Designing of Academic Courses on Base the Technology of Designing of Information Systems


Nelly Bogdanova, MCs.

Department of Computer Sciences, Daugavpils University, Daugavpils, Latvia






Designing the teaching process within framework of general curriculum has all information systems life cycle’s steps: a planning and an analysis, a design, a development, a testing and a implementing. In regards to strategy and tactics of the study content of the academic course the most interesting step is design. On base the technology of designing of information systems are designed course of bitmap graphics within the framework of learning “Computer design” specialists in multimedia applications development area.


Rapid development of computer science last decades XX centuries has prepared base for use of computers and information technologies in teaching. Information technologies are rather wide concept used not only for development of the software. Information technologies are applicable to any system in which the information collects, stored, processed and transferred. So, information technologies can be attributed to a wide class of systems with the purpose of research of structure of system's information streams and management by them; for designing system's models, and understanding their optimal performance. At present time in pedagogical researches is tendency of transition from research of opportunities and efficiency of computers' using in teaching to researching of teaching's process as information system. Let's consider process of learning as information system.

The goal of research. To construct functional model of learning technology for bitmap graphics subject, using Structured Analysis and Design Technique SADT and to formulate the rule of course's structuring for designing of information system.

1. Structured Analysis and Design Technique

IDEF0 (Integration DEFinition language 0) is based on  SADT (Structured Analysis and Design Technique), developed by Douglas T. Ross [1] and SofTech, Inc.  In its original form, IDEF0 includes both a definition of a graphical modeling language (syntax and semantics) and a description of a comprehensive methodology for developing models.

A model is a representation of a set of components of a system or subject area.   The model is developed for understanding, analysis, improvement or replacement of the system.  Systems are composed of interfacing or interdependent parts that work together to perform a useful function. System parts can be any combination of things, including people, information,  software, processes,  equipment, products, or raw materials.  The model describes what a system does, what controls it, what things it works on,  what means it uses to perform its functions, and what it produces.

IDEF0 is a modeling technique based on combined graphics and text that are presented in an organized and systematic way to gain understanding, support analysis,  provide logic for potential changes, specify requirements, or support systems level design and integration activities.  An IDEF0 model is composed of a hierarchical series of diagrams that gradually display increasing levels of detail describing functions and their interfaces  within the context of a system.  There are three types of diagrams:  graphic, text, and glossary.  The graphic diagrams define functions and functional relationships via box and arrow syntax and semantics.  The text and glossary diagrams provide additional information in support of graphic diagrams.

2. Functional model of technology of training

The goal of model.  To define optimal structure for "Bitmap graphics applications" course. The optimality means improvement of quality of students' knowledge. View point of model: teacher and developer.

Diagram A0 description. Designing of learning technology. Designing of learning technology includes designing of models: required knowledge model, learning model, and estimating model, and information system model. Designing of the each model is carried out in view of restrictions and opportunities requirements of others models. Change of learning technology at a design stage is set of changes of the above-stated models. Designing of information system is carried out by developers, designing of other models is carried out by teachers and developers in common.

Diagram A1 description. Design of required knowledge model. According to the purposes of learning and standards of a trade developers together with teachers build required knowledge model. The structure of required knowledge model is defined by a subject domain which is expressed in the form of standards and the learning purposes and as specific requirements of learning model. The chosen knowledge model should provide the mechanism of modification in a subject domain.

Design of learning model. Depending on the chosen purpose of learning is formulated the purpose of learning model. In view of opportunities and restrictions of information system at a design stage the learning model which most full realizes the learning purpose gets out. The chosen learning model defines type of information system.

Deign of estimating model. Depending on the purpose of studying it is necessary to choose a technique of the knowledge control.


Figure 3. Diagram  A2. To learn on learning technologies base


Designing of information system. Designing of information system is process of its full specification's creation  in view of requirements of required knowledge model (size, data types, data structure), learning model (information system type), estimating model (testing methodology) and external restrictions (time and financial restrictions, volumes of expenses, material support, etc.). On the other hand, designing of information system imposes the requirement of adaptability to manufacture of design stages of the set forth above three models.

Modular teaching as learning model. The basis of learning technology is the separation of the process of learning into uniform structural units, connected with inner logical community, and sequential study of these units in accordance with some standard scheme, the aim of which is to form a stereotype of study behavior. Modular approach to education has been reflected in content, organizational forms and methods of teaching. Defining modules, methodology of education organization, the general trend, aims, content of modular education, we guided by the principles, developed by Youtsavichene P. [2-5]: modularity, education structurizing into separate element, dynamic, active and operative character of knowledge and its system; flexibility, rational perspective, diversity of methodological consulting, parity. The formulated principles are based on general didactic principles and they are opened by pedagogic rules, showing specific ways of implementing the necessary pedagogic conditions.


