Remember how a couple weeks ago I asked the major educational publishers to go after partnerships with open source e-learning platforms in the same way they did with the deep-pocketed Blackboard? I'd love to take credit for making it happen with my blog post, but this one has actually been in the works for a while. Cengage Learning announced today that it would be partnering with Moodlerooms to bring a variety of content and e-learning resources to Moodle.
According to the Cengage press release,
...the new partnership will allow for seamless access through single-sign on and will enhance the usability and functionality of Moodlerooms’ enterprise e-Learning platform, joule, and Moodle’s basic LTI integration so that students and teachers will be able to take advantage of a truly seamless, bi-directional user experience between Cengage Learning and Moodlerooms solutions
What does all that mean? It means that, beginning with Moodlerooms and their joule platform (but ultimately returning to the Moodle community when generalizable code is available), Moodle users will be able to take advantage of Moodle tools like discussion boards and wikis right from within Cengage's MindTap applications and Cengage content will be available from right within Moodle.
Moodlerooms CEO, Lou Pugliese, explained
“Our partnership with Cengage Learning ensures seamless, open access to valuable teaching and learning solutions for the more than 40 million Moodle users around the world. This relationship is designed to provide more open, flexible and innovative interoperability that proprietary (closed system) LMS platforms, by design, are not able to achieve.”
While early pilots of the Cengage/Moodlerooms partnership will go live this fall, Cengage EVP for New Media, William Rieders, expects that the largest deployments will come in 2013. Regardless, the collaboration continues to extend the capabilities of an already mature LMS. The LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) framework implemented in their tools (in MindTap, this framework yields so-called Mind Apps, which are essentially wrappers for third-party applications like the collaboration components of Moodle), is well-suited to Moodle's open approach and the variety of third-party integrations the LMS supports.
The integrations are not limited to MindTap, though.
The partnership will offer a better experience for users of online homework provided via MindTap, CourseMaster products such as Aplia and SAM, as well as CourseMate and course cartridges. The added level of integration is made possible through Cengage Learning’s standards-based, interoperable, Web-services architecture (MindLinks) and Moodle. The agreement will also include ongoing interoperability options for Cengage Learning’s MindTap program and future product development.
By way of disclosure, I have a book contract with Cengage Learning and am also pursuing integrations between Mindlinks and WizIQ Virtual Classroom (my "day job" is as WizIQ's VP of Business Development). However, when I made my plea for open source integrations by content providers, I was unaware of Cengage's upcoming Moodle announcement. Bottom line? This is cool news no matter what disclosures I have to provide.