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Peer-Review Record

Crossing the Borders: Re-Use of Smart Learning Objects in Advanced Content Access Systems

Future Internet 2019, 11(7), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11070160
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Future Internet 2019, 11(7), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11070160
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends and Opportunities in Online Education)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The authors describe their effort of unifying two eLearning systems in order to give the students the possibility to use exercises developed in two different places and using different tools. This effort is useful mainly for educational purposes, but it does not seems to me that the article brings some innovative elements.  The authors use standards in order to overcome the differences between the eLearning tools (where there is a standard, there is less space for innovation). The article present “what” was done but does not explain with enough details “how” it was done. For example the authors say (line214-215) “To do so, first we added new functionality in the OpenDSA external tools script.” But they do not give details about the script, what and mainly how it is doing its task.

It is not clear (at least for me) if the solution is a particular one (for the case of the presented tools) or the solution may be generalized for any eLearning tools. Probably if the authors would present their solution at conceptual level (e.g. ontology) the generality of the solution would be more evident.


Author Response

The article present “what” was done but does not explain with enough details “how” it was done. For example the authors say (line214-215) “To do so, first we added new functionality in the OpenDSA external tools script.” But they do not give details about the script, what and mainly how it is doing its task.


The following changes were made to the paper to make the details of the approach more clear:

Added to 3.3: 

1- Describing why we need to implement an LTI consumer service. We explained that there were limited resources and services to perform LTI consumer tasks and we need to implement a new service to make Mastery Grids an LTI consumer.

2- We provided some information regarding the supported LTI version, the platform that is implemented (NodeJS) and the programming language used for this service.

3- We briefly described the LTI grade callback service and mentioned how these messages are directed to the existing User Modeling service.

4- We added information about LTI launch requests and the most important parameters passed.


It is not clear (at least for me) if the solution is a particular one (for the case of the presented tools) or the solution may be generalized for any eLearning tools. Probably if the authors would present their solution at conceptual level (e.g. ontology) the generality of the solution would be more evident.


The Conclusions section was considerably expanded to address the generality of the proposed solution.


Reviewer 2 Report

The paper seems somehow interesting, but there are some major issues that deem the major. 

I am not sure if the paper fits the journal scope

The paper seems more on application development than a research paper

The evaluation is poor and needs much more work

Research contributions are not clear. 

Author Response

We attempted to clarify the nature of the paper, including the problem to be solved and the solution applied, in the introductory sections.  We also try to make the research contribution more clear in the conclusion.

Reviewer 3 Report

Authors present an approach for a broader re-use of smart learning content across multiple advanced content access tools. The paper is interesting and well written. It is suitable for both non-expert and expert readers. I have a few comments.

Although the paper is structured but the structure is not so clear. It is recommended to add the paragraph describing the structure of the paper at the end of the introduction.

I suggest that the implementation and results need to be more elaborated. It is clearer if the authors can show how to implement the proposed approach in terms of technical issues.

It is better if the authors can show some difficulties when implementing the approach and  how readers can replicate or apply the method into their own systems.

Does the proposed approach have any disadvantages? It is nice to show to readers too. 

Author Response

Although the paper is structured but the structure is not so clear. It is recommended to add the paragraph describing the structure of the paper at the end of the introduction.


The previous Introduction section has been restructured and broken into two. At the end of the current introduction there is now a paragraph describing the structure of the paper.


I suggest that the implementation and results need to be more elaborated. It is clearer if the authors can show how to implement the proposed approach in terms of technical issues.


See response to Reviewer 1, which includes a list of changes that provide more technical details.


It is better if the authors can show some difficulties when implementing the approach and  how readers can replicate or apply the method into their own systems.


By providing more technical details, we make it easier for others to understand how to apply the methods to their own systems (which is a key motivation to publishing the paper). We attempt throughout to make more clear the problem to be solved. We also stress in the Conclusions section that these are open source projects, and so the implementation details are available to developers.


Does the proposed approach have any disadvantages? It is nice to show to readers too.


In Section 4.4, we discuss a key remaining difficulty: that the content discovery as a challenge in the current implementation (and we propose to implement LTI Deep Linking service as future work to overcome this challenge). In Section 5, we discuss the need for cooperating tools to better share data analytics.


Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

The authors made important changes in the article that solve some of the issues specified in my previous review. The scientific significance of the paper is still moderate, but it has practical potential.

Therefore I consider that the paper's publication would be a good example to follow for those who are involved in the integration of multiple eLearning tools and content.


Author Response

Thank you for your time and your review.


Reviewer 2 Report

The paper has been improved, so I accept the paper for publication in the present form. 

Author Response

Thank you for your time and your review.

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