J.P. Nowacki, A. Drabik, L. Banachowski, P. Lenkiewicz

Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology (POLAND)
The paper presents our experience in implementing distance learning over the Internet. It discusses the development of the e-learning platform at the Faculty of Information Technology of PJAIT. It is worth noting that the platform is used at all types of courses at the Faculty and selected courses at other faculties.

We started with the focus on organizing e-learning courses built around subject-specific courses and didactic materials ascribed to them. The e-courses were then expanded by the addition of complementary modules – announcements, task folders, tests, chats and forums. Later we added other student-centered modules, including interactive lessons, blogs, wiki and knowledge repository.

With time our approach evolved to become more focused on the student and his/her individual learning environment (PLE) including the e-learning portfolio and the materials contained in the knowledge repository. Furthermore, we completed the integration of the platform with other systems at the Academy, in accordance with the policy of enhancing internal communication.

New possible applications of e-learning platforms have sprung in response to the growing need for assistance of lifelong learners, especially with respect to academic teachers, students and graduates. The need to constantly update one’s IT knowledge and skills is the common aim of all these groups. At PJAIT we have managed to create a vibrant community of practice of users of the e-learning platform, which has been enriched with the addition of a constantly growing knowledge repository.

Our most recent research related to e-learning at PJAIT has focused on three areas. First of all, we have been testing the possibility of e-tutor development and use. E-tutors are e-learning applications helping both learners – by providing them with personalized learning environments, as well as tutors, who gain electronic assistants.

Secondly, we have developed a system to verify the quality of programming tasks done by students, especially the aspects of syntactic and semantic correctness, effectiveness, code style and quality, and, of course, plagiarism.

The third endeavor was to build a warehouse for didactic data. It is presently used by the Academy authorities and administration to, for example, prepare reports for external bodies or monitor students’ learning results. We are currently researching the possibility of using it for more advanced analyses of the data mining type, and for building e-tutors.

In the subsequent points of the paper we will discuss the development of the e-learning community at PJAIT, including our current projects. Generally, we consider ourselves to be researchers trying to define requirements for a good, working e-learning platform aimed at enhancing the study process, including lifelong study.