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Fenia Petran

Question 4: Part 2

a) Tracking the learning metrics

Examination lessons in the e-learning systems include a variety of metrics that we can track, monitor and analyze to determine the rate of learning and to improve it.

These lessons were built using a specially developed object-oriented application which extends the system capabilities using the Microsoft Windows ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) technology to send data to and to retrieve data from a Microsoft Access database.

There are two types of examination lessons in the e-learning systems.

1) Personal examination

An important element of the e-learning system is the personal examination which provides the ability to evaluate how well the end-user is learning the course material.

Different types of quizzes evaluate the learner answers, calculate the score, and provide instant feedback.

2) Test and assessment (optional)

Using a learning management system (LMS)such as Sum TotalLMS from SumTotal Systems it is possible to record tracking and scoring results for every form of training included in the system.

The individual progress of each end-user towards achieving the educational goals can be measured and viewed online or through reports.

This examination application is dynamically built with questions randomly selected from a question bank.

The user answers are collected, scored and recorded into the LMS, when the student exits from the lesson.

The detailed test information is stored in the LMS database and displayed, reported and analyzed on demand.

To enable tracking and scoring, the e-learning quiz lessons include questions which analyze learners answers and provide scoring and feedback, and also preprogrammed widgets that enable recording the scoring information in the LMS database.

Examples of tracking and scoring issues are:

* How many time takes to answer a question?
* How many tries were used to answer the question?
* The percentage of correct answers in the quiz lesson.
* The lesson score.
* Whether the user used the review help to answer the question.

b) Different types of quiz questions

Question objects test end-users on their understanding of the learning material.

These objects have built-in behavior that provides feedback to the users, supplies information on how the end-users interacted with the question, and also can interact with a learning management system (LMS) to track the behavior of groups of learners.

Examples of question objects are:

* Match-items object – A button set that allows the user to drag an arrow to define pairs of matching items.

* Multiple-choice object – A button set that allows the user to select the correct answer by clicking one of several available choices.

* Fill-in-the-blank object – A field that allows the user to enter text for an answer and then evaluates whether the text is correct.

* True/ false object - Displays a statement that the user must define as true or false.

* Drag text object - Allows the user to define an ordered list of words or phrases as the correct response to a question and tests the user ability to reconstruct the list in proper order.

The interaction of the end-user with the question can be limited on time and/ or number of tries for the answer.

c) Interactive objects that enable scoring and tracking

Programmed scoring and tracking graphical objects on the screen provide for displaying feedback, scoring questions, scoring the quiz application, and limiting answer time.

Here are examples of such objects.

1. Attempts: Displays the number of attempts to answer a question.
2. Result: Reveals whether the question was answered correctly or not.
3. Correct answer: Displays the correct answer for a question.
4. User answer: Displays the user's answer to the question.
5. Review: Contains a link that the end-user can click to navigate directly to the
e-learning lesson screen that includes the learning material the question relates to.
6. Time: Displays the amount of time elapsed since starting to work on the question. This is relevant for questions with time limit.
7. Feedback: A feedback field displays text (such as Correct/ Incorrect) that is automatically shown after the user answers a question.
8. Score this application: Displays the total score for all the questions in the quiz application.
9. Mark as complete: When the end-user accesses the application through an LMS, clicking this object enters the lesson score into the LMS data base and the lesson is marked as completed.
10. Graphic timer: Displays the number of seconds that remain to answer a question with time limit.

Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 10

Design concepts: Looking ahead....

a) Investing in your ecosystem

Investing creativity and work for your ecosystem participants, including customers, users, consultants, business partners and distributors will expand the learning platform presence far beyond what you could do alone.

This will enable to build brand awareness and loyalty and help stay ahead of the competition.

This will provide access to the latest information, product updates and training, as well as align the company's vision and values.

This can also provide an opportunity for new potential customers to get acquainted with your products, and even start learning by them.

By providing an environment for each one to access courseware on demand, product training in various languages, discussions and social community interaction will result in a very rewarding activity for the company.

b) Training as a Service

The company which designs and develops both the learning platform and training systems for it can implement real-time analytics to understand how users are experiencing their products.

Once their systems go to the users, the developer company can start to use Microsoft's Windows cloud technology and real-time analytics to understand how users are experiencing their products.

By using this feedback, they can continuously improve, develop and test new content and features that will keep their users interested and engaged.

This Training as a Service approach is powerful and fruitful for both the learning community and the development team.

c) The power of collaboration

People could do more when working together than apart.

This recognition of not only working with other people but also bringing them together is at the core of a learning collaborative platform.

And this is in short what modern marketing also needs to do.

Keeping the customer at the core and top of mind of the business is the open secret of a winning company.

With their deep understanding of the customers, brand and business strategy, the marketing people can use the learning platform to deliver a great customer experience.

d) Community tools

Participants in learning platform ecosystems, customers, users, business partners and distributors are all adopting social technologies.

So that it is only natural at some time to make social business technology part of the everyday work.

The launch of an online community is an enabling factor which amplifies communication and collaboration within ecosystem and allows user training.

Allowing users, customers and partners to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, managing interesting discussions related to the learning platform, monitoring conversations and responding in a timely manner and providing interesting content can make the difference between success and mediocrity for a company.

Building a social community is not a first priority feature for the learning platform, due to the variety of social tools and social networks that are already linked to it.

However, as the platform will become more and more accepted and the ecosystem will expand, it should be considered as an option for further development and improvement.

Amazon has created a variety of Developers Tools to help and assist professional developers create community tools using Amazon Web Services.

These include functions and support for community management, content development, technical support and analytics and are scalable over time, as the user data base, content and functionality expand.

Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 9

Design goals

a) User-friendly environment

1) The visual interface

One of the most important features of the PC-WORLD family as a whole is one that you never see directly.

It's the modularity that's built into the standard design and because of it, all the components of a system you use behave similarly and all the systems have the same familiar "look".

The visual interface combines multimedia elements - still images, sound, voice, music, digitized video and animation with high-quality graphics.

Like Windows, the graphic interface is intuitive and uses objects - icons, buttons and graphic images that emulate those found in the real world.

2) The browsing environment

A browsing environment allows learners to discover information in the order of their choice.

You can access related topics by way of hyperlinks that jump to another screen, another topic or lesson.

Hyperlinked text or icons allow learners to review the relevant content on as-needed basis.

3) The systems includes a variety of navigation tools, including navigation maps, navigation menus, navigation buttons,graphic controls, arrow keys and icons.

The user interface has powerful, built-in hypermedia features. Using the navigation topic map or several navigation buttons you can reach any screen, at any time.

4) The systems include Online Help at different levels:

* general, at the system level, hypertext technical reference information for terms, context-sensitive tool-tips for each object on the screen and step-by-step procedures.

5) An important element of the system is the personal examination which provides the ability to evaluate how well the user is learning the material.

Different types of quizzes evaluate the learner answers, calculate the score, and provide instant feedback.

b) Designed for different learning environments

The systems are designed for use by a broad spectrum of users.

1) Can be deployed on premise (user computer), as Software as a Service from the cloud, on a LAN server, on an Internet Service Provider server, on a corporate server (intranet).

* From the user point of view, all versions are identical and work exactly in the same way.

2) Support different types of learning: virtual online, offline and blended.

3) Meet the needs of everyone, from professional people to those with minimal computing knowledge and skills.

4) Can be easily customized and integrated with existing and on-demand curriculum.

5) Can be readily localized and adapted to meet various countries languages and education standards.

6) Meet the challenges of being student, teacher and user friendly.

7) Enable to learn science and technology in a comprehensive, fun and interesting way.

Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 8

Design concepts

a) Real-world application environment

a.1 TREDA PC-COM: Computer Data Communication

The PC-COM communication software is dedicated and was developed according to industry standards, well-known in the computer data communication world.

The communication software characteristics enable reliable full-duplex data transmission and communication and are used to illustrate how computers communicate and interact in the real world.

An interactive smart terminal emulation system illustrates various aspects of programming the RS-232 serial interface and computer communication.

An object-oriented communication system is used to provide several types of point-to-point connections and peer-to-peer computer data communication.

This peer-to-peer communication system was designed in a layered architecture based on the OSI model.

At the lowest layer were developed Physical Layer protocols, according to the RS-232 industry standard and protocol and Hayes Smartmodem.

