The National Training & Education Resource (NTER)
NTER is an open source suite of browser-based software solutions built to help institutions develop, deploy, and manage educational and training courses for audiences of any type. This system was built with the capability to securely share content across all institutions and with the public. As an open source project, the NTER platform is free and has no licensing fees, allowing end users to free up resources for improved content development and customization. The costs associated with running your own NTER node are largely dependent on the number of users, the number of courses, and institutional IT experience to provide installation and maintenance support.
The NTER project was designed as a low cost tool for providing workforce education and training, with the expectation that the open source community would assume its operation. The Department of Energy (DOE) is exploring the transition of stewardship of NTER through its Request for Information (RFI). DOE asks RFI respondents to provide information about capabilities required to take over NTER operations and the impact such a transition would have on the NTER community.
How do I get NTER?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.nterlearning.org/support so you can get started with installing your node and creating content. There are three main parts to the NTER platform:
- The open source learning and content management system (LCMS) for deploying courses
- The course catalogue that allows users to search within and outside of institutions for courses and content
- The content development system and tools
These three components are designed to be used together to maximize the platform’s effectiveness of sharing innovative content across organizations. Upon installing the NTER platform, each institution or end user can modify and brand its node to reflect its institution's needs and services. For example, the node at www.NTERlearning.org was first designed to deliver workforce training content and courses in weatherization training, and now delivers a number of courses dealing with predominantly energy-sector workforce training.
Getting started with and running NTER
- Technical expertise is helpful in installing, running, and managing the NTER platform.
- First-time installation of NTER by an institution may benefit from getting outside technical assistance in installing the server side software.
- Exploring the latest version of the NTER platform and associated installation notes at http://sourceforge.net/projects/nter/files/ may also help.
- There are also outside integrators with experience in NTER installations as well as an open source NTER community at www.NTERcom.org.
Content creation on NTER is easy for most instructors. The use of the advanced features and authoring tools that NTER supports, such as 3D simulations and embedded assessment, may be facilitated by exploring the NTER authoring tools, content creation FAQs, and knowledge base located at https://www.nterlearning.org/authors/. You can download instruction manuals on Authoring, Advanced Authoring, Test Creation, and 3D Authoring to learn more. Institutions should also explore their current IT familiarity and experience with similar software platforms as costs associated with starting and running an NTER node are largely dependent on the level of previous institutional IT experience.
NTER USER GUIDES AND RESOURCES
- NTER Learning YouTube Channel
- Advanced Course Authoring Training Guide
- 3D Authoring Guide
- NTER Training Guide
- Creating a Test/Assessment in NTER
- NTER FAQs
Benefits & Key Features
- NTER is a highly secure, open source system with no licensing costs.
- The advanced course authoring tools enhance learning outcomes.
- Courses can be shared freely across an institution, to the public, or placed behind a pay-wall.
- NTER’s tools support legacy materials, ensuring easy adoption.
Open Source Learning and Content Management System
- Comprehensive SCORM-based learning management system (LMS)
- Course management and grading
- Full Content Management System (CMS)
- Optional self-registration
- Role-based authorization
- Support for certificates and credits
- Course-tracking and bookmarking
- Support of a wide range of accessibility standards, including 508 compliance
- Simple, lightweight, efficient and compatible browser interface
- Forums, blogs and wikis for social learning
- Support for foreign language character sets
- Simplified UI development
- Flexible enterprise integration framework
- Portlets and customization
- SAML 2.0 for secure sign-on
- Kaleo support for adding workflows
- Ad hoc reporting engine for custom business needs
- Custom charts and graphs
- Role-based reports for instructors or system managers
- Ability to export to .pdf, .csv, .txt, .xml, and .html
- Dissemination of courses with a global community or select partners
- Access to global libraries of online courses
- Support of legacy formats
- Advanced search technologies to index and locate existing materials
Basic Course Authoring
- Import a PowerPoint or PDF directly into SCORM
- Build pages from scratch in a WYSIWYG editor
- Incorporate multimedia, such as video, images, and audio content
- Import from other authoring tools
Advanced Course Authoring
- Create authentic challenges in interactive 3D worlds that are tracked back to the LMS
- Build surveys, tests, and knowledge checks
- Create varied examples, just-in-time learning, and opportunities for practice and skills refreshment
Advanced System Capabilities
- NTER acts as a distributed repository of courses and contents, with servers in federal agencies, universities, colleges and commercial organizations.
- Courses can be created and maintained by local institutions but shared and accessed across all connected NTER nodes.
When a new course is published to any NTER node, the search technology enables that course to be located by students and instructors across the globe. A distributed search across other institutions hosting NTER systems is a unique technology that allows the local institution to maintain control over resources while amplifying what any one institution or consortium can offer.
NTER Open Source License and Creative Commons
- NTER was designed as a secure, open source software project built to Department of Energy security standards.
- The platform (code) itself is licensed under the General Pubic License, version 2 (GPL-v2.0).
- This open source licensing also assures that there is never a licensing fee associated with NTER’s use.
- NTER’s software source code is available on the google code project page and supporting technical documentation on NTER’s Sourceforge site.
The NTER learning and content management system was built to easily share creative commons licensed content and courses through both backend and frontend features. Creative commons content is simple to create and use on the NTER platform. For example, all content on www.NTERlearning.org is licensed under the creative commons by attribution 3.0 license (CCBY 3.0) and as such is free to share and modify with attribution. Of course, the option to use whatever creative commons licensing or non-open licensing is dependent on each institution’s needs, and the NTER platform has the capacity to choose a multitude of different options, including an embedded marketplace feature to sell courses and contents.
What are the technical requirements for NTER?
- NTER is designed to work with Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 3.5+, Safari, and Chrome.
- The 3D worlds will require the O3D plug-in or a WebGL compatible browser.
- Some content may require Flash for viewing.
- Costs associated with running your own NTER node are largely dependent on the number of users, number of courses, and institutional IT experience to provide installation and maintenance support.
For more information on the system or to learn more about collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy through open source, please contact: email@example.com.