Creating Learning Material
from Web Resources
Technology-enhanced learning (TEL), especially Web-based learning, has become a fundamental part in education over the last decades. E-Learning platforms provide access to electronic learning material, accompany in-class lectures in blended learning scenarios or offer assessment facilities for formal and informal testing. Whole courses are held online, whether as qualification training, school education in sparsely populated areas or as courses dealing with special topics, letting remotely located experts teach students all over the world. TEL has torn down barriers in time and space, enabling students to learn where and whenever they want.
Our research focuses on a blended learning scenario. Students attend both lectures and tutorial classes. The provision of learning material such as slides and scripts and the assignment of homework are handled via a learning management system (LMS). The LMS allows students to upload their programming homework via a website; it also checks the completed assignments and gives immediate feedback through e-assessment functionality11c.f. eduComponents, http://wdok.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/educomponents.
In in our setting, we teach undergraduate students, who form a heterogeneous group with respect to previous knowledge and skills. Therefore, it is essential that each learner gets support in terms of additional assistance and feedback.
When students solve their homework assignments, they have to apply the theoretical input from the lecture to practical problems. This is a scenario, where they have to focus on the given task, thus a more directed approach to problem solving – in contrast to exploratory or inquiry-based learning – is reasonable.
Experience has shown that students having difficulty in an e-assessment session not only rely on the learning materials provided for the course, but search the Web for additional materials that might be helpful. This interrupts their e-assessment session and might lead to distraction and even abandonment of the assigned task (Winter 2010).
In general, learners seem to use conventional Web resources22Artifacts found on the Web - documents, slides, videos, audio files, etc. will be referred to as Web resources throughout this paper. as learning material. Our idea is to provide learning material in e-learning contexts that has been integrated from such general Web resources. We will analyze, how general Web resources can be linked to e-learning environments and develop a method to automatically integrate appropriate Web resources into the recent learning context of the LMS.
Our strategy is to offer learners additional learning material, which they can access immediately instead of interrupting the e-assessment session and turn to a Web search engine. Web resources will be automatically integrated into the recent learning context and presented as additional learning material in a didactical meaningful way.
Learners use Web resources as learning material in educational contexts. Hence, we propose the following hypotheses:
It is possible to judge (automatically) whether the content of a Web resource is relevant with respect to a learning context or not.
Web resources carry data that can be used to derive information describing educational and didactical characteristics.
If a Web resource can be automatically structured and augmented with metadata as presumed, it is possible to integrate this Web resource into learning contexts in technology enhanced learning (TEL) systems such as LMS.