph) and 3-D Surface Plot. STATISTICA 7.0 has been used to generate
Normal Probability Plots, Scatter Icon Plots, 3-D Sequential graphs (Surface Plot and
Contour Plot) and to apply multiple exploratory techniques such as Cluster Analysis.

Keywords: Stem Plot, Plotmatrix, Polar Plot, Feather Graph, Compass
Graph, Normal Probability Plot, Scatter Icon Plot, Cluster Analysis


1. Introduction
MATLAB is a high-level technical language and interactive environment for data
analysis and mathematical computing functions such as: signal processing,
optimization, partial differential equation solving, etc. It provides interactive tools
including: threshold, correlation, Fourier analysis, filtering, basic statistics, curve
fitting,, matrix analysis, 2D and 3D plotting functions. The operations for image
processing allowed us to perform noise reduction and image enhancement, image
transforms, colormap manipulation, colorspace conversions, region-of interest
processing, and geometric operation. The toolbox functions implemented in the open
MATLAB language can be used to develop the customized algorithms. STATISTICA
software provides advances linear/nonlinear models, multivariate exploratory
techniques (Cluster and Canonical Analysis), Industrial Statistics and Six Sigma
Methods. The digital images processing were performed on medicine studies.

2. MATLAB 7.0.1. Applications
2.1. Image Processing
An X-ray Computed Tmography (CT) image is composed of pixels, whose
brightness correspondsto the absorbtion of X-rays in a thin rectangular slab of the
cross-secton, which is called a ’’voxel’’ [1,2].
The Pixel Region tool provided by MATLAB 7.0.1. superimposes the pixel region
rectangle over the image displayed in the Image Tool, defining the group of pixels that





300 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
are displayed, in extreme close-up view, in the Pixel Region tool window. The Pixel
Region tool shows the pixels at high magnification, overlaying each pixel with its
numeric value. For RGB images, we find three numeric values, one for each band of
the image. We can also determine the current position of the pixel region in the target
image by using the pixel information given at the bottom of the tool. In this way we
found the x- and y-coordinates of pixels in the target image coordinate system. The
current position of the pixel region rectangle is also carried out by selecting the Copy
Position option from the Pixel Region tool Edit menu (Fig.1.).



Figure 1. – Image details, Metadata and Pixel Region of an X-ray CT scan

The Image Processing Toolbox provide a reference-standard algorithms and
graphical tools for image analysis tasks including: edge-detection and image
segmentation algorithms, image transformation, measuring image features, and
statistical functions such as calculating the X-ray CT image mean, median standard
deviation, range, etc., (Fig. 2.) displaying the image histogram (Fig.3) or plotting the
profile of intensity values (Fig. 4.a,b).

a) b)

Figure 2.- Data statistics of an X-ray CT scan performed by: (a) MATLAB 7.0.1.
(b) STATISTICA 7.0 (Tree Cluster Analysis)





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Figure 3. – The Histogram showing the number of pixels distributed on X-ray CT image (y-
axis) for each level (gray value) and the plot fits (significant digits: 2)

a) b)

Figure 4. - Line Plots of X-ray CT scan: (a) on ox axes, (b) on oy axes


The Plotmatrix generates rows and columns of scatter plots (Fig. 5.a,b) The 2-D Stem
Plot displays data as lines (stems) extending from a baseline along the x-axis and
terminated with a marker symbol at each data value (Fig. 6. a,b). The polar coordinate
system is especially useful in situations where the relationship between two points is
most easily expressed in terms of angles and distance (Fig. 7. a,b).





302 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
a) b)
Figure 5. – Bar Plots: (a) Plotmatrix generated with the histogram values of X-ray CT scan,
(b) Plotmatrix generated with plot profile values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan

a) b)
Figure 6. – 2-D Stem Plots created with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT scan (b) plot profile
values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan

a) b)

Figure 7. – Ploar Plots generated with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT scan (b) plot profile
values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan





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The 2-D Contour Graph display isolines of a surface represented by a matrix. 2-D
Filled Contour Graph (contourf) plot displays isolines calculated from matrix Z and
fills the areas between the isolines using constant colors [3]. The color of the filled
areas depends on the current figure's colormap (Fig. 8.). 3-D Contour Graph
(contour3) creates a 3D contour plot of a surface defined on a rectangular grid (Fig. 9.).
The 3-D Surface Plot display a matrix as a surface (Fig. 10).

a) b)
Figure 8. – 2-D Filled Contour Graph generated with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT scan
(b) plot profile values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan

a) b)
Figure 9. – 3-D Contour Graph generated with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT scan (b) plot
profile values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan

a) b)
Figure 10. – 3-D Surface Plots generated with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT scan (b) plot
profile values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan





304 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
Feather Graph displays vectors emanating from equally spaced points along a
horizontal axis (Fig. 11). The Compass graph displays the vectors with components
(U,V) as arrows emanating from the origin. U, V, and Z are in Cartesian coordinates
and plotted on a circular grid. The n arrows indicates the n number of elements in U or
V. The location of the base of each arrow is the origin. The location of the tip of each
arrow is a point relative to the base and determined by [U(i),V(i)] (Fig. 12).
a) b)
Figure 11. – Vector Fields-Feather Graphs generated with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT
scan (b) plot profile values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan

a) b)
Figure 12. – Vector Fields-Compass Graphs generated with (a) histogram values of X-ray CT
scan (b) plot profile values (on ox axes) of X-ray CT scan


3. STATISTICA 7.0. Applications
STATISTICA software provides several methods in which graphs can be
requested or defined. These methods ensure a high level of integration between
numbers such as: raw data, intermediate results or final results and produce highly
customized graphical displays. The 2D graphs include a very wide variety of both
common and unique graphs types.
Icon Plots represent individual units of observation as particular graphical objects
where values of variables are distributed to specific features or dimensions of the
objects. The values of variables in circular icon plots format (Polygon Icons) are





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represented by distances between the center (hub) of the icon and its edges. Icon plots
were used in order to find systematic patterns or clusters of observations and to explore
possible complex relations between several variables (Fig. 13.a,b).

a) b)
Figure 13. - Scatter Icon Plots based on histogram values of X-ray CT image (Selected
variables for X, Y, Icon and Weight: 1, 1, 1-2, 1) (a) Polygons, (b) Lines

We ca also perform the observed cumulative distribution function versus the
theoretical cumulative distribution function in order to estimate the fit of the theoretical
distribution to the observed data. The Probability-Probability Plots indicate where the
data points do and do not follow the distribution. The theoretical cumulative distribution
approximates the observed distribution well if all points in the graph fall onto the
diagonal line. The Normal Probability Plots were used to evaluate the normality of the
distribution of a variable (Fig. 14. a). The normal distribution function is written:
(1)

|
¹
|

\
| −
− =
2
σ
µ x
2
1
exp
π 2 σ
1
f(x)
where σ is the standard deviation and µ is the mean. The 2D Detrended Probability
Plots were constructed in the same way as the standard normal probability plot, except
that before the plot was created, the linear tendency was removed (Fig. 14.b).

a) b)

Figure 14. a,b – Normal Probability Plot created with histogram values of X-ray CT image,
Selected variable: 1, Graph type: (a) Normal (b) Detrended






306 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
The 3D Sequential Graphs are unique subset of 3D graphs showing
representations of multiple sequences of values and /or their variability. The Surface
Plot fits a spline-smoothed surface to each data point (Fig. 15.a). The Contour Plot
represents a 2D projection of the spline-smoothed surface fit to the data, where
successive values of each series are plotted along x-axis and each successive series are
represented along the y-axis (Fig. 15.b).

a) b)

Figure 15.- 3D Sequential Graph (Advanced 3D Raw Data Plot) based on histogram values of
X-ray CT image (a) Graph Type: Surface (b) Graph type: Contour


4. Conclusions
MATLAB provide interactive tools and command-line functions for analysis of
medical imaging data such as: basic statistics, matrix analysis and curve fitting,
allowing us to visualize vectors of data with both 2-D and 3-D plotting functions.
STATISTICA has been also used to reveal the wide variety of graphs including:
Normal Probability Plots, Scatter Icon Plots and 3-D Sequential Graphs generated with
histogram values. The Tree Clustering Algorithm joins together objects into
successively larger clusters by using Euclidean distances. These multivariate
exploratory techniques and image processing tools carried-out the variables of a
complex system.

