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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

May 04, 2011

Many people want the traditional locked down LMS, where students are seen as needing competencies and knowledge, where content is to be dumped, absorbed, and pumped out via tests.

But an LMS can be like a community, where every member is a teacher and learner, where connected activities use different strategies to gather and reuse data, integrated with the rest of the Internet, whe assessment takes place continuously in a number of ways.

PLEs: the many different models of PLEs. My PLE is it is you are the devices you are holding... Smart phones, laptops, etc, We all configure them differently, we choose wha to connect to, we interact with famil and friends directly and via web services, etc.

Speaking to the relevance of LMSs to the future. It will be a long time before schools and corporate institutions decide not to have their very own environment. tha defines what they are as an institution. Though what they do with that will vary... Everybody is reevaluation what the institution is for.

However, they will be around for a long time, they have things to do, they will need systems to do that. Noodle has a roadmap ... There is a progressive sites to it, and a conservative side.

progressive: communication based pedagogies, comment developed modules, drag and drop UIs, mobile platforms, innovative workflows, integration media, etc.

Conservative: security, usability, assessment, accrediting identity management, detailed management, tracking and reports, performance and stability.

Development: was very ad hoc. The was a need for a new development process. The informal process does not work very well when you are developing a cry large piece of software. Trying to push too many projects in parallel is too hard. A new more effective methodology is being employed. This process is a lot more like what software development houses are doing.

Most people are using Moodle 1.9 ... Moodle 2 was released in December, 2010. There is a stable release schedule at roughly half year increments, with releases every December and June.

The approach now is for Moodle HQ to focus on a platform, such that other people can build modules on top of it. There has been some criticism of 2.0 because it works differently. You do need to retune your environment. It is a different application; you can't just drop it in and expect it to work the same way.

Moodle has to run on a variety of platforms ... There is a lot of variables.

Interesting concept - certainty-based marking - if you are right and certain, you get a higher grade, but if you are wrong and less certain, you lose less. Also, there is a lot of stuff happening within the quizzes. Eg. You can upload attachments in essay responses.

Mobile is becoming more important. There are various mobile apps for Moodle being developed. They all work in different ways. They access Moodle from the app via the web intface ... They log in as you, scrape the web pages, and munge the data. Others drop a file not Moodle and communicate wi that, but this is super-insecure. The is an official app I development that uses web services into Moodle. Mobile apple can now talk to Moodle securely. There are many security layers ... It is a back door, and needs to be highly highly secure. You have to go through five or six steps to enable this. It only let's you do things. It is not a web interface. Mobile focuses on tasks .. Identifying tasks one by one and only implementing one thing. It must work offline (that is not something you can do with your web interface).

Discussions of the mobile apps ... Press a button and send a message make a phone call, etc. Or manage attendance.

We looked at cross platform development but the is not a fine gained way to do that. So we started with iPhone then Android, etc. iPad interface needs to be different.

Also an outline of rubrics, competencies, tracking at that level... That has been very much demanded.

There is still a need for some very detailed features that are not available for free around the internet. Also discussion of implementing SCORM 2 (if it comes out), SCORM 1.4, IMS LTI, etc. Also community hubs ... Moodle 2 now supports community hubs. Basically, it is about sharing courses ... Imagine your Moodle connecting to the hub, you do a search on the hub, you can find a course and community of practice for educators, it may be free, it may require a password, payment, in there there will be a community of practice accessed to that topic, particularly dedicated to educators. A community of practice around a subject area can be devoted to a discussion of best practices around that subject area.

The second use of the hub is to share actual courses, you press download, it comes down as a Moodle backup, you install and now you have a course, it ma be licensed Creative Commons or whatever. Or the hub could be a pay hub, could be a private hub, could be only for your district or whatever. The hub software is open source, install the plug, and it becomes a community hub. What needs to happen now is to have a lot of people using it. We have set up a default hub called Mooch.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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