Friday, November 30, 2007

Online Educa '07 - Day 2: Parallel session on Systems and Services to Support Today's Students (II)

After an interesting lunch with Marc Dupuis (Universiteit Leiden), Robert Jan Simons and Keith Russel (Universiteit Utrecht - who blogged about my session), I joint the second session on Systems and services for supporting today's students.

A first interesting talk by Ahmed Imre Açar (blog) from the Freie Universität Berlin on PLE's and mashups. I have some difficulty in identifying the point he is making. Message: experiment with mashups and webaggregators as a step-up towards the future VLE. Start small, with one or two functions.

Next was my colleague Eric Kluijfhout, talking about services from an architectural perspective (SOA), not about web services. First, Eric describes the promises of a services approach, where the main drivers for the Dutch HEI are (1) application integration, and (2) reduction of duplicate functional components. My personal position, currently, is that a SOA approach is very promising, but I am afraid that SOA-development is very complex (and some claim that the return of this investment is not straightforward). At the OUNL, there is no clear position in relation to SURF's initiative, yet. Eric concludes with current reality: most Dutch HEI have entered a SOA-awareness phase, early adopters are focusing on the use of SOA for solving operational issues of integrating applications. His final slides were very interesting indeed, as they discussed some of the remaining issues.

Third was Kristijan Zimmer, University of Zagreb, about complex integrated environment e-Campus (e-bricks and e-mortar): integration of information, learning and collaboration resources. e-bricks deal with the elements of the eCampus, and the e-mortar with the protocols that integrate the e-bricks. Use three LMS's: Moodle, WebCT and a small Croatian system. SMIL for multimedia synchronisation. Kristijan also sketches the issue of isolated information islands, i.e. home-brew systems, developed by staff (specifically problematic at a technical university).

Final speaker is Nico Juist from Hogeschool INHOLLAND who describes experiences with Sharepoint. They performed a small research project with a focus on the independent student as a knowledge worker (interesting Point-of-View). I am afraid that my after-lunch dip kicked in just then and I got lost in the presentation. (Also an upcoming back-ache). Tea time! Ended with an interesting model (based on Van Weert & Andriessen).

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