16th Annual SEDA Conference 2011

The Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).

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

"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).

e-access 11 conference

Dan Jellinek, founder of Headstar and Nigel Lewis, Chief Executive of AbilityNet, are co-chairing this year's conference. They have some great speakers lined up to discuss the state of digital inclusion and accessibility. Ed Vaizey, Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries is giving the keynote. Find out more at,

www.headstar.com / eaccess11

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.