I editored a special issue on “Trends and Opportunities in Online Education” together with Markus. A first article got published right now with the title “Crossing the Borders: Re-Use of Smart Learning Objects in Advanced Content Access Systems“:
Researchers in many disciplines are developing novel interactive smart learning objects like exercises and visualizations. Meanwhile, Learning Management Systems (LMS) and eTextbook systems are also becoming more sophisticated in their ability to use standard protocols to make use of third party smart learning objects. But at this time, educational tool developers do not always make best use of the interoperability standards and need exemplars to guide and motivate their development efforts. In this paper we present a case study where the two large educational ecosystems use the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard to allow cross-sharing of their educational materials. At the end of our development process, Virginia Tech’s OpenDSA eTextbook system became able to import materials from Aalto University’s ACOS smart learning content server, such as python programming exercises and Parsons problems. Meanwhile, University of Pittsburgh’s Mastery Grids (which already uses the ACOS exercises) was made to support CodeWorkout programming exercises (a system already used within OpenDSA). Thus, four major projects in CS Education became inter-operable.