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1. Issue
First Issue - February 2005
Articles / Beiträge
  1. Pedagogical quality in e-learning

    The article is concerned with design and use of e-learning technology to develop education qualitatively. The purpose is to develop a framework for a pedagogical evaluation of e-learning technology. The approach is that evaluation and design must be grounded in a learning theoretical approach, and it is argued that it is necessary to make a reflection of technology in relation to activities, learning principles, and a learning theory in order to qualitatively develop education. The article presents three frameworks developed on the basis of cognitivism, radical constructivism and activity theory. Finally, on the basis of the frameworks, the article discusses e-learning technology and, more specifically, design of virtual learning environments and learning objects. It is argued that e-learning technology is not pedagogically neutral, and that it is therefore necessary to focus on design of technology that explicitly supports a certain pedagogical approach. Further, it is argued that design should direct its focus away from organisation of content and towards design of activities.

  2. Model Driven Architecture (MDA): Integration and Model Reuse for Open Source eLearning Platforms

    Open Source (OS) community offers numerous eLearning platforms of both types: Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Content Systems (LCS). General purpose OS intermediaries such as SourceForge, ObjectWeb, Apache or specialized intermediaries like CampusSource reduce the cost to locate such eLearning platforms. Still, it is impossible to directly compare the functionalities of those OS software products without performing detailed testing on each product. Some articles available from eLearning Wikipedia show comparisons between eLearning platforms which can help, but at the end they barely serve as documentation which are becoming out of date quickly [1]. The absence of integration activities between OS eLearning platforms - which are sometimes quite similar in terms of functionalities and implementation technologies - is sometimes critical since most of the OS projects possess small financial and human resources. This paper shows a possible solution for these barriers of OS eLearning platforms. We propose the Model Driven Architecture (MDA) concept to capture functionalities and to identify similarities between available OS eLearning platforms. This contribution evolved from a fruitful discussion at the 2nd CampusSource Developer Conference at the University of Muenster (27th August 2004).

  3. Stud.IP

    Dieser Beitrag beschreibt die Konzeption, den Funktionsumfang und Erfahrungswerte der Open-Source-eLearning-Plattform Stud.IP. Der Funktionsumfang umfasst für jede einzelne Veranstaltung Ablaufpläne, das Hochladen von Hausarbeiten, Diskussionsforen, persönliche Homepages, Chaträume u.v.a. Ziel ist es hierbei, eine Infrastruktur des Lehrens und Lernens anzubieten, die dem Stand der Technik entspricht. Wissenschaftliche Einrichtungen finden zudem eine leistungsstarke Umgebung zur Verwaltung ihres Personals, Pflege ihrer Webseiten und der automatischer Erstellung von Veranstaltungs- oder Personallisten vor. Betreiber können auf ein verlässliches Supportsystem zugreifen, dass sie an der Weiterentwicklung durch die Entwickler- und Betreiber-Community teilhaben lässt.

  4. Developing and Deploying an XML-based Learning Content Management System at the FernUniversität Hagen

    This paper is a report about the FuXML project carried out at the FernUniversität Hagen. FuXML is a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) aimed at providing a practical and efficient solution for the issues attributed to authoring, maintenance, production and distribution of online and offline distance learning material. The paper presents the environment for which the system was conceived and describes the technical realisation. We discuss the reasons for specific implementation decisions and also address the integration of the system within the organisational and technical infrastructure of the university.

  5. Matching Software and Context in Open Learning Scenarios

    We describe the use of log file analysis to investigate whether the use of CSCL applications corresponds to its didactical purposes. Exemplarily we examine the use of the web-based system CommSy as software support for project-oriented university courses. We present two findings: (1) We suggest measures to shape the context of CSCL applications and support their initial and continuous use. (2) We show how log files can be used to analyze how, when and by whom a CSCL system is used and thus help to validate further empirical findings. However, log file analyses can only be interpreted reasonably when additional data concerning the context of use is available.

Project reports / Projektberichte
  1. Towards an Open Source Framework for Collaborative Problem-Based Learning Environments

    This paper presents our research works in the domain of Collaborative Environments centred on Problem Based Learning (PBL) and taking advantage of existing Electronic Documents. We first present the modelling and engineering problems that we want to address; then we discuss technological issues of such a research particularly the use of OpenUSS and of the Enterprise Java Open Source Architecture (EJOSA) to implement such collaborative PBL environments.

  2. E-Learning für kleine und mittlere Unternehmen

  3. CampusContent

  4. MetaCampus REAL – a European Marketplace for Lifelong Learning

    This article addresses the discussion about open source solutions in the e-learning business. In contrast to critics by commercial suppliers this article comes to different conclusions. On the one hand such a discussion seems to be useless in this early state of the e-learning market. On the other hand solutions without costs might have a strong influence of which commercial suppliers could profit as well.

In 2003, Joseph Weizenbaum in his article Grenzen des E-Learnings (Limits of e-learning), sarcastically remarked that “the prefix e in e-learning may stand for the state of euphoria the topic is currently looked at” – once again, I would like to add. Technology and, in particular, computers in education have been an issue for more than thirty years. Progress and encouragement in this field have not been along a straight path but rather have seen euphoric ups and depressed lows. These waves were in parts caused by technological pushes initiated, for instance, by black-and white video films (1975), Papert’s turtle graphics (1980s), pixel graphics (1985), hypertext, CD-ROM, hypermedia, and, finally, the Internet. But most of the educational innovations that built on these technologies, including TV in schools, computer aided instruction, computer-based training and many more, finally ended up on the cemetery of educational technology.

