Forum .LRN Q&A: Response to dotLRN on .NET

Posted by Alfred Essa on
For better or worse, we have decided to go the opensource route. This means that dotLRN is not owned by MIT any longer, but by the community. As far as I am concerned this means that Sloan will only proceed down the .NET path if there is *overwhelming* support for the effort within the community and it is widely perceived that this makes strategic sense to further the goals of the dotLRN platform. This is a community decision.

If we proceed with iCampus, then it will be as a *research* project to understand how a platform like dotLRN might be constructed from the ground up using a componentized web services architecture.
We would have three general aims:
<li>understand how enterprise services (authentication) could be delegated, preferably  using OKI (Open Knowledge Initiative) APIs;
<li>understand how certain modules might be delegated (e.g. calendar, file storage) to external systems or applications;
<li>understand how the platform could be constructed so as allow consumption of web service data and applications, especially in learning management space;
The funding that we are likely to receive is a fraction of what we would need to do full .NET port. The decision to do a full .NET port would come a year from now, depending on lessons learned, whether there's funding available, the state of Mono, and an overall careful analysis. It's way too premature to say that we are undertaking a .NET port.
Can we achieve the same research goals by focusing exclusively on OpenACS? Yes.
<li>Will Microsoft fund it? No.
<li>Might we be able to use some of the iCampus money to further the dotLRN/OpenACS project? Possibly.
For example,  I would like to modularize the calendar functionality in the current version so that we have the option to store events in Exchange using Calendar APIs.
<li> Will Microsoft get a seat on the dotLRN board because of iCampus? No.
<li>Are there people at MIT working on dotLRN/.NET? No. Tracy Adams and Andrew Grumet, who work for me, have been learning .NET and would participate in the project if we move forward.

What I urge you to think about is the following: if we can obtain funding and resources from Microsoft to strengthen dotLRN but using .NET in some way. Should we accept? If so, how should the funding and resources be used?