Category Archives: 2007/3-4

Character animation from 2D pictures and 3D motion data

This article presents a new method to animate photos of 2D characters using 3D motion capture data. Given a single image of a person or essentially human-like subject, our method transfers the motion of a 3D skeleton onto the subject’s 2D shape in image space, generating the impression of a realistic movement. We present robust solutions to reconstruct a projective camera model and a 3D model pose which matches best to the given 2D image. Depending on the reconstructed view, a 2D shape template is selected, which enables the proper handling of occlusions. After fitting the template to the character in the input image, it is deformed as-rigid-as-possible by taking the projected 3D motion data into account. Unlike previous work, our method thereby correctly handles projective shape distortion. It works for images from arbitrary views and requires only a small amount of user interaction. We present animations of a diverse set of human (and non-human) characters with different types of motions, such as walking, jumping, or dancing.

Article originally published as: Hornung, A. et al, Character Animation from 2D Pictures and 3D Motion Data, ‘ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG)’, V. 26 (2007), n.1, ©2007 Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.  http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1189762.1189763

Reprinted with permission.

Emotional agents for collaborative elearning

In this paper, we discuss the social intelligence that renders affective behaviors of intelligent agents and its application to a collaborative learning system. We argue that socially appropriate affective behaviors would provide a new dimension for collaborative learning systems.  The description of a system to recognize the six universal facial expressions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust) using an agent-based approach is presented. Then, we describe how emotions can efficiently and effectively be visualized in CVEs, with an animated virtual head (Emotional Embodied Conversational Agent) that is designed to express and act in response to the ‘universal facial expressions’. The objective of the paper is to present the emotional framework -EMASPEL (Emotional Multi-Agents System for Peer to peer E-Learning) – based on the Multi-Agents Architecture approach.

Received: September 17th, 2007

Revised: September 30th, 2007

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The Quality Adaptation Model: adaptation and adoption of the quality standard ISO/IEC 19796-1 for learning, education and training

In 2005, the new quality standard for learning, education and training, ISO/IEC 19796-1, was published. Its purpose is to help educational organisations develop quality systems, and improve the quality of their processes, products and services. In this article, the standard is presented, and compared to existing approaches, showing the methodology, and its advantages for educational organisations. However, since the standard is a reference model, it has to be adapted to the needs and requirements of an organisation. Hence, the main aspect is the adoption and implementation process: how can ISO/IEC 19796-1 successfully be implemented in educational organisations, and support the variety of involved actors? To answer this question, the quality adaptation model identifies steps and instruments to bring the abstract standard into practice. The article closes with a case study, evaluating the use and adequacy of the model.

Article originally published in ‘Educational Technology & Society’, V. 10 (2007), n. 2, pp. 3-16. http://www.ifets.info/journals/10_2/2.pdf - Reprinted with permission.

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The Qualities of leadership required in distance education

The managerial functions of leadership differ, according to the particular settings and situations. Leadership in distance education is variously different from leadership in traditional education. Creating and conveying a technological vision, which be powerful enough to displace traditional educational models, is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership in distance education. This paper looks at the role of leadership in distance education, and finds that being a specialist is not a prerequisite for being a successful leader. Rather, the qualities of leadership are the personal attitudes and behaviours, which create and advance the conditions for innovations and their operationalization. Moreover, no specific best leadership style or set of attitudes and behaviours have yet been found in distance education.

Article originally published in ‘Asian Journal of Distance Education’, V. 5 (2007), n. 1, pp. 4-7. http://www.asianjde.org/2007v5.1.Contents.html - Reprinted with permission

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Tools for job rotation integrating access to vocational training

This paper presents a Job Rotation management tool, and the method in which the architecture of Grid/Web Services can compose a knowledge Grid to facilitate access to vocational training courses, and, in this way, provide an integrated solution for both employers and employment seekers. The Job Rotation tool is implemented as an online e-service, that brings together training policies and employment policies. This tool not only assists businesses in finding employee training resources, but it also helps them by filling in the positions of the employees who are being trained. The aforementioned positions are temporarily covered by people who are unemployed. All transactions take place automatically through the service. Without human intervention, the qualifications of the fill-ins are matched to the needs of the companies, and several recorded criteria are considered before the final choice is made. It is a win-win strategy, where all parties involved (the unemployed who state their interest, and the companies that accept to employ them) are benefited. The Grid/Web Services architecture provides up-to-date and verified information, directly from the offering organizations, reducing, in this way, administrative costs for the Job Rotation e-service.

Article originally published in ‘International Journal of Simulation: Systems, Science & Technology’, V. 8 (2007), n. 2, pp. 37-44 http://ducati.doc.ntu.ac.uk/uksim/journal/Vol-8/No-2/cover.html - Reprinted with permission.

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Developing knowledge through practical experience: the principles of financial sustainability for online programs

Following the theory of situated cognition, as proposed by Brown and colleagues (1989), this research project tapped into the contextual knowledge of experienced administrators of online programs. Draft principles of financial sustainability for online programs were developed by an initial team of experienced online educators, and then critiqued by seven directors of the online programs, funded by FIPSE-Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. The directors added conditions, situations and caveats to the principles, making the final product a rich and comparatively complete list of issues, that are important for administrators to understand. The ten principles in the final list include: (1) know your market; (2) know your costs; (3) determine a price; (4) negotiate with the institution(s); (5) observe good financial management rules; (6) develop and implement marketing; (7) have a Web identity; (8) identify and develop good faculty, including adjunct faculty; (9) improve retention; and (10) improve courses or program. These principles represent the situated knowledge of experienced administrators, and may be valuable to new administrators of online learning or experienced administrators, looking for additional ways to improve a program’s financial status.

