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Call for Papers: CFP for a special Issue of BJET - Semantic Web for E-learning

15. 06. 2005

Special Issue on
Advances of Semantic Web for E-learning: Expanding learning frontiers

British Journal of Educational Technology
Edited by: Nick Rushby , Print ISSN: 0007-1013, Online ISSN: 1467-8535

Special Issue Editors:

Ambjorn Naeve, Head of the Knowledge Management Research group, Computer Science
and Communication (NADA), Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stocholm, Sweden,
[email protected]

Miltiadis Lytras, Research Academic Computer Technology Institute and Computers
Engineering and Informatics Department, University of Patras, Hellas, [email protected]

Wolfgang Nejdl, Director of the L3S Research Center, University of Hannover,
Germany, and Coordinator of the PROLEARN network of excellence within technology
enhanced learning, [email protected]

Nicolas Balacheff, Director of the Leibniz laboratory (CNRS-INPG-UJF), Grenoble,
France, and Coordinator of the KALEIDOSCOPE network of excellence within technology
enhanced learning, [email protected]

Joseph Harding, Director of the Collaborative Technologies Laboratory in the
Duderstadt Center, University of Michigan, USA, and Project Chair of the SAKAI
project, [email protected]

Call for Papers

The advent of Semantic Web and its relevant technologies, tools and applications
provide a new context for exploitation. The "expression of meaning"
relates directly to numerous open issues in e-learning. In this special issue
the focus is two-fold: On the one hand to stress the importance of applying
Semantic Web techniques towards constructing systems that provide value to learners,
and - on the other hand - to reveal research opportunities that can initiate
interesting projects over the forthcoming years.

In the W3C Semantic Web activity a list of priorities has set the challenging
landscape for the realization of the next generation web: The creation of a
Policy Aware Infrastructure, the Ontological Evolution, the promotion of a Web
of Trust, and the facilitation of Information Flow and Collaborative Life.

The huge work that has been carried out during the last years in the context
of Semantic Web by several official bodies and research groups has lead the
research community to a mature level concerning strategies, technologies, frameworks
and implementations. According to Eric Miller, head of the W3C SW activity "The
WWW2004 Web conference had a huge Semantic Web focus and reminded me of the
second web conference in Chicago. Chicago, it seems to me, was a turning point
as everyone who attended realized the Web was not a fad, but rather something
that was going to revolutionize how we communicate. The WWW2004 conference had
a similar impact on me with regards to the Semantic Web. The technologies and
toolkits are maturing. Semantic Web applications are becoming far more prevalent".

Similiarily, Amit Sheth stresses that "Semantic Web technology is here
to stay" but the most critical aspect is to focus on Semantics rather than
on Web, since "If SW is narrowly defined, ruling out anything that does
not involve formal representation and inferencing, then it may not be in vogue
for too long".

In this context this Special issue of the BJET Journal intends to be a reference
point for all researchers interested in the challenges that Semantic Web poses
to E-learning in particular and to Learning and Knowledge Technologies in general.

The ultimate objective is obvious. Semantic Web Research "targets the
improvement of the human experience and the enrichment of the living, through
a major shift of focus - from computing to improving human experience - not
only with better ability to use heterogeneous content and apply knowledge, but
also to incorporate perception and pervasive computing" (Sheth 2004). The
exploitation of Semantic Web in the context of e-learning requires a deeper
understanding of the relevant issues. In figure 1 we have tried to summarize
some key research themes in the convergence of Semantic Web and E-learning.
More specifically we have used a matching of key issues that have significant
roles in Semantic Web and E-learning Research respectively, and we have developed
a set of research priorities.

Three cyclical areas summarize the current research in semantic e-learning.
We use for their discussion a pair where the first part relates to the Semantic
Web key issue and the second one to the E-learning Key Issue:

Expression of Meaning - Content authoring:
The obvious direct relation of Semantic Web and E-learning combines the traditional
content authoring process with the critical objective of expression of meaning
. Issues like semantic mark-up, semantic retrieval, personalized, (semi)-structured
annotation and content conversion are leading a big research stream, in which
the main concern is the development of semantic e-learning content.

Ontological Evolution - Adaptive Hypermedia:
The traditional Adaptive Hypermedia considerations in E-learning are combined
with Ontological engineering and a lot of flexible systems and accompanied methodologies
have emerged. Issues like ontology-building, ontology-integration, conceptual
modelling and semantic conceptualisation reveal a new research agenda, in which
the specifications of conceptualisations (ontologies) promote the performance
of learning systems.

