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15 March 2005 / erikduval

Open Source – Open Standards

The Coimbra group has convened a meeting that focuses on “quality in elearning” and the use of “open source and open standards”.

It always strikes me how people tend to focus on “strategy documents” and questionnaires when they try to deal with quality issues in a learning context. Of course, these instruments are useful, but we know that many strategies have little impact on real life, and we also know that questionnaires can be very misleading. Why do we not use much more the quantitative data that we can collect about actual use of learning? We can track who reuses what in what context. We can track what students do with the material that is made available to them. We can include social recommending techniques to alert you when interest in or use of resources relevant for you (as a teacher, a student, whatever) reaches some treshold. Etc. etc. I expect and hope to see much more work in this area in the coming years.

On open source and open standards, I gave a presentation that explains how we do a lot of our development in open source and how we contribute to standards development and why. The basic point is to understand the difference between open source (which allows you to change code or content) and open standards (which enable components to work together). I also tried to address some myths and tried to emphasize that neither open source nor open standards guarantee, in and of themselves, quality learning experiences.

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