The OpenSyllabus project seeks to adapt to Sakai an easy to use tool to create and publish model-based syllabi that is currently used at HEC Montreal (http://zonecours.hec.ca/index.txp?lang=en). OpenSyllabus differs from the actual syllabus tool found in Sakai release 2.4 in three dimensions.
1. For the instructor : contrary to Syllabus which offers no guidance to the instructor, OpenSyllabus is a template that organizes the material and resources usually found in a course outline in predefined sections (introduction, contact information, learning material, assignments, weekly themes or lectures, etc.). Instructors can thus deposit their electronic resources (ppt, pdf, url, etc.) directly to the right syllabus section and qualify their use (reading, exercise. general resource, etc.).
2. For the students: OpenSyllabus offers a unified interface with a standardized vocabulary for easy navigation through the syllabus for all the course material.
3. For the administrative staff and the general public: OpenSyllabus offers a centralized location were all the university syllabi can be found (current and archived ones). OpenSyllabus seamlessly present public or private versions of the syllabi (depending on the viewing rights) and merge information intended for all registered students of a course or for the students attending a specific section. OpenSyllabus shares the openness objectives found in the MIT OpenCourseWare project.
Update on the prototype :
- The prototype exploits Google Web Toolkit library (GWT http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/) to provide a quick and friendly user interface. The structure and the content of the syllbus are described in an structured XML file. OpenSyllabus/GWT shell can create, display and modify the XML file which is then stored in Sakai. The XML file also containt the unique url to access all the other resources (Power Point, citation, forum, etc.) contained in the syllabus. The prototype can thus exploit all the resources and features available in Sakai yet can keep the information in a XML format for possible sharing or export.