5. References

[1] Bistriceanu, E.G. (1996): Principiile Matematematice şi Fizice ale Tomografiei
Computerizate, Matrix ROM, Bucureşti.
[2] Webb, S. (1996): The Physics of Medical Imaging, Institute of Physics
Publishing, London.
[3] Moshe Y. (2004) – GUI with Matlab, Signal and Image Processing Laboratory
[4] MATLAB 7.0.1. – The Language of Technical Computing
[5] STATISTICA 6.0 software, STATISTICA Electronic Manual





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WebVEx

Dumitrescu Bogdan
1
, Andra Lada
1
, Alina Coroma
2


(1) University of Bucharest, Informatics Section, Str. M. Kogalniceanu,
ROMANIA
E-mail: bogdand@cisco.ro
2) University of Bucharest, Mathematics Section, Str. M. Kogalniceanu,
ROMANIA
E-mail:alinac@cisco.ro

Abstract
WebVEx represents a new instrument in the educational area that was developed to
help teachers that are holding their lessons in the informatics lab to prepare tests
and check their students knowledges.

Keywords: Testing, Platform, E-Learning, Students


NOTE: The system used for holding all the data is the MySQL database system. It is
used a lite version of the MySQL system, a version that has a slightly decrease in the
security policy when communicating with the exterior web. This decrease helps the
database perform faster. The build used is MySQL XE.
Databases are coded using MD5 keys and this system ensures a high functionality
to the system and a higher security. The security has been enhanced too, into the
administrative area where the intruders are kept out because of the MD5 dynamic
coding.
The configuration that was used for making all the tests was a server based on a
Pentium III processor at 866 MHz, equipped with 512 SDRAM, and a PATA 100 hard
drive with 10 GB. The networking stuff was done with network cards equipped with
the Realtek chipset, the RTL8139. The infrastructure concerning the wiring, switches,
and the rest of parts was done by the technical teams inside the company’s where we
tested the product.
The desktop systems were provided by HP and Dell. These machines had mounted
on them Windows XP Professional with SP2. On the server side part, the machine’s
were running a Linux distro, based on RedHat and in an isolated case we had a
Windows 2003 Server.

1 Introduction
This project was developed to fulfill the ideas of teachers that wanted a flexible and
powerful tool in evaluating the students.
After some analysis on the field during the time a structure was distinguished and
implemented, a structure that all the teachers approved as the ideal structure. This





308 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
model was named eTest and it was a simple application that was developed with
ActiveX controls. This was a fine solution to the problem but the system was incapable
of work properly becouse the OCX’s and the existing technology disallowed the
structures to support very much users and tests. The databases used were a personal
ideea of the developers and they were not as flexible as today’s databases, they were
having a series of problems of compatibility and interoperability. And even more, the
system was unable to sustain two simultaneous sessions of exams with different
teachers and students.
Even if the eTest software was a failure the concept was a success, it was the key
to the WebVEx system. The eTest structures were analyzed, it’s tables, concepts, and
behaviours were replicated, adjusted, and improved, in one word, shaped a new
modular and flexible system named WebVEx. In this new system the security is a
powerful tool by using the MD5 keys, the number of accounts, exams and running
simultaneous exam sessions is practically unlimited, the only limit being the hardware.
Looking to the connection data transfer algorithms we are in front of a new era, a new
structure is used, the MemTr algorithm. This algorithm is a new solution in securing
and compressing the data send over to the servers. Times are smaller, less data,
perfection!

2 Tools used
Also, the testing system has been enhanced, being evaluated and offering the teacher a
series of tools that will help him define a perfect test. Actual tools have been enhanced
and a superior state of personalization has been added to them to make them the perfect
instrument. Existing instrument were the Radio Button and the Check Box system that
were defined by the operating system OCX’s library. Now the OCX library’s have
been overridden by the program, and the rules are now made by the user.
Now the user can override the rules defined by the operating system, and create
his own behaviour for his tools. This behaviour can be saved and used in every exam
defined by the user to achieve the perfect exam.
Also in the tools are we are proud to present a innovation in this domain, we say
that this is an innovation because till now there was no way for an exam program to
initiate and rely on mathematical equations. Now this problem is solved using the
Microsoft’s Office Word’s OCX’s that has a series of controls that allow you to use
math in your exams. Using their’s advanced OCX’s you can make or display math the
way it’s meant to be.
Referring to image tools, the controls that are using Windows controls are mostly
based on the drag and drop functions and on the ideea implemented by Microsoft in the
window system, the contraints system that defines the drag and drop ideea. Even with
this system, the user can change it’s behaviour to a personalized behaviour that acts
and reacts to his needs.
Another improve to the system is the possibility to user one or more tools for a
subject. According to this utility the user can develop a subject that will use Radio
Button’s along with Equations or other tools. They can be mixed in different ways and
manners. This advantage can be exploited in chemistry lessons or physics or
mathematics where the teacher can combine problems concerning the geometrical
domain where the student receives a picture, or a diagram that next he has to fill his





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corners with different letters where is involved the drag and drop function and then to
write a solution for the problem.


3 Functional sketch











Sketch 1. WebVEx architecture

[1] & [3] – Consists in the profiles of the teachers and those of the students,
profiles saved in the MySQL database.
[2] – Represent the exams stored in the MySQL database.
[4] – MySQL server.
[5] – The student application that is running on every computer in the company.
[6] – The teacher application that makes a link between the teachers profile and
the exams stored for that profile.
[7] – The exam session being initialized between the student and the teacher with
the exams. All the exam data, behaviour settings and other data.


4 Speed and performance
Thankfully to the structure of the server (teacher edition) / client (student’s edition) the
WebVEx system has a major advantage when were talking about speed. The job is
spited into two separated jobs and this structure makes the traffic in the network to be
minimum, making possible that the system to support up to 100 simultaneous tests,
each with an average of 30 users. This facility is provided by the MySQL XE server,
that it’s special build version enables a higher speed that other versions of MySQL
servers
Referring to access times we can say that they are practically instantaneous.
Because of the system is working with secure connections the data is compressed with
MemTr and then sent to the main server .
In the table below we have made a statistic showing the speeds achieved on a
normal MySQL server compared to a MySQL XE server type, and above all, the data
sending algorithm recorded with the MemTr standard and without it.



