A Pliant-Based Software Tool for Courseware Development

A Pliant-Based Software Tool for Courseware Development

Marcus Vinicius dos Santos (Ryerson University, Canada), Isaac Woungang (Ryerson University, Canada) and Moses Nyongwa (University of Manitoba, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-994-6.ch011
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The increasing importance of e-learning has been a boosting element for the emergence of Internet-based educational tools. As we move into the information age, tremendous efforts are made in the development of new information and communication technologies for educational purposes. The ultimate goal is to facilitate e-learning methodologies and acquisition. The chapter’s contribution is in the area of open source software for technology-enhanced learning. First, we report on the capabilities of Pliant, a novel software framework for Web-based courseware development. Pliant’ design features upon which e-learning capabilities are built are presented, showing that Pliant has some advantages over existing software, including flexibility, efficiency, and universal usability. A case study of the use of Pliant in the project “Multilanguage Database for Localization” developed at the CUSB School of Translation is presented. Second, we present Academia,3 a Pliant-based courseware development Web portal, and its use in translation studies at CUSB.
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The widespread availability of Web-based educational systems and standard-based courseware systems, and their deployment in educational institutions, including educational community as a whole, has raised a clear concern regarding their “universal usability” scope (Hochheiser & Shneiderman, 2001). A thorough analysis of the situation and informal discussions with “online teachers” and teacher educators show that Web-based educational tools are quite far from achieving their main goal—that is, being used by a wide distance audience in a cost-effective and educationally sound manner, and in particular, endowing Web literacy to both young, old, novice, expert, and end users with less computing background. This chapter reports on the capabilities of Pliant, a high-level and flexible programming language and Web development framework. It shows how Pliant can be used both for high-level programming and e-learning purposes, while meeting educational and software-oriented expectations. Academia, an example of an open-source, lightweight, Web-based courseware tool fully implemented in Pliant, is presented. This portal has been designed to help instructors quickly create, post, manage, and deliver Web-based courses and other e-learning resources. A case study of the usability of Academia at a Canadian institution is presented. This Pliant-driven application is meant to show the efficiency of the Pliant’s framework as a supporting tool for e-learning methodologies and acquisition.

The chapter is organized as follows. First, we briefly introduce the main streams driving the development of Web-based educational tools, and situate Pliant in that context. We then present an overview of the Pliant approach in terms of language constructs—here, we present our view of the Pliant architecture, and its underlying design features upon which e-learning capabilities can be supported. Next, we discuss various e-learning capabilities of Pliant, while highlighting their relationships to some of the main topics of this book. These include:

  • a.

    A description of Pliant as a tool for consolidating e-learning methodologies/acquisition—here, elements for exploration, data management, teaching, communications, and users’ management are presented;

  • b.

    A description of Pliant as a tool for learning programming languages and Web programming—a case study of the use of Pliant in a project entitled “Multilanguage Database for Localization,” developed at the CUSB School of Translation, is also presented; and

  • c.

    A description of Academia—here, our focus is on showing how this portal has been used as a tool for supporting translation studies at the CUSB School of Translation.

We also introduce Co-op Web,4 a Pliant-based Web portal developed at Ryerson University, Canada, used to administer the Cooperative Education and Internship Program.

Some shortcomings of our framework and how these can be addressed as future research themes are then offered, in the perspective of enhancing e-learning methodologies and acquisition. Future developments of our framework are also highlighted, and finally, our conclusion synthesizes our discussion and presents our final remarks on Pliant’s e-learning features.

