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  1. 1. Paper 202-1456 BLENDING STREAMING MULTIMEDIA AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN ADVANCED WEB-BASED EDUCATION V. Uskov* Abstract WBE at BU. Bradley University was one of first U.S. universities that, back in mid-1990s, provided their students The InterLabs Research Institute (IRI) at Bradley University (BU), Peoria, IL, with access to the Internet from university dorms in order to USA, is hosting the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) grant # 0196015 [1] involve students into advanced technology-based education. on design and development of advanced online educational materials for Web- based education (WBE) in Information Technology, Computer Science and As a continuation of this outstanding initiative, these days all Computer Information Systems areas. This paper briefly describes main IRI’s Bradley students who reside on campus (about 50% of Bradley achievements in design and development of innovative online courseware, students live in dorms and additionally about 20% in fraternity provides details on IRI’s solutions for applications of innovative streaming multimedia and World Wide Web (Web)-based communications technology in houses) have access to Internet-2 from their rooms. the developed by IRI original InterLabs Web-lecturing system, and contains BU is a corporate user of the BlackBoard [3] learning summaries of faculty and student feedback on applications of innovative management system (LMS) from 2000. Tables 1 and 2 technologies for Web-based teaching and learning. represent some available statistics on utilization of the BlackBoard LMS at BU between Fall 2000 and Fall 2003 Key Words: Advanced Web-based education, streaming multimedia technology, Web-based communication technology, faculty and student semesters. feedback. Table 1. Number of Online Courses Taught at BU in 2000-2003 1. Introduction (per college and per semester) BU Number of Online Courses Taught (per semester) Bradley University (BU). Founded by Mrs. Lydia Moss Colle- Fall Fall Fall Spring Fall Average Bradley in 1897, Bradley University [2] is a private, ges 200 2001 2002 2003 2003 per independent university offering undergraduate, graduate, and 0 semester continuing education programs in the liberal and fine arts, the EHS 75 92 134 88 177 113.2 sciences, business administration, communications, education, ENG 24 26 32 43 38 32.6 engineering, and the health sciences. With about 330 full-time LAS 60 81 81 97 112 86.2 faculty, 5,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students, BUS 33 70 95 109 111 83.6 Bradley offers excellent teaching, and the opportunities and CFA 16 29 34 38 56 34.6 choices of a larger university (with over 90 degree programs Total 208 298 376 375 494 350.2 in 5 colleges plus a graduate school) and the quality, personal attention, and challenge of a small private college. BU has 5 Table 2. WBE at BU: Fall-2002 and Spring-2003 Statistics colleges, specifically: 1) College of Education and Health Sciences (EHS), 2) College of Engineering and Technology Characteristic Data (ENG), 3) College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), 4) Total number of BU academic courses 494 Foster College of Business Administration (BUS), and 5) (either entire course or several parts of a Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts (CFP). course) being taught during Fall-2003 semester using BlackBoard system Total number of Bradley students that use 4,992 BlackBoard LMS during Spring-2003 (or, about 83% of * Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, Bradley semester BU students) University, Peoria, Il 61625, U.S.A.; email: uskov@bradley.edu Average hits of BlackBoard server per day at BU: (paper no. 202-1456) - Fall-2000 semester 19,655 - Fall-2002 semester 39,079
  2. 2. Paper 202-1456 Total hits of BlackBoard server per 4,103,300 Maryland, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, University of Fall-2002 semester at BU North Carolina, University of Notre Dame, University of Total number of BU full-time faculty 205 Pennsylvania, University of Richmond, University of being involved into WBE during (or, about 62% of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Fall-2002 semester BU full-time faculty) Texas - Dallas, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, Based on these obvious achievements in advanced WBE, Wake Forest University, Washington and Lee University, Bradley faculty continue to perform active research on Washington University in St.Louis, Wellesley College, applications of innovative Web-based teaching and learning Wesleyan University, Wheaton College, Whitman College, that are based on advanced streaming multimedia (SMM) and Williams College, Yale University, and Yeshiva University. Web-based communication (WBC) technologies. Brief results of performed research are presented in Table 3. 