Androgogic is pleased to be an official Alfresco partner. Androgogic have been working with Alfresco in the Learning Content Management System (LCMS) space since early 2011 and have been very impressed with the flexibility and power of the world’s largest open source Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform.
Androgogic’s preferred software architecture components have been selected because they have the complementary functionality to create a coherent educational technology suite for our client-partners. Alfresco comes with both high level functionality and robustness as well as a deep set of integration interfaces.
Androgogic partners are selected for both technical competence and business ethics, and Alfresco rates highly in both areas. Alfresco was founded in 2005 by John Newton, co-founder of Documentum® and John Powell, former COO of Business Objects®. It is the leading open source content management platform with over 2,500 enterprise customers - some massive in scale - deployed in 55 countries and with over 4 million downloads of the Community version.
Alfresco is used in leading organisations such as the University of Westminster, Macquarie University, EA Sports, Toyota and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). As well as supporting learning content management, the system can scale horizontally to support online collaborative project spaces (with blogs, wikis and so on), document, email and records management, and has well developed and freely available iOS and Android clients.
Whether you need help with your own Alfresco implementation, want us to take on the design and build of your complete solution or just want a review and discussion of how Alfresco could work for you, we can provide you with an experienced and knowledgeable team.
For deployments, we are able to host and provide Tier 1-3 support services backed by the Alfresco global support team (including their Sydney-based APAC support centre) allowing us to support you better in designing, deploying and operating your Alfresco solution.
Androgogic and Alfresco - background
Androgogic have developed and refined a best-practice, holistic educational technology architecture over many years, and a key component in this architecture is a learning content management system (LCMS). Acting as a content layer behind the presentation layer of the LMS, the LCMS acts as a repository for development, workflow, version and state management for the learning content that is central to the online learning capability of educational institutions.
With the release of Moodle 2.0 and its repository API in late 2010, came an opportunity to review the online repository space for an open source LCMS to replace the commercial EQUELLA offering that Androgogic had previously been using for that component. Key requirements included a full LCMS feature set and enterprise level credentials, that could be seamlessly integrated using the Moodle repository API as the content management layer in our architecture.
After an in-depth evaluation of a number of potential products including DSpace, edu-sharing, Fedora, ePrints and others, Alfresco was selected by a considerable margin. The evaluation looked not just at technical factors such as feature sets, workflow, versioning, APIs and so on, but also at business metrics such as company philosophy, customer satisfaction, and ROI/TCO.
Androgogic deployed both Alfresco Community and Enterprise editions and found them both to be high quality products with a rich feature set, and a vibrant open source community. After 6 months of in-house use of the two products we concluded that for tertiary organisations in our market segment, the Enterprise edition had the better value proposition due to its high levels of QA testing and support, and so to enable us to supply and support that for our client-partners, Androgogic became an official Alfresco partner.
Some of the salient features of Alfresco - the company and the software - that stood out when compared to other LCMS offerings in the space included:
- A fully open source version as well as a highly QAed and supported version
- A rich and vibrant online community with hundreds of regular contributors of code and advice
- The quality of the architecture and business knowledge of the product space arising from the experience of the founders
- The level of robustness of the Enterprise edition in particular, and the sheer scale of some of the implementations meant that the product was proven to scale to the levels required for any current or potential client-partner in the Asia-Pacific region
- Full integration with the desktop - the ability to set up any part of the Alfresco repository tree as a network shared folder for drag and drop contribution, editing and access
- The focus on inheritance and automation: the ability to assign aspects and rules to content in any part of the repository rather than be limited to static collections, and to have those aspects and rules automate everything from versioning and workflow steps to converting between document types and automatic capture of metadata
- Google Docs/Google Drive integration for highly effective realtime collaboration
- A strong focus on standards including CMIS compliance and APIs for generic access
The initial project was to author a set of scripts that can take content from existing repository systems and programmatically migrate that content to Alfresco. These scripts now exist, and are likely to be enhanced over time as more client-partners and potential client-partners come to appreciate the Alfresco advantages.
Androgogic is still exploring the power and depth of some of the Alfresco features (and probably will be for many years), but so far, and particularly with the release of version 4.0 of Alfresco with the choice of a second and even more powerful workflow engine, the replacement of the limited Lucene indexing engine with Apache Solr and the cloud connected content features, we are happy it has been an excellent choice.
Androgogic’s Alfresco development projects
Androgogic has worked in the integration space across and between educational technology systems for many years, and has previously done significant work on optimising the LMS/LCMS interface layer for other products to enhance ease of use for both the educator and administrator.
Andresco is our latest integration project: a set of extensions to the out-of-the-box Alfresco repository integration shipped with Moodle 2.x that can be accessed throughout the system through the repository API once enabled. Read more about Andresco and download the integration.
LOM and CAL
Business analysis has also begun on a fully IEEE LOM compliant content model for Alfresco, and the use of rules and aspects to implement copyright VA and VB (CAL) management and reporting functionality at the file level, that is, for any piece of content stored in the repository regardless of location.