CampusSource is an open source initiative which makes the results of research at universities on the technical infrastructure required for the set up and operation of a virtual university available for wider use. The aim of the open source initiative is to unite the efforts of individual universities and to make the platforms and tools, which are a technical pre-requisite for a virtual university, available to all those interested in using it and developing it further. This would be within the framework of defined terms and conditions of an open source license.
The aim of the initiative CampusSource is to facilitate a process of co-operation for the development of software technologies which support the use of new media in vocational and further training. The software infrastructures of the educational institutes, the potential synergies enabled through the exchange of own-developments, practical experience as well as the standardization of developments are the main points of interest here. With this in mind, CampusSource has set up a forum and an “exchange” where the appropriate software is on offer.
By allowing other educational institutes to use the software it enables third parties to build on already existing software and new funds are used for the further development of existing systems instead of each institution developing its own system parallel to others and thus wasting developmental resources. Thus the continued existence of the software is guaranteed even in financially difficult times. Furthermore the financial resources currently available can be used sensibly and precisely. The only way to achieve enough strength to remain competitive on a worldwide basis is by uniting our efforts.
It is also the aim of the initiative to externally document the efforts of the universities and to make a name for ourselves as competent developers of software technologies which assist the use of new media in vocational and further training. With time, the aim is to maintain and build on this leading position. To enable this we cannot leave the continued development of software to the rest but have to significantly participate in the discussion on further development in a professional manner and win over an active and dedicated community of developers.
The learning content publishing system FuXML is used for the authoring, maintenance, production and distribution of learning materials at the FernUniversität Hagen. These learning materials are printed, sent to students and published in HTML format, as CD-ROM or as an online version within the learning environment of the virtual university. One of the greatest added values of the system is the possibility for a modern media university to create and maintain the same content for both issues (print and electronic) in a single document. It is then no longer necessary to edit two editions; the multimedia features of the online version are created separately.
Based on the standardized Document Type Definition (DTD) which already takes the editorial and didactical needs of the FernUniversität into consideration, an XML format, which is the technical basis of the system is created and stored in a database.
FuXML formalizes and standardizes the processes for creating learning materials for all faculties –without limiting or preventing individual ideas. The development of multimedia courses in particular becomes less complicated. As a result of this, the amount of maintenance required has been reduced considerably. This enables cross media publishing meaning that the creation and use of learning materials at the FernUniversität has become more flexible.
An open source version of the cross media publishing system FuXML, openFuXML, has been developed and is available free of charge in the CampusSource exchange.
Ansprechpartner: Dipl.-Ing. Thorsten Kisner
CampusContent is one of only four performance centers focused on research information and funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG) over a period of five years. The principles and methods of software engineering are coupled with the requirements and findings of modern media didactics in this interdisciplinary research project.
CampusContent improves the concept of using digital learning materials and aims to enable their use on a broader basis. In order to achieve this, learning materials, which can be from several authors, are made more compatible and didactical functions are added. For example learning activities and learning objectives are linked to the course content. The objective is to establish an environment which allows teachers to collect and exchange learning materials and, assisted by the system, create online seminars.
The project is based on an iterative approach i.e. suggestions for solutions are initially reduced to their core and then methodically elaborated on. The final development of a prototype consists of the use of the developed methods and techniques as well as the incorporation of examples. One of the focal points of the project is to accompany the establishment of a CampusContent Community. During the project the intermediate results should be phased into the normal teaching and learning processes at the FernUniversität. Other interested parties may also avail of these results, which will be continually evaluated and observed.
Contact person: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Krämer