Edu Content Management Platform Decision

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This page is for our discussion and decision on the Edu Group's Content Versioning System. My suggested process is this: First, we decide on our decision criteria and possible platform options (these are below. Please add anything I am missing). Then we rank the options based on the decision criteria.


Here's where I am on this discussion of Moodle/content management:

1) Some content providers will be hosting their own course management systems outside of OSGeo (e.g., Moodle). Others may be using a different system (e.g., Claroline). We will want to record metadata on and link to these external activities.

2) Others may use the OSGeo Moodle platform (Venka is an example)

3) As far as I can tell, “Courses” are the primary unit in Moodle. You can search for courses, but I'm not sure you can search for modules contained within Moodle courses.

4) Some OSGeo edu material will not be courses. They will be self-study modules.

5) Not sure if we need the same platform for serving course material and other material like the FreeGIS book. But in my view, ideally we have a search mechanism that finds both. For example, the user does a search on “Georeferencing” and finds both a FreeGIS chapter entry on theory related to it, a teaching presentation on the subject, and tutorials on how to do it using various tools (Grass, QGIS, etc.)

6) New derivatives. Like in open source software, content authors should be the maintainers of their modules. We should serve production versions that are “locked”, and also have some mechanism for someone to derive a new release. For example, I'd be happy if someone wanted to take my QGIS V.8 tutorial material and revise when QGIS v.9 comes out. But I think I should be aware of someone wanting to do that, and give this person permission to derive a new work from my material. Perhaps we control this by encouraging production content to be provided in pdf form and use that as our standard module format.


A MODULE METADATA SYSTEM that allows our OSGeo website visitors to search for modules, or full courses.

This system needs the metadata fields we have listed on the wiki inventory page: Author Name(s), Affilation, URL, Description, Keywords, Date published, Version #, License, Target audience, Language, Relevant software, Additional comments

The URL field could link to a Moodle course, a Module stored on a Moodle system, or any other location within OSGeo's system or external to OSGeo.

OSGeo members need to be able to enter new records into this system.


- Am I off in my thinking anywhere? - Can Moodle do what I'm thinking we need? I don't think it can. I think we need a database-driven search and post data application with our metadata fields.


(Edu team - please add any others you think are missing)

1) MODULE (NOT COURSE) FOCUS. (not necessarily course focus). This way people can pick and choose modules for courses. But this could be compatible with Moodle. If we have modules somewhere someone could develop a course and link to them using Moodle.

2) SEARCH FUNCTION. (this is where I think the wiki approach might break down and a database-driven platform might be better). Metadata to search on would include: software used, version, title/keywords, author, license.

3) AUTHOR ATTRIBUTION CAPABILITY. Needs to have a system that can be cited by various authors as a "contribution." This is important, for example, for junior university faculty who want to cite their contribution as "service" to the discipline as part of their tenure files.

4) MODULE STORAGE FORMAT. I think we want something that embraces a variety of storage formats for various authors have their preferences (e.g., Open Office writer, Word, HTML, LaTex) but we may want to recommend a format and it probably should be something that can be easily transferred from one format to another. This is where the wiki structure didn't work well for me. Moving from my wiki to the OSGeo wiki was a little painful because the graphics had to be uploaded separately. And an XML compatible format is probably important too.

5) HOSTED BY OSGeo? It is probably better if OSGeo's technology folks host the system but our group administers it? If so, this probably moves us more to the Moodle or Wiki option or some other platform if Tyler can get it installed for us on OSGeo's server (I'm thinking here the eduCommons software. If so, we need to make sure there is a way to link our modules to other open educational content respositories so that more people find our content.

6) BACKUP/ARCHIVE SYSTEM Platform should be regularly backed up so that content hosted on the platform can be recovered.


8) CAN STORE READING MATERIALS. Can provide a way for us to enter FOSSGeo educational readings/biliography which is also searchable.


1) Tylers WIKI example (I need a link to this)

2) OSGeo's Moodle platform

  • If we go with either of the above, I think we should consider a storage format that is not a wiki page, but work with uploaded files, and make sure people can find things by modules

3) Rice Connexions - this is Module focused, and allows you to set up an OSgeo "lens" for searching. But I'm thinking we may want to store our material elsewhere and then maybe list modules here with external links to our platform if that is possible.

4) educommons system I need to look at this more. But it looks like it might have what we are looking for. If we like it, could we get it installed on OSGeo's server?

5) Any others? (Please add them here)


1) MODULE STRUCTURE TEMPLATE. Should we come up with a "recommended structure/template" to be used for new tutorials? Is anyone at the moment starting to write a tutorial and want to try this?