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Editorial Advisory Board
List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Norbert Pachler
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Rita de Cássia Veiga Marriott, Patricia Lupion Torres
Chapter 1
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The research we report is a pilot study carried to test English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students’ reception of an electronic foreign language... Sample PDF
Understanding E-Skills in the FLT Context
Chapter 2
Antônio Carlos Soares Martins, Junia de Carvalho Fidelis Braga
The discussions presented herein emerged from two empirical studies in progress:“Online Learning Communities in the Realm of Complexity” and “The... Sample PDF
The Emergence of Social Presence in Learning Communities
Chapter 3
CALL as Action  (pages 39-52)
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The objective of this chapter is to offer a new approach for research in Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). It starts with the assumption... Sample PDF
CALL as Action
Chapter 4
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Investigating Interaction in an EFL Online Environment
Chapter 5
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This chapter discusses the concept of integrated CALL by drawing upon data collected for a PhD research project that investigated the impact of... Sample PDF
Interactive Whiteboards and the Normalization of CALL
Chapter 6
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Chapter 7
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This chapter provides an overview of the field of digital objects and repositories. It introduces the concepts of digital objects and repositories... Sample PDF
Learning Objects: Projects, Potentials, and Pitfalls
Chapter 8
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This chapter presents the experience of production and use of learning objects (LOs) for English-language learning at the Pontificia Universidade... Sample PDF
English-Language Teaching with Learning Objects at PUCPR
Chapter 9
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The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the present use of e-gaming in language acquisition along with its potential and challenges. We review... Sample PDF
Amusing Minds for Joyful Learning through E-Gaming
Chapter 10
Jowati Juhary
This chapter analyses the challenges in adapting a non-language learning courseware (NLLC) for a military learning environment. The National Defense... Sample PDF
A Non-Language Learning Courseware and its Challenges
Chapter 11
Marcus Vinicius dos Santos, Isaac Woungang, Moses Nyongwa
The increasing importance of e-learning has been a boosting element for the emergence of Internet-based educational tools. As we move into the... Sample PDF
A Pliant-Based Software Tool for Courseware Development
Chapter 12
Aysegül Daloglu, Meltem Baturay, Soner Yildirim
This chapter outlines how the constructivist approach can be implemented in Web-based vocabulary teaching, characteristics of effective Web-based... Sample PDF
Designing a Constructivist Vocabulary Learning Material
Chapter 13
Yasunori Nishina
This chapter suggests an effective method for lexical studies using Moodle within the framework of data-driven learning based on parallel... Sample PDF
A Lexical Study Based on Corpora, DDL, and Moodle
Chapter 14
Vander Viana, Sonia Zyngier
Like the advent of the telescope, computers today can provide ways of looking into language patterns that cannot be seen with the naked eye. From... Sample PDF
EFL through the Digital Glass of Corpus Linguistics
Chapter 15
Jing Wang
This chapter introduces a series of studies carried out with intermediate learners of Chinese regarding the reading of authentic e-materials with... Sample PDF
Electronic Strategies to Improve Chinese Reading Skills
Chapter 16
Margaret Murphy, Cristina Poyatos Matas
This chapter argues that politeness is an important component of e-mail language. Many people are uncertain about how to make their e-mail polite... Sample PDF
Politeness in Intercultural E-Mail Communication
Chapter 17
Neny Isharyanti
Studies in computer-mediated communication (CMC) have shown that it has the potential to provide opportunities for ESL learners to actively... Sample PDF
Interactional Modifications in Internet Chatting
Chapter 18
Sedat Akayoglu, Arif Altun
This chapter aims at describing the patterns of negotiation of meaning functions in text-based synchronous computer-mediated communication by using... Sample PDF
The Functions of Negotiation of Meaning in Text-Based CMC
Chapter 19
Esrom Adriano Irala, Patrica Lupion Torres
This chapter belongs to the context of the computer-mediated communication (CMC) for language teaching and learning. Since the introduction of this... Sample PDF
The Use of the CMC Tool AMANDA in the Teaching of English
Chapter 20
Christine Rosalia, Lorena Llosa
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Assessing the Quality of Online Peer Feedback in L2 Writing
Chapter 21
Betty Rose Facer, M’hammed Abdous, Margaret M. Camarena
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The Impact of Academic Podcasting on Students' Learning Outcomes
Chapter 22
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Listening Comprehension of Languages with Mobile Devices
Chapter 23
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Computers and Independent Study: Student Perspectives
Chapter 24
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Chapter 25
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Frustration in Virtual Learning Environments
Chapter 26
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Social Software and Language Acquisition
Chapter 27
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The Usefulness of Second Life for Language Learning
Chapter 28
Irene Mamakou
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Project-Based Instruction for ESP in Higher Education
Chapter 29
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WebCT Design and Users' Perceptions in English for Agriculture
Chapter 30
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The LAFEC Experience for Language Skills Acquisition
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Language Teaching in Live Online Environments
Chapter 32
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Adapting to Virtual Third-Space Language Learning Futures
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About the Contributors