Development of an E-Learning System Incorporating Semantic Web

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  • 1. International Journal of Research in Computer Science eISSN 2249-8265 Volume 2 Issue 5 (2012) pp. 11-14, A Unit of White Globe Publications doi: 10.7815/ijorcs.25.2012.042 DEVELOPMENT OF AN E-LEARNING SYSTEM INCORPORATING SEMANTIC WEB Khurram Naim Shamsi1, Zafar Iqbal Khan2 1 Lecturer, Dept. of Computer Science, RCC, King Saud University, Email: 2 Lecturer, College of Computer Engineering & Sciences, Salman Bin Abdulaziz University, Email: mzafar.ikhan@gmail.comAbstract: E-Learning is efficient, task relevant and Semantic Web is about building an appropriatejust-in-time learning grown from the learning infrastructure for intelligent agents to run around therequirements of the new and dynamically changing Web performing complex actions for their users [3].world. The term “Semantic Web” covers the steps to Furthermore, Semantic Web is about explicitlycreate a new WWW architecture that augments the declaring the knowledge embedded in many web-content with formal semantics enabling better based applications, integrating information in anpossibilities of navigation through the cyberspace and intelligent way, providing semantic-based access to theits contents. In this paper, we present the Semantic Internet, and extracting information from texts [4].Web-Based model for our e-learning system takinginto account the learning environment at Saudi Ultimately, Semantic Web is about how toArabian universities. The proposed system is mainly implement reliable, large-scale interoperation of Webbased on ontology-based descriptions of content, services, to make such services computer interpretable,context and structure of the learning materials. It i.e., to create a Web of machine-understandable andfurther provides flexible and personalized access to interoperable services that intelligent agents canthese learning materials. The framework has been discover, execute, and compose automatically [5].validated by an interview based qualitative method. Researchers from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) already developed new technologies for web friendly data description [6]. Moreover, AI researchersKeywords: E-learning, Learning Objects, Ontology, have already developed some useful applications andRDF, Semantic Web, Software Agents. tools for the Semantic Web [7]. I. INTRODUCTION This paper outlines how the Semantic Web can be used as a technology for realizing sophisticated The evolution of information society has led to the eLearning scenarios. In the following, we will give aemergence of new educational technologies and brief overview about the Semantic Web and discuss aenvironments. One of the most important requirements number of important issues. We mention the layers ofto such environments is the rapid (just-in time) access the Semantic Web architecture. In the subsequentto the relevant knowledge that meets customers needs section, we introduce the framework of our Semanticas precisely and fully as possible [1]. In recent years Web-based e-learning system. We continue with athe significant progress has been achieved in creation description of an ontology based approach forof eLearning systems based on Web technologies. eLearning. After a discussion of the model, concludingWeb-based courses offer clear advantages to learners remarks summarize the importance of the presentedby allowing very fast, just-in-time, relevant, and at any topics and outline some future work.time or place access to educational resources. Howeverthe traditional Web technologies based on a syntactical II. SEMANTIC WEBmark-up of information don’t provide the semanticsearch and navigation within a distributed knowledge Semantic Web (SW) derives from W3C directorenvironment. This restriction significantly narrows the Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of Web as a universalability of widespread educational environments to medium for data, information and knowledgeadapt instructional services for a particular customer exchange [8]. The word semantic web is a product ofand preclude from raising the efficiency of learning to Web2.0 (second generation web) which makes the weba qualitatively new level. To implement such services, itself to understand and satisfy the user requests andthe creation of open intelligent educational web agents or machines to use the content of webenvironments based on Semantic Web is required [2]. [9][10].
