Virginia Tech CS4984 Spring 1996 Syllabus
Course Name (generic): Special Study
Course Name (specific): Multimedia, Hypertext and Information Access
Course Number: CS4984 (later will be 4624)
Prerequisites: CS2604 or equivalent, senior standing
Lecture Location: McB 209
Shared Lecture Time: Mon 3-4:20 pm
Lab Location: Derring 2069
Section 1 Index Number: 1327
Section 1 Lab Time: Tue 12:30 - 1:45 pm
Section 2 Index Number: 1328
Section 2 Lab Time: Thu 12:30 - 1:45 pm
Textbook: Multimedia Systems by John F. Koegel Buford, ACM
Press / Addison-Wesley, 1994. Recommended: Premiere with a Passion,
2nd ed. by Michael Feerer, Peachpit Press, 1994.
CS4984 Catalog Information
Catalog Description for CS4984
This is a Special Study course that will become a regular
course (CS4984) in subsequent years.
Introduces the architectures, concepts, data, hardware, methods,
models, software, standards, structures, technologies, and issues
involved with: multimedia information and systems; hypertext and
hypermedia; networked information; electronic publishing; virtual
reality; and information access. Students will learn how to capture,
represent, store, compress, manipulate, interact with, and present:
text, drawings, still images, animations, audio and video. They will
work with video conferencing, authoring systems, and digital
CS4984 Course Description
Additional Course Description for CS4984
This course is designed for seniors to become familiar with a range
of information technologies, much like Database Systems covers
certain types of data, and Artficial Intelligence covers certain types of
Coverage includes text, electronic publishing, search, retrieval,
browsing and related issues of information access. Other media
types are considered separately and in combination, when
synchronization and time-based performance are crucial to achieve
adequate quality of service. Linking, hierarchical structures, streams,
layers, and similar organizations and views will be considered.
A wide variety of hardware, software and application demonstrations
will be given. Students will gain expertise working with key
packages such as AuthorWare, Mosaic/Netscape, and Storyspace.
CS4984 Course Objectives
Objectives for CS4984
Students should be able to:
1. obtain an entry-level job working with multimedia,
hypertext, hypermedia or related technologies;
2. begin graduate or other studies working in this area;
3. effectively author hypertext, hypermedia or
4. learn and become an expert user of specialized software for
5. critique software and hardware systems in this area,
considering functionality, interface, quality of presentation,
and other important criteria.
The final will be Tuesday May 7 --- 7:45-9:45am. The open book, open notes
final is worth 100 points and will have at least 50 points worth of questions
taken from the A versions of unit tests. ALL ANSWERS MUST BE IN STUDENTS'
OWN WORDS, NOT COPIED FROM THE TEXT OR OTHER REFERENCE MATERIALS!
Student groups will undertake class projects, which are worth 90 points.
Special Handling During Last Week
In response to various comments and suggestions, the following policies
are in effect.
- Work on different units can proceed out of order. Thus, a student can
turn in Quiz 5 before Quiz 4. However, later versions should not be taken
until previous ones are graded, so, for example, Quiz 5B should not be tried
until Quiz 5A has been graded.
- Work received up through the end of May 6 will be graded and counted.
- If a Unit quiz is passed, 1/2 of the points for that unit will be given.
Similarly, if the exercises are done, 1/2 of the points will be given. Thus,
partial credit on units will be given as earned.
- The grade of Incomplete will only be granted in extremely unusual circumstances.
When granted, it will be the student's responsibility to gain access to
necessary course materials, which will be complicated by the fact that Derring
2069 may be closed in the summer.
Requirements and Scores
Attention to reading, labs, demonstrations and class discussions is imperative.
Students must demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge and its application.
The course has 6 units, worth a total of 100 points. Units IN, AC, NC each
are worth 10 points; units MC and PI are each worth 20 points; unit CR is
worth 30 points. You must demonstrate mastery (e.g., quiz grade of 90%)
of each unit you wish credit for, and will be allowed two retries (against
different questions) or an oral exam on each unit. Mastering a unit gives
you full credit as long as you have also completed (possibly in a group)
all assignments for that unit.
A grade of
- D will be given for an accumulation of at least 140 points,
- D+ for 145,
- C- for 150,
- C for 155,
- C+ for 160,
- B- for 250,
- B for 255,
- B+ for 260,
- A- for 265, and
- A for 270.
The instructor reserves the right to adjust grades for unusual performance
on the final. There may be extra credit assignments.
