Forum .LRN Q&A: E-LANE project to contribute to the .LRN effort

E-LANE (European-Latin American New Education) <www.e-lane.info> is a project funded by the European Comission though the @LIS programme <http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/alis/index_en.htm>, whose objective it is to prepare and implement e-courses in Latin America. There are 5 European partners in the consortium (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (ES),Telefónica I+D (ES), Trinity College of Dublin (IR), University of Reading (UK), Institut National des Télécommunications (FR)) and 5 Latin-American ones (Universidad Galileo (GT), Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (MX), Universidad del Cauca (CO), Universidad de Chile (CH), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (BR)).

Instead of developing a new e-learning platform from scratch or using a commercial one, we have decided to contribute to the .LRN open source effort in a number of ways. We are having our kick-off meeting next week in Guatemala, and from then on we hope to help push forward this initiative, as well as take advantage of the good work that is being carried out worldwide.

Carlos Delgado Kloos
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Project leader

Can be said that the main objective of e-lane is to support distance learning through the internet with a pretty high support for not fully online environments, since the tool will be used on real life “demonstrators” in Latin American countries.

The main areas that we’ll address are:

  1. Tool Integration & Refinement
    1. Support for different scenarios is considered, especially on those synchronous and asynchronous, with different types of deliveries depending on your previous defined bandwidth capabilities.
    2. i.      Improve / use tools for synchronous and high BW, like chat (jabber) and audio / video streaming

      ii.      Low BW communication, as full email communication with .LRN (like having any change / contribution to .LRN by email in both ways)

      iii.      Synchronize a .LRN installation among other instances in different servers, take into account that one of those installations could be not available to the internet some times (lets think on a .LRN installation on a remote place which has PC’s but not internet)

      iv.      An easy to run a standalone .LRN instance on any relatively new PC (probably Knoppix might be the way to go but also we seriously consider a windows solution), and in some way to synchronize in both ways with external data.

      v.      Possibility to export all the content, and more important, the .LRN GUI to some sort of html pages and directories in order to give a quite similar .LRN experience to the end user in that way.

    3. Better user behavior tracking and profiling
    4. A .LRN wizard, to help new users to get comfortable in .LRN, also will have standard “tutorials” for intermediate and advanced users.
    5. Improve online testing
    6. Polling system
    7. Integration with Dspace
    8. Potentially a development of a KMS embedded on openacs and extended to specially on learning issues.
    9. Having .LRN standards compliant to SCORM, IMS and maybe OKI.
      1. This will allow us a “full” export / import of the content, for easily transportability that will allow that content to be used in other delivery tools like msm.com/elearn
  2. Content Development: this means the courses to be taught, those will be developed based on standards like IMS / SCORM, in that sense .LRN will need to be able to import / export it. Also here, a more deeper localization / translation effort might be done, specially in languages like Spanish which is quite different through the different countries that speaks it.
  3. Methodology: this will define the different kinds of methodologies that should be followed (with their technical and content requisites) in order to reach different types of groups.
  4. Demonstrators: is to use the 1-3 integrated to give live course to target groups on Latin American countries. In this sense in Guatemala will start the next month (January 04) a fully distance learning Master that will be using only .LRN as a base.
  5. Dissemination and Sustainability: although we will use postgres as DB backend, we’ll make available all the development on oracle as well, since we want to ensure that the code will be “live” in the community, used by as many possible users (that might be using oracle) and that the features requests and bug fixing comes from both sides (oracle & pg). And of course, one of the main goal during all the process of the e-lane project is to disseminate the use of .LRN as much as possible to any kind of institutions (educational, ngo’s, government, etc.), take into account that the “partners” of this project comes from 9 different countries from Europe and Latin America.

As long as we do not intend to address all of ours objective quite soon, it’s a realistic plan for doing it progressively in the next months. Our propose is to coordinate this effort within the community to ensure to not “re-invent” the wheel again.

Any suggestions or comments are very welcome! … since the path to follow stills to needs to be fully written, more comming next!… ;o)

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Posted by David Kuczek on
Carlos and Rocael,

sounds really sweet and like a lot of work :-) But definitely worth it! Who will be in charge of the technical implementation?

Galileo University is the one who's leading the tool integration and develoment effort. Also the other participants in this area are: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (ES),Telefónica I+D (ES), Institut National des Télécommunications (FR)
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Posted by Volodja Vorobey on
Hi Carlos,

Excellent news and great project. I wonder if you do not plan to apply for LINGUA or MINERVA program of the Commission later this year for other dotLRN related projects, i.e. internationalization or any other.
I would be interested to discuss it further.

I will be involved in another EU-backed research project (FP6) with funding for developments of OpenACS.

Cheers,
Volodja

Hi Volodja,

at present I don't have any concrete plans for new proposals.

Kind regards,

Carlos

This is very good news. I hope the kick-off meeting went well. Anything interesting to report?

Volodja (and others), I am very interesting in building a group to work on obtaining EU funding for .LRN related projects this year. With the i18n work and adoption that is taking place we should have a good chance.

If I understand it correctly both MINERVA and LINGUA or both part of the Socrates program, where the focus is on cooperation in he field of education.

I spent an hour looking through the paperwork today.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/socrates/socrates_en.html

An important piece of information:
"Please note that according to the new financial regulation applicable to the general budget of the European  Communities, one project may not receive more than one grant from the budget of the European Communities to  any one beneficiary. In other words, if you are to be selected to receive a Socrates grant for a given project, you must  not receive a grant from another Community programme for the same project and funding period."

So we need to be careful with the dates and who is involved.

The dates I could find that are coming up that might be of interest:

March 1 2004 for the COMENIUS 2.1: Training of School Educational Staff project (the focus is secondary education if I read it correctly). Posting this one just in case anyone from the secondary education space (or higher education that is training teachers) is reading. According to the application materials the contractual period is likely to start on  the first of October 2004 and the possible durations are 12, 24, and 36 months.

There is a EU-US call for proposals that will be coming out on the 31st of January that we should look at when it comes out:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/eu-usa/usa_en.html#pre

Finally, Minerva seems to be the area that is most likely to fit .LRN, but I had problems finding concrete information on that part of the website (e.g. dates and application materials for 2004)

All the programs seem to be open to member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Romania and Turkey.

It would be great if we could cooperatively wade through the paper work and find projects that may be of interest to people in the OpenACS community that are eligible.