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Shared Virtual Learning Environments

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Shared Virtual Learning EnvironmentsShar

    JTAP

    The potential contribution of

    virtual and remote

    laboratories to the development of a shared

    virtual learning environment:

    Report

    Gary Stimson

    Brian Tompsett

    University of Hull

    JISC TechnologyReport: 013 October 1997Applications Programme

    The potential contribution of

    virtual and remote

    laboratories to the

    development of a shared virtual learning environment:

    Report

    Gary Stimson

    Brian Tompsett

    University of Hull

The JISC Technology Applications Programme is an initiative of the Joint Information

    Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils.

For more information contact:

    Tom Franklin

    JTAP Programme Manager

    Computer Building

    University of Manchester

    Manchester

    M13 9PL

email: t.franklin@manchester.ac.uk

    URL: http://www.jtap.ac.uk/

    Acknowledgements

    Many thanks to the following for their assistance in producing this report

    Lesley Allinson, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside; Andrew Booth, University of Leeds; Brian Boullier, University of Bradford; Paul Brna, University of Leeds; Stuart Cox, K-Net Limited; Xiudian Dai, University of Hull; Peter Dew, University of Leeds; David Dewhurst, Leeds Metropolitan University; Ian Dolphin, University of Hull; Gordon

    Gilbert, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside; Neil Gordon, University of Hull; Nigel Halford, University of Hull; Julian Halliwell, University of Hull; Lawrence Hamburg, Sheffield Hallam University; Nick Hammond, University of York; Brian Hudson, Sheffield Hallam University; Bob Hunter, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside; Janet Jackson, University of Sheffield; Terrence Karran, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside; Christine Leigh, University of Leeds; Jon Maber, University of Leeds; Andrew Madden, Sheffield Hallam University; Richard Moyes, University of Hull; Marina Mozzon-McPherson, University of Hull; Iain Nolan, University of Hull; Richard Plant, University of York; Anthony Rest, University of Southampton; Daniela Romano, University of Leeds; Andrew Rostron, University of Hull; Steve Rowett, University of Leeds; John Self, University of Leeds; Catherine Skinner, University of Huddersfield; Peter Smith, Open University; Roland Stokes, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside; Matthew Stroud, Trinity University, San Antonio; Brian

    Taylor, University of Huddersfield; David Taylor, University of Huddersfield; Annie Trapp, University of York; Robert Ward, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside; Jim Wood, University of Huddersfield

Contents:

1. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................................... 1

    2. SHARED VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS ................................................................................ 4 2.1. SVLES AND VIRTUAL UNIVERSITIES ............................................................................................................ 4 2.2. USERS ....................................................................................................................................................... 5

    2.2.1. Students ............................................................................................................................................ 6

    2.2.2. Educators ......................................................................................................................................... 7

    2.2.3. Managers .......................................................................................................................................... 7

    2.3. REQUIREMENTS OF RESOURCES IN A SVLE .................................................................................................. 8 2.4. BUILDING RESOURCES FOR A SVLE ............................................................................................................ 8 2.5. DELIVERY METHOD.................................................................................................................................... 9

    2.5.1. Local delivery from CD-ROM ......................................................................................................... 10

    2.5.2. Local-area network delivery ........................................................................................................... 10

    2.5.3. Wide area networked delivery ......................................................................................................... 10

    2.5.4. Comparison .................................................................................................................................... 11

    3. VIRTUAL AND REMOTE LABORATORIES .......................................................................................... 15

    3.1. BENEFITS OF VIRTUAL/REMOTE LABORATORIES ......................................................................................... 16 3.1.1. Educational .................................................................................................................................... 16

    3.1.2. Financial ........................................................................................................................................ 17

    3.1.3. Organisational ................................................................................................................................ 18

    3.2. RISKS ...................................................................................................................................................... 18

    3.3. CLASSIFYING VIRTUAL AND REMOTE LABS ................................................................................................ 19 3.4. QUALITIES OF EDUCATIONAL MEDIA ......................................................................................................... 20 3.5. THE CONVERSATIONAL FRAMEWORK OF LEARNING .................................................................................... 22 3.6. EXISTING VIRTUAL/REMOTE LABORATORIES .............................................................................................. 23 3.7. COLLABORATION ..................................................................................................................................... 24

