...because open source matters

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Personal Learning & Working Environment

Moodle is an open source Learning Management System used and tested by 31,685,885 users and 1,888,393 teachers from 210 countries (http://moodle.org/stats/). Yes, that huge community is a pillar of Moodle’s sucess. Numerous discussions ‘what is the best learning management system’ are happening all around the globe, and… in more than a few discussions, the conclusion is that Moodle is the winner (1, 2). Some people are skeptic, however: how can a free opensource software be better than one expensive closed proprietary software? Simply it can. For example Apache web server is used by 30.000 more web servers than Microsoft’s servers (30% difference); two years ago Microsoft paid $15 billion for FaceBook – an social website build up on free open source PHP technology. So, yes, the open source can be the best solution.

And it is used by countless for profit and nonprofit corporations, same as the University of Illinois, the Columbia College and many other universities and schools all around the globe. …

News? Since recently, Google applications can be integrated into domain and in Moodle. So we did it. We can use all Google Applications – education edition, we can use iGoogle, and we can create a personal learning and working environment.


E-learning Challenges 2.0 .09

eMentoring – potential. I had a chance to participate in one discussion about online mentoring a few days ago. It was stated that online mentoring can be very valuable for tutor/mentor programs. For example, mentors and mentees can collaborate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any place in the world, they can stay connected even if one of them moves out of a town/state/country, they can track their conversations, use different medias, they can… yes, there are a lot of things they can do, right?

Limits? There was, however, one detail that attracted my attention; one short definition. E-mentoring was described as ‘mentoring with support of email, chat and forums’. At first glance it looked like a good short definition. … A few seconds later I realized: ‘Hey, e-mail, chat and forums are excellent tools – excellent, but over 15 years old’. It means that if eMentoring is supported just by email, chat and forums, we could have done it 15 years ago. Now those 3 tools are not enough. Wiki, blog, tagging, mapping, repositories, videoconference, virtual communities, social networking sites, mobile education to name just a few.

So, what should we do?


2.0 or not 2.0: that is the question…

Examples? One of the best known examples of Web 2.0 is Facebook; a website and later a web community started by Mark Zuckerberg. Mark started Facebook in 2004 – for the purpose of connecting Harvard University’s alumnae. At that time Mark was a sophomore at Harvard University.

Three years later, Microsoft bought Facebook for $15 billion. To date, Mark has not returned as a student to the College. However Facebook statistic reports that Facebook has become the world’s most popular social-networking site with 200 million active users in February 2009. Furthermore, More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day. More than two-thirds of Facebook users do not attend college. The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older (the age of university professors for instance).

Collective production. Wikipedia, Wikiversity, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, gSites, Blogger are other bright Web 2.0 examples. All of them use the web as a platform to harness collective production of users to build products with huge educational value or potential.

Is it possible to utilize Web 2.0 potential in an educational tutor/mentor environment?

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