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Last update: 2005-05-20

End: 2003-01

AHA! progress report, April 2, 2003

transparent adaptive functionality for web servers


The NLnet AHA project has started on July 1, 2001. The current team at the TU/e consists of the following people:

  • Natasha Stash is employed full-time by the AHA! project for the duration of the project.
  • Brendan Rousseau is a junior researcher working on AHA! for 3 months.
  • David Smits, Barend de Lange and Bart Berden are (full-time) thesis students at TU/e.
  • Tomi Santic is a (full-time) thesis student working at the University of Pittsburgh.

Progress (since previous report) up to this date

The status of the AHA! project as of April 2, 2003 is described below. It lists the items that have been realized or worked on since the previous progress report.

  • The AHA! 2.0 system has been released in "beta" version. All but one planned bug fixes and improvements for 2.0 have been implemented. The tutorial is being written (and almost ready).
  • The authoring/administration environment has been improved: it now uses separate authorization for authors (so that not just anyone can start creating documents on an AHA! server).
  • All conversion tools are fully functional (from authoring format to internal XML or mySQL format, and from XML to mySQL and back), including the translation of user models.
  • A first test version of AHA! 3.0, with conditional object inclusion, stable presentations, and more presentation variations, is being used by Susanne Loeber to create an adaptive site (on Rembrandt).
  • Tomi Santic is working on the inclusion of Interbook functionality into AHA!, with the ultimate goal of replacing Interbook by AHA!. A first paper about this work will be presented at the AH2003 workshop in Budapest, May 2003.
  • Koen Aben has finished his internship work (done at the University of Southampton). He has developed a "procedural adaptation language" and is completing a compiler from that language to AHA! adaptation rules. A paper about this work will be presented at the ACM Hypertext'03 conference in Nottingham, August 2003.

Future Milestones until June 30, 2003

Work on AHA! Version 2.0 and 3.0 will continue, and result in a "final" release of 2.0 and preliminary version(s) of 3.0. The tutorial being completed is the main test-case for this version. The AHA! 2.0 release is planned on or before May 1, 2003.

  • Two students are working on a showcase: the Adaptive Hypertext and Hypermedia Homepage. Completion of this process depends partially on the availability of the new server (being installed now). Since the AH&H Homepage is visited regularly by the whole adaptive hypermedia community, the whole community will get to experience AHA!.
  • In the period until April 30, 2003, Barend de Lange and Bart Berden will write the main additions for AHA! 3.0: the integration of fragments in the concept structure and the creation of stable presentations. This will imply that the main document format will become XHTML (without any AHA!-specific tags). Barend and Bart will also develop a demo that uses SMIL instead of XHTML. A first prerelease of AHA! 3.0 is planned for May 1, 2003.
  • David Smits has started his thesis work on the analysis of termination and confluence, and the inclusion of detection into the authoring tools.
  • The work of Tomi Santic includes the presentation of abstract concepts and support for navigating between concepts and pages. This in effect implements page selectors. The work of Barend de Lange includes what we previously described as page constructors.
  • Natasha Stash will work on improvements to the form editor and also write a multiple choice test editor that works in the same way.
  • The period of May 1, 2003 to June 30, 2003 will be used to integrate the tools and the documentation, and to prepare the AHA! 3.0 release (the release will be after June 30 because bugs have to be worked out, but an alpha version should be available around May 1 and a beta around June 30).
  • AHA! will be made available from SourceForge. The AHA! Project has been registered, and is available but still points to for the software. The CVS tree is being transferred so that other people can be given access to it to allow contributions.

Dissemination of results

The following specific actions will be taken to bring AHA! to the public:

  • AHA! 2.0 will be sent to people who have been actively using AHA! in the past, or are using it now. AHA! 2.0 has been downloaded 133 times up to now.
  • A registration procedure will be added to the AHA! website to collect addresses of people interested in obtaining AHA! (and updates of AHA!).
  • AHA! 2.0 will be used to update the Adaptive Hypertext and Hypermedia homepage (as described above). This will attract more people to the AHA! system.
  • AHA! will be used in the ADAPT project, A Socrates/Minerva project about adaptive educational technology (TU/e, UT, Univ. of Southampton, Univ. of Nottingham, Polit. di Milano and IRST, Trento).
  • AHA! will be made completely available through Sourceforge by May 1, 2003.
  • A new Hypermedia Course text will be published in the summer of 2003. It will use AHA!. (It is the only hypermedia course in the Netherlands because students from other universities take this course.) This course is now also being used by the University of California at Irvine.
  • An completely new course on the subject of Adaptive Hypermedia will be developed and published in the summer of 2003. It will not only use but also explain AHA!. (It will most likely also be the only adaptive hyperemedia course available on-line.)

The following publications are planned:

  • A paper on AHA! as replacement for Interbook will be presented at the AH2003 workshop, with the WWW2003 conference in Budapest, May 20, 2003.
  • A paper will be presented at the NLUUG Conference (Ede, May 22, 2003).
  • AHA! will be demonstrated at the User Modeling Conference (Johnstown, PA, June 22-26, 2003).
  • A paper on AHA! will be presented at the PEG Conference (Powerful ICT Tools for Teaching and Learning) (Sint Petersburg, Russia, June 28 - July 1, 2003.
  • A technical briefing will be submitted to the ACM Hypertext Conference (Nottingham, August 26-30, 2003).
  • A paper will be submitted to the AACE Elearn Conference (Phoenix, November 7-11, 2003).

Plans for future work (beyond AHA! Project Year 2)

Suggestions for improvements will of course come from the user community. However, a number of improvements have already been suggested and are planned (if financial means, staff or students are available for realizing them):

  • Adaptation to "global", more general user properties, for instance the user's cognitive style. Adding authoring tools to support cognitive styles.
  • Better support for adaptive testing, tests other than multiple-choice tests. Adaptive help in test feedback.
  • Combining the conceptual structure with ontologies, and where needed changing formats to RDF.
  • Ability to define presentation formats to implement applications with fixed frames-based presentations with relationships between the fragments displayed in different frames.
  • Creation of automatic navigation support (creating adaptive "next" button, adaptive partial table of contents, glossary, etc.)
  • Import and export of user models between different AHA! applications initially, and between AHA! and other applications later.
  • Compilers from other adaptive systems to AHA! (the Interbook example is a good first candidate)
  • Adaptive (dynamic) generation of recommendations, as used in on-line shopping applications.
  • Filtering tools to extract information from user models.
  • Group adaptation: find commonalities in user models and clustering of users in groups, to use that information for adaptation.
  • Adaptive public annotations, that appear only for users with certain satisfied conditions in their user model.
  • Etc.

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