Semantic Tools to Support the Construction and Use of Concept-Based Learning Spaces

Semantic Tools to Support the Construction and Use of Concept-Based Learning Spaces

Terence R. Smith (University of California at Santa Barbara, USA) and Marcia Lei Zeng (Kent State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-980-9.ch011
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We describe a digital learning environment (DLE) organized around sets of concepts that represent a specific domain of knowledge. A prototype DLE developed by the Alexandria Project currently supports teaching at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Its distinguishing strength is an underlying abstract model of key aspects of any concept and its relationship to other concepts. Similar models of concepts are evolving simultaneously in a variety of disciplines. Our strongly-structured model (SSM) of concepts is based on the viewpoint that scientific concepts and their interrelationships provide the most powerful level of granularity with which to support effective access and use of knowledge in DLEs. The SSM integrates a taxonomy (or thesaurus), metadata (or attribute-value pairs), domain-specific mark-up languages, and specific models for learning scientific concepts. It is focused on attributes of concepts that include objective representations, operational semantics, use, and interrelationships to other concepts. The DLE integrates various semantic tools facilitating the creation, merging, and use of heterogeneous learning materials from distributed sources, as well as their access in terms of our SSM of concepts by both instructors and students. Evidence indicates that undergraduate instructional activities are enhanced with the use of such integrated semantic tools.
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In this chapter we describe the design and implementation of a digital learning environment (DLE) that may be organized around sets of concepts selected by an instructor to represent a specific domain of knowledge. While such DLEs are applicable to the whole range of scientific and engineering disciplines, the operational DLE described in this chapter supports a core introductory course in physical geography that is currently being taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). This DLE was designed and implemented as part of UCSB’s Alexandria Digital Earth Project (ADEPT). The main goal of ADEPT has been the design, implementation, testing, and application of DLEs that take advantage of digital library (DL) collections and services in the construction and use of learning materials, particularly for undergraduate classes (ADEPT, 2003). A further goal for the development of the ADEPT DLE has been to foster the development of a student’s understanding of specific domains of knowledge by organizing and accessing a large array of learning materials drawn from the collections of a DL.

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Lou McGill
Chapter 1
Philip Rees, Louise Mackay, David Martin, Gráinne Conole, Hugh Davis
Technologies offer a range of tantalizing potentials for education—in terms of providing access to media- rich context and for students to visualize... Sample PDF
Developing E-Learning in Geography
Chapter 2
Samuel Leung, David Martin, Richard Treves, Oliver Duke-Williams
In contrast to other Web-based resources, e-learning materials are not always exchangeable and shareable. Although transferring electronic documents... Sample PDF
Exchanging E-Learning Materials, Modules, and Students
Chapter 3
Helen Durham, Katherine Arrell, David DiBiase
Collaborative learning activity design (CLAD) is a multi-institution approach to the creation of e-learning material from the design phase through... Sample PDF
Collaborative Learning Activity Design: Learning about the Global Positioning System
Chapter 4
David Martin, Philip Rees, Helen Durham, Stephen A. Matthews
This chapter presents the development of a series of shared learning materials prepared to facilitate teaching in human geography. The principal... Sample PDF
Census and Population Analysis
Chapter 5
Stephen Darby, Sally J. Priest, Karen Fill, Samuel Leung
In this chapter we outline the issues involved in developing, delivering, and evaluating a Level 2 undergraduate module in fluvial geomorphology.... Sample PDF
Using Digital Libraries to Support Undergraduate Learning in Geomorphology
Chapter 6
Jim Wright, Michael J. Clark, Sally J. Priest, Rizwan Nawaz
There is an inherent antithesis between environmental management as professional practice and as concept or philosophy. Not only does this... Sample PDF
Engaging with Environmental Management: The Use of E-Learning for Motivation and Skills Enhancement
Chapter 7
Louise Mackay, Samuel Leung, E. J. Milton
In our experience of earth observation (EO) online learning we highlight the usefulness of the World Wide Web in terms of its software... Sample PDF
Earth Observation: Conveying the Principles to Physical Geography Students
Chapter 8
Helen Durham, Samuel Leung, David DiBiase
Academic integrity (AI) is of relevance across all academic disciplines, both from the perspective of the educator and the student. From the former... Sample PDF
Generic Learning Materials: Developing Academic Integrity in Your Students
Chapter 9
Karen Fill, Gráinne Conole, Chris Bailey
The DialogPLUS Toolkit is a web-based application that guides the design of learning activities. Developed to support the project’s geographers, it... Sample PDF
A Toolkit to Guide the Design of Effective Learning Activities
Chapter 10
David DiBiase, Mark Gahegan
This chapter investigates the problem of connecting advanced domain knowledge (from geography educators in this instance) with the strong pedagogic... Sample PDF
Concept Mapping to Design, Organize, and Explore Digital Learning Objects
Chapter 11
Terence R. Smith, Marcia Lei Zeng
We describe a digital learning environment (DLE) organized around sets of concepts that represent a specific domain of knowledge. A prototype DLE... Sample PDF
Semantic Tools to Support the Construction and Use of Concept-Based Learning Spaces
Chapter 12
Richard Treves
Teaching geography at university level involves students in study of complex diagrams and maps. These can be made easier to understand if split into... Sample PDF
Simple Geography-Related Multimedia
Chapter 13
Karen Fill, Louise Mackay
This chapter is concerned with the evaluation of learning materials and activities developed as part of the DialogPLUS project. A range of... Sample PDF
Evaluating the Geography E-Learning Materials and Activities: Student and Staff Perspectives
Chapter 14
Louise Mackay, David Martin, Philip Rees, Helen Durham
In this book we have illustrated the materials, software, and experience of developing and delivering geography e-learning courses and learning... Sample PDF
Reflections, Lessons Learnt, and Conclusions
Chapter 15
Sally Priest
This chapter discusses the design, technical development, delivery, and evaluation of two online learning activities in environmental geography. A... Sample PDF
Online Learning Activities in Second Year Environmental Geography
Chapter 16
Dion Hoe-Lian Goh
With the rapid growth of digital information, there is increasing recognition that digital libraries (DL) will play important roles in education... Sample PDF
Learning Geography with the G-Portal Digital Library
Chapter 17
Shivanand Balram
This chapter describes the origins, boundaries, and structures of collaborative geographic information systems (CGIS). A working definition is... Sample PDF
Collaborative Geographic Information Systems: Origins, Boundaries, and Structures
Glossary of Terms
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