MySQL Server

Student profile
Exams
Teacher profile
Student
Teacher
[1]
[2]
[3] [4]
[5]
[6]
[7]





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4
20
24
8
28
36
10
28
38
12
34
46
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
ms
XE / MemTr XE / Normal SQL / MemTr SQL / Normal
Server Client
TOTAL

Graphic 1. Speeds obtained on different configurations

- TOTAL represents the sum of the times registered by the server (teacher edition)
and the client (student edition). The result is the medium value that is obtained from
the moment when the command is being issued till the moment when the result is
found in the database.
NOTE : In this times some delayes may be found because, even if the information is
sent at a high speed to the server the infrastructure can be a troublemaker. The slow
connections and the weak network points can damage the speed recorded on the
machines. In the calculation of the speeds a 10% value has been added, a value that
should be enough for a company with a network administrator who cares about it.
NOTE : The system that was the subject of our tests was a Pentium III class processor
at 866 MHz, with 256 SDRAM at 133, and a PATA 100 hard-drive, and 5e network
cable. The system described can be found in 90% of the schools and high schools on
the territory of Romania
We must alert you that the system is compatible with the default system, the
MySQL, but also the normal MySQL system. In case of normal MySQL system is
used the delays are a little bigger that in the case of MySQL XE. These statistics were
crafted after a series of tests were made in 6 different high schools. The same values
have been always obtained

5 Structure
The WebVEx is structured into 3 main components :
The first component – represents the MySQL server, the server that takes care of all
the account created in the company, and not only the account, but the exams and the
behaviour settings. Also, this server takes care of all the feedback’s and all the results
and marks of every student.





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The second component – is the software dedicated to the teacher where he is making,
saving and editing all his exams. This component has two functions, and it’s
transforming itself as it’s focus is changed. Firstly is a component that generates
exams, and secondly is a powerful feedback tool and a statistic one in the same time.
Third component – represents the component that are in the student hands. It is the
interface that loads the exam and in the final displays the feedback. Within this
interface the student is logging in and loads the exam in the interface, after this step
being done he actually takes the exam, and finally he get’s his mark and his
personalized feedback. The feedback is less complex or very detailed, this thing being
defined by the teacher with the help of the behaviour tool.


6 WebVEx software

WebVEx – Student Edition (Client)



Figure 1. The interface of the software

Represents the program interface that will be installed on all the computers in the
company. Working with this program the user (student) can customize his profile and
when talking about profile it’s about the appearance and behavier of the software. This
interface firstly requires a login with your username, password and a choice about the
exam desired. Once logged in the student configure the software in his spare time till
the exam is started. Without an active exam the main interface will not start, logging in
being impossible.





312 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
In the right below the interface has the „Settings” button where are displayed
different tools for the exam and the so called Cosmetics button where the user can
change fonts and colors in the program. We mentioned above about some tools, and we
meant the statistical tools, tools that allow the user to send into his personal mail
address a chart with his result customized with different filters.


WebVEx – Professor Edition (Server)



Figure 2. The interface of the software

In the picture above is shown the interface of the WebVEx program, the teacher
version. In this interface the teacher has the freedom to develop an exam for his
students. From this point the teacher has the power to access a series of functions that
define the behaviour of the software for students. He can customize in different ways
the method and behaviour that the exam will react when launched on the student’s
platform. All these changes are being done from the button name „Rules” displayed in
the left below. These settings are can be saved by the user in his profile for a further
use in further exams that he will develop.


7 Working with the software
In order to run the WebVEx system firstly a database system must be installed on the
main server of the company. The MySQL server is provided by the developers of the
WebVEx system. Once installed the database, the application can run properly and
work should start.





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For the server (teacher’s program) the company’s administrator will make an
account in the server’s database and will fill the adequate data according to the desired
account. Once received the username, the user should login and define a password, and
from now on his micro-universe is waiting for him. He will have the power to define
and develop exams, to configure his behaviour settings for each and every exam, to
combine tools in order to create a perfect exam for it’s students. He will be granted
with full administration rights for his exams and he will be unrestrained in configuring
and setting the software. Once the exams are created behaviour settings are being
developed and just second far away the students can start working.
For the client module (the so called student program) it’s assumed that every
student is having an account on the server’s database made by an authorized person.
Once the account is received by every user he can login and sustain his exam. At the
login page he will fill in his password and username and from the list below he will
select what exam he will sustain. Once authentificated he will find himself in front of
an interface ready to show an exam. Till the exam will start he can make some
cosmetic adjustments or change his profile password or send to his personal e-mail
address a statistic with his history.
When the exam is started the student should complete the subjects shown. Once
finalized the subjects, the student should push the „Submit results” button, and
according to the settings defined by the user he will receive a feedback, the feedback
will be larger or smaller according to defined. Instantly with the results display the
application will upload to the teacher’s edition the modifications and update the table.
All the results will be recorded in the student’s profile, but he will never gain access to
them. This thing is done to keep a complete evolution of the student’s exams and
participation.

8 Demonstration
We will try below to reproduce a simple case of using the WebVEx platform. We will
be using both the server (teacher software) and the client software (referred as the
student’s application).

[1] The teacher generates an exam according to his materials and build’s it in the
Server program. It is supposed that the teacher already has an account in the database
[2] Secondly, the teacher saves the exam form in the company’s server database and
in the next step defines the behaviour of the exam and the user class for which it will
be activated.
[3] Optionally ! The company’s administrator can add the layout of the room in the
server’s database to activate the A.I. advanced randomizing module for achieving the
perfect exam.
[4] Once finished developing the exam the examination can begin. Students will
access their programs and authentificate on the server in order to start
[5] The client software will auto-morph it’s structure and behaviour once the exam
is loaded into the memory. The behaviour settings will shape the interface of the exam
into a exam imagined by the professor and it will be rendered by the machine
[6] In front of the problem the student can start working, having the necessary time
already set for this exam. Along with the exam on the server program the interface will





314 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
morph into a « Surveilance » module that will analyze every move that each student
it’s making in the class room.
[7] Any problems raised can be resolved only by the teacher. We are helping the
professor with a series of tools developed to resolve these problems. We are not talking
about bugs but teacher-student problems.
[8] Finalizing the exam gives the student a personalized feedback in the main
window, and depending on the settings his feedback will be lighter or more complex
and below the feedback the final mark will be displayed. Also depending on the
settings the user will find out or not what went wrong during the exam.
[9] At the end of the exam the teacher has in on the monitor a detailed static of the
marks that every student got after the exam and as a detailed version, he can see what
are the mistakes made by everyone, the tempos of the exam, and several. Once
generated, this chart is saved in the teachers profile on the main server of the company.

9 Conclusions
Finally we can say that WebVEx is an independent system, independent we say when
we are referring to the location of the databases and the level of knowledge of every
user of the system. It is a system developed by the users for the users, and it’s done
primarely to help teacher to test their students, and we are talking about people that
don’t have a great experience in working with PC’s and in the IT industry.
It is a new and flexible sistem that has infinite expand possibilities to achieve the
goal to satisfy every exam. Independent of the professor the WebVEx sistem is making
a randomization at the level of IP addresses and the layout of the testing room to
develop a unique exam and to assure the teacher that the student’s are not copying the
results from the other mates.

