The administration of the Norwegian region Kongsberg is considering to translate its open source course management tool, Frikomport. "This will increase the number of users and this international access will also help to improve the tool" said Britt Inger Kolset, representative of the Kongsberg region.
Frikomport (Free Competence Portal) is used to coordinate and administrate courses and trainings for the staff at the region. At the moment the on-line tool is used for managing courses on health, education, social affairs and IT. "Using it has simplified our internal administrative processes, regarding course registrations, confirmations, waiting lists and reminders", explained Kolset, IT coordinator at the municipality. "We estimate that for every three courses we administer in this way, we save one day of administration."
Kolset presented Frikomport at the e-Government workshop organised by the European Commission's IDABC programme on e-government, at the Open World Forum in Paris last week.
The tool is now being used by 57 more municipalities and five other organisations, including universities and a political party. "Sixty of these are, like us, using the hosted service version."
The Kongsbergregionen administration says the application so far has cost 200,000 euro. "Sharing these with others has kept our development costs low."
Kongsbergregionen is continuing to develop the Frikomport documentation at the tool's website. This contains a wiki, offers video's, technical documentation and a help desk.
A recent addition is an electronic voting system, that allows users to prioritise which new features should be developed in the next version.
The first time this voting system was used, sixty ideas were registered. These were weeded down to about twenty, Kolset described, since some ideas were similar and others unpractical. Users could then buy the right to vote, at 950 euro per vote. "Users could buy as many votes as they wanted, we figured they would never vote for all ideas, but use their votes strategically."
Ten ideas were selected to be included in the new version. This will be published on the next annual user conference, on 18 November.
Kolset says an application like this needs a sustainable user community. The annual conference is aimed at the course administrators. This year the conference will focus on ways to share documentation and maybe decide to make the community more formalised, she says. The translation will also be a topic: "We would like to share this tool with others in Europe. The more the merrier."
Frikomport presentation at Open World Forum (in English, pdf)