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LES RÉSEAUX CONCEPTUELS   |   Multi-user Interactive Concepts Maps for the Learning Web
Multi-user Interactive Concepts Maps for the Learning Web [page consultée le 2000-09-30]

Published in Proceedings of ED-MEDIA & ED-TELECOM'97, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, June 16-19, 1997, Calgary, Canada.
This version replaces the published CD version, which is missing all the figures

The University of Calgary
SENG693 - Trends in Software Engineering

Alan D. Goodbrand
Student # 987809
Multi-user Interactive Concepts Maps for the Learning Web

Review of Presentation

The is a review of the paper "Multi-user Interactive Concept Maps for the Learning Web" by Dr. R. Kremer, published in Proceedings of ED-MEDIA & ED-TELECOM'97, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, June 16-19, 1997. In this paper Dr. Kremer deals with the uses that Concept Maps can be put to as a teaching tool. Using the World Wide Web as a delivery mechanism, Concept Maps can be put on the web in an interactive environment so that student and teacher or co-workers can have simultaneous access to the same Concept Map and work together on a project.

Using the product "Smart Ideas" by Smart Technologies Inc., simultaneous sessions can be established on the web. One person can create a concept map and have another audit that creation or simply check or add to the work after it is complete or during its creation. Using the appropriate Netscape plugin and a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) program, all data can be stored at the server with simultaneous inquiry and write access controlled by the CGI. Interactive access to the concept maps is therefore serendipitous, meaning one simply accesses the map as though they were the only user and if anyone is currently accessing that particular object, a multi-user session is automatically engaged.
The paper then proceeds to shows some applications of this technology. The first is as a teaching tool in which an instructor creates a concept map and gives the students the facility to interact with that map as "read only". They can manipulate the map and drill down to determine its details and structures, but cannot modify it.

The second documented application is Presentation Planning. Employing concept maps gives the author the ability to visually see ideas and their relationships. Complex ideas can then be interactively developed.

The third application is brainstorming in which several participants are at different locations and are interactively developing and clarifying ideas. Concepts are better understood if they are represented graphically and the relationships between them are segregated from the concepts.

The paper concludes by pointing out that with the addition of an audio communications channel or some other form of offline communication, this technology becomes a practical teaching tool and powerful method for relaying and clarifying ideas.

Review of Presentation

Dr. Kremer delivered a presentation on this topic at the University of Calgary on Sept. 29, 1997. He began by giving a brief introduction to concept maps and a definition of visual languages in general. He showed the similarities and differences among a number of visual languages and then concentrated on concept maps, which are his forte.
Dr. Kremer reviewed the different components of concept maps. These being, the nodes, which represent ideas or concepts, and arcs, which represent the relationships between nodes. He then proceeded to show how concept maps can be utilized by several users simultaneously via the World Wide Web. The product he was demonstrating was "Smart Ideas" by Smart Technologies of Calgary. This product, when used with JAVA, provides an interactive WWW session which can be used to demonstrate, teach about concept maps or interactively work with them.

Several different ideas came out of this presentation. They all had to do with the different uses of concept maps and how, when they were used in an interactive environment such as the World Wide Web, they can be used effectively for the expression and acquisition of knowledge by people in different locations. Tasks can be broken up so that larger concept maps can be worked on simultaneously. Different individuals can concentrate on their own components while a coordinator can access the complete map and direct activity or several individuals can interactively, visually brainstorm through difficult concepts.