Alumni of OU Courses L203 and L231 (the main and 'top up' courses for the OU Diploma in German) are undertaking a unique 3-way trial of KMi-originated collaboration and group publishing tools (BuddySpace, Rostra, and Lyceum) starting today.
The aim of the project, led by Klaus-Dieter Rossade from the Department of Languages, is to push further into the realms of intense synchronous collaboration for distance learning, by having the former L203 and L231 students undertake the 'just-in-time' production of a German language newsletter.
The group will be using KMi's BuddySpace location-based instant messenger to see 'who is where', engage in opportunistic chat, and see when there's a critical mass for launching Lyceum. A new release of Lyceum will serve as the basis for multiparty audio and shared whiteboards as before, and in addition has been augmented by OU's LTS with an embedded full-function shared web browser — this means that all parties can co-surf the same web content under the guidance of any chosen 'leader'. KMi's Rostra is the publishing engine for the project: the German newsletter content will be produced by small collaborative teams concentrating on specialist subject matter, and using a custom variant of Rostra, to which they can upload stories to a content database via a web form. Real-time debate and collaboration for publishing is essential for the project, thereby providing a great testbed for the integration of BuddySpace, Rostra, and Lyceum.
This trial is undertaken jointly by the Department of Languages, the Knowledge Media Institute, and Learning and Teaching Solutions at the OU, with sponsorship from the OU Learning and Teaching Innovations Committee.