These protocols are responsible for the physical connection between computers and are integrated with protocols implemented in standard hardware.

The Data Link protocols are responsible for the link management and reliable data transmission between computers.

The Setup connection protocol allows establishing a point-point connection, in either dial-up, leased or null-modem mode, according to user request.

The data transfer protocol implements standard techniques and schemes for reliable data transmission, with acknowledgment of received data, error control and data flow control.

At the higher Application Layer, a collection of protocols and real-time conversational procedures provide various types of generic, hardware-independent, protocol-independent, software-oriented services to the user.

The application software includes remote operation capabilities, in Terminal-Host mode, so that you can run programs, share resources and execute tasks at distance, in the remote host computer, according to request commands sent by the host terminal PC.

The capabilities implemented in the PC-COM communication system enable to illustrate a wide variety of commonly used applications in PC-PC, PC-Host, Terminal-Host and Terminal-Terminal data communication.

a.2 TREDA PC-NET: Telecommunication networks

PC-NET is a real telecommunication network which integrates:

* multi-tasking, multi-user, real-time client-server and peer-to-peer communication software, developed according to industry standards and
* communication protocols implemented in standard hardware.

The application software is dedicated and was designed in an open-system layered protocol stack based on OSI and TCP/IP models.

The PC-NET network provides WAN and LAN features and implements:

* Analog communication via modems and PSTN telephone network.
* Digital communication via Ethernet and ADSL.
* Remote access to PC, PC-LAN and Internet.

a.3 TREDA PC-LANET: Local Area Networks

PC-LANET experiments are performed in an extended local area environment (LAN), operating in real time, as either:

* A star network.
* An Ethernet network.
* A Token-Ring network.
* A wireless Wi-Fi network.
* A wireless Bluetooth network.

with remote access to PC, LAN, WAN and Internet.

The application environment integrates

* multi-tasking, multi-user real-time client-server and peer-to-peer communication software and standard programmable hardware

providing generic, standard, hardware-independent, protocol-independent services to the user.

b) Applications

Here are some examples of PC-NET applications

Topic: Telecommunication connectivity: How it works?

1. Establish dial-up connection.
2. Establish leased connection.
3. Establish TCP connection.
4. Establish LAN connectivity.
5. Establish Internet connectivity

Topic: Message transmission: How it works?

1. Send message to server.
2. Send message to client.
3. Send e-mail message.
4. Send instant message.
5. Send SMS and MMS.

Topic: File transfer: How it works?

1. Send file to server.
2. Send file to client.
3. Send file to workgroup.
4. Transfer files with FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
5. Browsing the Web.

Topic: Remote access: How it works?

1. Remote access to WAN.
2. Remote control.
3. Sharing information remotely.
4. Remote Telnet connection.
5. Streaming audio and video over Internet.

Topic : How applications and services work?

1. P2P networks and applications.
2. Sharing P2P music files.
3. Cloud computing.
4. From Skype to Skype.
5. The digital world of Google.
6. Digital TV over Internet.

c) The serial interface

All the communication systems use the same hardware application board, TREDA PC-COM.

This is a smart communication interface, specially developed in accordance with industry standards, in a didactic mode and ISO-9002 certified.

* Connects to the serial or USB port of the PC and provides dial-up and leased connections between computers, using telephone lines and modems, and also direct connection between computers without modems.

* Includes a Hayes smart modem and provides reliable full-duplex data communication, different types of point-to-point connections between PC computers, control and monitoring of RS-232 status and modem status at all stages of communication between computers.

d) Animations and simulations

Animations and simulations including graphic effects, voice, sound and music provide an intuitive, powerful and easy-to-understand user interface tool, that's fun and interesting to use.

In complete analogy with the real human communication, the computer communication was designed in terms of "conversation", between intelligent computers, using smart modems.

Computers and modems "discuss" in plain English, like people do, in the real world.

Here are some examples:

Local modem: Hi.

Remote modem: Hi.

Local modem: Are you ready to start?

Remote modem: Sure, I'm ready!

Local modem: Can we shake on it?

Remote modem: Consider it done!

Local modem: We really connected!


Local PC to the local modem:
Pick-up the handset. You can start dialing!

Remote PC to the remote modem:
It's ringing! Let's answer.

Client computer: I'm lonely. Do you have a friend I can talk to?

PC-NET server: I have a lot of friends. Do you think to someone in particular?

Client computer: Send me a list I can choose from!


Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 7

Design concepts

a) Interactive and content-rich systems

TREDA PC-NETWORKS are interactive e-learning training systems in Computer Data Communication and Computer Networks.

Provide a comprehensive, content-rich curriculum and an user-friendly, easy-to-use and easy-to-understand learning approach, supplying knowledge, practical skills and experience in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), oriented to the real-world.

The e-learning systems include comprehensive interactive tutorials, software simulations and animations, application programs, practical hands-on experiments and step-by-step procedures, examination and assessment.

The systems are designed with the user in mind.

The focus is on the learning material, that you can access when, how and in the order you want.

The content, navigation, quizzes and feedback, animation and simulation, sound, music and voice, high-quality graphics and the user-friendly visual interface provide a highly-interactive learning environment, comprehensive, easy-to-use, lively and engaging that make you quickly on your way of learning at your own pace.

Behind the interactive tutorials which teach the different types of computer networks, with their standards, protocols, interfaces and technologies, resides a real-world, specially developed data communication and network application environment, with different peer-to-peer and client-server LAN and WAN computer networks.

b) Learning from the industry

The PC-NETWORKS systems provide a working model for training computer communications and networking in the PC environment, developed in a didactic way, with orientation to the industry.

* Show how to take advantage of the modern communication technologies and computer
networks, and what the future holds.

* Provide a practical view of new technologies and translate all of them to real world terms.

* Present and illustrate in a practical way concepts, techniques, standards, implementation strategies and practical solutions, introduce major communication protocols and environments for LAN and WAN networks and new generations of applications that integrate computers, telecommunication, LAN, Internet, multimedia streaming, video conference, video on demand, Voice over IP and many other similar things.

* Illustrate in a practical way the hardware-independent, software-oriented concepts, with
real emphasis on applications, characteristic for the PC technology and computer data
communication in PC-based networks.

* Implement communication protocols and techniques which conform with main industry standards and are proved to work in a standard way in commonly used worldwide communication application environments.

Demonstrate in a practical way how computers communicate and collaborate:

* Across different communication media,

* Using different configurations for computer equipment and different types of networks and

* Implementing different communication protocols

In a standard mode, independent of the technology, independent of the hardware equipment,

Developed on the Microsoft Visual C++ Studio platform, with Microsoft Software Developer's tools, the communication software operates exactly in the same way

* In any PC configuration, under all versions of Microsoft Windows operating system.


c) Just as in the real world

The blueprint for the systems design and implementation resides in the real world of PC computer communication and networks.

The ways in which we can communicate today with the PC have extended far beyond the expectations of the more imaginative and most visionary of the personal computer pioneers.

Today we have a PC that is part of our real world, someone who "listens and replies to you", and not a mere collection of chips and electronics.

That's why the systems show more of the intelligence that's engraved in the PC, more of what is really important for understanding computer communication and networking, and how it works.

In complete analogy with the real human communication, the systems have been designed in terms of "conversation" between intelligent computers according to internationally agreed communication protocols.

d) The layered architecture

The communication environment was meant to emphasize the hardware-independent concepts behind the layered computer communication.

The highest Application Layer doesn't know which way a connection was established.

It is only interested to get a defined application service, such as to exchange messages with a peer in another computer.

The Data Link Layer doesn't also know the details of how a connection was achieved.

This protocol layer uses the services of the lower Physical Layer to actually manage the physical, hardware-dependent aspects of a point-to-point connection.

After connection establishment, a direct logical "conversation" channel is set up and maintained between two peer computers, over which they and their users can directly communicate.

And it doesn't matter which way the connection was established.

It all works just in the same way.

e) Development platform

The communication and networking systems are developed on a standard platform using powerful, universally accepted programming tools and technologies, based on industry standards.

The application software integrates advanced technologies in Microsoft Windows object-oriented programming.

The application environment is real-world based and integrates:

* A collection of application programming libraries, protocols and real-time conversational procedures, specially developed according with internationally agreed industry standards.

