How Erasmus-nursing was made and how to create a similar solution.
Developing the Erasmus website:
- We used WordPress as a publishing tool because it is open source, established and easy to use for both administrators and content developers. We have made our own responsive HTML WordPress theme.
- Each subject is a separate WordPress site, which we have organised into a main homepage bookshelf menu, all utilising our custom theme.
- The interactions we have in our e-compendiums are stand alone open source plug-ins, which we have customised for this project.
- This process is completely reliant on close collaboration with teaching staff authoring content, and quality assuring their sites before publishing. We have developed our own design and illustrations for this project.
- We make a recording of the main text content at high quality and convert to mp3 for use online. The sound is then published to ItunesU and Google Play, as well as our own website for podcasts (podcast.uis.no).
- Each section of text throughout the compendium has its own sound file.
- We list a full version of the sound file at the end of each compendium, with hop-to-chapter functionality.
- Sound files have been proven to be a preferred learning tool for students’, even for those without disability or sight impairment.
Development of the Erasmus app:
- The app is developed for App Store and Google Play and provides offline access of the erasmus nursing e-compendiums on mobile devices. Technologies used:
- Standards-based web technologies
- Ionic Framework (User interface)
- PhoneGap Build which bridges web applications and mobile devices with one code base
- PhoneGap Plugin APIs which extend the native functionality
- The PhoneGap code was contributed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under the name Apache Cordova in October 2012. It will always remain free and open source under the Apache License, Version 2.0.
- Ionic is an open source SDK released under a permissive MIT license.
- Background: evolution of the e-compendium concept – some supplementary comments from NettOp at UiS:
- NettOp, the department of e-learning at the University of Stavanger, has been developing interactive e-compendiums as PDF- files since 2009. The interactivity in these pdfs was based on Adobe Flash technology, which is not a supported technology for mobile operating systems. Therefore, research was needed to look at different ways of replacing the compendiums. Most solutions available were either very expensive, very limited or both.
- In the end, it became obvious that we needed to develop our own solution based on standard web-technology. We wanted to take advantage of free and open web standards to make the content available across all devices and web browsers, while at the same time ensuring future compatibility for further development and adaptation. Despite many advantages, publishing online has one major disadvantage: insufficient support for use for mobiles without internet connection. Since the original project application also mentioned launching the compendiums through App Store and Google Play, it seemed only natural to develop an app for mobile use which could make the content available for download and use offline.
- For the conversion to app for iOS and Android, we used the service PhoneGap Build. PhoneGap build is based on Apache Cordova, which offers the necessary API’s needed for platform specific functionality. Apache Cordova and all the other technologies and libraries used for the app development, are all freely available and based on open source code.