The Pedagogical Web Site
Internet-based Intelligent Tool to Support Collaborative Argumentation-based LEarning in Secondary Schools
 

A guide for the PWS user

ENSM.SE - SCALE Project IST-1999-10664
April 2004

Authors :
Annie Corbel
Philippe Jaillon
Hubert Proton
Xavier Serpaggi


Contents

  1. Introduction
     
  2. The welcome page
    1. Navigation
       
  3. Administration
    1. Group management
           Managing a group
    2. Managing sequences and sessions of the Common group
    3. Managing the DREW server
      1. Server configuration
      2. Starting or restarting the server
      3. To stop the server
      4. List of active connections
  4. Teachers
    1. Existing tasks in the PWS
           Meaning of the various tasks
    2. Managing tasks sequences
      1. Sequences
      2. Tasks in a sequence
    3. Using Drew
      1. The «Drew module» task
      2. Drew sessions list
      3. Replaying a Drew session
      4. HTML view of a Drew session
  5. Students
    1. Sessions for a students' group
    2. Session for a student

I. Introduction

The Pedagogical Web Site (PWS) is a web portal dedicated to teachers who whish to use argumentative techniques in their classrooms.
The PWS supplies the teacher with different pedagogical tasks that she can combine in a tasks sequence. Some of these tasks allow the use of Drew tools, for a collaborative argumentation for example.
After a teacher has defined such a sequence, she chooses different groups of students who will have to play this sequence. This is what is called a session creation because all what these students will do when playing the sequence will be recorded by the system.
Students groups, sequences and sessions are managed by an administrator, who is responsible for the creation of groups, for deleting unused sequences or sessions and for the administration of the Drew server.
This guide is intended to be used by teachers, students and the administrator.

II. The welcome page

Starting from the welcome page, an entry is provided for each kind of user (administrator, teacher or student) as well as a link to the documentation.
You need an authentication to enter the admin or teacher part (login and password).

Students also have to identify themselves to enter a group (see the section
dedicated to students)

1. Navigation

On each page, a navigation bar allows to navigate through the different pages of the site. Your navigation may be more efficient if you use it rather than the "back button" of your browser.

III. Administration

The administrator may create named groups of students, delete some sequences, which were created by teachers, delete some sessions already recorded by students in the so-called "common group". He/she also administers the Drew server.

1. Group management

There are two kinds of groups: the "named" groups which need an authentication to enter and run the listed sessions and the "Common Group" which does not need an authentication. The initial list of students in a group is empty. This list appears when you create a group.

  • To create a named group, enter the name you wish to give to this group and a password. Then, click on the "New Group" button.
     
  • To modify the password, enter the name of the group and its password, and then click on the "Update Password" button.
     
  • To remove one or more groups, select them in the list and click the "Remove selected groups" button.
    Important : the related sessions will also be removed.
     
  • If you want to remove the sessions played by a given group, select this group in the list and click the "See selected group" button.
     

Managing a group

To remove the sessions played by a group, select these sessions and click the "Delete" button.

If no sessions are defined, then the list is empty and does not appear on the screen.

2. Managing sequences and sessions of the Common group

The administrator can also remove the sequences defined by teachers or the sessions located into the "Common" directory.

If no session is defined, then the list is empty and does not appear on the screen.

3. Managing the DREW server

Some pedagogical tasks use the Drew tool, for example to have students debating together or building arguments graphically. In this case, the DREW server must be activated.

Starting from the admin page of the Drew server, you can configure the listening port, start or stop the server process, get a list of the connections to the server.

A. Server configuration

The Drew server accepts two kinds of connections: TCP/IP and HTTP.

  • With a TCP/IP connection, the server can spontaneously send information to the client. For example, the client can be told that messages have been sent in the forum. This is the more efficient connection, however this type of connection may be forbidden by firewalls without warnings. In this case, Drew may use HTTP connection as an alternative.
     
  • With an HTTP connection, the client has to prompt the server in order to get information. In the meantime, the server must keep all the information intended to the client (within the limits of its storage capacity). So, if the client is silent for too long a time, some information can be lost.
     

The server accepts requests for TCP/IP or HTTP connections on 3 different
ports.

  • As an administrator, you have to set the value of 2 of these ports (the third one is your web server port - usually 80), using the following form.
  • Later on, when a teacher wants to add a Drew task to her sequence, he/she chooses the type of the connection and the port to be used.
     

If you plan to use the PWS into an intranet :

  • For the TCP/IP connections, the server uses the "RAW" port mentioned in the form. Choose a value between 1025 and 65535. The port must not be used by another process - on a Unix machine, you may use the netstat command to see the ports already used.
     
  • When defining a Drew task, the teacher have to select "Direct TCP/IP connection".
     

If your network runs a Firewall which allows only HTTP connections :

  • For HTTP connections, the Drew server uses the port mentioned in the form. Choose a value between 1025 and 65535. The port must also not be used by another process and thus the value must be different than the value provided for the RAW port.
     
  • When defining a Drew task, the teacher have to select "Direct HTTP connection".
     

If your network runs a Firewall which allows only HTTP connection on port 80 :

  • For HTTP connections, the Drew server may also use the port 80. In this case, you don't have to define the HTTP listening port.
     
  • When defining a Drew task, the teacher have to select "HTTP connection relayed by web server".
     

The DREW server also has its own administrator, choose its name and password in this form.

B. Starting or restarting the server

When starting or restarting the Drew server, you will get the following message.

C. To stop the server

When stopping the Drew server, you will get the following message.

D. List of active connections

This screen shows the configuration parameters of the server and the list of the users currently connected to the server. For a user, the subject includes the name of the Drew task subject followed by the name of the user's group and possibly by the name of the user (see teacher section).

IV. Teachers

A teacher can group together some of the available tasks to create a tasks sequence. Some of these tasks trigger the Drew tools for collaborative argumentation.
Once a sequence is fully defined, the teacher chooses, amongst the available students groups, those who will play it. This is what we call creating a session, because then, all the information provided by the students when running this sequence, are stored into the system.

The "Teacher page" allows a teacher to display the already available tasks, to administrate tasks sequences and to replay the Drew sessions.

1. Existing tasks in the PWS

The PWS provides some pre-defined tasks that can be adapted by teachers when defining their tasks sequences.

You can preview a task by clicking on it. A task is not editable at this level.
To do so, you must first include it in a sequence.

Meaning of the various tasks

  • GMOs in debate : some examples of pages about GMOs, related links and documents. This task can be used to define all the tasks aimed to provide information to the students.

     
  • Drew tool : the grapher module. This task can be used to define all the tasks involving Drew modules. To define the tools you actually want to use, you first have to include this task in a sequence and then edit it. You also need to include the Identification task (see below) in this sequence.

     
  • Working with text - Write a text : this task provides a text field where a student may write. This text will be recorded on the Drew server.
    You can use these tasks several times in a single sequence. The text will be saved and redisplayed as is, including the latest modifications.

     
  • Identification : this task simply asks a student to identify itself. When the student is fully identified, this session is duplicated for him only.
    Add this task if you want students to work on their own session or if you plan to use Drew tools in this sequence. The identification task must come before the Drew tool task.
     
  • Ending a session : example of task to display at the end of a sequence.
     

2. Managing tasks sequences

This page shows the list of the already defined sequences. The first time this page is displayed, it is empty as no sequences are defined.

  • To list the tasks inside a sequence, click on the name of the sequence.
     
  • To edit, clone or create sessions from a sequence, click on the link corresponding to the action to be taken.
     
  • The «New sequence» link is used to create a new sequence.
     

A. Sequences

Displaying a sequence

Displaying a sequence presents the teacher with the list of the various tasks included in this sequence. At this level, you may edit or clone the sequence, or even create sessions for this sequence.
In order to see the details of a task in the sequence, just click on the name of this task. You can edit a task by clicking on the corresponding «task edit» link.

Editing a sequence

A sequence is described by a title, a summary and some comments. You can only update these information when in edit mode.
A sequence is also made of an ordered list of tasks. You may add, remove or replace a task in the list.
The version number of a sequence is incremented by one when the sequence is modified and when there are already existing sessions for the previous version.

Creating a session

  • To create a session, select one or more groups of students, or select the group «Common». Then click on the «Make session» button.
     
  • Except for the «Common» group, students need a password to be authorized in a group.
     
  • Creating a session increases the session counter for this sequence by one.
     

