Integrating Innovative E-Learning Systems: Challenges and Solutions from LAMS James Dalziel Professor of Learning Technology, and Director, Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE) Macquarie University - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Integrating Innovative E-Learning Systems: Challenges and Solutions from LAMS James Dalziel Professor of Learning Technology, and Director, Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE) Macquarie University

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Title: Integrating Innovative E-Learning Systems: Challenges and Solutions from LAMS James Dalziel Professor of Learning Technology, and Director, Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE) Macquarie University


1
Integrating Innovative E-Learning Systems
Challenges and Solutions from LAMSJames
DalzielProfessor of Learning Technology, and
Director, Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of
Excellence (MELCOE)Macquarie University
james_at_melcoe.mq.edu.auwww.melcoe.mq.edu.auPre
sentation for EDUCAUSE 2006, Dallas, USA, October
11th, 2006
2
Overview
  • Part 1
  • The All you need is LMS myth
  • Incremental and disruptive e-learning innovation
  • Categorising integration requirements
  • Why SOA is premature
  • Part 2
  • Examples from LAMS
  • Future directions

3
The All you need is LMS myth
  • A decade on from the rise of the Learning
    Management System (LMS), there is a widespread
    myth about its sufficiency
  • Some vendors encourage the belief that their
    platform does everything (or at least everything
    important)
  • Some university executives believe that by
    implementing a LMS, they have done e-learning,
    so no major changes are warranted
  • Some university CIOs are reluctant to consider
    having more than one piece of software for
    e-learning
  • Especially when it doesnt come from a large
    vendor
  • Some central e-learning support groups have
    become so aligned with their current LMS, they
    struggle to imagine other possibilities

4
The All you need is LMS myth
  • Two reason for skepticism about the sufficiency
    of the LMS
  • While the LMS has helped with many
    e-administration tasks (announcements, course
    notes, assignment dropbox), the amount of online
    learning remains modest in most cases
  • Most e-learning innovation now happens outside
    the LMS (eg, Blogs, Wikis, e-portfolios,
    advanced quizzing, Learning Design, Learning
    Object Repositories, Virtual Classrooms, mobile
    devices, portals, eResearch, Personal Learning
    Environments, podcasts, desktop applications,
    etc)
  • But does this mean the end of the LMS?
  • Not for most universities, if only for legacy
    system reasons
  • So the question becomes one of integration,
    especially integrating new innovations with the
    existing LMS

5
Incremental and disruptive e-learning innovation
  • Viewed from the perspective of integration, some
    e-learning innovations are incremental, others
    are disruptive
  • Not just a technology issue also depends on use
    but for the purpose of this presentation, I
    will focus on technology
  • Incremental innovations (in terms of integration)
  • Advanced quizzing
  • Virtual classroom
  • Learning Object Repository
  • E-Portfolio
  • Podcasts
  • Some uses of Blogs and Wikis
  • Simple integration of Learning Design

6
Incremental and disruptive e-learning innovation
  • Disruptive innovations (in terms of integration)
  • Some uses of Blogs and Wikis
  • Available outside the LMS
  • Tools integration of Learning Design
  • Requires tools (forum, chat, etc) to be workflow
    enabled
  • Personal Learning Environments
  • Student controlled may include desktop tools
  • Portals
  • Alternative base platform, different integration
    fabric
  • eResearch
  • Different authentication model (PKI), non-http
    internet services
  • Mobile devices
  • Alternative screen layouts online/offline
    synchronisation
  • Desktop applications
  • Different security model (non-browser)

7
Categorising integration requirements
  • Two caveats
  • Assumes you want integration (can always run
    separately!)
  • Focus on most typical integration (not all
    possibilities)
  • Type 1 No integration or non-person-based
    authentication
  • Eg, Learning Object Repository, Podcasts
  • Type 2 Single-sign-on (SSO) person-based
    authentication
  • Virtual classroom
  • Some uses of Blogs and Wikis
  • Simple integration of Learning Design
  • Type 3 SSO assessment reporting
  • Advanced quizzing
  • E-Portfolio (NB depends on purpose of
    e-portfolio)
  • Type 4 Workflow-enabled LMS tools
  • Tools integration for Learning Design

8
Categorising integration requirements
  • Type 5 Support for alternative presentation
  • Mobile devices also relevant for advanced
    accessibility ideas
  • Type 6 Intermittent network (Online/offline
    synchronisation)
  • Mobile devices, Personal Learning Environments
  • Type 7 Authentication/security models unlike LMS
  • Some uses of Blogs and Wikis (expose content
    outside the LMS)
  • eResarch that requires PKI
  • Desktop applications and non-http internet
    services
  • Personal Learning Environments
  • Type X Conflicting basic platform assumptions
  • Portals, full SOA implementations, eResearch
    Virtual Organisations

