The Saudi National Center for eLearning (NCEL) and eXact learning solutions, formerly known as Giunti Labs, have revealed details of the Saudi Arabia’s Maknaz – or ‘Treasure Chest’ – Project, the largest learning content digital marketplace implementation in the Arabic world.
The National Center for e-learning and distance learning was established as a national plan for the utlisation of information technology and as an advancement in the field of e-learning and distance learning. The center is dedicated to provide technical support in e-learning and its related infrastructure, provide skilled consultancy, e-content methodologies with the best approaches and practices along with the provision of change management.
This vision paved the way to develop and provide state-of-the-art technical solutions such as the unique National Digital Repository (DR) and learning content management system (LCMS) supporting the design, development and distribution of e-learning content within the Kingdom and beyond.
In implementing the National repository project, NCEL has been working closely with eXact learning solutions, along with its partner in the Middle East, UKS.
Maknaz, which supports 22 national universities in Saudi Arabia, provides a secure online platform for faculty members, university students and the general public to share and access a wide range of educational materials. The online repository, based on the HarvestRoad Hive Digital Repository technology, offers both Arabic and English interfaces and has been designed to protect the cultural sensitivities of its target audiences, taking into consideration the need to fit within the Islamic culture and values.
Maknaz has created an advanced pedagogical environment supported by up-to-date technologies, educational innovations and interactive high quality learning objects to enhance current classroom practices. It is integrated with all NCEL’s internal repositories, including Qanatech and the Saudi Digital Library (SDL) as well as with a network of over 36 international repositories, making it possible for Maknaz users to search for contents across all these repositories.
NCEL’s Manager for Planning & PMO, Abdullah Al Mogheerah, explained: “The Maknaz project provides a complete solution for the implementation, customisation, maintenance and support of a reliable and effective online learning environment, including all the required hardware for sustaining a highly sophisticated environment supporting 22 leading national universities.”
Fabrizio Cardinali, CEO of eXact learning solutions North America, commented: “The project uses our eXact LCMS and Harvestroad Hive DR infrastructures to provide a nationwide digital marketplace within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This digital marketplace is now interoperating with Moodle, Blackboard and Jusur (a national VLE solution), along with a set of Web2 portals to deliver high value content and learning experiences to students in Saudi Arabia.
”Academics and students use the HarvestRoad Hive DR to share and access a wide array of educational materials. The eXact LCMS and other collaboration tools are used to facilitate the production and management of online learning contents. “