Typical misconceptions about technology supported education, which led to the failure of these attempts, assumed that it can replace traditional in-class teaching, that it would help governments in finding arguments to cut down the costs of education, and that the interactive acquisition of learning content distributed as “canned” information would be sufficient to improve the quality of learning. As we began to surf on the most recent technology wave, the World Wide Web (WWW), which offered an extension of the hypertext idea but now with on-line, world-wide interconnection within the Internet and a seamless integration of multiple types of media, many of us were again caught by the same misconceptions as we focused too much on technology and neglected pedagogy and the human factor in education.

As the e-learning hype of 2000 is somewhat muted and more realistic, we observe e-learning applications settling in educational institutions at a large scale, in organizations and in corporations all over the world. The mostly IT-literate group of early adopters is now joined by specialists from many different scientific disciplines who want to share their experiences and learn from each other.

The open access journal eleed – e-learning and education – aims to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners active in the field of e-learning and become a focal point for the exchange of high quality scientific research results and experience reports addressing all aspects of e-learning theory, practice and technology. In addition, eleed supports cooperation and community building and fosters the evolution of open e-learning standards. The journal strives to maintain an international balance by relying on experts from all corners of the world.

eleed is a peer-reviewed archival online journal with a quarterly publication cycle. Besides peer-reviewed research papers, survey articles, case studies, and best practice reports, each eleed issue will include non-reviewed short contributions. Examples are: project descriptions, book, product and standards reviews, position statements, and discussion threads.

This inaugural issue of eleed consists of five scientific contributions, covering a broad range of topics, but mainly related to e-learning platforms, solutions, and technology. In “Pedagogical quality in e-learning - Designing e-learning from a learning theoretical approach” Christian Dalsgaard argues that evaluation and design of e-learning technology must be grounded in a learning theoretical approach because e-learning technology is not pedagogically neutral. Thus, it is necessary to focus on the design of technology that explicitly supports a certain pedagogical approach. His article presents three frameworks developed on the basis of cognitivism, radical constructivism and activity theory.

On the other side of the spectrum, Stockmann and Berg present a concrete e-learning platform in their article “Stud.IP – Ein Informations- und Managementsystem zur Unterstützung von Lehre und Studium” (an English version will be available shortly). This open source platform is dedicated to support traditional in-class education at universities but does not try to replace them. This article presents the rationale underlying their design decisions, explains how the platform is used in different scenarios, and presents an evaluation of Stud.IP.

How the students' use of an e-learning platform can be monitored and evaluated is the topic of “Matching Software and Context in Open Learning Scenarios” by Pape, Janneck, and Klein. They rely on log file analysis to investigate whether the way CSCL applications are used corresponds to the intended didactical purposes. Based on a concrete course performed in the form of an open learning scenario in which the CommSy CSCL system was used, the authors present their technique of using log files to analyze frequencies, foci, occasions and patterns of use and compare them according to different user types and groups. Their evaluation showed that in spite of students’ former negative experiences with teamwork and some insecurity at the beginning of the course participants produced high-quality working results and rated open learning scenarios positively.

In distant teaching scenarios, traditional, text-book like course materials are often still the most important media. In their article “Developing and Deploying an XML-based Learning Content Management System at the FernUniversität in Hagen”, Steinkamp et al. present FuXML, an authoring system that enables content creation in a media-neutral form from which several different presentation formats can be generated through specialized transformation processes. The authors describe the economic reasons, the environment, and the technical realization of the system, which is aimed to provide a practical and efficient solution for authoring, maintenance, production, and distribution of online and offline distance learning materials.

The last article, “Model Driven Architecture (MDA): Integration and Model Reuse for Open Source eLearning Platforms” by Grob et al., argues that integration activities are needed for open source e-learning platforms because most of the often similar projects possess small financial and human resources. They propose to use Model Driven Architecture (MDA), which is currently a research topic in software engineering, to capture functionalities and to identify similarities between available open source e-learning platforms. Based on the OpenUSS learning management system, they exemplary present a first milestone to create e-learning components based on platform independent models.

The scientific articles are complemented by four project reports: About the design and implementation of a collaborative problem-based learning environment called Smash, a European marketplace for e-learning offerings, a survey on European e-learning projects targeted at small and medium sized enterprises and last but not least about CampusContent, a competence center for e-learning with reusable learning objects.

For the German speaking reader, four interesting books are presented providing hands-on learning and e-learning experience, a handbook for e-learning, quality in e-learning from the view of the learner, and a study about successful web-based learning.

We hope that you find this first issue of eleed as interesting as we do. Have fun reading it!


We wish to thank all future readers, authors, and reviewers for their contributions to make eleed an exciting, high-quality journal in the field of e-learning and e-education. As a reaction to our first call for contributions issued in autumn 2004, we received 16 submissions of which five were selected for this issue. We are particularly grateful to the authors of these papers and more than 30 international experts who help us in the review process. Further we are deeply indebted to the many people who worked behind the scenes and the Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung NRW (Department of Science and Research of the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia), which financially supports our journal through its open access initiative “Digital Peer Publishing NRW”.

Bernd Krämer
Jens Krinke

Co-Editors-in-Chief, eleed