Monday, July 19, 2010

Campus Technology 2010 – Monday – Part 2

Mashups of Educational Tools and Open Content

Afternoon session – back from a delicious lunch and an OK presentation further dampened by tablemates who chose to talk to one another instead of listening to the presentation. Oh well, it is what it is.

We’re doing the traditional go around the room and introduce ourselves. I’m pretty much the only non college person in the room. As I listened to my cohorts introduce themselves and explain how they are trying to reposition themselves to compete for the new millennial students, I recalled once again my thought I had this morning that as the cost of college education spirals upward, when will we see businesses, who have long depended on the colleges to provide them with new employees actually start sponsoring promising students for their education in return for a commitment to work for a certain term.

This would be a lot like how baseball manages its minor leaguers and younger major leaguers in which they are committed to the parent team for a certain time or until the parent severs the relationship.


Stuart Sim is the presenter and he will be talking about open content. what is being used are two drivers:

  • What students are using in their personal life – students are using cutting edge tools and when they reach school the school is still using old systems.
  • Faculties need to be able to use the tools in their classrooms – some faculty don’t want to use it

Integration of these different elements can be awkward.

Personal Learning Environment – that shows everything that the campus wants the learner to access.

Other challenges

  • Single managed systems do not work anymore
    • Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) are growing
    • IT staff expect to be able to mashup services
  • Demanding and sophisticated user base
    • Personalized learning environments
    • Social collaboration is everywhere
    • Expectations have never been higher
    • The web is a platform, not a destination

Just a side point, I feel spoiled from this morning with the presenter who made the materials available to all both during and after the presentation. This presentation feels so 1990s with everyone staring at a screen and being asked every once and a while if we have any questions.

Now talking about Open ID which is one ID that allows you into all participating web 2.0 tools. Or should I call it web 2.0 or is Open content the proper term. Talking about Ning as a social aggregator site, in which you can add your type of contents provided by them such as a photo page and other sites. Each of these tools are separate open content sites and Ning will use your open ID to pass you transparently to each.


At issue is that this open content does not interface with your LMS (sounds very familiar). Ways to resolve:

Develop elements of your LMS as open content that can be plugged into your open source social site.

Someone asked about the risk of betting the house on an open content site that could disappear. The presenter sez that you need to look around and see if their is open technology that will continue to support.

Of course another issue is that if any of these services crash you have little you can do…you especially don’t want them to take everything down with it.


He points us first to the OpenLearn learning space and is showing how schools in Great Britain have not only placed content on the site, but allows elements to be downloaded in various formats including Common Cartridge that allows you to download the whole curriculum and use it on your own site.

There seems to be a great deal of difficulty around licensing. Which raises an interesting conundrum…as open content tools are becoming more relevant so licensing is becoming even more difficult. Users need to be very well-versed in licensing requirements even in the so-called creative commons license, because there seems to be more flavors than ice cream at Basken-Robbins.

I’m about to post this and then I will need to shut down until I can get to an electric outlet. Unfortunately this room did not have any electric outlets to plug into…rather strange for a technology symposium. As a result I have run my battery down to about 12% power.

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