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Proposed Research Objectives:

Like so many aspects of modern society, education and academic research are facing a proliferation of computational techniques, tools and environments. Many pundits applaud the arrival of these powerful new ways of teaching and learning. However few are sure how they are to be applied and precisely what benefits they will bring. In part, the problem stems from the immaturity of the computing domainn and in part it is due to a lack of familiarity with how the process of learning is affected by the new technologies. Before major shifts in teaching paradigms take place, it is important that experience be collected to guide the decision-making process. Our goal is to develop very quickly an integrated computational environment reflecting existing technologies appropriate for studies of guided learning and tele-learning methodologies.

An inter-university group centered at the Centre for Experimental &Constructive Mathematics (CECM) and the Intelligent Software Group (ISG) proposes to develop, test and disseminate a multi-modal mathematical () document manipulation platform as an experiment in guided and tele-learning techniques and models. The term ``multi-modal'' describes the environment's capacity to present mathematical materials in variety of modalities such as textually, hyper-textually, graphically, interactively with symbolic or numeric platforms, etc. This prototypical environment will provide a near-seamless integration of standard computing tools in anticipation of near-future developments in hardware and software. It will subsequently be deployed in a broad spectrum of educational and research contexts to gather data and experience on the effectiveness and practical potential/limitations of computation environments in the learning process. Between CECM and ISG, all of the requisite skills needed to undertake such a project are available or are rapidly being made available. The external collaborators represent a diverse body of educational and research expertise amongst whom we will establish testbed facilities for the development of educational resources, implementation of curricula and study of guided and tele-learning procedures under the environment.

will consist of a core hypertext book intelligently connected to a variety of pre-existing software for document review, development, manipulation and exploration. It is intended for local or remote, individual or classroom use; either as a standalone tool or in a networked master-server configuration. It will provide for text processing, reference searches, symbolic and numeric manipulation of formulae, retrieval and cross-referencing of information, etc. [It will be designed so that other resources can be integrated as they become available.] This allows for reading/manipulating at a variety of levels from outline to full detail. At each level the text is connected to graphic, numeric, symbolic software allowing for independent or guided exploration of the core material. The user or instructor will also be able to adapt and augment the text. Thus the system will serve as a teleclassroom text, as a personal notebook/text or guided tutorial learning system.

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Mon Nov 28 10:37:27 PST 1994