Enhancing Student Access to University Content through Semantic Technologies

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Presentation given at the 3rd Conference on Effective Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at the American University of Beirut.

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Enhancing Student Access to University Content through Semantic Technologies

  1. 1. ENHANCING STUDENT ACCESS TOUNIVERSITY CONTENT THROUGHSEMANTIC TECHNOLOGIESFouad ZablithOlayan School of BusinessAmerican University of Beirut
  2. 2. Information is Scattered & Growing What are the courses offered In Decision Systems this spring?
  3. 3. Information is Scattered & Growing What are the courses offered In Decision Systems this spring? What are the relevant learning Material to this course?
  4. 4. Information is Scattered & Growing What are the courses offered In Decision Systems this spring? What are the relevant learning Material to this course?What are the office hours of myinstructor?
  5. 5. Registrar Student’s Communications Digital Department Repository Library Moodle Student Services Online Media
  6. 6. Registrar Student’s Communications Digital Department Repository Library Moodle Student Services Online Media ?
  7. 7. Problem• Big universities and organizations store their information in different systems relevant to their departments• Each system has its own platform, and grows with time to form an information silo, disconnected from other information repositories• This will make it hard for students, the main consumers of university information, to get answers to their queries in an efficient way
  8. 8. Technology is Getting More Sophisticated From searching for “Terms”, to searching for “Things”
  9. 9. Technology is Getting More Sophisticated Learning on the fly with augmented reality
  10. 10. Technology is Getting More Sophisticated Learning physics while travelling around Europe + explosion in online learning material
  11. 11. Students’ Expectations are Changing• Today, students tend to expect more from technology, as it is offering them more sophisticated tools• They expect when they check their mobile phones, to know at a glance where their friends are at the moment• They expect to know what happened in class from their moodle page, and ask questions through moodle• They expect to go online to search for learning concepts they didn’t understand in class
  12. 12. How can we, as a university, meetstudents’ expectations to enhance thediscovery of our content?
  13. 13. Proposed Solution• We propose a solution based on the following two main components: • A linked platform of university content • A processable and explicit student context• The role of the two components is to enable the adaptation of university content to the students’ needs based on their contexts• We propose relying on semantic technologies to provide the two components
  14. 14. Requirements• To achieve our objective, we foresee the following requirements: • A methodology to extract and connect existing university information resources • A set of tools to elicit the context of students in a processable manner • Devise the appropriate means to adapt university content to the student needs in different channels
  15. 15. Linking Resources• Linking is important, we have tutorials on that! Can we make such links more explicit and reusable?
  16. 16. Semantic Technologies and Linked Data• Linking data within an organization enables breaking the isolation of data silos• The semantic web and linked data provide the means to connect entities at the data level using meaningful relations and unique references• Such entities are linked and published following well defined vocabularies, to make seamless exchange of data within the university and external resources
  17. 17. Example Student Course isa isa enrolledIn Management Jim 215
  18. 18. A Linked University Platform
  19. 19. Linking Across the University Course
  20. 20. Linking Across the University Course hasTitle Title isToughtBy hasMaterial Slides Instructor Book
  21. 21. Linking Across the University Course hasTitle Title isToughtBy hasMaterial Slides Instructor isPartOf hasPublication Book hasISBN hasSupplier Department Publication ISBN Supplier
  22. 22. Linking Across the University Course and beyond… hasTitle Title isToughtBy hasMaterial Slides Instructor isPartOf hasPublication Book hasISBN hasSupplier Department Publication ISBN Supplier
  23. 23. Governments UniversitiesBibliography References And many more! “Linking Open Data cloud diagram, by Richard Cyganiak and Anja Jentzsch. http://lod-cloud.net/”
  24. 24. Moving from Silos to Linked Data
  25. 25. Linked Data Lucero StatisticsEntity Type Number of InstancesCourses 580Research Publications 16,000Video Podcasts 2,200Audio Podcasts 1,500Open Educational Resources 640YouTube Videos 900University Buildings 100Library Catalogue Books 12,000
  26. 26. Library Publications PodcastsCatalogue Courses YouTube People Information Linked Data Platform
  27. 27. Linking Learning Material Application that enables students to discover various learning material from the same page Podcasts, open material and courses were never connected, but now they are!
  28. 28. New Learning ChannelsWith the ease of access to information, creative things could bedone with learning material.
  29. 29. Student Context for Content Adaptation
  30. 30. Potential Student Context Sources• Student contexts can potentially be aggregated from different sources such as: • Existing student records • Social networks • Manually updated profiles/preferences • Historical user context activities • Physical devices (e.g. location enabled mobile phones)
  31. 31. Student Context Mockup Student Jim completed enrolledIn interestedIn English MNGT Running 203 215 Chess
  32. 32. Student Assistant Mockup MNGT 210 Office hours: Program OSB OSB 456 Student MWF: 3-4pm AUB Jim Beirut Marathonpleted enrolledIn interestedIn 11 Nov 2012 Person Events MNGT Running Book 215 You have to take Chess MNGT 210 next spring Hagop Run New chess book AUBRun at AUB library Linked University Student Context Content
  33. 33. More Flexible Queries Are there any Engineering related events at AUB?
  34. 34. More Flexible Queries Are there any Engineering related What are the cases related events at AUB? to Management 215?
  35. 35. More Flexible Queries What are the student job vacancies available? Are there any Engineering related What are the cases related events at AUB? to Management 215?
  36. 36. Challenges• Student contexts can contain private information, hence students should have full control on what to expose• Some information are harder to represent than others for example courses information vs degree requirements• Another challenge is at the level of the student acceptance of such technology• How to manage the increase in the context history to keep relevant information to the student
  37. 37. Conclusion• Semantic technologies enable having a linked and processable information layer in big organizations and universities• A semantic student context was proposed to enable adapting university content to students’ preferences, and enhancing the discovery of new content• Our next step is to start linking content at AUB, and evaluate the effect of the proposed context aware application on: • The efficiency in content discovery • The student learning experience
  38. 38. Thank you http://fouad.zablith.orgfouad.zablith@aub.edu.lb @fzablith
  39. 39. Image Sources• http://places.designobserver.com/feature/a-sense-of- place-a-world-of-augmented-reality-part-2/13628/• http://www.udacity.com/overview/Course/ph100/CourseRe v/1• http://openclipart.org/detail/79363

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