PVAMU Open Source Software and Converge Communications

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Open Source Software and
Converged
Communications:
A Giant Leap Toward the
Virtual Playing Field for
HBCUs
Office of Distance Learning
Prairie View A&M University
Abstract
 The HBCU community has not historically ridden the cutting
edge of new information technologies. They were not among
the first adopters of mainframe computing in the 60’s and 70’s
and were not in the first wave of microcomputer and internet
adopters in the 80’s and 90’s.
 The advent of the third millennium provided an opportunity
for HBCUs to shine as the new internet browser and server
technologies provided a level platform for presenting webbased information sets on the small screen video monitor.
Abstract (cont.)
 This second decade of the third millennium presents another
opportunity for technological leadership by the HBCU
community. Open source software coupled with converged
communications allows low-cost scalable access to diverse
communities of learners and community builders.

 The experience of Prairie View A&M University with the
Open Source LMS, Moodle, and Polycom’s RealPresence®
Platform will be highlighted in this overview of information
technology development.
Prologue
Prairie View A&M University has installed a communications
infrastructure to support video communications across the
enterprise.
Prairie View A&M University has also completed the treacherous
journey associated with the move from one Learning
Management System (LMS) to another. Just when you think
you’ve got everything figured out, flying monkeys come out of
nowhere. However, from the work of a committed team with
support from a dedicated faculty, a sensitive administration, and
concerned students has come a LMS that will support course
delivery, institutional assessment, and ePortfolio development.
Communications Infrastructure
Prairie View A&M University has installed a communications
infrastructure that includes the following elements:
Polycom RMS 2000 – A multi-point Conferencing Platform to
allow collaboration or course sharing across the University.
Polycom RSS 4000 – A centralized application for video
content recording, streaming, and archiving of multimedia
conferences
Polycom CMA 4000 – A centrally managed resource to
deploy visual communications across the entire University—
from large conference rooms to individual desktops.
Follow, Follow, Follow
Getting to the Land of OZ
The changes to our
current LMS and
our last SACS visit
formed the cyclone
that caused us to
somehow end up in
the land of OZ.
Getting to the Land of OZ
 Our current learning management system (LMS) vendor was
making changes to the product and to the pricing structure.
 Also, after the SACS visit was successfully concluded in
March 2010, we found that we were on the right track with
our assessment system but needed to tweak it. Unfortunately,
our assessment system was being sunset by the vendor.
 As a result, we decided to look for products that combined
assessment with a LMS.
Getting help from the Good
Witch of the North
The Good Witch put us on the path to
the Wizard by showing us the Yellow
Brick Road.
Getting help from the Good
Witch of the North
 University Administration allowed flexibility and
freedom to explore multiple potential solutions.
 During this exploration, various groups looked at staying
with our current LMS, other proprietary LMS’s, and
open source LMS’s.
Confronting Obstacles
Thrown by Wicked Witch
The Wicked Witch
sent flying monkeys
during our journey,
but we found our
way.
Confronting Obstacles
Thrown by Wicked Witch
 During the analysis of assessment packages, there were
several occasions when we were lured from the gilded
path by products that appeared to be ideal solutions.
 Upon deeper investigation, we found that those solutions
were not acceptable for various reasons (primarily cost
and flexibility) and we ended up working our way back
to the Yellow Bick Road.
Finding the Wizard
After trekking through
the treacherous Land
of Oz, we eventually
found the Wizard.
Finding the Wizard
 Various focus groups worked with our Instructional
Designers to analyze multiple products before finally
settling on four:
 MOODLE (open source)
 Sakai (open source)
 ANGEL (Proprietary, but subsequently purchased by
BlackBoard)
 Blackboard Learn (Proprietary, current system)
Finding the Wizard
 After an extended review process, the university approved
MOODLE as the replacement for the current LMS and the sunset
assessment product.
 What is MOODLE and why was it chosen?
 Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment
 Open source

Free

Highly scalable and customizable

Users have a great deal of input in system development
 User friendly

Simple, easy-to-follow layout for designers, instructors, and students

Straightforward user interface
Getting back to Kansas
The Wizard had told us what we need
to do in order to get home.
Getting back to Kansas
After the product was identified that would serve as our
LMS and assessment system, it had to be put it in place.
Implementation overview:
 Identified a hosting organization to assist with the
migration and management.

Integrated MOODLE with the BANNER student
information system.
 Added the blocks and modules necessary to complete the
assessment piece.
 Added additional staff.
MOODLE Implementation
 Full featured Learning Management System
 Integrated with BANNER and University Active
Directory
 Turnitin License added for plagiarism detection
 Respondus License added for quiz/exam generation
 SoftChalk License added for enhanced course web
production
 CourseCast License added for Lecture capture and video
archival
New look of eCourses
New look of eCourses
New look of Outcomes
New look of Outcomes
New look of Outcomes
New look of Outcomes
Office of Distance Learning
 Dr. John R. Williams - Director
 Charlene Stubblefield – Senior Instructional Designer/Trainer
 Major Stewart – Instructional Designer/Trainer
 Stephanie Holmes – Instructional Designer/Trainer
 Samuel Adams – Network Manager
 Carl Taylor – Telecommunications Manager
 Lenora Taylor – Administrative Assistant
This is not THE END
IT IS THE Beginning!
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