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Session Organization

The lecturer shall be enabled to prepare the session by developing a "session program" i.e. preparing the basic materials (texts, images, animations, hypermedia documents, computer programs, ...) and coordinating their use by invoking corresponding applications (browsers, viewers, interpreters, ...), managing their causal and temporal relationships, and potentially handling their outputs (e.g. exercise results). Additionally the session may integrate certain application-independent facilities (whiteboards, audio connections, ...). The session may be developed, tested, and debugged offline i.e. in a simulation environment with the help of various supporting tools.

The execution of the education session is initiated on a certain host computer that serves as the lecturer's interface to the session. This computer may be equipped with audio/video devices if also users in remote locations shall be enabled to participate in the session. Single-classroom presentations generally cope without such devices; here the primary focus is typically the integration of domain-specific computer support.

After the session has been initiated, additional hosts may request access to the session; each session request consist of the address of the host and the role that the host wants to play in the session. In simple education sessions, there may be just one lecturer host and a set of audience hosts; more complex sessions may be composed of a central supervisor, several "floor managers" in the respective locations, several lecturers and various sets of clients (e.g. active participants and quiet listeners). Access may be granted manually or on the basis of rules taking into account address/role information (no restriction, participants restricted to particular network domains, ...). The overall state of the session and its participants may be monitored and controlled from the supervising host.

Each participating host loads and executes that part of the session program that corresponds to its particular role. This session program is in charge of loading the particular media objects, invoking the corresponding applications, synchronizing and coordinating their interaction with each other and with processes on other hosts and handling the generated output.

Maintainer: Wolfgang Schreiner
Last Modification: March 11, 1997

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