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A Collaborative Idea Sharing Tool Based on Online Solution for Mobile Application

Assoc. Prof. Dr Sulaiman Mohd Nor1, Assoc. Prof. Zamani Md Zain2 , Mr Muhammad Haikal Satria3
1. Research Fellow, Centre for Information and Communication Technology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Lecturer Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 2. Lecturer, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 3. h.D candidate, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

This research is funded under the Instructional Develoment Grant (no 6016), Universiti Teknologi malaysia

and sustaining competitive advantages. Idea sharing capability when integrated with the existing Idea sharing ability in educational institutions is one of the most intangible assets for innovating

e-learning systems available in an educational institution will enhance knowledge cognitively

through the social interaction between peers and teachers. However, problems in communication in time and space create barriers of communicating ideas between the involved entities. There is a need to provide support by removing the time and space barrier and representing ideas as

structured information. Based on the theory of Social and Collaborative Constructionism, we collaborative tool to solve the need on knowledge and idea sharing. This tool visualizes ideas or

introduce an Idea Sharing Application with enriched mind mapping features as an asynchronous other information organized around a central key idea. It structures the knowledge in a hierarchical

connection and provides tracking of changes and history from each involved entities. Relevant It is based on online solution for mobile application which could be accessed anywhere with onebetween students and supervisors, especially at the postgraduate level in UTM. Initial incubated ideas and information are processed collaboratively between researchers and supervisors.

documents, pictures and related links can be embedded within the framework to support the ideas. to-one or one-to-many access. This tool has been tested to support research ideas and framework

common amongst students and teachers. A study conducted by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia discovered that most second year undergraduate Education course majoring in Computer and Science have a high level of knowledge for their readiness in using e-learning with a min of 4.14. The attitude of students in their readiness towards e-learning is also positive with a min of 3.67. The existing e-learning system can be further enhanced with new technologies to enhance the However, the study also showed that the students motivation is low with a min of around 3.38[1]. experience of learning through online. This includes lectures which can be recorded by students and the

Nowadays, the acceptance of teaching and learning through the electronic media has been


contents uploaded to a content server (an example being UTM video server, mind map system for idea sharing and problem solving. The application can be used anytime and anywhere by groups of registered users. This system can be augmented into the existing e-learning system used at the university. The motivation of the research centres on these questions; The purpose of this paper is to share on the development of an enhanced collaborative on-line


International Conference For e-learning & Distance Education

A Collaborative Idea Sharing Tool Based on Online Solution for Mobile Application

academic problems through collaborative on-line idea sharing system? students and students and teachers?

1- Will interaction between students (and teachers) help students to effectively solve their 2- How does space and time limits and extends the effectiveness of idea sharing amongst


been presented by N Vivekananthamoorthy [2] This study demonstrates how conventional teaching methodology can be complemented through e-learning to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning. In the study, the tools used to build the proposed framework include Googles Web, Google Docs and Google analytics which are available freely. The tools used are towards applying Osborne Problem Solving process.

A case study to design a teaching framework through an effective e-learning methodology has

Process (CPS) or Osborn-Parnes process was developed by Alex Osborn and Dr. Sidney J Parnes in 1950.[3] The CPS conceptual framework integrated with the theory of Social Constructionism or Collaborative Constructionism will be used in the second phase of the research methodology. The

Problem solving methodology used in education otherwise known as Creative Problem Solving

Osborn-Parnes process with six steps and divided into three phases can be summarized as follows; [4] Process Level Step
Find objective (identify goal, needs or challenges) Discover challenges Discover facts (group relevant data) Identify problems (elaborate the problems to solve in order to achieve goal) Generate Idea Readiness for action Identify idea (identify idea to solve problem) Find solution (moving from idea to execution) Acceptable results (plan for action)

to support Social Constructionism and Collaborative Constructionism theory is Learning With Weblogs: Enhancing Cognitive and Social Knowledge Construction.[5] This study is based on the assumption that effective usage of weblogs will validate the constructivist model on teaching performance by supporting development of social and cognitive knowledge and enhancing responsibility of individual in teaching. This paper has given a good overview on learning theory based on constructivist theory. The key question in this research is whether the continuous use of

Amongst the work done which demonstrates the strong relationship between usage of tools

weblogs as online learning logs can affect students learning performance.

