Drupal as Learning Object Repository


I was forwarded an email last night by someone asking where they could download a copy of CAREO to use as a national learning object repository (in a nice, tropical country south of here). I've been thinking about it since I checked email early this morning. There is no need for CAREO (or its ilk) anymore. Other solutions have evolved and surpassed what we came up with as a prototype Learning Object Repository.

If I was to start an organizational/institutional/regional repository of resources, I'd just use a copy of Drupal.

Yes. Drupal. It provides every feature that CAREO does/did, and many many more that we would have never had time to implement.

You can create custom content types, and any taxonomies you like, so it would be perfectly possible to create a full LOM record as a Drupal node. Or, you could stick with simple nodes and multiple free taxonomies and have a more organic system.

It can handle internal content (uploads of files - even resizing images) as well as external (simple hyperlinks). It can handle access control (either role based, or group based, and I'm working on user-based). Threaded discussions can be tied to any piece of content. Rating systems and voting is supported. Full searchability and browsing is supported out of the box. Multiple themes - users can even select their own themes if needed. Multiple websites on the same instance of the application. LDAP authentication. Nice rich text WYSIWYG editors. RSS feeds all over the place (even podcasting!). Tracking statistics (popular items, etc...). The software scales pretty well, too (handling big sites like The Onion, NASA, SpreadFirefox and many others).
And it's a widely used, free, open source project that can run on literally any webserver (or desktop box) that can handle PHP and MySQL (and if your server can't handle that, it's crap).

So, there it is. Drupal would provide a more robust, flexible, and extensible solution than CAREO could. I might have to look at migrating the data from our instance of CAREO into Drupal...

I'm not the first to realize this, either. The folks at SocialLearning.ca are building what is essentially a learning object repository and community support system. In Drupal.

With that said, if you STILL want a copy of CAREO, the instructions to install it are here. Contact me for a download package, but I won't be able to provide support.

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