    3.8. FORMS OF VIRTUAL AND REMOTE LABORATORY ........................................................................................ 25 4. HYPERMEDIA LAB ................................................................................................................................... 26

    4.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ............................................................................................................................. 27

    4.2. CASE STUDY ............................................................................................................................................ 28

    4.3. HYPERMEDIA STANDARD .......................................................................................................................... 30 4.4. BROWSER PLUG-INS ................................................................................................................................. 31

    4.4.1. Chemistry ....................................................................................................................................... 31

    4.4.2. Audio .............................................................................................................................................. 32

    4.4.3. Video .............................................................................................................................................. 32

    4.5. MEDIA SERVERS AND FULL-SCREEN VIDEO ................................................................................................ 34 4.5.1. Internet media servers..................................................................................................................... 35

    4.5.2. ATM media servers ......................................................................................................................... 36

    4.6. COSTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 36

    4.7. APPLICABILITY TO THE COLLABORATIVE CONTEXT .................................................................................... 37 4.8. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY........................................................................................................................ 37 5. SIMULATIONS ........................................................................................................................................... 38

    5.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ............................................................................................................................. 38

    5.2. BUILDING BLOCKS ................................................................................................................................... 40

    5.3. PROCESSING ............................................................................................................................................ 42

    5.3.1. Local processing ............................................................................................................................. 42

    5.4. REMOTE PROCESSING ............................................................................................................................... 47

    5.4.1. CGI programs ................................................................................................................................. 47

    5.4.2. Active Server Pages ........................................................................................................................ 48

    5.5. LOCAL VERSUS REMOTE PROCESSING ........................................................................................................ 50 5.6. DYNAMIC DOCUMENTS ............................................................................................................................ 51

    5.7. TOOLKITS: MULTIVERSE .......................................................................................................................... 51

5.8. COSTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 53

    5.9. APPLICABILITY ........................................................................................................................................ 54

    5.10. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY .................................................................................................................... 54 6. TUTORIAL-SIMULATIONS ...................................................................................................................... 55

    6.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ............................................................................................................................. 55

    6.2. BUILDING BLOCKS ................................................................................................................................... 57

    6.3. CASE STUDY - SHEFFIELD BIOSCIENCE PROGRAMS..................................................................................... 58 6.4. COSTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 59

    6.5. APPLICABILITY ........................................................................................................................................ 60

    6.6. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY........................................................................................................................ 60 7. VIRTUAL REALITY LABORATORIES ................................................................................................... 61

    7.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ............................................................................................................................. 61

    7.2. VRML .................................................................................................................................................... 64

    7.3. SONYS COMMUNITY PLACE .................................................................................................................... 65 7.3.1. Community Place Bureaux .............................................................................................................. 66

    7.3.2. Availability ..................................................................................................................................... 67

    7.4. INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY......................................................................................................................... 67 7.4.1. Visual interfaces ............................................................................................................................. 67

    7.4.2. Input devices ................................................................................................................................... 69

    7.4.3. Haptic interfaces ............................................................................................................................ 69

    7.5. BUILDING A VR SIMULATOR ..................................................................................................................... 70 7.6. VIRTUAL LABORATORY DEVELOPMENT TOOLKIT ...................................................................................... 71 7.7. APPLICABILITY TO THE SHARED ENVIRONMENT ......................................................................................... 71 7.8. COSTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 72

    7.9. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY........................................................................................................................ 73 8. DISCURSIVE LEARNING LABORATORIES .......................................................................................... 74

    8.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ............................................................................................................................. 74

    8.2. ASYNCHRONOUS COLLABORATION ........................................................................................................... 76 8.2.1. Educational benefits ....................................................................................................................... 76

    8.2.2. E-mail discussion lists..................................................................................................................... 76

    8.2.3. Usenet newsgroups ......................................................................................................................... 78

    8.3. WEB MESSAGE BOARDS ............................................................................................................................ 80

    8.4. COMPARISON........................................................................................................................................... 81

    8.5. MULTIPLE PROTOCOLS ............................................................................................................................. 81

    8.5.1. HyperNews ..................................................................................................................................... 82

    8.6. SYNCHRONOUS ........................................................................................................................................ 83

    8.6.1. Educational benefits ....................................................................................................................... 84

    8.6.2. Whiteboard ..................................................................................................................................... 84

    8.6.3. Text ................................................................................................................................................ 84

    8.6.4. Audio .............................................................................................................................................. 85

