E-learning-and-M-learning

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					Vision Systems’ Report on
                            E-learning and M-learning
Preliminary considerations based on education using mobile devices and
infrastructure

Because there is a wide variety of GSM terminals, it will be necessary to design an
adaptive content formatting system for the teaching materials, depending on the audio-
video capabilities of the device.
The importance of using these elements is vital to achieve a system usable on a large
scale, by the most mobile phone owners.
Another concern within the project will be the fundamental research in the existing
standards as well as the new standardization trends in electronic learning and
communications.
This aproach is conceived to be useful in education and scientific research, lining up to
the recent trends of the educational systems of the evolved countries.

 -   The reference scenario of the training and e-learning market
 -   The dimension of e-learning/m-learning

         The duty of education and formation based on new technologies of information
and communication is not to demonstrate that it have forthwith results in a competition
with other educational systems types, but substitute a part of actual structures with a new,
probably superior, performance spectrum, in reception of inherent changes that take place
in culture and civilization.
         Recently, within some international projects with European financing, there were
created in our country, in universities, electronic learning platforms. In Transilvania
University of Brasov it exists VirtualElectroLab and it is building COMPLETE.
         E-learning initiative of European Commission was getting out in 2000 for
accelerate the effective integration of ITC in education and formation/training institutes
from Europe. Romania is not eligible for this program, but it can touch the subject in
others programs: Leonardo da Vinci, Minerva, aso. In our country it doesn’t exist an
initiative in this sense at the resort ministry level. The accomplishments that can be
identified at the 2005 level has been obtained by the universities proper efforts or by
participating at UE financed programs. A number of IT companies have getting out on
market products that tend e-learning subject.

         In some of the European projects, it has been accomplished an electronic learning
system which can be accessed via internet and it make available for students interactive
electronic course materials and virtual laboratories or at distance.
         Mobile learning, m-learning, is an e-learning component in which are used
mobile calculus equipments: Palm, Pocket PC and mobile phones. Mobile learning (“m-
learning”) represents a new step in long tradition of learning intermediate by the new
technologies in ODL (open and distance learning), with computer based training (CBT)
and web-based-training (WBT), etc. M-learning involves new strategies and practices,
utilitarian, applications and resources for implementing the ubiquitous, persuasive,
personalized and interconnected.
       The vision takes ambit and we can say that m-Learning is the intersection
between e-learning and mobile calculus equipments: accessible resources wherever the
customer is, powerful searching capacities, pronounced interactivity, powerful learning
support and accumulation based on performance. M-learning is independent by space and
time.

        Most authors that make reference to m-learning give as example the PDA as
instrument electronic tool with his aid it is accessing didactical materials, but mentioning
mobile phone just as possible tool in the future.
        In the context of Romanian economy and life standard, lower than EU states, we
confront with a situation in some way contrarious: PDA is viewed as a luxury accessory,
being very few disseminated, but we are among the first countries in the world
considering the number of mobile phones reported to the number of inhabitants. Owing to
this situation, m-learning systems what direct aiming customers of PDA don’t have
practical applicability in our country.
        The technological advance recorder on PDA market is reflected even in mobile
phone market. These tend to have performances and functionalities similar with PDA, but
at small scale, and offer in plus the support for mobile communication via different
protocols (WAP, GPRS, CDMA, WCDMA).

        The equipments become much more common, and their quality and capacity are
raising in time while the price are decreasing. It is detecting the existence of some
limitation both in PDA cases and mobile phones cases, in ratio with PC:
not all allow permanently connect at Internet/Intranet, but they have the dial-up
possibility for intermittent connection;
             The screen has small dimensions;
             Processing power is small;
             Storage capacities are limited (is imposed the contents processing from a
                 place dedicated for storage, that is LMS – Learning Management System).

        On these lines, in Romania as on international level, it exists the preoccupation in
standards implementation.
         They have been completed mobile configurations al Client level, using PC
notebook with mobile phone in role of modem wireless of big speed, connected via serial
cable (the connection can be also USB or infrared), for growth complexity equipments.
An assumption for the future developments the new utilitarian for J2ME (Java2 for
Mobile Equipment – which will be included at firmware level in mobile phones of the
new generation CDMA and WCDMA UMTS).

