The New Challenges for E-learning: The Educational Semantic Web

The New Challenges for E-learning: The Educational Semantic Web
Lora Aroyo
Technische Universteit Eindhoven, Department of Mathematics and computer Science 5600 MD Eindhoven, The Netherlands Tel: +31 40 247 2765 Fax: +31 40 246 3992,

Darina Dicheva
Winston-Salem State University, Department of Computer Science 601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Winston Salem, N.C. 27110 Tel: +1 336 750 2484 Fax: +1 336 750 2499,

ABSTRACT: The big question for many researchers in the area of educational systems now is what is the next step in the evolution of e-learning? Are we finally moving from a scattered intelligence to a coherent space of collaborative intelligence? How close we are to the vision of the Educational Semantic Web and what do we need to do in order to realize it? Two main challenges can be seen in this direction: on the one hand, to achieve interoperability among various educational systems and on the other hand, to have automated, structured and unified authoring support for their creation. In the spirit of the Semantic Web a key to enabling the interoperability is to capitalize on the (1) semantic conceptualization and ontologies, (2) common standardized communication syntax, and (3) large-scale service-based integration of educational content and functionality provision and usage. A central role in achieving unified authoring support plays the process-awareness of authoring tools, which should reflect the semantic evolution of e-learning systems. The purpose of this paper is to outline the state-of-the-art research along those lines and to suggest a realistic way towards the Educational Semantic Web. With regard to the latter we first propose a modular semantic-driven and service-based interoperability framework, in order to open up, share and reuse educational systems’ content and knowledge components. Then we focus on content creation by proposing ontology-driven authoring tools that reflect the modularization in the educational systems, maintain a consistent view on the entire authoring process, and provide wide (semi-) automation of the complex authoring tasks.
Keywords: E-learning, interoperability, concept-based WBES, educational Semantic Web

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