Asia eBIT @ UCSC: Implementing the paradigm shift from
                Teaching to Learning through e-learning framework

...
state university was 50. Thus increasing by                 are constantly updated to meet the industry
numbers in 50s wil...
production process has moved from Products to                process than on copying note as in a traditional
Knowledge, W...
Hosting of a website to provide easy access to               also the learning content. This content was in
course related...
learning opportunities provided through the LMS.             •   No link with continuous assessment and final
Thus the LMS...
1,299 (44%) have been eligible to proceed to year            misunderstandings while achieving constructive
3. Final year ...
4.2 Curriculum Development                                  initial stage was one of the mistakes corrected in
           ...
consuming. Thus recording lecturer’s voice and              A public library is a knowledge centre [12]. To
streaming is u...
1) BIT       (2000),     “Student     Handbook”.
                                                              www.bit.lk/...
Degree Path
                        MSc, MPhil, PhD @ UCSC




                                           BIT

           ...
Figure 2: The Starting Page of the Virtual Learning Environment




                   Figure 3: Different Discussions in ...
Figure 4: This is what students see when they enter the course




Figure 5: Collaborative student activity in the LMS

  ...
Figure 6: Online Quiz given in the LMS for each sections in the syllabus




Figure 7: Interactive Online Learning Lesson
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Figure 8: Interactive online learning Activity given within e-Learning lessons




                       Proceedings of t...
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Asia eBIT @ UCSC: Implementing the paradigm shift from Teaching to Learning through e-learning framework

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G N Wikramanayake, K P Hewagamage, G I Gamage, A R Weerasinghe (2007) "Asia eBIT @ UCSC: Implementing the paradigm shift from Teaching to Learning through e-learning framework" In:25th National Information Technology Edited by:Chrisantha Silva et al. pp. 68-81. Computer Society of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CSSL Sep 19-20 ISBN: 978-955-9155-15-7

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Asia eBIT @ UCSC: Implementing the paradigm shift from Teaching to Learning through e-learning framework

  1. 1. Asia eBIT @ UCSC: Implementing the paradigm shift from Teaching to Learning through e-learning framework G.N. Wikramanayake, K.P. Hewagamage, G.I. Gamage, A.R. Weerasinghe University of Colombo School of Computing {gnw, kph, gig, arw}@ucsc.cmb.ac.lk Colombo. Established in the year 1870, as the ABSTRACT Ceylon Medical College, the University of To address the shortage of opportunities to take Colombo could claim to have been associated computing as a career, University of Colombo with higher education for over 100 years. Students introduced the BIT External Degree programme should feel very privileged to belong to the in 2000. However due to the high dropout rates at University of Colombo with its long tradition of the initial stage of the programme, only small excellence in teaching, learning, research and number of students has been successful in contribution to the community. completing their studies. Therefore, it was a The University of Colombo started its computing strong requirement to improve the quality and activities in 1967 and today it is the most relevance of the delivery mechanism of BIT as the advanced higher educational institution, in the university was not involved in face to face forefront of human resource development in teaching. Information and Communication Technologies Asia eBIT is a project to address these issues and (ICT) in Sri Lanka. to expand BIT into an International degree in Asia. In September 2002, University of Colombo Through the paradigm shift from teaching to School of Computing (UCSC) was established by learning, the relevance of the programme as an external degree has been achieved. Beside merging The Institute of Computer Technology changes to the curriculum is gradually addressing and The Department of Computer Science both of the dropout issue as well as has provided the the University of Colombo, as the first centre of students an opportunity to first acquire end-user higher learning of computing in Sri Lanka. IT skills and then move on into development skills in ICT. 1.2 Career Opportunities in ICT Asia eBIT e-learning framework is built on top of a Learning Management System and provides a According to the recent work force survey [11] wide rage of learning resources. It is a virtual the current demand for computer graduates is learning environment that promotes 5,755. Such an increasing demand was predicted constructivism in collaborative learning. It at Colombo way back in late 1990s. includes interactive learning material, student Undergraduate education in Sri Lanka is provided manuals, learning activities and assessments. This free of charge for a limited number. Providing paper introduces the Asia eBIT e-learning framework, curriculum