Microsoft Learning Gateway

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Microsoft Learning Gateway (MLG)[1] is a Web-based collaboration, communications, and content delivery framework that serves the education industry.[2] The MLG helps in creating integrated e-learning solutions for primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions.

Developed to deliver education-specific functionalities, an MLG-based e-learning solution means that every associated teacher, student, and family can be connected from their home or school to the Internet through a proxy or firewall server, or through a hosted service. With Microsoft Exchange Server, each user can have a secure e-mail address. Using a Web-based service enables students to participate in lessons and complete assignments online through the portal, both from home and at school.[3]

MLG versions are 2003, 2005, and 2007.

MLG 2007 is built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and integrates knowledge management, collaboration, and communications technologies from Microsoft. MLG also integrate with non-Microsoft tools and systems. MLG uses Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services for the base portal layer. On top of this layer, a framework of educationally relevant Web parts from any vendor can be added to customize a solution. Microsoft has created a set of Web parts and customized technologies to deliver education functionality to MLG. This includes Web parts from Microsoft Class Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server, and Microsoft Office.

For user authentication, MLG uses Microsoft Active Directory service. Nevertheless local machine accounts can be used on MOSS. Anonymous access can be used for SharePoint and authenticated access to the hosted applications in the framework or a third-party LDAP solution can be used.

For the data security module, data is secured through Microsoft SQL Server and the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system. Non-Microsoft applications may use different data security models.

Deployment and customization[edit]

MLG deployment can deliver an online learning management system that enables teachers to create lesson plans, manage classes, and perform curriculum assessment electronically online and offline. [11] However, only the Microsoft Windows operating system and Microsoft SharePoint are required; but using only these two products would result in a very basic framework.[4]

Complete and customized deployments require the installation and implementation of the following environment of servers and technologies: Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Meta Directory Services, Microsoft Office Communication Server 2005, Microsoft Class Server 4.0, Microsoft Information Server (IIS), Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0, Microsoft SharePoint Learning Kit, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) 2006.[5]

Microsoft Education Partners worldwide provide MLG deployment and customization services. ITWorx has contributed in the development of MLG Refresh 2007, and provides accelerated and automated deployment for MLG environment and education-specific customizations.[6][7]

MLG highlights[edit]

Education-specific features[edit]

MLG 2007 offers teachers a set of education-specific features to create online assignments for classes or individual students, and automatically grade these assignments. Parents have access to parent sites to monitor their children’s progress and provide an open channel of communication with schools and teachers.

Integration[edit]

MLG is built using open standards to integrate with other software and make use of the existing technological infrastructure in education institutions.

Security[edit]

By using the security features offered through ISA, the MLG authentication and security framework provides a private, secure system for students, parents, teachers, and administrators to collaborate and access Web pages, share calendars, chat, take part in discussion forums, and exchange e-mail messages.

Standard-compliant content[edit]

MLG addresses the requirements and recommendations of ministries of education, schools and higher education institutions, private and public education programs, government administrations, and professional skills associations. It is compliant with Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and Instructional Management Standards(IMS).[8]

Multilingual[edit]

MLG framework supports multiple languages, enabling educators to use the curriculum delivery system in their own language and test, grade, and create lesson plans based on local requirements.[9]

Hosted solutions[edit]

Schools and education authorities can host MLG centrally and then access the e-learning solution.[10]

References[edit]