Open Knowledge Initiative, a collaborative program housed at MIT that aims to define learning-technology architecture for the higher education community, recently announced a new program - the OKI Developers Network - to allow participation by institutions other than the founding partners and collaborators. Through this program, software developers can use OKI's expertise to making local, standards-based, open-source educational application development more efficient.
Higher education leaders recognize that learning environments are now a core component of their information technology infrastructure. OKI provides detailed specifications for interfaces among the components of an online learning environment, to be used both by commercial product vendors and higher-education product developers.
Originally funded by the Mellon Foundation, the project is led by MIT in close collaboration with Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, North Carolina State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Washington and the University of Cambridge.
"OKI's core educational partners have engaged with a growing community of interest over the past two years," said Jeff Merriman, project leader for OKI and senior strategist for academic computing at MIT. "We're excited to extend our reach through the OKI Developers Network. This is just a start, but it's an important step in helping others adopt and use the OKI service framework."
Initial components of the OKI Developers Network include access to OKI technical experts through an online discussion forum and a series of developer workshops. The first of these workshops will be held on Feb. 3-4 at MIT.
"Through the Open Knowledge Initiative, we've brought together some of the best minds in educational technology and enterprise interoperability in higher education today," said Vijay Kumar, OKI's principal investigator and director of academic computing at MIT. "These individuals are committed to moving OKI's service specifications forward and assuring their ongoing adoption in the marketplace. Through the Developers Network, this expertise and energy will become more accessible to the broader academic development community.
"The way I look at it, OKI is building the infrastructure for sustainable educational transformation, and we're now allowing others to participate in this important effort through the OKI Developer Support Program," said Kumar.
More details regarding the OKI Developers Network will be made available on the OKI web site.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 30, 2002.