changes that have take educational resources along with opportunities for placed and the various learning resources that scholarships / bursaries and hostel facilities cannot had helped the student to learn and test their be sustained for large number of students without skills. Paper also shows how the student a steady income. Apparently the government of performance of participated students had Sri Lanka is spending over 1,000,000 per student increased due to this learning environment. per year to provide undergraduate education. Thus state university setup does not allow 1.0 INTRODUCTION expansion at the required scale. A typical increase 1.1 University of Colombo in the intake for a state section university programme is around 50 students. In late 1990s The history of higher education in Sri Lanka is the largest undergraduate output in ICT from a closely linked to that of the University of Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 68
  2. 2. state university was 50. Thus increasing by are constantly updated to meet the industry numbers in 50s will not assist in meeting the local requirements. Major syllabi revision takes place and global needs. every 3 years. In addition to the syllabi, model question papers, a 1.3 BIT @ UCSC list of recommended textbooks are provided to the Taking into consideration the expansion students. Main source of interaction with the limitations of the state sector universities and the students is through the Web. All announcements job opportunities that exist for ICT graduates in and most correspondence are done through this Sri Lanka & overseas, the UCSC (formerly medium. Institute of Computer Technology) took the Students meet university authorities only at initiative to launch the External Degree (BIT) registration, examination and awards ceremony. programme leading to the award of Degree of Thus the learning takes place remotely similar to Bachelor of Information Technology (External) – Open University Distance Education model. BIT way back in 2000 [1]. It is the first-ever UCSC also gives further support to BIT students External Degree in IT in Sri Lanka and the by the regular TV programme telecast over University of Colombo awards the degree. TVLanka which is broadcasted in the Middle East University system provides higher education as well. Recommended text books (most Low cost opportunities to less than 15% of the successful Indian editions) have been made available in students at the GCE A/L examination. BIT is open many public libraries throughout the country in for all students who are successful at GCE A/L response to student requests. and also for others who have obtained alternate Rest of the paper is organised as follows. Section educational qualifications irrespective of them 2 presents the changes that had taken placed in the being registered for any other educational learning and delivery mechanisms along with an programme. Thus BIT is designed to produce identification of existing Learning Management qualified ICT professionals in addition to the Systems (LMS). Section 3 introduces the traditional University output. More importantly initiatives taken by UCSC to introduce the BIT has enabled those who could not enter the paradigm shift through the BIT degree programme. university to read for a degree in ICT due to Section 4 introduces the Asia eBIT project and severe competition to enrol for state university elaborates on the e-learning framework used to degrees. Finally BIT gives an opportunity to those achieve the paradigm shift. Section 5 briefly non-graduates already working in ICT to obtain a highlights some of the society changes and barriers in Sri Lankan context in succeeding in the formal qualification in ICT. paradigm shift. Finally, the conclusion emphasises BIT is a three year academic programme that on the impact is taking place in education as a awards a Diploma in IT on successful completion result of the paradigm shift from Teaching to of course examinations of the first year; a Higher Learning. Diploma in IT on successful completion of course examinations of the second year and finally the 2.0 CHANGES TAKEN PLACE degree. This process has allowed students to Availability of vast amount of information on the commence employment after completion of one web has provided access to all types of learning year academic work. Such students would proceed material. The teacher’s lecture notes are no longer with their studies while at the industry or move on the primary focus of a learning process, and the to other disciplines. teacher’s role and the student’s learning process is changing [14]. As BIT is an external degree the students will not attend the institution for the learning process. Thus, UCSC provides a well-defined detailed 2.1 Paradigm Shift syllabus that would help to lay a solid foundation Paradigm shifts in today’s world have identified on which, a student can build his career in ICT. the Machine / Industrial era being replaced by Due to rapid advances in ICT all UCSC syllabi Technology / Information era. Similarly Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 69
