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Unified and Personalised Messaging to Support E-Learning. Duncan McCaffery Keith Mitchell Nicholas J.P. Race Mark Bryson Zhen Cai Computing Department Lancaster University 16 th November 2006. Lancaster University’s Virtual Learning Environment (LUVLE). Has been in use for over 5 years

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Unified and Personalised Messaging to Support E-Learning

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Unified and personalised messaging to support e learning

Unified and Personalised Messaging to Support E-Learning

Duncan McCaffery

Keith Mitchell

Nicholas J.P. Race

Mark Bryson

Zhen Cai

Computing Department

Lancaster University

16th November 2006

Lancaster university s virtual learning environment luvle

Lancaster University’s Virtual Learning Environment (LUVLE)

Has been in use for over 5 years

Consists of serversrunning Lotus Domino

Contains information for 2078 different course modules

A web based interface serves over 10,000 students at present.

Lancaster university s virtual learning environment 2

Lancaster University’s Virtual Learning Environment(2)

Offers bulk email messaging

E-mail (pull based) messaging does not suit time critical situations eg last minute lecture cancellations

SMS based messaging more suited to time sensitive delivery (push based)

We recently trialled an SMS messaging extension to LUVLE to provide a notification based service

Messaging for the time constrained

Messaging for the Time Constrained!

SMS offers timely, personalised communication between staff and students.

Messages are delivered via a separate Java based service and GSM modem (more cost effective than SMS gateway)

However each department pays for the messages it sends

Operator restrictions mean timely, bulk delivery cannot be guaranteed

We have been looking for another alternative

Bluetooth a less costly alternative

Bluetooth - A less costly alternative?

We have an existing (wired) network infrastructure with staff and public access PC’s spread over the campus

If we utilises the Windows XP Bluetooth stack and off the shelf Bluetooth dongles can we integrate free (push based) messaging?

Messages could be sent using the Object Exchange (OBEX) protocol many phones support this for business card exchanges

Come on nobody has bluetooth switched on by default do they

Come on!… Nobody has Bluetooth switched on by default do they?

An initial test with 5 Bluetooth nodes discovered over 4000 distinct devices

Majority of phones were Nokia, Samsung or Sony (validated by MAC prefix)

Other devices discovered included car GPS units and PC peripherals

Are the same devices rediscovered frequently

Are the Same Devices Rediscovered frequently?

Many devices were seen only once

Two discovery stations operated close to university security and where frequent deliveries took place

The answer to this question is deeply dependent upon the location in which a Bluetooth node is placed.

How many devices support obex transfers

How many devices support OBEX transfers?

Message send attempts were made to 2200+ distinct devices

121 devices accepted a message, 289 timed out, while 2159 refused a message

Ran a number of tests with access to known phones (and Bluetooth settings) with much greater success!

OBEX support is non-standard across devices.

Not easy to determine reason for rejection! (Phone or user?)

The bluezone messaging service and optional client software

The Bluezone Messaging Service and optional client software

Bluezone areas are labeled such that users know and expect to receive messages

Client software has been written that moves messages to the SMS inbox to increase app familiarity

The bluezone registration process

The Bluezone Registration Process

First time Bluezone users are sent a message to register their phone online

Bluezone generates a random id for new users and forwards it along with the Bluezone URL in a message.

The user visits the Bluezone website that enables them to register their phone with their LUVLE account

Once identified the user may setup message subscription preferences.

Initial evaluation and results

Initial Evaluation and Results

The SMS and Bluezone services were trialled with approximately 40 MSc students all with MS smartphones.

All phones were set to accept OBEX transfers by default.

Feedback suggests that the frequency that messages were sent altered their effectiveness

Message content was also a key determinant!

The Microsoft implementation of OBEX did not indicate when a user rejected a message

Challenges and future work

Challenges and Future Work

The use of discovery data to support the selection of a message delivery mechanism and frequency

Determine relationships between message content and its effectiveness

Explore other avenues for message delivery such as location based messaging

Investigate further client support for the main telephone manufacturers

Investigate authentication approaches to validate messages are from Bluezone!

Unified and personalised messaging to support e learning

Summary – A unified solution for large scale campus based communications based on Bluetooth and SMS

  • Solution offers several advantages:

    • Tailored, personalised communications to the handset

  • a more timely solution to communication than email

  • Use of Bluetooth offers a cost effective solution

  • Solution also faces challenges:

  • Departments must be careful not to over use the system (SPAM)

  • Bluetooth support and mobile phone setup is not standardised

Questions ??

E campus a communications infrastructure to support staff and students on a daily basis

E-Campus - a Communications Infrastructure to Support Staff and Students on a Daily Basis.

Focused on the deployment of display, network and sensor technologies across campus.

Already used being used in digital signage, artistic performances and to support research prototypes

Recent work involves integrating the E-Campus infrastructure with existing services

In this presentation we focus on messaging extensions to LUVLE

This presentation focuses on

This presentation focuses on…

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Topic 1

Topic 1

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Unified Messaging at


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Feasibility of a Bluetooth


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