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Opigno Aims to be a True e-learning Platform [Dec. 30, 2013]

Submitted on
Monday, December 30, 2013
,
OpenSource.com

Over the last five years, e-learning platforms have gained popularity and notoriety for alleviating some of the strain caused by our education problems. Namely, for helping bring resources and materials to classrooms and countries that can't afford the proprietary and closed options.

For those looking to launch their own e-learning platform, the landscape has only recently been mature enough for almost anyone to jump in and start their own. In the early days, the way in which one would operate an e-learning platform was similar to document management as a means to knowledge management, rather than true e-learning. What I mean by that is, many people may use an e-learning platform as a Document Management System (DMS) to simply store their presentations and other documents. Others use it for storing rich HTML content (animations, dynamic slides, etc) and other educational materials, like quizzes and tests. To me, though, this is not what an e-learning platform is truly meant to do; it should offer a wide range of tools that:

  • publish knowledge
  • assess how the knowledge is assimilated by the learners
  • generate curiosity and collaboration among learners
  • teach concepts through constructive and playful interactions and self-experiences

There was a desire for a more active way to deliver content, for tools that could deliver things like a quiz, video conference, wiki, or forum. But very few of them succeeded in building a true e-learning platform.

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Drupal 8 to Take Open Source CMS 'to the Next Level' [Dec. 19, 2013]

Submitted on
Thursday, December 19, 2013
,
Computerworld

By Rohan Pearce

Drupal's project lead, Dries Buytaert, earlier this month outlined the criteria for a beta release of the next version of the open source CMS: Drupal 8. D8 hit alpha in mid-2013.

Version 8 of Drupal incorporates dramatic changes for many of aspects the CMS, with improvements ranging from integrated WYSIWYG content creation and in-line editing, to support for responsive design 'out of the box' and multi-language support.

"I would love to see Drupal 8 in the middle of next year," Buytaert told Computerworld Australia.

"We've been saying 'it's ready when it's ready'," he added. "So what that means for us is when there are no critical bugs left. I track the number of incoming critical bugs versus the number of outgoing critical bugs. Basically how many new critical bugs are reported versus how many we fixed — and the number's pretty steady, meaning we do a good job fixing them but there's still some bugs coming in as people download the alphas and try things.

"They try to upgrade a module, for example. And sometimes it's not just bugs but also when people try to implement against one of the new APIs. Sometimes they'll say 'What the hell is this?' or 'It could be made easier this way.'"

HP Launches Portal to Sell Its Software Online [Dec. 6, 2013]

Submitted on
Friday, December 6, 2013
,
eWeek

By Sean Michael Kerner

Hewlett-Packard's Pronq is a new business set to directly sell HP software, including security, performance and business analytics.

Hewlett-Packard is now ramping up a new effort to sell its software online. The new HP Pronq effort is not set to be officially announced until next week, though the site is now live. The Pronq portal currently offers HP's Fortify on Demand security service, Agile Manager, Vertica, Performance Anywhere and Service Anywhere solutions.

"Pronk" is an actual word that is defined as jumping up into the air or moving forward by leaps and bounds, Caroline Tsay, vice president of Web and eCommerce at HP's Software division, told eWEEK. "It's a metaphor for what we're trying to do with Pronq, with the attributes of agility and ease of use," Tsay said.

As to how and why HP chose to start with five offerings to sell on Pronq, Tsay said the initial set has the right price points and offers the ability to try the products before buying them. Over time, other products will be added and both software as a service (SaaS) as well as on-premises solutions will be part of the mix.

2013 Critic's Choice Award for Best Free CMS [Dec. 5, 2013]

Submitted on
Thursday, December 5, 2013
,
CMS Critic

By Mike Johnson

Within the CMS industry, we are very fortunate. Every year, thousands of developers work their fingers to the bone to deliver highly capable free CMS to the market. When it comes to selection, the CMS industry is definitely not hurting for choices. For this reason, selecting a winner for the Best Free CMS award has been a tough decision. What it has come down to, however, is the flexibility and capability of the platform.

In the end, when it comes to being flexible, it would be foolish to select any other CMS on the market. For a free content management system to be as capable and widely used in such an incredibly amount of environments is nothing short of amazing and without further adieu, we're pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Critic's Choice Award for Best Free CMS goes to...

Drupal
One of the most flexible content management systems available for free today, Drupal is a powerhouse that can be used to power all kinds of different platforms. It's so flexible that it is often discounted as a CMS and referred to strictly as a Content Management Framework.

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Drupal's on Steroids and It's Disrupting the Enterprise [Oct. 17, 2013]

Submitted on
Thursday, October 17, 2013
,
New Media

DENVER, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine one of the largest school districts in the country reducing their software costs from $90 a student to $1 per student. By creating a complete set of applications built on Drupal, and replacing or repurposing licensed tools, the district would be able to reduce 50+ different applications down by over half, while simultaneously adding substantial new features and functionality, all with a single, main interface for 800,000 students and 84 schools. With one Drupal platform there is less maintenance, less training needed, and fewer updates… plus, an ongoing savings of millions of dollars a year.

Web development companies like NewMedia in Denver are putting Open Source tools like Drupal on steroids to create transformative enterprise solutions for school districts, state governments, and large companies. They are pushing the boundaries of where Drupal can go in the enterprise and changing how business looks at open source software.

