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[school-discuss] Re: [IIEP] FOSS authoring tool for e-learning - eXe project

Well, now that your philosophy and objectives are clearer, all that I can point out is that openoffice includes html composing, spreadsheet, presentation, word processing and graphics, in other words it is really a multimedia tool, one of which is decidedly word processing, where all product is in standard W3C xml/html format.  So to brand it strictly as a word processor is a misnomer.  Right now it allows you to create any kind of branching multimedia document and directly place it in a structured long distance learning environment, such as Ilias.  It also allows you to change your document automatically into .pdf format, thus ensuring the ability to download, and review offline.  This solution works now.  Ilias, by the way, is SCORM 1.2 and AICC compliant, GPLed, it is a totally web-based server solution. 

The wiki idea of working online authoring pedagogically correct instructional devices is both intrigueing and seductive.  Naturally there is always a controversy between form and content.  I prefer to produce offline, from a storyboard, then upload online.  Yes, it may take a little fiddling to get the appearance just right, but that is not a major thing.  Perhaps the eXe could be integrated with W3C's own browser, which is totally without license restrctions and includes an editor.  I am also able to compose html documents in Mozilla.  Is there really a need for another standaloe product? 

Wayne Mackintosh wrote:
Hi Michael (& friends)
The openoffice add-in alternative is a very good suggestion. A suggestion  -- which I must admit -- we have thought about and discussed at great length. Particularly since Openoffice is a native  XML technology. I'd be interested to here the views of the forum regarding the advantages & disadvantages of going down the Openoffice route as opposed to our current thinking of developing an e-learning authoring environment that runs in a web-browser (see eXe project at: http://eduforge.org/wiki/wiki/exe/?pagename=HomePage).
I suppose that we have taken a philosophical stance of preferring a web-based solution. By forcing ourselves to work in a native web environment keeps us honest <smile>, particularly since the outputs of eXe must be published and delivered as (X)HTML  within W3C standards.
We think that there is a difference between word-processing and authoring of learning content for the web. We are focused on the development and implementation of "instructional devices" (http://eduforge.org/wiki/wiki/exe/wiki?pagename=Describing%20an%20Idevice) within the framework of evolving specifications and standards for interoperability in e-learning. Word processing technologies were not designed for this purpose.
Nonetheless, I would be keen to hear the views of the group whether technologies primarily designed for word processing should be used as the foundation for authoring web-based, e-learning content. That said, nothing stops the OSS development community from developing an Openoffice add-in, building on the ideas underpinning the eXe project. Are there any developers out there that would like to take on the development of an Openoffice add-in to achieve the vision of the eXe idea? Personally I'd like to see this alternative made available as an e-learning authoring tool. The University of Oxford have used a wordprocessing technology  to assist with the authoring of e-learning content for the Web (see: http://eduforge.org/wiki/wiki/exe/wiki?pagename=Case%20study%20on%20using%20XML) but it has the disadvantage that users cannot see what their content will look like when it is published on the web.
Ultimately our decision was directed by the pragmatics of the open standard philosophy - There are more web-browsers (both proprietary & OS) out there than Openoffice installations. Going the web-based route would increase potential access and uptake of eXe as a technology because it is agnostic with regards to the browser technology used on individual desktops. With eXe, we have the added advantage of being able to package the technology with an OSS browser - hopefully providing greater access to the potential of eXe.
Keen to hear your thoughts.
Associate Professor Wayne Mackintosh
Centre for Flexible and Distance Learning
University of Auckland
New Zealand
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: [IIEP] FOSS authoring tool for e-learning - eXe project

why not implement it as an openoffice.org add-in tool.  Openoffice is pure xml already, and this should speed up implementation. 

Martin Claude wrote:

Hi Wayne,

More comments...

1) the off-line idea is interesting and we use it as we are working with educational and training institutions all around the world, with a majority in developing countries. We developed a GPL licensed Newsgroup client dedicated to distance learning. It is now integrated with a broader educational communication platform allowing inclusion of off-line with on-line users. But I prefer your new solution.

2) IMS Reusable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective (RDCEO) is not very fashionable, but it is existing... and competency based training is one important option in many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

3) Untill now many people got interest in the different IMS specifications but as far as I know no one tried to implement it in an XML editing tool. I think that this should be very helpfull to make instructional design more consistent. first because it will allow to link competency definition to learning objective (that is not clear in many authors mind): Second it will make this definition work reusable.

4) I'm sorry to disappoint you but I've no experience in IMS-RDCEO implementation or use. I've only a very interesting experience in competency definition in the area of Learning Programme implementation. I would love to make it reusable.

5) I know your concern about behaviourim and constructivism but I think that this debate is not connected to the fact that it is anyway good to define and make clear what the learner must be able to do to be competent (in terms of knowledge, aptitude and attitude) and what are the learning objectives of a "Unit of Learning". What happens in between may be behaviourist or constructivist no matter at this point. This will be more important for the author when using eXe iDevices to design Learning Objects and Learning Sequences, Activities, Assignments, Assessments...

6) About translation in French I will be able to find a solution

7) The IMS-QTI/SCORM compliant "MCQ type iDevice" for assessment design is interesting. Waiting for the example. The fact that eXe is provided with a localhost web server is perhaps offering interaction opportunities for feedback to the off-line learner. In the perspective of tracking learner result that can also be collected at a distance during short time Internet connection for central tracking record and follow-up.

I dont know if these few remarks will be helpfull...

Claude Martin

Claude Martin
Senior Learning Technology Specialist
Programme for Distance Education &
Learning Technologies Applications
International Training Centre of the ILO
Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10
10127 Torino (Italy)
tel.: (+39) 011 693 6316
fax: (+39) 011 693 6469


> Hi Claude - sorry about the mix up with first names. Will chat soon.

> Wayne
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Martin Claude
> Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 3:03 AM
> Subject: Re: [IIEP] FOSS authoring tool for e-learning - eXe project
> Hi Wayne,
> by the way my first name is Claude
> > Hi Martin and friends,
> Thanks for your nice comments on my last posting about eXe
> > First off - can I have permission to copy your thoughts and insights
> > onto the eXe project on Eduforge.
> Yes you can copy and publish what you like on Eduforge
> > (Sorry - eXe is my passion <smile>).
> Dont feel sorry your project is great and I understand why it is your passion
> I would feel the same in your position
> > We are very excited about the project --
> I'm also quite enthousiastic about it
> >I think that eXe fills an
> > interesting gap in the suite of available technologies in the FOSS
> > for elearning landscape.
> This is perfectly true you found one of the missing links
> > Thanks also for your offer to introduce the
> > technology at your  "Learning Media Design" workshops . That would
> > be fantastic because we are looking for constructive feedback from
> > potential users to make sure that we end up with something that many
> > folk will use.
> Please just let me know when something will be available for download and test
> My Workshops will start in April, untill July there will be 4
> But I need to know to test and design the workshop in advance
> > Martin - I'd like to extend a personal invitation for you (and
> > everyone else of course) to join the project  @ http://eduforge.
> > org/projects/exe/. Your experience and foresight in this area will
> > add considerable value to our project. We need your inputs and thoughts.
> OK I will register and try to be active if I feel that I can
> I will reply to the rest of your message later, there is very
> interesting ideas to discuss
> All the best
> Claude Martin
> Senior Learning Technology Specialist
> Programme for Distance Education &
> Learning Technologies Applications
> International Training Centre of the ILO
> Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10
> 10127 Torino (Italy)
> tel.: (+39) 011 693 6316
> fax: (+39) 011 693 6469
> c.martin@itcilo.org
> http://www.itcilo.org/