E-Learning – Akogrimo eL

The following scenario will explain how Akogrimo results will bring benefits to the eLearning world.

The Scenario

Maria, a student from Stuttgart, has been registered with the European Universities Virtual Organization (EUVO). EUVO comprises different entities (metadata enriched content, simulation and virtual laboratory services, data storage and exchange portfolios, communication assistance services, …) from several European universities (an agreement for exchanging students exists at the moment between the University of Stuttgart and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid UPM).

Waiting for the bus that will take Maria to the university, she receives a notification on her mobile device: Some administrative tasks need to be accomplished as soon as possible (document delivery, payment, etc.), especially because in a few days she will be leaving for a study trip (luckily enough, she had already finished the assignment). She performs the requested actions.

Meanwhile the bus arrives at the university and Maria, having already reserved a workstation from home using a calendar service, starts some virtual experiments in the field of mechanical engineering. Some of these experiments are really challenging in terms of resource usage, mathematics involved, duration and complexity of the related workflow. All this complexity is hidden from Maria by the virtual laboratory she is presented with. The course programme does cleverly interleave week-long experiments with shorter ones and she doesn’t need to know which member or resource of the VO did which job for her. She is location- and provider operator-independently permanently member of the EUVO. What she especially likes is to control her long-running experiments from home and from remote locations – even on the move. Of course she might be temporarily disconnected from the network (as happened when the Bus passed the Stuttgart Heslach-Tunnel) but after reinitialising network access, she “seamlessly” continues her “sessions” (after leaving the tunnel she is connected via another operator to the network).

Now, on the study trip to Spain at UPM she uses a particular instrument initially not yet available through EUVO’s virtual labs. Through her laptop, she uses the instrument and transfers the measured data to one of her long running virtual experiments in Stuttgart. To do so she will just use the ‘extend your EUVO virtual lab’ feature. Unaware of any of the mechanisms involved, she knows only that UPM is part of the European Mobile University initiative providing a federated service infrastructure with – among others – the University of Stuttgart network platform, and so obviously is her instrument for that day.

Next day, she discusses the experiment results so far with her teacher and other fellows. The virtual laboratory has allowed the setting up of a collaborative environment between them. In greater detail, two of her fellows stay at home and are connected via their private Internet connection to the EUVO, whereas she is in Madrid and the rest of the learning team at the Stuttgart University campus. Of course, as usual, the teacher was located via a presence service since he gave here permissions to access his location data. Since the teacher currently has only his PDA while walking on the campus back from the library to his office, he receives only the audio data, while the others have an audio-video communication sharing the results on a whiteboard. Nevertheless, the whole context of the virtual experiment was available to everyone in the discussion. Anyhow, younger students received less complex mathematical explanations but the teacher was impressed by the theoretical framework – nicely adapted to his small screen. Some of the students noticed, that the last discussion was, in a certain sense, simpler – the mathematics was quite elaborate but still easy to grasp.

A good example again, in order to better show the potential of mobile Grid for this testbed is the access by roaming students to the workflow in order to modify it.

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