* Communication drivers and protocols implemented in standard hardware.

* Services provided by Microsoft Windows operating system, Windows Dynamic Link Libraries and the Microsoft Network.

* Microsoft application programming interface functions.

* Main application programs from Microsoft, that you use in your day-to-day tasks, as well as programs that you can use to maintain and troubleshoot the computer and the network.

The software was specially designed for an Open System Software Environment and uses a collection of open-system technologies that enable to mix and match software and hardware from different manufacturers, in a way that hides the underlying operating systems, communication protocols and differences in the vendor products.

The communication software was developed with the concept that client applications in the computer should be able to communicate with other applications running in other computers, that might use different operating systems.

The network design and the implementation follows Windows Open Systems Architecture (WOSA) middleware strategy.

This allows users of different client computers to communicate and collaborate across the network, regardless of the computer configuration and the underlying operating system.


Fenia Petran

Question 1: Part 6

Design goal

a) A converged world of information

Just as human communication devices like telephone and television are underpinned by physical media, including electrical cables and broadcast transmission in the electro-magnetic spectrum, so are computer communication devices, as well.

All the physical media are actually transparent to the computer communication users, and in most cases, even hidden from them.

For example: The same user interface could be used for electronic mail, regardless of the different types of devices involved in the e-mail transmission.

Computer networks work as distributed systems and the existence of a collection of many different computers between the source and destination is completely hidden from the user.

From technical point of view:
* Electronic devices, such as mobile phones and TV sets are just special-purpose smart computers.

From the user point of view:
* The access to the converged world of telecommunications, computer communication, radio and TV means easy access to rich content information, communication facilities and entertainment.

These are supported by modern techniques associated with converged computer communications today.

* There is a convergence tendency between the fixed and the mobile communications.

* There is a device/consumer convergence between the PC Internet world, the mobile devices world and the customer equipment broadcast world. Devices from each world have similar functions and are all able to connect wirelessly.

* One key component of a converged user communication interface is the use of various types of information - multimedia - a blend of voice, sound, video, graphics and data that can be used to present information, on any end-user device.

b) Just as in the real world

The easiest way to understand how computers communicate is to think of a dialog between people.

Communication between computers means "conversation", like in the real human world.

Just as in a human dialog, computers "talk" with each other, and also "listen" to each other.

Like a successful business partnership between two people, successful communication between two computers goes far beyond the physical connection and requires:

* Compatibility and collaboration at several levels.

The reference model for computers communication was designed in an open-system layered protocol stack, according and similar to the "conversation" between people on different levels.

And just as in the real world, when the persons cannot directly discuss with each other, there are required "intermediary persons" who transmit the information from the source to the destination.

And sometimes these also need to "translate" the information in a form that can be transmitted from the source, over the communication medium, along the way to the destination.

An entire computer exists in the modem.
It is an embedded computer, and it runs only a few programs, all the time. This makes the modem to be "smart" or intelligent.

So, the modem can take the phone line off-hook, wait for a dial tone, dial a phone number by itself and answer an incoming call.

Like expert businessmen, the modems not only permit establish the physical connection between computers, but also help establish the direct logical connection between them.

And they also negotiate the conditions in which the computers "conversation" will take place.

In order that two people could successfully communicate, they must "speak the same language".

* What is communicated, how it is communicated and when it is communicated must conform to a mutually acceptable set of conventions and rules governing the exchange of information and referred to as a protocol.

In our day-to-day personal communication, the rules that we use to communicate over one medium, such as a telephone call are not necessarily the same as the protocols for using another medium, such as sending a letter by mail.

So that there are many different rules or protocols that govern all the different methods of communication that exist in the world today.

Successful communication between computers in a computer network also requires the interaction of many different protocols.

c) Layered computer communication

Modern computer networks are designed as open systems.

An open system is a group of interconnected computers, independent of the provider, using the same standard protocols for communications.

This enables different computers and communication equipment from many different manufacturers to communicate and interoperate.

The use of communication layers to describe how computers communication and computer networks work is a model.

Actually, in practice, there are two major open-system, vendor-independent standards for computer communication and networks:

1) The TCP/IP family, including the protocols that govern how computers communicate with one another over the Internet.

The TCP/IP model is a major industry standard, and there is no one company which exclusively controls it. Instead, the definitions of the TCP/IP standard and protocols are discussed in a public forum and are defined in a publicly-available set of documents.

* As a matter of fact, the TCP/IP protocols provide the "common language" for computers communication in all computer networks today: LAN (local area networks), MAN (metropolitan area networks) and WAN (wide area networks).

2) The ISO OSI model, which was formulated as a template for the structure of a 7-layer communication system on which standard functions and activities associated with each layer must be based.

The OSI model has become the reference model to which all other network architectures and protocols are compared.

Applications that interact directly with people are considered to be at the top of the layered protocol stack.

The Application Layer is the top layer of both the OSI and TCP / IP models.

* It is this layer that provides the interface between the applications and services that we use to communicate with others and the underlying communication network over which our messages are transmitted.

The functions associated with the Application Layer protocols enable our human network to interface with the underlying computer data communication network.


Fenia Petran

Question 1: Part 5

Design goal: Developing a scalable learning platform (1)

a) At the core of education and business today

As opposite to traditional sciences and technologies - physics, chemistry and biology - which have been around for ages, Information Technologies were introduced by the industry to higher education not long ago.

The trigger was the practical need to match the academic knowledge to the high-technological trends and new industry-standard technologies.

Information and Communication Technologies are the “hot” topics in the e-learning world today. The issue of e-learning as an advanced system for training and education using ICT has received an increasing level of interest in recent years in both developed and developing countries.

The flexibility offered by e-learning, together with the great possibilities provided by ICT open broad perspectives for creating collaborative e-learning environments both at higher education level in colleges and universities, teacher training, adult education, lifelong learning and in the implementation of “Education for All” programs, as well.

b) Preparing for the real world

More than half the people in all countries go no further in their education than high-school.

The problem, as many educators recognize is that although the knowledge taught in schools is important and useful, students do not learn how to apply it.

When graduates get their first real job, they often have no idea what to do with their academic acquired knowledge.
The successful ones either figure out for themselves by trail-and-error or have employers train them. Others struggle with the difficulties of real-world problem solving and knowledge application and most of them fail to achieve their potential.

We live in a world of technological breakthrough.
Many of the Information and Communication technologies did even not exist few years ago.

The many technological changes and the complexity of the new technologies resulted in that both the higher education system and the enterprises study programs are lagging behind the industry. We have to change the content of the study programs and the teaching methods, to allow timely information and access to heterogeneous information sources.

The improvement and the transformation of educational systems through the use of ICT is a main objective to be achieved.

An effective solution to this problem is to make the high-school and college learning programs more like what happens in the workplace, and to incorporate industry-standard tools and methods throughout the curriculum.

An alternative method is to provide valuable knowledge and learning tools in the workplace, and this provides to the business the knowledge and tools to be competitive, productive and innovative.

Companies today are also considering adopting ICT learning programs, by combining career programs in business schools, in addition and on the same learning platform with customized training-on-the-job programs in the organization.

c) Professional development

So what does a learning platform provide?

The learning platform is knowledge-based. These learning systems can help you find the way in preparing for a professional future, as they provide an approach to learning that is real-world based.

These systems can teach you skills that you won't learn yet in school today, in the field of computers and computer-based, industrial-oriented professions, such as modern electronics, computer support and maintenance, computer data communications, telecommunication networks and local area networks.

The basic learning systems are in the field of Information and Communication Technologies, and not by chance.

Computer technology and computer networks technology are the under the scenes background for all the new and modern professions today:

* E-health and health care, assisted living, mining technologies, sensoring and robotics, shipping, control and supervision systems, satellite communication applications, modern transportation and logistics systems, advanced navigation systems, defense and homeland security, smart cities and smart houses, connected cars, wearable devices.

We are heading towards a world where everything is connected and better decisions can be made in real time. This learning platform has the potential to provide the springboard to the next generation knowledge, skills and applications for the Internet of Things.

d) The collaboration environment

In an attempt to illustrate in a practical way new trend topics, technologies and applications in the nowadays computer networks, such as:

• Cloud computing, Cloud services, Web 2.0, Software as a service, Groupware applications, e-business, Voice over IP, Video over IP, TV over IP and social networking

the e-learning systems include

* Connection and collaboration using major social networking media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + and

* Integrated online applications and tools from major industry vendors,such as Microsoft and Google.

