Molnar, Andreea Maria (2011) Cost Efficient Educational Multimedia Delivery. Doctoral thesis, National College of Ireland.
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Mobile device usage has increased both in developed and developing countries. The pervasiveness of cell phones has made them an ideal platform to cater educational content informally (anywhere, anytime). Although mobile devices offer different advantages compared with desktop PCs, several challenges need to be tackled such that students can effectively use them for learning. One of these is the cost of content delivery which is considered to be one of the most important issues that hinders the adoption of mobile devices. The cost of content delivery is particularly high when information is delivered over wireless networks. This is accentuated when heavy content, such as multimedia (understood in the context of this thesis as video in combination with audio and possible text), is delivered. With the further increase in heavy content, network providers have concerns that the infrastructure will not manage to cope with it and some of the network providers, that initially had flat rate plans, are considering charging extra fees for heavy data users.
Under these conditions reducing the cost of content delivery to suit the learners‘ budget, is necessary. Consequently, this research thesis proposes an adaptive mechanism that considers: learner willingness to pay for the multimedia content (and how it changes considering learner location, consumption history, billing plan, age and gender), learner device characteristics (resolution), and the wireless network type over which the multimedia content will be delivered, in order to personalise the cost of delivery for learners. The mechanism suggest to the learner unwilling to pay a high price, a lower quality (cheaper) version of the multimedia clip, and higher quality version to the rest of the users, based on a new model of assessing the learner willingness to pay. As a part of this research significant other contributions were made: an analysis of the characteristics of feature of the feature phones and smartphones, an analysis of the mobile data billing plans that exists on the European market, a resolution based division of the mobile phones in four resolutions classes and proposing of suitable bitrate values for multimedia clips based on the resolution classes the device belongs to and wireless network over which the multimedia will be delivered.
The evaluation of the proposed mechanism has assessed the learner perceived multimedia quality,learning achievements, and the various savings obtained when the adaptive mechanism is used. The results have showed that the perceived quality and learning achievements have not been negatively affected for the learners who received the lower quality content. Moreover, savings are obtained in terms of amount of remaining data when a bundle based billing plan is used, and/or monetary cost.
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