You are on page 1of 7

A LOW COST COMMON EDUCATIONAL FRAMEWORK

*
Charles H. Pickman Northrop Grumman One Space Park Redondo Beach, CA, 90278 310-721-0812 chpickman@msn.com Dr. Dar-Biau Liu California State University Long Beach Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science 1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840 562-985-1594, liu@csulb.edu

ABSTRACT Many institutions of higher learning have curricula which can be designed and implemented at minimal cost and effort based upon a proposed common educational framework. A common educational framework is a low cost and flexible software suite of integrated open source applications which can be rapidly modified to support specific coursework. Teachers can choose to develop some of their coursework within their department based on a common educational framework; which enables exploration, learning and goal setting among adjacent disciplines and departments. Teachers can develop a structured and tailored educational plan over a multi-semester course of study. Teams of students within each course can independently work on their projects, resulting in a realistic learning environment enhanced by interdepartmental and interdisciplinary interaction. A common educational framework enables increased faculty interaction and development within departments and between departments. A proposed low cost open source common educational framework is discussed and evaluated. INTERDISCIPLINARY DEVELOPMENT AND INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN There are many instances when departments develop curricula within their own deparments without much interaction with external departments and faculty [4,7]. While not a critical issue, a department with an isolated curriculum may not take advantage of the full range of educational opportunities. It may be difficult without any support to ___________________________________________
*

Copyright © 2009 by the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the CCSC copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and/or specific permission.

238

Each department can utilize a CEF and tailor and design their coursework to match specific areas of the framework. See Figure 1 for an example data flow between the various educational elements. however. without a common set of goals or a common structure. The department courses can be run independently or FIGURE 1. Since a CEF is software based the bulk of the workload will fall upon the Computer Science department.i s . between Mathematics and Communication Theory. 239 .CCSC: Southwestern Conference reach across adjacent departments. Similarly. updated. These interdepartmental gaps may result in educational deficiencies that are subsequently covered in the student's education or in the workforce. Additional parallel work by the departments is required to update and synchronize a CEF between semesters to ensure common modules and resources are provided at the beginning of each semester for all related departments. and significant educational advances can be made due to the interdepartmental interaction between teams. with CEF feedback in conjunction and coordination with other department classes. Naturally there are correllaries between adjacent educational departments and adjacent commercial businesses. The various actions for CEF deployment tend to spread the development workload for the framework and the modified open source applications. Each teacher can choose to use a CEF as necessary in their c our s e w o r k : a s . Difficult collaboration between educational departments has the result that adjacent and related subject matter may be lightly covered or not at all. perhaps surmounting established barriers. driven by unique deparmental and interdepartmental educational goals. Each teacher can develop their own material and can then choose to participate with other instructors in other departments. The goal of a common educational framework is to rapidly highlight and identify many educational gaps. A common educational framework (CEF) or framework can be developed and implemented across these adjacent departments. it can be seen that educationally useful connections can be formed between teams within departments and between adjacent departments. additional modules. Many times innovative workers from adjacent companies collaborate creatively to develop new products and create new business areas [6]. once the framework is established at an institution the modifications can be controlled and minimally updated over time each semester. There are many technical areas that share adjacent and related subject matter which establishes joint or common areas for learning and exploration. Each teacher can modify the framework and modules to meet their class objectives. each involved team can work on their main subjects and the adjacent material via their unique interaction. In this manner the departments can be uniquely served by the framework while being supported by a common structure. Educational Data Flow. and allow for active curricula development across departments when necessary [2]. The additional effort to work with a framework significantly increases the interaction between students and enriches the educational environment. help fill the gaps in the student's curricula. for example.

