OU web developer's coffee morning - OU player

These events are fairly informal, but some topics we may like to cover:

* What is OU player?
* What is OU embed?
* What is oEmbed?
* What are the benefits, for developers, end users etc.?
* How can you embed using these systems - in Drupal/ in Wordpress/ using Javascript/ in Moodle?
* What is the status of the project? Future plans?

OU player Why CodeIgniter?

I have been asked to present the reasoning behind our choice of CodeIgniter over Drupal for the OU player/ OU embed projects.

I will argue that the OU player project provides an ideal case study for why The Open University, including the central IT providing departments should not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to the choice of information technologies. At present, I think they are in danger of doing this. You may also be interested in Juliette Culver's post, Why we moved from Drupal to CodeIgniter, and Will Wood's post, Agile Ballooning.

First, some background. CodeIgniter is a minimal model-view-controller PHP framework. It is open source, makes full use of the object-oriented programming paradigm, offers database abstraction, an ORM (object-relational-model) layer, and various extension mechanisms including libraries, hooks and helper functions. By default, templating/ views are implemented in PHP, though an alternative templating system such as Smarty could be plugged in. There are many third-party plugins available, and it is a simple matter to plugin other libraries, for example parts of the Zend framework. As a low level framework, its benefits are a shallow learning curve, the promotion of maintainable, well-structured code, small footprint, performance and flexibility (http://codeigniter.com).

Open source at the OU

A colleague of mine asked me the other day at Dev8D if there was a list of all of The Open University's free/ open source contributions. I had to say that as far I knew there wasn't.

So, I've started this list on Delicious, using the tags ou opensource project. Note, I have also added tags for license where I can find one (eg. gpl for GNU General Public License), OU department (lts), technologies (svn, java) and wider projects (moodle).

Note that the tag ou does not necessarily imply that The Open University is the founding, sole, or main contributor to a project!

Feel free to add anything that I've missed. It's interesting to see what licenses we're using, what projects we're contributing a lot to (Moodle fairly obviously!) and so on. Enjoy...!

OU media player project

Tony Hirst has just blogged about the Office for Disability Issues new accessible media player AKA the "Most Accessible Media Player on the Web". Both he and Will Woods have alluded to work that The Open University is undertaking. I thought I'd fill in the gaps.

The OU is at the start of a 6 month development to create a multimedia player that (we hope):

  1. Will be an "attractive" player that the average designer/ blogger would be happy to use on their site.
  2. Can be used in a variety of contexts - our Moodle-based virtual learning environment, OpenLearn, OU-Drupal sites, blogs, Cloudworks...
  3. Will deliver content mostly from the OU podcast site in the contexts mentioned above.
  4. Will be accessible to users with disabilities - both in terms of control, and display of alternatives like transcripts and captions.
  5. Usable on a variety of devices, including mobiles and tablets.
  6. Will be delivered in a maintainable way.

Podstars talk – lowering the barrier – technology coffee morning

I've just been to Martin Weller's talk on the Podstars project at the Open University. This is a pilot project to encourage academics from faculties across the OU to try their hand at producing short videos, slidecasts (slide presentations + audio) or other multimedia. Despite the name Podstars, the aim was not to create celebrities, but instead to lower the bar to multimedia production.

Welcome to Classics Confidential! On YouTube.