Egyptian Computer Based Education
Semi-Annual Report
Dr. Atalla

1. Introduction

Since the first semiannual report has been written in August, 1998, more Information has been collected about activities in the field of Computer Aided Education (CAE). Now many universities and educational institutes added to Their activities much more of this type of education. Many of these institutions Offer all or most of the courses through Internet. With the introduction of Internet, education is becoming more and more unlocalized. The traditional Teaching methods are changing drastically.

Quite recently, several terms have emerged such as Internet Based Education (IBE) Internet Based Learning (IBL), and Internet Based Training (IBT). This simply means that the educational software material is increasing with a very fast rate . Every day we see new tools with which 2D and 3D graphics are done. The most important feature of all these packages is that most of them are interactive.

Now, the advantages of CAE are added to the advantages of the Internet as A teaching medium. The most important feature of this combination is the Reduction of distance.

The Physics Software Package

This project aims at the production of Computer Aided Education multimedia software introductory physics package. This package covers five units: Mechanics, Heat & Thermodynamics, Oscillations & Waves, Electricity & Magnetism, Optics and Modern physics. Each unit is composed of 7-14 lessons. Each lesson contains topic, objectives, key words, text, graphics, animations, video shots, and interactive simulations solved examples, quizzes and tests along with sound, color and motion effects. The package allows navigation through the whole material, with a distinguished feature of being highly interactive. It will also contain some fundamental problems which will be handed to students as individualized home-work tests.

2. The work achieved by the Egyptian Team

During the past 6 months the Egyptian team has done the following:

Work under achievement

The Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism units were handed to Experienced professors to review the material and give their opinion about the Graphics, simulations included in the package. Meanwhile they will take part in the selection of colors, sounds and all other multimedia presentations. This Is in addition to the effort of the work team members involved in the same tasks.

The same applies to the production of video shots.

Since the IP package does not allow creation of interactive simulations in Optics Modern physics and heat packages, efforts are done now to create simulations with some other packages such as VB 5.

4. The work achieved by the American Team

The American PI Professor L.Hayden is in close contact and is very helpful. She arranged for me to visit for the second time ESCU to discuss the progress of the project and to have some feedback from the Head of the Department of Physics And of the Multimedia Group at ECSU. Mr. J. Wood (from the Coast Guard Academy)contacted me twice and offered any help concerning the Authorware Package and explained to me their own experience in this respect. He told me that Dr. Hayden is trying to get a full version of the package to help us develop a better navigation and control of the Physics Package. At the Coast Guard Academy, they Have a good experience with videos and movies.

My visit to the ECSU was postponed because I found myself alone and obliged to personally follow the programming job, especially after the disintegration of the work team, and in particular due to the death of one very active team member.

5. Problems encountered during the 6 months period

No serious problems have been encountered during the past 6 months except for the delay in the beginning of the production of the package.

At the beginning of the project, the original idea was to create just Simulations, (or better to be called animations). During the course of work, we discovered the advantages of having interactive simulations as a powerful tool for explanation of the physical phenomena and an invaluable drill. This change in methodology dictated some delay, but I am convinced that it was worth it.

The most serious problem we have is that the Authorware Academic package is very limited. We had to structure the navigation through the unit involving Visual Basic 5 Package. But, this resulted in a very slow package. It will be much slower adding voice.

What we need is a full Authorware package to accommodate all the multimedia components in addition to the interactive simulations in one host Package fast and allows an executable file.

6. Extent to which research effort has succeeded in meeting its work plan

In spite of the delay in meeting the work plan, I consider that we are in a very Good position taking in consideration the nature of the project as a multi-Component effort. In principle we could have met the work plan should the above Mentioned setbacks have not occurred.

All the required ingredients are in place .Our main task now is to combine these components in one smart package.

7. Nature and extent of end -user involvement

The Consultation Office for Integrated Systems (Coins) is the end-user for this project. Coins was quite helpful in all stages of his project. Dr. Hatem Faheem The Head of Coins took part in meetings of the work team. Coins also provided me with a computer CPU to do most of the work related to the project (creating sample simulations, reviewing text) I used up to now and still I am still using the E-mail facility of Coins to communicate with Dr. Hayden.

I was in continuous contact with Dr. Faheem at least twice a week (sometimes More) to discuss the state of the project and look for advice about programming problems. We held long discussions about the programming problems and also for reviewing the simulations, graphics and animations, colors and backgrounds and text. In addition to that, we had frequent phone calls to schedule work of the programmers.

8. How research results will be used by the end-user

Once the physics package is ready, the end user will negotiate with FRCU the mode of cooperation to market the material in and outside Egypt. It is my hope that We will be able to approach software companies in the US to market the package.

The arabized version can be marketed in other Arab countries.

One of the most important sides of this project is the development of experience With the techniques of producing high quality educational packages. This applies to Both teams of Coins and the work team in Fayoum and at ECSU.

9. Nature and extent of collaboration between Egyptian and American PI

As it was mentioned before collaboration between the American and Egyptian teams is quite close. It is my plan for further cooperation to ask Dr. Hayden to test the package at ECSU. This is very important to judge the quality Of the package. During my next visit to ECSU I will exchange views with the Multimedia Group The ready material and we will try to test the package at ECSU.

10. Work plan and budget modifications

In view of the afore mentioned setbacks, in spite of the fact that there are some amount of money left, the following changes and modifications to the work plan and budget will be asked:

These modifications will secure the production of a quite high quality package.

11. New and enhanced skills acquired by Egyptian and American Research members.

No doubt that by the end of this project, the Egyptian teams will gain a quite valuable experience in the production of educational software packages. It is my belief that the team will be able to help the production of software Packages for other physics courses.

Concerning The American team, I am sure that they gained the same Experience. The multimedia group at ECSU will benefit from our experience And our package as it will be incorporated in the Physics curriculum at ECSU.

One of the important sides of this project is the establishment and Development of modes and procedures of an international cooperation In such vital field like Computer Aided Education.

12. Project Future

In view of the gained experience and achievements of the project, And as agreed upon with the Grant Monitor, we will ask for Extending the project activity for a mini grant to produce Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology packages.

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