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Informatik 5
Information Systems
Prof. Dr. M. Jarke
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Prof. Dr. M. Jarke
RWTH Aachen
Informatik 5
Ahornstr. 55
D-52056 Aachen
Tel +49/241/8021501
Fax +49/241/8022321

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Virtual Entrepreneurship Lab


Concepts for teaching of future entrepreneurs differ extremely from country to country and from university to university. There are for example the classical business planning games which simplify situations that occur in the reality but guarantee standards in education. These concepts are replaced or completed more and more by more realistic forms of education. Hypermedia learning environments amalgamate the concepts of working with hypertext and the consequent use of multimedia material. The learning environment “Berliner sehen” developed by Kurt Fendt and Ellen Crocker at the MIT Germany program supports students in learning German language and culture. The basic principle of “Berliner sehen” are video taped talks with different actors living in a specific quarter of Berlin . The student explore the material by choosing a character and a category in the user interface. The multimedia material (digital video, images, and text) is presented according to the selection of the student. The student can play individual talks and browsing them by implicit or explicit links. The student can also change the context of the actual document and gets a new selection of linked documents presenting the new context. Viewing the material and changing perspectives can lead to a different understanding of the material. This is non-linear and flexible. The explorative way of researching the material, the repeated viewing of documents in different contexts, the comparison of results with other students, and the discussion with teachers and other students leads to the learning effects wished by constructivist theory.

VEL Screen

The Virtual Entrepreneurship Lab (VEL) works with the basic principles of “Berliner sehen” to support the entrepreneurship education. The learning environment was a joint development from computer science (RWTH Aachen, Fraunhofer FIT) and management science (Institut für Mittelstandsforschung, Bonn). Multimedia learning objects are used to create comprehensive context-oriented learning scenarios. This includes interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels and other persons who have been involved in the process of founding a company. The video sequences are supplemented with other multimedia objects like pictures and text.

The learner takes the role of a researcher, who at first faces an unstructured accumulation of the material. All media that are integrated into the learning environment are assigned to several contexts, which represent certain views on the material. These contexts are described as metadata both visible in the user interface (right sided buttons in figure) and in the material. While working with the VEL the learner can dynamically change these contexts and after that gets presented all assigned media, which can be viewed and analyzed. Main aspect of the design and implementation process of the VEL was the openness of the system. The term “open learning environment” means, that it can be adapted to other areas than the entrepreneurship education and that the learning material can easily be extended and administrated in modules. To guarantee this openness all metadata for the different media has to be represented in an open and flexible manner. Therefore the MPEG-7 metadata standard was chosen for storing all necessary information of the different media. MPEG-7 is a base for applications, in order to enable qualitative access to the content of multimedia data. One the one hand this is filtering, searching and retrieval of information, on the other hand it is linking and arranging of media and personalized access to the data. MPEG-7 has the biggest set of descriptors for audio-visual material at all. If you decide to use MPEG-7 in applications, it is not necessary to know the whole standard, as you can use different levels of granularity for the description of the media.

MPEG-7 is XML-based. The syntax and semantic of correct MPEG-7 documents are defined by a XML schema. For the VEL a subset of the whole MPEG-7 standard was chosen to define all elements that are necessary to guarantee the correct functionality of the learning environment. This include common information about the metadata, copyright information, information about the media type, link to the media, information about the creation process, semantic information to generate the contexts and some video specific information. This subset is defined in a Document Type Definition (DTD). To check the correctness of VEL MPEG-7 documents it is possible to validate them against the MPEG-7 schema and the defined DTD.

Another functionality of the VEL is the learners possibility to create own multimedia collections (bottom of figure). With this collections he can store own perspectives of the material, own trails through the media and own textual annotations. He can mark the collections private or public. Public collections can be seen by all users of the VEL. All these metadata (information about the user, the media, annotations, etc.) are also stored in the database as MPEG-7 XML documents. This is another indication for the expressiveness of MPEG-7: You can describe personalized multimedia collections of different media.

The usage of the MEPG-7 metadata standard to describe all information necessary to arrange and present media, to navigate in the VEL and to create own collections and annotations is the main reason to realize openness, flexibility and adaptability in the VEL. You can easily administrate and extend the learning material by editing, adding and deleting the related MPEG-7 documents. If you are familiar with MPEG-7 you will understand the syntax and semantic of the VEL MPEG-7 documents at once. Furthermore it is possible to exchange data between applications that “understand” MPEG-7.


  • R. Klamma, P. Moog, V. Wulf: How to start a company? Das Virtual Entrepreneurship Lab (VEL) als didaktisches Lehrmittel und Trainingsinstrument für potentielle Gründer, G-Forum Jahreskonferenz 2001, Lüneburg, Oktober 2001.
  • M. Jarke, R. Klamma: Metadata and Cooperative Knowledge Management, A. Banks Pidduck et al. (Eds.): CAISE 2002, LNCS 2348, pp. 4-20, 2002, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002
  • R. Klamma, E. Hollender, M. Jarke, P. Moog, V. Wulf: Vigils in a Wilderness of Knowledge: Metadata in Learning Environments, Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2002), Kazan, Russia, September 9-12, 2002, IEEE Learning Technology Task Force, 2002, pp. 519-524
  • R. Klamma, M. Jarke, V. Wulf: Das Virtual Entrepreneurship Lab (VEL): Eine MPEG-7 basierte E-Learning Plattform für potentielle Gründer, in: S. Schubert, B. Reusch, N. Jesse (Hgg.): Informatik bewegt, Proceedings of Informatik 2002, Dortmund, Germany, 30. Sept. - 3. Okt., 2002, S. 359-363.
  • R. Klamma, V. Pipek, V. Wulf: Gemeinschaften und ihre technische Unterstützung, Vergleichende Buchbesprechung, WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 44 (2002) 5, S. 484-491
  • M. Spaniol, R. Klamma, and M. Jarke: Semantic processing of multimedia data by MPEG-7 for capacious knowledge management, in: B. Grosky (Ed.): Proceedings of SOFSEM 2002 Workshop on Multimedia Semantics, Milovy, Czech Republic, November 27-28, pp. 56-65
  • M. Spaniol, R. Klamma, and M. Jarke: Data integration for multimedia e-learning environments with XML and MPEG-7, in: D. Karagiannis, U. Reimer (Eds.): Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management, Proceedings of PAKM 2002, Vienna, Austria, December 2-3, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, LNCS/LNAI 2569, pp. 244-255
  • M. Jarke, R. Klamma, J. Marock: Gründerausbildung und Gründernetze im Umfeld technischer Hochschulen: ein wirtschaftsinformatischer Versuch. In K. Nathusius (Hrsg.): Zu den Wirkungen des regionalen Kontexts auf Unternehmensgründungen. EUL-Verlag, 2003, pp. 115-154
  • R. Klamma, M. Spaniol, M. Jarke: Digital media knowledge management with MPEG-7, The Twelfth International World Wide Web Conference, (WWW 2003), Poster Session, 20-24 May 2003, Budapest, Hungary

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