Here are some examples:

1. Google+ helps you connect, learn and entertain and provides access to a variety of Google tools, from the traditional YouTube and Picasa to new applications providing value-added capabilities.

Circles, Sparks and Hangout are examples of tools that can be used for education purposes:

* to create a collaboration circle based on a specific topic,
* to provide help on specific topics,
* to create an online chat session to discuss topics of interest in real time,
* to share high-quality multimedia information,
* to find articles and video presentations and
* even to host meetings and webinar-style video conferences with partners and customers.

2. Google Apps provides common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser and enable to communicate, organize and collaborate smart, from anywhere.

3. Google Talk allows the user to chat, transfer files or take control of a remote computer.

4. Google Earth is a virtual globe. It is a 3D virtual map of the world that was created using a compilation of satellite images and aerial pictures of the planet. Much like Google Maps, Google Earth can be used to find different locations and businesses throughout the planet, as well as to get directions to these places.

With Google Earth users can view images from almost anywhere in the world, can zoom in and out of any location, bookmark locations and get directions from one place to another.

Google Earth enables to travel the real world by exploration, migration, history and more and includes a wealth of information about layers of travel and tourism.

5. National Geographic programs are providing a wealth of information displayed in Google Earth that help students get a professional learning experience, for example in geography and cartography.

For example, Google Earth users can see Africa in a whole new way. The National Geographic Society has codified all the articles that have been published about Africa and has exposed them in Google Earth through the Africa National Geographic layer.

Thanks to Geographic African Megaflyover National Project, we can enjoy of some of the latest true deserts on the planet, the impact of human activity in the desert and the African Wildlife Safari through aerial photographs of super-high resolution of Africa.

6. Google Docs are commonly used tools that enable group collaboration for multiple users, who can collaborate easily on documents and projects.

7. Office Web Apps are web-based versions of popular Microsoft Office programs that can be used to create and share Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

8. Microsoft's Hotmail and Google's Gmail, the official e-mail applications from Microsoft and Google allow people to access their e-mail Inbox anytime, through any terminals with Internet connection.

9. Skype, the popular Voice over IP application lets users make free phone calls between computers and inexpensive calls between Skype computers and landline or cell phones.

Skype provides access to voice and video communication between colleagues, collaborators, and friends and integrated access to Facebook newsfeed and contacts.

Additional collaboration applications enable to:

* Share files, Share scheduled tasks, Share word processing, Share application programs, Share print tasks, voice and video calls over Internet, Chat across Internet, video conference and smart PC applications such as: live TV, smart TV, streaming audio and video, Web movie and breaking news.

The learning platform includes a wide variety of integrated programs and applications that are designed and built using powerful development technologies and techniques and are used smartly.

The platform benefits from a digital ecosystem, including users, customers and business partners.

It's these connections between and among the training systems in different computer networks hosts and with other platforms that allow the learning platform to scale quickly, to deploy new features rapidly and to create interest in new markets.

This enables to operate under a business model based on collaboration, different types of partnerships and active ecosystem.

Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 6

Design concepts

a) Behind all the communication technologies

Telecommunication is and will continue to be a growing part of our lives in the time to come.

Actually, the computer networks technology became as standard a part of our every-day equipment, in the same way the PC computer and the telephone are.

Business, government, industry, medicine, education, entertainment, e-commerce are all using computer networks on a permanent basis, to bridge time, to save money and to enhance communications, collaboration and productivity.

But the real essence of modern network communications resides in a few things that you should remember, always.

* Behind all the modern and sophisticated networking technologies SONET, Internet, Frame Relay, ATM, MPLS, VoIP, Metro Ethernet, Next Generation Networks, Voice over IP, Video over IP, Smart TV...is the telephone system and the switched telephone network that supports it.

* The power behind both the PC and modern telecommunication technologies is on the software side, in the intelligent protocols they support, and the programmable software interfaces that allow software developers to create applications that make the link between the computer and the telephone network meaningful and fruitful for the user.

* Although tomorrow probably holds a newer technology in telecommunications, a faster, more reliable one, the main concepts behind the computer communication and networking will still remain the same.

b) TREDA PC-NETWORKS: How computer networks work?

TREDA PC-NETWORKS series provides a comprehensive, content-rich, easy-to-understand, easy-to-follow and easy-to-use e-learning approach supplying knowledge, practical skills and experience in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), based on the real world.

1. TREDA PC-COM: Computer Data Communication
2. TREDA PC-NET: Telecommunication Networks
3. TREDA PC-LANET: Local Area Networks


All PC-NETWORKS training systems integrate:

1) Content-rich curriculum-based e-learning course.
2) Personal examination and assessment.
3) Information and Communication Technology Laboratory.
4) Dedicated ICT software, developed according to industry standards and implementing standard real-world programming techniques and communication
protocols that are proved to work in common worldwide accepted network environments.
5) Standard programmable ICT hardware included in off-the-shelf hardware application boards, specially designed for educational purposes and conforming to internationally agreed standards (ISO 9002).
6) Standard communication and networking hardware.
7) Optionally, formal competence test using a Learning Management System (LMS).


Learning by these systems doesn't require:

* Any software, hardware or additional literature material.

* Any previous knowledge in computer data communication, computer networks or related computer sciences.

c) Main design concept
At the core of TREDA PC-NETWORKS design is a main concept derived from the hardware-independent, software-oriented, application-oriented concepts behind the PC technology.

* In the PC computer communication and networking world, it doesn't really matter how the data travels from source to destination as far as you, the computer user, get the same communication services when communicating over the network.

And this actually means that:

* You get access to the network resources.

* You can share data and applications with others.

* You can chat with fellows.

* You work in cooperation with others.

* You can connect to the Internet, and the whole World Wide Web is on your desktop.

* You communicate and interoperate with users of other networks.

* You connect and communicate with the world.

Fenia Petran

Question 1: Part 4

Design goal

a) Everything over IP

The past ten years have seen huge changes in the telecom field, with wireless operators
continuously upgrading to more powerful networks, landline phone threatened by Voice over IP, the emergence of advanced fiber optics technologies and with countries opening their telecom industry to competition, either as broadband access providers or as wireless service providers.

This landscape has changed a lot more in the last few years because of emerging technologies such as 3G+, 4G, Metro Ethernet and WIMAX.

We already see a convergence between fixed and mobile: now some people do not even have a landline phone and just use their mobile phone.

There will most likely be a broadband convergence in mobile as well, as the mobile carriers upgrade their networks to 3G+/ 4G services and/or WIMAX.

There are a lot of important new topics today, including peer-to-peer applications, IPv6,
advanced wireless and mobile technologies, Metro Ethernet, all-IP networks, IP over anything, Next Generation Networks, Web2 and Web3, social and business networks.

There are a lot of new application protocols, used to control and play streaming multimedia applications, as well as emerging services, like voice-over-IP, video-over-IP, video-on-demand and TV over IP.
And there are emerging types of networks, including overlay networks, P2P networks, and content distribution networks, that blend application processing and packet switching in many innovative ways.

Over the past fifty years, several attempts have been made to develop converged networks that support all communications: speech, music, text, graphics, images and video.

* Now it's eventually happening.

For the past hundred years, PSTN has meant Public Switched Telephone Network.

- Public: Accessible to anyone who pays.
- Switched: Circuit-switched service.
- Telephone: Speaking at a distance.
- Network: Many interconnected nodes.

Now, its meaning is going to be Packet-Switched Telecommunication Network.
- Packet-Switched: Communications encapsulated in packets that are routed using IP to the far end.
- Telecommunication: Transferring any kind of information across distance.
- Network: Many interconnected nodes.

The industry will likely divide in the future into two different industries: the carriers that will provide access to the network on one side, and the service and content providers on the other side.
Both industries could be involved on the other side as well, with carriers offering their own services and service providers possibly offering network access.

* With worldwide interoperability one could roam in any countries around the world and stay connected.

Some of the hot communication trends taking place over IP today and some of the latest
developments in telecommunication are paving the way to what we like to call "Everything over IP".

We will cease to think of the "telephone network" and "high-speed Internet" as being two different things, and existing services like dedicated T1s, Frame Relay, ISDN, ATM will all disappear, to be replaced by one service: Virtual Private Network over the Internet (IP VPN).