Figure 4.  Diagram A2.  To learn on training technologies base


According to modular teaching the rate should be divided into modules. Let's define structure of the module, methodology of the current control and sequence of modules’ studying. For this purpose we shall lead decomposition of learning in view of modular learning technology.

Diagram A2 (Figure 4) describes algorithm of formation of knowledge at students by studying each module. After successful testing an entrance level of knowledge, at students passive and active knowledge of the current module at the base and expanded levels accordingly should be consistently generated. Studying of the module comes to the end with the control. The base level of knowledge (Figure 5) is formed by means of theoretical knowledge, the decision typical, and then complex and exercises. Thus, at the student the required knowledge model, structural model of a subject, conceptual-essential model of a subject are consistently formed. The following stage of learning technology is formation at students of active knowledge through performance of projects and creative tasks (Figure 6).


Figure 5. Diagram A22. Base level of knowledge


Figure 6. Diagram A23. Advanced level of knowledge


Let's use methodology of the current knowledge's control qualitative testing. Questions of the test have weight and are in ascending order of skills level. The information about knowledge and skills level at students can be received from a structure or profile of answers.  The monotonous structure means presence of all levels of knowledge. And in that case it is possible to speak about qualitative knowledge.

Sequence of modules’ presentation. As type of information system we shall choose Help and Tutorial System. The sequence of studying of modules in modular training is linear.  The task of decomposition – separation of teaching process into components, was better solved by the modular approach in contrast to the task synthesis. Designing of information system demands nonlinear representation of a teaching material. Let's define sequence of modules in the form context-modular approach [6, 7]. Let us formulate the main theses of the context-modular approach.


Figure 7. Subject area for course "Bitmap graphics applications" hierarchy


The upper layer (Layer1) in a subject area hierarchy is envisaged for the modules, containing the most important, global notions. The subject area hierarchy is presented in Figure 7. The upper layer of a hierarchy is specified and detailed by nodes-modules of the lower level. The lower level contains basic notions, definitions of subject area and the spheres of knowledge adjacent to it. In its turn, the lower level of the applied area contains elementary tasks and methods of their solving.


Figure 8. Applied area for course "Bitmap graphics applications" hierarchy


Modules of the same level should be independent if possible (in the sense of hyper references), i.e. notions of the same level are not defined by means of notions adjacent to them. Such a demand provides the possibility to deepen knowledge even to theoretical basics (the lower level of a hierarchy). The number of references to the modules of the lower level is not limited. References across one level or more are not advisable.

Detailing or deepening the main notions of a subject area (while passing a hierarchy from the top to the bottom) or classification to categories (while passing a hierarchy from the bottom to the top) takes place in the frames of context. For an applied area, the motion from the bottom to the top corresponds to enlargement of actions and widening the circle of tasks using a specific method; motion across an applied area from the top to the bottom is a more detailed description of rules and methods of solving specific tasks and fulfilling some action.

References should be set between hierarchical structures of subject area content and applied area content, for this purpose lists of the following type compiled: the first list – list of task types, projects à tools and notions, the second list contains list of the following type: notion, tool à tasks, projects. Analysis of lists allows to formulate the evolution of hierarchical construction optimality (criteria of hierarchy level isolation and arrangement of modules-nodes along levels): the more references to a module, the higher it is in a hierarchy.

The process of constructing overlapping hierarchies can be divided into the following stages:

3. Conclusions

1.Designing of learning technology of bitmap graphics within the framework of training specialists of  “Computer design” in multimedia applications development area includes designing of models: required knowledge model, learning model, and estimating model, and information system model.

2.Modular teaching defines learning technology and structure of each module.

3.Context-modular approach defines structure of modules i.e. academic course structure.


4. References

[1]  Ross, D. T., "Structured Analysis: A language for communicating ideas" IEEE Trans. on Software Engineering, 3, 1, 1977, pp. 16-34

[2]   Youtsavichene P.A. “Computer teaching based on modular programs”, Pedagogical and psychological aspects of computer teaching (high school). - Riga: RPI. 1988. – pp.40 – 42.

[3]   Youtsavichene P.A “Basics of modular teaching”, Theory and practice of modular teaching. - Vilnius. 1989. – 69 с.

[4]   Youtsavichene P.A. “Principles of modular teaching”, Sovetskaja pedagogika. 1990. – N1.-pp.55 – 60.

[5]   Youtsavichene P.A “Principles of modular teaching”, Sovetskaja pedagogika. 1990. – N2.-pp.55 – 60.

[6]  Bogdanova N. Context-modular Approach to Designing and Developing Multimedia Educational Programs. // Proceedings of the 2nd International Tempus DETECH Workshop “Using Technology in Open Distance Learning”, Maribor, September 13-14, 2001. PP.139 – 145.

[7] Bogdanova N. Didactic Basics of  Context-modular Approach. // Proceedings of Vienna International Working Conference – eLearning and eCulture 2002. – Austria, Osterreichische Computer Gesellschaft, 2003. pp. 21-26.