[CoLoCo] Fwd: [lug] Remote Healthcare Training for the Developing World pilot - advice needed!

Kevin Fries kfries at cctus.com
Wed Sep 24 15:11:29 BST 2008

> >     Moodle is the first thing that comes to mind:  http://moodle.org/

I have some experience with Moodle.  It is not a great package from a source code standpoint, lots of bad coding.  But, from a functionality point of view, it is an excellent choice.

> > Content: The content will be structured as a hierarchical set of learning
> > objects each of which teaches a task & its supporting facts, rules &
> > vocabulary. The learning objects will include text, graphics, short videos,
> > interactive exercises and full audio recorded by local speakers (to compensate
> > for low literacy). Flash executables might be used to present the content with
> > sychronized audio (I use Adobe Captivate now to develop
> > SCORM-compliant interactive content objects in Flash for web delivery, but they
> > can also be stored on users' PCs as executables, so at least this part I know I
> > can do...).

Perfect.  Moodle can handle SCORM training modules... no problem

> > User Interface - I need a good opensource learning mgmt system (you suggested
> > Moodle- others have as well- I need to figure out if it's practical to run
> > freestanding rather than web-based). We used many wildly expensive COTS LMS's
> > at Sun, and I admin a hosted EZLCMS site (much less expensive but also COTS)
> > now for the nonprofit I work for.
> >
> > Features: A key feature of the pilot system is prescriptive interactivity.
> > The goal is to give learners a tool to make sure they've learned the content,
> > moving at their own pace, so they pass the certification exam. So the idea is
> > to develop a (large) pool of questions, tagged to learning objects, which the
> > system assembles into periodic exercises, drills and quizzes. At any point, the
> > content or activity that is served next to the learner is determined by an
> > algorithm based on the learner's performance up to that point. At Sun, once
> > again we solved this with expensive COTS. So I need an open-source assessment
> > tool and database that can store, assemble based on an algorithm, deliver and
> > score interactive quizzes, storing the results in a database. Depending on
> > what's out there, I may need to hire someone to write some add-on code to
> > make this happen, since unfortunately I am no coder....
> >
> > Translation: Ultimately we'll need a good open source content management
> > system for efficient language versioning of the base content. For the pilot,
> > fortunately English will work. Assuming the pilot results are promising, we'll
> > get funding to hire native speakers to translate the content to Hindi & go on
> > from there.

If you would like.  I have experience putting together small self contained devices that provide a portable web kiosk type environment.  We have one project I have been doing for my day job that was designed to run over slower cellular protocols.  While I can not give too many details, I can say it ran on Etch (easily rebuilt in Intrepid) to boot directly to a web based console.  The window manager was basically designed to run one application as the desktop, and only one, Opera.  We played with running this directly to the frame buffer, but found it more stable, rohbust, and easier to maintain, if we used a minimal window manager because of the ease of bringing in SCIM.  Our device was dual language: English and Japanese.

Our hardware, complete with motherboard, hard drive, ram, case, screen, keyboard, and mouse (we designed around an external keyboard and mouse, but always intended to upgrade to touch screens) ended up costing us about $450 for the one up designs.  We were expecting the device to run in the low $200 to manufacture.  This was two years ago.  With the advent of the Atom processors, we could easily find a vendor to put something together in the $150 - $200 range.  Is that too expensive for her?

I would be willing to help design and tailor such a device if that would be of assistance to you.

> > So do you think Ubuntu would be a good fit? I have an extra PC to use as a
> > sandbox on the condition that I restore it when I return it. I'm thinking of
> > using Ghost to back up the PC on an external hard drive (removing all software
> > and data except Windows itself), and then partitioning the PC hard drive
> > into Windows and Ubuntu partitions (Windows so I can run Ghost to restore the
> > PC when needed), then installing the recommended stack for Moodle and Moodle
> > itself (assuming all this even *fits* on a PC...), then try installing an open
> > source assessment tool (trying each application out after installing it, esp
> > Moodle and the assessment tool, to see how much of what I need done they can do
> > out of the box).

Not required.  Just use VBox and a 1GB disk image.  That should be all you need.

> > Does this sound reasonable to you?


> > Thanks *very much* for your advice!

> Who knows some good tools to correspond to what Gail is looking for?

Like I said, we put together system very similar to what Gail is looking for, configured for a different audience, but the technology is the same.  Let me know if this sounds of any interest to you.

Kevin Fries

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