A smaller school can choose to use the framework with minimal modification as an extension of their coursework. These separate fields of study have many overlapping regions. The earlier the students begin to collaborate. since many students will gain additional experience with the framework which will be retained while they advance through their education. Electrical Engineering (Communication Theory. A. and foundations of the other areas). SMALL AND LARGE SCHOOL UTILIZATION Many smaller schools do not have all the resources of larger institutions. It is also a positive feature that smaller schools can interact with larger schools when necessary to provide additional interdepartmental interaction. A smaller school may not have all the departments or the faculty of a larger school. Successfull students will learn how collaboration benefits both sides of the relationship. In a similar manner the business world relies upon breakthroughs to achieve technical excellence. Network Theory). During his many productive years in industry. Information Theory). The overall result is an improved learning environment and enhanced education. Each teacher and department can implement their plans while relying upon a CEF to form a stable teaching environment. It is expected a CEF will generate educational excitement and interest among adjacent fields in academia. COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT RELATIONSHIPS There are many related technical areas in education and business. The CEF can be supported by a smaller school budget since the framework can be already established and concurrently used by many larger institutions of higher learning.JCSC 24. The smaller school can take advantage of the prior efforts to create and maintain the framework among many other institutions. The collaboration between adjacent fields of study can carry over to the commercial world. As the students enter the technical workforce many similar innovations should occur. Some of the strongest relationships occur between Computer Science (Software. This is still acceptable. It would appear that 240 . the sooner the students will find their studies can enhance both their educational goals and their career goals. as a result. the small school may not get all the interactions found in the larger school. There have been many studies that show earlier and increased application of coursework in the workforce tends to stengthen the learning experience and improve the material retention [1]. and expanding their interaction with other departments. advancement and innovation. T. and Mathematics (Graph Theory. and many overlapping fields have borrowed from each other during their invidual development [10]. Since Maxwell mastered and combined electric and magnetic waves. there have been many breakthroughs in the commercial world based on adjacent fields of study. Edison harnessed of many newly discovered scientific theories to develop and innovate. There are many on-line interfaces that can be used to provide sufficient communication and interaction. 4 (April 2009) The flexibility and control provided by the framework can assist teachers in developing their curricula. The cross-pollination between fields of theory has led to many significant theoretical breakthroughs [8].

see Figure 2 for an example of a three view framework. the students can apply some feedback to modify the coursework for their and future students and faculty. Many times courses have a well defined and mature curriculum. compatiblity is maintained through views provided into a CEF. The faculty can selectively modify the design to achieve important educational goals. simulation and other necessary modifications. however. There is coordination required between departments to ensure the framework is consistent and applicable. These real-world modifications are often required to allow the theory to be applied successfully. the application of many theories requires real-world assumptions. to modify and improve the framework design within their department and institution. modelling. The students and faculty can modify and design their view to improve their educational outcome. then there would be increased opportunities for many types of implementation and collaboration. The small part the students play in the effort can greatly increase their motivation and involvement. STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT Students expect to learn the course material. Example: A Common Educational view into a CEF. simplifications. So the student and the teacher have similar expectations. It would motivate many students to allow them to help modify and adapt the coursework to match their educational goals [3]. adjustments.CCSC: Southwestern Conference as more schools use a CEF. STUDENT DRIVEN INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN Many students find their education is out of their control within each course. The students using the framework get a deeper understanding of how theory applies and get a better education when they actually use the theory to support their efforts. In higher level courses there is challenging material to cover. The teacher of a CEF can apply their talent. It may 241 . Each course is provided a unique FIGURE 2. There are expected to be a number of ways to modify the framework in the short term and long term. The student is expected to read and learn the established material. The CEF enables student interaction on many levels. however. similar to database Framework views. in addition to the student's effort. While faculty is in control of a CEF. so many additional applied concepts can be taught and learned. The upper-level coursework is applied with great rigor in an interactive environment [5].

