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Web-enabled Educational Solutions
 

 

At this stage, dynamic changes are running in the education process, due to the information technologies. The educational model has been radically changing - the classical methods of teaching and tuition give way to the modern technologies, which give wide opportunities for tuition with accent on the individual student, practice-applicable visualization of the educational material, focusing on the problems from real life, and this are the key elements of the contemporary perceptions of the General Educational Theory.

 

The Web-based educational system EWES (EPSILON Web-based education system) is a platform, that combines wide opportunities to present the educational material, creative solution of the problems in the practice-applicable tasks with innovative methods for assessment of the students. Under the influence of the constant feedback in real time, students learn to identify problems, to find solutions, to communicate without inhibitions, i.e. creative abilities are being encouraged, which is very important for gaining leader's qualities and skills.

 

The platform EWES contributes to increase effectiveness of the educational process in the following fields:

 

First, the principles of functioning of the virtual form of education and its realization enable the following problems to be solved: 

 

1) Presentation of the educational material through integration of different modules (presentation modules; functional components; multimedia materials and vector models - MPEG4, WRL, QML; data warehousing for modelling and presentation of the educational material; text and graphics; interactive multimedia and environment of virtual reality; electronic tests and conspectus, and others.), which helps to create mass accessible interactive educational environment over the already existing Internet channels. The multilayer architecture of EWES is open and enables constant adding and actualisation of the contents of the educational material.

 

Technological implementation: the delivery of convenient for use contents of the educational material happens using the Internet. The granted contents of lectures and other appliances in different educational subjects are saved in different file formats - .PDF, .DOC, .RTF, .HTML in such way, so every consumer can use them - to read them from the monitor of his computer or to print them on paper. Depending on the given from the teachers educational materials there is possibility to be included not only static text and graphic but also animated/interactive presentations in .PPS, .FLA formats and alternatives. There is added intelligent net agent for actualization of the contents of the courses in the system architecture, which is constantly active (its action is based on the corresponding of the new found material in the system towards the already existing courses). There is a system with security servers with the purpose of insurance of wide and constant accessibility to the materials, which keep it in relatively low level of loading. 

 

2) Use of innovative methods for assessment of the acquired knowledge in the individual subjects. The system of instruments for testing of knowledge includes series of tests in one subject with limited time, defined in advance by the teacher.  The system allows using of closed questions with certain number of answers and it also supports questions with more than one answers. The assessment of the given answers is done according to previously defined criteria by the one, composing the test. Besides there is possibility when forming the assessment to put different weight on the different groups of questions so some groups, registering more basic learning to have more weight. There is a possibility to decrease the assessment when wrong answers to certain fundamental questions are given. In case the student has not shown the needed minimum level of knowledge  or is not satisfied with the result, he can do the test again against payment with previously assigned penalty payment coefficient and maximum permitted number of tests.

 

Technological implementation: This possibility – to create unique tests is an advantage, compared to the tests on paper – the groups of questions are defined in advance and in the frames of a specific test the questions are  chosen accidentally – one or some from each group. This can make each test unique (for example, if we accept that a test in one subject has 30 questions and for each question there are only two possible variants, the total number of tests that the system would generated is  1,073,741,824). In this way there is a high level of security and it’s impossible for the student to remember the questions even if he does the same test many times. To avoid the problems with loosing the Internet connection during the test, every student gets certain time tolerance, but every attempt for intentionally prolongation of the user’s session (the time for doing the test) would be controlled. 

 

3) There is possibility to be given additional directions and advices by the teachers on the base of the knowledge students show. After forming the assessment of the knowledge in one subject, the system can “intelligently” show to the student his result and the gaps in his education. Besides it gives possibility on the base of previously defined rules to be indicated the educational material, which has to be learned well in order to eliminate the gaps in the knowledge.

 

Second, the advantages for the institutions for higher education of the virtual education:

 

- the virtual form of education is innovation, which allows better positioning of the institution for higher education on the market and increases its reputation and  competitive power;

 

- gives possibility for quick establishment and gaining larger market share â in the constantly developing market of educational services, and also gives chance of entering at foreign educational markets;;

 

- possibility to teach to more students, regardless of the educational base and the number of teachers;

 

- increasing of earnings with minimum expenses (the expenses for implementing the educational process are connected with maintenance of the material base, overheads and administrative expenses; the administrative and teachers’ expenses reduce sharply);

 

- increases the quality of education through: better way of presenting the educational material; online-consultations; more free time for teachers to accumulate new knowledge, which leads to increasing of the qualification and faster progressing; possibility to attract popular names from the academic sphere in the country or all over the world, without the need of their physical presence in the auditorium against a single time payment and multiplication of their product without additional expenses;

 

- use of objective criteria for assessment and elimination of corruption. 

 

Third, benefits for the students /users/ - the virtual education saves time, money and offers wider perspectives to learn more:

 

- to decide by themselves when and what to learn;

 

- the lessons are at convenient for them place ( they don’t have to be absent from work and to travel for lessons and);

 

-the payment of the education is extended in time;

 

- during the educational process are used innovative methods, which include interactive education, animated presentations and etc..;

 

- consulting help from specialists is used distantly, and also directions for mistakes that have been allowed to slip in during the education;

 

- the system guarantees high level of assessment of the;

 

- everyone who has completed this form of education acquires additional knowledge about the modern communication technologies;

 

- the information about the students is accessible for potential employers. 

 

One of the places on which the platform EWES is successfully applied is the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria.