The Systems Now (SNOW) Toolkit 1.1 supports the creation of sophisticated Java-enabled diagrams, and collections of diagrams, without actually knowing Java. Our project goal is to provide educators with an easy-to-use tool for creating and presenting highly interactive, colorful, and text-aided tutorial information on the web.
The motivation for this project stems from the systems engineering community, where there is a strong need to find a practical way of using web technology to enhance: (a) classroom instruction, and (b) self-guided post-training instruction. A key difficulty faced by the systems engineering profession is the large number topics and details systems engineers must attend to. As a result, training programs containing hundreds of slides are the industry norm. Without the guidance of the instructor on the relevant content in each slide, readers jump around material and gloss over material rather than learn content. The result is low utility, in terms of what is learned and the rate at which learning occurs.
It is evident that simply creating web-page equivalents of today's standard training materials will do little to mitigate the shortcomings of current models of systems engineering training, and capitalize on the unique capabilities of web-based instructional technology.
SNOW Toolkit1.1 represents our prototype implementation of a tool for bridging the gap between high-level "learning objectives" and "systems engineering processes," and low-level "task- and tool-oriented procedures."
Training material content will be organized into a network of interconnected hierarchies, with each hierarchy containing layers of increasing depth and sophistication of coverage.
To run SNOW Toolkit 1.1 you will need a web browser that can execute Java 2 (e.g., Netscape 4.X with Java 2 plugin, Internet Explorer 5, Netscape 6). A small example of Toolkit1.1 should look like this: