Virtual ECU !
Virtual ECU is a continuing effort of both Dr. Tabrizi and his students. Its focus is:
- To create an effective learning environment for the students
- To build a usable system to serve everyone
- To bring the educational experience of East Carolina University to the Web
Courses taught by Dr. Tabrizi
SENG 6235 - Software Project Management - Fall 2014
SENG 6240 - Software Architecture & Design - Fall 2014
SENG 6230 - Software Engineering Foundations - Spring 2015
SENG 6260 - Software Metrics and Quality Management - Spring 2015
Learning Effectiveness as a Function of the Technologies Employed in Online Learning Settings
Technology is often viewed as an important factor that impacts the effectiveness of online learning systems. To explore the importance of various technologies, the authors conducted a comprehensive study that investigates the experiences of students and instructors that are involved in online learning. A number of questionnaires concerning perceptions, experiences, resources, and perceived effectiveness related to online education developed by the research team have been administered to a sample of students (over 4,500) at a large number of educational institutions throughout the United States. Survey participants constitute a large sample group that represents diverse backgrounds from geographically dispersed institutions worldwide. Responses were analyzed and discussed in the paper. The analysis focuses on the utilization of technology in online education and explores how students view its effectiveness as a function of the types of technologies used. Study covers various standard technologies such as instant messaging, email, discussion boards, chat rooms, web conference, audio communication, and electronic whiteboard as well as the use of relatively new virtual reality based environments. A comparative analysis was also conducted to identify the differences between face-to-face and online learning settings. Based on the findings of the analysis and the data gathered from the survey participants, a number of design methods and techniques that would influence the development of effective online course delivery systems are developed. This study is the first step in a longer program of research that will ultimately yield enhanced systems for online learning.
Virtual Reality-Based Home Visit System
Health science students are required to learn about home visits but no uniform teaching or evaluation tool exists. Training in home visits is dependent on the disability of the patient and home circumstances, and varies widely, with learners exposed to only severely bed ridden patients.
To address this compelling need for a new teaching model, the author's have developed a 3D Computer Simulated Home Visit (CSHV) program. This is an interactive learning tool, similar to computer gaming programs. The CSHV accesses the fast paced learning style of the generation Y learner, who is used to interactive entertainment. It allows learners in all health science disciplines to enter and walk through a virtual home, and with the click of a mouse, identify health hazards such as a non-functioning smoke detector or a trip hazard of a folded rug, and correct them. The CSHV program will be an invaluable teaching and evaluation tool when paired with real life home visits, allowing for more comprehensive exposure to typical problems that may not be encountered in limited real-life situations or patient populations. The software keeps track of the identified problems, providing a rationale for the correct answers, and further, providing analysis of the scores of repeated walk-through attempts. In addition to the computer scores, information is garnered from learners through feedback on their experience.
Method to Identify Factors that Improve the Predictive Quality of BMI for Health Status
Our research suggests that BMI as a function of height and weight is not as reliable a predictor of health status as is a yet-to-be-developed method that would use a greater number of body measurements. As more measurements are collected, human shape and volume is more accurately modeled, and the correlation between those measurements and health status scores increases. We believe these findings suggest that machine-automated acquisition and analysis of anthropometric measures, wherein the number of values obtained is relatively unconstrained, could replace BMI as a fast, accurate, and inexpensive tool for health status estimation.
Until such a method is designed, the RAND SF-36 is a fast, inexpensive, and reliable replacement for BMI health status prediction, and we believe it should be used wherever practical, such as in the setting of nutrition counseling or health education.
Analysis Feature Extraction Techniques for Offline Handwriting Recognition
This research project presents a performance analysis of feature extraction techniques in offline cursive handwritten word recognition. The recognition algorithms are based on a holistic approach, meaning the methodology is an attempt to ascertain representations of entire words without attempting to identify individual characters. Neural networks are used in the classification of complex cursive words with various outline-based features and are trained specifically for cursive handwriting recognition. The performance tests analyze combined sets of word shape features, and it is shown that it can be advantageous to use such feature sets to improve performance of the word recognition system. In addition, a performance comparison is made between varying numbers of nodes in the hidden layer.
Using Visual Technologies to Promote Excellence in Computer Science Education
The purposes of this research project are to (1) promote excellence in computer science by suggesting a cohesive innovative approach to fill well documented deficiencies in current computer science education, (2) justify (using the authors' and others anecdotal evidence from both the classroom and the real world) why this approach holds great potential to successfully eliminate the deficiencies, (3) invite other professionals to join the authors in proof of concept research. The authors' experiences, though anecdotal, strongly suggest that a new approach involving visual modeling technologies should allow computer science programs to retain a greater percentage of prospective and declared majors as students become more engaged learners, more successful problem-solvers, and better prepared as programmers. In addition, the graduates of such computer science programs will make greater contributions to the profession as skilled problem-solvers. Instead of wearily rememorizing code as they move to the next course, students will have the problem-solving skills to think and work in more sophisticated and creative ways.
Development of Usable and Accessible Web-portals Using W3C Standards
In this research project we present an analysis of specific re-design of a system that offers course-listing services for university students and faculty members. The guidelines identified within this paper shall moreover be useful for any interactive web-site that involves user registrations and searching features within static fields of a database.
Pedagogical Characteristic of Online and Face-to-Face Classes
This study is the first step in a longer program of research that will ultimately yield enhanced systems for delivery of online courses. This is an exploratory research (supported by a grant from NSF) geared toward the development of hypotheses about the influence of the technology on online education for producing effective learning environment. We investigate perceptions of online education and explore how users view its effectiveness as a function of the types of technologies used. We also look at the utilization of technology in online education and propose number of research methods and techniques that would influence the development of effective online course delivery systems. The research survey was designed to gather information from both technology and non-technology-oriented majors, and compared online education with face-to-face teaching methods on five different course elements. In this paper we report eleven pedagogical characteristics of face-to-face and online classes.
Archival Data Extraction, Assessment, and Preservation (ADEAP) Infrastructure
A major deficiency of the digitization of old handwritten manuscripts and other research materials (e.g., bioacoustics sound recordings) is that the information cannot be searched conveniently. The manuscript material might be stored in a database and searched by predefined key words used as metadata tags associated with each file, but words in the manuscript image are not subject to data extraction. For example, manuscripts digitized as images in the online Mystic Seaport collection enable a reader to search the metadata log of a vessel for the term "mutiny"; but the reader cannot ask of the combined registers, "how many mutinies?" In the case of bioacoustics, the sounds recorded from fish, frogs, birds, and whales (called sonotypes) are stored as digital wav files which can be large (terabytes) and it is impractical to listen to each one.
Teaching Online Courses in a Virtual Reality Classroom Environment
The VR technology to be used in this project comprise an emerging medium demonstrated in many areas already familiar to today's students, such as computer games, entertainment systems, and visualization. We believe that existing online course delivery systems are not capable of giving high-quality interactive lecture content, and that existing systems are quite labor-intensive for the faculty member, a true barrier to DE development. The PI's VR system will provide the instructor an environment to teach in the virtual setting similar to the face-to-face classroom. The instructor will teach using the uniquely designed whiteboard and PowerPoint slide presentation both integrated in the VR environment. The virtual classroom's message board will allow student/instructor interaction and communication to take place. The students will observe the online lecture in VR class resembling a face-to-face classroom. The students can (individually) look around, can observe the lecture, and adjust the environment to suit their personality.
Student Learning in Traditional Online and Virtual Reality Environments: Effects of Gender and Modality Preference
Understanding and quantifying the effects of Virtual Reality (VR) on traditional Online Education (OE) is a necessary and fundamental next-step for OE improvement. Our approach emphasizes an integrative, interdisciplinary analysis of student and instructor responses, as well as adaptations to rapidly evolving course delivery technology. The proposed study will explore the relative effectiveness of traditional OE and VR as moderated by gender and modality preference.The proposed study is the second phase in a longer program of research that will ultimately yield enhanced systems for delivery of OE. The research team has identified VR as a promising technology that holds potential for helping educators overcome the shortcomings of existing OE systems. The main objective of this research is to identify and evaluate the elements of VR-based learning environments that improve traditional OE environments for all students and eliminate or ameliorate inequities in student experience that are rooted in specific student characteristics.
