Web-based asynchronous synchronous environment : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Information Science in Computer Science at Massey University

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Massey University
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In the face of the coming of new information technology era of 21st century, web-based learning has become the major trend of future teaching and learning model. The web-based learning systems are created to simulate the real teaching-learning environment in the classroom using computer software and web-based tools. Learner can study web-based teaching materials according to their individual needs and instructional schedule. Although web-based learning has a lot of advantages over traditional face-to-face learning, the lack of the explanations and interpretation of teaching materials from human teacher in most existing web-based learning system is critical. This project proposed an innovative solution to the problem by combining the benefits of classroom learning in the web-based education. In this project, a prototype Web-based Asynchronous Synchronous Environment (WASE) is developed that not only combines the benefits of tools such as WebCT and AudioGraph, but also integrates lectures given by the human teacher within the system. WASE provides simultaneous low-bandwidth streaming of lecture video and presentation, while facilitating students with presentation annotation facilities, and peer discussion on particular issues related to the topic. The prototype system is built using a three-tier, client-server architecture. The client tier is a set of HTML frames embedded with RealPlayer running in the students' web browsers to provide course contents and navigation guide. The middle tier is an application server which consists of Java Sevlet, JSP engine, and application programs to receive the students' request and send the corresponding course contents and navigation guide information to the client side. The third tier is the relational database for storing the course structure and contents, and for recording the interaction between students and teachers. This project provides a solution where the off-campus students are able to enjoy the explanations and interpretation of course materials from human teacher just as normal on-campus students do in the traditional face-to-face learning environment, while still reaping the benefits of web-based learning.
Web-based instruction, Computer architecture, Instructional systems -- Design, Synchronization