Merlot session notes: Long Distance Collaborations - Connecting to build an Open-Source Authoring Tool

  • Lou Zweier does intros
    • Larry Johnson - NMC
    • Mike Mattson, U of C
    • Kathleen Willbanks - Cal State U.
  • Larry
    • SFMOMA introduced NMC to Pachyderm - a tool to create "visitor experiences"
    • Making Sense of Modern Art
      • www.sfmoma.org --> Search "Making Sense"
      • flash interface generated by Pachyderm authoring tool, from database on back end (learning objects...)
      • interface to show details, relationships, timelines, history, in a way that answers questions
      • streaming QT video pops up in new window from flash interface (not played embedded)
      • Pachyderm based on templates, letting curators to pull content from SFMOMA collection and combine it in a curatorial approach to create presentations
      • template used to compare/contrast learning objects (example: brushstroke techniques of 2 painters, but could be extended to be applied to any topic)
      • Demo of a few templates, content areas. Pachyderm does a great job of creating rich sets of learning objects!
  • Kathleen
    • need to forge partnerships - we can't all do this alone
    • communication is key (f2f and online)
    • project management important - facilitate stuff
      • using www.opensource.org for collaborative project management software
    • build on strengths of each partner (individuals and institutions)
    • used online collaboration to make f2f more effective (get memorization of names out of the way... ;-)
  • Mike
    • Presentation is important
      • has a personal hate for current state of LMS - presentation isn't flexible, not rich.
    • interface innovation not as common now as in the "early days of multimedia"
    • we're stuck with "weapons of mass instruction" now
    • must be a better way
    • Pachyderm, tied in with standard tools (like EduSource is building) may be a solution
  • Larry
    • Partners, roles, etc... Big project. Big. BIG.
    • 15 people on steering team
    • several hundred participants in total
  • Open to Q & A, Discussion
    • authoring tool info available at http://www.nmc.org --> search "Pachyderm" --> first link on top of page
    • How to modify software and templates?
      • Pachyderm 1.0 --> can't do this. 2.0 will have this as a goal
      • Lou: an API or plugin system to allow addition of templates
      • probably not a built-in template building interface
    • Is there a way/templates for learning activities (as opposed to just media presentation?)
      • pedagogical templates, stuff for activities (how to engage students in an activity WITH the content - quiz templates, matching items templates...)
    • Target client? technology...
      • is it flash, or thin client
      • answer: flash, because of a few reasons
        • works on several platforms (web, kiosk, desktop)
        • high quality display
        • some rudimentary copy protection
        • rich environment
    • Timeline for people to start having access to Pachyderm 2.0?
      • problem is the project is rather open-ended, but we're going as fast as we can.
    • End users?
      • Aimed at instructors AND students
      • way for everyone to create/aggregate sets of learning objects - VERY IMPORTANT to be able to push resources back into the system, not just a top-down dump of resources onto learners