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Study on multimedia teaching platform of "Principles of Management" based on cloud computing.

1. Introduction

Currently, teaching "Principles of Management" is a process of interpreting its contents and a teacher's values and experience. During the class, teachers do not exchange ideas with students; instead, students are forced to accept, remember and repeat contents of the textbook, lacking abilities of creativity and reform. Therefore, it is practically significant to introduce cloud computing into multimedia teaching management system, improve hardware and software equipments of current colleges and universities as well as optimize teaching management, service and cooperation to create a multimedia teaching management systematic platform with strong capability, reliable operation and large amount of work (Nair, S., Tarey, S. D., Barathi, B., Mary, T. R., Mathew, L., & Daniel, S. P., 2016). In 2000, Chenchao studied the operation of CAI focused on "Principles of Management" teaching (STOLL, L., BROWN, C., SPENCE-THOMAS, K. A. R. E. N., & TAYLOR, C., 2015). Zeng Fangfang studied online teaching resource construction based on "Principles of Management" in 2012 (Cardin, F., Minicuci, N., Andreotti, A., Granziera, E., & Militello, C., 2016). Hu Haibo studied the application of online teaching platform of "Principles of Management" (Bajohr, F., 2016). During the exploration of teaching "Principles of Management", Zhouyan raised participative teaching (Cheng-lin, H., & Jian-wei, C., 2016), Zhang Wenhua illustrated case teaching (Ambarka, A. E., & Dagez, H. E., 2015), and Wangfen proposed a teaching method of sequent projects (Endzinas, A., 2016). This essay will introduce a multimedia teaching platform of "Principles of Management" based on cloud computing. In this essay, the author will analyze functional demands, overall designs, and key technologies of the multimedia teaching platform in colleges and universities, and establish a general design framework under practical conditions so as to achieve base functions of each part of the multimedia teaching platform (Mora, A. D., & Fonseca, J. M., 2014).

2. Introduction of the Multimedia Teaching Platform of "Principles of Management" Based on Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a compute mode based on the Internet as well as a service providing dynamic, easily-extensible, and virtualized computing resources to users. Cloud computing equips traditional distributed computing, parallel computing and utility computing supported by computer and network technologies as well as new functions such as network storage, virtualization and load balancing. It can also integrate computer entities and form strong computing ability through cluster effects. Cloud computing is a product combining computer technology and network technology (Velasquez, E., Cardona, A., & Pena, A., 2014).

The multimedia teaching platform of "Principles of Management" based on cloud computing is established based on high speed network, multi-media classroom and other hardware. It is focused on knowledge management and the construction of teaching resources under the framework of technology "cloud". The multimedia teaching platform of "Principles of Management" applies and integrates management resources to build a integrative teaching environment and a could computing platform composed by complex compute, analysis and storage under the purpose of providing services from multi-angles and multi-layers to teaching. It is set to realize the joint developing and sharing of teaching resources and support teachers and students on their studies, so as to promote the development of "Principles of Management".

3. Analysis of Multimedia Teaching Platform Based on Cloud Computing On Demands

3.1. Functional Requirement

As is shown in fig 1, the online multimedia teaching system can be divided into two subsystems, that is, remote teaching system and remote tutoring system. In remote teaching system, students send messages to teachers for help, and teachers offer response. In remote tutoring system, teachers send resources to students, and students respond to teachers according to their own learning conditions (Etus, C., 2015; Liu, D., Valdiviezo-Diaz, P., Riofrio, G., Sun, Y. M., & Barba, R., 2015).

In multimedia teaching sub-system, teachers can play videos while students can learn knowledge through watching videos. In multimedia tutoring sub-system, students can watch how teachers operate computers and learn relative information materials through messages that teachers send to them.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

1. Multimedia teaching sub-system

In multimedia teaching system, teachers can organize their classes through multimedia teaching systematic tools. The author divides this system into two sub-systems, that is, teaching and tutor, according to two different communication modes during teaching process. Fig 2 shows the teaching process of multimedia teaching system:

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Fig 3 illustrates main functions of teaching sub-system:

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

The teaching sub-system includes functions such as teaching demonstration, homework submitting, answer, class replay, electronics ferule, remote cinema and voice function (Magazzeni, L., 2016).

