Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen a number of presentations by various colleagues from the Univeristat Oberta de Catalunya about the development of their learning technology provision. And last September I was privileged to join with other international colleagues for their OpenEd Tech summit.
Eva de Lera (Senior Strategist at UOC) has just sent me a copy of a case study they have produced for Gartner (Case Study: Approaching the Learning Stack: The Third Generation LMS at Univeristat Oberta de Catalunya). The report gives an overview of how and why UOC have moved from a traditional monolithic VLE to their current “learning stack”, which is based on a SOA approach. NB you do have to register to access the report.
The key findings and recommendations are salient and resonate with many of the findings that are starting to come through for example the JISC Curriculum Design programme and many (if not all) of the JISC programmes which we at CETIS support. The findings and recommendations focus on the need for development of community collaboration which UOC has fostered. Both in terms of the internal staff/student community and in terms of the community driven nature of open source sofware development. Taking this approach has ensured that their infrastructure is flexible enough to incorporate new services whilst still maintaining tried and trusted ones and allowed them the flexibility to implement a range of relevant standards and web 2 technologies. The report also highlights the need to accept failure when supporting innovation – and importantly the need to document and share any failures. It is often too easy to forget that many (if not most of) the best innovation comes from the lessons learned from the experience of failure.