A Semantic Learning Objects Authoring Tool
F. J. García (University of Salamanca, Spain), A. J. Berlanga (University of Salamanca, Spain) and J. García (University of Salamanca, Spain)
Copyright: © 2006
The introduction of computers is recreating a new criterion of differentiation between those who become integrated as a matter of course in the technocratic trend deriving from the daily use of these machines and those who become isolated by not using them. This difference increases when computer science and communications merge to introduce virtual education areas, where the conjunction of teacher and student in the space-time dimension is no longer an essential requirement and where the written text becomes replaced (or rather complemented) by the digital text (García & García, 2005). In order to rescue those educators who have much to offer in an educational system, whether virtual or presential, as authors of teaching resources, suitable authoring tools should be designed, thinking more in the pedagogical process than in the technical aspects. Hypertext Composer, or simply HyCo, is one of these authoring tools, which presents a pedagogical interaction model that makes easier the creation of educational resources for every teacher/author, independently of his or her computer expertise level. At the same time, HyCo is an authoring tool and a retrieval tool, in that it encapsulates all the complexity in handling current tools within the facilities that the author needs and offers, as a result, a hypermedia teaching product that can be distributed in different formats for the user’s access. HyCo has an important semantic basis that nears this tool to the Semantic Web concept (Berners-Lee, Hendler & Lassila, 2001) and allows creating Semantic Learning Objects (SLO) that could be imported for more specialized Learning Management Systems (LMS). In order to achieve the semantic definition of the created educational resources, HyCo uses Learning Technology Standards or Specifications (LTS), looking for obtaining contents that are able to work in other systems (interoperability), follow-up information about learners and contents (manageability), usability in other contexts (reusability), and avoiding obsolescence (durability). This article is devoted to introducing HyCo as an authoring/retrieval tool of SLOs, which presents an interaction model that hides all the technical complexity to the authors but, at same time, offers all the power of semantic definitions in order to publish or use the contents in advanced e-learning environments. The rest of the article is organized as follows: the Background section establishes the background of the presented topic, making a comparison with related works; the HyCo Authoring Tool section presents the HyCo authoring tool; finally, the sections Future Trends and Conclusion provide the future trends and the remarks of the article, respectively.