  3. 3. production process has moved from Products to process than on copying note as in a traditional Knowledge, Workplace has moved from Physical class. to Virtual and its focus has changed from Worker Teachers should ensure that knowledge and skills to Customer [10]. are presented to students in a way that they could In terms of education we should create learn through participation. Teachers need to Knowledge that is accessible virtually with the consider how these learning experiences could be focus on the student. Virtual access is achieved encouraging to students who are performing such through Internet / Intranets. Techniques such as e- mental exercises. mail, web notices, discussion forums and video Thus students, who used to learn facts and skills conferencing allow a student to access by absorbing the content presented by teachers information without visiting the physical location and media resources, could move towards creating of delivery. A typical interactive e-learning personal knowledge by acting on content provided system will have these characteristics and thus by teachers, media resources, and personal facilitating the paradigm shift. experiences. The focus should be on acquiring higher order skills like problem solving and 2.2 Classroom Level critical thinking. Use of technology at classroom level was not 2.5 Curriculum Characteristics possible until the teachers delivery mechanisms In order to change the teacher’s and student’s role were aided with technology. Some universities, the curriculum also needs to be revised. institutes and even schools now have installed Traditional curriculum would focus on computers and multi-media projectors in some or fragmented knowledge and disciplinary separation. all of their class rooms so that teachers could However now we should focus on deliver the content with the aid of technology. For multidisciplinary themes as future generation will instance lecturers of University of Colombo need the ability to move through several different School of Computing can to carry their USB drive jobs. Thus establishment of basic literacy and to deliver their lecture as multi-media facility is focusing heavily on job specific skills is pointless, available in each classroom or login to the e- as one has to change jobs or manage many jobs by learning system. However an education centre themselves. Therefore it is important to emphasise with restricted facilities would have to be satisfied on thinking skills, knowledge integration and with a specific location like a meeting room to use application. Depth of understanding will be their multi-media material. It is similar to how required than breath of knowledge [4]. laboratory classes are conducted. Thus in such centres not all teachers and students will be able 2.6 Assessments to benefit from technology. However this is the With changes to the learning process the first step towards using technology for teaching. assessment methods should also change. Instead of measuring a student on factual knowledge and 2.3 Teacher’s Role discrete skills, assessments should focus on application of knowledge. This will allow testing In the modern global learning environment of problem solving skills of a student. Students teacher’s role shifts from "dispenser of should also be given tasks to demonstrate information" to "facilitator of learning" as he has understanding and creativity. only to guide the active students who are involved in using the e-learning material. Some of the early Current LMS are focusing on automated changes that were taking place in teaching and assessment methodologies. Thus most learning were discussed in [14]. assessments are Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) or key word filling. Thus most assessments are knowledge assessments than 2.4 Student’s Role problem solving. However some courses like Some classrooms are equipped with computer Mathematics finds it easy to incorporate problem access to all students. In such cases students solving in their assessments. interactively participate in the learning process. The student can focus totally on the learning 2.7 E-LEARNING Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 70
  4. 4. Hosting of a website to provide easy access to also the learning content. This content was in course related information over the Internet can be electronic format (PowerPoint and Word) where seen as the origin of the current e-learning others were able to directly use them through the systems. It evolved through content that was web site http://www.bit.lk. Thus teachers of provided on the web in the form of lecture notes external institutes were able to deliver the content and other learning material such as lab exercises. to the expected levels of UCSC. Also students This reduced the need for long classroom sessions who were motivated to learn on their own were to deliver knowledge and also offered the students able to do so by following this material. the flexibility to learn at their own pace. Now we Surprisingly the success rate of students following could see several learning methods being used as both approaches was the same. However, high part of online teaching over the Internet [9]. drop of rates of the external degree programme In e-learning systems students are able to was a major concern for UCSC as we would see communicate with their teachers through email later in this section. and discussion