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N. Englisch, H. Heller, W. Hardt

TU Chemnitz (GERMANY)
A Learning Management System (LMS) is an important tool for modern teaching in institutions like universities and schools. One main Task of a LMS is the representation of content for students. The most important roles in a LMS are the course author and the learner. The course author creates a course in a (LMS), representing a lecture or an exercise at a university for example. Moreover the course author, often the teacher, is responsible for maintaining his courses in settings and content. The learner (student) accesses the learning content which is offered by the course author. To make sure that a learner can access easily the course in a LMS, the search possibilities need to be established accordingly. Mostly a course is accessed by learners through direct links (by the learning institutions) or basic search possibilities (free text) in the LMS. These search features are searching mostly for the course title or defined Meta data from the settings of the course. To enhance the learning possibilities for students and to ensure that all training possibilities can be found, we present a concept which represents keywords of learning content by tags in a LMS, called Topic Tags. These keywords are stored in a Topic Graph. Possible Keywords for a lecture regarding software development could be for example programming language, design patterns, algorithms, etc. Learners can easily find courses related to the topic which they are searching for. One example for a path in this graph would be root > computer science > programming language > Java. Each node (like computer science and programming language) is connected by an edge to its sub node which symbolizes a sub topic. Other courses which are related to an existing node (for example programming language) can be connected to this node. Courses in a LMS can be connected to one or more nodes in this graph. When the learner accesses this Topic Graph, all courses connected to the current selected node (topic) will be shown. Access rights for a course and its content are defined by the course itself (visibility, accessibility). The tags for a course can be defined automatically (by parsing content and counting frequency of words) or in a manual manner by the course author. The integration of a new Topic Tag into the Topic Graph can be done manually by the course author. The tags need to be stored multilingual to ensure the multilingualism. The presented concept is generic and can be adapted to all LMS. The realization is planned for the LMS OPAL, which is used by Saxon universities (Germany).