10 Web Address
To download the WebVEx application containing the teacher and the student edition
please follow the link below: www.webvex.3x.ro

11 Bibliography
[1] L. Thomson, Developing web based applications with integrated MySQL
Databases, tihrd edition, Editura Teora, 2002
[2] Elena Piticu, „Biblia DotNet”, Editura Teora, 2003
[3] www.phpmanual.org, Online Manual
[4] W3c.org, „ActiveX Controlls”, Editura ProgrammersWorldWide





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Experience in Developing the
Advanced Distributed Learning
Capabilities in the Academic Area

Assoc. Prof. Doina MURESAN, PhD candidate
“Carol I” National Defence University”, Bucharest

Abstract:

eLearning is the new challenge in the education and training field everywhere in
the world. Connected to the educational system, both at the NATO and the national
level, the “Carol I” National Defence University has started developing its own
elearning project in order to improve its capabilities in delivering the education and
training services. The eLearning projects are different from one another but at the
same time all of them follow the main principles and comprise of the best experience
from previous projects. In this sense, through this paper, we try to bring in focus our
experience in developing eLearning project in our institution. Due to the specific of
our university regarding the two different sets of education and training
requirements which come from NATO and from the Romanian national education
system, we believe that our experience could become a good pole of lessons learned
for others eLearning developers.
This paper tries to show you some relevant aspects about what we think that could
be useful for interested readers in the e-learning project development. At the same
time, we consider part of lessons learned like a good practice but, of course we know
better that there are not two projects alike, and we invite you to criticize and to
enrich them by own experience and suggestions.


STEPS IN DEVELOPING THE PROJECT

1. Learn about e-learning

In 2004, in the fall, The Senate of the National Defence University “Carol I”
decided to develop a new dimension of its university education capabilities based on
the new concept e-learning. Since then the initiative has been transformed in reality
and consequently starting with the 2006-2007 academic year the NDU launched its
first on-line courses. The story seems to be very simple and short, but in this period of
time a lot of things have happened. Practically, this project was developed in three
different phases and more activities. Each phase and activity meant for us both a
challenge and a source of lessons learned.
If somebody wants to know about this concept, he will probably find on
INTERNET based on “e-learning” word searching and like a result he will have more
than 150 millions of recording. Nobody reads everything, and consequently one will
search by advanced search tools to reduce the results, and so on and so forth to the
convenient solution, let us say around 100 sources. That means that at the beginning of





316 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
studying about e-learning someone reads no more than 0, 0000001 percent of e-
learning knowledge sources.
Knowing about this situation, we started to build a team consisting in teachers,
IT specialists and researchers who tried to acquire valuable information and knowledge
about e-learning concept and its derivates. A generic plan was generated, through
which the directions of studying the principal aspects were established, as follows:
1. Fundamental theories about e-learning: distance learning, advanced
distributed learning, on-line learning, web based training etc.
2. Teaching and learning processes based on information technology, including
here: instructional design knowledge, digital content development, pedagogical
aspects, adult education learning etc.
3. Technical tools and e-learning systems: learning management systems,
learning content management system, authoriting tools in content
development, contents standardization etc.
4. Best practices and case studies: university virtual campus advanced distributed
learning in NATO and PfP Consortium, e-learning in the military and civilian
institutions, corporate and stakeholders experience etc.


2. Set-up the project master plan

The core of the any master plan is the end-state of the project. The end-state is
strongly related to the objectives, directions of effort, SWOT analysis, logistics and
financial support and probably some other more. In the economy of this paper only
three of them will be tackled.
The end-state for the eLearning project represents the technical and
educational (training) capabilities in order to be able to support the learning processes.
The end-state has to be very well defined, realistic and proper with the institutions`
base mission, in fully accordance with the time length of the project and the internal
and external support.
The “Carol I” NDU e-learning project’s end-state is “to create the distributed
network based education - student oriented in order to develop valuable digital
standardization content and deliver knowledge what, where, when and to whom it is
necessary”
Directions of effort were established going from the role and mission of our
institutions in the military and national education systems. The specific of the NDU is
given by the double subordination and educational objectives, both by the military
training requirements in accordance with NATO standards and national educational
system, based on Bologna documents. As a result, the area of interest was divided in
two different directions, called by us e-training and e-education.
E-training follows the military requirements and it is focused on development
and provided the short professional and small team tailored courses inside the widely
concept Adult Life Long Learning.
E-education is represented by capabilities to organize, deliver and manage the
university curricula under the national distance learning specifications and it comprises
of educational service support for the distance learning and on-line distance learning





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university’s studies level, bachelor, master degree and doctoral studies and integrated
post graduated courses.
Logistic and financial support is one of the most important issue in the project
development, so much the more for the e-learning where not many people can see the
benefits of it. Knowing about it, we built the strategy around the idea to create the
network and deliver the first on-line courses based on extra budget. In this way we
thought, and the reality confirmed our hypothesis, that it is necessary first to
demonstrate the utility, benefits of this new education way and of course to create a
pressure from the learners to the decision level. For this purpose, we have focused on
the research area (private and national research programs) and we had a proposal called
“e-Learning Pilot Centre” by which we succeeded in 18 months to meet the end-state.

3. Development of project – technical capabilities
We had our e-learning model as a starting point , figure 1, and the main interest
was built around the knowledge distributed network and capacity of creating the
educational service support for both delivering ways: synchronous and asynchronous.
From our perspective, technical issue into e-learning project comprises of: hardware
and communications infrastructure, learning (content) management system,
commercial on the shelf (COTS) software, in-house developed software and content
development authoriting tools.


Figure 1 – The “Carol I” National Defence University eLearning Model

Hardware and communications infrastructure consists of: e-learning
laboratory, Internet, NDU`s Intranet and MoD`s Intranet connections capabilities,
servers machine park, network storage attached equipment and different types of
peripherals, figure 2.





318 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Figure 2 – The eLearning network
Learning Management System is the heart of any eLearning system developed
anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, the NDU has something special in using LMS`s,
because we use two different LMS, for different purposes. Thus, we have installed two
LMS`s, both on-the-shelf and an open-source one. First LMS is used mostly in
delivering synchronous digital content, lab-synchronous and integrated curricula of
courses. ILIAS, open-source, is designed to manage the on-line courses.
The big advantage of this kind of solution is given the possibility to test if the
digital content developed in house or imported is compliant with different standards,
especially SCORM. Others advantages: open-source offers more freedom to our
software developers and it is more easily maintained while commercial one gives us a
lot of learning tools and technical assistance; by one we manage the synchronous
lessons in the e-learning laboratory and by the other we manage the distance learning
activities and in this way we avoid the problems with the bandwidth.
Disadvantages are concentrated around the manpower designed to setup and
maintain two LMS`s and of course increase the number of servers and consequently
the budget is increased
The software components, both commercial and our own, refer to the operating
systems, security solutions, data base management, virtual library, web and portal
development tools and so on. Obviously, we use both commercial and open-source
server and network operating system but only Microsoft XP Professional for
workstations. At this moment we are not decided if the future development will be
based on Windows or Linux, but our IT specialists are still looking into it to find the
best solution. We will take the decision by the end of this academic year and from the
fall we will have a new technical reference model.
Digital content authoriting tools represent a set of specialized software,
standalone or embedded into LMS. In this category the software for evaluation tests
creation is included and for on-line or local testing session, too. More about digital
content development is written in the next section dedicated to educational capabilities.





