Wednesday, February 20, 2008

getting started - do you want to use Freeware?

Typically, open-source/freeware contains about 80% of what one needs (the easy 80%). The other 20% of what one needs typically takes 90% of the development work. So, if a vendor offers the consulting service, and you sign up for it, you will be their customer for a long, long time (and they will make lots of money off your generosity). Unfortunately, I have even seen many commercial packages (e.g LMSs, LCMSs) that also fall into this category.

My suggestion is to start with a basic web site. I wouldn't look for a
single source solution. The market is evolving too quickly. However,
when you do choose components, make sure that you will be able to export
your content in a format that can be edited/manipulated outside the
particular Wiki/authoring system/blog that you have used. Otherwise,
you'll be trapped. The technologies are generally so modular that you
can add/remove them from your site without concern about breaking the
rest of the site.

I would concentrate first of all on how you will create content that
will be accessed (and desirable) to the community. Next, figure out
what learner interactions you wish to track. From here, you will get a
good idea of how to proceed next. If you put a search engine on your
web site, you suddenly have a knowledge management system (as long as
the content you created is searchable). Add a bulletin board, and you
can have threaded discussions. Add a chat room software package and you
can have "office hours". If you take a look at
you can get a good idea of how to structure content so that it is
accessible/searchable, etc.

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