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Volume 2 Issue 1 - Special Issue

Computer Science for Future Education [Selected papers from ICVL2011]

Editorial of the Special Issue
by Prof. Marin Vlada

1) Case Study: Using Drupal Platform for eContent Management
Marin Vlada and Adrian Adăscăliţei
The paper presents a case study on using the Drupal content management sites CNIV and ICVL projects. Drupal is a CMS (Content Management System) or a content manager and dynamic web sites developed in PHP and requires connection to a MySQL database. With Drupal you can make different types of sites (web or intranet) to publish articles, sets of messages / comments, forums, blogs, images etc. collections. Drupal allows users to register and login so you can track who is the author of each content and allows the webmaster can use to access different levels of the groups (type "user", "moderate", "administer" etc). Drupal is "Open Source" and can be downloaded, distributed and installed. Administrators with experience in PHP can open access to modify application source code based on their experience. Use as-is or snap in any of thousands of free designs and plug-ins for rapid site assembly. Drupal meets the needs of different types of web sites from community to news portals, from corporate sites to educational institutions, from media sites to international sites. Drupal's content management features make it easy to create and manage site: creative content, organize and find, administer, collaborate, build, design and display.

2) Exploring Direct Communication and Manipulation on Interactive Surfaces to Foster Novelty in a Creative Learning Environment
Alejandro Catala, Fernando Garcia-Sanjuan, Jose Azorin, Javier Jaen and Jose A. Mocholi
Information technology has supported learning in many different ways as improvements in communication, virtual environment embodiment and even mobility has allowed remote discussion and collaboration in exploring topics and developing ideas. However, learning environments often lack validation studies related to the grounding technology being used and do not consider creativity as a factor despite being essential for ideas generation and innovation processes which push human development. Moreover, computer-mediated communication quite often limits the effective expression of ideas between peers because technology may be a barrier rather than an aid. Taking this into consideration, this paper proposes the use of interactive surfaces as a promising technology to develop future creative learning environments. An exploratory experiment with 22 teenagers has been conducted. The experiment consisted of reflection, discussion and creation processes in which participants created entities with basic building blocks. The environment based on the interactive surface was compared to a completely tangible approach based on a tabletop with wooden blocks. A creativity model is used in the evaluation in terms of novelty, flexibility, fluency of thinking and motivation. The results showed that creations’ novelty is significantly higher in the digital environment and also higher collaboration degree was observed so that this technology should be considered in the development of future learning environments to support creativity.

3) An Overview of the Most Important Aspects Related to Quality Assurance in Computer Supported Collaborative E-Learning
Iuliana Dobre
Collaborative learning is defined by Dillenbourg as a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together (Dillenbourg, 1999). Information technology has developed to a stage where any organization of higher education can no longer ignore. In fact, information technology has become part of everyday life for teachers and students. The use of information technology in an E-Learning environment, in order to mediate and support interaction, tasks, knowledge acquisition and finally the educational process itself has lead to a new concept called Computer Supported Collaborative Learning.
Customers (students) expectations are high, therefore, quality assurance should lies in any activities of higher education organizations. This paper is presenting the most important aspects related to quality assurance in Computer Supported Collaborative E-Learning environments, as well as is presenting an overview of the quality importance in such learning environments, the quality role, the main quality elements, and some of the trends and perspectives at European level as resulted from available studies.

4) Enhanced Virtual E-Learning Environments Using Cloud Computing Architectures
Eugen Zaharescu
This paper presents the essential information about the most complex software systems and platforms managing enhanced educational virtual spaces that can integrate adaptive hypermedia units, video-conference support, mobile devices, etc.. In the description of these modern e-learning technologies, their most important features are revealed, like communications across disciplines, collaboration and team capabilities based on Web infrastructure. These enhanced education services use shared cloud computing approaches or methods and provide an optimized e-learning management to generate creative and intelligent decision. The basic architectural concepts and principles are imported from grid computing and cloud computing systems (e.g. Microsoft Azure, IBM Smart Cloud, IBM Tivoli- Live Monitoring Infrastructure Services, IBM Computing on Demand (CoD)™”). World-class social networking services and online collaboration tools, including file sharing, Web conferencing, and instant messaging are described subsequently (e.g. IBM LotusLive™)”. Also, the basic concepts and principles of virtual e-learning environments for e-universities are presented, following the taxonomy: e-learning management systems (Claroline, Desire2Learn, eFront-Open-Source web-based Learning Management System, LAMS - Learning Activity Management System, SharePointLMS, JoomlaLMS-Joomla platform-based LMS); open source course management systems (Moodle, Dokeos, ILIAS, Sakai); virtual e-learning environments (Sloodle-Second Life and Moodle merge, Blackboard, WebCT, FirstClass, CyberExtension); cloud computing architectures for enhanced education services (IBM Cloud Academy program).

