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IT Infrastructure for Teaching and Learning: Are we there yet? James Dalziel Professor of IT Infrastructure for Teaching and Learning: Are we there yet? James Dalziel Professor of Learning Technology & Director, Macquarie University E-learning Centre of Excellence (MELCOE) [email protected] mq. edu. au www. melcoe. mq. edu. au Presentation for CPD E-Learning Special Interest Research Group Macquarie University, September 14 th, 2005

Overview • MELCOE Background & Projects • What are the components of IT Infrastructure Overview • MELCOE Background & Projects • What are the components of IT Infrastructure for Teaching and Learning? • The future of Learning Management Systems? • The Learning Object Dream – Myths and realities – My last attempt at a solution • Conclusion: Are we there yet? – No, but….

MELCOE Background • MELCOE = Macquarie E-learning Centre of Excellence – Research Centre dedicated MELCOE Background • MELCOE = Macquarie E-learning Centre of Excellence – Research Centre dedicated to building the next generation of e -learning and information technologies – Unlike other research groups, if we identify key gaps in the IT infrastructure needed for education, we go build solutions – Mixture of educational and technical experts – “tech heavy” – Strong focus on open standards and open source software • Started in early 2003, grown to over 25 staff across the research centre and spin-offs (LAMS Foundation & LAMS International Pty Ltd) – Staff mainly at Macquarie, but also Brisbane, London & Turkey • Over $5 M in external funding to date

MELCOE Projects • COLIS = Collaborative Online Learning and Information Services – Standards based MELCOE Projects • COLIS = Collaborative Online Learning and Information Services – Standards based (IMS) systems integration for HE e-learning and information services – Included LMS, Learning Object Repository, Portal, Federated Search Gateway, Digital Rights – Follow-on project (IIS&R) included vendor “substititions” from • Microsoft, Oracle, Novell, Web. CT, Blackboard, Endeavour, Exlibris, myinternet, Harvest Road, Intrallect, etc – IIS&R also included education research projects from • Macquarie/OTEN, West. One/Curtin, Murdoch, Monash, Tasmanian Consortium, and CETIS (UK) • Project now completed, “COLIS book” published

MELCOE Projects • MAMS = Meta Access Management System – Solutions for single-sign-on, federated MELCOE Projects • MAMS = Meta Access Management System – Solutions for single-sign-on, federated search and access, repositories & digital rights – Follow-on project to COLIS – targetted the hardest COLIS problems with a well funded, three year project – Halfway to date – demonstrated solutions for federated identity and access (using Shibboleth), DSpace and Fedora repository integration, authenticated federated search, XACML access • ASK-OSS = Australian Service for Knowledge of Open Source Software – New project – only just announced – Advisory service on open source software for research and education (similar to OSS-Watch at Oxford, UK)

MELCOE Projects • LAMS = Learning Activity Management System – Next generation e-learning software MELCOE Projects • LAMS = Learning Activity Management System – Next generation e-learning software based on the concepts of Learning Design and some lessons learned from COLIS – In developed for four years, in trials for two years, public release in April 2005 as open source software – Now in use across the world – over 100 schools, 40 universities, 15 vocational colleges – across Aust, NZ, UK, etc – Just started “LAMS @ Macquarie” – first whole of university rollout of LAMS – About to launch the “LAMS Community” – a global website for discussing use of LAMS and sharing LAMS sequences

IT Infrastructure for T&L • What are the components of a “seamless” IT Infrastructure IT Infrastructure for T&L • What are the components of a “seamless” IT Infrastructure that supports Teaching and Learning? • Some Sample views – “Enterprise applications” view of a university • Logical Architecture (JD) • COLIS Abstract Model • Architecture across HE domains (JD) – Detailed IT architectures of learning and information systems • • • COLIS “chunks” IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability - scope MIT Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) Carnegie Mellow Learning Systems Architecture Lab diagrams JISC/DEST “E-Framework” – COLIS Global Use Case and Learning Object diagrams

