Models and Environments for Document-based Interaction and Authoring MEDIA

Through its leadership and participation in many research projects, the lab developed over the time an expertise for authoring and dealing with semi-structured data on the Web.

Two fundamental issues are preventing the large adoption of semi-structured data models to build Web applications:

Our current research results address these issues and have been turned into open source software: AXEL/AXEL Forms , two JavaScript libraries for sustaining intuitive XML authoring facilities for editing either document or data oriented information in a browser and OPPIDUM , a lightweight framework that enables the fast development of Web applications relying on a cutting-edge use of the XML family of standards.

The software is maintained by Oppidoc a start-up from the lab created in 2012. See the software section lo learn more about AXEL/AXEL Forms and OPPIDUM.

The following list of selected projects illustrates to which extent each of our research axis has been progressively explored and results integrated in our open source software.

A predilection has been given to the educational framework as the privileged application domain for projects. It is mainly due to the richness and importance of documents and data manipulated in educational processes, that need to accomodate the production, use and reuse of semi-structured data.

CoachCom 2020
[Funded by the European Commission: Coordination and Support Action]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The lab is currently involved in the EU project CoachCom2020: a coaching community enhancing impact of the H2020 SME Instrument (H2020-635518) that has been mandated by the European Commission to develop the framework for the business coaching offered to the beneficiaries of the H2020 SME Instrument.

The coaching platform, based on OPPIDUM and AXEL/AXEL Forms, is under development. Advanced XML management guarantees that all data exchanged on the platform are reusable for analysis, reporting, external communication, but also learning.

Cooperation in Problem Based Learning Environmentsa
[Funded by the SNF - Swiss National Science Fondation]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The project addresses the global issue of collaboration in Problem Based Learning (PBL) environmements. It aimed, under a 3 months International Short Visit from Dr Archana Mantri , Pro Vice Chancellor at Chitkara University, at cross-fertilizing respective expertise of co-researchers from both PBL pedagogical domain and IT domain.

The project provides insights for an innovative approach, based on a semi-structured data modelling, to sustain the collaboration between stakeholders of PBL environments.

MadeInlocal.com: the city guide written by your friends
[Funded by the CTI - Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The City Guide project aimed at improving both quality and relevance of information authored by users of a Web 2.0 site in order to provide reusable content for collaboratively feeding a social guide of events.

The project allowed to enhance the authoring capabilities of the AXEL/AXEL Forms libraries to the benefit of our economic partner (Useful Web Sàrl.)

A new authoring concept has been implemented that provides the authors with incentives, during the editing process, to semantically enhance the edited content. Additional content is obtained either by the use of Web Services or by extracting information from the application database itself; the goal being to improve the results returned by search engines.

Palette: Pedagogically sustained Adaptive Learning through the Exploitation of Tacit and Explicit knowledge
[Funded by the European Commisssion: FP6 Integrated Project]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The PALETTE project, under the Scientific Coordination of Christine Vanoirbeek, aimed at facilitating and augmenting individual and organisational learning in Communities of Practice (CoPs). It was a 36-month project, gathering 14 partners from 7 countries and almost 70 researchers.

The project has contributed to enriching Social Software with a set of interoperable services enabling and supporting most of the activities of CoPs. The services have been thoroughy validated in very diverse learning contexts ranging from academic area to professional networks.

The authoring AXEL library was born in the framework of the PALETTE project. It implements a further version of the XTiger template specification language, designed by our partner at INRIA Grenoble, that turns a web page into an XML editor.

FAVORITE: Fragmenting and Authoring Virtual-based Object documents for Reuse in Interactive Teaching Environments
[Funded by the SNF - Swiss National Science Fondation]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The Favorite project studied the problem of reusing and exchanging structured documents. More precisely, it addressed the problem of restructuring data constrained by one schema (called the source schema) into an other instance constrained by a different schema (called the target schema). The work essentially focused on XML documents reuse and exchange between Web applications.

