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Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii Informaţionale Organismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai Alina Andreica, Florina Covaci, Daniel Stuparu, Arpad Imre , Gabriel Pop IT Department, Chemistry Dpt, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania {alina, dstuparu, fghetie, gabrielp}@staff.ubbcluj.ro , [email protected] Integrated E-Learning Web Services

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii Informaţionale Organismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic

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Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

Alina Andreica, Florina Covaci, Daniel Stuparu, Arpad Imre , Gabriel Pop

IT Department, Chemistry Dpt, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

{alina, dstuparu, fghetie, gabrielp}@staff.ubbcluj.ro , [email protected]

Integrated E-Learning Web Services

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Focus – Integrated web services: e-learning and

information system facilities – System integration framework based on

MS technology & an e-learning – content sharing portal implementation

– The solution may be applied for various DBMS – supporting the information systems

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Topics – Introduction and Working Framework – System Integration Architecture – The Web Services – Web Portal Evaluation – Conclusions and Future Work – References

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Introduction– Knowledge bases society - IT impact on

learning & management processes – Information system integration - mainly

studied for business and organizational processes

• Hasselbring, W. ”Information System Integration”. Communications of the ACM, 43 (6). pp. 32-36, 2000 and other work

• Semantic points of view & metamodelling

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Introduction– The proposed framework enables data and

service integration that may be further exchanged within federated web services

– E-learning systems • pre-defined facilities: Blackboard or WebCT

– www.blackboard.com ; www.webct.com • Flexible facilities: MS Learning Gateway, moodle

– http://www.microsoft.com/education/solutions/higheredportals.aspx – www.moodle.org

– Organizational necessity of content sharing & communication tools

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

Solution of an integrated portal – the design of a system integration framework for providing web

services into a global portal, including web-based facilities offered by dedicated information systems

– Integration & synchronization of databases based on different technologies (php / postgresql, asp / MS sql)

– An integrated architecture based on ILM Microsoft server, and additional interface modules

• integrates the dedicated information systems into a web portal that also provides e-learning facilities, based on SharePoint Portal

• ILM can be used to synchronize and optimize data access and delegate processing means to the appropriate dedicated software components – by specific interfaces

– Adequacy to organizational IT strategy

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Integration Framework And Principles – authentication solution - maps facilities from the

dedicated information systems into the portal, for each user category - ILM type server

– the authentication server associates, to each user group, the facilities that correspond to their permissions in each of the dedicated information systems AcademicInfo, ManageAsist, Research Management System – specific interface modules

– A global synchronized database is in train of being created - human resource & organization chart

• User[userid, account, password, unitid]• Unit[unitid, unitname, …]• Organization_chart[unitid, superior_id, horiz_id]

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Integration Framework And Principles

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Integration Framework And Principles - example– database synchronisation --> data warehouse

• Example: AcademicInfo, ManageAsist, Research Management System and Portal databases

• Basic data for organizational management: organisation chart, HR

• Example: – portal – AcademicInfo: users (all categories), curricula, study

contracts, grades, fees – portal – AcademicInfo – ManageAsist: organisation chart,

units, human resources, managers, financial information – portal – AcademicInfo – Research Management System:

research activities, PhD Students – portal – ManageAsist – Research Management System:,

units, human resources, grants & corresponding financial information

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Integration Framework And Principles – Permission management

• Configures portal content for each user category• Group based • User categories - example:

– Students ( PhD students, international students): curricula content; specialization based groups

– Teachers ( teacher assistants): content management; discipline based groups

– Administrators: administration permissions; faculty based groups

– other users: secretariats, alumni, partners, etc.

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Integration Framework And Principles – 2 database management systems

• PostgreSQL for ManageAsist and Research Management System and MS SQL Server for AcademicInfo

• Global database; bi-directional synchronization • this solution ensures significant autonomy functional

advantages for information systems, compared to a direct Active Directory integration & mapping

• We are implementing a synchronous database replication, in order to obtain real time synchronization

– Asynchronous methods are also explored if the run time of the global synchronizing tends to increase too much

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

ILM DB (SQL Server)

AcademicInfo (SQL Server)

ManageAsist (PostgreSQL)

Research MS (PostgreSQL)

the proposed integration solution may be applied in different organizations, for integrating their dedicated information systems