  • 2. 12 Khurram Naim Shamsi, Zafar Iqbal Khan III. SEMANTIC WEB ARCHITECTURE semantic and real time system, web services and web agents were announced to be useful. Also, The term “Semantic Web” encompasses efforts to trustworthiness of the data is very important since itbuild a new WWW architecture that supports content can lead the algorithms or mining techniques in wrongwith formal semantics. It means the content suitable or inadequate results. At this point, we can assume thatfor automated systems to consume contrary to the the data we get from student’s answers is reliable orcontent intended for human consumption. This enables we can also run data mining algorithms to fetchautomated agents to reason about the Web content, and conflictions on answers to filter them somehow.produces an intelligent response to unforeseensituations. V. SEMANTIC BASED CONCEPTUAL “Expressing meaning” is the most important feature ELEARNING PLATFORM ARCHITECTUREof the Semantic Web. In order to accomplish this goal, Figure 2 depicts a conceptual Semantic eLearningseveral layers of representational structures are needed. framework that provides high-level services to peopleThey are presented in the Figure 1 [11] below, among looking for appropriate online information. The basicwhich the following layers are the basic ones: levels of this framework are the human levels– the XML layer, which represents the structure of data; composed by the Students and the Instructors, the– the RDF layer, which represents the meaning of data; access level that grant access to students and– the Ontology layer, which represents the formal common instructors into the system, the interface level that agreement about meaning of data; provide various facilities, the service level that handles– the Logic layer, which enables intelligent reasoning with the background processes, and the knowledge base meaningful data. level comprising of various repositories. In the base of this conceptual architecture, we have depicted the key elements of a semantic eLearning platform. USERS Authentication Personalization Registration ACCESS Figure 1: Layers of the semantic web architecture Students Interface Instructor InterfaceIV.SEMANTIC WEB MINING AND E-LEARNING Announcements Student Performance The term Semantic Web Mining is described well Course Documents Control Usersby Stumme and etc. all. [12] as “Semantic WebMining aims at combining the two areas Semantic INTERFACE Interactive Tutorial Upload Course ContentsWeb and Web Mining. This vision follows ourobservation that trends converge in both areas: Exercises / Quizzes Make NotificationsIncreasing number of researchers work on improving Semantic Search Compose Exercisesthe results of Web Mining by exploiting semanticstructures in the Web, and make use of Web Mining Progress Report Manage Linkstechniques that can be used for mining Semantic Webitself. The wording Semantic Web Mining emphasizesthis spectrum of possible interaction between bothresearch areas: It can be read both as Semantic (Web Navigation Annotation Querying SERVICESMining) and as (Semantic Web) Mining.” Pointing at the definitions given, it’s possible to use MIDDLEWAREweb logs for any course available on any course Search Engine Interference Engine (INTERFERENCE SERVER)management system or e-learning portal forinvestigation of semantic information. In a case studyon Moodle, case studies for applications of data Ontology Based Learning Resourcesmining techniques are given by Romero, Ventura, & Knowledge (OWL) (RDF) KNOWLEDGEGarcia [13]. In these studies, the possible techniques BASE Metadata Inference Rulesfor data retrieval and management, educator has to runthird party programs manually for informationretrieval, for educator are explained briefly. For a Figure 2: Conceptual Architecture for Semantic eLearning
  • 3. Development of an E-Learning System Incorporating Semantic Web 13A. Knowledge Base of complexity since it requires understanding semantic relationships between concepts used to describe web It is a repository where ontologies, metadata, resources; it requires the ability to cope with differentinference rules, educational resources and course levels in document descriptions and it should producedescriptions, user profiles, etc. are stored. The semantically significant mapping of resources tometadata may be placed within the document itself or concepts. The annotation can be manual or some external metadata repository [14]. In the Several approaches have been proposed for automaticFigure 2 the metadata are stored externally in the semantic annotation, rooted in two main researchknowledge base because it is easier to scan a separate fields: natural language processing and machineMeta description stored in a database and it takes less learning. Natural language processing (NLP) is basedspace to store it. The second advantage is that the point on the detection of typical human constructs in textualof view may vary according to different authors who information and tries to map known sentencereuse the same learning material. It means that it is composition rules to semantic rich descriptions. Thepossible to have different descriptions of the learning other way to provide semantic descriptors currentlymaterial according to the different contexts. under investigation is machine learning. BasicallyB. Search Engine machine learning means extracting association rules and behaviours to allow machines to accomplish It provides an API with methods for querying the specific tasks as well as their human counterparts.knowledge base. RDQL (RDF Data Query Language)can be used as ontology query language. G. MetadataC. Access layer Metadata is data about data that helps us to achieve better search results [14]. Each component of the It acts as a security layer between the users and the eLearning system can be described with the help ofsystem. It provides an interface and grant access into metadata. The metadata level is the first level of athe system. semantic WEB-based application [17]. This metadata can be attached to each software component of theD. Interface layer eLearning system in order to store several important It provides an integrated interface through which characteristics (e.g., information regarding uptime,students as well as Instructors / Administrators of ownership, execution platform, etc.). Also, for eachacademic institutions can access, upload or modify the user we can retain the information about his/her with particular authority. The users can manage For example, we can store the user role –different services and the instructors and administrator, database manager, security monitor,administrators can control data and users. regular user. Also, the system can retain personal data (e.g., age, user e-mail address, location, etc.). InsteadE. Ontology Based Knowledge of hoping that a full text search through a learning In an eLearning environment the situation can resource will find the author‘s name Henry foreasily arise that different instructors use different example, we can annotate the resource with a metadataterminologies, in which case the combination of description “author is Henry”. We can also easilylearning materials becomes difficult. The retrieval realize that there are two major difficulties in thisproblem is additionally compounded by the fact that method. The first difficulty is the technical realizationtypically instructors and students have very different of attaching metadata at a resource and the secondbackgrounds and levels of knowledge. Therefore, difficulty is the standardization of descriptions in ordersome mechanism for establishing a shared- to avoid misunderstanding by using different attributesunderstanding is needed. Ontologies are a powerful for the same purpose like ”creator is Henry” ormechanism for achieving this task. In fact, ontology ”written by Henry”. The solution for the first problemconstrains the set of possible mapping between is the usage of two possible approaches that have beensymbols and their full meanings [15]. developed in the context of the World Wide Web, based on the XML and RDF formalisms. The solutionF. Annotations for the second problem is the usage of standard vocabularies or schemas for metadata to describe Annotation is the activity of annotating text digital resources.documents written in plain ASCII or HTML with a setof tags representing the names of slots of the selected VI. METHODOLOGYclass in ontology. Semantic annotation of WEBresources requires the ability to convert syntactical The present framework is quite simple and generalinformation into semantic descriptors referred to a in nature in a way that it can be applied to any higherconceptual domain model [16]. However the selection education system. However, while designing theof relevant annotations can be very expensive in terms framework, main focus was on the requirements of
  • 4. 14 Khurram Naim Shamsi, Zafar Iqbal Khanhigher learning institutions in Saudi Arabia. In order to Conference on the WWW and Internet, Orlando,prove its worthiness for Saudi universities, an Florida, USA, 2001.interview based qualitative method was utilized. The [3] Heflin, J., & Hendler, J., “A Portrait of The Semanticdetailed framework was provided to key figures in the Web in Action”, IEEE Intelligent Systems 16(2), 54-59,Saudi universities such as deans and other 2001. doi: 10.1109/5254.920600administrative staffs in the deanship of Graduate [4] Gómez-Pérez, A., & Corcho, O. Ontology, “LanguagesStudies, deanship of e-transaction, deanship of e- for the Semantic Web", IEEE Intelligent Systems 17(1),learning and distance education, etc. and their views 54-60, 2002. doi: 10.1109/5254.988453were sought. Most of the participants gave their [5] McIlraith, S.A., Son, T.C., & Zeng, H., “Semantic Websupporting views. Some of them suggested certain Services”, IEEE Intelligent Systems 16(2), 46-53, 2001.improvements that were incorporated after due doi: 10.1109/5254.988453discussion. [6] W3C site: (see www.w3 .org/XML,, VII. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK 0210/), and The main contribution of this paper is our newmodel for e-learning system, using the Semantic Web [7] Scott Cost, R., Finin, T., Joshi, A., Peng, Y.,Nicholas,technology. The framework includes various services C., Soboroff, I., et al., “IT talks: A Case Study in the Semantic Web and DAML+OIL”, IEEE Intelligentand tools in the context of a semantic portal, such as: Systems 17(1), 40-47, 2002. doi: 10.1109/5254.988447registration, uploading course documents, Interactivetutorial, announcements, notifications, and simple [8] Junuz, E. (2009), “Preparation of the Learning Content for Semantic E-Learning Environment” doi:semantic search. A metadata-based ontology is 10.1109/5254.988447introduced for this purpose and added to our model.The OWL language is used to develop our ontologies. [9] Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., & Lassila, O. (2001), “TheIn these ontologies, the actual resources and properties Semantic Web”, Scientific American Magazine. doi: :10.1038/scientificamerican0501-34specified in the RDF models are defined. TheProtégé2000 ontology editor can be used to create the [10] W3C Semantic Web (2008). Retrieved 2010, frome-learning ontology classes and properties. A list of the World Wide Web Consortium.technologies required for the implementation of our [11] Berners-Lee, T. (2000), “What the Semantic Web canweb-based e-learning system includes PHP Platform, represent”,Apache Web Server, MySQL database, and RAP Web Toolkit. [12] Stumme, G., Hotho, A., &Berendt, B. (2005), “Semantic Web Mining, State of the Art and the Future We believe that there are two primary advantages Directions”of our Semantic web-based model. One is that the [13] Romero, C., Ventura, S., & Garcia, E. (2007), “Dataproposed model, which contains a hierarchical Mining in Course Management Systems: Moodle Casecontents structure and semantic relationships between Study and Tutorial”. doi: 10.1016/j.eswa.2006.04.005concepts, can provide related useful information for [14] Biswanath Dutta, “Semantic Web Based E-learning”,searching and sequencing learning resources in web- Documentation Research and Training Centre Indianbased eLearning systems. The other is that it can help a Statistical Institute, Bangalore, 2006.developer or an instructor to develop a learning [15] Yas A. Alsultanny, “e-Learning System Overviewsequence plan by helping the instructor understand the based on Semantic Web”, Graduate College ofwhy and how of the learning process. Computing Studies, Amman, Jordan, 2006. [16] Dario Bonino, FulvioCorno, Giovanni Squillero, VIII. REFERENCES “Dynamic Optimization of Semantic Annotation[1] B. Ruttenbur, G. Spickler, and S. Lurie, “eLearning – Relevance”, Dipartimento di Automaticaed Informatica, The Engine of the Knowledge Economy”, Morgan Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy. Keegan &Co. Inc. eLearning Industry Report, 2001, [17] Lect. Dr. Sabin Buraga Lect. Dr. Marius Cioca, 109 p. “Modeling Aspectsof Semantic Web-based E-learning[2] L. Stojanovic, S. Staab, and R. Studer, “eLearning System”, Faculty of Computer Science, AlexandruIoan basedon the Semantic Web”, Web Net 2001 – World Cuza University of Iaşi, 0052omania,2003. How to cite Khurram Naim Shamsi, Zafar Iqbal Khan, "Development of an E-Learning System Incorporating Semantic Web". International Journal of Research in Computer Science, 2 (5): pp. 11-14, September 2012. doi:10.7815/ijorcs.25.2012.042