Carl Berger and           Kim Bayer
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Carl Berger and Kim Bayer MERLOT September 2002. Next Generation Courseware. Integrating Teaching, Learning, Research and Collaboration. CourseTools Background. Built on tests at UM-AA, Dearborn, Ford/UAW Released in Fall 1999 - over 6,000 users

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Next generation courseware

Carl Berger and Kim Bayer

MERLOT September 2002

Next Generation Courseware

Integrating Teaching, Learning, Research and Collaboration

Coursetools background

CourseTools Background

  • Built on tests at UM-AA, Dearborn, Ford/UAW

  • Released in Fall 1999 - over 6,000 users

  • Growth exceeds expectations – 11,000 users in Winter 2000

  • Then over 16,000 users – Fall 2000

  • Currently about 50,000 users on 3 campuses

  • Over 12,000 unique users in a peak day - Fall 2002

Growth curve looks like this

Growth curve looks like this

Fall 2002


Fall 1999

Spring 2001

Fall 2001

Fall 2000

Unique users per day

Unique users per day*

*Peak day seems to be always a Tuesday

Fall 2001

Fall 2002

Fall 2000

Winter 2001

Why next generation

CourseTools “Classic”

First capabilities focus on administrative efficiency for faculty and standard navigation for students

Faculty deliver their material online

Course sites integrated with registration

Students view all courses separately

Built on Lotus Notes and Domino


First capabilities to match “Classic” but quickly move to making sites interactive and customizable

Faculty customize learning experience using easily configurable modules

Course sites integrated with many services

Students have both a portal for courses and “My workspace” for portfolio

Built on open source model using OKI specs

Why Next Generation?

Ct ng features

CT.NG Features

  • Person centric. User feedback, campus surveys, user centered design driving the process

  • Focus on both instruction and research, at multiple levels

  • Courses are viewed together in a portal which incorporates a personal workspace and notion of “presence”

  • Broader definition of roles so more flexibility in levels and types of access and customization

  • All resources are addressable (have a URL)

Chef architecture goals

CHEF Architecture: Goals

  • Collaborative development with other schools. Build here, use there and vice versa

  • Plan is to use open source, home built, AND off the shelf (commercial) software

  • New model of development and integration with campus departments. New modules can be developed by others and plugged in easily

  • Focus on integration with campus-wide systems. Integrates campus legacy (even new) systems

Chef architecture implementation

CHEF Architecture: Implementation

  • Client/server

  • Model View Controller practice

  • Separation of concerns introduces metaphors for

    • Tools

    • Services

    • Interface technology

    • Portals

Moving from here to the future


Administrative efficiency is the driver

Ability to form community is limited

Pedagogically limited and limiting


User centered design and pedagogy is driving

Learning and research communities are possible

Pedagogical flexibility

Moving from here to the future

So this next generation is a new way of thinking in regard to

So… this Next Generation is a new way of thinking in regard to

  • Pedagogy

  • Technology

  • Goals

  • Infrastructure

A paradigm shift if it works

A paradigm shift….if it works!

  • Open source, collaborative development

  • Customizable, personalizable environment for faculty and for students

  • Broad integration with campus systems and new ways of working with departments

  • Potential for research on learning within the tool

What don t we know

What don’t we know

  • How will they really use it if they can

    • Select from a broad menu of choices: design entire pages, incorporate any module, see who else is active on the site

    • Reap benefits of everything connecting seamlessly: registration, library, grades, financials, calendars, etc.

    • Extend use beyond class, school, university …universe!

More of what we don t know

More of what we don’t know

  • What are the implications of:

    • Unintended connectivity

    • Changing loyalty model of students from class to building their own portfolio

    • Use across many schools causing changes to our U structure

    • Change for students to tracking, portfolio, opportunity to take and get resources, courses elsewhere

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions

  • What’s the model for collaborative development work?

  • Who owns the source code?

  • What does open source mean and how far does open source go?

  • How do you handle upgrades, version control?

  • If something goes wrong, who do you call?

So ng changes the model of

So… NG changes the model of

  • Who is responsible for what

  • The role of student and of faculty

  • Support role

  • Developer role

  • Top administration support needed

But the potential payoff is huge

But the potential payoff is huge

  • Able to take our core competency in teaching and learning and apply it

  • Can share the cost, work together to build something better than any one can build alone

  • Shared standards let us share content, students and more

  • End frustration and costs with getting vendors to provide what we need, when we need it

  • Not held hostage to vendor pricing structures

Soooo what does the prototype look like

Soooo, what does the prototype look like?

  • Idea is to make it very similar to tools people already know to smooth the transition process

  • Initial goal is to match basic functionality of CourseTools Classic plus a few “delighters”

  • Underlying technology is completely changed but invisible to the user

  • We are in our second semester of pilot use. Full rollout to campus expected Fall 2003

Next generation courseware




Next generation courseware







Next generation courseware

Class and Research Sites

User’s personal




Present list

Once you’ve logged in, this is

What you’ll see

Next generation courseware

The Announcement “teamlet”

Inside a pilot course site

Next generation courseware

Same tool named differently

for different applications

Next generation courseware





Adding a


Next generation courseware







Teamlet-Based Ed/Research Apps

Groups, Awareness, Tools, Administration

Portal Engine

UI Templating Engine

Web Application Framework

Servlet and JSP

HTTP Server

Next generation courseware









Teamlet-Based Ed/Research Apps


are tools

built for the



We are

building the


and GRID


into the





Coursetools worktools next generation

CourseTools/WorkTools Next Generation

  • Built on a Portal model. Aggregates Courses and My.Workspace for each student and faculty

  • Access control for teams or groups, not just individuals

  • A Portlet (page) can aggregate Teamlets (tools that understand groups) and is configurable

    • A Teamlet is a tool that displays on a page

    • Teamlets can be mixed/matched on a page

    • Combine or not according to a Team’s/User’s needs

Watch what happens

Watch what happens

  • Example of how to add a teamlet

Next generation courseware

For any page, choose which teamlets to display…

Next generation courseware

Teamlets (tools) can be added or taken away

(access is controlled to level of individual or group)


Group & role assignment


Grade sheet

Event Recorder (dt)

MERLOT (site)




Online video (live)


Wisconsin Colab Class

Trail map (class or student)


Adding selected teamlets

Adding selected teamlets

Often interop

Often interop….

In summary

In Summary

  • Next generation is a quantum leap ahead of next version - are we ready?

  • This is going to create new synergies - what are the possibilities?

  • We have the opportunity finally to improve learning outcomes by using data and research generated within the tool - will we use these to iterate instructional design?

Next generation courseware

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