        The advantage of mobile phone, that it is permanently connected at a
communication network is leading to technological development in the sense of
transforming this device, from simple tool of voice communication in a mobile computer.
Nowadays, mobile phones have already screen with resolutions big enough for assure a
good utilization of a material for m-learning.
        During the last 5 years, the research team from Transilvania University of Brasov,
together with there partners (we mention Laboratorio delle Idee as a consistent one) has
contributed to the achievement of two Leonardo da Vinco projects related to thematic
areas     converging      towards      the     project’s  subject:    Virtual-Electro-Lab
RO/01/B/F/PP141024 http://vlab.unitbv.ro/velab/, Softlab RO/2002/ PL89223/EX, both
ended successfuly, by this bringing a signifiant contribution to the e-learning domain
evolution in Romania. Supporting this statement, we mention the existence of four
centres for automatic measurement locally connected to IEEE488.2 GPIB network
under PC Pentium III (Windows NT) control and integrated with LabView 5.1 (through
incorporated web server) in a virtaul system with Internet access. Each testing stand has a
digital oscilloscope, digital multimetre, triple programmable power source, generator of
arbitrary functions and patterns, RF generator with frequency synthesis up to 1GHz for
telecommunication signals, multifunctional plaque for the acquisition and distribution of
analogue and digital signals, programmable commutation matrix with relays.


- The state of the art of the use of mobile devices in m-learning


                      e-Learning and m-Learning, the differences

                   Wired Virtual Learning Environment of Today
                Wireless Virtual Learning Environment of Tomorrow




       The Compaq iPAQ             The wireless palmtop           The WAP telephone
        PDA                          R 250                           R 380




        M-Learning is the intersection of mobile computing and E-learning: accessible
resources wherever you are, strong search capabilities, rich interaction, powerful support
for effective learning, and performance-based assessment. E-learning is independent of
location in time or space.
Another example from the same project
„Virtual Electro Lab” is an experimental
setup for distance control of humidity.

The user part of this application was
developed using web/wap protocols and use
for the introduction and transmission of
parameters.

The server part contains: web/wap
implementation for parameter transmission
and workbench part (implemented with the
package LabView produced by National
Instruments) for the access to the equipment.

A diagram (visual, intuitive, representative) of           (a)                          (b)
the tested system; for wap the image format is
.wbmp (maximum dimension is 94 x 48
points – mobile phones, or 96 x 96 for PDAs).
The access could be done also by Internet –
for example with OPERA browser compatible
web and wap – figure 1.
                                              Fig. 1. ( a ) Control from PDA Palm Pilot M100 connected
                                                       via IrDA to the mobile phone GPRS Nokia
                                            ( b ) Control from SMARTPHONE Mitsubishi Trium Mondo,
                                                                  running Windows CE


The didactical applications created by the
research team from the VirtualElectroLab
project consist of e-learning courses and virtual /
distance laboratories in the following domains:
Electrical Drives, Automated measurements,
System Theory and Automatic Control,
Domotics, Databases with Applications in the
Electrical Domain, Electronic Circuits, Electric
Circuits, Electrotehnic Materials, Electrical
Machines.


                                                        Fig.2. The database laboratory web interface
 -   Which training disciplines are delivered via e-learning/m-learning?
 -   In response to what users’ needs?
     (type of users/corresponding needs)

        In Romania there exist courses in e-learning system (any time) for all types of
education systems as: for elementary school and high school, for university, for VET and
for labor market.
        The most known courses for elementary school are: foreign languages (English,
French, Spanish, German, Italian), Informatics (Windows, Word, Internet, ECDL),
Career (formations and advices career).
        For the high school there is a large variety of courses. Among the most known we
mention: Informatics (Web design, Windows, Word, Excel, Internet, ECDL), Foreign
languages, Financial accountant (accounting, financial management), Commerce
(marketing, commercial agent), Career (booking advising, formations and advices career)
etc.
        VET
 In what concerns VET for the labor market, in Romania there are a lot of education and
 perfecting courses, in all domains of activities. Every man can choose, having in view
 his needs or his aims the courses that he wants to follow:
        - Business
        - Commerce
        - Personal development
        - Information and Communication Technology
           (e.g. tolls and programming languages: Flash, HTML, Word, C++)
        - Foreign languages
        - Education
        - Media arts and Sciences
        - Political science
        There are not approached in m-learning manner.


