Forum .LRN Q&A: Re: Some thoughts and question

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Posted by Ernie Ghiglione on
G'day Nima,

As Rocael mentioned, LORS is about to change to address most of the concerns that you have brought up. So let me just go one by one.

3. Course Repositories
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Another aspect that needs to be adressed is the lors package. The idea
behind learning object repositories is to have one repository for
installation. At present each prof. can create his courses which makes
sense if the course is class centric. Better would be to have lors as a
single service with admin portlets on class level but there should be a
reference to the repository not decentralized courses as default.
Courses in the repository should be mapped to classes not the other way
around (at least as a default).

As you well mentioned, LORS works in a decentralized sort of way. Basically when you install LORS in a class and upload a new course, the course is now part of that class. Yes, you can share it with other classes, but still it resides within that original class.

Although that has its advantages and disadvantages, I see the point of having a centralized repository per installation. On top of my head, I think that'll make easier for people to create customizable courses reusing "chucks" of courses to create a new course. At the moment you can only share a course as a whole but not its underlying learning objects. I think in the centralized case, the administration of all these learning object would be, to certain degree, simplified.

A professor creates a new course and uploads the course. Some time
later he realizes that a flash file or an avi would enhance his course
as would adding some more subchapters or reorganising the course
structure. Now what can he do? Basically nothing. He has to upload a new
course and disable the last, right?

Well, yes and no.

If all the teacher wants to do is change existing content, then she can upload a new revision of the file that she wants to modify and that'll do. Now, if what she needs to do is to modify the learning object radically (changing the files and addition more and all), yes: LORS at the moment can't quite handle that.

However, and here's the good news, we've been working on versioning of learning objects. That basically translates into: Random Teacher Striker upload a course on Biology 101 to LORS. Then he realizes that he wants to modify one chapter of his course as it doesn't quite convey his learning objectives, so he can modify the course in using Reload in his desktop and then uploads the course as a new revision of the existing course. LORS will be smart in of to say "Oh, alright, Random Teacher Stricker wants to modify his existing course, let's see what the deltas are with the existing learning objects and create new versions of these learning objects". Analyzing the changes, LORS then creates a new revision of the learning objects and the course as well. So following as you mentioned before, if the teacher realizes that an AVI does better than his old HTML pages, then the new course revision will have the AVI file and the teacher won't have to disable his existing course and upload a whole new one.

I don't even want to go into the
performance issues involved by that. It simply takes ages for a course
to get uploaded to lors.

Really? I thought it was quite quick. Is that because you are using large AVI files? All it does basically when you upload a course into LORS is adding it to the CR (via file-storage).

Any chance to improve that? Other platforms
upload courses fast as lightning.

I guess that is because they just dump the files into a www directory ;-). That will take a second for us to do it as well, but then we will loose all the beauties we get by using the CR (access control, versioning, etc).

How can we make lors faster on the one hand
and less rigid on the other so that we allow course evolution?

Out of all the repositories that I have seen, LORS is probably the most flexible one. It gives you not only a repository, access control, IMS MD editor (soon we'll have an online IMS CP editor too), internationalization, full text search, etc. You can see a comparison in features between LORS and 3-to-5 other learning object repositories here http://weg.ee.usyd.edu.au/people/ernieg/thesis/final.

Once we manage to do versioning of learning objects and course we would be a far more superior repository than even the commercial ones (intrallect and the like).

Ernie

PS: I would love to work on repository interoperability (ie: one instance of .LRN-LORS sharing learning objects and courses with other .LRN-LORS instances). Hopefully that will be not too long in the future.