Tell us about successes, things to celebrate! What has worked well in the ecosystem and community? Where are the brightest spots in the Open edX world?
From the top of my head, the possibilities of the learning components, specially problems are really extraordinary. If you make use of all the advanced options and extension possibilities, and loose the fear of getting creative, you can really deliver a learning experience that outperforms big time!!!
Yes! I’d second this - Studio has its flaws, and lord knows I’ll be the first to complain about them if asked, but something Open edX has always excelled at where other LMSes I’ve used have failed is that your skills are never constrained as an author. You can build almost anything into your course, pose problems however you want to, insert your own styling and formatting, heck I’ve even written very crude interactive content within the editor (please nobody ever do this again)… the platform trusts you to know what you’re doing and doesn’t deliberately try to stop you from doing stupid things to push the boundaries.
It requires more technical skill than I’d like to make use of this capability than I’d like, as not all authors are capable of using this, but for those that are can really make their courseware fly.
Thanks for these. Any changes in the last 12-18 months that we should be keeping in mind as a highlight?
Course progress tracking with the check-marks and API has proven to be super useful for learners and well-received by many. Still has a bunch of issues with it not being clear to a learner why a page isn’t getting checked off in some cases, but overall it’s still a positive step. It also provided a new tool which developments like Figures can eventually hook into, which is something I like to see - platform developments built in a way that make it easier for people to branch off and develop something else add a ton of value for the open source community.
Personal highlight was Studio getting some UX love. That didn’t happen for far too long.
I am not that actively participating as I’d like to in contributing to code or guidance or anything else really because of other commitments, despite that any time and every time I’ve needed help from the community, or from developers I always get it. That is a great thing that I like. No one ever denies the help, it might take a while but it arrives.
One other thing is that Open edX is Open Source. It is FREE. The codebase which is that large is FREE. That is beyond my imagination. I usually feel like this relevant xkcd almost everyday about Open edX. A lot of times it happens that when some clients need some custom features, they are already there in the code (they might be hidden and it might take a good day or two to find it) but that exists already. I still can’t believe that it’s FREE.
I have literally seen Open edX change lives of people, it certainly did changed mine, but I am a developer and an Open source project of this scale was bound to do that, I am talking about students, in recent times we see far more natural calamities and some other man made disasters or some virus outbreaks because of which schools, colleges, universities gets cancelled for weeks at a stretch if not for months. During those times, it is the online education that helps those students and in turn a lot of other people.
We all know migration is a pain, but even there Open edX got you covered, you guys provide scripts to migrate versions. That is huge, and not just code, Database too. Who does that for free ? I mean I once developed a program to print “Hello World” and made it a private repository. (Although that was more of my shame to share my 1 line program )
Brightest spots as per me would be
- Community hangouts
- Open Slack and transparent discussions there
- Taking feedback from community and working on them with the community
- Giving awards to active and deserving community members for their contribution
Successes as per me would be
- Maintaining core goals despite growing that much in a few years span
- Non toxic, helping and generally very pleasant community