ROLE Highlights 2010

Knowledge-Map: 2nd Place at the International E-Learning Association IELA Award of 2010 – RWTH Aachen University

On the 17th September 2010 the Knowledge-Map, developed by the Institute of Information Management in Mechanical Engineering, Center for Learning and Knowledge Management & Institute for Management Cybernetics (IMA / ZLW & IfU) and used in university education, was awarded the 2nd Place at the International E-Learning Award within the Interactive Computer Aided Learning-Conference in Hasselt/Belgium.

As a supporting learning-tool the Knowledge-Map is used in the course „Computer Science in Mechanical Engineering“ by more than 1,400 students per year. It is also further developed at the European project „Responsive Open Learning Environment“ (ROLE) in cooperation with the Chair of Computer Science 5 (Information Systems & Databases) of the RWTH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (Prof. Dr. Matthias Jarke).

Knowledge-Maps are a graphical display of Knowledge. For this the IMA / ZLW & IfU’s Knowledge-Map is based on a semantic net – a net which displays the connection of definitions – and its usage is similar to a Wiki. In the Project ROLE an infrastructure is created for so called „Widgets“, which are used in personalized study-environments. In ROLE several or groups of Widgets form different study-modules based on „intelligent tutoring systems“ concepts, a curriculum is developed for the purpose of individual educational aims and study patterns.

However the usage of the Knowledge-Map is not restricted to the academic education. For over ten years it is applied in the Cluster of Excellence „Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass“ (TMFB) to help the research process by supporting the networking and knowledge transfer of approximately 140 scientist from more than 22 different research institutes and 5 specialist disciplines.

If you have any questions about the Knowledge-Map, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Phil Anja Richert or Dipl.-Inform. Christian Tummel (IMA / ZLW & IfU, RWTH Aachen University). Questions about the project ROLE will be answered by Dipl.-Inform. Dominik Renzel, Chair of Computer Science 5 „Information Systems & Databases“ (RWTH Aachen University).

University of Koblenz-Landau (UNIKO-LD), Germany

One of the UNIKO-ROLE-Highlights in 2010 was the development and refinement of the framework of psycho-pedagogically founded models of a learning process, learning context, learner properties, learning tools, the corresponding logical rules and interdependencies between the models, which shape the basis for the future developments in ROLE, e.g. the Recommendation and Guidance Tool. From pedagogical point of view a theoretical framework produced in ROLE project will enable a synergetic combination of modular services and tools to support a variety of learning techniques and capabilities as may be appropriate for different learning contexts and personal preferences.

An extract from visual representations of the theoretical models

Another highlight was the ROLE Developer Camp in Lausanne, which helped us in understanding the needs of the technology for the theoretical foundation and pedagogical scenarios.

One of the ROLE Developer Camp Sessions

In the course of the ROLE-Presentations and Workshops, for example at the LMZ in Germany, at the PLE Conference in Barcelona or during the visits to our test bed partners, the constant highlight was the support, which was granted to the ROLE ideas and the ROLE technology by the educators and the users of the current educational technology. This support is a strong encouragement and an animating spirit for the advancement of ROLE.

A session during the ROLE Workshop in Barcelona

ROLE Developer Camp 2010

In the week from 23 – 27 August, 2010 ROLE hosted the first ROLE Developer Camp at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. The whole week was filled with a blend of presentations, conceptual discussions, brainstorming sessions, hands-on developer tutorials and practical programming sessions around central topics such as Interoperability, Monitoring, Learner and Skill Profiling, Recommendations, and Infrastructure. ROLE developers shared their knowledge and experiences with participants to enable their application to the accomplishment of practical tasks in TEL development. The whole event was broadcasted live. Every session featured a moderator dedicated to the involvement of remote participants into the discussions.The program booklet is available for download in PDF format: ROLE Developer Camp 2010 – Technical Program (PDF).

Gold for the ROLE project

The ROLE project is the winner of the PLE2010 Mediacast Contest. The video “Improving your foreign language skills – An example for the use of Personal Learning Environments” was produced by the ROLE Partner IMC in cooperation with BILD. The screencast about the use of widgets for improving language skills in the context of further training received by far the most votes during the voting on YouTube. ROLE has been announced and awarded as the winner at the end of the PLE Conference in Barcelona.

EC-TEL 2010 – FHG, DE

The 5th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL) took place in Barcelona on September 28 to October 1 with about 250 participants from countries world-wide. The focus of EC-TEL was on how to sustain TEL and the respective transfer from research to practice. It was organized by FHG while one of the program chair was Martin Wolpers, coordinator of the ROLE project.

More on

Ecole Polythechnique Fédérale de Lausanne –EPFL, CH

EPFL uploaded screencasts of using Graaasp and Rolespace at YouTube:

  • The first screencast shows usage of several Graaasp functions. At the first step two spaces “Learn English” and “Learn biology” are created. After that further tools and resources such as google gadgets, RSS feeds and YouTube videos are added in Graaasp. This is made easily with help of the bookmarklet GraaaspIt, which is an application for importing resources, providing them with names and descriptions and ensuring appropriate representation in Graaasp. At the next step all the resources and data are organized in Rolespace, a special tool for managing widgets in which they can run and communicate with each other. All the gadgets added are now listed in the user profile and can be called up anytime.
  • The second screencast shows how widgets and gadgets added can be called up and run or edited and how they collaborate with each other. Two spaces “Learn English” and “Learn biology” were previously created in Graaasp. Now its resources such as google gadgets and YouTube videos can be started from Rolespace. It is explained how to work with the Language Resource Browser and the Translator and how to switch between learning spaces. The screencast also explains how to edit resources on the example of changing URL for RSS gadget.

