Forum .LRN Q&A: Re: MIT' Open Courseware running on dotlrn + LORS

Posted by Caroline Meeks on
This is great! How do you go about taking the OCW materials and putting them into IMS format? Screen scraping or are they providing you with a direct feed?

If there are images or videos do you import them or do you link to them?

I've had a vision for a web service that lets an instructor creates a dotlrn class and "import" content from OCW and then have an online space to support their learners.

The flow would be something like this.

1. Instructor signs up for an instructor level account. (depending on the funding model this might require approval)
2. Instructor creates a class (Calculus 1).
3. The Instructor chooses OCW content (18.01)
4. Instructor chooses the language for the interface for the course. The content from OCW is probably still in English but they might wish their interface and discussion boards to be in their own language.
5. Instructor uploads a CSV of learners (bulk user upload)
6. Instructor can now create content for his class...forums, FAQ, files in file storage etc.
7. Through LORS the instructor can add or edit any of the pages from OCW. For instance he might add some notes in his own language to help explain the concepts.
8. Students and instructors could interact online only or they could use the space to complement a brick-and-mortar class experience.

Everyone around here knows the mantra is “Learning is a Social Experience”. For OCW to take the next step in impacting the world the social aspects of learning need to be facilitated. It seems to me with the work you have done we have all the pieces ready to do this.
Building it shouldn’t be a big deal. If you think about scaling this idea up to you can see why I’m interested bandwidth and where the images and videos are hosted. It would be far cheaper if you didn’t have to pay the bandwidth for images and videos.

However, the key to success will be money marketing and publicity. It would be great if this could be an “inside job” and done under the umbrella of an institution or foundation already associated with OCW.

Is this within the scope of your thesis?

Does anyone have the clout to go and get a grant to do this?

Posted by Sergio FRESCHI on
Hi Caroline.

Thanks for your reply !

I've downloaded full OCW courses (images, pdfs, ppts, videos, etc, etc), extracted some metadata from each course and packed everything into an IMS CP package. (of course, in an automatic way). Ready to be uploaded into any LMSs or repository.

My next stage deals with adding a 'Learning Design' to each course and build an IMS LD package, so we can have a live and interactive course !


Posted by Ernie Ghiglione on
Hi Sergio,

Great to see the conversion of the OCW content to IMS CP. Indeed good news.

Would you be able to put an example of an OCW course transformed into an IMS CP package?

> My next stage deals with adding a 'Learning Design' to each
> course and build an IMS LD package, so we can have a live
> and interactive course !

How would you transform the OCW content into learning activities that can be used by a learning design player?

For instance, take this course (, are the labs and lecture notes activities? Or are you planning to use the calendar and the syllabus as structure for the learning flow?



Hi Ernie.

I uploaded several courses on one of the OpenACS test servers this Monday but all of them were removed !!

> How would you transform the OCW content into learning activities that can be used by a learning design player?

Good question !!

I think this is the most (or one of the most) difficult part of my project and I will figure out which is the best approach to it.



Hi Sergio.

Thanks for your answer.

One suggestion perhaps is to use SCORM 1.2/2004 instead.

SCORM will allow you to use sequencing of content which is what you have at hand with the OCW courses.

Although IMS LD also deals with content. However it's main purposes is to outline/describe learning processes thru activities instead (over-simplifying, of course). So unless you have designed the courses or are have a really good knowledge of the each subject, trying to design a flow of cohesive activities based around just content, it won't fly.

A similar analogy would be trying to teach 100 students on a subject that all you have is the bibliography but don't no anything about the subject :-). True, you can send them to read the books, but would you call that a good learning design? :-)

Additionally, creating IMS LD packages does not take you very far as these packages won't be able to be used outside your custom implementation of LORS. Unfortunately IMS LD hasn't quite worked out interoperability across systems yet. That is, an IMS LD package created in Reload (for instance) might not work in other systems (at all).

On the other hand SCORM packages can be imported and used in tons of other systems which will make your work much more relevant, not only for .LRN but for many others as well.

Hope that helps,