2. Utilization of SMM and WBC Technologies: Comparative Analysis Table 3. Multimedia and Communication Technologies in WBE (based on analysis of publicly open educational Web sites and/or 2.1.Utilization of SMM and WBC Technologies at accessible Web-Based courseware of 100 U.S. institutions) 100 U.S. Colleges and Universities Technology Utilization by Between September 2002 and October 2003, the IRI [4] mentioned schools faculty and students performed research on multimedia and Communication Technology Used communication technologies, and learning management E-mail 100 systems that are actively used by various U.S. universities and Bulletin board (discussion forum) 77 colleges. Chat room 42 The educational web sites with free access and/or free Video/audio conferencing over the Internet 33 demo versions of online courses of the following educational Online project teams (collaborative 15 institutions have been investigated and analyzed: Amherst learning) Multimedia Technology Used College, Bard College, Barnard College, Bates College, Microsoft PowerPoint slides or other types 100 Boston University, Bowdoin College, Bradley University, of slides Brandeis University, Brown University, Bryn Mawr College, Hyperlinks to Internet-based knowledge 100 Bucknell University, California Institute Of Technology, resources Carleton College, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Online testing 66 Reserve University, Claremont McKenna College, Colby Streaming video and audio technologies 41 College, Colgate University, College of Holy Cross, College Learning content on interactive CD ROMs 38 of William and Mary, Colorado College, Colorado School of Recorded Computer Screen (RCS) 14 Mines, Cornell University, Columbia University, Connecticut technology (or, recorded hands-on College, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Duke exercises, or, narrated and animated story University, Emory University, Furman University, George boards Washington University, Georgetown University, Georgia Other types of technologies used to deliver 10 learning content Institute of Technology, Grinnell College, Hampshire College, Learning Management Systems Used Harvard University, Harvey Mudd College, Haverford Learning management system (like WebCT – 38 College, Illinois Central College, Johns Hopkins University, BlackBoard, WebCT, etc.) BlackBoard – 36 Kenyon College, Lehigh University, Middlebury College, Other - 26 Midstate College, Mount Hollyoke College, New York Reusable Learning Objects (RLO) Concept Used University, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Utilization of reusable learning objects and 14 Occidental College, Pennsylvania State University, Pomona compatibility with SCORM, IMS or Dublin College, Princeton University, Reed College, Rensselaer Core requirements Polytechnic Institute, Rice University, Scripps College, Smith College, St.Mary's College of Maryland, Stanford University, One of the most important conclusions of this research is SUNY Binghamton University, Swarthmore College, that the state-of-the-art WBC technologies such as email, Syracuse University, Trinity College, Trinity University, Tufts bulletin boards, IRC (chat rooms), video- and audio- University, Tulane University, University Of California at conferencing are a vital part of modern WBE systems and Berkley, University Of California - Davis, University of advanced Web-based teaching and learning processes. California - Irvin, University of California - Las Angeles, The other important conclusion is that utilization of streaming University of California -San Diego, University of California - video and audio technologies in education had a 40% growth Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, University of Florida, between 1999 and 2003. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of
  3. 3. Paper 202-1456 3. InterLabs Web-Lecturing System 6. multiple modes of learning such as a) offline (asynchronous) learning, b) online 3.1. Founding Principles (synchronous) learning, and c) blended learning. The state-of-the-art InterLabs Web-lecturing system (InterLabs) was designed, developed and tested by IRI faculty and students [6,7,8,9,10] as a part of the NSF CCLI grant. 3.2. Technical Characteristics. This software system is based on several founding principles, specifically: A list of available tools of the InterLabs systems and their 1. innovative software: innovative software engineering technical specifications is given below. It is necessary to technologies and programming languages (VB.Net, mention here that all used tools are based on free shareware XML, J2EE, PHP); and are available on corresponding web sites. 2. streaming technologies: utilization of innovative SMM technologies; InterLabs Hardware Set-Up: 3. Web-based communication technologies: active use of 1. Data Server: Compaq Prosignia 740, WBC technologies; - Dual PIII processors (866 MHz each), 4. modularity: modularity of learning content and learning - 108 GB HDD (SCSI RAID), processes, and orientation on Reusable Learning Objects - 1.0 GB MD RAM, (RLO) strategy and corresponding initiatives such as - 100BaseTX network card. SCORM, IMS, Dublin Core, etc.; 2. Video Server: Dell Power Edge 2600, 5. intelligence: intelligent and program agents technology; - Dual PIII processors (2.4 MHz each), 6. multiple teaching styles: support of various Web-based - 296 GB HDD (SCSI RAID), teaching styles and technologies, - 2.0 GB RAM, 7. multiple delivery modes: active utilization of various - 1000BaseTX network card. modes of Web-based content delivery, 3. Digital Video Camera (for video taping): 8. equivalence of delivered learning content: equivalence - SONY HandyCam TRV98 (with both 8mm and digital of online (Web), offline (CD ROMs), blended and in- technologies), classroom modes of content delivery and learning. - ATI TV Wonder-VE video capture card. 4. Digital PC Video Camera (for videoconferencing): Currently (Fall 2003), the InterLabs system supports : - 3COM Home Connect. 