Recently I have been contracted to review some websites, which will remain nameless. This post is not about my thoughts and feelings concerning their quality or functionality. This post is about: where did these things come from and are they “legal”.
I have noticed in the last couple of years as hosting has gotten cheaper, and virtual hosting is becoming something easy to setup and/or buy into, everyone has decided to build some type of online educational platform. The pricing for most are the same, as is the functionality. I even checked to see what technology was driving most of them and found it too was fairly standard.
It made me think, “Android, Google, and Oracle.” If you have not heard Google and Oracle have been in a lawsuit over some programming issues. Both sides has a case, and luckily for us simple programmers, Google seems to have come out of this with a precedent that is beneficial to the growth of the open web and technology. However, Oracle had some good points regarding what libraries of code, etc, could be used for commercial purposes without a royalty agreement.
I have to wonder if all this rapid growth in e-learning development has considered the licensing around Java, databases, code libraries, etc. You might be thinking that I am paranoid. And in truth I am. However, if you walk out into a parking lot on Monday and see one white Honda Civic, but then on Thursday notice 20 white Honda Civics- you should be paranoid too.
My final thought on this, is that none of the sites I have vetted have any content. They just expect schools to fill them up. Well since the content is the most important thing, you would think that they would partner with a big content sites and offer the e-learning tools as an integrated platform.
Most people in education are working with students in a classroom most of the time. So come on EDUTECH MASTERS pay attention. People do not need online classrooms, they need 1000s of resources at the touch of a TAG to differentiate, educate, illuminate, and stay awake.