Coordinating Pilot Studies for Distributed earning Environments WITH Web-based Support Tools

J.E. Opgrande, B.M. Slator, A. Bergstrom, P. McClean, B. Vender, and A.R. White (USA)


distance learning and education; e-learning and distance delivery of education and training; application, services, and tools


The Virtual Cell is a 3D immersive role-based educational simulation. Research on this system includes conducting pilot studies in order to determine the viability of non-traditional “learning by doing” game environments for education. The initial studies where conducted solely at North Dakota State University, but in the fall of 2001 they were expanded to include three other area institutions. In order to reasonably implement the pilot studies at all of the institutions it was necessary to develop tools to manage and coordinate the student activities, while at the same time minimizing the impact and time requirements for faculty in their classroom. These tools were built as four separate web-based systems, each geared toward one of the following: students, faculty, administrators and graders. The sites were designed using LambdaMOO, PHP, PERL, JavaScript, MySQL and JAVA. This paper describes the authors' experience in developing a set of web-based support tools for the coordination of a distributed learning environment.

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