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Multimedia-based Distance Education on the Internet: Challenges and Experiences

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  1. Multimedia-based Distance Education on the Internet: Challenges and Experiences Karl Kurbel Virtual Global University (VGU) & European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

  2. Outline 1 Background 1.1 VGU - a virtual organization for Web-based e-learning 1.2 Motivation and concepts of the MBI program 2 Teaching and communication in a distance-education program 2.1 Multimedia-oriented teaching modes 2.2 Tools for communication and student interaction 3 Online teaching in the MBI program 3.1 Providing video lectures over the Internet 3.1.1 Coping with various transmission rates 3.1.2 Integrating video streams at the user interface 3.2 Audio-based courses 3.3 Text-based courses 3.4 Hybrid animations 4 Conclusions

  3. "International Master of Business Informatics" (MBI) - General Idea • A worldwide master program in IT and management for international students • "Business Informatics" • Distance education, based on multimedia and the Internet • Individual guidance, assistance, and support for students through electronic media • Semester oriented, classes meet weekly, personal interaction • "Normal" PC and Internet technology

  4. VIRTUAL REAL University Virtual Global VGU GmbH (teaching) in University (VGU) cooperation with European University Viadrina (formal: enrollment, degree) and others Department School of Business Dept. of BA and Economics Informatics (SBI) (formal: ordinances; exams) Faculty SBI faculty A network of professors from Central European universities Students Class of 2002, 2003, ... Distributed worldwide, communicating via Internet Building Offices, administration, Distributed, some at EUV, lecture halls etc. Multimedia

  5. Multimedia Techniques for Distance Education • Hypertext material • Audio + presentation material • Audio + presentation material + text • Video • Video + presentation material • Animation (e.g. Macromedia Flash) • Multimedia incorporated in web-supported textbooks

  6. Interaction Techniques for Distance Education • Discussion forum, bulletin board  Asynchronous communication • Chatrooms  Synchronous communication • Internal e-mail  Privacy • Videoconferencing e.g. NetMeeting

  7. Key Bandwidths for Dialup Connections 56 kbpsUpper limit for data transfer in dialup connections 33 kbpsData transfer speed limit for 56k modems in *) and **) cases 28 kbps > 5 year old modems and modern modems in ***), ****), *****) cases 14 kbps> 10 yearold modems 14 33 56 28 Bandwidth, kbps *)Signal loss due to distance**) More than one analog-to-digital conversion between client and Internet Service Provider ***) Low quality modem ****) High noise level in telephone line *****) Concentrators and other "cable save" equipment installed between client and Internet Service Provider

  8. Bitrates and Dialup Connections 56 kbps176x132x12 fps low motion video (large number of dropped frames at this bitrate) Video 30-55 kbps800x600x10 fps screen recordings 33 kbps 176x132x8 fps low motion video Mixed sound material of "transistor radio" quality 20 kbps Audio Biggest bitrate of ACELP.NET codec under Windows Media Plattform 16 kbps Acceptable sound quality using "speech optimized" codecs 8.5 kbps Smallest possible bitrate for audio data 5 kbps 16 8,5 5 33 55 Bitrate, kbps

  9. Video and Audio Material Suitable for Dialup Connections 30-55 kbps800x600x10 fps screen recordings 33 kbps176x132x8 fps low motion video 16 kbpsAudio 28 33 56 Bitrate, kbps

  10. Providing Video Lectures over the Internet How to cope with a variety of Internet access speeds? • Version 1: Very fast access DSL 1500 (360k) • Version 2: Fast access DSL/LAN (300k) • Version 3: Fast access LAN (100k) • Version 4: Moderate access ISDN (64K) • Version 5: Slow access dialup (56k), sound and video • Version 6: Slow access dialup (28k and 56k), sound only

  11. Recorded Lecture Video - a First Naive Try

  12. Online Demonstration <Demonstration of VGU courses online - outside this Powerpoint presentation>

  13. 360 kbps Video

  14. 300 kbps Video

  15. 100 kbps Video

  16. 64 kbps Video

  17. 33 kbps Video

  18. 16 kbps Audio

  19. 2 Videos

  20. Recording Scenario 1

  21. Recording Scenario 2

  22. Topics Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3 Topic 4 ... Slides, Graphics, etc. Picture (GIF, JPEG File) or Powerpoint Slide <img> or <frame> Tag Video (Audio) Windows Media Player Controls for Player (Buttons) Text annotations (optional) Functional Diagram of a Video Course Page

  23. Synchronization Algorithm Switching to Desired Playback Position Playback Start Synchronization *PP = Playback Position PP1 < PP2 + T AND PP1 > PP2 - T NO Correction of Playback Time Difference YES Wait N Seconds

  24. Audio Based Course Page

  25. HTML Based Text Page

  26. Animated Course Page (Flash)

  27. Observations • Producing video lectures requires a significantly long phase of learning and getting acquainted with the technology • Elapsed time to produce video/audio material for a 90 minute lecture – 2000: 12 days – 2001: 4 - 7 days – 2002: 2 days – 2003: ???

  28. Participation and Collaboration • How Can Students outside Germany Participate in the MBI Program and VGU Courses? • 1) Directly • Apply, enroll and study (from home/workplace) • Applications for SS 2004 invited from January 19, 2004 to March 8, 2004 • 2) Partnerships • VGU is building a network of partners who provide local support for students

  29. Acknowledgement • Development of the MBI program has been supported under a grant by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research in the program "New media in education". More Information • http://www.vg-u.de

  30. Multimedia-based Distance Education on the Internet: Challenges and Experiences Karl Kurbel Virtual Global University (VGU) & European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany