Offline collaborative learning approach for remote Northern territory students

Haixiao Dai, Phong Lam Nguyen, Cat Kutay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose – Digital learning systems are crucial for education and data collected can analyse students learning performances to improve support. The purpose of this study is to design and build an asynchronous hardware and software system that can store data on a local device until able to share. It was developed for staff and students at university who are using the limited internet access in areas such as remote Northern Territory. This system can asynchronously link the users’ devices and the central server at the university using unstable internet.

Design/methodology/approach
– A Learning Box has been build based on minicomputer and a web learning management system (LMS). This study presents different options to create such a system and discusses various approaches for data syncing. The structure of the final setup is a Moodle (Modular Object Oriented Developmental Learning Environment) LMS on a Raspberry Pi which provides a Wi-Fi hotspot. The authors worked
with lecturers from X University who work in remote Northern Territory regions to test this and provide feedback. This study also considered suitable data collection and techniques that can be used to analyse the available data to
support learning analysis by the staff. This research focuses on building an asynchronous hardware and software system that can store data on a local device until able to share. It was developed for staff and students at university
who are using the limited internet access in areas such as remote Northern Territory. This system can asynchronously link the users’ devices and the central server at the university using unstable internet. Digital learning systems are crucial for education, and data collected can analyse students learning performances to improve support.

Findings – The resultant system has been tested in various scenarios to ensure it is robust when students’ submissions are collected. Furthermore, issues around student familiarity and ability to use online systems have been considered due to early feedback.

Research limitations/implications – Monitoring asynchronous collaborative learning systems through analytics can assist students learning in their own time. Learning Hubs can be easily set up and maintained using micro-computers now easily available. A phone interface is sufficient for learning when
video and audio submissions are supported in the LMS.

Practical implications – This study shows digital learning can be implemented in an offline environment by using a Raspberry Pi as LMS server. Offline Collaborative learning in remote communities can be achieved by applying asynchronized data syncing techniques. Also asynchronized data syncing can be reliably achieved by using change logs and incremental syncing technique.

Social implications
– Focus on audio and video submission allows engagement in higher education by students with lower literacy but higher practice skills. Curriculum that clearly supports the level of learning required for a job needs to be developed, and the assumption that literacy is part of the skilled job in the
workplace needs to be removed.

Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first remote asynchronous collaborative LMS environment that has been implemented. This provides the hardware and software for opportunities to share learning remotely. Material to support low literacy students is also included.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInteractive Technology and Smart Education
Early online date9 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Sep 2022

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