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ERIC Number: EJ930425
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Virtual University: A Peer to Peer Open Education Network
Razavi, Amir R.; Strommen-Bakhtiar, Abbas; Krause, Paul
Journal of Information Technology Education, v10 pIIP 133-IIP 156 2011
The world is currently going through a transitional period, moving from the Service era to the Information era. Rapid societal and technological innovations are changing the way we live, communicate, and work. As the rate of the technological/societal change increases, pressure on educational institutions also increases. This pressure is fundamentally about time-lag: the time it takes for educational institutions to accumulate the necessary information, create the necessary knowledge, and then transmit it to the students. To address this problem, we propose the concept of the Virtual University. In such a model, different universities can collaborate in an interconnected environment (Open Education Network), to present their services to one another and the public. They can use each other's educational services to create new courses, new qualifications, and new integrated (virtual) universities. Open Education Network can eliminate geographical limitations and boundaries and can offer integrations of different courses when each of them may be presented by different educational institutions (customization). Degrees could potentially be offered through the composition of various courses offered by different universities or other educational institutions. In addition, a Virtual University would be able to offer continuing education to knowledge workers in a more convenient manner. Businesses, especially innovation driven Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), will be another beneficiary of this system. SMEs can educate their staff according to their needs. They can choose individual courses or a combination of courses that address their knowledge needs, without requiring their staff to go through normal university channels. Special degrees could be constructed to acknowledge these special educational requirements. Another benefit that accrues from this system is the lower cost of delivering educational services, since the production cost of the first course will almost constitute the total cost of the product for the complete time duration during which that product is offered (digital products which can be reused and rebroadcast and to which extensions to the contents can be easily added). There is of course the additional cost of keeping the course updated, but this is inherently less than the existing system. There is also the possibility to offer professional up-to-date educational services by the creators of the new technologies. For example, such products as computer programming, data communication, certification courses, and a host of other products can be delivered by the very people who are creating these new systems and/or products. In other words, this system (Virtual University) will reduce the time lag that exists between knowledge generation and transmission. The stability of this network is one of the most important factors in evaluating the viability of a Virtual University. Hence, we have designed the necessary components, offered the interaction model, and focused on optimized, stable network ontology. This project is the expected expansion of knowledge-based system in the digital ecosystems' projects DBE (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/computing/research/projects/DBE.htm) and OPAALS (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/computing/research/projects/opaals.htm). The actual implementation has been introduced as the "OKS" in the OPAALS project. (The OKS implementation can be accessed at http://www.opaals-oks.eu/). The Peer to Peer interaction model of the OPAALS project has offered us the fully distributed model to compose different services from a variety of service providers. In the Virtual University we try to extend a similar facility for educational institutions; we have considered the potential complexity on the network. In this paper, we have tried to apply inspiration to the OPAALS model and, at the same time, to overcome the network challenges. (Contains 8 figures and 9 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom