Dr.-Ing. Uwe Steinmann
Fleyer Str. 196
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Krämer
FernUniversität in Hagen
Education builds more and more on multimedia technology to supplement but also compete with traditional ways of learning. Authors are confronted with a range of tools including a growing collection of proprietary authoring tools, imaging, graphics, sound and video editing tools but also traditional programming tools centered around novel programming languages like Java, Delphi or Visual Basic, C++ etc. Many authors have not been trained to use such tools effictively. For them it would be much easier to reuse existing material.
The overall costs to produce multimedia content are thus relatively high compared to traditional education and publishing approaches. Reuse of material helps to massivly cut down production costs.
To improve this situation in creating multimedia courses, a component-based hypermedia development method is needed, relying on a collection of re-usable multimedia components, and mechanism to integrate them into courses. The Multimedia Catalogue for component maintenance at its core and a simple to use authoring environment is the solution.
The Multimedia Catalogue is fully based on Open Source Software consisting of the Apache Web-Server and PostgreSQL database. It supports external databases and can accommodate any metadata schema (by default it supports the IEEE LOM standard).
The core of the system is a sophisticated hypertext system enforcing a strict separation of content, presentation and navigation and giving the user the power of bidirectional links and link consistency at any time. Working with the Catalogue follows a certain workflow to ensure high quality components and little complications for the authors and reusers.
- An author creates new material and hands the material over to the catalogue manager for quality assurance testing and insertion into the catalogue and defines access rights per user.
- The catalogue manager makes the material available and ensures that access rights and other protection mechanisms are set properly.
- The customer, e.g. a course developer, finds the new material and decides to use it in a course. He/she buys and downloads the selected components from the catalogue, combines them into a new course -- possibly with the help from a multimedia designers -- and then passes the course on to students.
All these steps can be performed through a web interface.