Open Source Learning Tools Charles Kerns Education Technology Manager Academic Computing, Stanford University firstname.lastname@example.org
The Presentation Learning tools and open source development CourseWork, Stanford’s CMS The Assignment and Assessment Manager, a new, modular CourseWork tool
What is Open Source? Licensed software that can be freely distributed License allows users to modify and adapt to their own needs May have restrictions on redistribution Community of developers and users
Open Source Programs that We Already Know and Love Linux sendmail Apache Tcl/Tk Perl Emacs MySQL PHP In fact, a lot of the internet runs on open source software!
The Vision Institutions sharing open source tools Basic open source frameworks that accept tools and integrate them with: Campus SIS, Portal, Authentication System, File Servers, Calendar, etc. Modular, interoperable, open source tools Rich set of open source tools to support: discussion, quizzes, learning communities, problem sets, project-based learning, syllabi,etc.
The Need-Control of the Campus Learning Tools to integrate learning tools into campus infrastructure SIS, file servers, authentication, email, portal, calendar to modify tools to fit pedagogical methods of faculty to add new tools requested by faculty to develop content with faculty using learning tools. to always retrieve faculty content - content is NEVER locked in proprietary formats to have tool continue even if original developer “dies”
Why an Open Source CMS? Port software to your environment: no longer restricted by vendor requirements Modify and expand software to meet your needs and integrate with existing campus systems Easy to integrate features, customizations, and fixes developed by other users Work with a common technical framework to share reusable learning objects
More Reasons Why Open standards allow interoperability of applications and services Non-proprietary data formats mean easier conversion to or from the system Reduced acquisition costs: no need to pay for evaluation software, and can take as long as you need You don’t have to pay for upgrades!
But that doesn’t mean you get something for nothing…. Must have or develop internal expertise to manage the system and development tools Extensive customization may result in development and support costs equal to or greater than the cost of commercial software…. …but at least you have control: you’re no longer dependent on vendors for upgrades and integration
Recent History of Learning Tools Hundreds of Course Management Systems and Learning Tools with many as Open Source Thelma Looms Listing at GWU 160 with a few “free” from 98 to 02 THOT 235 plates-formes e-formation, plates-formes e-learning with 28 Open Source - current EduTools Listing 32 with 10 Open Source - current
Some Open Source CMS’sOpen Source CMS’s Open Learning Management System Open Learning Management System - Dept of Psych-Utah – Basic System FLE3 Future Learning Environment FLE3 Future Learning Environment –Helsinki – Collaborative Knowledge Bldg Moodle Moodle by Martin Dougiamas, Australia – Week-by-week Courses
Some more Open Source CMS’sOpen Source CMS’s CHEF CHEF –a full portal with research and instructional support system OnCourseOnCourse - Indiana’s reworked CMS CourseWork CourseWork – Stanford’s 80% solution. Supports lectures and seminars.
The History - Research and Non-Education-Specific Apps Blogs Wikis Collaborative Knowledge Building Virtual Worlds for Chat Structured Discussion Content mixed with Tools
The History - Commercial and Open Source Learning Tools No standards No modularity Little collaboration among developers Much redundancy Some unique applications collaborative knowledge building, structured discussion, problem-based learning
The History - Commercial and Open Source Learning Tools All are vertical apps leading to: Much effort for Sys Admins Many separate apps to maintain and integrate Much time for faculty Multiple student lists, Separate systems for assessment, difficult to relate components Much confusion for students Multiple sites, multiple passwords, no integration between activities
What’s Needed Standards – OKI, IMS Organization for tech support & distribution A Merlot++ for infrastructure tools?? User community Many users helping each other Development community Several developers of tools using same framework
What’s Happening-Standards OKI Collaboration of many universities, funded by Mellon Foundation. IMS Content Packaging, QTI, etc. DTD’s SCORM
What’s Happening - Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) Collaboration of many universities, funded by Mellon Foundation. Goal Define open architectural specifications to support the development of educational software. Provide a modular and extensible development platform for building both traditional and innovative educational applications while helping institutions leverage existing infrastructure. More information: http://web.mit.edu/oki
What’s Happening - OKI Develop standard APIs for: Common Services Authentication Authorization Database Connectivity Filing Logging Class Info (student lists) Assessment and Grades
What’s Happening - User Groups & Distribution Support Content Merlot (Learning Object Sharing) Content and Tools LON CAPA and WebWork have user groups LON CAPA WebWork CourseWork Evaluation at Denison & other colleges CHEF Workshops Hewlett/Mellon looking at distribution
What’s Happening - Developers starting to collaborate First goal is to use each others’ tools in proof- of-concept demonstrations OKI users working together (It takes more than APIs) Umich CHEF Indiana OnCourse Stanford CourseWork MIT Stellar Tufts Concept Mapping Tool
Evaluation for Open Source Release 5 Universities/colleges (already selected) are setting up local server and testing. They will report on features, admin issues, compatibility with their campus systems. Two have servers running with little assistance; third needed help in setting up Tomcat Denison University is evaluating CourseWork for reporting to CLAC Grant proposal submitted to Mellon Foundation for support for outreach to liberal arts colleges Changes will be made in open source version based on evaluation.