    8.6.5. Video .............................................................................................................................................. 87

    8.7. COSTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 88

    8.8. APPLICABILITY ........................................................................................................................................ 88

    8.9. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY........................................................................................................................ 89 9. REMOTE LABORATORIES WITHOUT MANIPULATION .................................................................. 91 9.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ............................................................................................................................. 91

    9.2. ATM VIDEO CONFERENCING .................................................................................................................... 92 9.3. COSTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 92

    9.4. APPLICABILITY ........................................................................................................................................ 93

    9.5. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY........................................................................................................................ 93 10. REMOTE LABORATORY WITH MANIPULATION .......................................................................... 94 10.1. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ......................................................................................................................... 94 10.2. BUILDING A REMOTE LAB ..................................................................................................................... 96

10.3. HYBRID LABS ....................................................................................................................................... 96

    10.4. NETWORKS .......................................................................................................................................... 97

    10.5. REMOTE CONTROL ............................................................................................................................... 97

    10.6. SCHEDULING ....................................................................................................................................... 98

    10.7. USER INTERFACE .................................................................................................................................. 99

    10.8. COSTS ................................................................................................................................................. 99

    10.9. APPLICABILITY .................................................................................................................................... 99

    10.10. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY .................................................................................................................. 100 11. SUPPORTING LABORATORY ACTIVITY ....................................................................................... 101 11.1. COURSEWARE .................................................................................................................................... 101

    11.2. CHEMISTRY VIDEO CONSORTIUM AND LASER DISCS ............................................................................. 101 11.2.1. Technology ................................................................................................................................... 102

    11.2.2. Educational impact ....................................................................................................................... 103

    11.2.3. Laser discs for virtual laboratories ............................................................................................... 104

    11.2.4. Availability and costs .................................................................................................................... 105

    11.3. DIGITAL VERSATILE DISC................................................................................................................... 105 11.3.1. DVD for virtual laboratories ......................................................................................................... 107

    11.4. APPLICABILITY .................................................................................................................................. 107

    11.5. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY .................................................................................................................. 108 12. OTHER SVLE ISSUES .......................................................................................................................... 109

    12.1. STUDENT SUPPORT ............................................................................................................................. 109

    12.2. ACCESS TO COMPUTING FACILITIES ..................................................................................................... 110 12.2.1. Local access centres ..................................................................................................................... 110

    12.2.2. Dial-in access ............................................................................................................................... 110

    12.3. FUNDING ........................................................................................................................................... 111

    12.4. AUTHENTICATION, IDENTIFICATION AND FRONT-ENDS ......................................................................... 111 13. LINKS WITH BUSINESS ..................................................................................................................... 112

    13.1. HYPERMEDIA DATABASES ................................................................................................................... 112

    13.2. SIMULATIONS, TUTORIAL-SIMULATIONS AND VIRTUAL REALITY ............................................................ 112

    13.3. DISCURSIVE LEARNING LABS ............................................................................................................... 113 13.4. REMOTE LABORATORY WITHOUT MANIPULATION................................................................................. 113 13.5. REMOTE LABORATORY WITH MANIPULATION ....................................................................................... 113 13.6. COMPLETE MODULES ......................................................................................................................... 113 13.7. BUILDING TRAINING TOOLS FOR INDUSTRY .......................................................................................... 114 13.8. ACCESS TO THE SHARED VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT................................................................. 114

    13.9. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY .................................................................................................................. 115 14. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ............................................................................................................. 116

    14.1. ORGANISATIONAL .............................................................................................................................. 116

    14.1.1. Working groups ............................................................................................................................ 116

    14.1.2. Consultancy services..................................................................................................................... 116

    14.2. TECHNOLOGICAL ............................................................................................................................... 117

    14.2.1. Servers .......................................................................................................................................... 117

    14.2.2. Clients .......................................................................................................................................... 118

    14.3. DEVELOPING A SHARED VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.................................................................. 120

    14.3.1. Subject areas ................................................................................................................................ 121

    14.4. SUPPORTING STUDENTS ...................................................................................................................... 122 14.4.1. Supporting campus students .......................................................................................................... 122

    14.4.2. Supporting remote students ........................................................................................................... 122

    15. CONCLUSIONS ..................................................................................................................................... 125

    16. BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................................................. 127

    17. REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................... 131

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