Kyle Rawlins, Chris Eliot, Victor Lesser, and Beverly Woolf
A student who wishes to learn about some particular topic does not have many options. An often used tool is the search engine, which gives a tiny and difficult to control window into the vast amounts of information that is available on the internet. A student who wants to learn some concept should be able to interact with the available information in a coherent and personalized way. The classroom is the ideal of this goal, and our system would not replace, but augment it. It is within the reach of modern tutoring systems to use both knowledge of the student and of the subject’s structure in order to present a subject in a manner that is more coherent and pedagogically sound than currently existing technology. One of the basic building blocks of such a system is the model of topic structure, and most importantly, how to obtain the information that fills the model. Here we outline our research platform for the study of ontology lifecycle management, as well as several techniques that have so far had qualitative success. This research is taking place within the context of the Digital Libraries Initiative, under which thousands of instructional objects are organized, ranging from multimedia tutors, to lecture notes and papers. Our long term goal is to develop agent based tutoring systems which draw on this large knowledge base, and we have discussed our approach to this in other recent work.