Abstract: The Greek School Network (GSN) has developed and put into production a number of e-learning services, including synchronous and asynchronoustele-education, electronic class management, blogs, video-on-demand, podcasts and multimedia libraries. These new services complement established and accepted e-learning services, such as teleconferencing, user wikis, forums, email, electronic publishing, and e-magazines. This report presents the most prominent digital e-learning services offered by GSN, with emphasis on the asynchronoustele-education service, which is presented in detail. Its implementation platform, the Moodle course management system, is compared against well-known asynchronous open source tele-education platforms such as COSE, Claroline, Fle3, ILIAS, Manhattan, KEWL, Comentor, e-Class and Eledge. The evaluation of the asynchronoustele-education platforms is based on detailed comparisons of their characteristics and of the methodology they adopt in order to deliver educational services. The comparison is based on evaluation criteria derived from the documented experiences of research institutes and educational bodies and also from the experience of GSN itself. The paper concludes with the presentation of an extension to Moodle for implementing communities of practice (CoPs) that facilitate the creation and delivery of electronic educational open content for teachers in a synergetic manner.
Abstract: The Greek School Network (GSN) is the nationwide network that connects all units of primary and secondary education in Greece. GSN offers a significant set of diverse services to more than 15.000 schools and administrative units, and more than 60.000 teachers, placing GSN second in infrastructure size nationwide. GSN has relied on the emerging power of open source software to build cutting-edge services capable of covering internal administrative and monitoring needs, end user demands, and, foremost, modern pedagogical requirements for tools and services. GSN provides a wide set of advanced services, varying from web mail to virtual classrooms and synchronous/asynchronoustele-education. This paper presents an evaluation of GSN open source services based on the opinions of users who use GSN for educational purposes, and on usage and traffic measurement statistics. The paper reaches the conclusion that open source software provides a sound technological platform that meets the needs for cutting edge educational services deployment, and innovative, competitive software production for educational networks.