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h2. Overview

The Pas Researcher pack (PRP) is an open source suite of tools  that can be installed by any research group and used as a platform for developing rich, interactive learning materials for students working in classrooms, at home, or in the field. *[*Pas*|#pas]* stands for _"Project, Activity, Step_", and loosely derives from a previous Web-based application called *[*WISE*|#wise]*, which offers a Web-based learning environment where students performed _projects_ that consisted of a small number of _activities_ which in turn consisted of individual _steps_ to be completed by students.

The PRP is implemented in the java language with greater functionality and expandability than WISE. It is built from *[*SAIL*|#sail]* which has been carefully designed to enable small java-based curriculum elements to work smoothly together in order to form larger curriculum modules. The PRP portal system and easy-to-use authoring tool allows researchers (often graduate students) to create learning projects by opening each step in "author mode" and specifying its content, just as they did in WISE. The hope is that by offering these tools as a "research pack" we can encourage evolution of the an active open source community, supporting researchers as well as their technology team.

There are thus three key elements to the Pas researcher pack:
* _[The Pas VLE]_ (Virtual Learning Environment) where students interact with the materials
* _[the Pas Authoring environment]_ where researchers or teachers can author new content
* _[_the Pas Portal_|Pas Portal]_, where all students and teachers are registered, and all student data (e.g., drawings, notes, simulation settings, etc) are stored.

These three elements are multi-layered applications that share common code and libraries. In addition, a basic collection of curriculum units ([curnits|#curnit]) will be offered in the form of a project library to offer researchers a core set of content to get started.  Much of this content was built during the WISE project and its subsequent center: Technology Enhanced Learning in Science [TELS|http://telscenter.org].

h2. demos of PAS projects
{include: PRP VLE Examples}

h2. Getting started using the PRP

* [I am a researcher or an instructor]
* [I am a developer]
* [Extending SAIL and PRP] to include "Non Pas" formats

h2. Terminology

{info}{anchor:pas}

h3. Pas

*Pas* stands for _"Project, Activity, Step_", and loosely derives from the previous [WISE|#wise] program, which offered a Web-based learning environment where students performed _projects_ that consisted of a small number of _activities_ (usually between 2 and 8) which in turn consisted of individual _steps_ to bve completed by students.  Steps are discreet chunks of content with a specific type, such as note-taking, online discussions, drawings, Web-page viewing, models and simulations, etc.  Activities are logical groupings of steps that can be performed by students working in a single class period or in a certain portion of the project. The Project consists of an overarching theme, usually with an inquiry question or challenge, such as "Design a house for living in the desert", or "Are humans causing global climate change?"  The steps don't necessarily need to be performed by students in sequence, but they usually are.  Projects are launched via the Web, and conducted by students on their classroom computers, or from home.  All student work is saved on a specially configured server that belowings to the research project. A student and teacher portal coordinates all student accounts and gives teachers (and researchers) access to the student work for purposes of assessment or anlysis.

Pas is the first software framework implemented using [SAIL|#sail] (but very likely not the last, as we envision many "non-Pas" type environments to come). It includes an authoring tool for creating curriculum and a learner environment that allows students to work through your curriculum. A good strategy for understanding Pas is to first look at the predecessor project, [WISE|#wise]. An overview can be found through the WISE flash introduction. After that, you can sign up for a teacher account on WISE and explore. You can "preview" projects, edit them, and experiment with creating some simple curriculum materials. Refer to the help documentation for using WISE which is available once you are logged in.
* [Here is a more detailed discussion|http://www.telscenter.org/confluence/display/SAIL/Using+the+Pas+Suite] of the Pas Suite, in terms of its relation to SAIL.

{anchor:wise}

h3. WISE

*WISE* stands _"Web-based inquiry science environment"_. WISE functions as a stand-alone Web application that was (and still is) available to researchers as a platform for developing and delivering WISE content and collecting student data. But was not available to them for purposes of developing new features, tools or user interfaces.  Nor could it easily interoperate with other java-based tools.  A group of researchers, computer scientists and programers from the University of California, Berkeley and several other institutions, have rendered the WISE model as a Java framework, carefully separating the portal from the authoring tools and student learning tools, and offering the whole package under and open source (LGPL) license.
* [More about WISE|http://wise.berkeley.edu]

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h3. SAIL

*SAIL* stands for _"Scalable Architecture for Interactive Learning"_. It is a java based open source framework (API) to support the development of E-Learning systems. It has been designed to support distributed learning and authoring, to be adapted for use by many diverse education scenarios, to continuously evolve (rather than becoming obsolete within a few years as many E-Learning projects have done) and to allow content (curriculum and bits of curriculum) to be re-used and revised. The SAIL framework is still under development and is evolving in response to needs and requirements that emerge.
* More about the [SAIL framework|http://sail.sourceforge.net/] and specifically the [sail-core|http://sail.sourceforge.net/sail-core/project-info.html] java code upon which Pas is based

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h3. Curnit

A SAIL-based curriculum unit which is created by an author is called a curnit (from "curriculum" and "unit" squeezed together).
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h4. Metadata

{metadata-list}
|| Copyright Status | [GNU Lesser General Public License|http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html#SEC1] ||
|| Tags/Keywords | learning technologies, research, collaborative, CSCL, science education, open source ||
|| Resource Type | Technology Tools and Environments ||
|| Demo Link | [http://www.encorewiki.org/display/encore/PAS+Researcher+Pack] ||
|| Overview | Pas is a nimble open source stand-alone portal that provides researchers with a registration system, authorware, and student learning environment. ||
|| Intended Audience | Higher Education (college or university or beyond), Public and continuing education, Researchers, Teachers/Educators ||
|| Topic Area | Technology Studies, ||
|| Authors | Turadg Aleahmad, Stephen Bannasch, Ed Burke, Scott Cytacki, Tony Perritano, Jim Slotta, Cynick Young, Laurel Williams ||
|| Home Page Link | [http://www.encorewiki.org/display/encore/PAS+Researcher+Pack] ||
{metadata-list}
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