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4. Development of project – educational capabilities

As I mentioned before, the e-learning project is designed for learning and teaching
while the technical aspects represent only the platform, like a school building in the
classical educational system. It is normal to build the technical capabilities but the
main mission is still the educational processes, teachers, students, books and
knowledge. The educational capabilities cover the third level of our e-learning
reference model and have in focus content, curricula, human resources, both students,
teachers and tutors, specific didactical and psycho-pedagogical aspects, educational
objectives and so on. From this perspective we believe that the digital content and its
didactical aspects represent the key role in the eLearning enterprise.
Digital content is the most sensitive issue in the NDU`s ADL project. If the LMS is
the heart, content is the brain of any eLearning system and it plays the key role in
reaching the educational objectives. It could be an easy or a very hard matter of any
discussion! It is easy, when you speak about it from the theoretical perspective and it
could be very hard when we try to develop some content fully compliant both with the
educational principles and technical standards of the development. It is well known
that in the digital content development enterprise, there are three pillars: subject matter
experts, instructional designers and content developers. No one of them is more
important than others and, consequently, having a proper digital content requests
people well prepared for their jobs. In attempting to reach this desideration, the NDU
has set up a training framework including best practices in eLearning, short training
session based on technical standards guide, gain the information – spread the
knowledge about instructional design principles and so on.
Now, we consider that the most challenging problem is the human resources,
especially educators, not technology. In our attempt to solve these issues properly, we
have made a decision regarding instituting a teacher team designed to receive the
know-how and after that to deliver it. Our concern is around the questions “who could
deliver know-how?” The link between the educational objectives and the eLearning
objects has been debated for years. In designing and authoring the course, the course
team needs to address a number of educational issues that arose as a direct result of
adopting the learning object approach.

5. Human resources

Not many people were confident in the Advanced Distributed Learning project
when it started two years ago. It could be very easy to call them “skeptics”. In fact,
depending on the reasons of doubts, the e-learning skeptics could be divided in at least
three different groups.
1. The group gathered around the concerning of quality of education
processes delivered by electronic facilities.
2. The group which is focused on the technical aspects of the e-learning
projects and capacity of the project team to manage this project.
3. The third group considered the financial aspects and in general the cost of
such project and the costs of developing the e-learning process.





320 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

Obviously, to be fair, it is necessary to mention the fourth group, as well . It is
about those who are skeptical regarding anything. This paper is designed to analyze
only the reasonable debates and how those could be converted into advantages for the
project coordinator team.
I have started this article in this way because many of e-learning developers
claim that they have to pass over the conservatorial attitudes of the teachers or
institutions board. We never forget that the actual educational system based on face-to-
face teaching has at least two thousand years and consequently it has a mature
pedagogical principle while the e-learning trend is still at its beginning. On the other
hand, it is obvious that at this moment e-learning is promoted and developed on its
technical dimensions and less on the didactical aspects or in other words the “e” is
stressed instead of learning. The real debates deeply concerning the e-learning side
inside the groups of critics, can show up the points of interests for e-learning project
developers. Any signs of questions based on logical argumentations should be taken in
consideration.
I think that it can be one lesson learned for the e-learning system developers:
listen and learn from those who criticize the e-learning projects, they might be right
and can give you new ideas.

Speaking about the people directly involved into this project, I would like to
stress only two aspects: desire and motivation. Going from those characteristics we
succeeded in generating competence through hard work, learning, trials and very
important by “stealing” experience from different groups which we joined. We do not
want to speak about our team, the results speak for themselves, but we want to mention
something which we consider being the key of success: put together the teacher’s
experience, management capabilities and technical expertise.


References:

[1] Mircea Muresan, Ion Roceanu – Security Through Knowledge – Network Based
Security Education, Berlin EDUCA 2006.
[2] Ion Roceanu - E-education versus e-training. Managerial and pedagogical
approaches, Berlin EDUCA 2006
[3] US Army’s Advanced Distributed Learning Vision, 2001, Department of
Defense Library





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Virtual Training Centre For CNC: a Sample Virtual Training
Environment

Mehmet Sahin
1
, Süleyman Yaldız
1
, Faruk Ünsaçar
1
, Y. Burak YALDIZ
1

Nikolaos Bilalis
2
, Emmanuel Maravelakis
2
, Aristomenis Antoniadis
2

(1) Technical Science College, Selçuk University 42031, Konya, Turkey
mesahin@selcuk.edu.tr
(2) Department of Production Engineering & Management, Technical
University of Crete, 73100, Chania, Greece
bilalis@dpem.tuc.gr


Abstract
It is a fact that virtual training has been a scope of interest for vocational
training for a very long time. However, it needs more time to be more common in
all specific training fields. This paper presents the development of a Virtual
Training Centre (VTC) to promote and reinforce Vocational Training in
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines. “Virtual Training Centre for
CNC” is a multilateral LdV project and of high importance in terms of virtual
teaching and learning in vocational education and training. This virtual training
environment is based on a common curriculum developed by the project partners.
Since it is an interactive training tool, accessibility is the most important
advantage over other training tools in VET.

Keywords: Virtual training center, CNC, Training centre


1. Introduction
The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) is the
European Union's reference Centre for vocational education and training. This centre
provides information on and analyses of vocational education and training systems,
policies, research and practice. According to Erwin Seyfried (2007), in the past two
decades and in most Member States there has been a growing awareness of the
importance of quality in vocational education and training (VET). Obviously, the
changing demands of the knowledge-based society and the overall trend to increase the
efficiency and effectiveness of VET systems, constitute major driving forces behind
these developments. Undeniably, through its funds and programmes, such as Leonardo
da Vinci, the European Commission has contributed to improving education and VET
systems by raising the level of the services they offer. For a qualitative approach to
VET, the technical working group on quality in VET (TWG) was called to respond to
during its mandate (2003 and 2004) in accordance with the priorities of the Council
resolution of 19 December 2002 (Council Resolution of 19 December, 2002) and the
Copenhagen declaration on ‘enhanced cooperation in vocational education and
training’ (European Commission-DG EAC, 2004). Finally, a further focus of the work





322 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
consisted of translating the three European policy priorities (promoting employability
of the workforce, access to training with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable
groups, and the better matching of training demand and supply) into concrete and
measurable objectives.
One of the objectives of the innovative VET systems is regarded as transparency
and distribution of information. This function concerns the potential and actual use of
information. There may be different systems and structures of information distribution
among the various actors, and in the public. And there are preconditions for creating
transparency in the VET system. To improve quality there must be systems for
distributing information and certain mechanisms to ensure the circulated information
can be used by the various actors in the policy process. The more widespread the
distribution, the better the potential use of the data will be – and as a reversal effect,
better quality data can be expected, as the actors are able to check the information
against their experience and will provide feedback to the systems for gathering data.
One of the concrete future strategic objectives of education and training systems in
the EU (Council of the European Union, 2001) is improving the quality and
effectiveness of education and training systems in the EU. This includes improving
education and training for teachers and trainers, developing skills for the knowledge
society, ensuring access to ICT for everyone, increasing recruitment to scientific and
technical studies, and making the best use of resources. The second strategic objective
is facilitating the access of all to education and training systems. This objective
includes open learning environment, making learning more attractive, and supporting
active citizenship, equal opportunities and social cohesion.
This article aims to promote a LdV project that will address the strategic objectives
mentioned above: The first one is improving the quality and effectiveness of education
and training systems in the EU by developing skills for the knowledge society,
ensuring access to ICT for everyone, increasing recruitment to scientific and technical
studies, and making the best use of resources. The second one is facilitating the access
of all to education and training systems by providing open learning environment,
making learning more attractive, and supporting active citizenship, equal opportunities
and social cohesion.