The project resulted in a prototype framework based on an abstract model that normalizes existing XML schemas languages - uniformormizing representation, hiding syntax differences and making structural and semantic heterogeneities more apparent - to generate soure-to-target mapping.

eMersion: hands-on resources for flexible learning in mechanical engineering education.
[Funded by the Board of Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology under the New Learning Technologies Programme]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The eMersion project aimed at promoting a pedagogical trial-and-error paradigm by enhancing the opportunities for engineering trainees to carry out extensive experimentation in their education curriculum. In this respect, the development of innovative pedagogical scenarios, free of time and space constraints, and the production of reusable pedagogical components were of major concern.

The pedagogical components have been produced in the expertise domains of the Mechanical Engineering Department, mainly in automatic control, fluid mechanics and biomechanics. The eMersion environment has been used by about 160 students from electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and microtechnical engineering.

NICE: Negociation and Interaction for Collaborative Editing
[Funded by SNF in the framework of the Fellowship Program of ERCIM - European Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The NICE project addresses collaborative document production tools and methodologies. The main objective was to find solutions that fall between the lack of structure imposed by synchronous group editors and the rigidity of full workflow automation.

The project followed a twofold approach. Firstly, it proposes a flexible document model that describe documents as a composition of multiple fragments, each fragment being potentially more or less constrained. Secondly, tools and editors have been developed, based on this model. The goal was to enable collaboration through the sharing and reuse of existing documents content parts and also to give a way to control the overall document production process in a declarative way strongly linked to its structure.A special effort has been put on the interface design.

CLASSROOM 2000: Authoring Environment for the course development using computer supported teachware and interactive distant learning
[Funded by the SNF - Swiss National Science Foundation]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The CLASSROOM 2000 project goal was to develop methods and realize tools that support the use of new information and communication technologies in the field of postgraduate education for engineers. The research partnership, under the scientific management of the lab at EPFL, gathered 14 different partner organisations (Universities, Applied Universities, private schools, and SME's).

An existing authoring environment for management and distribution of Web based interactive courses, previously developed by the lab (in the framework of the MEDIT project), has been improved and several functions added to encompass the new learning criteria required by the CLASSROOM 2000 project. Also, the management of document supported the systematic document structuring approach (XML) for all courseware and multimedia interactive documents.

A second contribution of the lab was the development of a TeleLaboratory i.e a remote control system for a telecommunication laboratory at the Applied University of Fribourg. Engineering students used it for real measurements of telecommunication processes by accessing on-line several protocol analyzers. Experimental protocol measurements were delivered in form of XML documents to client-students using generic web-based browsing interface.

MEDIT: Multimedia Environment for Distributed Interactive Teaching
[Funded by the Board of Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology ]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The MEDIT project aimed at providing professors with tools to create interactive courses on the Web, based upon their pedagogical material. It has been done in collaboration with the Laboratory of Computational Engineering at EPFL.

The project has been oriented towards the design and the implementation of an environment made up of several authoring tools. This tools allow computer illiterates professors, to generate, in a Web environment, their taught courses under different possible forms (chapters, OHP slides, training exercises, quizzes, etc.), choosing the more appropriate services among ones available in the MEDIT environment.

CDMS: Collaborative Decision Making using Synthesized position documents
[Funded by FNRS in the framework of the Fellowship Program of ERCIM (European Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics) ]

Semi-structured data modeling and reusability Framework Web interaction design Collaboration Authoring

The goal of the CDMS project was the development of an advanced system for supporting Collaborative Decision Making in real-life applications. We used information technology to buid up a system that consists of 4 modules: Argumentation-based Group Decision Support, Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing and Argument Builder.

Work on the last three modules focused on the synthesis of a position document from a collection of documents that have been previously analyzed to determine their propositional content. The interactions between agents in a collaborative decision process were codified using a properly defined model of the related dialogue acts.

The participants can use this to better understand the arguments of their fellow decision makers, and advance more pointed argumentation of their own. As application areas, we selected these of Medical Decision Making and Distance Learning.

Core compentencies

  • Document Engineering
  • Web XML Authoring
  • Web Applications
  • Collaborative Work

Contacts

EPFL/IC/GR-VA
Bâtiment INF
Station 14
CH - 1015 - Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 693 64 98
Fax: +41 21 693 67 70
christine.vanoirbeek@epfl.ch