License Source is available with free download Can modify or adapt without notifying Stanford Can redistribute original or modified if do not charge Stanford holds copyright on CW Cannot sell CW
Questions on State of Open Source Tools... Tech Docs http://www.stanford.edu/group/coursework/docs/
Design Goals/Methods Easy to use by novice faculty Flexible for use by expert designers Student and Admin views Wizard-based admin 80% Solution for first pass Good for supporting most courses Lecture and seminar best supported
Component Tools Public/Private Homepage Announcements Public/Private Syllabus Schedule Course Materials Assignments (Quiz, Problem Sets, etc.) Discussion Grade Book
History and Near Future ’98-Research Project for HumBio Program ’00-Extended for Language Quizzing ’01-Full CMS Developed ‘02 Winter-Deployed for all Stanford faculty ‘02 Fall-Version 2 with links to Registrar ‘03-14,000 users; 1200 Courses Total ‘03-Evaluation by other institutions ‘03 Summer-Open Source Release
excellent very good good passable poor very poor Ratings of Experience with CourseWork by Discipline
not useful Somewhat useful very useful Usefulness of CourseWork Tools by Discipline
Tech Info CourseWork System Requirements Applications Web Server (Apache) Java Servlet Application Server (Tomcat 3) SQL-conformant database (Oracle 8) DTL (a free HTML template application) …running on Sun Solaris Other Tested Environments: Linux Tomcat 4 PostGreSQL
Assignment & Assessment Tool- AAM Gives online tests, quizzes, problem sets, formative assessments Extensible and modular Utilizes OKI Common Service APIs & Class API Informs development of Assessment API Utilizes IMS Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) metadata specification.
Pedagogical Features Supports discipline and teaching method-specific extensions Supports formative assessment (results used immediately to help learning) “Chunkable” assessments-questions not locked into independent tests
Templates Method for giving maximum flexibility with maximum usability Created by instructional technologists and advanced users – no programming involved Hide complexity from instructors and students Give flexibility to end user in features available
Templates - Flexibility in the layout of an assessment All questions, responses, and feedback can be in multiple media Questions can be accessed randomly or restricted to a fixed sequence with no returns to earlier questions Instructor can allow students to bookmark questions and return to them Web pages can be configured to contain a single question, a set of questions, or the full assessment Number of submissions by each student can be fixed or unlimited
Templates - Flexibility in evaluation views and procedures Instructor can select type of evaluation: comments (at part, question, or assessment level) or scores Scoring can be done with numeric, alphabetical, check/minus values Evaluation can be done with students remaining anonymous (for surveys or blind scoring) Evaluation can be limited by role (e.g., section scorer, peer review) Multiple options for handling late submissions (allowed-tagged, disallowed, allowed-no penalty)
Templates – Flexible access to assessments, scores, and feedback Release of assessment to learner can be immediate, time based, or contingent upon completion of another assessment Retraction of assessment can be by date or upon completion of assessment Release of feedback can be immediate or by date Release date, retraction date, feedback release date, score release date, and due date can be set independently. Assessment can be released to specific groups in class (e.g., sections) Assessment or question-taking duration can be set to specific number of minutes
Discipline-specific Extension: Language Instruction Multimedia questions Recorded oral responses Virtual conversations Oral proficiency testing Formative assessment Easy, quick preparation of tests with oral questions by instructors Grading flexibility,ease, speed
Teaching-method SpecificSupport for Large Lecture Science Courses Support for sections and TA workflow Annotated question pools for continuity as TA’s change Grading and Reporting flexibility Integrated e-mail alert system Special Question Type that has rationale with multiple choice M-Choice auto-scored; Rationales sorted for easy review; Most frequently missed questions analysis.
“Chunked” Assessments Questions and response input can be included in other activities Stand-alone tests are non-mandatory Central processing and reporting of results Asynch Class Assessment Techniques in schedule, email, announcement (probe, muddiest part, etc.) Fuzzy line between tutorial authoring and materials creation when assessments can be included
Interactions with other Tools Display or get a question requested by another tool (poll in discussion, question in content, announcement, etc.) Pass a score to other tool Send feedback message to student(s) in email, announcement, FAQ, IM Post test date on schedule, syllabus Link to a discussion
Final Questions... More info: Send e-mail to email@example.com Web Page http://aboutcoursework.stanford.edu firstname.lastname@example.org
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