Business and personal users are using the available communication of data, video, and voice over the IP even now. The same principles that are proving effective for the delivery of cloud-based services are being incorporated into the home networks to efficiently and cost-effectively enable media from virtually any sources to be viewed on any device within the home. The Internet IP protocol is the driving force for all the different types of communication, information and community computing today.

The time is ripe to integrate telephony, TV and Internet and to tell consumers that they've entered a new era where connectivity and communication using data, voice, video and TV can reach to them anywhere, anytime, from any device across Internet.

Broadband adoption, technological advances and decreased operating costs have pushed the IT, Telecommunications and Media and Entertainment industries into a period of convergence to form the Digital Ecosystem.

This is generating many challenges for government policies, but is also presenting new and great opportunities for merging business solutions, creating social and economic value and delivering well-being to society.

The Digital Ecosystem is forming as the Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Media and Entertainment industries converge, and users evolve from mere consumers to active participants who collaborate and create knowledge.

* This will enable the Digital Ecosystem to evolve into an environment that both creates economic value and enriches the lives of people.

b) Head to Head: The ideological battle for control of the information sphere.

When there is an intersection between two major technology areas or business areas, there is sometimes a cultural difference that is often overlooked and can lead to incomplete understanding of significant areas and requirements and can slow down the development of workable solutions and the advancement of the industry as a whole.

One major example is when the computing world and the communications world collided and merged.

In the late 1990s, started the war between the Bellheads from the telecom side versus the Netheads from the IT side.

Bellheads are the original telephone people, the engineers and managers who grew up under the watchful eye of the traditional telephone company and who continue to use the Bell System practices. They believe in solving problems with dependable hardware techniques and in rigorous quality control - ideals that form the basis of our robust telephone system and that are incorporated in the ATM protocol.

The Netheads are the people who connected the world's computers to form the Internet.

The Netheads believe in digital computing, in the intelligent software in the computer hosts at the edges of the Internet rather than in passive hardware, in flexible and adaptive routing instead of fixed traffic control. It is these ideals, after all, that have allowed the Internet to grow so quickly and that are incorporated into the Internet Protocol IP.

The Bellhead's world view was very conservative: make sure the network was rock solid.
They thought about ensuring the 99.999 percent uptime was preserved, services could be managed, provisioned and billed, and that no changes would be introduced without rigorous and lengthy testing.

It goes without saying that new features and services were introduced. The Netheads, while not insensitive to reliability and manageability, considered that adding features, functions and services is most important.

The Bellhead technologies work well within a telecom operator's view of the world, which is all about a centrally run network that provides tightly controlled levels of service.

Ethernet and IP are Nethead technologies that play fast and loose with service guarantees, but however manage to deliver a "best effort" service that works just as well 99 percent of the time, at a much lower cost.

De facto, the Netheads won.
In the Internet, the intelligence is in the host computers at the edge of the network and new applications and services are continuously being deployed.

However, the Bellheads vs. Netheads war is not over.

History has shown that it is imperative for both camps to educate themselves on the other's industry and issues. Better understanding of each other's world will speed up the delivery of relevant industry solutions, reaching the goal of more efficient communication services, more innovative applications and better customer service, while maintaining reliability and integrity.


Fenia Petran

Question 1: Part 3

Design goal

a) Crossing a technological threshold

It's questionable that we would be reading about the computer and communication technologies in the World Wide Web today without the vision, the talent and the determination of the Harvard student who became Microsoft chairman and dramatically changed the way in which personal computers were imagined.

On top of his career Bill Gates collaborated with Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer, Nathan Myhrvold to write his vision for the future - "The Road Ahead".
The book illustrates Bill Gates's panoramic view of the undiscovered territory on the information highway and looks ahead to show how the emerging technologies of the digital age will transform our lives.

"The era of PCs has caused a real revolution, which affects millions of people. Led us to unimaginable places. Today we begin an extraordinary journey again. Nobody is able to predict where that path leads, but I am sure that the revolution will affect more and more people and will improve society."

Bill Gates explains how computers will be interconnected globally in what will be called Information Superhighway.

"We are crossing a technology threshold that will forever change the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. And the emerging technologies of the digital age will transform our lives".
*** The precursor to this network is the Internet.

Bill Gates envisioned a "wallet PC" for settling accounts.
*** This actually exists today, in the online bill payment systems that run on smart mobile phones.

"The wallet will act as a cellular telephone, a monetary transfer device, authentication and link to the Information Superhighway".
*** The prototypes of such devices are being seen on 3G and 4G mobile phone devices, which incorporate data connectivity and communication.

"The music will be stored as bits of information on a server on the highway."
*** That came true.

"You'll be able to jump into a map so you can navigate down a street or through the rooms of a building."
*** Today both Microsoft and Google offer street-view map systems.

The modern buzzword term: Information Superhighway actually defines the fusion of the communication technology and the computer-based information technology that are used together to underpin the global village.

"Just as roads underpin the movement of people and goods, so in the future the information superhighway will underpin the movement of information".
*** This prediction has succeeded far beyond the expectations of even the most imaginative and visionary pioneers.

b) A lifestyle based on communication

The development of a lifestyle based in communication was the first step towards the dramatic development of the Internet.

The infrastructure of computer communication networks is undergoing a dramatic and continuous change under pressure from the new industry services and is enabled by technology innovation.

Communication applications and services are having today a profound impact on the telecom industry, manufacturing, business, international commerce, entertainment, medicine, education and government.

There is a huge variety of new applications and services that we use more and more in our everyday life:

* Buying and selling over the Internet, e-marketing, e-business, e-commerce.
* TV on Internet and Internet on phone, RealAudio, Internet radio and video, instant messaging, video to mobile, SMS and MMS.
* Interactive games, video and audio streaming, voice over IP, video on demand, video over IP, broadcast television and IPTV.
* Web-based office software including word processor, online spreadsheets and presentation tools, such as Microsoft Office and Google Docs.
* Advanced applications in the cloud, project management, computer-aided design, video editing and point-of-sale.
* Social networking services, music-sharing, photo-sharing and collaboration.
* Online collaboration tools, blogs, wikis, podcasts, collaborative real-time editors, virtual social networks and Internet forums.

And there will be many more innovative computer communication and networking applications in the future.

c) Disruptive innovation

There is no doubt: The fusion of the communication and the computer infrastructures has significantly changed the development and the future of the technologies, the lifestyle and the human communication.

* There is no fundamental difference between data processing in the computers and data communications in computer networks.
* There are no fundamental differences among data, voice, and video communications.
* The boundaries between local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide-area networks (WAN) have blurred.

One effect of these trends has been a growing overlap of the computer and the communications industries, from component fabrication to system integration.

Another result is the development of integrated systems that transmit and process all types of data and information.

Both the technology corporations and the technical-standards organizations are driving toward a standardized public system that integrates all types of communications and makes virtually all data and information sources around the world easily and uniformly accessible.

There is a convergence and globalization trend in the industry today.

There is a seamless connectivity outside the office and business, with information and Internet, entertainment and voice and video communications.

The days of going home to an offline world are gone forever. We have to be "at the office" when we are at home, and connected to our home when we are at work.

Wherever we are, we want to always be able to connect, communicate and collaborate with others, at any time, on demand.


Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 5

Design concepts

a) The PC-WORKS systems

TREDA PC-WORKS is part of Treda's PC-WORLD family of training systems dedicated to the science and the technology of the PC microcomputer.

TREDA PC-WORKS: How computers work?

1. TREDA PC-SHOP: How the basic PC works?
2. TREDA PC-SMART: How the smart PC works?
3. TREDA PC-CONNECT: How the connected PC works?
4. TREDA PC-DEVICES: How PC devices work?

All PC-WORKS training systems integrate:

a) Content-rich curriculum-based e-learning course.
b) Personal examination and assessment.
c) Information Technology Laboratory.
d) Dedicated ICT software, developed according to PC industry standards and
implementing standard real-world programming techniques and communication protocols that are proved to work in common worldwide accepted PC application
environments.
e) Standard programmable ICT hardware included in off-the-shelf hardware application boards, specially designed for educational purposes and conforming to internationally agreed standards (ISO 9002).
f) Optionally. formal competence test using a Learning Management System (LMS).


b) Learning by real-world applications

TREDA PC-WORKS series provides a comprehensive, content-rich, easy-to-understand, easy-to-follow and easy-to-use e-learning approach supplying knowledge, practical skills and experience in Informatics and Information Technologies, based on the real world.

