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USING PEER TO PEER TECHNOLOGIES FOR E-LEARNING COMMUNITIES

J.M. Aguiar1, C. Baladrón1, B. Carro1, A. Sánchez2

1Universidad de Valladolid (SPAIN)
2Telefónica I+D (SPAIN)
Peer to Peer (P2P) technology can be used in several areas (e.g., to support collaboration in workgroups). Some initiatives exist that try to combine e-learning with the new possibilities of P2P networks. In this sense, the objective of this paper is to provide a full description of technologies and projects related to P2P for e-learning environments in order to have a general vision of these concepts.

A well known groupware application with an underlying P2P network is Groove, which was acquired by Microsoft. It offers the usually required functionality for file sharing, coordination of meetings and projects, etc.

Edutella deals with the development of a Resource Description Framework (RDF) based standard for e-learning content, concentrating on the exchange of metadata. However, there are no collaborative functions.

Apple, a project at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, provides live video and audio broadcast of a classroom, synchronised presentation of lecture slides on remote computers, and chat functionality. Content and metadata is stored on a central index server.

Colloquia is designed to support the management and the administration of learning groups and task groups respectively. It is a P2P learning management and groupware system, with no central instance. Participants in the network can create groups, tasks and learning resources.

SWAP, a project funded by the European Commission (EC), has implemented two different solutions which are combining P2P and semantic Web technologies. The first solution is a P2P knowledge management tool which was applied in a tourism related context, and the second tool uses P2P for sharing bibliographic data.

SeLeNe, also a project funded by the EC, aims at facilitating the formation of e-learning communities that require world-wide discovery and assimilation of knowledge. To achieve this objective, the project focused on learning objects and as a part of the research activities, examined how learning objects could be queried and distributed over P2P networks.

In Collanos workplace, its collaboration client software addresses the collaboration needs of small teams. Users can create workspaces, share documents, start discussions, and assign tasks to team members.