Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Dr.Jeanne Stynes

Second Advisor

Dr. Reinhold Kroeger


New information and communication technologies have emerged in the last few years which have made an impact on learning at all levels. At universities, the spectrum of learning support ranges from enriching traditional lectures and courses with multi- media elements to complete web-based interactive learning environments. A special aspect based on the new media technologies is learning within model worlds by use of simulations or real-life experiments. There are normally no links between these applications and the learning content, so it is impossible to tap the full potential of these applications. Research activities in the area of e-learning underline the importance of integrating interactive elements within the learning content but are currently limited to addressing individual didactical and/or technical problems.

This thesis develops an architecture for the integration of remote simulators and real- life experiments into different learning environments. Additionally, specific content pages can be generated depending on the result of a simulator or real life experiment thereby providing an optimal learning experience.

The architectural approach is based on a web services architecture. The central component of the integration framework is a so-called university server, which acts as a gateway between the learning environment and different simulators and real-life experiments. These are running locally or remotely and are linked to the university server by special adapters, containing a web service interface for communicating with the university server and a proprietary interface for communicating with the individual application. Applications are classified, corresponding examples are presented, and proposals for reducing integration efforts are also described.

The architectural approach is based on open source software components and standardised communication protocols. Thus, it is possible to extend the integration framework with new features or to adapt the framework to given new requirements.

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