Emphasizes the power behind the PC technology and takes advantage of extremely important features of the PC family:

• The open-system hardware and software architecture, the intelligent operating systems, the programmable components and interfaces, the standard way in which our PC communicates with the world around it.

"Learn by real-life applications" – this is the motto of TREDA PC-WORKS systems, and of the PC-WORLD family, as a whole. Rather than starting from a textbook, like conventional teaching does, Treda's method pushes for "changing the composer" and learning from the industry, from the real-world applications.

Rather than looking at how the hardware works, these systems guide you go ahead and use the PC technology to make this hardware work for you, just in the way you want it to.


c) The learning method

Learning by these systems does not require:

• Any additional software, hardware or literature material.

• Any preliminary knowledge in either computer sciences or related technologies.

Students can not only learn a lot about the PC and the world around it, but they can learn science and technology in a comprehensive, professional and interesting way.

PC-WORKS systems can help you find the way in preparing for a professional future, as they provide an approach to learning that is real-world based.

These systems can teach you skills that you won't learn yet in schools and supply
competency-based study curriculum designed to provide knowledge, practical skills and job market readiness for a variety of technical professions.

The cornerstone of Treda’s development strategy is to design and create e-learning training systems according to standard, worldwide accepted methods and techniques and quality standards, using a comprehensive, content-rich, integrated development platform, to provide user-friendly customer support and to improve and update continually.


d) Between simulation and real-world application

The application environment was specially designed to emphasize the hardware-independent, software-oriented and application-oriented concepts behind the PC technologies.

Most of the application experiments contain two different parts:

a) An object-oriented simulation, using dedicated tools on the screen.
These tools provide emulation and simulation for the I/O devices on the PC-WORKS hardware card and for the real peripheral hardware devices of the PC, and include, among others:

* Toggle switches for input of binary data.
* LEDs display for output of binary data.
* 7 Segment display.
* An on-screen monitor.
* An alphanumeric keyboard, with mouse-click buttons, that emulate the keyboard keys.

b) A real application program, commonly using I/O devices on the PC-WORKS hardware application card, PC peripheral devices, and simulated tools for input, output, monitoring and control on the PC screen.

Some of these tools provide virtual emulation of the PC-WORKS hardware card and include:

* Toggle switches, which monitor the status of switches on the hardware application card.
* Light bulbs, which serve as input to enter binary data, and also as output to monitor the
state of LEDs on the hardware application card.
* 7Segment, used to monitor the status of the 7Segment display on the hardware card.

The user can toggle between simulation and the actual application program, and to compare results for the same input parameter values.

Here are examples of applications:

* Acquisition, processing and display of information.
* A logic analyzer that takes dynamic "snapshots" of input data switches.
* Stepper motor control.
* Enable and disable alarm.
* Control of information input and output.
* Piano on the screen and on the application card.
* Display palette colors.
* Program the monitor color.
* Conversion of data between binary, BCD, ASCII, decimal and hexadecimal number systems.
* Arithmetic and logical operations in various numerical computer systems.

Additional applications have been designed and developed to help illustrate the communication between the PC and its peripheral devices.

Here are some examples:

* From the keyboard to the monitor.
* Run programs.
* Create, open and save files on the disk.
* Draw pictures.
* Display bitmaps.
* Generate vector graphics.
* Program colors and shapes and animate objects.
* Activate mouse events.
* Display maps by mouse browsing.
* How the multimedia hardware and software work together.
* Create and play music and voice in the PC.
* Display high-quality graphics, digital video and animation.

e) Designed with the user in mind

Treda's e-learning systems include many different capabilities and tools that allow to present interactively information and ideas, to name just a few:

• Hierarchical menus at several levels that can be used as table of contents and powerful hypermedia tools.
• Browsing tools that allow learners to discover information in the order of their choice, and to review the relevant content on an as-needed basis.
• Navigation maps, buttons, icons, graphic controls and arrow keys that you can use to move freely and confidently between screens, and to reach practically any screen, at any time.
• Online Help at different levels, context-sensitive information, glossary and step-by-step procedures.
• Quizzes in the personal examination with immediate feedback, review and scoring provide the student with the ability to test his understanding of the learning material.
• Animations and simulations add visual impact to the content and illustrate how things move and change over time.
• Objects on-screen with preprogrammed capabilities handle everything from navigation and quiz scoring to special effects like multimedia feedback and animation. For example, a smart button can take the user to a Web site, can start an animation or a video clip, or allows the student to check his response to a question.


f) Animations and simulations

Animations and simulations including graphic effects, voice, sound and music provide an intuitive, powerful and easy-to-understand user interface tool, that's fun and amusing to use.

In complete analogy with the real human communication, the communication between the PC components, the operating system and the PC devices was designed in terms of "conversation".

The CPU, the BIOS, Microsoft Windows, and the peripheral devices discuss in plain English, just like people do, in the real world.

Here is an example of how the Intel CPU and Microsoft Windows “talk” and "listen" with each other.

CPU: - Hey, guys. What do you think of me? I was perfect.
How fast, how precise, how straightforward! I'm sure our user was impressed by me.
Of course, not everyone is a Pentium 4 from Intel.

Microsoft Windows: - Stop praising yourself, arrogantus. Everything you've done up to now can be done on an old fashion 386 CPU, only a little bit slower.

CPU: - Are you trying to say that everything I just did, I, Pentium 4, the "cream de la cream" of the Intel family, could be done on some antiquated 386?

Microsoft Windows: - Exactly. That's the whole point. Everything we've done to now is part of the PC family as a whole. That's why our application programs work much the same on any PC, and it doesn't really matter whether it's a 386 or a Pentium 4 CPU, nor does it matter which version of our Windows is running on.

Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 4

Design concepts

a) Understanding hardware
Knowing how the computer was designed and built, how it is organized, how it works and how it communicates in an open and standard way with devices in the real world provides powerful tools for creating better software design, improved solution and development skills, and to isolate hardware problems faster and more accurately.

A real-world system design raises many questions, such as:
* What tangible values in the real world represent the digital values that are read by sensors?
* How can be pulled useful information from the data stream received by processors?

The programming of software to control a real world system could produce impractical results without a clear understanding of the microcomputer system hardware architecture.

When you control the design of the system components, you can integrate the entire system much better.

Think of a simple example: A mouse sends digital information to the mouse port of the computer.

To make the software properly respond to the mouse movement or button click, the software designer must be able to interpret the corresponding digital signal.

Now think about the myriad of electronic systems around you, such as:

* Your car, your cell phone, your smartphone, your stereo system and PlayStation, that are all based on the understanding of the hardware by the programmer.

That's why special attention is dedicated to
* the inner workings of the PC at the system level and
* how the PC communicates with an embedded computer and a variety of real-world input and output devices included in the PC-WORKS hardware application board.

b) The computer in the PC-WORKS application board
An embedded computer controls the PC-WORKS hardware application board for your PC.
It is a smart, industry-standard and application-oriented microcontroller from Motorola.
Includes a high-performance CPU, embedded flash memory, a variety of embedded peripherals, full-featured programming firmware, intelligent input/output, display, and control functions.

The communication between the PC and the smart microcontroller was designed according to a well-defined communication protocol that allows to provide input / output, monitoring and control functions for a variety of devices included in the PC-WORKS card:
* Toggle switches, LEDs,7segment, A / D converter, D / A converter, codec, light sensor and controller, heat sensor and controller, potentiometer, stepper motor and buzzer.

The hardware application board was developed in a didactic way and is certified for conformity with ISO-9002 standard.

c) How the PC communicates with the computer in the PC-WORKS application card?
It's just computer communication.

When the PC has some data to send to a peripheral device, or the peripheral device has data for the PC, two embedded computers:
* one on the PC and the other one on the peripheral device have a "conversation".

This conversation is performed according to a well defined communication protocol, in a language that is understood by both parts.

Because of the intelligent aspect of the microcontroller, this allows a variety of different conversations between the PC and the I/O devices on the PC-WORKS application board.


Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 3

Design concepts

TREDA PC-WORKS series: How the PC works?

