A Model-Driven Architecture based Evolution Method and Its Application in An Electronic Learning System




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


Software products have been racing against aging problem for most of their lifecycles, and evolution is the most effective and efficient solution to this problem. Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) is a new technique for software product for evolving development and reengineering methods. The main steps for MDA are to establish models in different levels and phases, therefore to solve the challenges of requirement and technology change. However, there is only a standard established by Object Management Group (OMG) but without a formal method and approach. Presently, MDA is widely researched in both industrial and research areas, however, there is still without a smooth approach to realise it especially in electronic learning (e-learning) system due to the following reasons: (1) models’ transformations are hard to realise because of lack of tools, (2) most of existing mature research results are working for business and government services but not education area, and (3) most of existing model-driven researches are based on Model-Driven Development (MDD) but not MDA because of OMG standard’s preciseness.

Hence, it is worth to investigate an MDA-based method and approach to improve the existing software development approach for e-learning system. Due to the features of MDA actuality, a MDA-based evolution method and approach is proposed in this thesis. The fundamental theories of this research are OMG’s MDA standard and education pedagogical knowledge. Unified Modelling Language (UML) and Unified Modelling Language Profile are hired to represent the information of software system from different aspects. This study can be divided into three main parts: MDA-based evolution method and approach research, Platform-Independent Model (PIM) to Platform-Specific Model (PSM) transformation development, and MDA-based electronic learning system evolution. Top-down approach is explored to develop models for e-learning system. A transformation approach is developed to generate Computation Independent Model (CIM), Platform-Independent Model (PIM), and Platform-Specific Model (PSM); while a set of transformation rules are defined following MDA standard to support PSM’ s generation. In addition, proposed method is applied in an e-learning system as a case study with the prototype rules support. In the end, conclusions are drawn based on analysis and further research directions are discussed as well. The kernel contributions are the proposed transformation rules and its application in electronic learning system.



modelling, Software Evolution, Model Driven Architecture (MDA), Electronic Learning (E-Learning), Software Engineering



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