groups. In this situation students do not get immediate response from their teachers and some times may also not get what they want 3.1 e-Learning @ UCSC within the required time. However some systems In the year 2003, e-learning was introduced to the offer online discussions among students, teachers Year one BIT students through a Learning and other participants via chats, Management System (LMS) called videoconferencing and groupware. Here students “Theducation”. This was possible through are able to get immediate response to their assistance given by Sida (Swedish International questions despite not being physically present. Development Agency). LMS assists the students in learning through self-evaluating quizzes, Online assessment is a key component of an e- learning system and it is used to evaluate student’s collaborative learning using group assignments etc. learning progress. Quizzes in the form of MCQ are part of this and it has the capability not only to UCSC did not stop at this point. We went towards give feed back for the student responses but also improving the syllabi by identifying overall to monitor student’s learning progress and objective(s) and detail objectives and then relating achievement levels. them to brief and detailed topics along with the expected time to be spent. For self learners as Various information in the form of course well as for those teachers who delivered the overview, contents, objectives, notes, slides, courses the recommended text books with page exercises, workbooks, references, worked numbers for each topic was provided. Even the examples, model and past papers with solutions, links to external resources, student prepared books were classified as main and supplementary so that the students could decide on what to refer. material and their solutions are provided to the learners through these websites. Special As a learning tool for each subject students are interactive sessions with multimedia are also part provided with past papers and model answers. In of these systems. addition to that, the students are given the Commercial systems such as WebCT [13] and opportunity assess their learning skills by answering MCQ questions and short answers, Blackboard [2] dominated the early days of e- which are automatically marked by the LMS. learning. However with the emergence of several Students are also given an opportunity to answer open source solutions e-learning user community take home assignments and submit their solutions have increased rapidly. Moodle [7], OLAT [8], electronically. Once they submit their assignment dotLRN [6], claroline [3] are among the popular the students are grouped and their solutions are open source LMS. shared allowing them to learner from their colleagues. 3.0 BIT APPROACH This approach although is a good for learning When the University of Colombo commenced the approach has not been used effectively by the external degree in IT, the technology enabled students as a learning tool. Majority of students UCSC to reach their external students and are not ready to take these quizzes and external institutes teaching them. The UCSC assignments until the time of the semester provided not only the syllabi and guidelines but examination. Thus they are not ready to tryout the Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 71
  5. 5. learning opportunities provided through the LMS. • No link with continuous assessment and final Thus the LMS had not been used as a learning semester examination. Students are not tool. UCSC has made the use of LMS as a motivated when they do not find a good value mandatory component of the course. As use of the from activities in the LMS. LMS is possible even after the examination most students who have done the exam well makes an • Negative impression: Not enough support for attempt to fulfil the LMS requirement. student’s learning process. Submission of assignments and doing the quizzes • No alignment with respect to syllabus, are possible without any supervision. Hence a learning resources and assessment: this is a quite a number of students take a short cut of kind of serious issue which was not getting their quizzes and assignments answered by considered when e-Learning System was first others. Thus they are not using the LMS as a introduced. learning tool. From student point of view although LMS is useful for learning is not yet practical due 3.2 BIT Intake & Output to access limitations, access cost and time to be spent in front of a computer. Most students are not BIT is open to all students who fulfil the entry yet used to learning by sitting in front of a criteria without any intake limitations. Figure 1 computer as such facilities are not available for illustrates the degree path and the milestones that them in general. can be achieved by BIT degree program. Thus during the six completed years, 15,924 students have enrolled for this programme. Among them 3.1.1 Evaluation of Theducation 9,892 (62%) have sat all semester 1 examination The following could be seen as positive papers and 6,208 (39%) have sat all year 1 observations from the introduction of the original examinations. Since the 4th batch to be successful e-learning framework. in year 1 all BIT students have to be successful in their