Owner at Lucid Way, Tim Hunter explained that “It’s a capstone project of everything we do as a company. Projects like this are challenging, creative, fun, and rewarding. By helping a person or school with these hard to understand topics in engineering, we are in a lot of ways helping our own future.” Lucid Way was an integral part of designing the online instructional delivery at the college.
The project takes simple STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) subjects that are normally taught with a chalkboard or a book, and transforms them into an interactive 3D model that explains the inner workings of various engineering technology topics. The website http://engineertech.org has over 150 simulations that can be downloaded or embedded into a learning management system, website, or be viewed on a classroom project. Everything is free and is available under a Creative Commons license.
The Associate in Applied Science Degree at EICC is designed so that roughly the first three semesters are identical and students can take courses at any of the three colleges. In the final semester, the student has the choice of specializing in four different areas: Automation, Electro/Mechanical, Process Control or Renewable Energy. These courses are delivered with a hybrid approach that works for both people in the workforce and full time students. The courses are offered through the online platform of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC), and a classroom/hands-on lab environment. Students can enter the course at any given time throughout the year and instructors are available every day and night to help the students with their lab work. This unique approach allows students to complete the courses around their own schedules, but also get the personal face-to-face contact with instructors that is often lacking in fully online courses.
The engineer technology website offers over 150 engineering simulations and is free to use and distribute.
If I were a betting man (which I am!), I’d put my chips on the table for this one. The developers at Woothemes.com know their stuff when it comes to simplifying. I’ve seen it first hand when they took the complexity of e-commerce shopping carts (which if you used Magento you would know what I mean) and simplified it into an intuitive interface that integrates with the most widely used content management system and blogging platform- WordPress.
So what to expect?
Easy installation (as easy as installing WordPress and a theme)
Minimal server requirements (unless you plan on a big scale project)
Integration with Woocommerce (to take payments for online courses)
Deep integration with existing Woothemes.com themes and compatibility with other WordPress themes.
Simple interface for adding courses, quizzes, discussions.
Social media integration and WordPress rich interfaces.
An open marketplace where developers can write LMS extensions for this platform.
Issues, fixes, and many updates.
Good usage for smaller scale projects (at least initially)
What not to expect out of the gate:
SCORM support (it’s been well documented that this will not be happening in the early versions of Sensei WordPress LMS)
Large scale compatibility (Don’t expect to convince your school or organization that it’s time to ditch your existing LMS for this. It’s going to take time before the grease is on the wheels and the bugs are worked out so that scalability can be reliable).
Compatibility with ERP systems (Most LMS systems have some compatibility with ERP systems that allow their LMS’s to communicate to the organizations Human Resources systems or in the case of education- an Admissions/Records Office) This I think will come soon in the form of an extension.
It’s something to be excited about. If you look at Woothemes.com’s track record – it’s been good and solid. When Woocommerce was opened up to the marketplace for developers to create extensions – it made Woocommerce that much more viable and it moved the product forward. The same I suspect will happen with the Sensei WordPress LMS.