5) Interactive Conceptual Maps – a Step Towards Performance
Liliana Violeta Constantin and Emil Ştefan Barna
To improve the quality of Romanian education system, the teachers’ way of thinking and work style in the classroom, crystallized in centuries of traditional education, certain changes should be made. Quoting Constantin Noica: "A nation can be educated by a man ... and even through a single word ..." we can say that education is in search for the human being and the word. Thus, in the schools where the desire for change is felt and there are those champions who can trigger and propagate the change, conceptual maps should be used. With the aid of such maps, the new ideas are linked to the existing cognitive models. This way the students organize their personal experience, establish relationships among various concepts and identify areas of their application. The use of the interactive concept maps takes into account each student's learning style: auditory, visual or practical, so as performance could be achieved much more often. This paper presents how to make and to use interactive conceptual maps in the classroom. They can be used at any time during the lesson; they can be modified and adapted to the students' requirements, desires and possibilities. It also highlights the advantages and disadvantages of using graphical organizers in physics lessons.

6) A Software Application for Modeling the Pipeline Transportation Process
Daniela Tudorica
Pipeline transportation can benefit from a large suite of automation techniques, which can help to monitoring, controlling or optimizing the process. This paper deals with the modeling of the fluid flow in pipelines and presents the results obtained from the model.  The software application developed from the model allows designing a pipeline system,  computing the properties of a fluid in any point of the pipeline and  producing the reports needed for interpreting the results. The model is  using the transfer function to convey the dependencies between the process parameters (temperature, pressure, flow) using the computation based on momentum conservation, energy conservation and flow equations from the fluid mechanics and hydraulics.

7) Verification of the Web Applications Using Sink Web Pages
Doru Anastasiu Popescu and Catrinel Maria Dănăuţă
In this paper, we will introduce a new algorithm used to determine the sink web pages in a web application. The sink web pages are defined by using a partial order relation among the web pages of a web application. Using only these web pages, we will describe a method of determining all the web pages in a web application, containing errors. Keywords: Verification, Relation, Web Application, Graph, HTML, Java

8) Learner Clustering and Association Rule Mining for Content Recommendation in Self-Regulated Learning
Ahmad A. Kardan, Nahid Ghassabzadeh Saryazdi and Hamed Mirashk
Grouping e-learners based on their model in the e-learning environment is a key issue to build a personalized learning system. Recommender Systems can be useful to recommend learning resources or any other supportive advices to the learners. These systems could be used to suggest the contents being interested for learners in an e-learning environment. Different kind of algorithms such as user-based and item-based collaborative filtering have been used to establish a recommender system. In this paper, an innovative architecture for a recommender system (AELTRec) dedicated to the e-learning environments is introduced. This architecture simultaneously takes advantages of K-Means clustering technique and association rule mining. We first build a learner model based on PAPI learner model, which is the basis of learner grouping. Furthermore, K-Means is used to cluster the e-learner types. When groups of related interests have been established, the association rule mining techniques will be used to elicit the rules of the best content for each learner. Based on e-Learner groups, users can obtain content recommendation from the group’s opinions. Also this architecture considers the learner self-monitoring ability in his/her, constantly evaluates learning activities, the results of the activities, and provides warning messages from the system to the learner. It was expected that the proposed architecture has excellent performance.

9) Context based Expert Finding in Online Communities using Social Network Analysis
Ahmad A. Kardan, Amin Omidvar and Mojtaba Behzadi
Nowadays, online communities are one of the most popular collaborative environments in the Internet where people are free to express their opinions. These communities provide facilities for knowledge sharing in which, people can share their experience with each other. The main problem regarding to the knowledge sharing on online communities is the wide range of information on them without any mechanism to determine their validity. So, for knowledge seekers, it is important to recognize the expertise of each member based on contexts to find the best answers among all replies to his question. Although, lots of researches have been conducted so far to determine the level of people’s expertise, none of them has had context based approach to the problem. In this research a novel method based on social network analysis is proposed to find the experts in different contexts. For evaluation process of the proposed method, Metafilter Forum was chosen and the data has been processed in several steps. First, data were gathered by our crawling program and then extracted, transformed and loaded to data base by ETL operations. Then, experts on specified context were found by applying the proposed method on the processed data. Finally, accuracy of the method was calculated and compared with other methods.

