This presentation will review the development of the open source CloudEngine software and provide an update of the prototype site Cloudworks CloudEngine: http://getcloudengine.org CloudEngine blog: http://cloudengineblog.wordpress.com OULDI blog: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/OULDI Project mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org Who else? Juliette Culver – Lead/ original developer (on maternity leave) Gráinne Culver – OULDI project lead Richard Lovelock – Cloudworks/ CloudEngine developer
1. Low barrier to entry – imperfect is OK! 2. Folksonomies not taxonomies 3. Tool-agnostic 4. People-orientated 5. Open 6. Link with communities, rather than replace 7. Recognise role of learning technologists and other mediators 8. Encourage discussion of learning design problems 9. Recognise ownership issues 10. Release early, release often
Cloudworks has been developed in order to support these social, collaborative and dialogic design processes - throughout development we have drawn considerably on the work of Engestrom, Dron and Anderson, and Bouman. Firstly, the site is essentially object-centred rather than ego-centred in nature. Engestrom focuses on the notion of social objects, saying that: The term 'social networking' makes little sense if we leave out the objects that mediate the ties between people. Think about the object as the reason why people affiliate with each specific other and not just anyone... And goes on to argue: “ The fallacy is to think that social networks are just made up of people. They're not; social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object.”
Secondly, the design framework is one based on sociality. Core to this approach are a number of assumptions which come from Bouman et al. Firstly, that the system needs to accommodate both the evolution of practices and the inclusion of newcomers. Secondly, that individual identity is important so there needs to be a mechanism to enable the development of identities. Thirdly they argue that people are more inclined to use software systems that resemble their daily routines, language and practices than to adopt whole new concepts, interfaces and methods. And that metaphors and structures that mimic real life practices are likely to be more successful
DBR - An iterative cycle of rapid prototyping, user testing and adaptation Many of you will already be familiar with the prototype site – Cloudworks...( next slide)
Cloudworks is a social network specifically aimed at supporting sharing and dialogue between educators, technologists, strategists and policy makers. New pedagogies and innovative use of technologies seem to offer so much in terms of providing new, exciting educational experiences for learners. However taken as a whole, the majority of educational offerings are still based on fairly traditional approaches, with a primary focus on content and assessment of outcomes, delivered via traditional didactic approaches. Educational innovations in both pedagogical approaches and innovative use of technologies remain the remit of educational innovators or early adopters It is important not to underestimate the barriers which are not just technical, but also pedagogical and organisational in nature. As part of the OULDI project we have conducted many interviews with teachers working in HE and they tell us for example: [there is a] “problem of doing something new (for example, oral assessment). Innovation is encouraged in the university but systems are quite set in their ways.” They often mention a lack of time or lack of skills or that they receive not support or rewards for using technologies. There is an inherent tension between the pressures of excelling in research versus promoting innovative approaches to learning and teaching. Teachers lack the necessary new forms of digital literacies needed to make effective use of new technologies, and some have concerns as to whether or not these new technologies are indeed any better than existing approaches They tell us that what they want are case studies, other practitioners to talk to and discuss ideas with - and it is this need that Cloudworks hopes to address. Launched July 2009 Over 4000 registered users (yesterday’s figures) Over 95,000 unique visitors (on average over 1000 unique visitors a week) Nick Freear (Cloudworks Developer) will now take you through some of the key aspects of CloudEngine
Screen shot of a CloudEngine home page. Aurora theme, by Stephen Turvey / Yep Design, http://stephenturvey.co.uk/ Stable: CloudEngine 1.1.2 Tip/ dev: CloudEngine 1.1.3-dev * Hg clone https://bitbucket.org/cloudengine/cloudengine
A formal 'mission' would be: Develop software to make creating social web sites easier Keep the essence of Cloudworks Keep it small and lightweight Make it flexible, extensible, usable, accessible. What CloudEngine is not: Not a 'Swiss army knife', eg. a general purpose Content Management System/ CMS. Not a desktop tool!
Technical Uses PHP 5 and MySQL Built on CodeIgniter MVC framework - lightweight, easy to learn Prefer Apache and mod_rewrite Clean URLs Uses jQuery, Tiny MCE editor, Mollom anti-spam oEmbed for embedding GNU Gettext for localization Configurable REST API, internationalization, moderation… Built with accessibility & standards in mind
Search enhancements Performance fixes, Usability enhancements – shorter lists, tabs, Browser plug-in By Richard Lovelock (and Nick Freear)
Messaging Private, direct To multiple participants By Richard Lovelock
ROADMAP Search enhancements – Done. Messaging – Done. HTML5, forms – Started. More embeds – LAMS, Prezi, Google Spreadsheets, OU player (OU embed/ oEmbed). Improved project site. * Pluggable authentication? * Extensions, integrations, API, RDFa… You help decide! Ideas for integration - consume feeds, data etc. Eg. integrate with Moodle....?
A rigorous programme of user testing and feedback, and usability and accessibility audits, have informed the development of support and guidance materials which happened in parallel with the technical development - and include videos, presentations and documents aimed at supporting activity and collaboration on the site. Most of this support and guidance is underpinned by research and has been empirically tested. We believe many of our findings are transferable to other open network platforms and the Cloudworks guidance and support has been designed so that it can be easily repurposed to support activity on any CloudEngine community.
