April 19, 2010

Open Course on Education Futures -Introduction “Frank’s why”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Frank Polster @ 5:50 pm

As I looked through the first week’s assignments I got kinda of excited like when I first started the CCK08 – something new, a new perspective, a new set of tools, a new set of skills, a whole new set of connections and a new adventure. I am back to my blog, that I used during CCK08 and it’s nice to be back after sporadic usage.
I come to this course not as a educator but as a life long learner who is on the informal learning side of the spectrum. I also approach the “problem” from a HPT/performance/ Joe Harless perspective where the answer to the “problem” is not necessarily a training solution. “Learning” is not the end goal – specific “Performance Competence” is.

So my last touchstone with learning theory comes from CCK08 and 09/Connectivism. During the CCK08 I was exposed to and used a whole new set of tools within the context of a connectivism pedagogy. As I have followed the conversations over the last two years the future of higher education and it’s high costs are headed in the same direction as vinyl records,CDs and printed newspapers. EDUPunk/OER and folks like Siemens and Downes are pointing to an alternative path/future.

At the end of the day, I am looking for a continuation of the conversation that began, for me with CCK08, and I am very much interested in participating in the formation of an “alternative” path.

Thanks frank


April 13, 2009

Part III- Web Services API for SCORM Run-Time Communication

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Frank Polster @ 9:14 pm

For those that were on spring vacation I wanted to update you all on our last meeting which was highlighted with a tour of the project’s software development site on SourceForge.

There was a great discussion led by Mike Rustici, Chuck Allen and Schawn Thropp on the project concept model. There is general agreement on phase 1 and the notion that the authentication by a web services by separating the SCO from the server side opens up a whole set of new possibilities and solutions to known problems e.g. cross domain scripting, synchronous vice asynchronous, multi player access to a SCO, access to multiple LMSs, etc.

Exciting possibilities and it brought back to mind the great set of discussions that we had last summer with the SCORM 2.0 200 plus white papers. From my point of view we have passed from talking about issues and embarked on taking the first set of steps to solving those issues we discussed last summer and came to a consensus about in Pensacola.

As most of you know, one of the things that make LETSI different from others is the notion that we will develop open source software solutions in parallel to pursing a standard. An innovative approach and consistent with our community’s idea that “working code trumps all theories” To that end we discussed our first stab at an IP Agreement.

Simply stated, the IP agreement says:

* You retain ownership/rights over everything that belongs to you that you contribute.

* You grant LETSI and others in the LETSI community who has access to your contributions a royalty-free license to such contributions.

* In turn, LETSI makes its work available under the Simplified BSD license. This is a “business permissive license” that allows derivative works. Under BSD, you are free to modify, use, redistribute LETSI work as you see fit.

Occasionally, members may want to volunteer use of a system or content for testing or similar purposes or might otherwise want to reference or discuss a proprietary system or approach as an example of industry practice. These situations can be accommodated without such materials/systems being deemed contributions — If these situations arise, simply be explicit as to your intentions, record in meeting minutes, memo agreement, etc.

If you are interested in contributing to this effort download and sign the IP agreement. As necessary, bring to the attention of those within your company who need to review. See:

Sign and email to or fax to: +1 919-573-9124

Please cc Frank at

If you are interested in participating but not quite sure dial in to one of our online meetings this coming Wed at 1200hrs EST (15 April) the project’s software developers will meet and the following Wed 22 April the general project members will meet at 1200hrs EST.

The project documentation and dial in information for the Wed 1200hrs EST is:

Project Documents – see:

Date: 15 & 22 April Time: * 16:00 UTC * 9:00am U.S. Pacific * noon U.S. Eastern * 4:00pm UK * 5:00pm France/Germany Duration: 1 hour

Skype phone: +9900827049304412

Conventional phone: local number + access code 9304412

US 201-793-9022 Austria 0820 401 15470 Belgium 0703 57 134 France 0826 109 071 Germany 0180 500 9527 Ireland 818 27 968 Italy 848 390 177 Spain 902 881 270 Switzerland 0848 560 397 United Kingdom 0870 0990 931

Adobe Connect session: Log in as a guest

March 20, 2009

LETSI Project – Web Services API for SCORM Run-Time Communication

Filed under: CCK08 — Tags: , — Frank Polster @ 8:57 pm

If you have about an hour on Wed 25 March, “brown bag” it that day and join us for the kick off of LETSI’s first open source software project – Web Services API for SCORM Runtime Communication.

