Digital Platforms

  • Borch, Ole (Project Participant)

Project Details


Within the context of a collaborative European Virtual University, Working Group on Digital Platforms specifications of the universities? needs - with respect to technical platforms and the characteristics and requirements - can be summarized into three topics: (1) exchangeability of contents, (2) interoperability, and (3) interconnectivity of platforms. Functionality is in a technical perspective dependent from the nature of the LCMS and the LMS that the partner institutions use, either as two faces of an integrated digital platform or as two collaborating elements of the platform. In the latter case, the LCMS part is responsible for storage of content uploaded from authors, the other part is to be considered as the service provider to actors, who are requesting the services. Finally, a generator extracting raw material from the storage media and composing the right format for the user is accessed on request from the actor. Courses should be developed in the philosophy of modularization and standardization across platforms to optimize flexibility in time, exchangeability and reusability of content. Standardization implies a standardized structure, packaging and indexing of contents, as well as standardizing the way of communication between content and LMS functions. Flexibility in place should be foreseen to incorporate wireless systems as well as to support instructor and student mobility. In practice, with the variety of existing systems and investments made in every participating institution, full standardization at all levels is however not feasible nor maybe even desirable. Part of the solution of the occurring interoperability problems can be the use of open source software and by dissociating storage format form publishing format. Storage should use XML technologies to enable generators to publish in various formats and layouts the same content, and to reduce their maintenance costs. From a pedagogical perspective, the constructivist view on education increased the need of flexibility of pedagogical scenarios and pedagogical activities, interactivity between users and contents, communication between the actors, as well as collaboration between all those involved in the learning process. Necessary functionalities for the digital platform affect development and production, delivery, collaboration, productivity, assessment and administration. The collaborative environment proves to be difficult to establish, but is strongly recommended for reflections among course participants and across course and project work boundaries. Collaborative project work must include facilities for planning and distribution of work as well as document versioning system and display of project progress. Although the functionalities are manifold, the digital platform itself should be simple, user-friendly, and while working across platforms in the collaborative environment of a European virtual university, transparent to the user. Web based solutions are therefore preferred. Much of the technological evolutions in digital platforms have been so far the result of economical considerations of commercial companies. Throughout the work of the group, need for further research and development was regularly identified, not only with respect to technological functionalities, but also and maybe even especially with respect to pedagogical functionalities. Participants in the project: Department of Control Engineering, AAU, Denmark; Helsinki University of Technology, Finland; EuroPACE, Belgium; Universität Dortmund, Germany; FernUniversität Hagen, Germany; University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom; Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France
Effective start/end date31/12/200531/12/2005