A Minimalist, Reusable Design for an Online Portal to Manage a Catalog of Courses Offered by an Institution: A Case Study of COL Virtual Event Environment Portal

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Online courses are increasingly becoming a way to deliver the content as they scale to a large number of users. Courses related to many subjects are being offered by universities as well as institutions. With the number of online courses increasing, there has been an increase in platforms, that allows delivering the content. While there are popular commercial online learning platforms like Coursera and Udacity, there are also open-source platforms like Moodle, Edx using which organizations can run a single course or a group of courses. It is likely that an organization chooses multiple platforms to offer content depending on the requirements. In such scenarios, it is important to maintain the metadata of the offering at an organizational level. Metadata helps in discovery and identification and as information to search and locate a resource, provide recommendations, analytics for decision making and many more. In this paper, we present different types of metadata associated with an online course, how the metadata can be put to use, architectural approach to building a metadata platform, and how to build such platform with minimum technical resources. We offer a case study using a course portal built for Commonwealth of Learning (COL), called COL Virtual Event Environment (COLVEE) portal. This portal has about 200 courses cataloged in it for easy access. A set of metadata fields were evolved in a consultative manner, with specialists in subject matters making a number of contributions. This facilitates ease of search as well as navigation. Where applicable, the competency classification is also provided, thus making this portal useful for courses with wide variation in credentials. Built on Drupal, a popular open-source content management system, it can be re-used by any institution that offers open courses. In other words, COL can offer this portal software as a service to partner institutions. // Paper ID 155

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC),Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Virtual Education