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eduCommons = OpenCourseWare [1] management system



"What is eduCommons?

eduCommons is an OpenCourseWare management system designed specifically to support OpenCourseWare projects like USU OCW. eduCommons will help you develop and manage an open access collection of course materials.

What does eduCommons do?

eduCommons is built around a workflow process that guides users through the process of publishing materials in an openly accessible format. This includes uploading materials into a repository, dealing with copyright, reassembling materials into courses, providing quality assurance, and publication of materials."

Contextual History

"The first such project, Connexions, came from Rice University. It was the brainchild of Richard Baraniuk, professor of electrical engineering, who was directly inspired by the example of open source. Connexions uses a content creation platform called Rhaptos, which is released under the GNU GPL. The other major open courseware project came from MIT. One of the people behind the OpenCourseWare idea – which arose out of an earlier failed attempt to make money from selling MIT courses online – was Hal Abelson, who is also one of the founders of Creative Commons. This joint involvement simplified the issue of licensing, something that was a major issue for Rice initially, until it too adopted a Creative Commons license.

MIT does not use an open source platform, but David Wiley has started a project called eduCommons, based on Plone, that offers this facility. Another of his free software projects, called Open Learning Support, and now part of eduCommons, provides Rice's Connexions and MIT's OpenCourseWare with online discussion boards. Baraniuk, for his part, is working on a range of ancillary open source software, including systems to aid translation, and a rating system for courses. It is also worth mentioning the free software course management package Moodle, which is widely used around the world, and Sakai, a similar project, funded by the Hewlett Foundation.

Although both Connexions and OpenCourseWare allow course materials to be modified, they do not make any provision in their platforms for true collaborative development. The final article in this short series will explore how this issue has been addressed by open content projects." (