Integration of Simulation Software and Textbooks on Example of Neural Networks in Virtugrade Project

VirtuGrade, an integrated project of the Land Baden-Württemberg, is aimed on the research and practical implementation of media-aided learning and teaching in graduate education. The prototype implementation and comparative evaluation of various application models of "new technologies" in different media environments provides research results useful for the production of virtual teaching tools in different areas of science and technology.

The integrated project consists of seven subprojects, supported by four competence groups (visualization, information retrival, communication and evaluation). The Department of Cognitive Systems works on the seventh subproject. The aim of the subproject is to develop a multimedia teaching and simulation environment for artificial neural networks. It will consist of the following components:

  1. Neural networks simulator for Unix Workstations and PCs,
  2. Textbook "Simulation of Neural Networks" (in German), as "online book",
  3. Tutorial for new users,
  4. User-Manual in a form of HTML document tree,
  5. Collection of reference benchmarks and applications,
  6. Course materials for neuronal pattern recognition in analytics

The novel interaction between the textbook and simulation environment deserves special importance. It allows to directly check the theoretical material from the on-line textbook through simulations. Reversely, it can simply be pointed from the simulation environment to the explanational theory.

Sample page with a Java-Applet from the on-line book.

The work up-to-date consisted of preparing an on-line textbook, and special attention was paid that the contents were suited for the new medium. The teaching units are generally between one and three screen pages long and are enriched with interactive elements. At present, the interactivity is achieved through Java-applets and a Client/Server solution for interaction with the SNNS (Stuttgart Neuronal Network Simulator) is intended.


Igor Fischer, Tel.: (07071) 29-77176,