.LRN – fairly robust open source course management system


There’s been a fair bit of buzz, and rightly so, for a few of the open source CMS systems out there; both Moodle and ATutor have come a long way and are increasingly looking like viable options for those wanting to go the open source route.

There’s another open source CMS that has been around for a little while now that hasn’t received as much press, but seems to me to also be an increasingly viable choice. The .LRN system is based on a fairly ‘old’ (by Internet standards) platform, the OpenACS portal server. It has been developed by folks at MIT (Sloan School of Management) and the University of Heidelberg and has been taken up by a number of major adopters.

They recently reached a major milestone with the release of version 2.0. One feature of particular note to this audience is support for student blogging tools – that’s right, unlike attempts to re-purpose sole-purpose blogging tools as ‘course management systems’ (which I think gives seriously short shrift to the breadth of functionality offered in ‘real’ CMS) this is instead a fairly full featured CMS that offers individual student blogging support.

The current system is a little light on assessment functionality, but there are plans to rectify that in the near future. These folks are clearly aware of existing instructional standards and already support IMS Enterprise 1.1 for exchanging student data, with Content Packaging and SCORM support on the horizon. And given the relatively long history of development around OpenACS, there is already a fairly broad development community built up around this platform.

We just finished our draft review at Edutools – the review should be visible here in the next day or so. – SWL

.LRN – fairly robust open source course management system

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