About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5070-5080
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1334

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

18 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF THE SWAD EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM

A. Cañas Vargas1, D.J. Calandria2, J.M. Boyero2, E.M. Ortigosa1, F.J. Fernández1, F.A. Ocaña1

1University of Granada (SPAIN)
2OpenSWAD Association (SPAIN)
This paper summarizes the experience of the development and growth of the SWAD (Social Workspace At a Distance) platform during 18 years (1999-2017), initially at the University of Granada, Spain (UGR), and in recent years also in other educational institutions around the world.

SWAD is a free educational web platform that can be used to support face-to-face or blended learning including social networking features. SWAD offers teachers a space to host the documents of their courses and to communicate with students. Among other features, SWAD includes access to information about the courses, storage of documents, listings of students and teachers, social network, discussion forums, assignments, self-assessment through interactive quizzes, surveys and individual access to grades. Some of these features are also available as an m-learning application for Android devices (SWADroid).

The development of SWAD began in 1999 in the Dept. of Computer Architecture and Technology at the UGR. Until 2003 it was used as a teaching support tool in some courses in Computer Engineering. From 2003 to 2008 its functionality grew constantly and its use was extended to over 1000 courses and 40,000 users of the whole UGR, thanks to the support of three Innovative Teaching Projects. Due to this success, in 2008 SWAD was integrated in a more official way in the Virtual Learning Center of the UGR, where it became one of the three educational platforms connected to the institutional single sign-on web service used to share official data of courses, students and teachers. In 2016 a new platform based on Moodle became the official virtual campus of the UGR, and SWAD returned to a server from the Dept. of Computer Architecture and Technology, where it currently continues to give service to any teacher from the UGR who demands it.

Some figures summarizing SWAD's current use at the UGR are: 436 degrees with 7208 courses, 117,094 students and 3357 teachers, 688,797 files that occupy 1.2 TB, 32,834 quiz questions answered a total of 18,239,784 times, 1,877,533 internal messages sent and 20,254,719 copies received, and 1315 forums with 8531 discussions and 61,121 posts.

In 2010 all the source code was released under free-software licenses and since 2014 is hosted on GitHub, so that any institution could download and install it in one of its servers. As a consequence of the technology used and the need for scaling caused by a growing number of users for years at the UGR, an interesting feature of SWAD is its lightness, that allows a single mid-range server to host a large institution with thousands of courses and hundreds of thousands of users. In any case, since 2012 it is possible to use SWAD free of charge in the OpenSWAD.org portal without the need for local installation.

A measure of the success of SWAD is the publication by other authors of more than a hundred papers related to the use of this platform, including contributions to conferences, journals, doctoral theses and final degree projects. In this paper we present some of the conclusions of these publications, as well as figures and graphs showing the growth of the platform over these 18 years. We also summarize some aspects related to the software architecture and its installation in different servers throughout this period.
@InProceedings{CANASVARGAS201718Y,
author = {Ca{\~n}as Vargas, A. and Calandria, D.J. and Boyero, J.M. and Ortigosa, E.M. and Fern{\'{a}}ndez, F.J. and Oca{\~n}a, F.A.},
title = {18 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF THE SWAD EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.1334},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.1334},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {5070-5080}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Cañas Vargas AU - D.J. Calandria AU - J.M. Boyero AU - E.M. Ortigosa AU - F.J. Fernández AU - F.A. Ocaña
TI - 18 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF THE SWAD EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.1334
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 5070
EP - 5080
ER -
A. Cañas Vargas, D.J. Calandria, J.M. Boyero, E.M. Ortigosa, F.J. Fernández, F.A. Ocaña (2017) 18 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF THE SWAD EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 5070-5080.
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