Implementation of Efficient Proactive Computing Using Lazy Evaluation in a Learning Management System

Implementation of Efficient Proactive Computing Using Lazy Evaluation in a Learning Management System

Zampunieris Denis (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-938-0.ch015
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Abstract

In Zampunieris (2006) we proposed a new kind of learning management system, proactive LMS, designed to help users to better interact online by providing programmable, automatic, and continuous analyses of the users’ actions, augmented with appropriate actions initiated by the LMS itself. The proactive part of our LMS is based on a dynamic rules-based system. However, the main algorithm we proposed in order to implement the rules-running system suffers some efficiency problems. In this article, we propose a new version of the main rules-running algorithm that is based on lazy evaluation in order to avoid unnecessary and time-costly requests to the LMS database when a rule is not activated, that is, when its actions part will not be performed because preliminary check(s) failed.
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User Interface

Several recent works also propose to improve current Web-based educational systems by adding intelligence in these systems, but these add-on modules are as static as the initial LMS was. Indeed, they still need a click or an action from the user to activate it. Our goal was to design and develop an LMS that is able to analyze a situation and to act spontaneously with respect to the situation, without queries from its environment.

In our system, the user receives information, help, or hints sent by the proactive system at any time and with no actions needed from him or her. As these messages should not disturb his or her current work (like pop-up windows do, for example), the user interface has been thought of in such a way that the information is viewable at any time and in any context in the LMS in a small screen area.

A message zone has been dedicated in the header (see Figure 1). This alert zone is a Flash application that is able to display the server messages in real time. Messages follow each other vertically and may have different colours according to their importance.

Figure 1.

The message zone

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