Construct a Mobile Device Enabled Ubiquitous E-learning

Construct a Mobile Device Enabled Ubiquitous E-learning Environment in Cloud
Wei-Ting Yeh
Department of Computer Science
Tunghai University
Taichung, 40704, Taiwan
[email protected]
In this paper, we propose how to provide the
ubiquitous e-learning capability from an e-learning
cloud. By utilizing a smart mobile application
combined with the Quick Response Code mechanism,
we can offer the education provider, students and
participant the ability to offer and obtain information
or knowledge more quickly and easily in many elearning application environment including schools,
museums and exhibitions. We also expand our
proposed e-learning cloud model to include the
ubiquitous e-learning element that helps building the
whole ubiquitous education cloud service environment.
Also, we will demonstrate how to construct a complete
e-learning cloud which contains the essential
components for deployment stage and provide an
example of the experimental application to further
analyze its pros and cons against the conventional
method. This architecture contains a private cloud on
local hardware resources and a SaaS services that is
powered by the external large-scale cloud services
provider like Google. After reading the full papers, you
will learn how to establish a fully functional e-learning
cloud with low cost and low technical barriers.
E-learning, M-learning, Cloud computing, Contextaware, Ubiquitous
Right now e-learning and cloud computing play a
significant role in the education field with plenty
open-source software that provides convenient and
easy ways to connect to popular public cloud
services (such as Google, Youtube, Facebook.)
The advancement of network environment
combines with development resources greatly
reduced difficulty to create personalize cloud eISBN: 978-0-9891305-4-7 ©2014 SDIWC
Chao-Tung Yang*
Department of Computer Science
Tunghai University
Taichung, 40704, Taiwan
*Corresponding author
[email protected]
learning systems, which allow many education
providers and organizations participate at a lower
cost and technical barriers.
Furthermore, the improvement and popularization
of smart devices bring more convenient and
restriction free form of e-learning, which we call
the ubiquitous learning. The main goal of this
thesis is therefore how to create an application
with ubiquitous learning environment for smart
The first half of the thesis describes how to insert
the M-learning capability into the existing Elearning Cloud Model to create a Ubiquitous
Education Cloud Model. The after half then deals
with the application of set Model with an example
design of an exhibition navigation system.
Nowadays E-learning has become an indivisible
part of education due to the trend of utilizing the
newer information technology. E-learning is the
computer and network-enabled transfer of skills
and knowledge. E-learning applications and
processes include Web-based learning, computerbased learning, virtual education opportunities and
digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the
Internet, intranet/extranet, any media-container
with audio or video, like satellite TV and CDROM etc. It can be self-paced or instructor-led
and includes media in the form of text, image,
animation, streaming video and audio. [1]
Cloud Computing
According to USA NIST's definition, Cloud
computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous,
convenient, on-demand network access to a shared
pool of configurable computing resources (e.g.,
networks, servers, storage, applications, and
services) that can be rapidly provisioned and
released with minimal management effort or
service provider interaction. This cloud model is
composed of five essential characteristics, three
service models, and four deployment models. Our
main focuses here are the three service models:
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. [2]
PhoneGap is a mobile development framework
produced by Nitobi, purchased by Adobe Systems.
It enables software programmers to build
applications for mobile devices using well-known
web related languages like JavaScript, HTML5,
and CSS3, instead of device-specific languages
such as JAVA or Objective-C. [3]
HTML5 is a markup language utilized for
structuring and presenting content for the World
Wide Web and a core technology of the Internet. It
is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created
in 1990 and standardized as HTML 4 as of 1997)
and, as of December 2012, is a candidate
recommendation of the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C). Its core aims have been to
advance the language with support for the latest
multimedia while keeping it easily readable by
humans and consistently understood by computers
and devices (web browsers, parsers, etc.). [4]
Quick Response Code
QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code)
is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or
two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the
automotive industry in Japan. [5]
Ezilla helps users quickly and easily build their
own private cloud. Ezilla integrates storage,
networking, and computing resources under a
cloud and allows cloud service providers to
swiftly deploy cloud service environments that are
built on a user-friendly, web-based interface. It is
created by Taiwan National Center for HighPerformance Computing (NCHC), Pervasive
ISBN: 978-0-9891305-4-7 ©2014 SDIWC
Computing Lab (Percomp Lab).[6] Its core
function components include:
1. Both KVM and Opennebula provide the
hardware virtualization ability, with KVM
offers the generation functions for virtual
machine while that the OpenNebula handles
virtual machine’s management and monitoring
2. Moose (MooseFS) as its file system.
3. DRBL (Diskless Remote Boot in Linux)
providing a diskless or OS-less environment
for multiple machines.
