Connexions and Enterprise Rhaptos -- A Global Education and Plone Success Story
When & Where
Time: 16:10 - 16:55
Room: Malborough Room
Audience: Developers, Designers, Enterprise, Education, Case Study.
Connexions (cnx.org) is a global repository for textbooks, courses, and learning materials, used by 1.5 million learners a month. All materials are free and adaptable for local needs. Connexions' unique quality control system puts schools, universities, and communities in control using its flexible lensing system (cnx.org/lenses). Connexions provides authoring tools for creating, versioning, and adapting materials, and provides automated services for viewing everything online, for printing PDFs, for printing books on demand, and for creating EPUBs. When authors update materials, they are updated online, in print, and in mobile formats automatically. Over the past year Connexions has introduced "Enterprise Rhaptos", the open-source software built on Plone and Zope that runs cnx.org. We spent a year getting the code ready for external development and use and released the new version in February 2010. Enterprise Rhaptos provides all the functionality of Connexions so that organizations can run their own repositories. The new release has also increased the size of the developer pool for enhancing Rhaptos and Connexions. This last year also saw the creation and expansion of the Connexions Consortium (cnxconsortium.org) to support Connexions global repository and the Enterprise Rhaptos software. The membership includes universities, community colleges, public education systems, academic organizations and businesses all committed to the preservation of this global education resource.
This high level talk will focus on the ten year journey taking Connexions from inception to a mature, sustainable repository benefiting learners world-wide, including the creation of the consortium. Of interest to technical leaders, the talk will also include our year-long process modernizing the development environment to use standard Plone and Zope tools, releasing Enterprise Rhaptos, and supporting new external Rhaptos users and developers. At the end of the conference we will be holding a sprint as a case study for a Plone 4 upgrade to Rhaptos. Many of our external developers are here at the Plone Bristol conferece and will interject their own perspective.
I am currently the Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow for Open and Collaborative Resources. My background is Physics and I ran a volunteer project to collaboratively author high school science textbooks during my graduate school years, the Free High School Science Texts. The success of this project convinced the Foundation to take a chance and let me expand my open educational resources projects to other grades and subjects as well as try to use open licences, open source software, and open community processes to strengthen the education community in South Africa. I am currently deploying a suite of open projects to support the full teaching value chain that will enable teachers to deploy customised, contextualised resources easily and efficiently.