Computer Assisted Active Learning System Development for The History of Civilization E-learning Courses by Using Free Open Source Software Platforms

Computer Assisted Active Learning System Development for The History of Civilization E-learning Courses by Using Free Open Source Software Platforms

Dilek Karahoca (Bahcesehir University, Turkey), Adem Karahoca (Bahcesehir University, Turkey), Ilker Yengin (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA) and Huseyin Uzunboylu (Near East University, Northern Cyprus)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-917-0.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter explains the developmental reasons and design to implementation cycles of the Computer Assisted Active Learning System (CALS) for History of Civilization (HOC) courses at Engineering Faculty of Bahcesehir University. Implementation purpose of CALS is to develop set of tools in a systematic way to enhance students’ critical thinking abilities for HOC courses. Dynamic meta-cognitive maps, movies, flash cards and quiz tools were developed. In order to reduce implementation costs of CALS, open Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) standards and platforms were utilized in the development and implementation cycles. This study also investigates the importance of the e-learning platform usage in HOC courses in Engineering Faculty of Bahcesehir University to improve the level of students. Results indicate that the concept based meta-cognitive tool improves learning instead of students just memorizing the class material. Also, engineering students improved their positive attitude towards who wants to learn the history of civilization by using CALS. This study shows that software helps to change human behavior in the learning cycle. This chapter highlights the implications of successful development of FOSS for the CALS.
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1. Introduction

Nowadays, information is increasing in an uncontrolled manner. Based on this cycle, information learning and teaching approaches should be supported with information communication technologies (ICT) and web based educational technologies. In this mean, information dissemination and sharing processes can be supported by Free Open Source Software (FOSS) components for online education. This phenomenon has been supported in different perspectives extensively. As stated in “gnu.org”, free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedoms, for the users of the software (http://www.gnu.org/):

  • 1.

    The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

  • 2.

    The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

  • 3.

    The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

  • 4.

    The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

The FOSS practice also can be carried out in web based education supporting tools such as learning management systems (LMS) or course management systems (CMS). LMS manages learners, but CMS is related with learning contents. From this view point, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) started the OpenCourseWare project (http://docs.moodle.org/en/About_Moodle).

Kanuka, Rourke and Laflamme (2007) highlight the importance of engaging students into learning by introducing the deeper level of thinking. They argued the importance of active learning strategies where students are involved in debates and challenged to think critically. Computer tools are very effective to engage students actively into learning and make them to think critically (Aher & Repman, 1994). In Bahesehir University, a system of online computer tools were developed that engage students actively into their learning for the history of civilization lessons. In the design and development of these tools also FOSS phenomena was followed. For this purpose, these learning tools using free open technologies were designed and developed and were embedded as learning modules in Moodle.

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