2. Multimedia tutoring sub-system

In multimedia tutoring sub-systems, students can ask teachers for help using online system. Teachers can help students to solve problems by controlling or operating student-ends computers. The multimedia tutoring sub-system has strong functions; for example, teacher-ends computers can monitor, lock or shut down student-end computers, which is similar to remote tutoring system. The multimedia tutoring sub-system is as follows:

Fig 5 shows main functions of a multimedia tutoring sub-system:

Main functions of the multimedia tutoring sub-system include remote tutor, monitor, remote lock, remote power off and other functions.

3.2. Performance Requirement

A multimedia teaching platform should meet following requirements: teaching contents are clearly shown in students' computers, the time delay of pictures and voices should be less than 10 milliseconds, blurred screen should not be showed and chattering phenomena should not occur. Also, the interaction should work well (Yaghoubi-Notash, M., & Nouri, Z., 2015).

3.3. Problem Analysis

The online multimedia teaching system of colleges and universities have common problems such as time delayed, blurred screen, and photo and videotape out of sync, which will lead to the result students cannot obtain teachers' information in time.

The author finds out that those problems are caused by blocked online transmission, which will lead to unstable transmission, and transmission delay or loss (Kriachko, I. P., 2016). Because audio and video data use different channel to deliver, trans-information is large and networks are unstable, out of sync problems may occur. The multimedia teaching platform of colleges and universities need cloud computing, which is of high expandability and has the feature of providing services according to needs, to meet teaching requirements. Cloud computing can help to release unnecessary space and solve problems such as time delayed with huge resources that can burden dynamic flexibility.

4. Platform Design

4.1. Multimedia Teaching Cloud Platform Design

Multimedia teaching cloud platform is established based on current teaching platforms and school networks. It needs a cloud computing center, and can improve software and hardware environments through centralized management of teaching resources from both new and old platforms. Cloud computing center can provide platforms with data encryption and storage services. Teachers and students can apply terminal equipments to visit teaching resources through school network or obtain services from uniform interface of cloud platform so as to achieve data sharing between old and new platforms. The platform design is as follows (Polge, C., Rowson, L., & Trounson, A., 2016):

The cloud environment of multimedia teaching platform applies SaaS mode, which can help to maintain platform data and shield permission from sub-platforms so as to achieve the mutual establishing and sharing of abundant teaching resources. The cloud environment reflects advantages of a data-intensive system and solves problems of disunited teaching platform data standards, potential data safety hazard and low efficiency caused by incomplete systems.

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

4.2. General Design of the Teaching System

The multimedia teaching sub-system delivers video and audio information from teacher-ends computers to student-ends computers. Students apply this system to watch teachers' operations and listen to teachers' interpretation. The multimedia teaching sub-system includes processes of collecting, compressing, transmitting and applying multimedia information data (Kanwar, N., Gupta, N., Niazi, K. R., Swarnkar, A., & Bansal, R. C., 2015).

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

Fig 7 illustrates audios and pictures are main transmission objects. The author finds out that in multimedia teaching sub-system, a large scale of online data transmission is the main problem. Therefore, in designing multimedia teaching system, information of teacher-ends computers should be condensed into blocks. Transmitting information in blocks can help to reduce multimedia data transmission pressure.

4.3. Function Module Design

According to demand analysis, the network teaching platform this essay studies can be divided into three parts: student sub-system, teacher sub-system, and manager subsystem. Each sub-system is in charge of separate works and all three systems work together to accomplish a teaching process. Details are as follows:

[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]

Through results of systematic functional requirements analysis, it can be seen that functions of sub-systems are as follows:

Student sub-system: online learning, testing and communication between students and teachers.

Teacher sub-system: issuing teaching resources and information, guiding students to finish learning tasks, delivering information about and organizing tests, correcting homework and answering questions on line.

Manager sub-system: maintaining and managing network teaching platform, distributing permissions, as well as collecting, analyzing and storing data.