The Virginia Tech Honor Code
The Honor Code will be strictly enforced in this course.
All assignments submitted shall be considered graded work,
unless otherwise noted. All aspects of your coursework are
covered by the Honor System. Any suspected violations of the Honor
Code will be promptly reported to the Honor System.
Honesty in your academic work will develop into professional integrity.
The faculty and students of Virginia tech will not tolerate any
form of academic dishonesty.
CS4984 Project Overview
Projects are a key part of this course since they help tie together the
concepts learned from reading, listening to lectures, and undertaking exercises.
Whenever possible, you should do the exercises in a way that will help
you carry out your project, to reduce your workload and to provide highly
motivational variations of what would otherwise
be "toy" exercises.
Student groups are expected
to complete their project during the semester, so the scale of effort should
Each student is likely to spend up to 90 hours on the project,
so it should be something you want to do!
Many projects are likely to involve use of the special equipment
available at Virginia Tech, such as to prepare videotapes and/or
interactive multimedia materials.
Since multimedia project development is almost always carried out by teams,
you will work in a group of 4-6 students. Thus, each section is expected
to have 5 groups. Please be sensible in forming your groups, making sure
people can work together. You should develop a written agreement or "contract"
on working together, that will cover how to balance the workload. Groups
are entirely responsible for their own interaction and for ensuring that
everyone does their fair share --- they are empowered to rate each other
on quantity and quality of effort, and that will be considered in assigning
individual grades on the projects.
Each project will have an outside contact person (usually the instructor,
unless otherwise stated). The contact person will act as a client,
helping with requirements and ultimately gauging the suitability and
quality of the project.
Each project must be documented (covering requirements, design, operations,
and use). A final version of the project will be turned in at the end of
the semester and will become property of Virginia Tech. The last 2 lab
periods will be devoted to demos of the projects.
Chosen Project Ideas
See the student lists for the two labs to find assignments to projects, for
The selected topics are:
- Tue - CCR = Collaboration/Conferencing
designing McB 104 conferencing/collaboration room,
working with grad student J. Gabbard and Prof. Mary Beth Rosson.
- Tue - DLB = Digital
working on building a digital library for computer science, along
with grad student Madhan Subhas.
- Tue - LIT = Computer
and information literacy, related to Provost's request:
training materials for Virginia Tech students to assist with
Contact Dean E. Hitchingham.
CEUT will host a brown bag lunch on this topic Feb. 15!
- Tue - TUR = Tours
of multimedia labs on campus:
tours of multimedia labs on campus, for WWW.
Please see the partial tour already set up by N. Dwight Barnette
information services which can be extended, with possible
video assistance of the VRL group.
- Tue - VRC = Virtual
reality for campus:
developing VR models for campus.
They will do an overall model, and
then perhaps work on the new planned ACITC (Advanced Communications and
Information Technology Center) that will bridge across the Mall to
the Library. A contact familiar with Virtus software is
Dennis Neale (email@example.com).
- Thu - BEV = BEV
documentary, history of the Blacksburg Electronic Village.
Contacts include Dr. A. Cohill,
grad student Neill Kipp, and Prof. J. Carroll.
- Thu - HST = WWW
CS history museum:
virtual museum of computer history. Dr. Lee has wonderful materials
to capture (images, video, audio-tapes, documents) and will help design
this so people can move through the history of our field.
- Thu - IFM = Infomercial
and other video/interactive on CS Dept.:
recruiting materials for the Department of Computer Science (contact
Prof. J. Carroll); the first part of this should be an
which has already been sketched out by Dr. Lee and which is needed
before March 1996.
- Thu - VRL = Virtual
Reality of the Library on Campus:
developing VRML models for Newman Library. Contacts are:
Alan Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ginger Young (email@example.com)
who have been asked by the Dean of Libraries, Eileen Hitchingham
(firstname.lastname@example.org), to work with you.
A contact familiar with Virtus software is Dennis Neale (email@example.com).
Please see the partial tour already set up by N. Dwight Barnette
information services which can be extended, with possible
video assistance of the TUR group.
- Thu - WOO =
extending EIEIOmoo to tie in with VR and the WWW.
A group of graduate students
has already identified an
information page and the Brown system mentioned looks promising.
See also SenseMedia's technology
description. There are some good pointers from pages at UNC
CS4984 Course Format
Edward A. Fox
Department of Computer Science
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA 24061-0106
Since 1992, several CS courses
has been offered in a new format that synthesizes
educational and technological approaches oriented toward improvements
in motivation, comprehension, test performance, grades, study skills,
retention, and student satisfaction. This same approach is used
in CS4984, but enhanced further through use of a Computer-Integrated
Classroom with AV Macintosh systems.
The key features are discussed and
explained, including: modularity, personalization, testing of mastery,
tutoring, computer demonstrations, illustrative exercises, and use of
a digital library. All students should read this explanation
carefully, and follow all relevant instructions given in the DLPSI
and Timetable and Events sections.
Improvements in storage technology and computer networks have made possible
the creation of collections of articles, books, multimedia documents, and
other results of an emerging electronic publishing industry. Advances in
information access theory, techniques, and systems allow these collections
to become easily accessible for searching, browsing, reading, research,
and re-use - transforming them into value-added digital libraries.
Building upon various research projects at Virginia Tech, and using resources
of the Computing Center and the Department of Computer Science, Project
Envision was funded for 1991-94 by the National Science Foundation, and
aided by ACM. This project, to build a User-Centered Database from the Computer
Science Literature, has supported courses by providing access to readings,
hypertext collections, algorithms, images, and specialized software. Another
project, Interactive Learning with a Digital Library in Computer Science,
has NSF support for 1993-96 and continues these efforts. In particular,
CS4984 has been developed in conjunction with work on this project, whose
results will be made available for class demonstrations, laboratory exercises,
homeworks, and independent research.
In early 1996 IBM, through its SUR program, has donated $250K worth of digital
library equipment, to go along with additional equipment purchased with
Virginia Tech ($80K) and NSF funds ($90K). This large system includes a
large 4 processor SMP machine building on RS/6000 and PowerPC technology,
a hierarchical storage manager, and over 2 terabytes of DLT-based tertiary
In the 1960's, Fred S. Keller, J. Gilmour Sherman, and others developed
a synthesis of educational methods and practices that has often been called
the Keller Plan or the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI)
Key aspects of this teaching method include
- so students can proceed according to their
abilities, interests, and personal schedules;
- unit-perfection requirement
- which means students must
demonstrate mastery of a unit before proceeding to other units;
- lectures and demonstrations for motivation
- instead of for
communication of critical information;
- stress on the written word for teacher-student communication
which helps develop comprehension and expression skills; and
- which allows repeats on exams, enhanced
personal-social interaction, and personalized instruction.
Research studies have shown PSI to have a number of
advantages over conventional educational methods, and few
disadvantages. Students, especially those who would normally
perform at the lower or middle levels, learn significantly more, as
measured by final examinations and by tests of long-term
retention (given years
later). They like the classes and tutoring, and develop good habits
that carry over to other courses and learning activities.
Disadvantages are mostly concerning extra effort being required
by the instructor, a higher drop rate in some courses (especially by
students who cannot break their habits of procrastination), and extra
Adapting to our Program
To adapt PSI to CS4984, several changes or additions seemed appropriate.
First, given limited GTA support, it is necessary for the instructor also
to play the role of proctor and tutor, during office hours and during specially
scheduled appointments. Use of MOO technology extends those times of contact
to any time the instructor or GTA are in EIEIOmoo. Second, given
space limitations and the current lab situation for Computer Science regarding
multimedia technology, it seemed necessary to hold class sessions in Derring
2069 twice, to accomodate two sections. Thus, a combined lecture for both
sections takes place Monday afternoons, and each section has a session on
either Tuesday or Thursday. Third, given the availability of computing
resources, it seemed sensible to use MOO technology, electronic forms and
electronic mail as much as possible, to encourage additional communication
with the instructor and to avoid needless use of paper. Finally, given the
lab availability and limited software licenses, it was arranged that students
would be able to work directly with some software (either in the Derring
classroom or in one of the labs on campus), but for other software would
only watch a demonstration.
The course format for CS4984 is thus an adaption of PSI, making use of
digital library support, and adjusting for the situation at Virginia Tech in
Spring 1995. The main elements of this Digital Library Personalized
System of Instruction (DLPSI) are given below. Students should read
these explanations carefully, and ask about any questions that come to
mind. Remember that improved reading comprehension is a key
objective of this course, but that the instructor is happy to provide
tutoring assistance to all students as needed.
Units, Grades, Procrastination
- The course has 6 units or modules, each designed to be completed in
a 1-3.5 week period if a normal pace is followed, with the number of points
credited from mastery of each unit keyed to the amount of work (i.e., 10
points for units taking 1 week, 20 points for 2.5 weeks - see syllabus for
- The grading plan given in the syllabus gives students flexibility regarding
amount of work, but less work (i.e., fewer units completed), or a poorer
showing on the project or final, will result in a lower grade. Thus there
is nothing arbitrary in the grading, and anyone should be able to get a
course grade of A, if an adequate amount of work is performed.
