THE USE OF KNOWLEDGE PILLS ON CHEMICAL ENGINEERING TRAINING
Since 2003 the University of Vigo have been developing the UVITEE (University of Vigo Information Technologies Based Educational Environment), a plan for updating of the educational technologies. The main components of it are:
• The AccessGrid® Infrastructure
• The UvigoTV
• The FaiTIC Online Campus
All these components are grouped under a portal called FaiTIC which is a frontend to the different software engines that support different areas and share the university databases and exchange processes between them. At the present time FaiTIC have more than 22000 users, contains more than 2100 courses, 9000 hours of video and audio material recoded and receives an average daily accesses higher than 30000. Furthermore, manages more than 250 hour/day of live videoconferences. All of it for a teaching use.
All the teaching material is properly managed by PuMUKIT, a Spanish abbreviation of Multimedia Publication KIT, our audiovisual content manager. PuMuKIT is a specialized CMS (Content Management System) based on the intelligent MO’s (Multimedia Object) management. It support many type of metadata especially those defined in the Dublin Core Standard.
From all the multimedia contents stored at the UVITEE the most demanded are the called “knowledge pills”. A knowledge pill is a multimedia learning object (in many cases reusable), typically ranging from 10 to 15 minutes. Are self-contained (each learning object can be taken independently) and reusable (a single learning object may be used in multiple contexts for multiple purposes). Can be aggregated (learning objects can be grouped into larger collections of content, including traditional course structures). Are tagged with metadata (every knowledge object has descriptive information allowing it to be easily found by a search).
The structure of a knowledge pill is called as 1024P+P format. It enables us to combine a computer desktop image and the video image of the lecturer or presenter in the same video. The end product is a video with resolution at 1024 x 768 including the lecturer, his/her voice and the PC background used for the presentation in all its resolution, with any program used and the mouse pointer movements. This is very valuable in scientific explanations where the lecturer is pointing out a certain area on a graph with the mouse or a particular physiological formation.
In this paper the “knowledge pill”, a kind of multimedia reusable object, is presented as an example of a useful resource on engineering teaching. In this case, a Chemical Engineering fundamental topic knowledge pill is presented. The description concerns from the conceptual design to the final product, including all the technologies involved on it production. The PuMuKiT (Publication Multimedia Kit), an open source framework, developed at the University of Vigo, to produce and distribute most of multimedia material is described. As a result, we have defined a new kind of reusable learning object capable to contain a mixed 1024P+P multimedia contents useful for engineering matters teaching.
 University of Vigo: Uvigo TV Pills Channel. 2010. [Online]. Available: http://tv.uvigo.es/gl/pildoras.html . [Accessed: Jan. 7, 2010].
 University of Vigo. Vicerreitría de Novas Tecnoloxías e Calidade: PuMuKIT. 2010. [Online]. Available: http://www.pumukit.uvigo.es/. [Accessed: Jan. 7, 2010].