4. Cloud middleware with multiple web-based
VM control widget providing the higher
management for whole infrastructure and a
visual user interface that offering cloud
visualizer service.
The term “m-learning” or “mobile learning”, has
different meanings for different communities,
covering a range of use scenarios including elearning, educational technology and distance
education that focuses on learning with mobile
devices. Mobile learning is defined as "learning
across multiple contexts, through social and
content interactions, using personal electronic
devices” In other words, with the use of mobile
devices, learners can learn anywhere and at any
time. [7][8]
Context Awareness
Context awareness is a property of mobile devices
that is defined complementary to location
awareness. The concept emerged from ubiquitous
computing research at Xerox PARC and elsewhere
in the early 1990s. The term 'context-aware' was
first used by Schilit and Theimer in their 1994
paper Disseminating Active Map Information to
Mobile Hosts. [9]
3.1 E-learning Cloud Model and Deployment
We proposed to create a model combining cloud
computing technology and e-learning to create an
educational cloud services, including a self-built
cloud services (core functions) and external cloud
services to function as a complete educational
system. In addition, educational service providers
can follow the completion of our research to the
construct their own cloud with minimal IT
knowledge support, as show in Figure 1.
Figure 1. E-Learning Cloud Model
Our proposed and constructed e-learning cloud
contain 6 core components:
Virtual Classroom
Online Knowledge Base
Internet Forum
Horizontal Search Engine
System monitoring & management
Main Website
And also with the other additional e-learning
functions including social network connection,
online multimedia sharing offered by free external
cloud service provider like Google, Youtube and
3.2 Add M-learning Capability
1) QR code Application
By importing the QR code the whole e-learning
cloud system gains the ability that education
provider could easily use to provide the
environment learning navigation function. The
Quick Response Code is a well-developed barcode
system which has high information capacity and
flexibility that can easily be created by the
educator or accessed by the participator and
ISBN: 978-0-9891305-4-7 ©2014 SDIWC
2) Mobile Web APP
Mobile APP is the part of our architecture’s core
components to provide mobility. By utilizing the
APP obeyed our design users can scan the QR
code tag through mobile devices’ camera so to
access the learning information, and offer the
exhibition guidance function. Furthermore the
APP can record the learning information data
(including name, links) from the QR code into the
E-learning portfolio and afterward uploads the
portfolio to the education cloud so the learner can
re-access the exhibition items’ information and
experiences later.
3) E-portfolio Module
E-portfolio module is another core component that
gather the statistics and summarize the
exhibition’s information and learner’s experience,
creating the environment for learners to regain the
The Context-Aware Exhibition Navigation
Exhibition navigation module provides the
learners the concept of situational choices.
Learners can choose from a variety of different
contexts designed by education providers to
participate. This module requires the combine
effort of Education provider and IT supporters to
formulate the important content of every single
context configuration file (txt file), so that once
the desired context is selected, it can be
downloaded by the mobile web app from
education cloud. The main contents and structure
of the context will be organized in the form of
exhibit No. for navigation. Example: Context [A]:
1> 3> 5> 26>....
3.3 Premise
Utilization Open Source Software to
reduce the burden of system building.
The difficulty of maintaining low
provisioning, the use of low difficulty.
Provisioning systems difficulty is low, and cut
down on the requirement for IT personals while
makes it easier for education provider and learner
to quickly get started.
The system as a whole can be reused
indifferent educational goals with no specific
restriction, while provide simultaneously supports
for different educational contexts and navigation
Supporting Context-Aware E-learning.
Situational learning is now an important
development direction for E-learning and
education cloud services that help users to
determine their own learning environments and
4.1 Architecture of System
configuration file and the e-portfolio file with the
education provider.
The Education Provider and Learners’ job and
behavior will be described afterward in section 4.3
and 4.4.
4.2 Mobile Web APP’s Operational Processes
of Design Elements
1) Web APP by PhoneGap
Part of the core functions of APP written using
HTML5 language, then use PhoneGap to package
into APP, so it can be used by most of the smart
2) QR Code reading ability
By calling the external QR Code software or
including the QR code open source program
package from Github on our PhoneGap APP to
analyze QR code for related Exhibits and gain the
corresponding web link (URL link) to the
Education cloud for access the knowledge.
3) Context choice module
Reading the context choice section of the QR
Code at the front of the exhibition area to
download the appropriate context configuration
file from the Education cloud and get navigation
information with organized exhibits’ no. in proper
order then send to Navigation module.
