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Finnish universities release free VLE with support for Educational Modelling Language (EML)

Fle3 is a new open-source web-based learning environment. FLE builds upon the open-source content management platform ZOPE (the platform used to deliver the CETIS website). Fle3 is also notable for being one of the first third-party applications to develop support for the Educational Modeling Language (EML) developed by the Open University of the Netherlands

Fle3 takes a collaborative learning approach, using "thinking types" to structure student and tutor interactions. According to the Fle3 website, "groups may carry out knowledge building dialogues, theory building and debates by storing their thoughts into a shared database. In the knowledge building groups may use knowledge types (also called thinking types) to scaffold and structure their dialogues."

Fle3 provides students and tutors with a "webtop", a shared space used for sharing documents, links, and comments. For tutors, Fle3 also provide student management and course-building tools.

From a standards viewpoint, one of the most interesting aspects of Fle3 is the ability to export the content of the application as an EML module.

Fle3 only provides an export of the 'Interactions' module of EML, however "wrapping the module inside an EML document shouldn't be a problem" says Tarmo Toikkanen, one of FLE's developers.

The EML Interactions module specifies basic assessment-type functionality in EML, but can be replaced and extended, as in Fle3, to provide additional types of interaction.

The application does not yet fully implement the EML specification, however, the developers will be "adding the EML main module support in the near future" according to Toikkanen.

Fle3 was developed by the UIAH Media Lab at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and the Centre for Research in Networked Learning and Knowledge Building at the University of Helsinki. The application is available free of charge, and can be used on any platform that supports ZOPE (including Windows, Linux, and Macintosh).

Resources

For more information, visit the Fle3 website.

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