Free and open platforms in education (was Re: New MOOC about Free Software and Free Digital Society.)

Paul Boddie paul at
Mon May 4 21:00:47 UTC 2015

On Monday 4. May 2015 21.54.40 Vitaly Repin wrote:
> Hello,
> Thanks for the response.

Thanks for yours! :-)

> 2015-05-04 18:35 GMT+03:00 Paul Boddie <paul at>:
> > Just taking the discussion in perhaps another direction than you
> > anticipated,
> > it seems that Eliademy (why do modern brand names have to be so awful?)
> > isn't
> > itself a Free Software platform, which is a shame, and I think that's
> > what you're acknowledging above. In the various education sectors,
> > there's a big push to introduce "e-learning" platforms and other
> > cloud-based services, and
> > there's a lot of unhappiness [1] with many of them.
> Yes. You right. This is the reason why the course materials are made
> platform-independent
> and a separate web site is launched for the course materials. I do not see
> big value to have
> the course about Digital Freedom hosted only in one (and non free)
> platform.

Again, I think it's a great initiative.

> I think the goal shall be to have materials available for as more platforms
> as it's possible.
> And it shall be easily installable. That's the reason I want to publish the
> course later in Common Cartridge format.

I must admit that I'm not too familiar with the different formats and 
platforms, but I'll have to have a closer look at them now. 

> Can't do it right now because the videos for last 2 weeks are not ready as
> well as quizes.
> Ideal distribution for me is to have kind of 1-click install for the course
> in Moodle and other LMSes.
> All the suggestion are welcome. As of now I am aware only about Common
> Cartridge
> format as a common denominator between different platforms.

I noticed that Eliademy documents importing from Moodle, but we're all 
interested in import and export, of course. ;-)

> > To give an example of the risks to free and open platforms, Microsoft are
> > in
> > the process of sewing up the Norwegian higher education sector with their
> > Office 365 and related offerings, with all the inherent competition,
> > privacy
> > and control issues that will result. The latter issues are waved away as
> > paranoia, unbelievably, whereas Microsoft are probably still imposing a
> > Windows tax at some level or other in the Norwegian education sector,
> > albeit
> > not now so brazenly (as in the way Microsoft and Intel colluded before
> > their
> > illegal bundling practices were curtailed, at least in the US).
> > 
> > Anyway, I hope that your course gets a wide distribution on sustainable
> > e- learning platforms, too. :-)
> Which free and open platforms are used currently in Norway in educational
> section?  Moodle, I guess?
> Anything else which I can make my course to be compatible with?

Sadly, proprietary systems like Fronter (owned by Pearson, but with Norwegian 
origins and receiving a degree of favoritism) are widely used, although I did 
notice that my former employer had chosen FutureLearn [1], which is also 
proprietary as far as I can tell. Moodle doesn't seem to be that widely used, 
and I can envisage pressure being applied to existing users to switch to 
something proprietary that "everyone else is using".

What I've seen is that adopting "packaged" proprietary solutions is often 
justified on cost-reduction grounds, but the IT budget and burden still 
manages to increase. I guess I should summarise some of my observations in 
blog form: it won't be very encouraging reading, though.



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