The book launch of “Transforming a University: The scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Practice” is going to be launched at the ISSOTL conference next week. I was fortunate enough to be a co-author for one of the chapters, and I am quite excited to see it go to press.
Abstract: Weblogs or blogs, as they are referred to by the Internet savvy, are gaining popularity as a medium for publishing content on the Web. They allow the author to voice their own opinion or ideas, and have the potential to reach a massive audience via the Web. On the other hand, e-portfolios are gaining recognition as a personal learning and development tool, where users can learn through reflection, and are able to showcase their work to demonstrate skills, competencies and capabilities. This paper presents an e-learning system that couples a blog with a learning e-portfolio. The system is called dotFOLIO and is currently being trialled in a first year engineering course taught at the University of Sydney. An evaluation of the system was conducted through a survey to gather the students’ initial perceptions of reflective learning and of using dotFOLIO for a learning activity that was previously paper-based. Preliminary results of this survey are presented.
Citation: Nicholas L. Carroll and Lina Markauskaite. “E-Portfolios and Blogs: Online Tools for Giving Young Engineers a Voice”. Seventh International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training (ITHET 2006), July 2006. IEEE Computer Society.
Abstract: We describe a novel plagiarism detection system and its integration with an e-portfolio used in first year engineering teaching. The tool addresses an important issue arising from the decreasing barriers to information access. Academics know that information can support valuable learning experiences, but these experiences are diminished when students plagiarise by copying assignments and getting credit for work they have not done. While it is possible for academics to develop project-based activities to make it harder for students to plagiarise work from outside sources, some students will still copy work done by others within the same class, which can be especially difficult to detect within large cohorts. According to student feedback received while assessing an e-portfolio activity, we found that students were also concerned about plagiarism, and that they modify their approaches to learning based on this concern. We developed a plagiarism detection tool called Beagle, which uses an internal method (also known as collusion): whenever a student submits an assignment to the e-portfolio system, it is compared to those previously submitted by other students. Beagle measures the statistical similarity between students’ work using text mining methods. When a specific similarity threshold is reached, the work can be flagged as possible plagiarism or the system can automatically warn the student and request that they resubmit their work. In this paper we present the design of the system, a performance evaluation in terms of accuracy and execution time, and a description of its application integration capabilities through web services.
Citation: J. J. Garcia Adeva, Nicholas L. Carroll, and Rafael A. Calvo. “Applying Plagiarism Detection to Engineering Education”. Seventh International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training (ITHET 2006), July 2006. IEEE Computer Society.
Abstract: ePortfolios and the learning artifacts they contain must be portable and accessible for the purpose of supporting life-long learning experiences. In this paper, we identify that ePortfolios must also maintain the credibility of the learning artifacts, especially assessment artifacts that are used as evidence by the learner for demonstrating a particular competency. These assessment artifacts are vulnerable to modification or alteration during transfer between distributed ePortfolio systems. As a result, we propose the use of certified assessment artifacts to detect these vulnerabilities. We also present a distributed architecture for a virtual learning environment that incorporates the sharing of certified assessment artifacts between a learning management system, and an ePortfolio system called dotFOLIO that we are currently developing.
Citation: Nicholas L. Carroll and Rafael A. Calvo. “Certified Assessment Artifacts for ePortfolios”. To be published in, Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Technology and Applications (ICITA’05), July 2005, IEEE Computer Society.
Abstract: Database systems are an essential component in multi-tiered web applications. These applications increasingly interact with others using web services. In this paper, we describe and compare two architectures for integrating web services into web applications, and perform performance benchmarks using the Google web service. For one of the architectures we contribute a SOAP interface to the PostgreSQL Relational Database Management System, implemented as a user-defined function that allows developers to make service calls from within the database. We show that SQL can be used to easily query data provided by web services, and therefore as a way of accessing and using web services in a database-driven web application.
Citation: Nicholas L. Carroll and Rafael A. Calvo. “Integrating Web Applications and Web Services”. To be published in, Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE ’05), July 2005.
Abstract: In this paper we study the integration of Web services in an object-relational database system. This allows a database to import data from live data feeds or remote heterogeneous database systems on demand. We first describe how we have added a SOAP interface to the PostgreSQL database system, implemented as a user-defined function that allows developers to make service calls from within the database. Secondly, we show that SQL can also be used to query data provided by Web services, which introduces a novel way of accessing and using Web services in a database-driven web application. Finally, we compare the performance of two architectures for consuming Web services with a benchmarking procedure using the Google Web service API.
Citation: Nicholas L. Carroll, Rafael A. Calvo. “Querying Data from Distributed Heterogeneous Database Systems through Web Services“. In Proceedings of The Tenth Australian World Wide Web Conference (AUSWEB’04), July 2004.