|As important as the identification of successful implementation
strategies will be the study of failures and attempts to understand why
apparently sensible approaches can fail. Each of the pilot studies using
prototype course provisions will be assessed considering a wide range of
attributes of the study process.
of the Project
Develop the RDBMS module into a basic Internet form (Version 1)
Develop the RDBMS module into a hypertext document form (Version 2)
Develop the RDBMS module into a multimedia enhanced form (Version 3)
Develop the RDBMS module into a information agent enhanced form (Version
Observe and document the process and options of each stage of transformation.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the process used and quality of the products
Specify a process to guide new developers saving their time and avoiding
Disseminate the details of this process and experiences gained completing
the project to a European wide audience of commercial and academic distance
The information to be collected to evaluate the effectiveness of each
of the Internet Versions will be determined using a Goals/Questions/Measures
(GQM) analysis at two levels. Each of the partners will apply the same
strategy for the GQM analysis in their different countries. The intention
of this is to bring the results together to determine a core set of metrics
which will be applied across each of the pilot study locations and to gain
insight into possible cultural differences between sites - thrown up by
different social and educational systems operating between the partners
of the consortium. As a result of this stage of consideration a common
vector of project evaluation metrics will be agreed and applied to each
of the pilot study evaluations throughout the use of each of the 4 versions
of the Internet module being referenced by students.
The initial analysis is in order to set the baselines upon which the
rest of the evaluation will be based . The existing (paper-based) unit
wil be studied and how students perform using it. The initial study of
the unit that has already been run will be used as the basis to inform
the design of the other evaluation studies. In addition to this detailed
analysis into the nature structure and content of unit itself will be performed
at. The outcome of this will be a conceptual map of the course. The analisis
will consider structure and inter-relation, learning outcomes, learning
pre-requisites , type of learning required. Rather than use a formal, linguistic
model the analysis will aim to be at a cognitive level explaining what
is being taught and what the student is expected to learn, how it is being
taught, how the student is expected to learn the concept (new concept,
generalisation of old concept, specialisation of old concept, analogical
mapping) and a taxonomic classification of the properties of the concept
being taught. The result will be a detail map of the course unit which
informs on its structure and content. Understanding how people cope with
the existing paper-based material is clearly also very important so as
it provide the basis for comparisons with subsequent electronic versions.
The baseline version will then be transferred to the WWW as a set of electronically
scanned pages to form version 1. Minimal hypertext linking will be incorporated
at this stage.
The development of the second version of the database module on the
Internet will involve determining a systematic process for introducing
hypertext links into the baseline version of the module.
Internal module hypertext links
External module hypertext links to sources beyond the database module
There are considerable difficulties in understanding where the balance
must be drawn between a link-rich environment and a "crowded" linking environment
where important hyperlinks are hidden in the mass of links which have less
importance. The INTELLECT process in this area will concentrate on both
the practical aspects of link identification and in developing a classification
scheme for link environment will result and it will be evaluated considering
the results of the pilot studies conducted at each user site.
Introducing multimedia into a hypertext document requires many considerations
relating to the:
This workpackage will require alternative forms and interactions to be
tried and developed for the same area of the database module to identify
a suggested form for users to consider and to identify the areas of choice
available. This is a difficult area of the project and can only be explored
to a very limited extend - considering the range and wealth of material
published relating to HCI design and form. However, the main simplification
which help us here with this project is that it is specifically focused
on the application of implementing a masters level module on the Internet.
media type used to convey information
design of WWW pages (Human Computer Interface)
nature of dialogues and interactions which can take place
practical space/time efficiency of building a hypertext document/environment
Agents Version 4
Artificial Intelligent Agents will be developed as adjuncts to self-paced
standalone distance material. A JAVA based interface engine will be developed,
allowing knowledge based programming of the individual agents. The goals
of this module will be to
Ther use here of AI is in a different vein to intelligent tutoring systems
and their seeming intractable problems. Instead the idea is to take a limited
part of the interaction and look to animate it with a software agent. The
agents are small characters that users encounter as part of their learning
experience. The agents are different and take on different roles naturally
as they occur in the experience.Initially the following roles will be considered:
improve the interaction and more nearly approximate to human discourse
provide virtual "peers" with which the student can interact and collaborate
An information Provider that students can turn to when they want.
It will have a knowledge of the pages content, and also of the overall
structure of the unit, in order to fulfil a navigational role.
One of the problems with distance education is the isolation it
implies. the lack of peers with which to interact is a major problem. Here
we look to develop Co-workers, so that students can undertake collaborative
assessments and projects, while interacting with a fellow "virtual" student.
Boffin: Someone who the student
can turn to if they want further help. Alternatively, the student can ask
the boffin to aks questions of them in order to test their own knowledge
Fellow Web Surfer:
To provide support, company and empathy. They aim to add separate
characters to cyberspace and thereby improve and expand the interaction.
They will have their own special interests and will be able to talk knowledgeable
about subjects unrelated to the course or the Web.
Typically agents will be located within pages. Their knowledge and
ability to behave will be defined strictly within the confines of the page
in which they are located. This constrains the types of behaviour they
would need to perform and makes it a tractable problem using current AI
technology. Thus the intention is to use a simple generic interface engine
with pattern matching, augmented with model of simple beliefs/desires/
intentions. There will be an issue of keeping the code size of these agents
small as this will effect JAVA applet download times. If this is going
to be a problem local optimisation will be performed to reduce size.