2. Importance of Virtual Training
During the 60's and 70's, teaching and learning tools were nothing but a piece of chalk
and a blackboard eraser, teachers and students who met each other face to face inside
the classroom during class. In the 80's, videotape programs were used as teaching aids.
In the 90's, one-way teaching by computer arrived. And finally today's advanced
computer and information network technology has revolutionized our teaching and
learning methods. In accord with the development, learning environment has also
changed. Students can listen to their teacher or trainers in distant classrooms through
PC's and get a simultaneous view of their teachers and texts as well. They can ask
questions and record the "class" for repeated viewing. Training organizations can
conduct professional training directly via the computer network. These learning
environments are not so different from a teacher-guided class with discussions and
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In the report “Studies in the context of the E-learning Initiative: Virtual Models of
European Universities” (Ramboll, 2004), a key concern was how virtual mobility is
being supported in European universities through ICT integration and e-learning. The
study found that the majority of universities face major challenges in promoting ICT
integration. ICT strategy is very important and those universities that have an ICT
strategy are significantly ahead in integration of ICT in administration and organisation
and networking. Integration of ICT and e-learning is politically important in the EU in
terms of internationalisation and globalisation of education, student demand and
interest in increasing the quality of education through ICT. At the national level,
integration of ICT should become a key priority with national and regional institutions
making a commitment to ITC and the development of networks. There must be
increased national flexibility with a commitment to support common standards of
quality and assessment and to develop national and international metadata standards.

3. Importance of Virtual Training Centre (VTC)
In the last 3 decades, a large number of vocational training centres and technical
universities are giving priority to CNC Training. New developments on CNC machines
are providing a continuous need for updated CNC training curriculum. Training on
CNC should follow similar developments and in particular in their programming
capabilities, automation they offer and their technical capabilities. In addition, CNC
programming is becoming more and more automated through the use of CAD/CAM
systems. This requires from the programmers to acquire CAD operation capabilities,
on top of their CNC operation and programming knowledge. The major objective in
the field of CNC training is to improve the qualifications and competences of the
trainees, which is directly related to a well-designed and effective curriculum to be
carried out on CNCs. The facilities for CNC training vary a lot and this has had direct
impact on the experience that the trainee is acquiring during his/her apprentice. This
paper presents the development and promotion of a Virtual Training Centre (VTC), an
internet based e-learning facility, specifically based on Computer Numerical Control
(CNC) training. This centre includes a virtual space (a CNC training portal) on the
Internet which allows the constant sharing of e-learning based CNC teaching material,
which is created so as to foster the further development of e-learning based CNC
educational contents. This virtual training centre aims at setting the standard CNC
virtual learning in vocational training systems (Şahin at all, 2007).

4. The partners of Virtual Training Centre (VTC)
The projects has five partners from three countries: Technical Science College, Selcuk
University, 42031, Konya, Turkey; Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece; The
Higher School of Transport (HST), Sofia, Bulgaria; Chamber of Industry, Konya ;
Turkey, and Uzçelik Machine Manufacturing Company, Konya, Turkey.

5. The content of the Virtual Training Centre (VTC)
During the first stages of the project, the equipment, methods, curriculum and
techniques currently used for CNC training by the organisations in the partner
countries were observed, collected and evaluated (Xiaoling at all, 2004; Yadong at all,





324 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
2007). The selected materials were used to create a new and common curriculum. Five
important factors that contribute to learning were taken into account in order to prepare
the CNC curriculum:
Motivation
Aptitude
Presentation
Repetition
Practice with reinforcement

The approach for developing the appropriate training material was based on
the following key concepts:
Know your machine (from a programmer’s viewpoint)
Prepare to write programs
Understand the motion types
Know the compensation types
Format your programs in a safe, convenient, and efficient manner
Know the special features of programming
Know your machine (from an operator’s viewpoint)
Understand the three modes of operation
Know the procedures related to operation
You must be able to verify programs safely

This approach combined with the important learning factors finally led to a CNC
training curriculum including 28 sessions:
1. Machine configuration
2. Speeds and feeds
3. Visualizing program execution
4. Understanding program zero
5. Measuring program zero
6. Assigning program zero
7. Flow of program processing
8. Introduction to programming words
9. Preparation for programming
10. Types of motion
11. Introduction to compensation
12. Dimensional (wear) tool offsets
13. Geometry offsets
14. Tool nose radius compensation
15. Program formatting
16. The four kinds of program format
17. Simple canned cycles
18. Rough turning and boring multiple repetitive cycle
19. More multiple repetitive cycles
20. Threading multiple repetitive cycle
21. Subprogramming techniques
22. Control model differences





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23. Other special features of programming
24. Control model differences
25. Machine panel functions
26. Three modes of operation
27. The key operation procedures
28. Verifying new programs safely

6. The Virtual Training Centre
To develop the virtual training centre, firstly, a communication website was developed
in order to manage the activities and tasks to be carried out by the partners.


Figure 1. The Front Desk of The Communication Website

Then, an interactive teaching program was developed and put into a website to form a
virtual training centre. The common curriculum developed for this purpose was the
base of this training centre. The site, along with the interactive teaching program, was
divided into four main areas, "News", "Exchange of views", "Projects and Networks",
and "Information Resources". It was planned that, with these, users would be able to
access a newsletter, a bulletin board, online surveys and survey reports, information on
VET networks, an electronic library with references, a bookshop with downloadable
publications and a number of databases.
In the main core of the CNC training material, simulations and practical
exercises are included into the interactive training centre (figure 2).
According to the related workpackage, the virtual training centre will be in use
of test sessions by the beginning of October, 2007, which is also the beginning of the
second year of the project. In the long run, the VTC for CNC aims to be an interactive
platform, a meeting point for policy-makers, social-partners, practitioners, researchers
and all those with an interest in CNC field of vocational education and training.
Experts in the field will be able to share and exchange knowledge and experience with
associates within and outside the European Union. This will foster the long-term
viability of the Centre.





326 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta



Figure 2. The preliminary interface of the interactive CNC training centre
(http://www.vtcforcnc.com)

7. Aims of the project
This project aimed to improve the skills and competences of people to promote and
reinforce the contribution of vocational training to the process of innovation, with a
view to improving competitiveness and entrepreneurship, also in view of new
employment possibilities.

The specific aims of VTC can be defined as follows:
Training the trainers, trainees, technicians and apprentices and all enthusiastic
about CNC.
Preparing technicians as intermediates having common measurable qualities
the industry is seeking.
Helping to form a labour force that can use current knowledge and technology,
and thus, in search for life-long learning.
Supporting the sectoral communication through the national centres in
partners.
Setting up a website to publish the data collected.
Adapting the collected materials to enhance the new curriculum satisfying the
requirements in a modern sense.
Helping to improve and upgrade competences and skills of the involving
institutions’ didactic staff and exchange experiences over the virtual training
centre.
Enabling the participants to extend the common educational qualifications of
CNC technologies, the accreditation of the skills and knowledge of CNC
technologies acquired within the network created between participating
institutions and organizations.
Increase the quality of employment through qualified workers.