Figure 2. System Architecture, Operation Process
and Data Flow
Figure 2.presents the whole Context-aware
Exhibition Navigation System’s Architecture and
operation relationship. There are three roles
participated in: IT Supporter, Education Provider
and Learner (exhibition visitor)
IT Supporter takes the responsibility on
construction and maintaining of the Education
Cloud and the mobile web app, and furthermore
need develop the specifications of the context
ISBN: 978-0-9891305-4-7 ©2014 SDIWC
4) Navigation module
Use Context choice module’s information guide
line to rearrange exhibits in specific orders for
every situation. Additionally module will store a
viewing record to remind learner on whether the
exhibits have been covered.
5) Achievement module
Achievement module checks to see if all the
corresponding exhibit QR codes in Context have
been scanned by the learner then display the
accomplishment status. This is a module that can
be used to encourage users to complete the
education providers’ design course.
6) E-Portfolio module
E-Portfolio module will record a numbers of
learners progress, including:
Name of exhibition
Context downloaded
Context completion rate and time
Corresponding URL link in Education
cloud knowledge from all of the exhibits scanned
Total time spent
After every exhibition education providers
can analyze user uploads contents on e-portfolio in
education cloud, and learners’ feedback in forum
as references for future exhibition designs.
4.4 Learners’ (Exhibition Visitors’)
An exhibition Portfolio file is created after each
completion and will prompt learners to rename the
file base on proper format and learner code to
upload it to Education cloud or the appropriate
free cloud space
7) APP Reset module
This module will wipe all previous information to
reset the App back to the original state. Moreover,
before the implementation of such action the
module will automatically output a portfolio file
as backup to prevent accidental progression lost.
4.3 Aspects of Education Providers
Create pamphlets and teaching materials
based on exhibition that will be saved onto
education cloud’s wiki (Online Knowledge Base)
and moodle (Virtual Classroom).
Set wiki then provides detailed knowledge of the
exhibits introduced while moodle supplies the
relevant courses and video educational
Furthermore, the forum section of education cloud
will offer discussions in related topic, so that
learners and educators can gain feedback from
appropriate sources.
Turn exhibits corresponding contacts on
the education cloud into QR Codes that contain
direct links to the core functionalities in the
education cloud wiki (Online Knowledge Base)
and moodle (Virtual Classroom;) Related sections
on forum can also be included.
Creates context-aware visiting service:
Producing context configuration files according to
regulation to upload to education cloud and make
into QR Code, then posted in the special sections
at front of each exhibition with relevant context
ISBN: 978-0-9891305-4-7 ©2014 SDIWC
Figure 3.Mobile APP Operation Process Flow
First, use exhibition DM or QR Code link
at the entrance to download and install the mobile
web app from the education cloud to the mobile
Browsing through summaries of scenarios
in the selection area and use the app to scan QR
Code of whichever section that
catches one’s
interest to get connected to the Education cloud’s
context configuration file. The app will then
display the concept development flowchart that
corresponding to exhibition process numbers, for
When the visiting each, simply scan the
proper QR Code, and the app will automatically
show to the corresponding information and
materials associated with the exhibits from the
Education cloud.
The APP's e-portfolio module will record
individual’s learning progression (including user118
selected scenarios and practical concept
development process, which may be different),
and all the QR Code information that were
scanned. Also a text file documenting the learning
succession will be created which the APP will
recommend users to upload to the Education cloud
as reference for education providers.
With the APP’s recording, the learner will
be prompted the learner about what have been
seen, and store the info as learning history.
Education providers can also use these records to
design a fun and interesting reward system similar
to collect travel stamps, or game token which may
then be exchanged for gifts or souvenirs
We have assembled a Mobile Web App, Eportfolio, Context-awareness, QR code amounts
other elements to create, through detailed planning,
a low-cost, easy to use E-learning cloud model
with ubiquitous e-learning ability in hope to bring
education providers and learners a better education
In order to achieve the goal of low cost and easy
to use, we purposely avoid the more complex and
expensive indoor navigation technology (systems
that requires WIFI or Bluetooth technique to
provide accurate position capability), our system
is designed to be promoted to with limited budget
and manpower while providing the best education
ubiquitous cloud service experience.
In the future we hope to improve ContextAwareness programming to allow education
providers to offer more flexibility and better use
the learning environment, at the same time
learners can fully integrate their interests and
expertise in learning.
This work is supported in part by the National Science
Council, Taiwan R.O.C., under grants no. NSC 1013113-S-029-001, and NSC 102-3113-S-029-001.
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