9
Categorising integration requirements
  • Some observations
  • Authentication and security models are the most
    common challenge
  • Type 1 No integration or non-person-based
    authentication
  • Type 2 Single-sign-on (person-based
    authentication) - SSO
  • Type 3 SSO assessment reporting
  • Type 7 Authentication/security models unlike LMS
  • Some other integration types each represent
    unique challenges with far-reaching consequences
  • Type 4 Workflow-enabled LMS tools (includes SSO)
  • Type 5 Support for alternative presentation
  • Type 6 Intermittent network (Online/offline
    synchronisation)
  • Some cases are so different as to challenge
    integration per se
  • Type X Conflicting basic platform assumptions

10
Why SOA is premature
  • For some, the concept of Service Oriented
    Architectures/Approaches represents a new
    solution to integration problems
  • If SOA just means identifying some minimal
    integration points between two systems, then this
    is less difficult to implement
  • But much of the SOA hype is around rebuilding the
    whole IT infrastructure around disparate sets of
    services to create composite applications
  • Assumes the applications of today will disappear,
    or at least be completely rebuilt

11
Why SOA is premature
  • SOA as a solution to the current integration
    challenge is premature because
  • Almost none of our current (innovative) systems
    are constructed using a SOA approach (they are
    still traditional applications the Fedora
    repository is about the only real exception)
  • Even if applications were service oriented, we
    havent even begun to understand the wider SOA
    authentication and security fabric needed to
    build composite applications from disparate
    services
  • Even if we understood the security fabric, and
    all our applications did expose services, we
    still have the problem that each application
    could have its own, different assumptions about
    the security fabric, leading to interoperability
    failures despite availability of services
  • NB For the same reason, combining two or more
    SOA frameworks from big competing vendors will
    often be an interoperability nightmare

12
Part 2 Examples from LAMS
  • LAMS is an integrated Learning Design system
  • Author (create Learning Designs)
  • Monitor (instructor can launch/monitor Learning
    Designs)
  • Learner (student environment for run-time
    activities)
  • Admin (usernames passwords, roles, server
    admin)
  • In addition to the above components, and the core
    workflow engine, LAMS provides a suite of
    workflow enabled activity tools (forum, chat,
    quiz, content, etc)
  • Not a LMS, but can be used integrated or
    stand-alone
  • Freely available as open source software
  • See www.lamsfoundation.org

13
Examples from LAMS
  • Example A Single-sign-on (SSO) with LMS
  • LAMS V1 provides SSO with Blackboard, WebCT,
    Sakai, Moodle and .LRN LMS platforms
  • For instructors, LAMS authoring and monitoring
    are accessed just like other LMS tools
  • No extra login
  • Sequences can be selected directly from LMS page
  • For students, a LAMS sequence is accessed via a
    URL on the course page
  • Eg, click here for activities for week 3
  • Integration involves LAMS receiving basic
    identity and role information from the LMS (via
    integration module)

14
Examples from LAMS
  • Demonstration of LAMS V1 integration with LMS
    (based on Sakai)

15
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16
Login Page of LAMS/Sakai test server includes
further information links
17
Sample course in Sakai that uses LAMS
18
Adding a LAMS sequence to a Sakai course Sakai
page
19
Adding a LAMS sequence to a Sakai course LAMS
authoring page (pop-up)
20
Sample course in Sakai with links to LAMS
sequences shown in central area
21
Student view of LAMS activities as pop-up window
from Sakai course page
22
LAMS monitoring page for live student sequence
popup from teacher area
23
Examples from LAMS
  • Example B Tools integration for LAMS V2
  • LAMS V2 (released October 2006) incorporates a
    new modular tools architecture - LAMS Tools
    Contract
  • The tools contract describes the requirements for
    an activity tool (forum, chat, quiz, content,
    etc) to run within the LAMS workflow environment
  • The tools contract is not simply a Java API, but
    rather a set of URL calls and conventions on tool
    behaviour for
  • Authoring
  • Monitoring
  • Learner (ie, run-time)
  • Admin

24
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25
Examples from LAMS
  • Example B Tools integration for LAMS V2
  • The tools contract provides the basis for LMS
    tools to run within LAMS workflows
    (sequences/Learning Designs)
  • Eg, creating a LAMS sequence inside Sakai (SSO
    integration) which uses the Sakai forum, rather
    than the LAMS forum
  • This provides a solution to the tools
    duplication problem
  • That is, you can avoid having a course forum tool
    in your LMS, and a separate (workflow enabled)
    forum tool for Learning Designs run within your
    LMS
  • No LMS have implemented the LAMS tools contract
    yet, but a number of pilot projects are underway

26
Examples from LAMS
  • Demonstration of LAMS V2 (including tools
    contract)
  • For LAMS V2 demonstration accounts, see
    http//demo.lamscommunity.org/
  • To learn more about LAMS V2 architecture, see the
    LAMS V2 Development wiki at
  • http//wiki.lamsfoundation.org/display/lams/Home
  • Including link to Tools Contract description

27
Future Directions
  • Authentication and security fabric remains a key
    challenge to various types of integration
  • LAMS Tools Contract provides a basis for creating
    workflow enabled LMS tools
  • Dealing with LMS as a legacy system environment
    for practical integration
  • Some approaches have fundamentally different
    assumptions to LMS (eg, using a portal as basis
    for Learning Management Operating System
    LMOS)
  • Do they provide a better platform for integration?
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