The design of the PC-WORKS series focuses on Microsoft Windows, de facto manager of the PC.

Emphasizes and illustrates, in a practical way:

• The basic concepts behind Microsoft Windows - the industry-standard PC operating system, and the many advantages Windows provides to users and programmers.

• How Microsoft Windows works as the manager of the environment in which all other computer programs work and as the server of users applications.

• How Windows defined the standard for all the applications that are launched from it,the hardware-independence of the Windows environment, how application programs work with Windows, and ask Windows for services from standard hardware.

• The standardized graphics-oriented user interface of Windows, which is the most
noticeable and most important feature for the Windows user.

• The device-independence of the Windows environment that makes it possible for the same application program to run identically on a variety of hardware configurations

• The object-orientation of Windows as a major feature of Windows programming, and how most important technologies in Windows object-oriented programming work.

• How the PC and external devices in the PC world "talk" and "listen" to each other,
according to internationally agreed standards and communication protocols, that are
main industry standards in the PC world.


The power behind computer-related technologies
----------------------------------

Just as the PC has become a part of our everyday life:

• So have computer data communication, computer networks, Internet, telecommunications, video-on-demand, desktop multimedia, audio and video
streaming, smart TV over Internet.

But the real essence of modern computer-related technologies resides in a few things that you should remember always:

a) Behind all the modern and sophisticated technologies is the PC technology and the related applied sciences - informatics, applied physics, applied math, computer communications.

b) The important thing with the PC and PC-related technologies is that it doesn’t really matter which hardware is actually being used to perform a specific task.

You can use many types of standard hardware, from many different manufacturers, and
you'll get, basically, the same results.

This is because hardware specifications are defined in internationally worldwide agreed
standards and communication protocols, which are main industry standards in the PC
world.

c) The power behind the PC and PC-related technologies is on the software side, in the intelligent communication protocols and application software they support, and the programmable interfaces that allow software developers to combine the
strengths of major high-technologies - telephone, fax, Internet, multimedia, television, LAN, telecommunications .... with the PC technologies and to create
applications that are meaningful and fruitful for the user.

Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 2
Design concepts.

1. The PC is the industry market standard in the microcomputer world.

a) The IBM great ideas

When IBM introduced the PC it did two things out of character:
* It told the world how it built the PC and invited others to develop additional hardware for it.

So very soon it was on the market a lot of optional PC hardware from many different manufacturers. This opened up the market as nothing else could have. However, this also invited a hard competition for the IBM PC.

In a very few years, it was a whole industry making IBM PC compatible computers:
* They were all nearly alike.
* They could run the same programs.
* They could freely interact and exchange data between them.

And no one manufacturer could ever claim exclusive control on the industry standard PC design.

b) The PC technology

The extraordinary success of the PC is highly related to the technology that sits behind it.

The open ways in which the intelligent PC works and communicates with the world have resulted in a different concept of the way computers can be used:
* hardware-independent, software-oriented, with real emphasis on applications.

PC technology has changed dramatically in the last ten years.

Many of the topics that are common for PCs today, such as:
* multimedia, accelerated 3-D graphics, smart programmable cards, smart PC devices, Universal Serial Bus, Internet video and audio, voice recognition, integrated computer and telecommunications, intelligent PC networks

were something for tomorrow. Well, tomorrow is now.

And it's obvious that the PC story will continue. So, what the future has in store?

There will be many changes.
There will be more generations of CPU from Intel.
There will be more versions of Microsoft Windows in the future.
There will be more I/O bus standards.
There will be new choices for PC display.
There will be many new smart devices to hook from the PC.
There will be new network communication protocols.

However: The basics of the PC technology will stand in a stead, whatever innovations has the future in store.

And there will always be significant advances in the hardware, the software and the networking technologies that drive the computer industry.

* Whether it's for surfing the World Wide Web, playing smart computer games, playing music, video and TV, chatting with friends across the globe, writing letters and documents, marketing company's products, designing smart houses, requesting expert advice or doing professional work in collaboration with others

we all need our PC.

The PC industry is a very big and successful business. No manufacturer would dare to introduce a new PC that is not fully compatible with the design of the PC industry standard.

At the lowest level, it is the hardware that makes the actual work. This is a fundamental part of the PC and the only thing that can do anything physical.
However, the way the PC hardware works is fully directed by the PC software.

* The PC world belongs to Microsoft, "de facto" manager of the PC.

c) The Microsoft model
The Microsoft model is to put innovation and creativity in the software.

With this strategy Microsoft simplifies things we do today and it is also where you gain a chance to move forward with new hardware and new applications using

* Web services, wireless, iPod and iPad, Tablet PC, PC data communications and networking, and all the other similar things.

So is generated progress in Information Technology (IT), which serves as a basis for the software developers to create a new generation of applications above.

One of the most intelligent features behind the PC design is that all major components and interfaces to the outside world are programmable. This makes it possible for the PC to interact with external devices at the software level, not "hard-wired."

* Enables running application programs on any PC in the same way.
* Allows to develop software applications that are standard in the PC world.

The creative, essential and intelligent element of the PC is the software.

The power behind the PC technology is in the powerful operating systems, the programmable software interfaces, the intelligent software applications.

This allows to a wide variety of components and I/O devices from many different manufacturers to work together and interact in an open, standard and compatible way.

d) The alliance forever
The alliance between Intel, the company that dominates the PC CPU market and Microsoft, the vendor of the standard industry PC operating systems is forever.
Both have ridden the huge wave of microcomputers industry growth far beyond the expectations, mainly because:

* Have promised, and kept their promises, that all members of the PC family will be fully compatible.

No company would dare today to introduce a new design for a new computer or a new operating system that is not fully backward and forward compatible.

And so it is not really important if your PC's CPU is the latest generation of CPUs in the market today, or an older version of the Intel CPU family.
Nor does it really matter if your computer is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.

If your application programs are developed according to industry standards in the PC world:

* They will work in any configuration of PC on the market exactly the same way.

Fenia Petran

Question 2: Part 2

New knowledge and other opportunities:

a) Wireless sensor networks.

Applications including:
Factory automation, disaster recovery, car-to-car communication, military networking (unmanned platforms), smart parking, personal area networking, smart buildings, machine surveillance, precision agriculture, medicine and health care, logistics, vehicle telematics, intelligent roads, intruder detection and tracking (security), oceanographic and underwater applications.

b) Home networks and smart home applications (home automation, hospitals, resort hotels, energy conservation).

Based on WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee technologies and using smart electronic devices, sensors and appliances. Can be monitored and controlled wirelessly from anywhere via smartphones, tablets or mobile devices.

c) Satellite-based communication and networking. Communication satellites, earth observation (mining search and exploitation), navigation satellites (GPS), weather satellites(forecasting of the weather).

Communications satellites applications include, for example:
* Relaying telephone calls, providing communications to remote areas of the Earth,
* Satellite communications to ships, aircraft and other mobile vehicles.
* Satellite phones in areas where terrestrial cellular network coverage is not available, communications in rural areas, at sea, in developing countries or in uninhabited areas of the globe.
* Direct broadcast satellite for television and radio.

GPS applications: military navigation, aircraft navigation, ship navigation and surveying, sailing, motor vehicles navigation and anywhere where location information is required.

d) Learning technical English and ICT technologies in ESL (English Second Language) schools and non-native English-speaking schools.

e) Learning ICT technologies in bilingual countries, such as Latin America and Canada.

f) A+ and Net+ education programs.

g) Integration in education programs from major industry vendors - Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, HP.

h) Teacher training and School to Work programs.

i) TAFE- Technical and Further Education.

j) Adult education, life-long learning and Education for All programs.


Fenia Petran

Question 3: Part 1

During the last years, emerging new technologies, based on communications, including desktop multimedia, video-on-demand, video conferencing, integrated computer and telecommunications, interactive digital TV, audio and video streaming, Voice over Internet, video over Internet, TV over Internet, radio and video broadcasting and IP telephony are more and more becoming part of the computer technologies.

The fusion of the fields of informatics and computer communications has deeply changed the technologies, the products, and the companies of the now-combined computer and computer communications and networking industries.

Both the technology corporations and the technical standards organizations are pushing toward standardized computer systems that transmit and process all types of information, integrate all types of communications and make virtually all data and information sources around the world easily and uniformly accessible, anytime and anywhere.

