A few weeks ago I wrote a proposal in response to a call for proposals from the JISC funded SWORD V2 project to help build SWORD clients. The proposal requested funds to accelerate development of software to help educators publish word processing to Connexions using the new OER publishing API that is based on SWORD V2.
The proposal is being funded! Thank you to JISC and the SWORD V2 project. Read their announcement about it here.
The basic idea is as follows:
- Many teachers use Word or Open Office to create their lessons and educational material. And many are eager and willing to share.
- Connexions is a great place to share educational materials because it is easy to reuse.
- You can combine pieces to create whole textbooks and courses.
- Connexions makes it available on the web, in print, for mobile phones, and for ebook readers.
- If you change one bit, Connexions remakes the book, the ebook, the web view, etc.
- If someone wants to adapt your content (change the examples, translate it), they can make a copy and publish their changes and you still get credit for inspiring the new adaptation.
- But, the word processing documents have to be converted to Connexions format first.
So this new tool will help authors convert their word processing documents, preview how they will look once they are in Connexions, and then use SWORD to publish them to Connexions.
And developers can help make better versions of this tool without knowing a whole lot about how Connexions software works. Just how SWORD (and the OERPub API variant) work.
First progress implementing a bit of a publishing API for OER, based on SWORD and AtomPub.
Last week at the Plone East Symposium in State College PA, plone developers across the US gathered together to learn and share about using Plone in educational settings. At the end of the week, Friday and Saturday, about half the attendees stayed to “sprint” (original plan, full report). At sprints, people develop working code together on various projects in order to share expertise, learn from each other, and expand networks of technical mentors. Knowing that Connexions already had a partial implementation of SWORD for creating modules from Word documents, and that SWORD is likely to be the backbone for the OER Publishing API (your comments, approval, concerns welcome), I brought a sprint topic to the symposium — “OER Publishing API: Extend Connexions SWORD implementation”. Connexions provided an expert, Phil Schatz, to lead the sprint and we created a milestone to track the work. Carl Scheffler joined Phil and me working on SWORD and we got advice and help from Michael Mulich (Penn State), Ross Reedstrom and Ed Woodward at Connexions.What the Connexions/Rhaptos SWORD service does now:
The current Connexions SWORD service is tailored to a very specific client, the Open Journal System (OJS). It takes a zip of a Word file and a METS file with some metadata and a bibliographic entry that is used to insert a reference to the the original publication of the article in a journal. The service then creates a new, unpublished module with the content of the Word file, and puts it in a work area chosen by the client.What we got done at the sprint:
- Reorganized the existing SWORD code to make the coding cleaner.
- Extended the service so that it would take a Word file, or the Connexions native format.
- Changed the service to get the title and abstract from standard locations.
- Got the SWORD client toolkit, EasyDeposit, to work with the new code (and partially work with the existing code.)