As an initial step towards realizing the project, a study on existing mind map system which are

used has been done. The purpose of the study is as such to see whether any of the existing system have been identified as a reference to study. These applications are either online or offline system, most of which are based on flash using asynchronous group transaction. The table 1.0 below shows the list with the development technology and the type of licensing.

can be used instead of having to build the system from scratch. Sixteen idea sharing applications







Group Transaction

Browser based, 1 MindMeister Java, VML agent (standalone, mobile)

Signup, crosssite



Mindjet, MindManager

Flash, .Net

Agent standalone, (Windows)

Sign up


Asynchronous (push/pop) Asynchronous (push)



Browser based Browser based,

Sign up Signup, crosssite Sign up Sign up




agent,(Windows, Apple)


Asynchronous (push/pop)
Realtime Realtime

5 6

Mind42 Dabbleboard WiseMapping


Browser based Browser based

Free commercial

Flash, Ajax
VL Java, SVG,

Browser based

Sign up

Open source

asynchronous (push/pop) asynchronous (push/pop) asynchronous (push/pop)



Web browser, standalone agent Agent standalone

Sign up, OpenID Sign up






International Conference For e-learning & Distance Education

A Collaborative Idea Sharing Tool Based on Online Solution for Mobile Application

Browser based, 10 iMindMap Flash agent (standalone, mobile) 11 12 SpicyNodes MAPMYself Flash .Net, Silverlight Flash Browser based Browser based Signup Browser based Signup Browser based, standalone agent Sign up Sign up commercial commercial asynchronous (push/pop) asynchronous (push) synchronous Sign up commercial synchronous


Spider scribe

Sign up





Sign up




3D Topicscape mindmaps

Standalone .Net agent (Winbase OpenGL) License commercial Offline





Web browser, standalone agent

Signup, crosssite



Table 1.0 Available Mind map applications

idea sharing system that can be easily integrated with the existing infrastructure.

Based on the study done, it was discovered that the way forward is to develop a customized


analysis, to develop a prototype system that can be deployed in a controlled environment with identified group of users. The second phase is to study the effectiveness of the project in the light of Social Constructionism and Collaborative Constructionism theory complemented by Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS). Sets of questionnaires will be developed to the identified target groups using the system and the results analyzed with the given framework as stated before.

This project is divided into two phases. The first phase is to do a comprehensive requirement

Software Requirements Specification for UTM Idea Sharing System

and specifications of UTM Idea Sharing system. It explains the purpose and features of the system, The purpose of UTM Idea Sharing system is to develop a web based and online application of

The Software Requirement Specification provides a complete description of all the functions

the interfaces of system, what the system will do and the constraints under which it must operate. management and idea mapping between students, lecturers or amongst them, augmenting the current UTM elearning system. Modeling of requirement analysis, system designs and framework design is based on Unified Modeling Language (UML) version 2.1. The system was designed and developed to augment UTM e-learning system and to allow users to login using ACID, add / create the idea, update the idea, manage the idea and share the ideas either by One to

One sharing or One to Many sharing. ACID or Academic Computing ID (Identification) of UTM is a centralized user account and password management system for all academic users in the sharing data will be deployed in a server provided by Computer Centre. The system also provides university. The description of ACID can be obtained from The idea Add/Delete Object on childparent object, AutoSave workspace, Cut and Copy Object, Export/ function. The group transaction type is asynchronous

Import enable, viewing with Navigator, Print Enable, Relation Generator with AutoBackup

Requirement Analysis

services it will provide to the user. The requirements can be broken up into three distinctive measureable sub functional requirement of the application. The first sub requirement Asynchronous Online Application

Functional Requirements are those that refer to the functionality of the system, i.e., what

The server application will be placed in UTM intranet, and follows the networking rule of UTM. The application is a crossmajor web browser platform as an attribute conferred to computer software or computing methods and concepts that are implemented and interoperate on multiple web browser platforms. Platforms identified as major web browsers are Mozilla, Google Chrome to pass login message from or to Academic Computing ID (Identification) of UTM. The second sub requirement Idea mapping and Safari. The users login is provided by ACID login, where application are provided with scripts

The UTM idea sharing application will be implemented as an online web based application.

starts with the display of a (center) parent with an oval shape containing a key text of the topic. This is typical in any mind map program. The diagram is a hierarchical tree map of child node from the center parent. The child node is a key text with no shape and contains note. A note contains a

The UTM idea sharing application will be implemented as a mind map diagram. The diagram


International Conference For e-learning & Distance Education

A Collaborative Idea Sharing Tool Based on Online Solution for Mobile Application

paragraph based description text, image and hyperlink. The third sub requirement Project Management A project is a single generated mind map diagram created by a user. The user can delete saved

map, generate new map, alter saved map and share saved map to other user. Each of users could see

the list of saved or shared projects generated by him/her and shared project provided by other users.
Table 2.0 summarizes these requirements Sub Requirement Online System: Cross Platform browser : Mozilla, Google, Chrome and Safari Server side script to provide client side interface Provide Login and security based on ACID UTM Sub Requirement Idea Mapping Center parent as rectangular shape Extensible size of child node tree Notes inside each child node Notes provides test, image and hyperlink text Add/Delete child node Auto arrange child node tree Text Sizing and formatting Hide/Unhide child node. Theme selection Sub Requirement Project Management List of project belong to User List of project shared by other user to a User Description of each project Snapshot of project

the application.

