For the past few weeks I've been working on LORS and improving its functionality to solve some typical-everyday problems:
Say you are a professor that has to teach a course and have tons of materials about the subject but really haven't have the time to order it all and determine a sequence in which the learning materials should be given to the students. In addition, you've been told that all these new Learning Management Systems are a real pain to deal with and that to structure and sequence content on them is just to painful/annoying to bare with. Moreover, the whole hype about learning objects is confusing you more than anything else.
Or, say that you are a manager that has implemented a new system/process in your company and need the employees to take a course about the implementation of the system/process.
In these two cases, you really don't know where to start... Therefore, I went a bit outside the scope of .LRN/OpenACS and found a couple of tools that can easily help the exhausted lecturer as well as the busy manager.
As you might remember LORS is sum of libraries that incoporate e-Learning specifications to .LRN/OpenACS with the aim exchangability and reusability. LORS as such doesn't have a user interface, hence I created a LORS Management package for .LRN that allows you to import, manage and deliver content to your class/community fairly easily (even without you knowing that you are messing around with learning objects).
For such thing, I put together a kinda tutorial so these poor lecturers/managers can easily structure their existing learning materials. The creation of these structures and sequence of materials (that can as well be learning objects) are done using opensource Reload Editor (http://www.reload.ac.uk/). This tutorial document shows you have to easily gather your existing material in a way that makes sense for you and create some basic metadata so it can be findable and reusable later. Following I think about 6 or 7 steps you can have a fairly OK idea on how to put together an IMS Content Package that includes IMS Metadata and SCORM without even realizing you have created such thing... you see the beauty is not telling them what they are doing
Once the course is packaged, a lecturer/manager can upload it to .LRN -using the LORS Management package, and have their students taking it. Since the package also contains a hierarquical organization of the content, I use this hierarchy to outline a pseudo-delivery runtime environment. So students can easily browse around the organization of your course very easily, but at the same time following the logical sequence you created as structure. Moreover, since IMS metadata "tags" these contents, we can easily find them as isolated 'pieces of knowledge'... or view and add further metadata if required.
In addition, since LORS Management makes use of file-storages, for all file management stuff, it inherits quite cool features just as versioning and recently added WebDav support (thank you DaveB)! Also, although I haven't personally tried it though, you could create curriculums that include thiscontent. [Ola, I might need your help here].
Summarizing, LORS Mgt allows you to:
1. Import Course Content (using IMS Content Packaging, Medatada and/or SCORM).
2. Manage Course from a class in .LRN
3. Manage Course Structure
4. View/Edit IMS Metadata Online
5. Deliver a Course to class/community members
6. Export Course Content to IMS CP Package.
It is still a beta version as I'm still fixing things here and there. But here you can have a look at it:
Once you are inside, if you logged in as a student, you will have the LORS Mgt portlet with the links to course. If you logged in as a professor, have a look at the admin page in the EBUS3001 class, and click on Manage LORS under the LORS Management Administration Applet.
If you get lost, please see the documentation:
If you need packages to upload/play with, I would strongly recomend you to have a look at the tutorial in the documentation and just create your own... if you lack creativity, you can have a look here (http://mlweg.pc.ee.usyd.edu.au:8080/files/index?folder_id=4014) since there are some I've been using for testing.
Any suggestions, comments and bugs are more than welcome!
Thanks to Matthias Melcher and Jack Ramsey for their ideas and invaluable suggestions. Also many thanks to Rafa, Al, Don, Rocael, Caroline, Carl, Malte, Denis, Venky et al.