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Helping to increase active use of technology acquired and thus to increase the
standards.
Contributing to individuals by behaving through life long learning.
Having a labour power in accordance with common design and production
standards.
Contributing to labour market by using the common technology and equipment
effectively.
Helping to enhance available potential of human sources.

8. Target groups of the project
Target groups will be trainers, trainees, technicians, apprentices and all enthusiasts
about CNC. The final and potential users of the project’s results will be the training
organisations, the SMEs dealing with metal products by CNC usage, and the
universities, colleges, vocational schools, training centres.
The feedback of the implementation of the VTC in training centres will be recorded
and the training participants will evaluate the curriculum; this will be undoubtedly one
of the strengths and recommendations on both form and content, which will be
incorporated into the final version. Evaluation will cover content (topics, language
used, modules), methods (progress, different levels of difficulty, and range of
resources, situations and practical cases) and technology (ease of installation,
interactive nature and use without a tutor). Testing of the resource in self-instruction,
workplace and training centre situations will be important. The experiences and
knowledge gained during the implementation of this Center can be used in developing
and improving other training programmes in particular in the area of new information
technology applications in related sectors.

9. Conclusion
This virtual learning environment for CNC Integration of ICT and e-learning is
politically important in the EU in terms of internationalisation and globalisation of
education, student demand and interest in increasing the quality of education through
ICT. At the national level, integration of ICT should become a key priority with
national and regional institutions making a commitment to ITC and the development of
networks. There must be increased national flexibility with a commitment to support
common standards of quality and assessment and to develop national and international
metadata standards. This centre addresses the priorities expressed here. Furthermore,
this virtual training centre addresses the strategic objectives mentioned above:
improving the quality and effectiveness of education and training systems in the EU by
developing skills for the knowledge society, ensuring access to ICT for everyone,
increasing recruitment to scientific and technical studies, and making the best use of
resources. Facilitating the access of all to education and training systems by providing
open learning environment, making learning more attractive, and supporting active
citizenship, equal opportunities and social cohesion is the other strategic objective that
can be achieved through this virtual training centre.






328 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
10. References
[1] Council of the European Union, 2001.
[2] Council Resolution of 19 December 2002, 2003.
[3] European Commission - DG EAC, 2004.
[4] Ramboll, PLS, (2004): Studies in the context of the E-learning Initiative: Virtual
Models of European Universities (Lot1). Draft Final Report to the European
Commission, DG Education and Culture. Available at
http://elearningeuropa.info
[5] Şahin M., Bilalis N., Yaldız S., Antoniadis A., Ünsaçar F., Maravelakis E.,
(2007): Revisiting CNC Training–a Virtual Training Centre for CNC.
International Conference on E-Portfolio Process in Vocational Education-
EPVET, Bucharest, Romania.
[6] Xiaoling, W., Peng, Z., Zhifang, W., Yan, S., Bin, L., Yangchun, L., (2004):
Development an interactive VR training for CNC machining, Proceedings
VRCAI 2004 - ACM SIGGRAPH International Conference on Virtual Reality
Continuum and its Applications in Industry, pp. 131-133.
[7] Yadong Liua, Xingui Guoa, Wei Lia, Kazuo Yamazakia, Keizo Kashiharab and
Makoto Fujishimab, (2007): An intelligent NC program processor for CNC
system of machine tool. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Vol
23 (2), pp 160-169.





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Contents

TECHNOLOGIES & SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS

No Paper and Authors Page
1. On teaching data analysis and optimisation using software tools

Grigore Albeanu, Florin PopenŃiu-Vlădicescu
,
Liviu Şerbănescu

255
2. Virtual Manufacturing Environments –
The Future of Education in Manufacturing

Laurence Legg,, Mircea Galis

261
3. The Implementation of E-Learning Systems
for the On-line Courses Management

Simona Marilena Ilie, Cristian Pavel

269
4. ICT Challenges in education:
Reflections from a developing country: Iran, with reference to the
statistics from computer science students

Roya Ensafi, Amin Zamiri, Mohsen Kahani

277
5. OLC, On-Line Compiler to teach programming languages

Cayetano Guerra Artal, María Dolores Afonso Suárez, Idafen Santana
Pérez, Rubén Quesada López

283
6. Brain Image Analysis with ImageJ and OriginPro

Emilia Dana SeleŃchi , Octavian G. Duliu


291
7. Digital Image Processing using
MATLAB and STATISTICA

Emilia Dana SeleŃchi , Octavian G. Duliu


299
8. WebVEx

Dumitrescu Bogdan, Andra Lada, Alina Coroma

307





330 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
9. Experience in Developing the
Advanced Distributed Learning
Capabilities in the Academic Area

Doina MURESAN


Virtual Training Centre For cnc: a Sample Virtual Training
Environment

Mehmet Sahin, Süleyman Yaldız, Faruk Ünsaçar, Y. Burak YALDIZ
Nikolaos Bilalis, Emmanuel Maravelakis, Aristomenis Antoniadis








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News and Events
ICVL 2006 Web site

October 2, 2007

LOCATION OF THE CONFERENCE, The conference will be held in the
"OVIDIUS" University of CONSTANTA Campus [1 University Street,
Address: MAMAIA, BUS 100 (head line), Constanta-Mamaia]
• ICVL 2007 SCHEDULE, FRIDAY, October 26, 2007
18:00-18:30 Registration, 18:30 Welcome Reception (Dineu/Cocktail - Oxford
Hotel) | [Contact: www.hoteloxford.ro , e-mail: oxford[at]rdsct.ro
- Address: 202A Lapusneanu Boulevard, BUS 100 (head line), Constanta-
Mamaia] SATURDAY, October 27, 2007

September 24, 2007

• VRRM 2007 - First International Wopkshop in Romania | VIRTUAL
REALITY IN REHABILITATION MEDICINE, September 24-25, Bucharest |
www.icvl.eu/2007/vrrm
• ICL 2007 Conference in Villach - International Conference - Carinthia Tech
Institute Villach, Austria, September 26-28, 2007 | www.icl-conference.org/ |
International E-Learning Association (IELA)- www.ielassoc.org/join.htm

September 6, 2007

• New - The Conference Proceedings is in preparation and will be sent for
printing. For the important dates concerning the ICVL event please have a look
to the page: signup/ (see Registration Fees) | A photocopy about transfer or a
purchase order will be sent by e-mail to Organizing Committee
(icvl@fmi.unibuc.ro)
• More about Registration Fees: The fees will be sent to one of following
accounts (Please DEADLINES: September 30) in € (Euros): RO87 RNCB
0076 0104 5262 0003, BCR (Romanian Comm. Bank), Sector 5, Bucharest,
ROMANIA [Bank name: BANCA COMERCIALA ROMANA, sector 5 Sort
code: BD. T. Vladimiresu nr. 57, sector 5, Bucharest, Romania Acct no: RO87
RNCB 0076 0104 5262 0003 Beneficiary Bank RTN or SWIFT Bank
Identifier Code (BIC): University of Bucharest, SWIFT- RNCBROBUB50 ]
• 2008-Online Learning: Toward the Globalization of Higher Education -
The University of Atlanta's First International Symposium - Online Learning:
Toward the Globalization of Higher Education, 24 to 26 October 2008,
Atlanta, GA | Explore recent advances, enhanced strategies and altered
paradigms within the rapidly evolving realm of online teaching and learning.
Focus on the embrace of challenge via the implementation of innovative
models | http://www.UofA.edu | FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT





332 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta

August 26, 2007

• Accepted papers: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24,
25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 44 (Total = 34 from 44
received)

August 23, 2007

• New - Accommodation: Hotels in Constanta-Mamaia, Romania |
Accommodation
• .campion - .campion is a training program for performance in computer
science, supported by well-known teachers and brilliant students, former
winners of International Informatics Olympiads | SIVECO Virtual Center for
Excellency created by SIVECO Romania in cooperation with the Romanian
Ministry of Education and Research gathers young people whose innovative
ideas greatly contribute to the software market development | On November
1st 2005, .champion became an international program, supported by teachers
from all Balkan countries | http://campion.edu.ro
• Advanced Technologies in Education - The 4th Educational Symposium
"Designing the Classroom of Tomorrow: Advanced Technologies in
Education", Athens, Greece, November 9-10, 2007 |
http://www.ea.gr/ep/dct2007/
• e-Education 2007 - The 2007 International Conference on e-Education,
August 15-17, 2007, Hong Kong, China (Organized by Academy of Taiwan
Information Systems Research-ATISR and Taiwan Knowledge Association) |
http://e-education2007.org/
• Innovative Educators - Innovative Educators is dedicated to providing
superior conferences and training sessions focused on the most critical and
relevant issues facing educators today | www.innovativeeducators.org/ |
Increasing Enrollment and Retention via Technology: Recruit, Retain,
Reconnect, November 7- 9, 2007 Boulder, CO

July 3, 2007

• The list of accepted abstracts - The list contains about 40 selected proposals
from 61 received ( LINK ); We invite you to complete and to send the full
version paper no later than July 15, 2007; All submissions will be reviewed on
the basis of relevance, originality, significance, soundness and clarity; [read
more] [EVALUATION REPORT FOR PAPER (.pdf, The report file for
authors)]
• Open Access Initiative - Open Access Journals | OAI is a new paradigm in
scholarly publishing. It aims to promote models that ensure free and
unrestricted access to scholarly & research journals | www.openj-gate.com






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June 12, 2007

• SIVECO 2007 - "For 15 years, Software that matters"; The SIVECO
Romania's team celebrated 15 years of activity | SIVECO Romania, a company
that talks best through its performances | www.siveco.ro
• ICVL 2007 - Call for Papers: www.confabb.com | www.emis.de |
www.flexiblelearning.net.au/
| http://elearning.fe.up.pt | http://www.mcantamesse.net/ |
http://elearning.cesnet.cz/
• SJI - Scientific Journals International (SJI) | SJI invites you to join its
Editorial Review Board [LINK]
• The e-Learning Awards 2007 - The 3rd annual e-Learning Awards will take
place in November 2007 in London | 2007 Awards Submission Deadline: 16
Days [www.elearningage.co.uk/goawards.htm]
• VRST 2007 - ACM Virtual Reality Software and Technology, Nov 5-7,
University of Irvine, USA | http://www.ics.uci.edu/computerscience/vrst/

June 3, 2007

• 2007 Prix UNESCO - 2007 Prix UNESCO Roi Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa
pour l'utilisation des technologies de l'information et de la communication dans
l'éducation [Link1 | Link2]
• SEI-The IT Based Educational System - The IT Based Educational System
(SEI) is a complex program initiated by the Romanian Ministry of Education,
Research and Youth in 2001, aiming to offer ITC support for the Romanian
education. The program supports the objectives of the educational reform, in
conformity with the eEurope 2005 action plan initiated by the European Union
and with to the European eLearning initiative | http://portal.edu.ro/index.php
• The Center for Excellency - SIVECO Virtual Center for Excellency; The
Center for Excellency brings together young people who have an original
contribution to educational software [Link]
• The SIVECO CUP - The SIVECO CUP in Educational Software (2003-2007)
[Link]
• TEHNE - Center for Innovation and Development in Education is an
organization aiming to support educational initiatives through projects and
programs covering areas of elearning, curriculum development, education for
democratic citizenship, lifelong learning, and in-service teacher training |
http://www.tehne.ro/

May 21, 2007

• WCECS 2007 - The World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science
2007 | The WCECS 2007 is composed of the following 15 conferences (San
Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)





334 University of Bucharest and Ovidius University of Constanta
• ICEIT 2007 - The International Conference on Education and Information
Technology 2007 | International Association of Engineers (IAENG) (San
Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• ICIMT 2007 - The International Conference on Internet and Multimedia
Technologies 2007 (San Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• ICMLDA 2007 - The International Conference on Machine Learning and
Data Analysis 2007 (San Francisco, USA, 24-26 October, 2007)
• ICMLA 2007 - The 2007 International Conference on Machine Learning and
Applications | www.icmla-conference.org/icmla07/ (Cincinnati, Ohio USA on
Dec 13-15, 2007) | Association for Machine Learning and Applications
(ALMA) | www.cs.csubak.edu/
• Conferences Alerts - Conferences Alerts Monthly - May [Link]

May 9, 2007

• MAY 9 - EUROPE DAY - Declaration of 9 May 1950 (Robert SCHUMAN
DAY)
• Informatics Europe - The Research and Education Organization of Computer
Science and IT Departments in Europe (www.informatics-europe.org/)
• European Computer Science Summit - 3rd Annual Informatics Europe
Meeting 2007 (http://kbs.cs.tu-berlin.de/ecss/), October 8-9 2007, Berlin

May 4, 2007

• Events: goingtomeet.com - ICVL 2007
(www.goingtomeet.com/conventions/details/13585)
• ICWL 2007 - The 6th International Conference on Web-based Learning, 15-
17 August 2007, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
(www.hkws.org/events/icwl2007/)
• ASTD - American Society for Training & Development (www.astd.org/) |
ASTD is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and
performance professionals | ASTD 2007, ASTD 2007 International Conference
& Exposition - June 3-6, 2007





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Sponsors
• Main Sponsor University of Bucharest - www.unibuc.ro
• Main Sponsor SIVECO Romania SA - www.siveco.ro
• Main Sponsor M.Ed.R.-National Authority for Scientific Research -
www.mct.ro/
• Media Partners:
o Agora Media - www.agora.ro
o The International Journal of Computers, Communications
& Control - http://www.journal.univagora.ro/
o Market Watch-IT&C. Informational solutions for
management - www.marketwatch.ro
o Modern professor's portal - www.didactic.ro
o MEdC - SEI educational portal - portal.edu.ro
o CNCSIS - http://www.cncsis.ro/















































Tiparul s-a executat sub cda 1856/2007
La Tipografia Editurii UniversităŃii din Bucureşti

www.icvl.eu and www.cniv.ro



GENERAL 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 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

CONFERENCE TOPICS


• M&M – MODELS & METHODOLOGIES - Research, Development, Strategies,
Objectives, Quality, implementation and applications
• TECH – TECHNOLOGIES - Innovative Web-based Teaching and Learning
Technologies
• SOFT – SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS - New software environments for education &
training
• EXHIBITION – Projects and Applications, Educational Software, Training and
Educational Management



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