Pearson Education is the global leader in education publishing with a comprehensive suite of products that are used by over 100 million people worldwide. Through well-known brands that include Prentice Hall, Longman, Allyn & Bacon, Addison-Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, Pearson NCS and many others, Pearson Education provides quality content, assessment tools, and educational services that span the learning curve from birth through college and beyond.

Within Pearson Education, the Language Media Group (LMG) specializes in creating technology enhanced educational tools and content for the teaching and learning of various languages. During the last few years, demographic and instructional changes in the higher education English market have created the need for technology based solutions that can improve the productivity of the teacher-student interaction while delivering student-specific learning experience that is unique to the context and background of each student.

Towards this end, LMG has developed the My English Lab (EPIC) Suite of products. EPIC provides a technology platform for delivering a series of integrated web based applications that are geared towards the need of English language students. EBD developed the EPIC platform and its container application through close collaboration with the product management team at LMG. At present, EPIC is considered to be the dominant series of assessment and developmental tools for reading and writing skills in the higher education segment.

The underlying EPIC architecture was designed as a multi-layered, Struts based J2EE application that makes extensive use of open source components to provide a lightweight, cost effective, reliable and scalable solution. The framework incorporates technologies such as Dynamic HTML, AJAX and Flash Remoting to enhance user experience on the front end. It uses Hibernate as an OR mapping tool at the persistence layer to abstract the retrieval and storage of object graphs and to accelerate the development process. The EPIC architecture provides LMG a flexible platform that can evolve to serve new products as well as to cater to languages other than English.

The current product suite that is deployed in EPIC consists of applications that include My Writing Lab, My Reading Lab, Developmental Skills Lab and My Composition Lab. Some of the salient features of these products are listed below:

  • An interface design based on latest research on low literacy learners with special attention focused on navigation, interface elements, and reading level analysis of all direction lines.
  • A robust set of authoring features that is used to develop a comprehensive content library and publish a variety products.
  • Course Builder wizards for instructors providing multiple course creation options including linked and copied courses.
  • Course Joiner wizard for students allowing them to work in self-study mode or with an instructor with the ability to switch between the two while maintaining their current work within the system.
  • Personalized and dynamic homepages to provide users immediate feedback on their work in the system.
  • A diagnostics centric approach to customize the course content to the specific skill needs of each student. The system supports multiple diagnostics within a course for diagnosing student strengths and weaknesses at a finer granularity.
  • Multiple types of assessments structured and controlled through a study plan that can be customized by each instructor.
  • Dynamic study plan views including a To Do View and a Mastered View.
  • Automated as well as Instructor mediated grading of assessments.
  • A comprehensive and powerful gradebook for both students and instructors.
  • Extensive Print and Export capabilities to allow instructors to easily incorporate the application into their traditional courses.

The EPIC platform is currently in use and its various applications can be accessed through the following URLs:
My Writing Lab
My Reading Lab
Developmental Skills Lab

J2EE Apache Struts Framework DHTML, AJAX and Flash Remoting Hibernate or Mapping Tool Oracle RDBMS