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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Nicholas J.P. Race
16th November 2006
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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?)
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
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.
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
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!
Summary – A they? unified solution for large scale campus based communications based on Bluetooth and SMS
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
Unified Messaging at
Feasibility of a Bluetooth