F-LECCS special site for ELI2010

Last update: January 20, 2010

Links to F-LECCS resources

Session Abstract

F-LECCS, a virtual university environment for Learning Communities

F-LECCS Learning Communities F-LECCS is the leading project, which is supported by Japanese government. Fukui’s 6 higher educational institutions started to cooperate with each other in order to build a virtual university environment on a computer network by using open source software such as SNS, LMS, and e-Portfolio. This framework allows all the users to access learning resources across the universities, and enables them to form intercollegiate learning communities as the “Communities of Practice.” This session will explore and discuss how we can improve learning methods and environments with ICT.

Where is Fukui? by google map


大きな地図で見る

Our Session Focus

We would like to present the leading project “F-LECCS - Fukui Learning Community Consortium.” F-LECCS is the framework of the project, which is supported by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan), as well as the name of the consortium among relatively small-sized universities in Fukui area

Through the project, we could acquire the environment for supporting faculty members and students to create “Learning Communities” as the “Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991) .” Thus, we would like to share this framework with ELI session participants to improve learning methods and environments.

As a background of this project, the number of population, especially children, has decreased recently in Japan. While other universities and colleges are straggling and competing with each other to attract many excellent students, Fukui’s 6 higher educational institutions started to cooperate with each other in order to build a virtual university environment on a computer network by using open source computer systems such as SNS, LMS, and e-Portfolio.

As the base of knowledge, this virtual university environment “F-LECCS” provides not only traditional learning resources but also learning communities for and among faculty and staff members, students, alumni, local residents, and corporations. As the result of the project, these findings can be listed below.

1. Virtual university environment maximizes each university’s resources.

Even if the learning resource in each university is limited, we could offer a more access and leverage potential learning resources by sharing them among universities. This is not a merger of universities, but a moderate coalition. Therefore, each university does not lose their identities, discretions and freedoms.

2. Intercollegiate exchange cultivates “Learning Communities.”

Because we can overcome some physical constraints such as distance and time by utilizing the framework of F-LECCS, many intercollegiate workshops and symposiums have been held regularly, and the better relationships accelerate the collaborations in various fields. Many undergraduate students also participated in intercollegiate activities, and they started to form some learning communities as “Communities of Practice.” There are about 110 learning communities in the SNS, and more than 1,200 topics are being discussed constantly. These results cannot be achieved without F-LECCS framework. To put our project into practice, we set up the consortium and five teams below.
F-LECCS Directory

3. F-LECCS as an intercollegiate ICT Platform plays a great role

In this project, ICT - Information and Communication Technology, plays a great role for the flexible and moderate alliance among universities. Although many educational institutions have installed IT based communication tools such as SNS, explicit outcome has not been reported yet. Main distinction of F-LECCS system is the combination of SNS, LMS, and e-Portfolio. SNS works as a tool for informal communication and learning within and among universities. Although many universities have adopted commercial-service based SNS such as Facebook, and MySpace, F-LECCS project built our own original SNS system so that we can control the learning environments and communities to some extent for our educational purposes. On the other hand, LMS is used in a classroom for formal communication and learning. Supporting these activities above, e-Portfolio helps users visualize their histories and outcomes of learning.
F-LECCS systems

Comfortable blending of real and virtual communication

In our session, we will focus on the formation of “Learning Communities” as the “Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991)” with ICT, and we will also discuss how it contributes to students’ learning.

The one of the most important lessons we learned from our project is that the comfortable blending of real and virtual communication. Even if some expensive computer systems are installed, learning communities cannot be formed without existence of actual “Communities of Practice.” Therefore, we carefully designed F-LCESS platform so that faculty members and students can easily access to the ICT systems such as SNS, LMS, e-Portfolio. To facilitate their access to those services, we adopted a new login system called CAS, which stands for Central Authentication Service. CAS allows all the users to use their own institutions’ ID and password to login these F-LECCS systems, so users do not have to be aware that which is local system and which is F-LECCS system. In addition, students can access these services at anytime and anywhere by using their cellar phones, whose penetration rate is over 96% in Japan. This boosts the convenience of the system, and facilitates participants’ blending of real and virtual communication.

Research Results and Papers

The aim and outline of F-leccs that combines the universities and colleges in Fukui prefecture

Authors

Osamu Yamakawa, Masatoshi Fujiwara, Takahiro Kagoya, Takehiro Tsubokawa, Masahiro Kikusawa, Koji Kitano, Kazutomi Sugihara

Abstract

The Universities and colleges in Fukui prefecture have begun to cooperate with each other to build a virtual university on a computer network environment. This project named F-LECCS (Fukui Learning Community Consortium) is going to build learning communities by using such systemsas SNS, LMS and e-Portfolio. This paper describes an outline of the project, and discusses its effectiveness to higher education.

Complex Network Analysis for the time development of friend-relationships on SNS

Authors

Osamu Yamakawa, Takahiro Tagawa, Koichi Yasutake, Takahiro Sumiya, Hitoshi Inoue

Abstract

The organizations of higer education in Fukui prefecture have operated an inter-campus SNS till April 2009. We have analyzed, in the complex network framework, the time development of the friend-relationships on SNS and the reading-relationships of blogs using logs of SNS from April to July. As the results, we have found the difference of time development between the statical network (friend-relationship network) and the dynamical network (blog-reading-relationship netowork). And both networks have indicated scale-free characteristics.

Pragmatic environments, methods and tools for the assessment of learning communities

Authors

Osamu Yamakawa, Takahiro Tagawa, Koichi Yasutake, Takahiro Sumiya, Hitoshi Inoue