Information flow and collaborative Life / Learning Context:
As mentioned above, the instrumenting of knowledge flows has been set as one
of the priorities of the SW W3C activity. According to Eric Miller "One
of the challenges we will meet is to strike a balance between requiring authors
to do more at the outset to make information machine processable, insisting
that everything the machine could use to answer a question be recognized and
identified by the (human) questioner, and leaving large quantities of information
inaccessible to the machine". In this area Semantic Services, (Semi) Automated
Reasoning and Argumentation are critical themes on the semantic e-learning agenda.

Policy Aware Infrastructure - Interoperability/Standards:
The E-learning industry has many achievements in the area of interoperability
and standards and from this perspective it recognizes the need to secure a policy-aware
infrastructure. The Semantic Web will only achieve its potential as an information
space for the free flow of scientific and cultural information if its infrastructure
supports a full range of fine-grained policy controls over its content. The
research on types of control over content, the compliance to semantic and metadata
models as well as the issues of versioning and provenance require extensive

Web of Trust - Communities/Social Dimensions:
According to Eric Miller "Trust in the human social context is based on
constantly evolving and adapting information." Two parties may trust each
other based on a history of mutual interaction, based on formal contracts that
in turn rely on other established systems (e.g. legal and legislative), and
based on risk analysis of a failure of any party to perform as agreed. In the
E-learning Industry this issue is of critical importance. The Learning Objects
Marketplaces and Farms, the Unique Identifications of Resources and the Development
of Intelligent Assistants will require a Semantic Web language of describing
trust. A lot of work remains to be done within this area..

Intended Topics:

Within the forthcoming years, Semantic Web will provide a challenging research
context for the e-learning research community. The inevitable role of knowledge
and learning in the knowledge society will drive the development of several
semantic web-enabled services, tools, and applications for citizens and learners.

The e-learning research community has a critical role in creating synergies
and providing value systems for learning - by exploiting the Semantic Web capacity,
building on the maturity of the previous research in e-learning: Research areas
such as: standards and metadata, adaptive hypermedia, learning communities,
knowledge management, personalized delivery of content, and learning content
annotation show a significant level of readiness to exploit Semantic Web. A
number of research issues in e-learning revealed during the past years can be
approached through semantic web practices, tools, methods and technologies.

We invite submissions that fall in to the following three areas:

A. Preparation for Semantic E-learning / Semantic e-learning readiness
In this area the main emphasis is placed on the conversion and the compliance
of learning content to semantic web standards. In the current stage of Semantic
Web evolution, this is basically pursued through the specification of ontologies
and their use for e-learning. Typical themes in this area are:

  • Semantic Annotation of Learning content: Content/Learner/Context orientations.
  • * Methodologies for (semi) automated conversion to Semantic content.
  • * Semantic Mining according to multi-criteria for learning performance.
  • * Development of Learner Model Ontologies.

B. Semantic E-learning
The Realization of Semantic E-learning requires a multifold approach to a number
of vertical and horizontal themes. The international collaboration can promote
such a goal, and obviously the success of the previous area (Semantic E-learning
Readiness) will influence the possibilities for successful and wide adoption
of Semantic E-learning. Some interesting research themes in this area include:
* Semantic E-learning Portals: methodologies/frameworks/engineering.
* Semantic E-learning Services: exploring resource identities for (semi)-automated
value provision.
* Semantic Content Repositories and Intelligent Assistants.

C. Next Generation E-learning
Undoubtedly, Semantic Web is present on many milestones towards our goal for
effective learning. In the next years we think that the key challenge for Semantic
Web as well as for e-learning will be to develop infrastructures capable of
exploring learning content in every format in an integrative way. This means
that we will see a shift of focus from formalizing/codifying learning content
to managing content in multimedia forms through automated reasoning and exploitation
of mobile, wireless networks as well as new vehicles through digital TV channels.

Some interesting research themes in this area include:
* Semantic Multimedia Content Management: methodologies/ frameworks/ engineering.
* Bridging Semantic E-learning to Ubiquitous and Pervasive Networks.

Important Dates:
Send manuscripts to [email protected] and cc: [email protected]

15th June 2005 Submission of manuscripts
15h July 2005 Notification to authors
30th September 2005 Final versions due
Early 2006 Publication

Style and Author Guidelines
read the Author

Special Issue Sponsors
1) AIS SIG on Semantic Web and Information Systems,
2) PROLEARN, 'Network of Excellence for technology enhanced professional learning',
3) KALEIDOSCOPE, 'European Network of Excellence in technology-enhanced learning',
4) SAKAI Project,a community source software development effort to design, build
and deploy a new Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) for higher education,


Seth, A. et al.(2005). Semantics for the Semantic Web: The Implicit, the Formal
and the Powerful. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems
1(1), 1-18.



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