LMS assessments as well. Including those Positive Observations who were successful prior to the introduction of • Acceptable Framework to promote an LMS in total only 3,538 (22%) from among those external degree program (where there is no who sat all the year 1 examination papers has also face to face contact) attempted the LMS assessments. Thus 78% of 1st year students have dropout of the programme • Student satisfaction about details in the without making an attempt to take all the relevant syllabus of course modules examination components. However from among • Promote the students participation with those who sat all examinations, 2,237 (63%) have assignment modules been successful at the BIT year 1 programme. • Introduction of collaborative learning model 3.2.1 BIT Year 2 • From a Web Site to LMS where students Not all BIT first year students could proceed to found lot of learning resources year 2. They have to pass at least 6 out of the 8 Negative Observation courses offered during the 1st year. Out of the 15,924 registered for year 1, only 2,927 (18%) • Collaborative model was not successful. were able to proceed to year 2. Among them Students were supposed to discuss their 1,752 (60%) have sat all year 2 examinations. individual submissions of assignment with Year 2 also has LMS assessments and only 1,266 their assigned group and identify the best (43%) sat the exams and the LMS. However from answer for the given assignment. However among those who sat all examinations, 889 (70%) students rarely discuss and collaboration have been successful after fulfilling the didn’t happen. requirements for both year 1 and 2. • Poor learning content. Learning content are power points slides of teachers. Students can 3.2.2 BIT Year 3 hardly learn these things. There was a module for mathematics learning but it was not inline Again only those who pass at least 6 out of 8 with relevant mathematics for computing courses offered during the 1st year could proceed course syllabus. to year 3. From the 2,927 second years students Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 72
  6. 6. 1,299 (44%) have been eligible to proceed to year misunderstandings while achieving constructive 3. Final year project has been the main barrier for alignment in the curriculum of BIT programme. the 3rd years. Only 546 (42%) have so far submitted the final project report and 485 (37%) have sat exams as well. However from among 4.1 E-Learning Framework those who sat all examinations, 394 (81%) have To retain the large enrolled group of students with obtained the degree after fulfilling the the BIT programme the need to improve the requirements of all three years. It is interesting to quality and relevance of the BIT degree popped note that 38% of those graduates are females as up. Since BIT is an external degree with the opposed to 23% in the internal degree programme. university not offering face to face teaching and The internal degree programme taking direct direct monitoring of the participation of the intake from year 1 have a success rate of 84% learning process a different approach to that used while the previous internal specialised degree for the internal students were required. The need programme commencing who’s intake commence for a local controlled e-Learning framework and a in year 3 after filtering students based on first two project to fund this initiative came up as a result. years performance had a success rate of 97%. Asia eBIT is a direct result of this initiative and while addressing these issues it is also helping to expand BIT into an International degree in Asia. 4.0 ASIA eBIT PROJECT In reality, e-learning framework implements the e-BIT is a project to enhance the delivery of BIT teaching to learning collaborative learning model. degree program using e-Learning and e-Testing It consists of several components and services. framework. It has been carried out as an Student enrolment, authentication, portal, international collaboration between Stockholm curriculum, interactive multimedia content, course University, Sweden and Delf University in the validation, activity management, messaging, Netherland. The Swedish International email, forum, chat, assessments, marking, organization is the main sponsor of this project. In grading, reporting, tracking, quality assurance, this section, we will discuss how we have user preferences, archiving, etc. are among them improved the BIT program using e-BIT project. [15]. Our e-learning framework is a virtual learning Based on the experience of e-Learning facilities environment to promote constructivism in for BIT during the period 2003-2006, we collaborative learning. It includes interactive understood that it is very important to do a learning material, student manuals, learning curriculum revision of BIT program in order to activities and assessments. In the VLE make it suitable to deliver using online mode. (http://lms.bit.lk) .each course consists of e- This curriculum revision is required to revise both learning lessons which provide interactive the learning content and assessment methodology. learning content, online and offline activities, Hence, overall structure of the program was online quizzes for self evaluation and revised considering main output of the BIT