MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses can be run from cloud services, servers, and local hard server (1). The MOOC software can be complex using a mix of technologies to deliver a web interface.
Distance education via the Internet tends to have several common core data attributes:
- network port
Messaging can be synchronous or asychronous that includes: email, forums, chat, teleconference, and whiteboard.
Files are what the messages become including documents, web pages (blog, wiki, html, xhtml, php, etcetera…). Files may arguably be considered the source of data, whereas messaging is a transient data entry stage resulting in files.
Administration is required to organize and manage the data and the users of the data. Courses, lessons, and membership are examples of organization of the data.
A network port is the software/hardware required between the human and data interface for a communication commons. Network communications include modem communication to a server port, and Internet communications.
Attempts at addressing interoperability of content include SCORM (2) and integrators applications (3).
However, what if you wish independance, portability, and ‘near’ future proofing?
A mini MOOC is possible with the available open-source content management systems such as Drupal and WordPress. WordPress offers free plugins that will assist in building an administrative framework. In addition there are several commercial LMS plugins for WordPress to achieve a similar but lite version of Moodle. Drupal offers both distributions and modules that can be developed as MOOCS.
The disadvantages to Drupal and WordPress (and Moodle) are the dependencies on other applications to function such as a database engine (i.e., MYSQL), and scripting engine (i.e., PHP). Hence, there are many layers of programs required to achieve a course lesson. Fortunately all the programming layers are open source and can be assembled into one virtual data file; which is important for archival sustainability (4ab).
It is possible to create a portable MOOC using a self-contained mobile server. The challenges for developing such a package includes stability, accessibility, transparency, and goals for the MOOC.
1. Massive open online course, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course
2. Sharable Content Object Reference Model, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharable_Content_Object_Reference_Model
3. Tin Can API, http://tincanapi.com
4a. “Google’s Vint Cerf warns of ‘digital Dark Age'”, Pallab Ghosh, http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31450389
4b. “Digital Vellum and the Expansion of the Internet into the Solar System”, http://www.cmu.edu/silicon-valley/news-events/dls/2015/cerf-news.html