Adapting to the Reclaim Cloud

Tim has been on a full-blown roll creating one-click apps for Reclaim Cloud. In just the first few weeks we already have more custom one-click apps in Reclaim Cloud than we created through Installatron for our first few years. It speaks to the power of this new platform for sure, not to mention the seemingly limitless possibilities it provides us to leverage Docker compose files for a whole host of applications will prove a huge boon for the marketplace of apps.

In fact, J.R. Dingwall’s recent post about trying to get the application Adapt Learning authoring tool installed on Reclaim Cloud speaks quite pointedly to the limits and possibilities of this new platform. Let me start with the limits, a lot of us edtechs are not sysadmins, so spinning up your own server, even if in the new fangled Cloud, is not necessarily simple:

Installing the authoring tool requires access to commandline, which I had never used before. Reclaim Cloud makes accesses command line super easy and clear, but like a foreign language, you gotta know what you’re doing. I also discovered that my approach to following instructions is not really the best way. Initially, you need to have four things in place to install adapt authoring: git, node.js, MongoDB, and grunt. That was a big hurdle until I found in the documentation how to check each. So I spun up the environment (selecting node.js, and mongdb) and then spun my wheels trying to figure out how to get git and grunt installed. Doh! Turned out they came with the package.

You can create just about any stack on Reclaim Cloud, but that process assumes certain skills like command line knowledge of Linux environments, how these next generation apps are packaged, not to mention their various relations, etc. I think this could be an environment edtechs become more and more familiar with, but I also understand the hard limits of entry, the need for support, and the time it takes for such specialized learning. SO, on the other side, the limits are real and it is up to us to try and make the tool accessible not only to the sysadmins, but also the folks who want to focus on its use. Here is JR’s second point really resonates with us:

I recall David Wiley’s keynote presentation at OER 18, a talk where he was asked to be provocative. One of the things he mentioned was about the days of compiling his own code, and while open source is very important that it is more important to make tools usable to the widest possible audience (I’m paraphrasing). I think Reclaim has often struck a great balance between providing simple easy to use access to tools and letting them get under the hood. Reclaim Cloud takes it to the next level.

I think this is absolutely spot on. Reclaim Cloud, as we are imagining it, gives the most Mountain Dew addled sysadmin an endless playground of possibility while at the same time providing a space for instructional technologists and designers to play and conceptualize the possibilities of this new environment, while at the same time providing focused community support and help when and where possible to make various technologies heretofore unimaginable just a click away.

Special thanks to JR for taking it to the blog, JR, I really appreciate the time and energy he spent illustrating the challenges and rewards of diving into a whole new paradigm for exploring open source edtech tools.

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2 Responses to Adapting to the Reclaim Cloud

  1. Ryan Collins says:

    As someone who is very interested in open authoring tools, how does the Adapt Learning authoring tool compare to H5P?

    • JR Dingwall says:

      Hi Ryan,
      I’m a big fan of H5P and have been using it for years. I’ve been thinking this week about how H5P would be separate from or integrate with Adapt. The biggest thing difference I would say is that H5P is best for creating small interactive pieces of content for use in a broader scheme. That is what makes it so powerful in online learning is that you can just drop it into whatever you’re working with, be it WordPress, Drupal, Moodle, Pressbooks or any web platform really. I even use H5P in some RISE360 courses.
      Adapt would be more akin to WordPress, RISE360, or even Moodle than to H5P. The baseline interactive components that Adapt comes with pale in comparison to the rich repo of content types in H5P, but it also seems to come with what you would expect from an elearning tool such as some user management, SCORM and xAPI plug-ins, progress tracking, tools to develop full courses and modules, navigation etc.
      Overall my impression is that I would maybe use Adapt in place of something like RISE360 or maybe even WordPress, but that I would continue to use H5P for particular interactives no matter which tool I build courses in.

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