assignments, and discussion forums. Figure 2 program as well as syllabuses of all courses to be shows the starting interface for the virtual learning delivered/Tested using online e-Leanring environment of BIT. Marks for the assignments framework. are automatically calculated by the system and To address a weakness of the original framework, considered for the final results. Discussion forums it was required to develop the curriculum by improve the collaboration among the students, as structuring whole study programme level by level forums allow students to engage in general as well as the structure of each course in the discussions as well as the discussions on programme. A syllabus template was used for online/offline learning activities Figure 3 shows each course to list learning activities based on the the interface of online/offline discussions based learning outcome and content map in the course. activity forum. Curriculum development and The most interesting observation we came cross in provision of course page etc should happen first to this project is that e-learning course development support a virtual collaborative learning influences the recursive enhancement in the environment. course syllabuses as it helps to identify teacher’s (Subject Matter Experts) errors and Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 73
  7. 7. 4.2 Curriculum Development initial stage was one of the mistakes corrected in this revision. Prior to producing people who could Curriculum development is the starting point and produce and deliver ICT solutions, it was required is an important component for the success of an e- to produce people who could use and apply ICT. learning system. Although the original BIT For that a career path focusing towards the programme already had a well defined syllabi Computer Driving Licence was required as a with exit points at end of year 1 and 2, as shown starting point for the BIT programme. To achieve in the Figure 1, significant student populations a strong foundation courses offered for Semester 1 dropped out of the programme at the early stage. was redesigned. Beside an incremental three year By analyzing various observations, we identified curriculum review process was put into place. We the curriculum development had not been properly are planning to give a special certificates for addressed when the e-Learning framework was students who complete all Semester 1 courses. introduced. We made following two conclusions Aligning the syllabus, learning resources and on the effectiveness and they are main cases for assessments was a critical requirement. eBIT Project. Application of constructive alignment was • Foundation (Curriculum Development) was adopted to address this requirement. Course not strong and there was a failure in content too was introduced in stages and constructive alignment. assessments too focussed on sections than the course. Emphasis was made to increase the • Development of Virtual Learning similarity and relationship between formative and Environment to implement collaborative summative assessments. Thus take home learning model through constructivism and assignments of the previous system was replaced learning activities. with learning activities. Figure 7 shows a sample It was necessary to go beyond a conventional online quiz which are given as assignments to syllabuses in a distance learning program. It was students. necessary to provide different learning resources in a structure similar to syllabus of the course. 4.3 Interactive Content This was achieved by developing a course website within the LMS. The course webpage for During the 2003 revision interactive material was “Information Systems and Technology” course is developed for some courses using java applets. shown in the Figure 4. Students were able to However, due to heavy use of internet bandwidth download several offline reading materials like by this content this attempt was not successful. “Student Manuals” for different sections in the Thus the 2006 revision developed the interactive syllabus as well as online interactive e-Learning material using flash objects and found it to be lessons. more effective. In collaborative learning constructivism is Beside interactive content learning activities were achieved through open overall discussions; introduced for each course (figure 7). Students discussions on subject matter with respect to could access their knowledge not only through sections within the course syllabus and publicising practice quizzes but also through interesting individual artefacts for discussions and ratings. learning activities as shown in Figure 8. Figure 5 describes such a real discussion occurred through student interaction in the BIT website. In collaborative learning, learning activities allow to 4.4 Learning Material provide online interactive feedback to motivate Uniformity of material was achieved through use students and offline change of attitude in the of templates. Initial learning material was in the learning process. form of PowerPoint slides. These slides were Every three years UCSC review their curricula to useful for some, but most found that they couldn’t ensure that their courses meet the current needs. learn using them as information was in point form Hence the recent syllabi gave us the opportunity (figure 4). During the 2006 revision the slides address the above issues and incorporate were expanded and student manuals were created. interactive material and learning activities. This helped the learner to focus on learning based on the manual thus less dependency on the text Although mathematics is important to learn books. Writing student manuals is very time computing forcing the students to learn it at the Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 74
