The MODUS project builds upon the outcome of the ESA ARTES 3 Skyplex_Net Project and is inspired to a business initiative that the Italian partners are jointly pursuing for delivering multimedia services on a commercial scale.
This project aims to set-up and demonstrate the "modus operandi" for designing and providing effective distance learning applications that:
- exploit the best satellite technologies avalilable today
- integrate satellite and terrestrial telecom infrastructures
- are commercially sustainable.
The focus of MODUS will be on the:
- Integration of a Service Centre based on the Skyplex platform in Lecce, South of Italy
- Development of distance learning applications which relies on the Service Centre to deliver tele-education services to Universities and Schools
- Consolidation of a Business Plan for migrating the Service Centre operations on a commercial scale
- Commercial provision for:
- The services delivery directly to the end user
- The leasing of satellite capacity to third party (terrestrial) service providers
- Integration of different media to develop and implement technology that will work well in schools, universities and homes with the minimum of user and supplier intervention
- Migration of the Espresso for Schools/Teachers from Astra towards SkyplexNet
- The Integration and Test of a Service Centre that, although assessed against the distance learning requirements, can be easily evolved toward new classes of services
- Identification of the right mix of integration between satellite and terrestrial based telecommunication infrastructure to be commercially sustainable
- The establishment of a self sustainable multimedia Service Centre in the South of Italy
- The development of a new educational model for making the teachers accept the new teaching techniques and for integrating the students in the new process
- The consolidation of a business model combining all the actors playing in multimedia service market, fully represented in the project
- The design and demonstration of the way ("modus" in latin) to play an active role in the multimedia marketplace.
The key elements of the MODUS System are:
The MODUS Service Centre that will be integrated in the SkyPlexNet system. The users of the MODUS Service Centre include End Users and Content Providers. The End User terminals will be located in Italy and in the UK.
The MODUS Service Centre will be located in Lecce (Italy) and will be operated by Clio.
The Telematic University application, designed and developed by the University of Lecce to deliver - on a pilot base - a distance learning service for the students of its Education Science Faculty. The service uses both satellite broadcasting and terrestrial telecom lines to overcome the limitations of each of the two data transmission systems. It will be the first step toward the really operational delivery of entire distance university degree courses. Educational Science faculty has delivered via Telematic University 2 degree course in academic year 2001-2001. The target is to progressively extend the operation to all the other degree courses.
The Espresso for Teachers (EfT) application, designed to train primary teachers when, when not and how to make best use of the Espresso for Schools digital media curriculum primary service. Espresso plans to exploit the development of Espresso for Teachers in association with the rapidly developing commercialisation of Espresso for Schools.
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The MODUS project began on November 1st, 1999. The MODUS Service Center is operative since March 2nd, 2001. The pilot services assessment phase will extend until the end of the project (December 2001).
The completion of the evaluation process for both the Telematic University and Espresso for Teachers applications has marked the closure of the MODUS main stream of activities.
The MODUS Project has given rise to a number of stable developments beyond the scope of the original proposal. The Service Center is now fully integrated in the SkyPlexNet network and has become a commercial reality.
As far as Telematic University is concerned, a full semester course has been delivered by satellite to the students of the "Corso di Laurea per Educatori Socio-Ambientali" within the Educational Science Faculty of the University of Lecce. Moreover, a full course in "Ingegneria Gestionale" within the Engineering Faculty of the University of Lecce was delivered via satellite during the academic year 2001-2002. The list of the degree courses that will be broadcast from the MODUS originated Service Centre during the academi year 2002-2003 is currently being defined.
The Espresso for Teachers application, designed and developed within MODUS to train primary teachers when, when not and how to make best use of the Espresso for Schools digital media curriculum primary, is currently being commercialised in association with Espresso for Schools.
In the frame of the MODUS follow-on, SSI and ESPRESSO have developed for ESA an Italian/English bilingual module on Space Science and technology using video and stills from the ESA archive. The Space Science module builds on the model of the Espresso for Schools content and has been finalised to tell pupils (mainly aged 10-13) about ESA missions in space and about the role of ESA as a major player in space science and technology.