PhD In Authoring of Adaptive TEL for commercial LMS
PhD Studentship Opportunity. GRAPPLE project - Department of Computer Science,Intelligent and Adaptive Systems group, University of Warwick - UK
This is an outstanding opportunity to undertake a PhD starting with a European project, the GRAPPLE project, with immediate access to an international audience that will expand in the future, plus some travel budget for international conferences.
Overall GRAPPLE Project summary
The GRAPPLE project aims at delivering to learners a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) environment that guides them through a life-long learning experience, automatically adapting to personal preferences, prior knowledge, skills and competences, learning goals and the personal or social context in which the learning takes place. The same TEL environment can be used/accessed at home, school, work or on the move
(using mobile/handheld devices). GRAPPLE will include authoring tools that enable educators to provide adaptive learning material to the learners, including adaptive interactive components (visualizations, simulations, virtual reality). Authoring includes creating or importing content, assigning or extracting meaning from that content, designing learning activities and defining pedagogical properties of and adaptation strategies for the content and activities. To ensure the wide adoption of adaptation in TEL GRAPPLE will work with Open Source and commercial learning management system (LMS) developers to incorporate the generic GRAPPLE functionality in LMSs. Evaluation experiments in higher education and in industry will be performed to verify the usability of the GRAPPLE environment (for authoring and delivery) and to verify the benefits of using adaptive TEL for the learning outcome.
Apart from stimulating the use of adaptive TEL by making it available to every organization using a (popular) LMS the GRAPPLE consortium will also organize training/evaluation events to help higher education institutes and companies with the adaptive learning design needed to create adaptive learning material, and to receive usability feedback which the project will use to improve the user interfaces. A distributed user modelling service architecture will help end-users to stay in control of their user profile while at the same time allowing them to use the profile to get personalized access to learning applications offered through different LMSs by different organizations.
Main work: authoring of conceptual adaptation structures
The successful candidate's research, implementation and evaluation work, including international publications, will concentrate, especially in the first year(s), around the work on authoring of conceptual adaptation structures in GRAPPLE. The core artifacts resulting from (tools developed in) here are the conceptual adaptation structures that define the adaptation over the (knowledge) domain of a TEL application at a high level. Usability of these authoring tools is very important, thus usability testing of these tools will be performed, using methods described by GRAPPLE.
* To perform adaptation as desired in GRAPPLE, metadata about content elements are needed, not only to identify the concept(s) the content relates to, but also their "type" (media type, activity type, etc.) We call this the domain model (DM). Note that we consider content creation out of scope as it is separated from creating those conceptual structures. This concept structure is mirrored in the user model (UM).
* On top of DM an adaptation structure is added that defines relationships between concepts that are of a navigational and/or pedagogical nature, e.g. prerequisite relationships. These types of relationships depend on information from UM. This conceptual adaptation structure is captured in what we will call the conceptual adaptation model (CAM).
* Adaptation authoring tools take DM and UM and allow the author to create the conceptual adaptation structures that form CAM. For special interactive environments separate tools may be needed, for instance to add adaptation to simulation or virtual reality (VR) environments.
Description of main tasks to work/ collaborate towards:
Design and implementation of a DM definition tool
The tool to be designed allows authors to define a conceptual structure of the domain of a learning application (and to link content to concepts). Structuring of this DM maybe facilitated by linking it to a domain ontology (DO) that allows reasoning over the concepts.
Design and implementation of a tool to define concept relationship types
In order to define adaptation for concept relationship types (CRTs) like prerequisites (and inhibitors, and many others) a tool will be designed that lets learning designers define what such a relationship means in terms of associated adaptation. In principle any type of relationship is possible, either learner-independent (like prerequisite) or learner-dependent (like a prerequisite that applies only to learners with a certain style or learning preference).
Design and implementation of a CAM definition tool
The CAM tool will allow an (application) author to create a CAM structure (of concept relationships) by taking DM and adding relationships of types defined earlier with the CRT definition tool.
The IAS group
The candidate will work as a IAS PhD student. The Intelligent and Adaptive Systems (IAS) group at the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Warwick, coordinated by Dr Alexandra Cristea, focuses on research into stand-alone and distributed software systems that possess some form of intelligence or adaptivity, including characteristics such as autonomy, self-awareness, learning, pattern recognition, risk and uncertainty management, skill development and refinement/optimisation and coalition formation.
This studentship is available from October 2008 for three years and provides a stipend aimed at covering university fees at the Home/EU rate
and a maintenance grant (currently around £12,600 per annum). You will have a good BSc degree in computer science or a related subject. Knowledge of web programming languages (Java, Perl) and web standards (XML, XHML, RDF, OWL) is also preferable.
Details of how to apply are available at http://www.go.warwick.ac.uk/pgapply. You should indicate on the form that you are applying for the studentship (there is a section for funding). Closing date for applications are 31 July 2008.
Further information on this position is available from: Assoc. Prof. Alexandra I. Cristea, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please quote job vacancy reference number *CSCI1-048*.
The closing date/time for applications is midnight (British time) at the end of *Thursday 31 July 2008*.