- To complete a unit, a student must demonstrate mastery. This is done
by passing a quiz, where a grade of 90% or higher is required. Quizes are
graded as soon as possible, and students may request re-consideration of
the grading. This is one situation where tutoring takes place - students
must convincingly explain and justify their answers to receive credit, but
otherwise will be referred to further reading or exercises aimed at improving
- Students who do not pass a unit quiz can take an alternative quiz on
another day; there will be a total of 3 quizes available for each unit.
If none of these are mastered, the student must pass an oral examination
given by the instructor in order to complete the unit. A student's grade
in the course is not lowered because of taking multiple quizes for units.
- The Honor Code is in effect in this course. All quizes, oral examinations,
and the final must reflect individual effort. Open books and open notes
are allowed, since comprehension as opposed to memorization is called for
at the senior level. Note however that students should learn course material
well, since quizes and the final will be timed. Unless otherwise indicated
in writing, other work for this course can be carried out in groups, since
at the senior level it is important to learn how to work with your colleagues
on research problems, and employers favor good collaboration and discussion
skills. If homework or other exercises are turned in on paper or electronically,
as the result of efforts by several people, please be sure to give the names
of all students who contributed.
- Discussions with the instructor or GTA about quizes should be deferred
to times and locations that assure privacy. Quiz question and answer booklets
or electronic files should not be shared with others, and will be retained
by the instructor when not in use.
- Procrastination is the number one danger with DLPSI. You should target
completion of each unit soon after the days for that unit have passed. The
instructor will maintain a chart showing unit completion of all students
in the class, so you can compare your progress. You will be warned if you
are falling behind, by email. Please, please talk with the instructor if
you have any problems! Do not be afraid to discuss these matters, or any
special problems that arise. However, procrastination is a bad habit that
must be broken, so the instructor will generally refuse to give any unit
exams after the last day of classes. No work turned in after the final will
be counted. Further, the instructor plans on only one sitting for the final,
at the assigned time.
- Aside from the textbook, all readings and multimedia resources used
for the course will be available on computers. Students who sign the appropriate
forms (indicating their willingness to follow the Rules of Acceptable Use)
will receive accounts on a SPARC 10 Model 40 (video.cs.vt.edu) in McB 110.
Extensive use will be made of Macintosh systems in the lab, which is open
evenings and weekends too.
- Once the textbook is obtained from the University Bookstore or the Tech
Bookstore, a student will be able to read those chapters listed in the syllabus.
- Other course readings will be available in several ways. Many are on
reserve in the library.
- As a result of Project Envision, many important ACM and IEEE-CS articles
are available in page image form (CCITT Group IV facsimile format). Probably
the best way to read these papers online is with the Dienst system (which
is used in the NCSTRL project). Also, either the xv or xtiff programs can
be used to read articles, but xprcedit is better. The files are all stored
on video.cs.vt.edu in /u4/pages/acm/cacm and can be located given the volume
and issue numbers as well as a short key for each article. Each article
is stored in a separate subdirectory, containing a separate file for each
page. Thus, in /u4/pages/acm/cacm/v34/n10/SAMU91a will be six Group IV tiff
files: 0000.tif for the first page, 0001.tif for the second page, etc.
- Online copies of documentation for software packages used will be available
in several forms. There will be Macintosh tutorials, standard UNIX-style
man pages, PostScript or PDFfiles, and simple ASCII files.
Timetable and Events
For the course as a whole, the overall timetable is given in the syllabus.
For each unit, a handout will be provided, on or before the first date listed
for that unit in the syllabus. Please read this over right away. During
the dates listed, any special lectures, discussions, demonstrations, lab
exercises, field trips, etc. that relate to that unit will take place. Students
are invited and encouraged to attend.
If nothing is scheduled, students are encouraged to come to class to pick
up any new information or materials provided. Also, they can read or do
exercises, and ask questions of their colleagues or the instructor. As in
many senior classes, some students have little background in the field,
while others are involved in research projects and have a great deal of
specialized knowledge. When students with diverse backgrounds work together,
all benefit - those who tutor others often learn more than those who are
asking for help.
