Open Source Learning
This page provides links to resources that look at the topic of open content and open source learning.
Articles in date order, most recent first.
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"As the use of open source software (OSS) has taken off over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in the potential of open source to address longstanding concerns in the higher education community regarding the cost and performance of commercial software products. A common view is that existing proprietary options do not have the features required or allow for cost-effective customization. Many administrators are concerned that academic institutions are ceding too much control for mission-critical tasks to an increasingly concentrated field of commercial vendors. OSS advocates argue that open source software can address these issues, and moreover that higher education has proven it can produce high quality and innovative software." Paul N. Courant, Rebecca J. Griffiths, July 2006
Added: 29 August 2006
In October, 2005, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation convened a group of leaders in higher education to discuss the possibility that is the subject of this report - that the creation of an organization, referred to here as the "Organization for Open Source Software" (OOSS), to coordinate and support OSS in higher education would be of value.
"OSS Watch provides unbiased advice and guidance about free and open source software for UK further and higher education. Here you will find briefing notes on a wide variety of topics, presentations from OSS Watch conferences and other OSS Watch talks, links to useful external resources, and information about OSS Watch.
Added: 21 November 2005
" You should also check the OSS Watch wiki (http://wiki.oss-watch.ac.uk/) and see if the topic which interests you has material there; if not, consider starting a page there yourself, and let the whole community help by bringing its experience and expertise to bear.
"Local councils are expected to increase their use of open source software. So what are the advantages - and how will councils convince reluctant users that it works?"
Added: 1 November 2005
The new Open Source Academy, "supported with £1.3m from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, is aiming to tackle both fud and misplaced enthusiasm"
"Are Open Source LMS platforms taking the lead in learning technology innovation?" Sam S Adkins, Learning Circuits, October 2005
Added: 23 October 2005
Sam states: "... Open Source LMS platforms will be competitive when two market conditions occur: The market for commercial platforms reaches the commodity stage and OS LMS products exceed the level of innovation of the commercial systems.
"First Monday has released a special issue focused on open source." First Monday, 3 October 2005
Added: 11 October 2005
"Research in the Free/Libre/Open Source (FLOSS) arena is inter-disciplinary and varied. At this point, we already have several years of research in this area with many important intellectual contributions. Many of those contributions have appeared in First Monday and hence, this special issue is a celebration of these contributions and their impact on academia and practice."
"Because of the rise in popularity and consideration of open source applications in all markets from education to government to business, it is critical for all decision makers to understand what open source applications are and what the implications are for their organization. This is especially true in the education market where budget pressures make the right decision an imperative. This white paper will offer a simple, yet thorough definition of open source in the context of education, describe the new market models, and dispel the myths about open source." the r-smart group, Summer 2004
Added: 10 September 2004
Conclusion: "The demands on higher education require a fundamental change in direction-and technology can facilitate that change. But the present technology for teaching and learning hasn't lived up to its potential. Open source will pave a new road-changing not only the destination, but the journey, which is the real reward."
This primer covers the use of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) from schools to universities. From UNDP-APDIP International Open Source Network.
Added: 19 August 2004
This primer covers the use of FOSS from schools to universities. It provides a brief overview of how it can help in setting up the IT infrastructure and administration of educational institutions and considers software (mainly proprietary) which is now used as the basis for IT curricula and alternative FOSS which is available.
"Developing sustainable economics and advancing the frontiers of innovation are the dual challenges for application software in higher education. Sustainable economics means that an institution's base budgets can support the licensing fees, developers, maintenance, training, and support required for application software. For example, it means that the viability of a course management system (CMS) is not dependent on the next grant or on a one-time budgetary accommodation. Since making changes to application software invokes cost, minimizing change is one tactic for achieving sustainable economics through lower IT costs. In higher education, however, the creative nature of colleges and universities motivates faculty and staff to innovate with new pedagogy and with the use of online resources. Application software that fails to evolve or to allow experimentation and innovation in teaching is unlikely to be well received. Higher education is in search of a new model to address these dual challenges, and open source application development has been proffered as a solution." Brad Wheeler, Educause, Vol 39, No 4, July/August 2004
Added: 17 July 2004
Why open sources is going to be important for HEIs.
"Many of the technologies today are revolutionary and disruptive; they can serve as powerful tools to change standards Anne H Moore, Educause, September/October 2002
Added: 8 February 2004
Although this article is over a year old, it is useful to read in that it considers HE's push towards open learning
Added: 24 October 2003
An extensive list of open source (ie free) course management systems) produced by Scott Leslie, edtechpost/edutools
"This story came to me from Ettore Vecchione -- Computer Science Lecturer, IT Specialist, Director of the Computer Learning Center and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Science of John Cabot University. Read on to find out how Perl, Apache and MySQL, this Open Source trio, is now playing a lovely tune to the ears of everyone at the University." Betsy Waliszewski, O'Reilly Developer Blogs, 6 October 2003
Added: 15 October 2003
"The Professor/Course Evaluation as of this time has been successfully used for two consecutive years. As a system, it has without a doubt sped up the generation of evaluation results, reduced errors and paper usage, produced quality information, put the university on the par with other systems and alleviated the busy schedules of certain administrative staff."
"Over the last few weeks we've been looking at aspects of intellectual freedom, largely from ethical and legal standpoints . In the long run, however, there looms the danger that commercial interests may succeed in rewriting the civil rights code to their own advantage, and will command undue sway over our levels of access to information ." Graeme Daniel and Kevin Cox, Web Tools Newsletter, 25 August 2003
Added: 30 August 2003
A good overview of this area
"is a non-profit corporation dedicated to managing and promoting the Open Source Definition for the good of the community, specifically through the OSI Certified Open Source Software certification mark and program."
Added: 30 August 2003
"The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing. We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits