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OER-DISCUSS  April 2012

OER-DISCUSS April 2012

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Subject:

Re: Open educational resources/practices meets software version control (Git)

From:

Scott Wilson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Educational Resources <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 3 Apr 2012 09:50:50 +0100

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On 3 Apr 2012, at 09:20, Jenny Gray wrote:

> Perhaps we shouldn't be thinking about git or github specifically, but about the facilities that they provide.  I guess we're thinking about branching and version control.  
> 
> Actually from a software perspective, the nicest thing about git is that the change is logged across the entire repository in a single commit, which is probably useful from an OER perspective only for multi-part OER.  It might be overkill if most of your OER are single files.  It's also best at monitoring changes in text files, so if your OER are binary, you're loosing a significant part of git's power.

I think most OERs really are multi-part at source, for example if they contain images you ought to have not just the output format (PNG, JPG, SVG etc) but also the original source (.ai, .psd) for each image so you can reuse and modify them. So even for OERs that have a binary output there is a benefit in using source control.

Another example which may be of interest is PhoneGap Build. Here the original web app is in GitHub, including its config.xml file, and then PhoneGap packages this into iOS, Android etc packages for distribution via the Apple App Store, Android Market etc. So for OERs, we currently have the "Store" end, with the binary output packages uploaded to repositories for users to locate and install. However we don't really have the source end or automated packaging/distribution. 

It'd be interesting to see if there could be an automated build and package process for PPTs, Docs and PDFs using something like Apache Poi to replicate the PhoneGap-type model for OER. I guess for things like SCORM an Ant script or makefile  would do the job.

> 
> Back in the hazy past of OpenLearn one of my system designs included an Alfresco installation (http://www.alfresco.com/) to sit beside Moodle.  Alfresco would be where educators would upload/download/version control OER and Moodle would be where learners would learn from it and educators would preview their work.
> 
> I can't remember why we never did it.  But its an idea that still gets discussed here occasionally and it is interesting to me to see this group pick up on a  similar topic.

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