Different function modules, for instance, sub-systems, are different as sub-systems take charge of varied works. Detailed functions are shown in fig 9, 10 and 11.

[FIGURE 9 OMITTED]

Manager sub-system is the most important among three sub-systems as it is the most complicated and is in charge of maintaining and managing basic data of other function modules, for example, managing interaction information module, systematic users, teaching resources, and user permissions, in order to maintain the common performance of network teaching platform and support the regular running of the other two sub-systems.

[FIGURE 10 OMITTED]

Teachers are operators of teacher sub-systems, who can deliver learning resources such as PPT and audio through teacher sub-systems, illustrating information about classes and examinations, correcting homework, communicating with students and answering questions.

[FIGURE 11 OMITTED]

Different from teacher sub-systems, student sub-systems are used to help students accomplish online learning, which conclude function modules such as student information, grade, question and test.

5. Realization of Multimedia Teaching Platform Functions

5.1. Realization of Collecting and Transmitting Video Data

In order to raise transmission efficiency of network data, images from teacher-ends computers should be cut into blocks. Only transmitting changed blocks can ensure video quality as well as improve data transmission utilization ratio. The image data transmission flow of a remote teaching sub-system is as follows:

[FIGURE 12 OMITTED]

1. Video image capture

In order to achieve online multimedia remote teaching, it is needed to dynamically capture screen information from teacher-ends computers to ensure contents shown in student computers are as same as in teacher computers.

This platform applies memcmpO function of C programming language. It cuts an image captured from teacher-ends computers into 4x4 blocks, transmits and compares images at fixed 200 milliseconds, and transmits changed image blocks only after judging 16 image blocks. If teachers and students interact well, the capability of the system will improve. Otherwise, it is convenient to access bitmap information from screens. Therefore, when designing the network multimedia teaching system, the author designs to obtain bitmap information directly from DC in order to optimize the system.

When designing network multimedia teaching systems, the author chooses Dffi bitmap to store image information under the consideration of compatibility and general usage. The stored procedure is as follows: first, create a blank bitmap file in accordance with DC and generate a conformable memory space; second, copy information materials from computer screen to DC memory space through WindowsAPI function; Third, release information from the DC memory space and capture screen images. The code is as follows:
CRect rect;
GetClientRect (&rect);
CDC* pDC= GetDC();
CBitMap bitmap;
CDC dcMemory;
dcMemory.CreateCoinpatibleEK;(pDC);
bitmap. CreateCompatibleBitmap (pDC, rect. widthO, rect.heightQ);
dcMemory. SelectObject (bitmap);
::BitBlt(dcMemory. GetSafehDC(), 0,0,rectWidthQ, rect.height(), pDC->
  ni_hDC, 0, 0,
SRC,
COPY);
Release DC (pDC);


As network multimedia teaching system requires high screen definition, but does not have mush requirements about screen color, this system applies 256 colors and screen images with low pixels, to reduce data transmission scale so as to improve its overall capability.

2. Video and image transmission

The author applies blocking technology to capture screen images and obtain changed screen information blocks. According to region segmentation theory, only blocks changed are transmitted. The transmission will work well when reducing network data transmission scale as well as compressing image information. Compression algorithms of bitmap images are different with different compression ratios and information losses. As a multimedia teaching platform does not have strict demands on image quality, algorithms can all be used as if the transmission is smooth and images are not distorted.

3. Screen image information uncompress

The screen image information uncompress is an inverse process of image compress. This system applies the uncompress function of VC system. The code is as follows:
DWORD dwHandle= MAKEFOURCE ('m'.'s'.'v'.'c'):
WC= ICOpen(FASTDECOMPRESS, dwHandle. video;
BITMAPINFO bitmaplnfo;
bitmapInfo =(LPBITMAPINFO)buffer;
LPVOIDtmp= bufFer+sizeofi:BITMAPINFOHEADER);
HANDLE memory;
memory=:: ICImageDecompress(hIc, bitmap, tmp, 0,NULL);
ICClose(hIc);
LPVOID 1p=GlobalLock(Memory);
1p=(LPVOID)(sizeof(BITMAPINFOHEADER)+1p);


4. Image display

Student-ends computers can store uncompressed information blocks in buffering queue, delete stale data, read new information and display such information at corresponding positions on computer screens.