B. Tasks in a sequence

Displaying a task

Displaying a task included in a sequence gives a preview of what the students will see.

The «Drew tool» task always gives a preview of the grapher, even if you choose another module.

Editing a task in a sequence

A task is described by a title, some comments and links about the related documentation, and a text describing the work to be done. Editing a task in a sequence gives the teacher the ability to change the default values.

3. Using Drew

When editing a sequence, the «Drew module» task, allows the teacher to use one or several of the Drew modules : grapher, chat, Alex, ... The Drew modules communicate with a Drew server which saves «Drew sessions». These sessions are designated by the name of the group, the subject and, if applicable, a student identifier.

A. The «Drew module» task

A sequence may include several «Drew module» tasks. There is no limitation. You must include an identification task in your sequence if you plan to use a «Drew module» task.
When editing a «Drew module» task in a sequence, you see the formulary below. Following, are some hints on how to fill the form.

  • Module : Choose the name of the module in the list (ex. Grapher).
     
  • Subject : The Drew subject for this task (ex. GMO). Different tasks of a single sequence can have the same subject. The subject is used by the server to designate a session (a Drew session).
     
  • Interactivity :
    • Standalone : the server is not needed and not used. The Drew session is not saved. The identification task is mandatory, even when using this mode.
       
    • Play alone : the student is playing alone, with no partner. You can, for example, ask the student to draw an argumentative graph. A «Drew session» is saved and the name will be the task subject, plus the group name, plus the student id. For example, the GMO-G1-LISA-SMITH session corresponds to the subject GMO of the group G1 played by the student Lisa Smith.
       
    • Interact with other students : The «Drew session» is saved and the student plays with all the other students belonging to the same group and working on the same subject. The session name is made of the Drew subject and the name of the group. For example, the GMO-G1 session is related to the GMO subject of the group named G1.
       
  • Applet size : the size of the Drew window shown to the student.
     
  • Grapher options : only has meaning when the grapher is selected.
     
  • Protocol : the protocol used to communicate with the Drew server. For more information, please refer to the «Drew server configuration» section or ask your system administrator.
    • Direct TCP/IP connection: when using the PWS in an intranet or over the Internet in the case there are no proxies and/or firewalls.
       
    • Direct HTTP connection: when using a network which only accepts HTTP connections (case of a firewall for example).
       
    • HTTP connection relayed by the web server: when using a network with a firewall accepting only HTTP connections and only on port 80.
       

B. Drew sessions list

The Drew sessions list is available under the Teacher page, through the «replay Drew sessions» link.
The following screenshot shows four sessions for the same subject (GMOs) of the same group of students (G1). The first three sessions where played by one student at a time, when the last one was played by the entire group.
You may replay a session, display the traces as an HTML page in the web browser, or export these traces as an Excel readable file.

C. Replaying a Drew session

  • In the list of Drew sessions, choose a session by clicking on the «replay» link next to its name.
     
  • When the next screen appears (left figure below) click on «check this file» and then «replay» buttons.

  • Another window appears which lets you play the session in real time: the PLAY button, or faster: the FFWD button (real time may be really long).
     

D. HTML view of a Drew session

In the list of Drew sessions, choose a session by clicking of the «html page» link next to its name.
The following example shows the page created for the «GMO-G1» session : two students using the chat module to discuss about GMOs.

V. Students

The students' page is accessible from the welcome page. This page presents the different students' groups and the list of the sessions for the "common group"

The numbers specified for each session (V… S…) indicate the version of the sequence and the number of the session for this sequence.

1. Sessions for a students' group

Apart from the "common" group, an authentication is required to join a group: the name of the group and a password for this group.

A page for a given group shows the list of the sessions in this group. See beside the page for group G1

2. Session for a student

A session may include an identification task.

On this example, the student BRIAN JONES runs the session "FOREST – V1S1" from the common group. After his identification, a new session "FOREST – V1S1 for BRIAN JONES" is added to the list. When a student provides its identity, the session is duplicated with his name and the identification task is removed, so the student starts his new session from the beginning. The session is added to the list of sessions for the student's group or for the common group as the case may be.

If a teacher wishes her students to work by pairs and wants to record their interactions, she has to :

  • Create as many groups as pairs.
  • Define a sequence including an Identification task and a Drew tool task.
  • Create a session from this sequence for each group.