Graham Attwell

education is slow to respond to industrial revolutions

OSS is one response to the challenge of the ongoing industrial rev. to education.

more pedagogic choice; service based software often does not have to be approved by managers and installed by administrators.

problems: lack of information and support. too difficult. system support people need to be trained in OSS.

Standards are critical, but too complex. interoperability is still not there - barrier.

business models are 'emergent' and collaboration models are too weak. how do Open Source developers support themselves?

educationalists don't know the possibility of what open source can do, and developers don't have enough understanding of educational requirements. common language?

sustainability models are still being tested.

discourse between different developers of OS VLEs. do we need so many OS VLEs?

quite often the software just isn't good enough. not compelling, not easy to use.

OSS tends to re-engineer existing proprietary applications.

applications within the existing paradigm.

OSS was intended to encourage creativity and free developers from the constraints of proprietary development models and to encourage collaboration and sharing.

leaning that is social and concrete - based on judgement and exploration.

interaction is a social process, not a machine process.

how do we give learners control over the medium? Personal Learning Environments?

OSS desktops may be very important in this respect.

Open Standards, Sustainability and Open Source Software

Alexandra Todt, University of Cologne, Germany.

sustainability - a balance of todays needs with tomorrow's choices.

Colin Tatersall

Open University of the Netherlands.

  • R&D covering the use of innovative methods and technologies at OUNL and other institutions.
  • Technology development group (Rob Koper)
    • 1997-2002: electronic learning environments
    • 2002 - 2007: Learning Networks
  • Improving quality of eLearning tools.

EML: the educational modelling language. created Edubox to "play" EML. EML became IMS Learning Design, released in 2003.

CopperCore? (2004) handles complex LD and synchronisation.

UNFOLD Project.

Learning Networks: groups of people creating, sharing, etc...

R & D Themes of Learning Networks

  • how can we help people create, contribute, etc...
  • How to position learners in a LN?
  • How to help learners to navigate in the LN?

Goal, Position, Route, Path.

How do we help learners reach their goals?

Social Navigation

  • "Navigation is a social and frequently a collaborative process" (Hutchins 1995)

Indirect Social Navigation

  • use of traces left by others: good paths emerge
  • related to recommender systems: Amazon, IMDB

What can be opened up a little more?

Open Learning and the Metauniversity

Stephen Downes, National Research Council Canada

moving towards something like the metauniversity, using a personal learning environments. what is the architecture of that metauniversity. what does your application need to do to work with the rest of the network.

learning networks need to be able to slot in new pieces.

Learning as network phenomenon...

  • web of user-generated content
  • social networks and communities
  • Future VLE is the student point of view

Properties of successful networks

  • diversity (many objectives)
  • interwoven (many activities)
  • Open (many minds)

perception that learning is something that is different than anything else; in learning networks idea, learning and living are not seperate things.

"nobody tells an ant what to do." - Stephen Downes.

Learning networks won't work unless the software and the content are open.

Resource Profiles 1st party metadata - name, age, title, author. - directly about the object 2nd party metadata - credit card, reader. - created in the context of use 3rd party metadata - passport, book review. - created by third party - classification

Resource Production ie. produced XML and metadata. Flickr - produces metadata describing photographs. Connexions - produces data and metadata.


OAI, DSpace, CORDRA. Flickr... as content repository.

federated repositories cannot scale. smaller open repositories. metadata is harvested by third party repository for search.

encode rights model in learning network that your content conforms to. pointer to the metadata describes the rights associated with content/object.

Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL - W3C)

Resource Aggregation
mechanisn for retrieving metadata from repository. aggregator brings in 2nd and third party metadata. aggregator is trying to learn about resource - brings in all metadata. richer resource descriptions as a consequence. sort, filter, organize resources. resource aggregator can be service, or run on desktop. need good, personal resource aggregators. needs to pull in multiple types of metadata.

Common Environment
students create resources, content viewing is also content editing.

Personal Identity
identity is kept on seperate server.

Environment Interface
keep platform neutral. XSLT, etc...

student needs to be able to feed back into system and resource repositories.

membership in community becomes metadata for aggregators, like recommeder systems piggybacked on social networked systems.

information architecture for 'meta-university'

key is not large, integrated systems, but small flexible bits that can be connected.

this applied to metadata as well.

battery running out...!

Openness as an evolutionary determinant of human existence

Wim Westera, OUNL

is open source better than closed source?

openness is associated with a lot of positive associations.

modern technology: revival of magic

  • complexity
  • proprietary solutions
  • industry patents
  • concealment of machineries

technology's magical aura in medieval style.

existential perspective:

  • liberate humans from burdens
  • providing an enrichment of human existence
  • making available goods without effort

Technology: alienation from the world. create easy consumerism.

Towards user involvement:

Open Source software and involvement

  • user-defined configuration
  • preferences and skins
  • multiple representations of data
  • source code modifications

Survival depends on ability to change (evolutionary argument)

Open technologies: adaptation, growth, change.


not just making sources available, but by enabling user involvement for various types of users.

Collaborative Development Strategies for Open Source Software Development

Knowledge Media Research Centre.


Skolelinux or Debian-Edu

subproject of Debian includes:

  • educational software and suitable network setup
  • completely preconfigured debian system
  • configured LDAP directory
  • NFS service to centralize home directories
  • graphical admin interface
  • use of old hardware via LTSP (Thin Clients)
  • user friendly environment.

Day Two


for eLearning ...

  • choice could become more limited and cost could become higher because of patent system.
  • customer lock-in effect reinforced by patents.
  • effects of in-house development of educational applications
  • use of free/open source software

Final Plenary Session

Stephen Downes, Riina Vuorikari, Florian Sailer, Stuart Yeates - Round Table Discussion

Open Content ... big.... also debatable, content can be form of revenue, ie. support services, training.

Stephen Downes: institutional background puts constraints on software used. privacy, security, trust. commercial vendors think they have a lock on this = major preoccupations of commercial vendors, lots of money invested.

response from OSS developers in Edu is to attempt to emulate ie. shibboleth. sets up regime of authentication, restricted federation.

commercial software is signing up content providers.

multimedia in open source is weak, particularly in creation tools. arguements will be that you can't view media type, etc... needs to be concentrated effort to get content inside open source tools,.

Open hardware. security DRM is in hardware. will lock out open source. we got you in the hardware, we got you in the content... software becomes a toy. commercial software vendors are pulling back and restrategizing.


Last modified 9 years ago Last modified on 2010-03-27T19:05:57+09:00