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Applications of a Collaborative Open Object Oriented Learning Environment to Electronics, Computing and Mathematics Education

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1 Author(s)
Price, C.B. ; Univ. Coll. Worcester

A lightweight Java application suite has been developed and deployed allowing collaborative learning between students and tutors at remote locations. Students can engage in group activities online and also collaborate with tutors. A generic Java framework has been developed and applied to electronics, computing and mathematics education. The applications are respectively: (a) a digital circuit simulator, which allows students to collaborate in building simple or complex electronic circuits; (b) a Java programming environment where the paradigm is behavioural-based robotics, and (c) a differential equation solver useful in modelling of any complex and nonlinear dynamic system. Each student sees a common shared window on which may be added text or graphical objects and which can then be shared online. A built-in chat room supports collaborative dialogue. Students can work either in collaborative groups or else in teams as directed by the tutor. This paper summarises the technical architecture of the system as well as the pedagogical implications of the suite. A report of student evaluation is also presented distilled from use over a period of twelve months. We intend this suite to facilitate learning between groups at one or many institutions and to facilitate international collaboration. We also intend to use the suite as a tool to research the establishment and behaviour of collaborative learning groups. We shall make our software freely available to interested researchers

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2005. FIE '05. Proceedings 35th Annual Conference

Date of Conference:

19-22 Oct. 2005