|M.Sc Student||Kozyrev Sergey|
|Subject||Developing and Assessing a Methodology for Web-Based|
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisors||Professor Miriam Barak|
|Professor Dov Dori|
|Full Thesis text|
The Semantic Web is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which Web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a format that can be read and used by software agents, permitting them to find, share, and integrate information more easily. Although it is considered as the new generation of World Wide Web, Semantic Web technologies are still in their infancy. To achieve the goals of the Semantic Web, it should be implemented in new projects and in new areas. One of the promising areas for this purpose is cultural heritage preservation. The advantages of the Semantic Web were used in the current research for designing "Virtual Expeditions" (VE) - an interactive system for the creation and explorations of cultural heritage items.
The objective of this study is twofold: to develop a system design, based on the Virtual Expeditions' methodology, and to assess its potential usability and impact on users' dispositions towards open-mindedness. Based on the VE methodology, two VE mockups on Jewish women heritage were developed and tested among 107 university students.
The comparison of users' disposition towards open-mindedness before and after the VE usage showed that the exploration of the VEs significantly enhanced students' disposition towards open-mindedness in all the examined categories. The research findings also indicate that the VE exploration has a potential to reduce differences in dispositions towards open-mindedness between users from different genders and different cultures. The results demonstrate that the topic of the VE also plays an important role in influencing users' disposition towards open-mindedness.
According to the results of the statistical analysis of the VE usability questionnaire, all students asserted positive views related to operative, cognitive, and affective aspects. To gain better understanding of the students' behavior and thoughts as they explored the VEs, observations were conducted, resulting in behavioral assertions.
One of the possible explanations of the positive feedback received from students is a considerable thinking accomplished during the VE system design. The design, based on Visual Semantic Web principles, integrates structure and behavior in a single model, making it easy for understanding by educational specialists, programmers and software agents. The advantages of OPM made it possible to share knowledge between educational and technological partners, reducing the amount of the VE implementation and allowing the end user to enjoy the user friendly system that integrates advanced pedagogical ideas.