Open university UK

Next Generation Personal Learning Environments at Online Educa”.

In cooperation with partners from BILD, ROLE was at the Online Educa conference, which is mostly centred around e-learning innovations in the industry.


ROLE was at the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies in Tunisia. The IEEE ICALT provides the opportunity to reach an audience of TEL experts in academia.

The British Institute for Learning and Development (the BILD) – Bristol, UK

The most important event of 2010 in BILD’s ROLE calendar took place at the Online Educa conference and exhibition in Berlin. In conjunction with the Open University ROLE partners, the BILD delivered a discussion based session about the concept of personal learning environments and the innovations being developed through the ROLE project which will take the learner away from the traditional LMS style PLE. Discussions were then held among delegates which addressed the following questions:

  • What is the potential for the lifelong learner? (prompts could include Will this type of personalisation benefits the learner?)
  • What is the potential for workplace learning?
  • What is the potential for the eLearning market? (prompts could include – is the traditional form of eLearning as we know dead?)
  • What are your organisation’s specific needs from PLEs?

Audio feedback was collected – please listen to:

The session was advertised on the Online Educa website and catalogue and was attended by 80 delegates.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University – SJTU, China

Learning French with ROLE

In his French II class in the summer term 2010, the teacher introduced a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) based on ROLE technology that incorporates tools and content for language learning, such as an online translation, text-to-speech, exercises, etc. After having worked with the PLE during the semester for doing homework, the students asked whether and how they could access the PLE even after the lecture was over. They said they found it so useful they want to continue using it.

There is an account for those who would like to test this ROLE based PLE. Please don’t hesitate to contact Carsten Ullrich to request a test account!

contact: Carsten Ullrich

Festo Lernzentrum Saar GmbH (Festo), Germany

Taskforce meeting

At the General Assembly at the EC-Tel 2010, the Role management decided to build the Stonehenge taskforce for every test-bed and to do taskforce meetings. The taskforce meeting at the Festo Learning Centre was the first time in the project where researchers and developers met with Festo learners to discuss how they learn. The outcomes of this taskforce meeting contributed to a better understanding of the different partners and different perspectives. Deriving from the results of the taskforce meeting the post processes were very fruitful-especially the development and improvement of the federated search widget. This was the first step to transform the LMS of Festo towards a PLMS in the ROLE-philosophy.

Vienna University of Economics & Business Administration (WW), Austria

Development of PLEShare prototype

The dissemination highlight 2010 at WU was the development of PLEShare, a first prototype of a pattern repository. This back-end service enhances personal learning environments (PLEs) so that users can share and consume learning experiences in a Facebook like way. Consequently, the pattern repository approach aims at supporting communities of practice, i.e. people having or requiring similar learning practices with web-based tools. As a proof of concept two front-end prototypes have been implemented to demonstrate the usefulness of this practice sharing approach. On the left-hand side of the figure, the Firefox plug-in PAcMan (personal activity manager) includes two buttons, ‘Pattern Store’ for browsing the activity patterns available and ‘Share Activity’ to share a concrete experience via PLEShare. On the right-hand side of the figure, the PLEShare gadget records learner interactions which then can be shared voluntarily by users. Moreover, learners can browse through the data shared within the community of practice. Finally, the pattern repository supports the generation and provision of PLE recommendations as well as privacy awareness and management.

Software available:

PAcMan Tool (for Firefox 3.0 and higher):

PLEShare gadget (e.g. useable for iGoogle or every other OpenSocial-conformant widget container):

PLEShare web application (like the gadget):

PLEShare prototype demonstrator (for expert users only):

PLEShare prototype web-based API (for PLE developers planning to integrate PLEShare into their solution):

Shanghai Jiao Tong University – SJTU, China

Shanghai Expo – Seminar at Finland Pavilion

The lab was invited by Prof. Erkki Sutinen to participate at the seminar “Sharing Inspiration in Higher Education” that took place at the Finland Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo site. Erkki and SJTU shared the session “Technologies for Development and Learning: innovations grow from concrete challenges. Dr. Xie Weikai, the Deputy Director, of our lab presented work in the lab and at the online college of SJTU in which specific challenges arising from the educational situation in China are addressed, namely “Highly unbalanced education resource deployment”, “Lack of accessible form of life-long learning for working adults” and “Shortcoming of traditional learning management systems”.

You are welcome to see photos at:

Graz University of Technology (TUG), Austria

Presentation at PLE 2010

One of the highlights for TUG was the public presentation of the psycho-pedagogical model at the Personal Learning Environments Conference in Barcelona, Spain in July 2010. The second highlight can be seen in the initial development of the Navigation and Recommendation Tool which is based on the research results of the psycho-pedagogical model.

Centre for Social Innovation –ZSI, Austria

Presenting ROLE at ICT2010 Conference in Brussels, connecting with EC-TEL2010 Barcelona

The presentation of the ZSI team at the ICT conference & exhibition 2010 in Brussels was threefold:

  • the introduction of the Centre for Social Innovation in Vienna, that, with 60 persons staff members, gains increasingly importance in research at the interface of technological and social innovation
  • the current research and project work of the technology and knowledge unit, with the main focus on technology enhanced learning and e-inclusion (introducing projects like ROLE, TelMap, InteLEO, ComeIn etc), and last but not least
  • the virtual conference and management tool Global plaza, running a live event with remote presentations, workshops, videos and interviews of the international TEL-community during all conference days. Recordings of the conference are available at:


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