Category Archives: 2007/1-2

Space-Optimal, Wait-Free Real-Time Synchronization

We consider wait-free synchronization for the single-writer/multiple-reader problem in small-memory embedded real-time systems. We present an analytical solution to the problem of determining the minimum, optimal space cost required for this problem, considering a priori knowledge of interferences—the first such result. We also show that the space costs required by previous algorithms can be obtained by our analytical solution, which subsumes them as special cases. We also present a wait-free protocol that utilizes the minimum space cost determined by our analytical solution. Our evaluation studies and implementation measurements using the SHaRK RTOS kernel validate our analytical results.
Article originally published in “IEEE Transactions on Computers”, V. 56(2007), n. 3, pp. 373-384. Reprinted with permission.

Supporting Web-based learning through adaptive assessment

Web-based assessments can be used in different phases of education in order to support students and make learning easier and more effective for them. This support can range from the assessment of readiness for a particular educational institution, over methods which improve the learning process itself such as peer assessment, to the assessment of the progress and knowledge level by the use of performance self-assessments. For these assessments, typically tools and methods are provided, which treat all learners in the same way and adapt only a little or, in the most cases, not at all to the individual needs and characteristics of learners. In this paper, we show the potential of adaptive web-based assessment in different learning applications. Adaptive web-based assessment aims at accommodating the individual needs and characteristics of students. We introduce adaptive systems in the area of readiness self-assessment, performance self-assessment, and peer assessment. Discussion is provided on the architecture of these adaptive systems and how these systems incorporate individual differences.

Received: May 30th, 2007

Revised: June 5th, 2007

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Open Source 2010: reflections on 2007

Much has happened since the 2004 prognostications of my EDUCAUSE Review article “Open Source 2007: How Did This Happen?” (Wheeler, 2004). The article peered into the future through the lens of two possible outcomes for open-source application software by 2007. In the first scenario, higher education and commercial firms overcame many challenges to evolve a new “community source” model for developing and sustaining enterprise-scale, quality software. In the second scenario, the obstacles for collaboration and coordination of investments were simply too great: institutions could not find ways to agree. The article thesis asserted that the actual outcome for 2007 would reflect the collective actions of colleges and universities. For those of us in higher education, it was our outcome to choose …

Article originally appeared in: “EDUCAUSE Review”, V. 42(2007), n. 1, pp. 48-67

Research on learners preferences for reading from a printed text or from a computer screen

In this study, 254 Royal Roads University School of Business learners (graduates and undergraduates) were surveyed on their online course-related reading habits and choices. Based on their responses and anecdotal comments and the data from follow-up interviews with six of the participants, learners preferred print copies of text materials for reasons of portability, dependability, flexibility, and ergonomics. Recommendations include providing an option in all online courses to print electronic text files in a format suitable for reading from paper. Further research is proposed on the effect of extended time spent in front of a computer screen on learners’ preference for reading from paper.

Article originally appeared in: “Journal of distance education – Revue de l’éducation à distance”, V. 21(2006), n. 1, pp. 33-50

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Towards a pedagogically sound research framework for e-learning in higher education

This paper examines the use and application of e-learning in the Higher Education (HE) domain. In particular it takes a fresh look at the pedagogical issues and broader research issues surrounding the implementation of e-learning into HE. It summarises current issues relating to e-learning research. A core component of this paper lies in exploring the relationship between e-learning and pedagogy.
The area of pedagogy is introduced and its relevance to the field of e-learning examined. In summary, the paper endeavors to determine whether or not current e-learning research is sensitive of incorporating a pedagogical approach in the designing/implementing phases of e-learning applications. It is hoped to throw light on the question whether or not there is a gap between e-learning and pedagogy and if it is being bridged? Finally, this paper culminates in a pedagogically constructed model for e-learning designed by the author.

Article originally published in: Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2006, Chesapeake, VA, AACE, pp. 1708-1715. Reprinted with permission.

Online learning: new models for leadership and organization in higher education

Online learning is now reaching the core, helping to transform higher education and moving beyond isolated efforts to pervasive influence and change. The dichotomy of distance learning vs. campus-based education has broken down, and forward-looking senior administrators have embraced new approaches to education that contain the elements of successful online education while cultivating the community-building and branding of site-based education, particularly to promote enriched faculty and program development. Rather than being isolated in a distance learning task force or continuing education program, the conversations about online learning now occur – or need to occur – at the executive level and throughout other levels and structures.

Article originally appeared in: “Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks”, V. 10(2006), n. 2. Reprinted with permission.

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Robotics as means to increase achievement scorse in an informal learning environment

This paper reports on a pilot study that examined the use of a science and technology curriculum based on robotics to increase the achievement scores of youth ages 9-11 in an after school program. The study examined and compared the pretest and posttest scores of youth in the robotics intervention with youth in a control group. The results revealed that youth in the robotics intervention had a significant increase in mean scores on the posttest and that the control group had no significant change in scores from the pretest to the posttest. In addition, the results of the study indicated that the evaluation instrument used to measure achievement was valid and reliable for this study.

Article originally appeared in: “Journal of Research on Technology in Education”, V. 39 (2007), n.3, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). All rights reserved. Republished with permission.

