Monday, 5 January 2009

hosting apps and the student portal

Anyone who reads this stuff regularly will know tha I am a fan of using thin client technology to allow students access to applications required for their course work over the internet using their own computers. Saves us spending on student labs and because execution takes place at our end it can be platform and browser independent.

Having just read about OpenGoo, it occurs to me that we can take this idea a little further by providing access to set of basic webapps via the student portal in much the same way as we can provide access to mail or to moodle as an LMS.

The nice trick is that we can of course customise these webapps so we can have course centric options like 'publish to workspace' ie our sakai collaboration server (think poor man's sharepoint), 'share with' to share it with individuals for joint project work, print to a central print queue and indeed 'submit to moodle' to check in completed assignments for assessment and making - and all doable via a browser without any implications about operating system or platform - meaning that while no-one is going to type an essay on the war of spanish succession on their iPhone, they can at least print share and submit it ...

The other nice trick, taking a lesson from google, is that hosting these apps and integrating the with whatever webmail service you provide gets rid of external applications as document viewers for attachments, again allowing you to view that word document or pdf on your iPhone, after all if it's good enough to read an e-book on it's good enough to read a university circular on, or indeed pdf's of suggested readings for a tutorial group (the e-reading brick?) ...

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