The multimedia teaching platform will enter the teaching system automatically after students logging in. The platform can provide image qualities at different levels from fluent to high definition. For classes such as video appreciation, it is needed to cut image information into blocks and compress blocks in order to guarantee information transmission, as screen blocks have changed greatly and transmission data scale is relatively large.

5.2. Audio Data Collection and Transmission

During the transmission, audio data has less requirements than image data; therefore, the system deals with image data more than audio data. Audio data processing is as follows:

[FIGURE 13 OMITTED]

1. Audio data collection

An online teaching platform applies microphone to obtain audio data. When collecting audio data, the author uses VFW (Video for Windows), which can capture audio data from assigned ports, and Cap Create Capture Window function to obtain window handle.

LPRESULT CALLBACK Set Callback On Wave Stream (HWND hwnd, LPVOID, callbackWaveStream) ; // Window registration; BOOL capCaptureSequenceNoFile(hWnd); // Callback function activation.

In this function, WAVEHEADE pointer points to call back Wave Stream parameters. Hwnd is a window handle in application process. This structure contains too much information, which should be divided into timestamp, audio data, data length and other information in order to facilitate data collecting and processing.

2. Audio data compress

In multimedia teaching platform, requirements of audio and video processing and transmission are not strict. Therefore, audio data compress should apply high compression ratio to make the system works efficiently and conveniently. This system uses ADPCM audio data compression standard to deal with audio data. In order to improve the efficiency of acquisition and transmission, the system applies multithreading technology, deals with audio data in collection, compression and transmission, sets circle buffer regions and put processed audio data into those buffer regions, as well as send audio data packages to user ends.

3. Audio data transmission

Student-ends computers have strict requirements of the instantaneity of audio and video data and have less requirements of connecting reliability compared with teacher-ends computers, because multimedia data have inherent corresponding relations. Therefore, problems such as disorder, data frame losses and transmission failures will have great impact on video and audio quality. Although the system has certain fault-tolerant ability, transmission delay will have negative influence on systematic clients. The author sets time limitation during the transmission and delayed data packages will be deleted automatically.

5.3. Synchronous Multimedia Information

There are three methods which can solve problems of information synchronization: multiplexing synchronic technology, synchronic communication technology, and timestamp technology. This system applies timestamp technology. The timestamp technology is similar to multiplexing synchronic technology, which distributes data through separate channels; however, different from the later, the timestamp technology does not add synchronizing channels; instead, it takes clock information as timestamp when servers send data, which will neither waste transmit data nor transmission channels. Multimedia data flows can be played synchronically if clients contrast data in accordance with the timestamp.

6. Conclusion

"Principles of Management" is a theoretical professional basic course aiming at training students' management thinking and practical ability. Traditional teaching of "Principles of Management" focuses on interpreting contents which can help students to understand methods and principles at limited periods of time; however, it can not help students to develop creativity. In this essay, the author analyzes functional demands, overall designs, and key technologies of the multimedia teaching platform in colleges and universities, and establishes a general design framework under practical conditions so as to achieve basic functions of each part of the multimedia teaching platform. This essay proposes a multimedia teaching platform of "Principles of Management", which can help to solve problems such as time delayed, out of synchrony between voices and images and other problems. The multimedia teaching platform of "Principles of Management" based on cloud computing raised in this essay can meet needs of multimedia teaching in colleges and universities; therefore, it has practical application values.

Recebido/Submission: 11/9/2015

Aceitacao/Acceptance: 22/11/2015

Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the higher education reform project in the classroom of Zhejiang province (number: kg20i5594).

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Meng Fanrong (1), Huizhong Zhang (1) *

* 1937480161@qq.com

(1) Wenzhou University Oujiang College, 325035, Wenzhou, Zhe jiang, China

DOI: 10.17013/risti.17B.293-306
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Author:Fanrong, Meng; Zhang, Huizhong
Publication:RISTI (Revista Iberica de Sistemas e Tecnologias de Informacao)
Date:Mar 30, 2016
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