Formal Model to Reduce the Risk of Cloud Outages
Cloud outages have become very common in recent years as many companies adopt hosted services. The main purpose of this thesis is to calculate, control and reduce the risk of cloud outages. The objective is also to help consumers make an educated decision and to help them select a right provider. A survey was conducted in order to understand the granularity of risk of cloud outage and its impact in the current business. After analyzing the survey results, it became clear that there is a strong need to calculate the risk associated with a service before signing a service level agreement. Survey responses also helped to prioritize the service level parameter in our model from the consumer point of view. Our model considers requirements, priorities, service level parameters, and cost as inputs, it then implements a modified version of a well known mathematical model, weighted product model (WPM) that includes Value At Risk (VAR) term to compare and rank different providers. The final output of our model, gives the risk value associated for a service for each parameter. The results will be very helpful for consumers to select a service provider with a minimum risk of cloud outage. This information will bring visibility of risk between a provider and a consumer helping to reduce the risk of cloud outage after adoption of service.
Exploring the Usability Issues Encountered by Individuals with Visual Impairments on Social Networking Sites: Problem Description, System Evaluation and Semantic Web Solution
While social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook are widely used and have been broadly studied, investigations of their use by individuals with visual impairments are scarce within the academic literature. Anecdotal complaints regarding their usability however can be found in abundance online; an extension of the well documented difficulty that users with visual impairments have in interacting with the web generally relative to the sighted. The investigation of this issue began with a pilot study of the online behavioral habits of 46 internet users; 26 of whom self-identified as having a visual impairment (either blind or low vision). This was followed by an ethnographic usability study of the Facebook mobile interface, involving six blind participants, using JAWS screen reading software on desktop computers. Of the features evaluated participants were most severely challenged by the process of creating a user profile and identifying other users with whom to establish relationships. A portable profile architecture based on semantic web technologies is presented as a potential solution that may improve usability by decoupling the profile and relationship maintenance activity from any single system.
Treasure Island Security framework: A Generic Security Framework for public clouds
In this thesis we introduce a generic security framework for public clouds called Treasure Island Security Framework that is designed to address the issues related to cloud computing security and specifically key-management in untrusted domains. We present our security framework, with distributed key and sequential addressing in simple abstract mode with a master server and adequate number of chunk servers. We assume fixed chunk size for large files and sequentially distributed file system with 4 separated key to decrypt/encrypt the files. We further report on the successful application of a cryptographic approach based on forward secure public key encryption and publicly verifiable secret sharing.
UInterestManager: A Generic Framework to Model User Interests
With the proliferation of documents on the Internet, it has become increasingly difficult for usersto search and retrieve the information they want: information that is relevant and interesting. To address this problem, researchers have adopted personalized services and filtering systems that rely on user preferences. In this paper, we present a novel method to model user interests automatically and generate a ranked list of preferences for each user in real time. Our experiment shows significant improvement over a state-of-the-art method
Using synchronized audio mapping to predict velar and pharyngeal wall locations during dynamic MRI sequences
The purpose of this study is to illustrate a methodology to track the velum and pharynx from a sequence of MR images using the Hidden Markov Model (HMM) and Mel-Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (MFCC) by analyzing the corresponding produced audio signals. Auditory models such as Mel-Frequency Cepstral Coefficients have been widely usedin automatic speech recognition systems (ASR). In this study, the traditional approach for audio feature extraction was customized specifically for this purpose. The outer boundaries of the velum and the pharynx were tagged (selected pixel) by a novel method and then the visual and audio features were reduced to shrink the search space of HMM and to improve performance. The error rate was measured by calculating minimum distance between predicted markers and actual markers. The proposed model traced and animated dynamic articulators during the speech process in real-time with an overall accuracy of 81% considering one pixel threshold.
Below is a list of some of the technology development areas, either currently or previously under design, in Dr. Tabrizi's lab.
- Software Engineering Remote Lab Design & Delivery
- Electronic Record Management System
- Comprehensive Assessment Management System
- Heterogeneous Database Design
- IPV4/IPV6 Network Design
- PDA Based Learning Evaluation Tool
- Genetically Evolved Adaptive Neural Flight Controller
- Wireless & Mobile Communications
- Medical Imaging and Informatics
- Allied Health Interface Overlay