From Web to Grid: Evolution of a Learning Environment

Allison, Colin, Nicoll, Ross, Bateman, Martin and Ling, Bin (2005) From Web to Grid: Evolution of a Learning Environment. In: The 4th IASTED International Conference on Web Based Education WBE'05, February 21 – 23, 2005, Grindelwald, Switzerland.

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Web-based learning environments have become relatively common over the last decade. However, those that simplistically employ basic document-centric web technologies have been increasingly criticised for promoting information transfer as opposed to knowledge construction and genuine learning. At the same time, there are many innovative systems which go well beyond basic web technologies in order to provide effective, pedagogically-driven learning environments. Many of the technical features added by those environments are now to be found in Grid technologies. In particular, the fundamental concept in the Open Grid Service Architecture (OGSA) is that of a service, in contrast to the original Web, where it is a page, or at best, a document. The European Learning Grid Infrastructure (ELeGI) project has the remit to investigate the use of, and if necessary, carry out the development of, Grid technologies to enable and encourage effective technology enhanced learning. One of the initial investigations involves the re-engineering of an existing web-based learning environment Finesse (Finance Education in a Scaleable Software Environment) to be Grid compliant. This paper describes the evolution of Finesse from Web to Grid, and offers some early insight into this potential direction for future learning environment design and implementation.

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