A GRID BASED COLLABORATIVE SYSTEM FOR E-LEARNING DEVELOPMENT
Digital contents development, delivery and maintenance have a key role in the e-learning production process. They require the collaboration between different actors during the process and a huge amount of computational resources. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), working in the e-learning field, usually own only few learning resources (contents or digital elements), instruments (hardware and software) and skills. Collaborative organizational networks can be proposed for this aim.
ICT Groupware technologies support the collaborative work, developing automated processes which involve the work execution. However, resources should be available to carry out the teamwork activities. For this purpose, it is interesting to outline a scenario where several organizations cooperate sharing resources.
In this paper we propose a Solution Framework for Interoperable Network in Grid E-learning (SFINGE). It is based on a collaborative approach for the e-learning development, between different organizations. This Virtual Organization (VO) develops its workflow in a controlled environment, using shared resources according to the grid computing model. In particular the paper will be organized as in the following.
In the first section the system architecture and components will be described. Users and roles management is provided through a web portal. The VO gives to each user a digital identity to access, with appropriate permissions, to the services offered through the portal and assign to each one a specific role for the creation/reuse of e-learning contents. A digital identity represents a set of unique digital characteristics, which can be associated to the identity of a subject and which will ensure, through the implementation of shared policies, the identity and the right to access to the shared resource. Grid services have been integrated within the portal, building a system capable to manage both the development of new contents and the reuse of the existing ones.
In the second section the collaborative requirements for e-learning application are discussed. In particular a workflow allows us the management of different activities for different roles, during the creation of a course. The workflow programming is done through the identification of activities, roles and document of each e-learning phase development. The created document is sent to the users involved in the production cycle, for the review and the approval stage and, finally, it is available for the consultation or to be used in the next phase. The created contents are commonly stored, managed and delivered as Learning Objects (LOs) as unity of study, exercise and evaluation. Contents, software and resource sharing is done through grid computing.
Finally, the experimental results on the development of a testbed and the creation of a experimental e-learning course will be shown.