Working in the laboratory is of particular value when nothing is scheduled,
and when there are demonstrations or exercises involving computers. Part
of the DLPSI experience is to use computers and software to obtain some
insight into how digital libraries of the future might operate. Be sure
to share your comments, preferably in writing, with the instructor, so we
can improve things for others.
Remember that the core of the course is made up of the project, readings
and exercises, so concentrate on them until you thoroughly understand each
unit. Other activities should supplement these, make the course more enjoyable,
and provide other educational and experiential benefits. You are free to
work a bit ahead or to in other reasonable ways adjust your work schedule
to harmonize with demands from other courses or special circumstances, but
please, please, DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!
We hope that DLPSI works for you, and helps you learn even more effectively
in the future!
- 1 Fred S. Keller. Goodbye, teacher ... J.
of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 1(1):79-89, Spring 1968.
- 2 J. Gilmour Sherman and Robert S. Ruskin.
The Personalized System of Instruction. Educational Technology
Publications, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1978. Vol. 13 in The Instructional Design
Library, series ed. Danny G. Langdon.
- 3 J. Gilmour Sherman, Robert S. Ruskin,
and George B. Semb, editors. The Personalized System of Instruction:
48 seminal papers. TRI Publications, Lawrence, Kansas, 1982.
- IN: Introduction (1.5 wks), Labs:
- Course Notes: 0, 1,
Exercises, Labs: 1,
- Issues: Predictions, roles of
publishers & electronic publishing, applications (e.g., multimedia
mail, training, video on demand), hypertext/hypermedia
- Readings - textbook chapter: 1
; WWW: MOO Information
- Systems/Demonstrations: Author/Editor, KMS, MIME, Mosaic, Storyspace
- AC: Application Construction (2.5 wks)
- Course Notes: 2, Exercises,
- Issues: architectures / reference
models (e.g., IMA), toolkits, authoring systems
- Readings - textbook chapters: 3,
12; WWW: Virtual
- Systems/Demonstrations: AuthorWare, Director, ENVISION, Virtual
- CR: Capture and Representation (3.5 wks)
- Course Notes: 3, 4,
Labs: 4, Objectives,
- Issues: Universe of objects,
human visual system, psychoacoustic modeling, digitization, quantization,
conversion, metadata, cataloging, representing media (text, images, video,
- Readings - textbook chapters: 4,
14; WWW: CD-Video
Extra Articles in CACM: Jan. 1994 CACM (Special Issue on Hypermedia),
Dec. 1991 CACM article on HyTime (Newcomb et al.),
April 1991 CACM (Special Issue on Digital Multimedia Systems) on JPEG (Wallace),
MPEG (Le Gall), MPEG compression for CD-I (Sijstermans and van der Meer),
px64 (Liou), MIME (Borenstein), and DVI Chips (Harney et al.)
- Systems/Demonstrations/Exercises: scanning, Illustrator, Photoshop,
- MC: Models and Compression (3 wks)
- Course Notes: 6, Exercises,
Labs: 5, Objectives,
- Issues: Hypertext models (e.g.,
Dexter, Trellis, Amsterdam), standards (e.g., SGML, HyTime, MHEG, JPEG,
MPEG), object classes, time, document models, vector quantization, DCT,
- Readings - textbook chapters: 6,
7; Hyperbases: ACM
Hypertext on Hypertext, Hypertext Compendium-
esp. Dexter, Trellis;
book: QuickTime; page
images - esp. Amsterdam, IRIS
- Systems/Demonstrations/Exercises: MPEG-player, DVI, QuickTime
- PI: Presentation and Interaction (2 wks)
- Course Notes: 7, Exercises,
- Issues: rendering, browsing,
navigation, searching & search engines, link services &
engines, standards (e.g., PREMO), scripting
- Readings - textbook chapters: 10;
WWW: AppleScript, Hyper-G,
(and Bento), QuickTime, ScriptX
- Systems/Demonstrations/Exercises: ENVISION, HyperCard/Toolbook,
Hyper-G, HyperTies, MARIAN, MHEG, ScriptX, WAIS
- NC: Networking and Communication (1.5 wks)
- Course Notes: 8, Exercises,
Labs: 6, Objectives,
- Issues: distributed hypermedia
databases, store & forward, Internet services, synchronization,
quality of service, protocols, video conferencing, objects with their methods,
- Readings - textbook chapters: 9,
15; book: Hodges+
Ch 20; WWW: Information
- Systems/Demonstrations/Exercises: Dienst, Gopher, WATERS, CU-SeeMe
- Post-Test and Review
Sun Feb 24 1995