A Model for the Creation of Academic Activities Based on Visits

A Model for the Creation of Academic Activities Based on Visits

Antonio Sarasa-Cabezuelo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) and José Luis Fernández-Vindel (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3355-0.ch013


A typical activity of some university studies is to make visits to places outside the university where students must observe certain elements and take notes of what has been observed. Normally these visits are carried out the instructions of a guide that has been made by the teacher where it is indicated in detail how to carry out the visit: what should be seen and observed, what type of information should be retrieved, and the type of report that should be done of the visit. Likewise, these activities have some evaluation mechanism associated. The creation of these activities consumes a lot of time for the teacher. This chapter describes a proposal to automate the creation of such activities using an application that would act as an added value service that would process the information available in open data repositories and linked data in order to offer an editor/publisher of activities of visits.
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In some university studies it is common to carry out activities that consist of visiting a place and making observations or taking notes of certain elements seen during the visit. Normally, the activity is carried out outside the scope of the class, and to carry it out there is a guide that indicates in detail how to carry it out: what to visit, what details have to be observed, what type of information is necessary to extract… The guide is written by the teacher. Likewise, two variants can be found in the way of carrying out the activity. In some cases, the proposed visit is common for all students, and in other cases, each student or group of students has a particularized visit that is different from all the others. As part of the activity, it is possible also to perform two independent evaluation tasks: a) Write a report about the visit, b) Fill out an evaluation test where it is asked something about the visit.

The structure of the activity described constitutes a pattern that can be found in many studies such as Art History, Botany, Library Science, Architecture, Fine Arts ... For example in Art History this activity pattern is materialized in visits to museums where students They should check the paintings of a specific painter. In the guide, it is indicated which paintings should be visited, in which pictorial aspects to be observed (colors used, geometric shapes, type of characters that appear ...), what documentation readings prior to the visit should be done, what questions should be answered once the activity has been carried out, and other aspects.

These types of activities are critical in the formation of a student since they give him a very practical vision of the subject he is studying. However, the design of these activities pose a problem for teachers in terms of temporary cost since they require the consultation of different sources of information to locate the specific elements that should be visited and the characteristics of the elements on which they should be observed, the creation of the visit guide or post-visit evaluation (report or evaluation tests about the visit). This cost increases if it each student or group of students must perform a different activity. Likewise, if several visits are made throughout the course, the cost in the worst case may be impossible to bear.

In this sense, in order to reduce the cost of the process of creating these activities, its creation could be automated. This is feasible given that, as indicated above, the structure of this type of activity responds to a common pattern, where the only thing that changes is the domain of knowledge. For example, when a professor of Art History wants to make an activity of this type, the steps that must follow are: a) Select a painter or artist that the visit will deal with, b) Find the museums that exhibit painters' paintings on which the visit to be planned is concerned, c) Find out if the type of paintings of the selected painters in a specific museum can be used to cover the objectives of the proposed visit, d) Select the paintings that will constitute the visit, e) Write the guide of the visit, f) Write the evaluation associated with the visit, g) Correct the evaluation of the visit. Although the process can be automated, it would be necessary to find particular resources for each learning domain. These resources are the basis for configuring the student's visit. In the previous example are resources: museums, painters and paintings.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Repository: It is a computer application that allows you to store information and offers different services to the user. Essentially it allows searching and retrieving stored information.

Web Service: It is a way to implement services on the web, which are associated with web resources.

Open Data: It is an initiative that aims to provide the data generated in the institutions so that anyone can use them to exploit them.

SPARQL: It is a query language on documents described in RDF.

Linked Data: It is an initiative that aims to relate data and information to create a large semantic network that can be consulted.

RDF: It is a language that allows to represent knowledge using triplets of the subject-predicate-object type.

Wikidata: It is an initiative supported by Wikimedia that maintains a repository of linked data.

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