Wednesday, July 04, 2007

ALOA: A Web Services Driven Framework for Automatic Learning Object Annotation

Yesterday, Nanda Firdausi Muhammad successfully defended his master thesis "ALOA: A Web Services Driven Framework for Automatic Learning Object Annotation". Under my supervision, Nanda has designed, implemented, and evaluated a Web Services driven framework for IEEE LOM compliant automatic matadata generation. The primary focus has been on the flexibility and extensibility of the framework, such that new metatata generation services/modules can easily be plugged into the basic system.

The proposed solution and the implemented system fulfill these requirements; the system already implements different modules and is capable of generating a big part of the LOM metadata from different types of learning objects (e.g. HTML, PDF, PPT, Word). The goal of flexibility was achieved as the system provides a public Web Services API that can be used by third party applications and has a SOA based architecture that makes it possible to extend the framework with new components.

The main components of ALOA are Extractors and Generators. An extractor is responsible for extracting text information from a learning object along with more properties about the learning object. Only one extractor can be defined for each learning object type e.g. html, pdf, ppt, word. A generator is responsible for the actual metatada generation. It uses the output of an extractor and applies data mining techniques to generate one or parts of the metadata. Everyone should be able to easily create a new extrator/generator and plug it into ALOA via the admin interface. A detailed documentation on how to implement a new extractor or generator is available. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to create your own component/service/module or need more information about the ALOA framework.

This thesis was a successful cooperation between Informatik 5, RWTH Aachen University and the computer science department of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in the framework of the EU Network of Excellence PROLEARN.

Try it out! Your valuable feedbacks, suggestions, comments, and ideas are welcome!

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