The genesis for the project is a white paper that was submitted by Virginia Travers, as part of the SCORM 2.0 submissions last summer, titled “SCORM RTE Web Services Interface”
Mike Rustic blogged about the project in “Learning to Swim” 23 Feb 09 and had a link to the project document titled “LETSI Project Proposal – Web Services API for SCORM Run-Time Communication”
Bruce Roberts and Chris Guin from BBN will kick off the session to provide some background on the project along with some issues and challenges in taking the current code to the next level. Tyde Richards an Schawn Thropp are also scheduled to join in on the discussions. Chris’s brief as well as other project documents are posted on the LETSI wiki.
As most of you know LETSI is taking a much different approach with its community source approach and an agile software development process, while at the same time maintaining and active liaison with Standards Committee. This project has an active liaison with the IEEE LTSC group and I expect Schawn Thropp will make a few comments on what the IEEE is planning.
As a pilot project, the substance and process are of equal importance. We are making things up as we go along. Your technical contributions and involvement in building an open source software development environment are needed. One of the LETSI founders has contributed some infrastructure assets and for this project we will use Source Forge to manage the project and code.
Project Documents – see:

Date: March 25
*  16:00 UTC
*   9:00am U.S. Pacific
*   noon U.S. Eastern
*  4:00pm UK
*  5:00pm France/Germany

Duration: 1 hour

Skype phone: +9900827049304412

Conventional phone: local number + access code 9304412

US 201-793-9022
Austria 0820 401 15470
Belgium 0703 57 134
France 0826 109 071
Germany 0180 500 9527
Ireland 818 27 968
Italy 848 390 177
Spain 902 881 270
Switzerland 0848 560 397
United Kingdom 0870 0990 931

Adobe Connect session:
Log in as a guest

Thanks Frank

January 16, 2009

2009 Prediction – – LETSI will get off the ground

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Frank Polster @ 2:54 am

With the start of a new year, the learning and education blogosphere is full of 2009 forecasts. Predicting the future is tenuous at best, but talking about is a bit of fun especially when there is the prospect of looking back a year from now and seeing if you were even close. (Some famous bloggers even attempted to review their predictions from 1999, and surprisingly a couple of them fared well even 10 years later.) So her we go – LETSI will get off the ground and promulgate a set of open web services for the Learning, Education and Training community in 2009 is my prediction.

Blogging is a new thing for me so I am going to attempt to give it a bit of a go and hopefully, add to the dialogue of learning, education and training. For those of you that are first time readers please take a look at some of the other postings below that were part of the CCK08 course. I am a big fan of informal learning, Stephen Downes, George Siemens and Jay Cross. I am a recent CCK08 “grad” — I have drunk the “cool aid” and believe in Connectivism. I believe that 80% or more of what we learn occurs outside of formal institutions and the outcomes could be much better on the informal learning side.

I have spent the last ten plus years building automation systems to support Army training in their schoolhouses, and online learning delivery to include training development and training management systems. Throughout this time, I got involved with the standards business as a charter member of SCORM, with contacts to AICC, IEEE LTS, IMS and a bunch of others. At the end of the day standards are interesting but “working code trumps all theories” (Phil Dodd) and that bit of wisdom has grounded me, as well as helped me, to winnow through all of the chafe.

So my first New Years’ resolution is to blog with a focus on learning, education and training (LET) and something called SCORM 2.0. There was a fantastic amount of energy generated over the last summer with the 200 plus white papers and formal comments. I am sure that those of you who attended the SCORM 2.0 Workshop in Pensacola have seen the minutes from the session. Since Pensacola, a small group of folks have attempted to organize your inputs into four buckets – Teaching and Learning Strategies, Architecture, Sequencing and Business Requirements – in order to layout a baseline. All of this is soon to be exposed in the near future.

On the Negative – What not to Build

Now I know folks are a bit bummed out over the depressed economy and I hate to start on such a negative note, but Stephen Downes’s recent post on What Not To Build struck me as a worthwhile starting point as we begin the next phase of describing what SCORM 2.0 could be.

The short version of what Stephen says is – Don’t build a CMS, Don’t build a platform-specific app, Don’t build a Java application, Don’t build a framework, Don’t build an educational game, Don’t build a new standard… WHOA what is this about?

Stephen says, “People are still proposing to develop, or work on, new standards, be they metadata languages, vocabularies, application profiles, and the like. Back in the days when no standards existed, this may have been a good idea. But today, the standards landscape is full. There are standards for every domain under the sun. Things that probably should not have standards – like carrier pigeon messages – have standards. What’s worse, few of these standards projects made any effort to work with or cooperate with existing standards. So the standards landscape is a mish-mash of convoluted over-engineered and competing standards. Unless you absolutely have to, don’t add to this landscape. Work with what’s there and extend it (even if the rules say you can’t).”

As a point in case, I recently  began using a web app called TimeBridge to schedule and coordinate meetings with colleagues – which exemplifies this precise example. They did not attempt to create yet another online calendar program – they instead connected the various online calendars people already use, and let them interoperate (Google, iCal, Outlook, Yahoo etc). The end result is that people can work the way they choose, and still coordinate schedules ACROSS those varied platforms. That is an example of extension and coordination providing added value.

Working with what’s there and extending it needs a little thought on the part of all of us.

Given the diversity of the SCORM 2.0 community, the depth and breath of the participants, the white papers and the emerging notion that SCORM 2.0 will be built on “existing standardized frameworks and service architectures to potentially serve as base of new SCORM functionality”, this bit of advice of what not to build makes sense.

So if you got this far your asking so what is the 2009 prediction – LETSI will get off the ground and promulgate open web services for the Learning, Education and Training community. Maybe it could be along the lines of the e-Framework folks. Here is a sample format/template that also makes the point of extending other folks standards/work e.g. Personal competency profile information service using HR XML

What to you think we/LETSI ought to build in the near term – the next six to twelve months?

Thanks Frank

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