10) Remote Experiments in Moisil e-Lab
Mihaela Garabet, Cristina Miron and Ion Neacsu
Today we are living in a digital world: every student use to stay many hours a day in front of the computer’s monitor, linked on the internet. All the science teachers around the world are trying to do their best in what concerned the experiments approaching. The main goal is to develop some simple and safe experiments in order to access them from anywhere at any time. A new challenge appears in the Romanian educational landscape: remote labs for high schools. We have developed some remote experiments in the Physics lab of the Grigore Moisil National College from Bucharest like: the distance dependence of the light intensity of a source, the distance dependence of the sound level of a sound source, the I-V characteristics of a photovoltaic cell, the time dependence of the coordinate of a car etc. Remote experimentation laboratories are systems based on real equipment, allowing students to perform practical work through a computer connected to the internet.

11) The Stimulation of Students’ Creativity by Using Multimedia Platforms
Maria Dinica, Luminita Dinescu and Cristina Miron
The creative activity is related to the previous acquired knowledge and the use of it in new situations. The student’s originality consists in personally living an already existing direction. An important role in creation is played by the associations and recombination of cognitive data. The personality factors also have a significant weight in creation. By using some multimedia platforms in the educational process, it is stimulated the students’ interest in studying a subject and in applying the acquired knowledge to practical situations. In this way, their cognitive system is developed and the manifestation of their creativity in as varied as possible contexts is favoured.  We have described here the way in which glogs may be integrated in some projects regarding Physics and we have analyzed the influence of multimedia posters on students’ school success and on their creative potential, too.

12) Student's Attitudes Towards Learning in Educational Environment
Svetlana Čičević, Andreja Samčović and Marjana Čubranić-Dobrodolac
The main issue of the European higher education space is to prepare students for labour market, make them able to acquire further qualifications and to continue their education. However, the curriculum restructuring has developed consumerist mechanisms which on the surface seems to offer to students greater choice and control over their learning. This could result in a loss of responsibility for their learning, little tolerance for the expansion of study beyond the routine of the predictable and consequently affect their disposition and motivation towards learning. The present study aims to explore the student motivation and approval of the educational environment. The Learning Orientation Questionnaire (LOQ) as an assessment instrument to reveal the dominant power of emotions and intentions in guiding and managing cognitive processes and identifying conative processes specific to learning settings, was used. The results show that students don’t seem to be ready to assume a leading role in their learning and motivation. Students generally perceive the ideal learning environment to imply a less hierarchical relation and more interaction between teachers and students.

13) Assuring the Motivational Climate in the Process of Learning Physics by Using Blogs
Maria Dinica, Luminita Dinescu and Cristina Miron
The fundamental activity of a society is learning. The informational model organized around the cognitive paradigm of processing information places the student in the situation of acquiring his own knowledge, which becomes therefore a permeable, open reality. The virtual character of education leads to a decentralization of the multiple bases of informing and knowing. Beside the internal sources, of the school, the trainee can connect to some alternative sources, from his cultural area, which he will reassemble according to the logic of his own interest. The new communication formulae modify the traditional scheme of the didactic communication, turning the individual or the learning group into a knowledge generator. They make exchanges and validate their own products of knowledge, amplifying the wish to learn and the motivation for a well-done thing. This paper presents the way in which the use of blogs as a non-formal educational and studying Physics environment contributes both to students’ cognitive motivation, and to the restructuring of the relationships within school groups, the emphasis moving from the class of students to the team who collaborate in order to achieve a common goal.

14) Complex IT Projects in Education: The Challenge
Stefan Morcov
Complexity is a new concept in project management that becomes more and more important when dealing with today’s projects. The term “complexity” in project management moved from the status of attribute to the status of discipline. IT projects display even more traits of complexity due to the new technologies involved and to the traits of innovation and unpredictability associated with them. An IT project in education is primarily an education project, and typical project and software models and metrics are not applicable as such, which raises the complexity of IT projects in education to an even higher level.
The project management theories have starting to evolve since the late 1990s to incorporate a dimension of complexity. Still, these are not fully integrated. And especially in education, the development of a framework methodology for the setup and management of complex projects is required in order to tackle with the complexities of combining the intrinsic complexity of IT projects, the education aspects and the risks introduced by the wide range of stakeholders involved in major education transformations.