Integration Framework And Principles • database synchronization • MS Identity Lifecycle Management server, has advanced integration facilities with our e-learning portal • we are configuring the necessary permission mappings from

the dedicated information systems into the authentication server by means of dedicated interfaces which transfer credentials from the portal into each system

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

E-learning systems - advanced tools which assist teachers in creating a cooperative, multidisciplinary and explorative learning environment and students in accessing these learning facilities and developing learning interactions within this environment • development of the student and goal centered

learning model • Information system implementation stages;

user involvement in specification, testing, implementing

• system flexibility requirements and de-centralized system administration that were pursued are expected to prove their efficiency in future developments

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web services - E-learning services – SharePoint built in facilities

• content & schedule management and sharing • communication facilities (e-mail – OWA type,

discussion lists, etc.) • evaluation tools and feed-back facilities; task

management ; survey tools • blog and RSS tools

– The system is also open to adding new web-parts, services or components

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web services - E-learning services

Managing an educational resource (in design permissions)

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web Services – virtual labs – support learning in experimental sciences

and sharing experimental knowledge by electronic means in fields like: process engineering, environmental engineering, physics, chemistry, biology

• on-line virtual experiments and on-line labs; case studies based on mathematical modelling and simulation; recorded video sequences and on-line video streaming; posting material to be further processed with dedicated client

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web Services – virtual labs

Example of simulation process

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• The Web Services http://academicinfo.ubbcluj.ro/Info

– AcademicInfo is an integrated information system dedicated to managing educational information, with processing facilities for secretariats, specific access facilities for students and teachers and relevant synthesis regarding the educational process

• models educational processes at BBU level, ensuring course selection from all faculties’ curricula in study agreements, manages in a flexible manner various types of educational activities at all study levels (BA, MA, PhD, continuous education, specific curricula);

• ensures multilingual support in processing and reporting • various types of facilities: fee management, student

documents and requests, on-line course evaluation

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• The Web Services – http://manageasist.ubbcluj.ro

– ManageAsist system is the integrated software system for administrative management - an ERP system adapted for higher education institutions

• designed on systematic principles • modules: Document management, Assets, Warehouse,

Cashier, Finance, Accountancy, Grants, Human Resources and Acquisitions, and decision assistance facilities

• Each module contains management reports for the corresponding compartment; global decision assistance facilities will be improved

• Previous papers address: advanced design principles, means of processing hierarchical structures, module integration – see references

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• The Web Services http://infocercetare.ubbcluj.ro

– Research Management System manages research activities, by offering accessible and user-friendly means of collecting specific information, automatically performing quantitative analyses, syntheses and evaluations

• a tool for quantitative research evaluation; a tool for supporting the design of competitive research strategies at an institutional level

• Facilities for – members of the academic & research staff, PhD students – research management levels: chairs, institutes, departments,

faculties, university – See references for details

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web Portal Evaluation – The web portal providing e-learning and web

integration facilities is based on a SharePoint solution • it has proven to be very convenient in flexible administration

and integration purposes • dedicated questionnaires for administrators, students and

teachers - created and interpreted using the survey functionality built-un in the platform (Share Point Portal);

• the administrators’ survey: https://portal.portalid.ubbcluj.ro – Respondents: 7 of 10 active administrators

– Administration functionalities, functionalities for developing educational content and platform development were very well rated: >=4 on a scale 1-5

– The adaptability and flexibility platform features that were mainly aimed proved to have a good feed-back

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web Portal Evaluation– Administrators were requested to evaluate, on a 1 –

5 scale (1=very weak, 2=weak, 3=moderate, 4=good, 5=very good), the following characteristics

• administration functionalities - average grade 4.14; • communication functionalities - average grade was 3.86;• functionalities for administering educational content -

average grade 4;• functionalities for developing educational content - average

grade 3.43; • functionalities for platform development - average grade

4.43; • platform adaptability / flexibility characteristics - average

grade 3.57; • reporting facilities - average grade was 4

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web Portal Evaluation– Administrators were requested to evaluate, on a 1 –

5 scale (1=very weak, 2=weak, 3=moderate, 4=good, 5=very good), the following characteristics

• administration functionalities - average grade 4.14; • communication functionalities - average grade was 3.86;• functionalities for administering educational content -

average grade 4;• functionalities for developing educational content - average

grade 3.43; • functionalities for platform development - average grade

4.43; • platform adaptability / flexibility characteristics - average

grade 3.57; • reporting facilities - average grade was 4 • all characteristics are positively rated – most average >4