Virtual collaboration and training in medicine through multimedia e-learning system

Web-based virtual collaboration is increasingly gaining popularity in almost every area in our society due to the fact that it can bridge the gap imposed by time and geographical constraints. However, in medical field, such collaboration has been less popular than other fields. Some of the reasons were timeliness, security, and preciseness of the information they are dealing with. In this paper, we are proposing a web-based distributed medical collaboration system called Virtual Collaboration System for Medicine (VCSM) for medical doctors that meet the needs. The proposed system consists of two parts: multimedia presentation and recordable virtual collaboration. The former supports synchronized multimedia presentation using Synchronous Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL). It allows synchronization of the contents of a PowerPoint presentation file and a video file so that the presentation shows slides and video on the same topic at any given time. The resulting SMIL file is used to provide multimedia presentation for image intensive discussion. The presentation may be provided to the participants before the discussion begins. Participants can use text along with associated symbols during the discussion over the presented medical images. The symbols such as arrows or polygons have x-y coordinates within the images to represent associated participants’ opinions. Those can be set or removed dynamically to represent areas of interest in digital images using so called layered architecture that separates image layer from annotation layer. Those annotations can be easily hidden for training purposes. XML files are used to record participants’ opinions along with the associated elements such as arrows and polygons over some particular images.

Received: April 9th, 2007
Revised: May 5th, 2007

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DL-sQUAL: a multiple-item scale for measuring service quality of online distance learning programs

Education is a service with multiplicity of student interactions over time and across multiple touch points. Quality teaching needs to be supplemented by consistent quality supporting services for programs to succeed under the competitive distance learning landscape. ServQual and e-SQ scales have been proposed for measuring quality of traditional and eCommerce services. Currently there are no instruments available to measure the quality of distance learning services. With the growing demand for online education there is a need for an instrument to measure the quality of online distance learning services. This study addresses the gap by identifying the dimensions and the service quality scale (DL-sQUAL) of online distance learning programs.

Article originally appeared in: “On line Journal of Distance learning administration”, V. 9 (2006), n. 2. Republished with permission.

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The field study as an educational technique in open and distance learning

The main characteristic of Distance Learning is that the student is taught and learns without his tutor’s physical presence in the classroom. The opportunity for a direct (face to face) communication between all members of the educational group [tutor counselor (TC) and students] in Distance Learning is offered by the Tutorials/Contact Sessions (CS). Although these CSs are not compulsory, it is estimated that they are of high importance, since among other things, they help in clarifying difficult to understand points and they also help in the cognitive subject becoming more fully comprehensible by the student (Holmberg, 1995).
For the discussion of the various issues at the CSs many different educational techniques within the framework of adult education such as teamwork, short lectures, debates, questions and answers, case studies, simulations, role play, etc. are used in combination. These are techniques raising the student’s interest, facilitating his/her participation in the learning process and developing interaction between TC and students and between students themselves. They also create a learning and research environment; encourage the students to work in a group and to learn by acting (Kokkos, 1998).
One of these educational techniques is the field study, which is the subject of this paper.To this day, no research has been carried out for the possibility of implementation of this technique in Distance Learning nor have any results of such implementation been studied.
This paper comprising of three parts contains a general presentation of the field study as a teaching technique in the first part while in the second part the successive stages of development of this technique in Distance Learning are analyzed. Finally, in the third part the students’ views of Hellenic Open University on this technique are presented.
Article originally appeared in: “Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education – TOJDE”, V. 7(2006), n. 4, Art. 1. Reprinted with permission.

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The life of "Internet Colleges": policies, problems, and prospects of online higher education in China

For the past two decades, China’s economy has known an astonishing growth, so as the consequent demand for more and better postsecondary education. In response, the Chinese government has adopted a number of measures, including the creation of “Internet Colleges”, which are units within existing universities, offering postsecondary educational programs online. In the highly centralized education system of China, besides CCRTVU, the Internet Colleges are the only institutions approved by the government to offer online postsecondary education. The Internet Colleges initiative, which went through many changes since its inception, reflects the government’s struggle to balance innovation and tradition, regulation and flexibility. Then, an analysis of the short evolution of these colleges may help understand larger aspects of online higher education in China.

Article originally appeared in: “EDUCAUSE Review”, V. 41(2006), n. 6, pp. 48-59. Reprinted with permission.

Collaborative coaching and networking for online instructors

This paper presents a model of professional development using collaborative coaching and networking which has been used to improve online instructor effectiveness. Components of the model are presented in the context of a ten-year-old faculty development program at a private university in the Southeast. A collaborative coaching checklist is also provided.

Article originally appeared in: “Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration”, V. 9(2006), n. 4. University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center. Reprinted with permission.

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New media, publishing in the humanities, and CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture

In his paper, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek (University of Halle-Wittenberg and Purdue University) discusses selected aspects of new media and scholarship and publishing in the humanities. The wider context of the paper is the intersection of globalization, the situation of the humanities, the teaching and study of literature, and their relationship and increasing dependence on new media technology, and how this situation impacts the humanities today while the humanities remains cautious and even reluctant with regard to publishing scholarship online. Starting with a brief introduction and argumentation of the pedagogical values of new media technology and its parallel implications for higher education, Tötösy is drawing on the example of the Purdue University peer-reviewed, full-text, and open-access journal “CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture” (ISSN 1481-4373 – // to present aspects of the said situation of new media and publishing in the humanities.

Received: 21st February, 2007
Revised: 7th March, 2007

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