Nowadays telecommunication operators combine local management with new business and technology models in order to offer Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services to customers around the world.

The majority of telecommunication companies today also operate as Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the distinction between Telecommunication Service Providers (TSP) and ISP companies may completely disappear in the future, due to the tendency of providers convergence in the industry.

The development of converged IP networks that enable computer users to use mobile phones as televisions, PCs as phones, and televisions integrated to PCs as interactive stations for news, games and entertainment enables all of these applications and services to be delivered over a common network infrastructure.

The increasing competition between telecom companies is pushing the telecommunications industry towards a major shift in its business models.

Today customers want better, faster, cheaper and more flexible services.

This shift is carried out by offering converged services built around the Internet Protocol IP.

Triple Play, a bundle of voice, video, and data services for residential customers, including Voice over IP, video on demand (VoD) and broadband Internet services and Quadruple Play, that also adds ubiquitous wireless are at the basis of this strategy.

For the past 15 years convergence has been the buzzword when it comes to technology, entertainment,telecommunication, wireless and computer networks.

It was expected that one day in the future, these would no longer be separate industries.

Rather, they would become a cluster of companies and services that could make your desktop computer, laptop, LAN, TV, telephone, mobile phone or smartphone just one of the many machines that connect people all over the world to information, entertainment, business, education, commerce - and one another.

And really convergence and concentration are in the air today and very soon the telecom industry will become the springboard to the future creation and expansion of new applications and technologies for an information society, in order to promote innovation, added value to customers, entrepreneurship and growth.

Fenia Petran

Question 2: Part 1

Where are there opportunities to accelerate learning (especially through new knowledge creation) among participants today?

The main opportunities to accelerate learning are in the Technology, Media, Telecommunications and Internet/ Web areas.

Other opportunities include:
Business schools. MBA in Telecom.
ICT in Education projects.
Projects in industrial-oriented fields, such as infrastructure, telecommunication, energy, defense, homeland security and health.
Higher education institutions, universities and companies.
Training-on-the-job, technical specialization and certification for industry.
Turnkey projects in the areas of renewable bio-energy technologies, oil and gas, food engineering.
Science and technology projects, robotics, industrial processing and control.
Techno Park projects
Smart home automation and home networking.

Examples of new knowledge creation include:

* Convergent Next Generation Network (NGN). Most important for Telecom

The communications industry is currently going through one of the most important changes in its history. In the not-too-distant future we’ll all be able to enjoy our communications and entertainment via one seamless network, making everything simpler, faster, more accessible and affordable.

Next Generation Networks are the new core network infrastructures and associated access networks of Telcos.

NGN utilizes the standards, the protocols, the interfaces and the technologies of the Internet as the native common platform for all telecommunications services, including voice, data and video.

Convergence means different things to different people.

a) Business model convergence
Businesses from telco, broadcasting and media sectors are all converging by aiming to provide similar products and services.

b) Network convergence
Fixed, Mobile and Cable networks are being converged over an efficient and cost-effective common infrastructure.
Providers are migrating from deploying, managing, and maintaining many service-specific networks to delivering all services on a single all-IP based network.

c) Service convergence
NGNs incorporate real-time multimedia communications and service quality management functionality, providing high-quality video, videoconferencing, and high-reliability communications services for enterprises, in addition to the existing fixed and mobile telephone service.

Subscribers access the same services regardless of whether they are using a fixed or mobile connection.

d) Device convergence
A variety of new capabilities and new end-user devices will provide a multitude of new service and application convergence opportunities for the operating companies.

The device/consumer convergence spans over the PC Internet world, the mobile world and the broadcast world.

Devices from each world:
* Have similar functions, are all able to connect to each other, wirelessly, exchanging and sharing content and execute the same type of applications.

Other potential high-potential fields include:

Marketing and advertising.
E-health and Health care.
Smart homes and home networking.
Mining technologies and applications.
Biotechnology and applications (agriculture, medicine, food processing and environmental)
Command and control systems.
Wearable technologies and applications.
The “Internet of Things”.
Educational Robotics, Design and Prototyping. Integration with other technical learning platform such as National Instruments and LEGO Mindstorms NXT.
Industrial robotics and unmanned vehicles.
Remote control and surveillance systems.


Fenia Petran

Question 4: Part 1

What are the metrics that we could track to determine the rate of learning and how can we monitor those metrics on an ongoing basis to refine our initiatives and accelerate learning even more among participants?

I think that the metrics we can use to evaluate the learning environment are those that can prove that we are making an impact to the organization.

Such a scalable and continuous learning platform is encouraging learning relationships and builds a smart tech learning environment that companies can use to make it easier for workers to collaborate and work as a team.

It is helping workers learn how to improve their learning skills, how to acquire knowledge and how to creatively use this knowledge to create new and innovative knowledge.

Great ideas come from the edge. They have a life cycle.
They grow from the periphery among enthusiasts and they spread around to get more and more acceptance. And this makes a real difference for the organization.

Organization leaders want team workers able to execute new and good ideas, to take initiatives and bring innovation, and to base on innovation that meshes smoothly with what people already know. They want organizations that make smart moves and smartly respond to change. And this ultimately means a working environment where people learn faster and better than the competitors.

This "pull" learning environment helps building knowledge workers.

A great knowledge worker can be many times as productive as his peer. These people need room to excel. Workers want learning that is "pull", and this means they want to find and use what and when they feel they need, instead of "push", when someone else decides the subject matter for them.

Here are some types of things we might measure, in terms of performance support and effective measuring worker performance.

- Successful performance for business-related specific skills.
- Reduced time to skills.
- Completion of job-related tasks.
- Customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Employee engagement, loyalty and retention.
- Decreasing gap between less experienced workers and star performers.
- Reduced cost for training-on-the-job.
- Reduced implementation costs for a product, a new service or a new system.
- Building, broadening and deepening core competency that the business needs.

Fenia Petran

Question 1: Part 2

The design goal of this learning platform is a very ambitious one:

* to build a network of networks of knowledge and skills.

I call it the "Internet of Skills".

And it really works and expands seamlessly very much like the worldwide Internet.

The Internet is a worldwide computer network, made of thousands of networks that interconnect millions of millions of computing devices throughout the world.
Every day, people use the Internet without realizing how big and complicated is a connection.

The computers that we use on a daily basis to connect to the Internet are often referred to as hosts because they host and execute application-level programs. They are also referred to as end systems because they sit at the edge of the Internet.

Most of these computing devices are traditional computers, such as desktop computers, workstations and Web servers that store and transmit information such as Web pages and e-mail messages. Others are non-traditional computing devices, such as mobile computers, smartphones, IP phones and digital television systems.

There is no center to the Internet, and virtually all Internet networks employ a mix of peering and transit agreement "relationships" to connect to other networks.

Just as the Internet uses phone lines as a backbone, peer-to-peer networks use standard Internet protocols to prioritize data transmission between two or more remote computers.

The peer-to-peer networks use the physical network's topology, but outsource information using software-based applications and use these applications to create "relationships" with remote computers on other networks.

The advances in the hardware and software components of the Internet are being continuously driven by the needs of new applications.

As a matter of fact, the Internet is an infrastructure in which new applications are being constantly invented and deployed.

The Internet allows distributed applications running on its end systems on the edges to exchange data and to smartly interact with each other.

In a similar way, the learning platform uses dedicated software-based applications running in the end devices on the edge of the Internet and standard networking hardware to create peer-to-peer networks and "relationships" with applications running in other end devices, residing at the edge of other Internet networks.


Fenia Petran

John,

First question: What is the primary design objective of the platform today – aggregation, social, mobilization or learning?

The design purpose of Treda's platform is learning. Implicitly, it enables collaboration and networking.

In addition, a system-level application, E-Collaboration, enables the user to connect dynamically to

a) different aggregation platforms, such as YouTube, eBay and Instagram.

b) different social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Fenia Petran

John,

This is a great, outstanding, forward-thinking article.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the educational platform based on collaborative work in workgroups, and the developer of such a platform. There is no better way to learn than practical training based on real-world applications, and in collaboration with others. And I think that the future will prove it.

But it is the first time that someone makes such a bright, brilliant and comprehensive analysis of the meaning of such a learning platform and the business impact related to it.

Thank you!

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