We have also developed an evaluation methodology for capturing patterns of activity on the site, and a conceptual framework to enable us to more systematically position dialogic transactions and patterns of activity, so that we can better encourage and support specific types of interaction and activity which we anticipate may lead to community and knowledge building, more sustained participation, and sharing of designs.
Our interest is in supporting the process of development of weak ties between groups to the stronger more cohesive ties that can be seen to emerge from repeated and iterative collaborative activity that happens within, across and between more established communities. Our framework focuses on supporting 4 aspects: Firstly Participation – Encouragement and support for a core group of participants, who contribute regularly and in encourage the engagement and activity of others. Strategies to engage or ‘nudge’ participants to make repeated contributions. Ways of prompting people to contribute into the wider Cloudworks space and draw others back to the designs. Identification of the special roles participants can take on and understanding of the hierarchical structures which we can see are effective in promoting and supporting collaborative activity. Secondly Cohesion – Providing a space that fosters professional and friendly discussion which encourages new, and perhaps inexperienced, visitors to participate. A space where people show a willingness to listen and learn from others. Thirdly Identity – Support for communities in establishing a shared vocabulary and phraseology. A place where participants can start to feel a sense of belonging, or sense of ‘us’. And finally, Creative capability – Ensuring that visitors to the site understand the purpose of what they are doing. Are helped to develop the skills they need to participate in the space. Feel drawn to participate and get involved. A framework so that they feel able to share experiences from a variety of different contexts, contradict and challenge assumptions and establish and articulate links between concepts and ideas?
CloudEngine: Supporting the sharing of ideas across professional boundaries
Cloudworks and CloudEngine: Supporting the sharing of ideas across professional boundaries Nick Freear – Cloudworks/ CloudEngine (Lead Developer) Rebecca Galley – Open University Learning Design Initiative (Project Officer) JISC Regional Support Centre South West Online Webinar
Design... <ul><li>Object centred rather than ego-centred in nature </li></ul>juhansonin http://www.flickr.com/photos/juhansonin/2250554147/ “ The fallacy is to think that social networks are just made up of people. They're not; social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object.” (Engestrom, 2005)
Design... <ul><li>Design framework based on sociality </li></ul>juhansonin http://www.flickr.com/photos/juhansonin/2250554147/ <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The system needs to accommodate both the evolution of practices and the inclusion of newcomers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>That individual identity is important so the system needs to support this </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People are more likely to use software that resemble their daily routines, language and practices </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
Approach... <ul><li>Design-based approach (DBR) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of the Alpha Cloudworks prototype in Drupal Feb 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Launch of the Beta Cloudworks prototype in CodeIgniter July 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Release of CloudEngine free and open source software October 2010 </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>A place for sharing and discussions learning and teaching ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Application of the best of Web 2.0 practices </li></ul><ul><li>Launched July 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Over 4000 registered users </li></ul><ul><li>Over 95,000 unique visitors (on average over 1000 unique visitors a week) </li></ul>Cloudworks...
What? <ul><li>Cloud Engine is an easy way to create a social web site - using 'Clouds' and 'Cloudscapes'. Ideal for events & discussion. </li></ul><ul><li>Cloud Engine is lightweight, fast & fully-featured. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cloud Engine powers Cloudworks, http://cloudworks.ac.uk </li></ul><ul><li>And it's free & open source software, licensed under the GPL! </li></ul>
Features <ul><ul><li>Clouds, Cloudscapes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>** Direct messaging - NEW ** </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Host & archive events - workshops etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search, tags, user profiles, Cloudstreams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Favourite & follow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embed video, slides, Twitter ... (oEmbed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds, API </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internationalized – currently English & Greek! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Admin: statistics, moderation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessible, extensible, themable </li></ul></ul>
Evaluation... <ul><li>Evaluation methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual community framework </li></ul>
Community framework... Supporting interaction and productive activity Participation Cohesion Identity Creative capability <ul><li>Sustained over time </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment from a core group of participants </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging roles and hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Group self-awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Shared language and vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of community </li></ul><ul><li>Igniting sense of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple points of view expressed, contradicted and challenged </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of knowledge links and patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Support and tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Turn taking and response </li></ul><ul><li>Humour and playfulness </li></ul>
Finding out more... <ul><li>Go to http://getcloudengine.org </li></ul><ul><li>Take the Cloudworks Virtual Field Trip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0HjlyU8OAU </li></ul><ul><li>Visit the ‘Using Cloudworks’ Cloudscape http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/1911 </li></ul>
Further reading... <ul><li>Conole, Grainne (2010). Facilitating new forms of discourse for learning and teaching: harnessing the power of Web 2.0 practices. Open Learning , 25(2), pp. 141–151. </li></ul><ul><li>Alevizou, P., Galley, R. and Conole, G., (forthcoming) Collectivity, performance and self-representation: Analysing Cloudworks as a public space for networked learning and reflection in Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning. Ed. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L., Hodgson, V. and McConnell, D. London: Springer </li></ul><ul><li>Conole, G. and Culver, J. (2009), The design of Cloudworks: applying social networking practice to foster the exchange of learning and teaching ideas and designs, special issue of CAL09, Computers and Education , doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.013 </li></ul>Contacts... Nick Freear (Cloudworks developer) [email_address] Rebecca Galley (OULDI project officer) [email_address] [email_address]