1. various Web-based teaching/lecturing technologies such as a) talking head (Figure 1), b) white board or InterLabs Software Set-Up: smart board, and c) Recorded Computer Screen (RCS) technology or online hands-on exercises (Figures 2 and 1. Operating System: Windows’2000 Server (Serv. Pack 2), 3); 2. Web server: Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.0, 2. various WBC technologies such as email, bulletin board, 3. Streaming Video and Audio Server: Microsoft Media video/audio-conferencing, whiteboard, IRC (chat), online Services. HELP; 3. various multimedia technologies such as text, graphics, Audio/Video Conferencing and WhiteBoard Tool: animation, audio, video, simulation, etc, and SMM 1. Microsoft NetMeeting 3.01, technologies such as streaming video and audio, and 2. 3COM Home Connect digital PC video camera, animation; 3. external or built-in microphone, 4. multiple modes of online content 4. Boston external speakers, delivery (Figure 4) via a) 56K modems, b) 5. Audio compression: Microsoft G723 protocol, DSL and cable modems, and c) CD ROMs; 6. H.323 audio and video conferencing standard. upon request, the InterLabs system can deliver: Streaming Video/Audio and Video/Audio Files: - PPT slides only; 1. Video Encoding (for video file compression): - a combination of audio and synchronized - 250 kbps for video using MPEG4V3 (also known as PPT slides; ASF) codec by Microsoft Corp. with 15 frames per - a combination of audio, video and second, synchronized PPT slides; - 320 x 240 pixels of video window size, and 5. combined mode of operation (Figure - 16-bit color, 5) as the united BlackBoard-InterLabs 2. Audio Encoding (for audio file compression): virtual learning environment; - 50 kbps for audio using MP3 compression at 44.1 kHz, 3. TCP/IP protocol is used for streaming video/audio,
  4. 4. Paper 202-1456 4. Playback (on client’s side) via Microsoft Media Player forms to identify student pre-course and post-course skills, 3) ActiveX Control (for both video and audio files). detailed results of those surveys, and 4) academic performance of CIS102 online students versus CIS102 traditional students, are given in [11,12]. 2000-2003 multiple surveys of CIS102 students clearly demonstrated that CIS102 online course based on the InterLabs Web-lecturing system truly supports the student- centered paradigm of education [13,14,15,16,17]. “Personally, I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught” (Winston Churchill). The main principles of this paradigm are given below; they reflect the idea that each and every student/learner is unique, and, therefore, he or she should have a choice to select learning technologies and processes that are optimal for them. Main principles include: 1) individualism of each student, 2) personal learning technology, 3) personality and curiosity, 4) personal creativity and motivation, 5) individual past experience, 6) friendly and comfortable learning environment, 7) personal limit of perception and learning, 8) personal Limit of acceptance of information, 9) linkage of new knowledge to existing knowledge, and 10) eagerness to learn. Figure 4. Modes of Web-based content delivery in the A short summary of student feedback on CIS102 online InterLabs system course is given in Table 9. Table 9. A Summary of Bradley Students’ Feedback on CIS102 Bradley Academic Online Course Benefit Details and student’s comments Conve- • Online learning is self-paced, and, thus, very nience convenient for students (“I can learn at any time, any Saturday or Sunday; any holiday”; “I can slow down or speed up as necessary”) • Course fit students’ schedule (“I have a full-time 4-hours a week position; it was difficult for me to attend lectures regularly”); as a result, greater number of students can take online course • Online course did not require student’s physical attendance (except 3 midterms and final exam ) – this is very convenient for adult students; • On-demand access to learning content is very convenient and effective -- putting course content on both course Web server and CD ROMs is very Figure 5. Interface of the united InterLabs-BlackBoard convenient for students virtual learning environment. • Students are unbound by time (Web server delivers learning content24/7/365); moreover, students received a set of CD ROMS with entire 1. Student Feedback. learning content • Students are unbound by place (“I was able to The introductory CIS102 Computer Information Systems study at home, at work, and even on road”) course at Bradley University may serve as an excellent • Online course accommodates various learning example of the InterLabs-based online course. This academic technologies (for example, lecturing; hands-on course is a required course for all freshman students with exercises; guided research, etc.) that makes it major in Engineering, Business, Communication, Sciences or more effective to various groups of students Education areas. It is offered every semester (Fall and Spring), • Online learning eliminates or reduces travel time and associated costs (parking, fuel, vehicle and every 3-week Interim Session (January and May) at maintenance) Bradley. Multiple details of CIS102 course’s 1) main topics, • Overall student costs of online learning are 2) main components (reusable learning objects), 3) evaluation