The use case scenario for new project depicts many of the use case scenarios in developing

Table 2.0 Summary of requirements

Figure 1.0 Use case for new project scenario Table 3.0 summarizes the steps in the case of a new project being created by the user.

Brief Description

The creation of a new project and sharing mechanism For this use case to be initialized, students must be connected to the internet and connected to the application website with authenticated credential from the authentication process. One of the student has already initialized / create new project at project management page 1. A Student creates new project or alter an available saved project created by they own authentication account. management page 2. Student then proceed to save the new project or alter the project then proceed to the project 3. Student click the project and get the project description at the info panel

Initial Steps

Steps Description

4. At the info panel, the student clicks share button and the system displays a message box with text input. 5. Student fills up the text input with some username (email address) separated by semiolon. and shared project at their project list page. the group.

6. When the student clicks the OK button, all of listed students get notification via their account 7. For every alteration, amendments done by a user, notification will be send to other users in

Table 3.0 Steps based on the use case for new project


International Conference For e-learning & Distance Education

A Collaborative Idea Sharing Tool Based on Online Solution for Mobile Application


The figure 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 shows typical display of the system.

Figure 2.0 User login interface

the specification, user account management will be integrated with UTM ACID system. However, for the prototype, user account is created via an interface not shown here.

Once a user goes to UTM idea sharing page, the page as shown in figure 2.0 is displayed. In

Figure 3.0 User management interface

Once a user has successfully login, the user management interface is displayed. Here, the user

can open an existing (or create) a project, delete an existing one or share with other members the project. By clicking on the panel, the following display will be shown (figure 4.0). The user can now rename the New Mind Map with an appropriate title. The bubble represents

nodes which can be added or deleted as needed. It can be moved accordingly and links, documents and images inserted.

Figure 4.0 User idea interface

users sharing and collaborating ideas. This reduces having local physical interaction. Thus a student

As mentioned earlier, the system can function as an on-line mind map system with multiple

(or lecturer/supervisor) can initiate a project and share with his/her peers. Traditionally the group have to meet to initiate this sort of activity. Now it can be initiated by anyone with invitation to other method. Whenever an idea crops up, the participant can put the idea with the framework, update the Also as mentioned earlier, images can also be inserted in the nodes to enrich the ideas. participants via e-mail. The session might not be interactive in real time as needed in the traditional idea etc provided he or she is on line. With the current version, the idea can also be viewed off-line. The prototype system has been successfully implemented on a Dell Poweredge 1U rack

mounted server with Windows 2003 operating system, single CPU and 2 GB RAM. The database uses MySQL with Apache Tomcat as the servlet and JSP Web Server.



International Conference For e-learning & Distance Education

A Collaborative Idea Sharing Tool Based on Online Solution for Mobile Application


ACID system so as to allow all users in the university to use the system without having to create an account. The system has also to be fully tested according to all the features mentioned with the ability to support a maximum number of users concurrently. Thus the supporting hardware, the From experience, users tend to find alternatives once the system starts to degrade in performance, no matter how good and extensive the features are. In addition, the effectiveness of the system based on the aforementioned theories has to be established. Based on the current practice still carried experience through the collaborative on-line mind map system. The system developed is not fully complete. The login part is still not integrated with UTM

tools must be able to do so. In essence, performance consideration has to be really taken care of.

out by many students and project supervisors, the system is expected to enhance the learning


Education degree students majoring in Science and Computer, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia A study (Kesediaan Penggunaan E-Learning Di Kalangan Pelajar Tahun Teknologi Malaysia - Satu Tinjauan), (2010) accesible through accessed on 24th April 2011 Proceedings 2009 Seventh International Conference on ICT and Knowledge Engineering, pages 8 14, 1-2 Dec 2009 H. S. Du dan C. Wagner, Learning With Weblogs: Enhancing Cognitive and Social Vivekananthamoorthy, N et. al, An effective E-learning framework model - a case study , Kedua Kursus Sarjana Muda Sains, Komputer Serta Pendidikan, Fakulti Pendidikan, Universiti Yahaya ,Noraffandy and Ling, Ning Ning, The readiness to use e-learning amongst second year

Knowledge Construction, pages 1-18, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 50, NO. 1, MARCH 2007



International Conference For e-learning & Distance Education