Three Pillars of e-Learning for nonprofits

This is something I talked about three months ago and then uploaded in my articles section an article about e-learning for nonprofits, based on F/OSS e-learning platforms, free (licensed) content and virtual volunteers. Unfortunately, at least for some of you ;), it was only in Spanish.

Still having to find the time to translate it, I did find the time to put it in a simple image.

The question is that, simplifying to the maximum, an e-learning course for nonprofits – and for whoever – can be done with three main pillars or pieces of the puzzle, and that these pieces can be at zero cost:

Three Pillars of e-Learning for nonprofits

[click to enlarge image]

If you can’t read the image, the pieces are:

Human Resources

e-learning platform (LMS)
Campus for Peace

Creative Commons
Project Gutenberg

Not very elaborated, but wasn’t I supposed to keep it simple? :P


Choosing a F/OSS e-learning environment

The Centre d’Educació i Noves Tecnologies of the de la Universitat Jaume I (UJI, Castelló, Spain) has released a report on how to choose a F/OSS e-learning environment.

It’s based on pedagogic flexibility, usability and technological flexibility.

They’ve found three main tendencies:

  • Environments focusing on content management: i.e. ATutor
  • Environments centered in communication: i.e. Moodle
  • Environments to foster networking: i.e. .LRN

Finally, they chose Moodle for it best fitted UJI’s needs. By the way, this means that UJI will collaborate in Moodle’s development, which is good news and quite a commitment :)

The report is in Spanish and Catalan.


MIT’s sharing knowledge

See if I can make a list of things that MIT is carrying out in the field of “sharing his knowledge” and “applicable to e-learning for development”. Some copy-paste from institutional sites, some comments by myself, some by Octeto:


Intellectual Commons
MIT makes materials freely available to strengthen overall university commons.

  • Commiting to integrating educational-technology deeply into on-campus education
  • Creating major, shared campus-wide educational resources
    It includes OKI, OCW, DSpace and .LRN

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Open Knowledge Iniciative (OKI)

It is a collaboration among leading universities and specification and standards organizations to support innovative learning technology in higher education.
The result is an open and extensible architecture that specifies how the components of an educational software environment communicate with each other and with other enterprise systems. OKI provides a modular development platform for building both traditional and innovative applications while leveraging existing and future infrastructure technologies.

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OpenCourseWare (OCW)

Is a large-scale, Web-based initiative to provide free, worldwide access to educational materials for virtually all MIT courses.

OCW is not a course or distance learning, but it is courseware.

Rather than substitute for the experience of being a student at the Institute, OCW will provide students, faculty, and other interested parties throughout the world free and valuable educational materials.

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A durable electronic archive for 10,000 MIT research papers and other publications per year. DSpace is a groundbreaking digital library system to capture, store, index, preserve, and redistribute the intellectual output of a university’s research faculty in digital formats.
Developed jointly by MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard (HP), DSpace is now freely available to research institutions world-wide as an open source system that can be customized and extended.

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Is open source software and a development kit for supporting innovation in collaborative education and learning and research communities. Originally developed at MIT as part of the Intellectual Commons, .LRN is now backed by a worldwide consortium of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, industry partners, and open source developers. .LRN capabilities include course management, online communities, learning management, and content management applications.
In other words:

  • A fully open source eLearning platform
  • A portal framework and integrated application suite to support course management and online communities
  • A set of best practices in online learning shared in the form of source code

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It serves as the hub application for information exchange. It provides online news, event and course information, along with interactive discussion forums and students contact information. In a nutshell, everything needed to maintain and run the fast-growing course site.

As I understand it: .LRN manages the course learning environment (contents, interaction, etc.) and Caddie.NET manages the course site or information environment (information, news, etc.)

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Open Source Courseware — Evaluation and Rating at XPLANA

Very nice work at XPLANA by Rob Reynolds.

19 open source course management systems analyzed and rated according to 6 parameters.

My two cents: I’ve written down all the information and put it in a table, so you can catch it at a glance.

S: Scalability
O: Openness
A: Administration
I: Implementation
F: Functionality
E: Effectiveness
TT: Total

  Technology S O A I F E TT
Colloquia Java 3 3 4 3 3 3 19
CourseWork Java 4 3 5 3 3 3 21
eConf Java 3 4 4 3 2 3 19
eLedge Java 3 4 4 4 3 3 21
OpenCourseWare Java 4 3 5 3 3 4 22
CHEF (*) Java 4 5 5 3 3 4 24
ATutor PHP 3 5 4 4 4 3 22
Claroline PHP 3 5 5 3 3 3 22
ClassWeb PHP/Perl 3 4 4 3 2 3 19
eLecture PHP 2 4 3 3 2 3 17
Moodle (**) PHP 4 5 4 4 3 3 23
Segue PHP 4 4 4 4 3 3 22
Fle3 Phyton/Zope 3 5 4 4 2 4 22
KEWL ASP 3 4 4 3 3 3 20
Bazaar Perl 3 4 4 3 3 3 20
LON-CAPA Perl 5 5 4 3 4 3 24
MimerDesk Perl 3 4 4 3 2 3 19
WeBWork Perl 3 4 3 3 3 3 19
.LRN Pcl 4 5 5 3 2 3 22


(*) CHEF: Top system in terms of Scalability and Development Flexibility
(**) Moodle: Top system in terms of Pedagogical Flexibility


Expoelearning Europe 2004: report

Here come my impressions on Expoelearning Europe 2004.

First I have to say is that I only attended Thursday F/OSS sessions. I was not there on Wednesday and there will not be any Congress at all today because of the terrorist attacks in Madrid.

With no order, nor preference:

  • I was happy to meet there some people I found really interesting: Jordi Vila, Eneko Arriaga and Albert Calvet, all of them from cv&aconsulting. I hope we meet again: they had ideas I shared about free software, LSMs and free software based LMSs. Their expertise in Moodle is something I’d like them to share with me in other circumstances: more time, more face-to-face, etc.
  • eLearning Workshops. I had included the site in my links, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. A good place about e-learning in general
  • “e-learning: business is in the learning, not in the e” by Jordi Vila. I loved this one: couldn’t agree more
  • MIT .LRN. I had not heard about this, had I? As it was released on April 23th, 2003, I guess I had not. But I’ll keep an eye on it from now on, bet on it! Btw: .LRN is MIT’s free software LMS. A good companion for OpenCourseWare
  • F/OSS maintenance: “you don’t pay a lawyer for the Laws, but for his expert knowledge” by Carlos Moreno, Hispalinux Education Coordinator. Software as a service, not a product. Another concept I share.
  • Claroline: I did not like it. Too simple. Easy to handle, easy to support, but yet too simple. Hope the Dokeos affaire gets clear [via Octeto]
  • Moodle: I liked it. And I really loved its plannification and content manager and content/evaluation authoring tools. Simple, direct but powerful.
  • By the way, I did not know that people behind Octeto where the Moodle translators to Spanish :)

Although I expected a little bit more from the Congress, I feel it was worth it being there.