RECORD OF VENTURES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY KNOWLEDGE CERTIFICATION IN ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI
The present document describes briefly the ventures of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki towards training and certification of Information Technology knowledge. During the last decade there have been dispensed altogether more or less 15.000 certifications in 6 different thematic units (Using Computers and Managing Files, Spreadsheets, Internet Applications & Communication, Word Processing, Databases and Electronic Presentations). A relatively comprehensive description will be given only for the ventures of the last three years, because during these, the adopted procedure was tested successfully via Internet.
The first ventures of Information Technology Certification by the Aristotle University, go back in 1994 when it was noticed the imperative need for high level and with scientific criteria certification of this kind of knowledge. The ventures were made in collaboration with the Greek Productivity Centre (ELKEPA) and lasted from the year 1994 till 1996, and were about training and certification of secondary education teachers.
Then within the special program of the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, executives of the Ministry of Education and secondary education teachers were trained and certified from the year 1997 till the year 2000.
Record of using the Internet for ventures of certification
The Programming Languages & Software Engineering Laboratory had the opportunity with the projects by number 20965, 21426 and 80096 of the Research committee of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki to develop the necessary software and to bring off the important work of on line training of students of a private educational institution. Specifically:
- A parametric educational project was prepared so that the various demands of the students concerning the desirable duration of studies and their objects of interest are satisfied.
- The standards for evaluation of studies and for the procedures of evaluation were specified.
- A monitoring program was built throughout the country.
Within the above the next ventures took place:
- The studies program and the syllabus were evaluated.
- Nearly all teachers of the organization were evaluated.
- The students were evaluated during the training.
- Progress tests were realized via Internet.
- The final exam was conducted via Internet.
- The Final Examinations were held with the responsibility of the Programming Languages & Software Engineering Laboratory of the Computer Science Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
A software application was developed concerning testing via Internet. In specific the system recognizes 3 kinds of users, the student/learner, the examiner and the administrator. The use cases of these users are the following:
The user learner/student has the following two options from his/her menu:
- To see the existing examinations tests and to be able to solve them.
- To see the previous tests he/she took, with his/her grade and their responses, so that he/she can observe his/her personal progress.
- To introduce the standards of the new tests.
- To modify the standards of older tests.
- To observe the progress of his/her students.
The system has an administrator that is responsible for the system maintenance and its normal operation. Additionally the administrator has the functions of the examiner/trainer and is in position to introduce users to the system (either learners/students or examiners/trainers), manage and delete them.
The queries that the system contains include apart from the text, a list of alternative responses and the correct ones - the following additional elements:
- The thematic unit
- The chapter of the thematic unit
- The level of difficulty of the question
- Any picture that may accompany the question
Through long-term cooperation and research programs, knowhow was developed by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in the following domains:
- Evaluation of Training Institutions in the basic knowledge of Information Technology (evaluation of program studies, infrastructures, educational material, teachers).
- Planning of operational processes concerning the certification (evaluation and assessment of educational centres, organization and effectuation of examinations, issuing of certificates, help desk).
- Organization and Administration of Training and Certification - creating groups of certification (group of users' support, invigilators' group, graders' group).
- Creation of educational content (questions of graded difficulty, scenarios using computer tools).
- Students' Evaluation (creation of standardized tests of increasing difficulty, etc).
- Massive analysis of test and examination results (for example, data mining, knowledge management - this activity is still under development).
- Systems' Design and Implementation of educational content (long distance training) and on-line certification with open source software components.
- Operation, management and maintenance of these systems with hundreds/thousands users.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki incorporates:
- Ten years of experience in the certification of knowledge of computer usage.
- Three years of experience in training support with on-line testing.
- Research and development for certification support systems.
- Prestigious Foundation: 60.000 students, 2.500 teachers, 45 University Departments.
- 3rd place in Europe, 15th place internationally among public and private research bodies in the field of Systems & Software Engineering, according to research of the magazine J. Systems & Software (period 1999-2003)
Has moved on: To the creation of the Spin-off ACTA SA in order to provide reliable certification services in Pan-Hellenic scale but also abroad. ACTA aspires to head having as a basis the prestige of the institution from which it emanates, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.