10 open source e-learning projects to watch

Choices for e-learning the best option

Moodle

Moodle is a Web-based e-learning project that describes itself as a course management system to help educators create "effective online learning communities". Moodle claims to scale from a single-teacher site to a university with 200,000 students, and can be used as a general Web content system, so it's not tied down to just e-learning.

Moodle's footprint is already quite large with some 38,000 sites from 198 countries having registered their installation. Moodle users include RMIT University, the University of Sydney, Brigham Young University, and California State University.

Check out the MoodleMoot conference if you would like to see what other Moodle people are doing.

Web site: http://moodle.org/
Licence: GPL
Commercial support: http://moodle.com/
Developed with: PHP

OLAT

Unlike most of the other e-learning applications in this article, OLAT (Online Learning And Training) is based on Java and is Apache Licensed.

The development of OLAT started in 1999 at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where it is used as the learning management system. The University of Zurich leads the development and has a team of 12 working on OLAT.

In addition to its typical e-learning functionality, OLAT has new features including a wiki, calendar, Ajax, and full text search, among others. Version 6 is due out this month.

OLAT boasts its Java-based framework can handle over 700 students simultaneously on one standard Linux server. Definitely one to watch.

Web site: http://www.olat.org
Licence: Apache License 2.0
Commercial support: http://www.frentix.com
Developed with: Java

Sakai

Like OLAT, Sakai is a Java-based e-learning system developed by an international alliance of universities, colleges and commercial affiliates.

Sakai's core tools like forums, chat rooms, and message centre can be augmented with tools designed for a particular application like assignments, syllabus, and WebDAV. Sakai claims to be in production at over 150 institutions and being piloted by over 100 more.

The latest Sakai 2.5 series has changes at both the tool layer and framework level. One new provisional tool has been added, while two existing provisional tools have been promoted to the enterprise bundle.

Web site: http://www.sakaiproject.org
Licence: Educational Community License
Commercial support: Project home
Developed with: Java

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