 -   The state of the art of the use of mobile devices in m-learning (architectures,
     technologies, protocols for communication devices)

        In Romania there has been developed many e-learning platforms, the most known
is the platform AEL developed by SIVECO Romania, other platforms are: eLearnTS,
INTRAts and eTestTS developed by Timesoft, etc.

        The first version of on-line environment training is eLearnTS, this was developed
by Timesoft firm from Timisoara 3 years ago. The environment can be used and
configured for on-line courses – individuals or in virtual universities, eTraining in the
enterprises, on-line workshops, as virtual space of collaboration, having variants in
Romanian and English languages. It is based on technologies Perl, mySQL, Java, XML,
SOAP, the lodging on server Linux, being very flexible, rapid, and secure.
       INTRAts. The intranet in a private space which offers to employers from a
company the possibility to organize information, rapid access to information already
existence, made a management of the documents and realize an efficient collaboration
based on the use of web browsers.

   The facilities offered by eTestTS are following:
-Creation of modules for training
-Creation of modules for testing
-Test completion
-Administration

        AEL Advanced eLearning – developed by SIVECO Romania - is an complete
integrated platform for computer based learning and management of the content, equally
dedicated to preuniversitary, university and organized learning.
AEL platform assures the optimization of the instruction process by:
     unitary instruction
     a better monitoring of the process and of the obtained results by the students and
        the instructors

         E-learning is an Internet application allowing you to send information to the
users on the Web. E-learning proposes a new approach of the reader-book relationship,
i.e. the interactivity between the user and the material presented.

      E-earning integrated systems eLIS
   eLIS is a integrated informatics system what timber the educational process in
   academic environment.


       E-learning platform EDUCATIA.NET
E-learning platform EDUCATIA.NET allows courses distribution in text, graphic and
multimedia format, it contain elements of synchronous communication and asynchronous
and advanced testing systems.



       Virtual Campus (University of Bucharest)

The Virtual Campus was designed to provide a complete, scalable, Web-based,
eLearning platform with focus on curriculum delivery, learner assessment and
personalized feedback. The Virtual Campus was open in July 2002 and was tested by
the staff of the Department for Open Distance e Learning, Continuing Education and
Professional Conversion, CREDIS. Now, it is currently used by our students, academic
and administrative staff, and guests from other universities in Romania and abroad.
       Direct Learning Systems
Direct Learning System offers and develops a series of applications designed for human
resources management
    o Direct Learning is an e-learning application which allow training programs
       management. It is developed on Microsoft Active Server Pages technology and
       can be used in any computer network based on a Windows server. The application
       is implemented on the web site : www.Cursurionline.ro
    o OnlineExaminer is a testing application developed on Microsoft Active Server
       Pages technology and can be used in any computer network based on a Windows
       server. It allows the online management of tests. The application is implemented
       on the web site : www.TestariOnline.ro
    o OnlineRecruiter is a recruitment application that can be added to the company
       web site by simply copying the folder and adding a link to this application. It is
       developed on Microsoft Active Server Pages technology and can be used in any
       computer network based on a Windows server. The application is implemented on
       the web site : www.RecrutariOnline.ro


        InsideMedia
http://www.xprim.ro, http://www.hostx.ro, http://www.academiaonline.ro
     Gives personalized e-learning solutions for formation demands of the
        company/university
        E-learning solution “ready to use “, in Romanian - Live&Learn, used for
        www.AcademiaOnline.ro
     click2learn solutions
     Macromedia products for eLearning



Some Virtual Laboratories solutions

Virtual Electro Lab (Transilvania University of Brasov)

