Fwd: [lug] Remote Healthcare Training for the Developing World pilot - advice needed!

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Tue Sep 23 16:30:09 MDT 2008

Gail asked a question, and I got some more details and am forwarding
them on.  And I'm cross-posting to the Colorado Ubuntu Linux Team and
changing it to excerpted-bottom-posting for sequential clarity....

>     > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>     > From: Gail Austin <gail_austin_co at yahoo.com>
>     >
>     > Hello: I work for a Virginia healthcare nonprofit and live on the Hill in
>     > Boulder. I need advice & counsel on which version of Linux & open
>     source stack
>     > to use in a training system pilot for the developing world.
>     >
>     > I am developing a self-contained learning system to train community health
>     > workers in  developing countries, to help address a dire shortage of
>     healthcare
>     > workers in these countries (numbering close to a million worker shortage
>     > according to the World Health Org), particularly in rural/village
>     locations. We
>     > plan to pilot this system in rural community health centers in India, to
>     > train workers who are functioning as de facto nurse practitioners with
>     little
>     > to no medical training. This is a purely charitable initiative to help
>     > incredibly hard-working yet impoverished communities become more
>     > self-sufficient by sharing knowledge that is literally life-saving.
>     >
>     > We plan to use all open source content and software on ultra-lowcost PCs
>     so
>     > that this system will make sense to deploy in the developing world. I have
>     > training development experience on Windows ($$$$ hissss.....) and stacks
>     > of COTS software (even more $$$$$$$$), but none on Linux. HELP! I need
>     advice
>     > and counsel on which version of Linux to use, as well as the most
>     promising
>     > open source software stack for this application.
>     >
>     > I'd be delighted to buy really any number of the caffeinated beverage
>     of your
>     > choice in exchange for some informed advice and counsel!
>     >
>     > Thanks in advance for any help you can give this Linux newbie!
>     >
>     > Your neighbor from the wild & wonderful Hill,
>     > Gail Austin

> --- On Tue, 9/23/08, Neal McBurnett <neal at bcn.boulder.co.us> wrote:
>     Gail, sounds great - thanks.
>     I'm partial to Ubuntu linux.
>     The software stack depends a lot on what you have in mind.  Static
>     content (like web pages on the hard disk?)  Video?  Interactive
>     applications?  Patient record systems?  What?
>     Will there be internet connectivity?
>     What do you know how to make and use now - e.g. what tools did you use
>     before?  And what exactly are you wanting to do - what would come
>     first in your mind?
>     Who is going to translate this stuff?
>     Moodle is the first thing that comes to mind:  http://moodle.org/

On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 02:57:41PM -0700, Gail Austin wrote:
> Neal: THANKS! You asked great questions - I tried to keep answers short but
> enough so you can give me an idea if Ubuntu is likely to be a fit: 
> Connectivity: The assumption is no Internet or other connectivity, so the
> system has to be self- contained - the whole software stack as well as all the
> content for 3 months of training has to fit on an ultralowcost PC.
> Content: The content will be structured as a hierarchical set of learning
> objects each of which teaches a task & its supporting facts, rules &
> vocabulary. The learning objects will include text, graphics, short videos,
> interactive exercises and full audio recorded by local speakers (to compensate
> for low literacy). Flash executables might be used to present the content with
> sychronized audio (I use Adobe Captivate now to develop
> SCORM-compliant interactive content objects in Flash for web delivery, but they
> can also be stored on users' PCs as executables, so at least this part I know I
> can do...).
> User Interface - I need a good opensource learning mgmt system (you suggested
> Moodle- others have as well- I need to figure out if it's practical to run
> freestanding rather than web-based). We used many wildly expensive COTS LMS's
> at Sun, and I admin a hosted EZLCMS site (much less expensive but also COTS)
> now for the nonprofit I work for.
> Features: A key feature of the pilot system is prescriptive interactivity.
> The goal is to give learners a tool to make sure they've learned the content,
> moving at their own pace, so they pass the certification exam. So the idea is
> to develop a (large) pool of questions, tagged to learning objects, which the
> system assembles into periodic exercises, drills and quizzes. At any point, the
> content or activity that is served next to the learner is determined by an
> algorithm based on the learner's performance up to that point. At Sun, once
> again we solved this with expensive COTS. So I need an open-source assessment
> tool and database that can store, assemble based on an algorithm, deliver and
> score interactive quizzes, storing the results in a database. Depending on
> what's out there, I may need to hire someone to write some add-on code to
> make this happen, since unfortunately I am no coder....
> Translation: Ultimately we'll need a good open source content management
> system for efficient language versioning of the base content. For the pilot,
> fortunately English will work. Assuming the pilot results are promising, we'll
> get funding to hire native speakers to translate the content to Hindi & go on
> from there.
> So do you think Ubuntu would be a good fit? I have an extra PC to use as a
> sandbox on the condition that I restore it when I return it. I'm thinking of
> using Ghost to back up the PC on an external hard drive (removing all software
> and data except Windows itself), and then partitioning the PC hard drive
> into Windows and Ubuntu partitions (Windows so I can run Ghost to restore the
> PC when needed), then installing the recommended stack for Moodle and Moodle
> itself (assuming all this even *fits* on a PC...), then try installing an open
> source assessment tool (trying each application out after installing it, esp
> Moodle and the assessment tool, to see how much of what I need done they can do
> out of the box).
> Having said all this, I've never partitioned a hard drive in my life, but
> there's always a first time...
> Does this sound reasonable to you?
> Thanks *very much* for your advice!

Who knows some good tools to correspond to what Gail is looking for?


Neal McBurnett                 http://mcburnett.org/neal/

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