University IT Logical Architecture Client Security / Authentication Directory Services Application Modules ERP Finance University IT Logical Architecture Client Security / Authentication Directory Services Application Modules ERP Finance and HR; Library systems; Student Information System Learning Management System; Learning Content Management System Customer Relationship Management; Content Managgement System Computer Assisted Assessment, etc Messaging, Integration, Workflow

A Current (ideal) University IT environment Client Web Browser Security / Authentication Portal Login A Current (ideal) University IT environment Client Web Browser Security / Authentication Portal Login / Single Sign On Directory Services LDAP/X. 500 Directory Services Application Modules ERP Finance & HR Student Information System Library systems Learning Management System Messaging, Integration, Workflow Core Services - Integration APIs

COLIS - Abstract model of University IT Architecture COLIS - Abstract model of University IT Architecture

Convergence of Higher Education Domains IT Services E-RESEARCH SCHOLARLY INFORMATION E-LEARNING User Interfaces Applications Convergence of Higher Education Domains IT Services E-RESEARCH SCHOLARLY INFORMATION E-LEARNING User Interfaces Applications Middleware Common services Infrastructure Enterprise Info DBs Datasets Repositories Knowledge Repositories Learning Object Repositories

COLIS “Chunks” Learning Object Management Content Management Library E-Services Integration E-Reserve E-Journals Directories Learning COLIS “Chunks” Learning Object Management Content Management Library E-Services Integration E-Reserve E-Journals Directories Learning Management Digital Rights Management

IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability (DRI) IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability (DRI)

COLIS Global Use Case: ASCILITE 2003 Version (Final) Authority Creator Cataloguer Arranger Infoseeker Learner COLIS Global Use Case: ASCILITE 2003 Version (Final) Authority Creator Cataloguer Arranger Infoseeker Learner Facilitator Monitor Do Learning Facilitate Learning Monitor Learning Do Assessment Facilitate Assessment Monitor Assessment Prescribe Author Add Metadata & Submit to Learning Object Repository (LOR) Outcomes/ Competencies Design Learning Activity Search LORs via Gateway for LOs & Learning Designs Review Metadata & Resources (& Licenses if DRM) Quality Assurance Obtain Links or Download LOs & Learning Designs Package New/ Modified LO/LD Structure LOs & Activities Structure Assessment Certify Organise Student Roles/Groups Student Login Student Searches Record

So what is a Learning Object anyway? Run-time tool description XML Learning Object Meta-data So what is a Learning Object anyway? Run-time tool description XML Learning Object Meta-data XML Data interchange XML “Rendering” XML

IT Infrastructure for T&L • Some reflections: 1. Extremely complex problem space 2. The IT Infrastructure for T&L • Some reflections: 1. Extremely complex problem space 2. The diagrams presented are only the simplest of high level sketches – the amount of detail below is great 3. There are many inter-connections and dependencies between different systems, with different cultural origins (E-learning, IT services, Libraries, E-Research) 4. IT Infrastructure exists at several “layers”: Hardware & networks, “middleware”, applications, user interface 5. There are very few people with expertise in pedagogy who are involved in discussions of this kind

IT Infrastructure for T&L • Some wider reflections: 1. Relevant open standards relatively immature IT Infrastructure for T&L • Some wider reflections: 1. Relevant open standards relatively immature 2. Closed vs open source for integration 3. Overlapping and competing vendor products/hype 4. The challenge of “Service Oriented Architectures”

IT Infrastructure for T&L • While there are many systems that impact on T&L, IT Infrastructure for T&L • While there are many systems that impact on T&L, what is at the core? – – – Learning Management System/Learning Platform** Learning Content/Learning Objects Learning Design systems Virtual Classroom systems “Single focus” learning tools – Integration with Library systems (Reading Lists, Repositories, Search) – Integration with Portal/Single-Sign-On – Integration with Student Records – Integration with HR/Finance

The future of LMSs? • Traditional Learning Management Systems are coming under pressure from The future of LMSs? • Traditional Learning Management Systems are coming under pressure from many angles – Financial – Functionality – Innovation – Alternative solutions (eg, Portals) – Open source systems (eg, Moodle) • Significant existing investment in current systems, yet concerns about “lock-in” and lack of flexibility for future • User experience “lock-in” vs Technical “lock-in” • A vision for a new approach to the LMS question….