Steve Morris, Director of Business Development at NewMedia says, "Drupal itself cannot run a billion dollar enterprise, but it can link together and control the things that do and interface many of those things along the way. It can be a stand-alone entity that does things all by itself or a connector for five other entities, so they can all work together. It can be a controller of five other entities and run them all at once, by modifying it in new and previously unintended ways. That's the flexibility of Drupal."

NewMedia has been pumping up recent projects with Drupal both as a framework and/or a component for complex enterprise needs:
- The University of Colorado was introduced to Drupal when NewMedia redeveloped their 7000 page static website with it, and the experience has dramatically changed how CU operates its websites ever since. What used to take 5 full-time people to maintain, now takes one person 20 hours per week, and CU has gone on to become a recognized leader in Drupal among educational groups.

New Balance Sports Research Lab Site Improves Digital Footprint [Oct. 7, 2013]

Submitted on
Monday, October 7, 2013
,
Retail Touchpoints

The explosion of digital in the fitness community has made tracking daily activity and performance easier than ever. Mobile apps, content-rich web sites and user-friendly products enable the consumer to stay connected with their goals while personalizing the experience at the same time.

The same can be said about what consumers choose to wear and lace up. How can you perform at your best if your footwear in particular isn’t delivering the comfort, feel and look you want?

The New Balance web site, Sports Research Lab, takes this idea and runs with it.

Combining A Digital And Interactive Experience

The web site serves as a test program, which engages consumers with New Balance designers, manufacturers and product managers to provide feedback on prototype footwear.

When a consumer comes to the Sports Research Lab site and applies to be part of the test group, a prototype is sent to them for initial impressions: how the shoe feels, looks and performs. Those results are then received by the design, manufacturing and production team, which they then use to make alterations to fit those needs. This process consists of several stages between both groups to enhance future prototypes until it is ready for production.

Solving Real-World Problems With Open Source Software [June 13, 2013]

Submitted on
Thursday, June 13, 2013
,
High Tech High

Tim McNamara
High Tech High Chula Vista

Open source software (OSS) is generally defined as computer software that you or I can download, use, modify, and distribute. Although some OSS projects do receive support from corporations, any given product, in order to thrive, must nurture and grow a community of contributors and followers—people who write the source code, fix bugs, train users, argue about next steps, and spread the word.

This necessity of survival has at least two important consequences for high school teachers like me (and perhaps you): 1) OSS communities organize and host open, ongoing, and frequently free or low-cost interactive events and trainings; and 2) existing community members tend to be kind, generous, and welcoming to newcomers of all ages.

In what follows, I will explain how a recent project of mine benefitted from working with OSS and OSS professionals in the hope that other teachers can use the project as a springboard or framework for helping students develop professional connections and tackle complex problems.

Let me summarize the project as quickly as I can: in January 2012, my team of 17 high school seniors at High Tech High Chula Vista (HTHCV) set out to address the parking and congestion problem on their campus. Three months later, after investigating the scope and source of the problem, attending an OSS training camp, learning Drupal (open source website building software), and spending many hours designing, building, refining, testing, and marketing, the team launched a community rideshare website at the school’s Festival del Sol Exhibition. With over 100 current users, the site has helped reduce congestion and facilitate ridesharing. The expertise and generosity of Drupal community professionals played a large role in helping the students succeed.

Here's What Civic Hackers Built at Random Hacks of Kindness Boston [June 3, 2013]

Submitted on
Monday, June 3, 2013
,
Boston Business Journal

About 110 software developers got together at the Back Bay office of Kantar Media over the weekend – a full house for Random Hacks of Kindness, aka organized in part by CrisisCamp Boston.

The list of projects and challenges ranged from NASA to natural disaster response to broadband bandwidth issues at hospitals and nonprofits.

Jamie Meredith, a technical account manager at Burlington, Mass.-based Acquia, was there with a handful of Drupal developers and a disaster response expert to work on help4OK.org, a project Acquia put together to connect people in Moore, Okla., with rides and housing after last month's massive tornado. They're trying to make it applicable to other disaster response situations.

"I need food. I need clothing. I need a backhoe. Whatever it may be, we want to make that application agnostic," Meredith said. "The challenge in doing that is you really have to go through a process of determining what are all the various possibilities and then building the application to address the lowest common denominator."

Portland developers set up site to help OK tornado victims [May 23, 2013]

Submitted on
Thursday, May 23, 2013
,
KGW-TV 8

Many people are asking how they can help. The answer was easy for thousands of web developers gathered in Portland. Build a website to help people in Moore with some basic needs. News Channel 8's Pat Dooris was there with the marathon session to get Help4OK up and running.

Dries Buytaert: The Current State of Drupal 8 DrupalCon Portland Keynote [May 21, 2013]

Submitted on
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
,
The Drupal Association

Dries Buytaert presents his State of Drupal keynote, revealing the current state of Drupal 8 between Feature Freeze and Code Freeze, also giving a glimpse of what's beyond Drupal 8 after we have a successful release.

"It's not just about managing content, it's about managing complete digital experiences," Buytaert said. "We as Drupal can help bring these tools to the masses, that we can help do this in an open way, in a flexible way and in an affordable way."

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