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

Administration functionalities

0%0% 14%

57%

29% very weak

weak

moderate

good

very good

Functionalities for administering educational content

0%0%29%

42%

29% very weak

weak

moderate

good

very good

Functionalities for platform development

0%0%0%

57%

43%very weak

weak

moderate

good

very good

Percentage of teachers who requested / were granted permissions for administering their courses

43%

29%

14%

14% 0%

<5%

[5%-25%)

[25-50%)

[50%-75%)

[75%-100%]

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Web Portal Evaluation– 86% of administrators did not grant for more than

50% of their teachers permissions for administering their own educational content, which reveals the fact that users are still in initial phases of platform use

– 57% didn’t have the experience of using other platform

– administration functionalities and functionalities for developing educational content are well rated: 29% very good, 57% good, 14% moderate

– functionalities for platform development are very well rated: 43% very good, 57% good

– adaptability and flexibility characteristics have a very good feed-back

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Authentication Characteristics – single sign-on facilities using a MS ILM -

Identity Lifecycle Management Server and ISA Server; authentication is based on Active Directory + MS Domain Trust policy

– OpenAuth protocol grants access without sharing passwords

– ILM facilities are used for synchronizing authentication information (User, pass)

– credential exchange is similar to the one used by OpenID protocol, but using ILM facilities

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Conclusions and Future Work – Focus: web service integration and tools for

system integration as advanced tools for providing such integrated services

• Organizations face the phase of system integration • The universities’ case is quite complex, since their activity

covers a wide range of areas: education and learning, research, administration

• Integrated web services: learning facilities, virtual labs and dedicated information facilities

• Solution generality: single log-on framework for providing learning, sharing & collaboration facilities + dedicated information system services

• Extendibility in organizations; solution adaptability

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Conclusions and Future Work – an efficient integration solution by implementing a

single authentication server and mapping specific facilities from the dedicated information systems, using different database management systems, into the portal, for each user category

• a global integrated database and a permission mapping scheme for ensuring appropriate access into the dedicated information systems & portal content

• User identities that access the portal are further redirected in authentication modules which ensure dedicated access

• good extensibility degree for various organization cases: single log-on framework for providing learning, sharing & collaboration facilities + dedicated information system services ; Solution adaptation to the specific organizational IT management strategy

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Selected References • Andreica A. (2006), IT Strategies In Increasing Business

Competitiveness, Studia Europaea, (p.139-148), LI, 3• Andreica A. B., Stuparu D., Ghetie F. (2009), Design and

Implementation of an Erp System for Universities, Proceedings of IADIS Information Systems 2009,(p 315-322), IADIS Press, Eds: M. Nunes, P. Isaias, P. Powell

• Hasselbring, W. ”Information System Integration”. Communications of the ACM, 43 (6). pp. 32-36, 2000

• Hasselbring, Wilhelm and Pedersen, Susanne, “Metamodelling of Domain-Specific Standards for Semantic Interoperability”. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 3782, pp. 557 – 559, 2005

Ministerul Comunicaţiilor şi Societăţii InformaţionaleOrganismul Intermediar pentru Promovarea Societăţii Informaţionale

Proiectul SMIS 4424: Sistem electronic aplicativ integrat de educatie al Universităţii Babeş-Bolyai

• Selected References • Andreica A. B. (2009), Integrated Software Framework for

Academic Management , IADIS Multiconference on Computer Science and Information Systems - Informatics, Algarve Portugal, 17-23 June 2009, Proceedings of Informatics 2009 ,(p. 221-224), IADIS Press, Editor: Hans Weghorn, Jörg Roth, Pedro Isaias

• Berry M., Linoff G. (2000), Mastering Data Mining, John Wiley & Sons

• Hoganson, K., Guimaraes, M., (2003), “N-Tier Client/Server Course”, Consortium for Computing Sciences in College Conference, Dunwoody, Georgia

• Horton, William, Horton, Katherine, (2003), E-learning Tools and Technologies: A consumer's guide for trainers, teachers, educators, and instructional designers, Wiley

• PostgreSQL Team , “High Availability, Load Balancing, and Replication” http://www.postgresql.org/docs/8.3/static/high-availability.html