  8. 8. consuming. Thus recording lecturer’s voice and A public library is a knowledge centre [12]. To streaming is used as an alternative. provide services through technology it should not only allow members to view available books, but should also allow viewing of content pages and 4.5 Collaborative Learning abstracts. In the case of research papers the Virtual Learning Environment to promote facility to download papers, journals and thesis is constructivism in collaborative learning is another provided. User must also have a facility to interact area of focus. Discussions, virtual facilitation, with the librarian, suggest procurements, interact guidance, student feedback and progress are some with publishers, receive alters on outstanding of the features of this virtual learning books, late fees and collection of books reserved. environment. The effectiveness of the implementation of the 5.2 Infrastructure Facilities paradigm shift could be seen from the current Educators confront with the issue of equity when Semester 1 LMS results (figure 5). In 2005/06, out they consider introducing technology to learn. To of the 2,833 students 1,928 (68%) sat for all develop a country and provide everybody equal semester 1 LMS assessments and only 623 (32%) facilities is impossible with the existing free of them completed it successfully. However in the education system and the policy implementation current 2006/07 batch, out of the 1,840 students processors. Trying to solve the equity problem 1,059 (58%) sat for all Semester 1 LMS and introduce technology at classroom level will assessments and 998 (94%) had been successful. result in the country going backward compared to This improvement in the success rate is due to the others as well as encourage brain drain as people implementation of the paradigm shift. are always looking for better learning opportunities and living standards. 5.0 SOCIETY CHANGES Every student must have computer access to 5.1 Society successfully implement above ideas. Thus student to computer ration must increase. It is Using computers for public services is gradually recommended that all education institutions must wide spreading. Although these benefits are have computers with a minimum ratio of 1:5 with currently enjoyed by a small fraction of the those teaching computing with a minimum ratio population the availability will encourage others of 1:3. All teachers must be provided with to join and enjoy the benefits of technology. unlimited computer access so that they could For example, some banks have moved towards prepare their educational material. providing most of their services through the web. Learning computing has now been introduced at This includes managing their accounts, placing schools as well. Having originated targeting at standing orders and settlement of bills. This advanced level students it has now reached the allows the customer to make a virtual visit to his ordinary level students as well. However our bank at anytime he wish and obtain the required school IT curriculum should move towards service. Other services such as withdrawing cash, matching those used in the western countries to depositing cheques etc. can be done through the encourage more to take up IT as a career path. teller machines which are also accessible at anytime. Fortunately through School Net Internet access has reached schools. Also through Nanasala’s it is Wireless local area networks allow users to access reaching the villages as well. Not only that the shared information without looking for a place to service providers too offering Internet facilities to plug in their laptops. This technology is being most cities. made available in some public places and organisations as well as not spreading beyond the major cities. Educational centres such as 5.3 Language Barrier Universities and Libraries should have such Most Sri Lankan learner’s first language is not facilities, as future generation will be carrying English. Hence some find it difficult grasp the mobile equipment to access facilities. Information concepts through reading. Hence there is a need users now carry their laptops, PDA, smart phones, for supplementary material in native languages. CDs, thumb drives with them for fast and precise This could be supported through Unicode. access to their day to day material. Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 75