Enterprise Management Knowledge Portal Student Area Repository Access Student Area Course Areas Learning Activities Enterprise Management Knowledge Portal Student Area Repository Access Student Area Course Areas Learning Activities Student Area Course Areas

Portal • Student area – Personalised look and feel – Personalised portlets choice of Portal • Student area – Personalised look and feel – Personalised portlets choice of views and services – e-Portfolio style functionality • Course area – Course details – Calendar, email, etc style service portlets – “Current VLE” type functions

Repository • Student area – Personal file area – Saved searches – Other personal Repository • Student area – Personal file area – Saved searches – Other personal resources • Course area – Access to course content and Learning Objects – Access to search services and databases, datasets and computational services – Reading lists

Learning Activities • Student area – Social software style tools (blogs, wikis, etc) – Learning Activities • Student area – Social software style tools (blogs, wikis, etc) – Informal learning tools (student created collaborative tasks and sequences - student controlled LAMS) • Course area – Teacher created/led sequences of activities (LAMS) – Links to resources in sequences

The Learning Object Dream • There is are some explicit or implicit dreams hidden The Learning Object Dream • There is are some explicit or implicit dreams hidden behind the millions spent on LOs – “automatically find the perfect object to suit the exact learning needs of each student at the exact moment they need it” – “if each teacher built one small, excellent e-learning resource, and shared it with everyone else, then planning efficiency would go through the roof together with improved quality” • Is the dream a reality? – No – lots of money spent, but little success to date • Little use of Learning Objects at the chalkface • Almost no adaptation and re-use • Is the dream worth another try?

The Learning Object Dream • There is are some explicit or implicit dreams hidden The Learning Object Dream • There is are some explicit or implicit dreams hidden behind the millions spent on LOs – “automatically find the perfect object to suit the exact learning needs of each student at the exact moment they need it” – “if each teacher built one small, excellent e-learning resource, and shared it with everyone else, then planning efficiency would go through the roof together with improved quality” • Is the dream a reality? – No – lots of money spent, but little success to date • Little use of Learning Objects at the chalkface • Almost no adaptation and re-use • Is the dream worth another try? One more….

The Learning Design Dream • The principles of the LAMS Community – Learning Designs/Learning The Learning Design Dream • The principles of the LAMS Community – Learning Designs/Learning Activities focus, rather than simply content – Community focus rather than repository focus – Search based on free-text searching, not metadata searching – Very simple licenses not complex licenses (and nothing on licenses) – Automated usage tracking/rating systems not complex peer review/approval systems (and nothing on usage) – Learning software and learning content is free; not requiring payment – Content can be shared and adapted by others; not just fixed/static (ie, adaptation not permitted) • This is my last attempt at the dream, otherwise I’ll give up

The LAMS Community • We are about to launch the “LAMS Community” – a The LAMS Community • We are about to launch the “LAMS Community” – a global website for communities of LAMS users to: – Discuss the use of LAMS, new features, tech issues – **Share sequences, search for sequences, comment on and rate sequences, and get statistics on downloads – Find colleagues with similar interests, form sub-communities • We will be encouraging “open content” licensing of LAMS sequences • Is this the birth of “Open Source Teaching”?

Conclusion • Challenges of IT Architectures for T&L • The future of LMSs • Conclusion • Challenges of IT Architectures for T&L • The future of LMSs • The Dream of Learning Objects • What we’re working on at MELCOE