Article originally published in ‘Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration’, V. 10 (2007), n. 2, University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center. http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer102/meyer102.htm - Republished with permission.

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Multi-level modelling for faculty educational program development in global networks

The University of Zwickau is a medium-sized university, with a significant regional orientation. Because of globalization of knowledge transfer, it will be forced to become a part of national and international networks of training and education. The Institute of New Kinds of Education developed different models for opening the university to global co-operation and competition. Especially the Faculty of Management and Business Sciences will strive for the realization of a MEM-Multichannel Educational Model, in order to be prepared for the challenges of next decade. The analyses of the existing activities and opportunities are the precondition for the development of special models. Especially the adaptation of course offers to the requirements of the markets, in accordance with the future potentialities of the faculty, is necessary. Multichannel educational models have to be developed. The opportunities of the multi-level modelling strategy will be explained both, in the first approach, as an abstract modelling theory, and, in the second approach, as a case study, by the Institute of New Kinds of Education, in the Faculty of Management and Business Sciences, at the University of Applied Sciences, Zwickau, Germany.

Received: October 15th, 2007 – Revised: October 30th 2007

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Session-based packet marking and auditing for network forensics

The widely acknowledged problem of reliably identifying the origin of network data has been the subject of many research works. Due to the nature of Internet Protocol, a source IP can be easily falsified, which results in numerous problems, including the infamous Denial-Of-Service (DOS) attacks. In this paper, two light-weight novel approaches are proposed to solve this problem by providing simple and effective logging and IP-Traceback mechanism: Session-Based packet Logging (SBL) and SYN-based Packet Marking (SYNPM). The contribution of these schemes lies in the fact that they are easy to be implemented with little overhead, and are practical under sensitive privacy regulations, since they do not need to access detailed contents of each individual communication session. Currently, SBL and SYNPM approaches support only TCP sessions.

Article originally published in ‘International Journal of Digital Evidence’, V. 6 (2007), n. 1, http://www.utica.edu/academic/institutes/ecii/ijde/articles.cfm?current=1 – Republished with permission.

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The growth of mlearning and the growth of mobile computing: parallel developments

Mlearning is made possible by the existence and application of mobile hardware and networking technology. By exploring the capabilities of these technologies, it is possible to construct a picture of how different components of m-learning can be implemented. This paper will explore the major technologies currently in use: Portable Digital Assistants (PDAs), Short Message Service (SMS) messaging via mobile phone, and podcasts via MP3 players.

Originally published in ‘International Review on Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL)’, V. 8, n. 2. Subject to Creative Commons License 2.5 (c) 2007 http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/348/873

Reproduced with permission of Athabasca University – Canada’s Open University

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Online instruction as local education: CUNY`s online baccalaureate

The City University of New York (CUNY) is taking a new, local approach to online instruction: offering an online baccalaureate for degree completers, designed for NYC students who have ‘stopped out’ in good academic standing, and need the ‘any time’ flexibility of asynchronous learning to finish the degree. What is especially distinctive about this online program is its goal of access for local students, its core constituency, and mission. Though CUNY is addressing a local problem, online access to higher education for local students may address nation-wide problems, with rates of degree completion, and progress towards completion. As more institutions provide online instruction, localness may well be the key to access and timely completion for local students, with time, and not distance, being the key obstacle it overcomes.

Article originally published in ‘Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks’, V. 11 (2007), n. 1, pp.  9-14.

http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v11n1/pdf/v11n1_2otte.pdf – Reprinted with permission.

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Learning to learn on each other: peer mentoring for teacher development

This article describes the research and development of the Collaborative Online Instructors Network (COIN) to help composition instructors exchange ideas and materials on the teaching of writing. Research was conducted at a large, land-grant university in the Midwest region of the United States and focused on the pedagogical needs of graduate student instructors of composition in the university’s English department. The findings, gathered through surveys and focus groups, suggested that instructors are looking for additional resources to help them prepare for class and develop their teaching methods, and that they are receptive to online venues in particular. From the data collected, the authors designed and implemented a web-based resource consisting of a community forum for facilitating discussions about pedagogical issues and a digital library of materials to allow instructors to share what works well in their classrooms. Such an online resource thus provides an additional site for the professional development of new and veteran instructors, and the curricular development of the program overall.

Article originally published as part of McGraw-Hill’s Teaching Composition Listserv in May 2007. Reprinted with permission.

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Reschooling society and the promise of ee-Learning: an interview with Steve Eskow

Steve Eskow is president of the Pangaea Network (www.pangaeanetwork.com/colleges.html), an organization currently working on education and economic development in Africa. He was formerly president of the Electronic University Network (http://www.pangaeanetwork.com/colleges.html), one of the earliest online learning consortia, and throughout his career he has contributed to the growth of continuing education, distance learning programs, and the implementation of online technology in higher education at large. During his twenty-year tenure as president of SUNY Rockland Community College (www.sunyrockland.edu), Eskow helped transform the institution into a primary provider of nontraditional education in the state of New York. He has also founded two organizations – the College Consortium of International Studies – CCIS (www.ccisabroad.org) and the International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership – IPSL (www.ipsl.org) – that provide study abroad and international service opportunities to students across the United States. Meanwhile, in addition to his various publications on distance learning and online education, Eskow continues to serve as a frequent conference speaker and workshop leader on these and other related topics. As guest editor of this special issue of Innovate, Eskow granted me an insightful interview in which we discussed ee-learning, its relevance to various theories of learning, and the promise it holds for revitalizing educational practice in the academy.

Article originally published in: ‘Innovate’, V.3 (2007), issue 6. http://www.innovateonline.info/ - Reprinted with permission of the publisher, The Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.

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