Yet a third group of communication engineers may be interested in the point-to-point communication links and their stochastic behavior under simulated channel fading and lossy conditions. politics. the performance of the framework can be improved over time. For example. 242 . This expanded simulator could form the basis of a CEF and could be later used as the generic framework for future modifications. Another group of mathematicians might be interested in the networking and communication of packets across the network. The benefits of an established CEF are a common plaform from which to generate and maintain various coursework and curricula. other areas may have other simulators in mind. Their view would allow them to inspect the flow of information across the network and record other related network statistics. The simulator would provide many areas of learning and exploration. EVALUATION AND BENEFITS While many areas can agree a mobile node simulator would be a good common platform. test and observe their models and operation. A special aerospace view is provided to allow the students to explore and modify the flight conditions and monitor the flight dynamics. 4 (April 2009) be possible to setup a central organization to maintain a CEF and provide meaningful support and feedback for student and faculty originated suggestions and modifications. economics. only limited by the imagination of its developers and users. a third unique view is provided to allow this class to simulate. This proposed simulator could be expanded and adapted to meet the needs of a number of different and adjacent disciplines.JCSC 24. there may be other areas for framework development and design. EXAMPLE: LOW COST MOBILE NODE NETWORK SIMULATOR A simple example of a CEF could be an integrated multi-computer simulator [9]. but have specific areas that can be explored. It is hoped that as a CEF is used it is adaptable and flexible. While not clear at this time. Examples include areas in the social sciences. and can be modified according to the needs of its user community. and urban development. an aerospace engineering course would be most interested in the flight patterns and aerodynamic operation part of the simulations. Since the framework is primarily software with some hardware in-the-loop. Again. Another benefit of a CEF is a collaborative user community can support and define their unique goals. while supporting the framework evolution. The simulator would be the same for all users.

Collaborative Learning Enhances Critical Thinking. An Interactive Teaching Approach Based on Student-Teams. [6] Hayter. R.Associate Professor Western Illinois University. 1999.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/jte-v7n1/gokhale. [7] Howard.atp. Wheaton. Article. Fall 1995 http://scholar. Fall 2006. Number 1. REFERENCES [1] Anuradha A. J. 20.cam. (3). The Network-Centric Innovation Imperitive: How Manufacturers Work with Their Suppliers to Develop New Products.htm.nist.jte-v7n1.lib. We are determining the CEF potential for supporting teacher instruction and student learning at a college level. Journal of Staff Development. Cornell University.. 2008. 2004.edu/catl/documents/Curriculum%20Development. J. review. Gokhale.elon.CCSC: Southwestern Conference ONGOING AND FUTURE WORK The CEF effort and its utility is at an early stage of development. modification and implementation. As the architecture and CEF matures it is possible the effort will be turned into a software forge project or similar open source collaborative platform development. CONCLUSION A common educational framework has been proposed as shown to be useful for higher learning. L.gov/eao/netcentric_nov06.com/resources/dc_instructionaldesign. The result is a flexible eductional framework which has many exciting avenues to be explored and developed. C. [8] IGERT: Interdisciplinary Graduate Training In Nonlinear Systems.pdf. G. [3] Designing Courses: Instructional Design for Online Learning. 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference. Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. 1991.pdf. http://igert.cornell. http://www.. Curriculum development.. MD: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. October 2008.edu/.html [2] Caine. Volume 7. The CEF is an open framework which allows simple inspection. Summer 2007. http://www. [5] Gonzalez. [4] Fitzharris... http://org. 243 . The authors are beginning to work with a few teachers at our university and another local university to establish interest and understading of the CEF. updated December 1. Journal of Technology Education.ibritt. Caine. Many institutions of higher learning can take advantage of the many benefits and interactions between adjacent deparments and institutions. Curriculum development.

244 . C. A Low Cost Mobile Node Network Simulator. Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science.. 2007. http://compsci. April 22. Long Beach.JCSC 24. California. December 2008.ca/blog/6-degrees-of-computer-science/. [10] 6 Degrees of Computer Science. 4 (April 2009) [9] Pickman. Cal State University.