Madrid Trip Report

I was in Madrid last week for the annual .LRN global user conference
and for the first annual “Foro hispano de .LRN y software libre
educativo”, or Hispanic Forum on .LRN and open-source educational

I had never been to Madrid before.  It’s an absolutely beautiful
city.  The architecture is spectacular.  I could have spent
weeks in the museums.  The parks are lovely, and the people were
very friendly.  Everything works well (metro, buses, etc.). 
Carlos Delgado Kloos arranged a memorable evening for us at the Corral
de la Moreira, where we saw some of the finest flamenco dancers and
musicians in the world perform.  One caveat:  you need
stamina to take advantage of all this!

Short version:  lots of progress since last year in Heidelberg on
all fronts: development, adoption, support.  (I’m sure I have left
important stuff out, I’m sure; please comment/ supplement this post
with your own descriptions.  In particular, I missed the
OpenACS/.LRN presentations on Tuesday while I was at the Foro

Development Highlights:

SII and Solution Grove have further extended Ernie Gighlione’s LORS
(Learning Object Repository System) module for aggregating and
syndicating SCORM/IMS-compliant content.  This is a big
deal.  If you have content that complies with these standards in a
Blackboard- or WebCT-based system today, you can move it to .LRN at the
push of a button.

DotFolio.  If you’re familiar with OSPI, the project to develop a
platform through which a student can compile and communicate a
portfolio of his/her work at an institution, DotFolio is the
OpenACS/.LRN-based functional equivalent.  Working with the
support of Rafael Calvo at the University of Sydney, Nick Carroll
developed this in about the tenth the time and cost invested in OSPI
thus far, illustrating the leverage provided by OpenACS/.LRN.  See
 ” title=”
” target=”_blank”>…

A new assessment (testing) module, developed by Universidad Carlos III and presented by Malte Sussdorf.

Adoption Highlights:

While the scope of use at institutions like Vienna, Bergen, and
Valencia continues to expand, major new adoptions were also featured at
this year’s conference.  Among them:  UNED, or Universidad
Nacional de Educacion a la Distancia, the Spanish-speaking world’s
equivalent of the UK’s Open University and an extremely prestigious
organization, is currently running an older version of OpenACS/.LRN as
part of its overall platform and will be migrating to .LRN 2.x shortly
to serve over 200,000 (not a typo) users in Spain and Latin
America.  At Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the
E-Government Executive Education Project is using a .LRN-based
application called the e-Compass (you can register at to
subscribe to Dr. Jerry Mechling’s weblog, running on the .LRN weblog
module) to support its executive education programs at Harvard and
globally as well in such places as Dubai, Singapore, and Mexico. 
3E reaches very senior politicians, administrators, and information
technology managers in the public sector.  Customization of
OpenACS/.LRN for this project was funded by IBM.  Also of
interest: Universidad de Cauca in Colombia has deployed .LRN, and has
added Guambiano to the list of languages .LRN’s internationalization
capability supports to serve e-learning needs of a mostly rural and
indigenous segment in that country.

Support Highlights:

Coming out of this year’s conference, several major universities have
agreed to join the .LRN Consortium to further support the development
and promotion of OpenACS/.LRN.  Support from major corporations is
also in the works, and we’ll have a couple of new, high-profile board
members to announce shortly as well.  (Formal announcements to
follow shortly, subscribe to


While not as widely publicized as other projects, this year’s
conference confirms OpenACS/.LRN’s position as the world’s most
advanced and widely adopted enterprise-class open-source application
software for learning and research communities.  The combination
of efficient and flexible support for pedagogical innovation with the
underlying architecture to support deployment to tens and now hundreds
of thousands of users makes the case for this project very
compelling.  But much more so is the actual adoption and use for
these things.  This year’s conference pushed the estimate of
OpenACS/.LRN usage to close to half a million users worldwide. 
All of the activity around OpenACS/.LRN increases the coordination
challenge (getting everyone onto the latest release, making sure we can
take advantage of everyone’s innovations and don’t duplicate
efforts).  This will be the primary focus for the Consortium in
the coming year, but on balance is a challenge we are happy to have and
others surely envy.

Many many thanks to Telefonica I+D (Investigacion y Desarollo, or
Research and Development) for hosting us so generously, and to Dr.
Carlos Delgado Kloos of Universidad Carlos III for organizing the

A recording of my talk (MP3, variable bit rate format) on the morning of May 10 is available at


  1. ano

    April 10, 2007 @ 1:04 pm


    a big report indeed

  2. Ari

    July 9, 2007 @ 7:38 am



  3. Laurentios

    July 9, 2007 @ 8:09 am



  4. Athan

    July 9, 2007 @ 10:30 am



  5. Laurentios

    July 10, 2007 @ 1:30 am



  6. Alexander

    July 10, 2007 @ 4:20 am



  7. Hermes

    July 10, 2007 @ 9:19 am



  8. Nektarios

    July 10, 2007 @ 11:06 am



  9. Tasos

    July 10, 2007 @ 3:54 pm



  10. Stefanos

    July 10, 2007 @ 7:14 pm



  11. Solon

    July 10, 2007 @ 11:03 pm