Project Background

X5GON is an industrial leading search engine specifically designed for OER(open educational resources) (European Commission, 2017). It aims to provide users with a one-stop solution for fetching knowledge, instead of visiting various different educational resources sites on the web. Its platform will adapt to the user’s needs and uses a Machine Learning background to provide customized recommendations and suggestions. User can therefore acquire information and knowledge through a truly interactive and impactful learning experience.

Keywords of X5GON:

  • Machines Learning
  • Open Education Resources (OER)
  • Recommendation Systems
  • User-User Collaborative Filtering
  • Cross Modal
  • Cross Cultural
  • Cross Lingual
  • Cross Domain
  • Cross Site

Client Requirements

In order to understand the requirements from the client better, we arranged an face-to-face meeting with our clients at the beginning of our project. During the meeting, the clients gave us a list of requirements and pointed out the key requirements as well as the optional requirements. In the following meetings and emails, we further clarified any ambiguities and made the MosCow list (Clegg and Barker, 1994) as the client required.

Following is an sample of questions asked during the interview:

  • What mobile platform are we developing for? iOS, Android or Windows Mobile?
  • What existing applications would be a good sample of expected functions in our new app?
  • For the optional task, what type of data shall we collect from users? What types of API are provided on the backend?

Figure: An demo of the original desktop X5GON interface (European Commission, 2017)

Project Goal

After meeting with our clients, we conclude our main project goals to be two main products, one of them being a key Mobile App and another being an optional optimisation if time permits.

iOS Mobile Application (Main)

  • Deliver a presentable and mobile-friendly user interface for the current X5GON backend, while maintaining its original functions.
  • Optimise the responsiveness and performance of X5GON through client-side buffering and smart pre-loading.

Improve X5GON's X5Learn Backend (Optional)

  • Identify flaws on the X5GON backend through gathering anonymous user data and feedback.
  • Investigate and Improve X5GON's information retrieval and recommendation algorithms (if time permits).

User Interviews

Following our interview with clients, we then setup two interviews respectively with an international student and a A-Level teacher in China. Below are scripts we recorded from our interviews.

Interview Script with an International Student studying A-level in UK

  • Q: Have you used any online learning platform before?
  • A: Yes, I have used a lot.
  • Q: How do you feel when you are using those platforms?
  • A: Well, to be very honest, I cannot find a huge difference between those online platforms. Sometimes even the lectures are the same.
  • Q: Are you a self-learning person?
  • A: I think I am, as an international student, it’s quite hard to understand everything in the lecture, so I used to spend some hours to watch the lecture cast, sometimes I still need to find some other materials to help me understand the knowledge.
  • Q: What’s your ideal online learning platform?
  • A: Sometimes I find it quite hard to understand certain concepts on these platform. I’m wondering if I can some relevant knowledge that helps me understand, if possible, I’d like to have a platform that could help me with this.

Interview Script with an A-level Chemistry Teacher in China

  • Q: Have you used any online learning platform before, as a teacher, what are you looking for on these platforms?
  • A: Yes, I teach a-level chemistry here (in China). I just want to find out how other teachers teach this subject, I also want to find out if there is a better way to help my students understand certain topics.
  • Q: How do you feel when you are using those platforms?
  • A: They are good, but the major issue is, the information is separated on different platforms and as a teacher when I’m using these kinds of platform, I need to pay the subscription fee, and this is quite expensive.
  • Q: Are there any other difficulties when you are trying to use the online learning platform to help me prepare your lecture?
  • A: Yes, as you know, a level is a British exam system, I personally prefer to have some help from my “colleagues” in the UK. However, I can only find very little materials from those platforms.
  • Q: What’s your ideal online learning platform?
  • A: I just want a platform that can hold the majority of the information on the other online learning platforms, also if the platform can suggest me with the same topic but in different languages it would be fantastic. The best way to understand a topic is connect them with the other relevant topics, so if the platform can suggest the relevant topics, it would be great. .

Persona and Use Cases

After conducting interviews, we made two persona pages respectively for each of the interviewees. Also, we wrote a short story for each of their use cases.

Ashley Yang

Ashley is a A-level international student who is eager to learn and revise on her school materials before exams.

She needs something more than simply playing lecture videos, since it is quite hard to understand everything in one lecture as lecturers might skip some knowledge that might be considered basic for local students.

She logged into X5GON to find relevant supplemental lectures from all over the world.

She found the recommendation section and the “You might also like…” session very useful since they provide additional lectures, graphs and videos to help her understand the course.

Throughout her study on the platform, she can keep track of what she has learned and gets automated revision notifications on what she might have forgotten.

John Simmons

John is a teacher in a private high school teaching a-level chemistry to students from all sorts of backgrounds.

He needs a platform where he can find teaching materials from all over the world, and keep track of his students’ learning progress.

He logged on to X5GON, where it provides an index to all open learning materials around the globe.

He found the video recommendation particularly useful since this provides him with ideas on how to deliver certain materials in his lectures.

Also, he uses X5GON to host his own classroom where he can see the progress of his students on this particular course.


Use Case Diagram

With our use case stories above, our team figured drawing a flow chart for our use case diagram will make it much clearer.

Click on the Diagram below to gain a clearer view of its details.


MoSCoW List

Lastly, with all our gathering above, we compiled a our MosCow List (Clegg and Barker, 1994).


Type of OERs(open educational resources) must be one of video, audio and PDF.

OER on display is equivalent to the OER acting as the main content on the display page.

Given the nature of our project, all items below are functional requirements.

  • We must allow users to view all types of OER.
  • We must suggest relevant OERs and show them below the OER that is currently on display.
  • We must allow users to play or pause an OER video.
  • We must allow users to view a specific OER and its details when they press it.
  • We must allow users to bookmark a specific OER.
  • We must enable users to add notes to the OER when they are on display.
  • We must show the person or organisation who uploads the OER material.
  • We must allow users to search X5GON OER collections for keywords.
  • We must allow user to view their browsing history.
  • We must have a full screen (focus) mode to view OERs.
  • We must allow users to rate an OER by pressing the like and dislike button.
  • We should allow user to login and logout of their accounts.
  • We should buffer users’ notes for a specific OER and send them to the backend of X5GON.
  • We should preload the video shown on the lists for responsiveness.
  • We should provide different main pages, including trending, subscribed contents.
  • We should create a simulated backend to pre-develop certain features.
  • We could deploy this software on different platforms, e.g. iPhone, iPad.
  • We could allow users to report inappropriate contents.
  • We could have continuous integration with Travis.
  • We could introduce unit testing to the Application.
  • We won’t have captions or translations for captions.
  • We won’t allow users to upload OER from our app.
  • We won’t allow users to collaborative edit notes.
  • We won’t allow commenting on OER.
  • We won’t show users’ note to other users.
  • We won’t keep suggesting the same OER to same user.

*Certain modifications are made to the MoSCoW list upon mutual agreement with the client during the project.