Grants/Cross-LMS Course Repository
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
The number of learning management systems and courses is growing everyday as it becomes an educational imperative to adopt online content and to provide accessible learning opportunities for students. However, the ability to share contextualized resources and activities in a coherent and structured manner is both not available and hindered by the proliferation of LMS course formats, export information and programming languages. Our goal is to create a single language through which course materials can be shared, accessed, reused and remixed.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
The tangible output would be a central course repository hosting 1000s of contextualized, Creative Commons licensed course content from around the web. The content repository would be both searchable and interactive (allowing ratings, cursory overview of materials and independent learning opportunities) and would/could connect teachers to content that they could easily adopt in their own classrooms or opt to utilize that content directly onto a free/open learning platform provided gratis.
As a potential user, a teacher might stop at the Repository first before doing any other work for her upcoming year of course planning. The Repository would provide a 1st stop to find materials, topics, activity ideas and more--all in context and all available to adopt to their own online learning platform (regardless of which platform/LMS their school or organization has implemented).
Quite literally we want to eliminate any barrier to adopting online learning content.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
We are targeting the educational community and anyone who ever has searched for, or will search for learning opportunities online (whether self-paced, independent, collaborative or otherwise).
The initiative would benefit the educational community by providing both the content and means of delivering content without any barrier except internet connectivity.br />
I have worked with the Learning Management System "Moodle" since 2007 and have been growing increasingly interested and supportive of both open education and open source learning platforms. I edit and write for Moodlenews.com and have become increasingly active in providing low cost and/or free educational opportunities since graduating with my Masters in May 07.
I have a deep understanding of the barriers in delivering content (and developing) and the barriers that are currently preventing students from accessing the content and opportunities that would afford them to a) save money b) earn credits and c) deliver content to interested individuals.
Earlier this year (2010) I received a grant for a project to create a Moodle-centric course repository which will be released shortly (the grant was awarded this past March and the development of the project began upon disbursement 3 weeks ago). This is taking that project 1 step further by working with other Learning Management Systems to contribute course materials to a central repository.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
We will measure our project's success and impact through the number of courses shared, the number of courses adopted and the number of students enrolled over time.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
Through this grant we're hoping to involve over 1000 Moodle installations world wide immediately by providing them the ability to publish materials from their free KeytoSchool hosted Moodle sites directly to the repository. There is no telling how many independent sites will join us, but there are over 49,000 Moodle sites, 1000s of Blackboard sites, and 1000s of other LMS sites across the world. Even modest participation could benefit 100s and 1000s of students and teachers.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
Through the publishing/sharing option users will be prompted to "license" their works via the various CC licenses. This will provide a standard foundation for the content provided to and through the X-LMS Course Repository. With the availability of course modules and topics and other created works, end users will see best practices and a vast array of possible outcomes on which they can base their next generation of shared resources.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
The repository will allow a publishing API so that independent, proprietary LMSs and other LMS creators can easily tap the power of the repository. My experience is not technical, but I know developers who will bring this project to fruition and community members at various LMSs that can help to connect all of the dots.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
The main challenge in publishing educational content is adhering to fair-use guidelines and copyright issues. Our system will institute a simple/clear way for users to flag content and to omit any pieces of a course that should not/cannot be shared through the repository.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
Through our original grant we have enough funding for 1 year of hosting (which is the primary longterm cost). Beyond that we hope to sustain funding by providing an outlet for commercial/non-CC licensed works by proven publishers. We believe that a parallel system could help to maintain and advance our open course repository.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
The number of courses shared will compound as teachers utilize posted content and share content back. Through course ratings and over time we believe that the repository could represent the largest database of peer-reviewed educational content and contextualized resources on the web--all ready in a format that is directly downloadable and immediately available for use on a Learning Management System.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
We only ask that our resource is included with a direct link through the content search aspect of the CC site and that any suggestions on design and scope be voiced to us.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
We currently work closely with our partners and communicate broadly through our own community. We often utilize email, Skype and other web-based means of communication to consult, test and show progress. The course repository, once completed, will provide users to subscribe to RSS (based on content/subject areas published to the site), index and rate content and comment on shared resources. It's our hope that communities of practice can easily be created to help support shared resources and the individuals sharing them in order to further the goals of improving online open educational resources.