Neil Coetzer ncoetzer at
Fri May 9 12:27:24 BST 2008

Hi guys,

Brace yourselves; this is a long one :) (mainly for the guys who are
involved/interested in the OpenICDL project).

Looks like we could be making progress on the CBT side of this project,
but I'm just wondering about the other areas (as outlined on the project
page). For the actual content involved in each module, I think we need
to keep a few things in mind:

1. The syllabus changes often - once this has been initially set up, who
is going to maintain/update it and how are we going to make these
updates available to schools and others who have adopted OpenICDL? This
is also a bit tricky for us, as most of us are not directly involved
with ICDL. So, my thought here is that it would probably work best if we
could recruit more people who are actively involved in ICDL training
i.e. the teachers/trainers themselves. It is already part of their jobs
to stay up-to-date with the syllabus and keep track of changes, whereas
I don't foresee that we would be 100% effective in this area, since
we're not actually working with it on a daily basis. Comments? Do any of
us have contacts who are teaching ICDL at present who might be
2. Either way, but particularly if content must be managed by fairly
non-technical people (and a lot of ICDL trainers actually aren't very
technical at all) then we have to make sure that the facilities are put
in place to make it simple and easy for them to do this. (a) it must be
easy to update the CBT software with new material (b) it must be easy to
update the manuals for those that aren't using the software. Wherever
possible, I think the CBT software should be capable of using "default"
open DTD's to make the content as portable as possible, without needing
to change formats at any point. i.e. the manuals should be in the same
format, whether on the web, included in the CBT, or downloaded as an
individual document. Has anyone used the docbook format before? I know
there is a joomla plugin for it, as well as an openoffice DTD to
open/edit it - and it is specifically designed for "documentation" type
documents. Is this maybe an option for use in the CBT software as well
then? If not docbook, then I would propose something similar though. I
am planning to play around with docbook at some point, but I'm not
finding the time at the moment so if anyone else knows more about it
please feel free to comment.

In line with point one above, I have also been thinking of what our main
goal should be when embarking on projects of a similar nature. I
strongly feel that we should avoid putting ourselves in a position where
"we" as a team, are completely responsible for the day-to-day running of
long-term projects like this. The problem with this, is that we will end
up limiting what we can accomplish on "new" projects, purely because we
will be so tied up with keeping something like OpenICDL running.
Secondly, if a few of the team members decide to leave the country at
some point, it will be too much for the remaining members to handle in
the long run, and all the hard work that has been put into it will land
flat on its face, and the projects will slowly die. So, my proposal is

Wherever possible, we should try our hardest to get projects off the
ground BUT we must also cultivate others to "run" these projects.
Obviously where a project is specifically Ubuntu orientated, we will
still run it because that's what we're here for, but using OpenICDL as
an example, I think that once we've got it off the ground, we need to
work at empowering people to maintain and run it - hence my comments on
getting the actual trainers involved. We will still be there to assist
and provide advice/guidance/support where needed, but at the end of the
day something like this is more about ICDL on open source than it is
about Ubuntu. If someone like Richard wants to personally run this as a
long term project, then that's fine, but I don't think any of the other
members would be in a position to take over if he left or retired as
project leader at a later stage. For this reason, it would be better if
an independent group of teachers/trainers handled the bulk of the
day-to-day stuff, leaving the other Loco Team members to move on to
other projects, without being tied down. I think in the long-term we
would achieve more as a team that way. 

Any thoughts or comments? If you're still awake after reading all
that :)


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