-- RobCrouchley - 10 Nov 2004

From one perspective we can think of the JISC VLE/VRE activities like those of a distributed software house. If we think like this then the meeting in Oxford was like a management briefing about the interoperability/ plug and play vision of all the tools we need for VREs and VLEs. Some of the presentations were useful, like that of Sarah Porter which presented the vision, while others were good entertainment but were essentially content free (as at many conferences). Though there may be many learning technologists that got more from these presentations. Furthermore, the various reports we had from other attendees suggested that many of the parallel sessions were not much use either. Though these are difficult things to run. What was much more useful was the informal chat at coffee/ breakfast time and in the evenings.

I still do not know how we get to this interoperability/ plug and play vision from where we are now. I can see what it is. But there are many different groups competing against each other for scarce resources. How do we co-ordinate our activities to collectively create something sustainable. How much (what proportion, is it 25%) of their funds do the large software houses spend on co-ordination of disparate activities to ensure interoperability? Anybody know? I do know that $30M-$40M was spent to develop a VLE for the UKeU. This has been lost because it was not open source.

The Oxford workshop was a start, but we need much more of this, with smaller groups meeting every month and big co-ordination sessions every 3 months. Otherwise it will all take a lot, lot longer. The problem JISC face is that Institutions need VLE solutions now, and the lack of an open source alternative implies that they will go for commercial solutions, thus reducing the pool of skills and resources available for self empowerment.

Here is a copy of the summary from the Personal Learning and Research session which was presented by Chuck Severance.

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Topic revision: r4 - 24 Jan 2005 - RobAllan
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