The ”Up to University” (Up2U) Project – coordinated by GÉANT – is to bridge the gaps between secondary school and university by providing European schools with a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment that helps students developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to succeed at university. This student-centered digital learning environment forms the Up2U ecosystem, which integrates formal and informal learning scenarios and applies project-based and peer-to-peer learning methodology to develop transversal skills and digital competences crucial for success at university. Up2U believes in a digital learning ecosystem that is a set of autonomous tools represented by portable containers integrated together via open standards and protocols. Tools can be picked by the user in any shape and form to best support their individual learning path. Up2U is a flagship use case for the sync&share domain interoperability via the community standard OpenCloudMesh protocol.
ICT security and students’ privacy are very critical aspects and there is a strong need for schools and the higher education system to have a better understanding of the context: What kind of threats and weaknesses schools face and what related countermeasures apply to protect networks and infrastructures? School staff (principals, teachers, ICT officers, etc.) all need to be involved in a public discussion on common best practices for security and privacy protection to improve understanding of the gaps to be filled.
The federated File Sync & Share functionality of the Up2U architecture is implemented by the ownCloud software. It provides added value to the traditional Learning Management Systems (such as Moodle) in the area of document handling. CERNbox is a particular File Sync & Share platform developed by CERN using the ownCloud engine. SWAN is based on the technology provided by Project Jupyter and it uses CERNBox as the home directory for its users. As a consequence, all the files (e.g., pictures, videos, data sets) available in CERNBox can be easily imported in a SWAN notebook and, vice versa, the notebook itself will be synchronized and stored in the cloud. Notebooks can then be linked to Moodle courses easily. The stand-alone File Sync & Share service domains offer federated sharing of files and folders via the community standard OpenCloudMesh protocol.
Up2U glues together its open architecture elements implemented in Docker containers that can be deployed on top of a wide variety of cloud infrastructures. Thanks to the modular and portable design, the local deployments can easily be customized to exploit the available infrastructure elements, educational resources and other specificities of the particular country or region as much as possible.