The higher education sector is quite different from other industries. It has its own operations and a variety of demands. Most commercial applications suppliers develop their applications that are more broadly focused across industries. This, the academics complain, creates a clear separation between program suppliers and end-users in academia appreciate synonym.
To overcome these shortcomings, the education industry began to look to “open source” as an alternative model. About a decade later, institutions began to discuss the total cost of ownership in adopting an open-source, community-based approach to property applications, the viability of open source business models, and sustainability and security issues.
The success of the community in developing open source software is well established. Linux and Apache are proof of its success. A similar trend, although not widespread, can be traced to the development of community-based education projects such as Moodle and Sakai.
Through its years of development, the open source approach to education has developed several alternative models. Some of these models have flourished and schools of thought have been successfully implemented across a wide range of industry. Progress and success in open source projects such as Sakai, Moodle, Kuali, UPortal, Shibboleth and many others are closely monitored by the industry with downloadhackedgames com.
Community Source Model
One school of thought believes that sharing open sources is a philosophical approach rather than a viable one. Open source adoption in higher education seems to suggest otherwise. FLOSS software (free / libre and open source software) thrives well in learning environments as well.
The FLOSS model has been widely used in initiatives such as MIT OpenCourseWare and Open Source Biology. The Gothenburg Project, Wikipedia, the Open Dictionary Project are key examples of how to successfully adapt Open Source to education initiatives.
In the community source project, multiple institutions are meeting to participate in the project. All partners contribute financially as well as in the recruitment of human resources in this effort. In the early stages, partnership institutions provide all design and development efforts, and in later stages only the project is opened to the wider community. In this way, initial support is secured and the organization has a significant influence in determining how the model is designed and designed.
The primary focus of community resource projects is inter-institutional cooperation. Thus, the focus in the critical first stages is to form a common economic perspective and an appropriate administrative framework rather than to form a society around a common symbol. Most open source community projects migrate slowly to open source in later stages LEARN TECH NEWS.
The Sakai project, for example, began as a joint effort between four institutions (Michigan, Indiana, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford). The initial agenda was to develop a framework of common objectives that would produce appropriate software based on an agreed list of targets. The scope of participation was then increased through the formation of the Sky Education Partner Program (SEPP), where other institutions can join and participate in the community for a small fee.
An educational institution like any organization that has its own needs ranging from resource planning to budgeting. In addition, they have typical requirements such as the need for integration with government financial assistance programs, multiple payroll courses, and student information systems (SIS) that deal with admissions, grades, texts and student records as well as billing. All these calls for powerful ERP systems. Until recently, colleges and universities have relied on systems developed on demand for more than 15 years, or moved to commercial products from suppliers such as Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft or vendors such as SunGard to the higher education market.
The QualiFinance system is driven by the lack of open source solutions. Enterprise applications in the higher education sector consist of a mix of some authorized application vendors and some of the major open source community initiatives. PeopleSoft, Oracle, SunGard and Datatel are some of the major vendors who offer integrated ERP packages closely to the education sector.
The recent consolidation in the industry, such as the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle and WebCT, Angel, by Blackboard, has caused great dissatisfaction in educational fraternity. Concern stems from the fear that the trend of consolidation will lead to the monopoly of a few major sellers. The plans of these vendors, who provide tightly integrated systems, raise concerns that this will provide unfair influence to these sellers because it will expand community dependence on them.
One area of concern about monopolistic applications is the virtual separation between industry and software application developers. Institutions also have strong reservations about the program management systems and training courses currently available. The feeling is that applications provided by vendors such as SAP and PeopleSoft are adapted from other industries and do not work well for educational institutions. Moreover, the nature of ownership of applications meant that the source code was not available and that the allocation efforts involved significant costs.
In the context of this wide range of requirements, open source can be a viable alternative. In fact, these constraints have provided a driving force for open source initiatives in tertiary education. Some success has helped provide a strong foundation for building an alternative support model for the education industry.
In the Sakai project, participating institutions decided to integrate and synchronize their educational programs into a pre-integrated set of open source tools called Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE). Sakai has active applications working in multiple institutes including the University of Michigan and the University of Indiana.
In parallel, Sakai has established a range of active communities that have resulted in active collaboration between industry and application suppliers. The Sakai Education Partner Program allows educational institutions to participate in the program for a small fee. Besides, there are commercial subsidiaries in Sakai, which offer fee-based services for installation, integration and support.
On the other hand, Koaly mainly addresses aspects of educational management. KFS is the most prominent application. It handles administrative and operational functions such as general accounting, procurement, salaries and benefits, budgeting, asset management and grants. The system is designed around modules that enable it to be modified to work with current business applications. For example, at Indiana University, Kuali applications work with PeopleSoft’s HR and StudentSoft system. Kowali is a non-profit association of several universities and some hardware and software companies. The Kuali Business Partner Program operates on similar lines as its Sakai counterpart. The community was growing and now includes UC, Cornell, Michigan State University, San Joaquin Delta College (California), and the University of Arizona.
Significantly, according to the 2008 Campus Computing Survey, about 13.8% of the respondents have already identified an open source LMS system – either Moodle or Sakai – as the LMS Institute of the University.
In addition, many other projects provide SIS functionality. For example, openSIS manages student demographics, scheduling, attendance, grades, records, and health records. The parent company creates additional units to support additional features such as disciplinary tracking, billing, food service, group email / SMS .
Other Key Intiaitives Are
JaSig develops uPortal, and CAS (central authentication services) are two components that serve as input to Kuali Rice.
Internet2 – a consortium led by universities working in partnership with the industry and government to develop and deploy advanced networking applications and technologies including products such as shibolite and hamburger
Open Source Approaches
As with any “open source” activity, open source approaches through their own definition are freely usable, distributed and modified. A model like this may seem to counter the concept of higher education, because it hits the credibility of the learning environment. Campus education is designed to serve as an organized learning methodology. The concept of community cooperation involving academics and students on the same platform brings a lot of unpredictability to the scenario
However, FLOSS communities (free / free software and open source software) have proven to be extremely successful in education. One of the key principles of this educational approach is its root in adapting it to the context of their experience. With a focus on learners and their preferences, this learning approach focuses more on learning through collaboration, communication and participation.
Important initiatives include the Connexions project at Rice University, the OpenCourseWare project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Social Learning Medium in Wikipedia.
Floss’s approach to higher education works in combination with traditional teacher-centered methods. The objectives of the FLOSS system are not to replace traditional methods but to achieve synergy in the synthesis and provision of learners with an improved learning environment.