  9. 9. 1) BIT (2000), “Student Handbook”. www.bit.lk/information/handbook/handbook- 5.4 Bridging the Gap 2000.pdf The education system has been producing 2) Blackboard. www.blackboard.com graduates without any exposure to computers. 3) Classroom online (claroline): When these graduates take teaching assignments www.claroline.net they are not equipped to use technology for 4) Grabe, Mark and Grabe, Cindy (2004), education. Technology and educational reforms “Integrating Technology for Meaningful has to be done taking these into consideration. Learning”, (4th Ed.), Houghton Mifflin Few good moves we have seen include staff Company. training and promotion of end-user ICT skills. 5) International Computer Driving Licence www.icdlap.com International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) 6) .LRN: Learn, Research, Network. dotlrn.org [5] is a competency standard for end-user ICT 7) Moodle: moodle.org skills. ICDL attempts to raise the general level of 8) Online Learning And Training (OLAT): competency in IT. This will in turn improve www.olat.org productivity at work and reduce IT support cost, 9) Salter G. and Hansen S. (1999), “Modelling enabling employers to invest more efficiently in New Skills for Online Teaching”, IT. It also ensures that best practice and quality Australasian Society for Computers in issues are understood and implemented, and Learning in Tertiary Education Conference, establishes a tangible benchmark for computer Brisbane. www.ascilite.org.au user skills. Increasing popularity of obtaining 10) Schwandt, David & Marquardt, Michael ICDL qualification is a move towards helping the (2000), “Organisational Learning: From citizens of Sri Lanka. The recent BIT degree World-Class Theories to Global Best curriculum revision took appropriate actions to Practices”. London: St. Luis Press. bridge the gap that exists between the new intake 11) Sri Lanka ICT Association -SLICTA (2007), and year 1. Thus Semester 1 is design to match an “Rising Demand: The increasing demand for advanced version of ICDL. IT workers spells a challenging opportunity for the IT industry”. National IT Workforce 6.0 CONCLUSIONS Survey 2007. www.icta.lk/Insidepages/downloadDocs/ICT In the modern society paradigm shift in learning WorkforcSurvey2007.pdf and knowledge management is quite apparent. 12) Waydande H.S. (2004), “User’s Perspective Through the Asia eBIT project the UCSC has Towards Digital Libraries: A practical taken timely measures to adopt these changes at approach of Central Library”, IIT Bombay, UCSC. Intl. Conf. on Digital Libraries, Vol. 2, pp. An e-learning framework is essential to 1081-84. implement the paradigm shift. Like learning is a 13) WebCT: www.webct.com life long process this paradigm shift and the 14) Wikramanayake G.N. (2003), “e-Learning: experiences gathered through the shift is itself a Changes in Teaching and Learning Styles”, learning process. We believe that wide variety of Proc. CSSL. Proceedings of 22nd Nat. IT educational services will emerge due to these Conf., Computer Society of Sri Lanka, pp. changes. 118-124. 15) Wilson, Scott, Kerry Blinco, and Daniel Rehak (2004), “An e-Learning framework: a 7.0 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS summary: DEST (Australia), JISC-CETIS We acknowledge the support given by the (UK), and Industry Canada”. members of the BIT academic panel and the staff www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/Altilab0 of the e-learning centre of UCSC. Contributions 4-ELF.pdf made by the Asia eBIT counterparts in Sweden and Netherlands are acknowledged. Appendix A 8.0 REFERENCES BIT – Course Structure th Proceedings of the 25 National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 76
  10. 10. Degree Path MSc, MPhil, PhD @ UCSC BIT GPA >= 2.0 & Pass Individual Project Y Semester 6 Examinations and Assignments E 2 Compulsory (GPV >= 1.25) & 2 Optional Courses (GPV >= 1) A R Semester 5 Examinations and Assignments 3 2 Compulsory (GPV >= 1.25) & 2 Optional Courses (GPV >= 1) GPA >= 1.5 Y Semester 4 Examinations and Assignments GPA >= 2.0 Higher E 2 Compulsory (GPV >= 1.25) & 2 Optional Courses (GPV >= 1) & DIT Diploma in A Information R Semester 3 Examinations and Assignments Technology 2 2 Compulsory (GPV >= 1.25) & 2 Optional Courses (GPV >= 1) (HDIT) Pass Assignments GPA >= 1.5 Y Semester 2 Examinations and Assignments GPA >= 2.0 E 4 Compulsory Courses (Min GPV 1.25) Diploma in A R Semester 1 Examinations and Assignments Information Pass Technology 1 4 Compulsory Courses (Min GPV 1.25) Assignments (DIT) Commence Studies BIT Registration Successful Selection Test Equivalent Qualifications (e.g. 6-12 Submit Application months course GCE A/L on IT or any Three Passes other discipline) + Qualification for O/L Maths - C Entrance Figure 1: BIT Degree Path Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 77
  11. 11. Figure 2: The Starting Page of the Virtual Learning Environment Figure 3: Different Discussions in LMS Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 78
  12. 12. Figure 4: This is what students see when they enter the course Figure 5: Collaborative student activity in the LMS Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 79
  13. 13. Figure 6: Online Quiz given in the LMS for each sections in the syllabus Figure 7: Interactive Online Learning Lesson Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 80
  14. 14. Figure 8: Interactive online learning Activity given within e-Learning lessons Proceedings of the 25th National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka 81

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