OU Media Player rebooted

Its been a long time since I've blogged about the OU Media Player project. So what has been going on? I thought I'd take a brief look back, then look forward...

Last spring and summer we developed an embeddable player based on the open-source Flowplayer Flash-based toolkit. Two designers form Learning and Teaching Solutions here at The Open University, David Winter and Peter Devine created to bold and attractive designs or themes.

The 2011 player hit many of the original aims of the project.

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16th Annual SEDA Conference 2011

2011-11-17
2011-11-18
Europe/London

Location

United Kingdom
52° 28' 58.6596" N, 1° 53' 36.9312" W
See map: Google Maps

The Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).

Using Technology to Enhance Learning
17 November 2011 - 18 November 2011

Participants
"The conference will be of particular interest to all those involved in promoting effective change in HE learning, teaching and educational development. This includes:
Academic and staff developers
Lecturers and teachers in further and higher education
National and institutional teaching fellows
Heads of academic schools and academic development
Learning technologists ..."

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).

Direct messaging & CloudEngine 1.1.0 beta

I’m happy to say that last Wednesday (2nd February) my colleague Richard Lovelock put the new direct messaging function live on Cloudworks. It is something that Cloudworks users have requested and we have wanted for a while. Despite a quiet launch, it has already been taken up by the Cloudworks community. And, we’re excited about its potential for fostering private discussions that can lead on to public Clouds and Cloudscapes.

Why we chose Mercurial and Bitbucket

Since the start of October we have been using Bitbucket to host the CloudEngine project. Almost as soon as we made the decision to use Bitbucket, people have asked why? So, I thought I’d reproduce an email I wrote to colleagues then. At the end I’ve noted how I feel about the decision two months on…

Read the full post, why we chose Mercurial and Bitbucket.

The Cloudworks API - rationale and lessons

A few weeks ago I blogged the forthcoming Cloudworks application programming interface and published a document for review. Today, I thought I would explain some of the decisions behind the design of the API and share some of the lessons we're learning. We'll also touch on Javascript widgets and possible next steps. And, we'll try not to "sell" REST or get into a holy war!

Cloudworks logo