  5. 5. Paper 202-1456 frequently less (tuition fee, residence, child care) [3] BlackBoard LMS system at http://www.blackboard.com [4] InterLabs research Institute at http://www.interlabs.bradley.edu [5] AccuStream iMedia Research at http://www.accustreamresearch.com/ [6] V. Uskov, 3rd Generation Web-Based Instructional Tool for Education and Lifelong Training, International Journal on Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 13, Nos. ½, 2003, pp. 110-131. [7] V. Uskov and A. Uskov, National Science Foundation Project on Web- Based Undergraduate Education in Information Engineering Technology, Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education CATE/WBE-2002, Cancun, Mexico, May 20-22, 2002. [8] V. Uskov and L. Sheremetov, InterLabs: The web-Lecturing Multiagent- based Tool, Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing ASC-2001, Cancun, Mexico, May 21-24, 2001. [9] V. Uskov and C. Etaugh, Developing Innovative Web-Lecturing Technology and Online Courses at Bradley University, Proceedings of the International Conference on Computers in Education ICCE-2002, Auckland, New Zealand, December 3-6, 2002. [10] V. Uskov and M. Uskova, Reusable Learning and Information Atoms Approach to Web-Based Education, International Journal on Computers and Applications, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2003, pp. 188-197. [11] V. Uskov, Design, development and Teaching of Innovative Web-Based Introductory Computer Information Systems Course, Proceedings of the 32nd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Nov 6-9, 2002, Boston, MA. [12] V. Uskov, Student-Centered Learning in Online and Blended Education on Computer Information Systems, Proceedings of the 33rd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Nov 5-9, 2003, Boulder, CO. [13] M. Rosenberg, E-Learning, McGraw-Hill, 2001 [14] C. McCormack, and D. Jones, Web-Based Education Systems, Wiley Computer Publishing, 1998. These conclusions motivate faculty and students of the [15] W.Horton, Designing Web-Based Training, Wiley Computer Publishing, 2000. InterLabs Research Institute at Bradley University to continue [16] A. Rossett, The ASTD E-Learning Handbook,McGRaw-Hill, their active research on applications of SMM and WBC 2002. technologies in advanced Web-based education. [17] H. Adelsberger, B. Collis, J. Pawlowski, (Eds), Handbook on Information Technologies for Education and Training, Springer-Verlag, Acknowledgements Berlin, Germany, 2002. [18] B. Collis and J. Moonen, Flexible Learning in a Digital World, Kogan The authors would like to thank the Course, Curriculum Page, 2002. and Lab Improvement (CCLI) Program of the National [19] T. Russell, “No Great Difference” Phenomenon of Distance Education” at http://tenb.mta.ca/phenom/ phenom.html Science Foundation that awarded them with the NSF grant # 0196015 to perform research on innovative SMM and WBC technologies, and design and development of the innovative online courseware in Information Biographies Technology, Computer Science and Computer Information Systems areas. Vladimir Uskov, Ph.D., is a professor The authors also would like to thank Dr. Claire Etaugh, of Computer Science and Information Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Jim Systems at Bradley University, Miller, Chair, Department of Computer Science and Peoria, IL, USA. He is also a co- Information Systems, Bradley University, for their Director of the InterLabs Research permanent strong support of authors’ research activities in Institute at Bradley University. He the advanced Web-Based Education area. published 208 professional publications in three different languages, including 3 books, 3 References chapter textbooks, and 31 journal articles. Dr. Uskov is a principal investigator of the NSF CCLI grant 0196015 [1] National Science Foundation CCLI Grant # 0196015 at (2000-2004) on Web-based education. He was a co-principal http://www.nsf.gov investigators of the NSF ATE grant # 9950029 (1999-2003) [2] Bradley University at http://www.bradley.edu and NSF Planning grant (2000-2001) on Web-Based
  6. 6. Paper 202-1456 Education, IT-Based Education and e-Technologies in Moscow, Russia. His research interests are in Web-Based Education. Dr. Uskov obtained M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Education, e-Learning, e-Training, and Streaming Multimedia Computer Science from the Moscow Aviation University, areas.