It has as main objective perfecting the learning system in the electrical domain by using
long distance experiments via Internet.
For accomplishing this objective the project realised:
     creating a virtual laboratory, that means a software simulated laboratory which
        allows making experiments via Internet.
     creating teaching software (a set of 9 programs) dedicated to some subjects from
        the electrical, electronic and automatics domains.
The project's activities have the purpose to realize:
     the necessary software tools to implement the original teaching approach
        proposed by this project;
     demonstrative kit for each achieved software product;
     a guide book referring to the realized software products;
     dissemination materials.
Virtual Labs: Basic FIA (Flow Injection Analysis) LAB (Bucharest University 2004)

The exercise introduces the FIA (Flow Injection Analysis) technique, in the way that the
participant can familiarize themselves with all essential operations details corresponding
to FIA system. Understand the "mechanism" of FIA technique and the most important
conditions of the FIA experiment can have a dramatic impact on the FIA experimental
results.

Virtual Labs: Detection of nitries and nitrate

Virtual laboratory (University of Craiova)
        The virtual laboratory for network management offers education for students who
are registered at the ViReC (http://virec.ucp.ro) (virtual laboratory University of Craiova)
        The virtual laboratory offers practical exercises on real network equipment as
well as textbooks and tutorials. The usage of the virtual lab is for free but not anonym.
You have also to register here before you can enter the lab.

Virtual Robot Center

        This center presents a virtual laboratory accessible through the Internet. The
objective of Virtual Laboratory is to provide remote access to a robots infrastructure and
programming. Virtual Laboratory has been implemented as a new generation
communication service, not us a common World Wide Web (WWW) application. So, it
employs a sophisticated access framework, a communication infrastructure able to
support multimedia flows, and a component-based software construction. The
architecture of a Virtual Laboratory relies on open standards, such as WWW and its
related technologies (HTTP, HTML, Java, Macromedia Flash, PHP, MySql).



 -   Technical requirements to create a portal (or most common platforms used e.g.
     MOODLE, uPortal, etc.) in order to move applications on mobile devices

uPortal is an open-standard effort using Java, XML, JSP and J2EE. It is a collaborative
development project with the effort shared among several JA-SIG member institutions.
Customization allows each user to define a unique and personal view of the campus.

Portal technology adds "customization" and "community" to the campus Web presence.

uPortal support Portlets (JSR-168) and WSRP(Web Services for Remote Portlets).

Simply put, uPortal is a framework for producing a campus portal. It is not the intention
to be an out-of-the-box or "turn key" portal "solution". Instead, uPortal is a set of Java
classes and XML/XSL documents that can be used to produce a portal for use on a
campus.
Community tools, such as chat, forums, survey, and so on, build relationships among
campus constituencies. One strong community tool is Moodle.

Moodle is a course management system (CMS) – a free, Open Source software package
designed to help educators who want to create quality and effective online courses. The
software is used all over the world by universities, schools, companies and independent
teachers.

Moodle can be integrated with uPortal and so, offer uPortal the power of a course
management system.

It is posible to create channels in uPortal, and put in each channel the Moodle module it is
intended, nedded to be used (forum, chat, course management module). It is possible to
bypass the Moodle login, creating an autologin mechanism, thus the uPortal user login
only once (SSO - Single Sign On principle)

The system of learning management together with the module of course and lab
applications access could constitute an application distributed on 3 levels, interconected
into an architecture of 3-tier type. The development of the distributed applications system
involves the integrated implementation of the modules specific to each level of
application:
         Driver level - programs that collect data from the laboratory and/or send
            commands to the laboratory on one hand; they communicate by a local
            network or Internet to Server level on the other hand;
         Server level – contains applications responsible with data centralisation, users
            management and access rights, courses and laboratory management, learning
            management, connections betrween Driver and Client modules. The Server
            will also include a system of relational data;
         Client level – represents the applications composing the user interface and are
            in principle the applications that will run on mobile phones, accomplished
            with Java Midlet technology or other characteristic technologies).



 -   which LO for IT/networking do already exist?
 -   with which standards?

 We don’t know/find in Romania anything about existing LO for IT/networking used for
 m-learning.

				
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