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eTutor Data & Knowledge Engineering

Project duration: December 2003 - December 2005
Funded by: Land Oberösterreich
Project team: 
Description eTutor is a web-based system to support students in learning and practicing the topics taught in courses on data modeling and data & knowledge engineering. eTutor shall comprise online course materials together with exercises, which are placed appropriately within the online materials. Students use the system in that they study the assigned lessons in the online materials and check their knowledge in that they submit their solutions to provided exercises; eTutor checks the solutions immediately and gives feedback on mistakes and possible corrections or stores the solutions and grades them.
Achievements The initial eTutor prototype (2004) - described in the diploma thesis of Anita Hofer (see below) - provided basic administration functionality for web based courses and export modules in the following fields: relational algebra, SQL (Structured Query Language), JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) and functional dependencies and normal forms.
Since then, the system has used in courses of the department and has been continously improved. In particular, additional expert modules in the field of XQuery processing and Datalog have beend developed (see the project documentation below). The new and improved functionality has gradualy been introduced into the course program of the department.
In 2008 Markus Teufl (see his diploma thesis below) included a course squencing mechanism following the SCORM sequencing specification into the system. However, as the content structure of the eTutor system is different to the SCORM model, the SCORM model has been adapted to the needs of the eTutor system. However, this functionality is not part of the current production version of the system.
Currently, the expert system functionality of the eTutor system is integrated into the learning management system Moodle. The eTutor functionality will be provided as a plug-in for the Moodle environment. As Moodle is used in a wide variety of courses provided by the Johannes-Kepler-University Linz, the content developed in this project will become available to a much broader audience.
Technology The original prototype was developed as a web application based upon the web container Tomcat. The expert system functionality, however, was designed based on the Java RMI functionality. This approach was necessary as the different modules are based upon various existing software packages, realized on different operating systems and programming languages. The architecture of the system is described in the project documentation referenced below.
In 2010 the integration of the eTutor-System into a Moodle environment started. In order to be able to communicate between the php based Moodle environment an the Java based eTutor environment, a SOAP based approach was chosen. For the integration of the original, JSP based, user interfaces, HTML generation was ported to Velocity. However, the original expert system functionality was unaffected by these changes.