We would like to present the leading project “F-LECCS - Fukui Learning Community Consortium,” which is supported by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan).

In our session, we will focus on the formation of “Learning Communities” as the “Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991)” with Open Source Platform, and we will also discuss how this open environment contributes to students’ learning.  Fukui’s 7 higher educational institutions started to cooperate with each other in order to build “One virtual university environment” by using open source computer systems such as SNS, LMS, and e-Portfolio.

The one of the most important lessons we learned from the project is that the comfortable blending of physical and virtual learning environments. Even if some expensive computer systems are installed, learning communities cannot be formed without existence of actual “Communities of Practice.”  Therefore, we carefully designed F-LCESS platform so that faculty members and students can easily access to the systems.  We also designed this platform open to the public so that learners in the system can actively communicate with local residents.  This also stimulates the learners’ motivation, and generates a synergistic effect.

This is the second year for the project, and our major findings in our project are as follows.

  1. One virtual university environment maximizes each university’s resources.
  2. Intercollegiate exchange cultivates “Learning Communities.”
  3. F-LECCS as intercollegiate Open ICT Platform plays a great role.

Learning communities in the SNS increased from 110 to 260, and the topics being discussed in the system increased from 1,200 to 4,100 within a year.

This year, we would like to analyze the result of this project and introduce an open package of F-LECCS, which includes not only open source computer systems but also the know-how for successful implementation.