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Development of mobile applications

The task implies the development of Java based applications for various types of mobile (smart) phones (specifically, for phones with IOS (iPhone), Windows Mobile and Android operating systems) that provide the students with the following options:

1. download of subsequent (one or more) lesson(s)
2. presentation of the downloaded lesson(s) for execution
3. offline access to solutions of downloaded exercises
4. offline evaluation of student’s answers to exercises (except for those requiring instructor’s assessment)
5. upload of student’s answers to exercises to the central server (requires online connection)

Search queries, lesson downloads and the upload of answers to exercises may be performed by web-service calls. All of these web-service calls carry the authentication information which was collected by the application when it was set up, and then inserted into each call.

Students can search from the list of subsequent prescribed lessons. The length of the list can be specified by the student, and the list itself can be reduced by omitting some of the lessons.

Downloadable lessons may consist of:
1. passive lesson elements (texts, images, sound tracks)
2. active lesson elements (exercises, tasks)

The preferred format of the lesson files is the XML format containing the list of lesson elements, which, in turn, stores the type of lesson elements as attributes.

Active lesson elements may contain:

1. one or more passive element(s) :
• question presented in text format (e.g. text to be read, test point to be answered, text to be completed)
• image (e.g. of a situation to be analysed, or to which a multiple choice type exercise is referring)
• sound track (e.g. for pronunciation practice or exercises requiring the understanding of verbal texts)
2. one or more active element(s) :
• type in field for texts
• multiple selection (checkboxes)
• exclusive selection (radio buttons)
• voice recording (in the case of verbal exercises)
3. a solution descriptor to each exercise (task), that contains :
• the correct answers or answer-combinations
• the corresponding scores

For each type of lesson elements a display scheme is defined, that has to be stored and used by the application in order to present the lessons. Any additional formatting may be described according to the HTML5 standards, embedded in the XML file.

The offline evaluation process results in a percentage value to be displayed. The value is based on the sum of scores gained, 100% refers to full marks for every question. Students’ answers too are to be uploaded onto the server in XML format, as the parameter of web-service call.

The upload of students’ answers is necessary even if they do not require instructor’s assessment, since the central system will use these answers as the basis for compiling the subsequent test sheet for each student. (With attention paid to avoiding the repetition of questions that had been correctly answered by the student on the one hand, and focusing on spotted less developed skills, on the other.)

Students will find the evaluation results of their solutions to exercises requiring instructors’ assessment by visiting the portal of the System For Preparation For Language Examination. Students subscribing for an extra service of the system will receive an ordinary SMS message when instructor’s assessment(s) are available.

Possibly, just one general purpose application needs to be developed for each operating system, which is capable of handling:

• the download of a given number of (subsequent) lessons
• the sequential presentation of the elements of the lesson, according to their types
• repetition requests (replay, answer modification, one-by-one step-back)
• random repetition requests (lesson / element selection)
• download and storage of solutions to exercises
• offline evaluation of answers (calculation of results as a percentage value of performance for each lesson)
• upload of answers to exercises (upon request, when an online connection is established)

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