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FIE2010: Orchestrating Groupware in Engineering Education



Presentation for the Frontiers in Education conference 2010

Presentation for the Frontiers in Education conference 2010



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    FIE2010: Orchestrating Groupware in Engineering Education FIE2010: Orchestrating Groupware in Engineering Education Presentation Transcript

    • Orchestrating Groupware in Engineering Education
      Roberto Perez-Rodriguez
      Manuel Caeiro-Rodriguez
      Luis Anido-Rifon
      University of Vigo
    • Introduction
      ICT support to Engineering Education increased in recent years:
      Big spectrum of online tools and materials
      From basic web sites to online labs
      The implementation of online courses that involve groups of users is a challenging task due to
      The scattering of third-party tools running on different servers
      These tools need to be configured manually for each use case
    • Introduction (ii)
      Our approach to solve this issue is composed by two main points
      A central engine that runs course scripts written with an Educational Modelling Language (EML)
      A middleware to enable the integration of third-party tools in courses
      This solution is usually referred to as orchestration
      A central engine acts as the orchestra director
      And controls the behaviour of multiple musicians (groupware tools)
      In accordance with a previously composed partiture (the course script)
    • Introduction (iii)
    • PoEML
      The life-cycle of a collaborative practice in Engineering Education is typically composed of the following stages
      The design-time stage, in which the teacher creates the roadmap of the practice, including the number of participants per scenario
      The instantiation-time stage, in which the teacher communicates the assignment of people to groups and the collaborative practice starts
      The run-time stage, in which participants collaborate following the instructions in the roadmap, at the same time that the teacher monitors the progression of groups
    • PoEML (ii)
      We use PoEML for designing educational scenarios.
      In design-time, the creator of the collaborative practice uses a graphical authoring tool that produces a XML file with a computer-understandable description of the practice
    • PoEML (iii)
      We propose an example of a collaborative practice. The participants are asked to make groups of two, then they have to code a Java program using a development environment and to compose a text file with a summary of the work, finally the program and the summary are evaluated by a teacher.
      The elements of the practice are:
      Scenarios: a root scenario that represents the entire class, and a scenario for each group
      Goals: the objective and roadmap of the practice
      Environments: the programming environment, the feedback environment, the delivering environment, the evaluation environment
      Tools: the programming IDE, a chat for communication between peers, a text editor, a forum for feedback
      Participants: grouped in groups of two
      This practice entails to create instances of the tools that will be used by participants:
      The number of IDE instances to be created depends on the number of groups of participants, so as the number of text editor instances to compose the summary
      Tool instances must be configured prior to be used by participants
    • Execution engine
    • Execution engine (ii)
      The execution engine is the core component of the system.
      The models manager deals with the designs of educational scenarios.
      Maintains the versions of the models
      Updates models when required by an authorized user
      Communication from the exterior is made by making use of the authoring interface
      The instances is in charge of managing running instances of collaborative practices.
      Communication is made by making use of both the information retrieval interface as well as the events interface
    • Integration middleware
      The Generic Tool Adapter (GTA) is a comprehensible mechanism to extend the functionalities of a e-learning system by integrating tools in a “tight” way. The following aspects are covered:
      Authorization granting
      Instances management
      Data transfer
      Permissions assignment
      Event subscription
      Specific methods management
    • Prototype
      We developed a fully functional prototype to test the architectural approach presented in this paper.
      The database was implemented in Oracle.
      The execution engine is a Java-based web app running on Tomcat
      The presentation component was developed as a Moodle extension (new course type)
      The authoring subcomponent provides the view for creating new process definitions, which are incorporated to the models schema in the database
      The monitoring subcomponent provides the view for following the progression of participants through the collaboration structures
      The delivering subcomponent provides the working view for participants, including a to-do list that provides links to the pending assignments
    • Prototype (ii)
    • Related work
      SocialWok adds a social layer over Google Docs
      Simplifies the process of sharing a document with other people because it is a social network that wraps around documents
      Provides the capability to define users’ groups
      Limits access to documents to a group of users
      Zoho is a web-based productivity suite that has integrated its products with Google.
      Google Apps Premier and Education Edition allows to create and manage groups, and to share documents
      Moodlerooms is a SaaS provider of Moodle, and it integrates Moodle and Google Apps together with a single-sign-on
    • Related work (ii)
      Our work differs from those in two main points:
      We use an EML to support the social layer over third-party tools, enabling framed collaboration
      Since laboratory simulators and other kind of tools in Engineering Education have been developed without integration concerns in mind, we provide a method to integrate these kind of third-party tools, which are wrapped and treated as legacy software
    • Conclusions
      We have presented an architectural approach to support an EML layer over groupware tools that are used in Engineering Education.
      The EML engine automatically configures and instantiates third-party groupware tools following a previously designed course script
      Our approach is, basically, to formalize macro collaboration scripts as a process definition, whilst micro collaboration scripts are reified in the code of groupware tools.
    • Thanks for your attention!