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There were many successful Web-based learning systems built to enhance the effectiveness of institutional teaching over the past decade. Students were benefited in two major aspects: asking questions to their course instructors, and downloading relevant course materials only when Internet/Intranet access is available. Recently, handheld devices integrated with the latest wireless technology are becoming popular. Thus, it is foreseeable that such learning facilities may move beyond the boundary of fixed network connections one day. We considered an interesting proposal to mobilize conventional Web-based learning systems with the integration of handheld devices, and pioneered its prototype implementation in the University of Hong Kong. Besides getting encouraging students' feedbacks, we gained invaluable experience of combining frontier technologies such as the Conduits and Web server technology to solve the data synchronization problems of students' questions distributed among the 'local' databases of handheld devices and the centralized database server.
Date of Conference: 11-13 Aug. 2003