The Reference Not Replication (R.N.R.) Elearning environment is a web based content delivery system designed around the idea that content (especially good content) is difficult to produce. Therefore, it should only be produced once, and it should be easy to share and repurpose. There should only be one copy of a really great lesson on Mitosis, and that lesson should be referenced by other courses - rather than being replicated over and over again.
RNR began as a discussion about the current state of LMS products (both commercial and open source) at Morrison Public Schools between Jay Vernon (Superintendent) and Matt Hubbard (Technology Director). The primary idea of enabling teachers to collaborate on the creation of content across classrooms and districts appealed to Jay. Work started on an alpha during the Summer of 2012, and initial meetings were held with teachers. Formal in-service training was delivered on version 1.0 in two different sessions during the Spring of 2013.
During the Spring of 2013, Exchange Magazine expressed interest in the platform as a tool for obesity awareness content delivery on a national scale. Educators and child care professionals in Delaware and Colorado will pilot obesity awareness this Fall on RNR. The University of Oklahoma has also committed to RNR for national child care course delivery. OU's five course series on Early Childhood Literacy is slated for demo at the NAEYC conference in D.C. in November of 2013. Along with industry and higher ed. interest has come a bevy of additional customizations and feature enhancements. However, the commitment to open source licensing has remained.
Build. Program Integration
In the Fall of 2013 Build. program students will have the opportunity to develop web programming skills by contributing to the RNR open source project. The code that they write will become part of the mainstream application that powers online courses for professionals all over the United States. This is the second Build. program course that Matt is offering at Morrison High School, and it will be conducted primarily online using the RNR system.
RNR is built using PHP 5, with a data layer realized as JSON files in a standard ext3 or ext4 file system. The server stack is either Apache+modphp or NGINX+phpfpm. The application design goals are to limit the number of outside dependencies, limit the memory and processor overhead, and provide approachable code to contributors.