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I would also love to hear suggestions about business models that will support Universities that participate in open source teaching.

3. richardwyles - june 18th, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Hi Craig, Great read thank-you. With the separate campuses at Cave Hill, Mona and St Augustine you may be interested in the Moodle Networks work we’ve been doing. It’s standard in Moodle 1.8 and allows for a single-sign-on framework down to the individual course and student level. You can also create a Moodle Hub with common resources available for other networked Moodles. All the best, Richard

4. craig perue - june 19th, 2007 at 4:32 am

Hi Richard. Moodle Networks is definitely going to be a huge boon to further collaboration and innovation across our campuses. I am also excited about what you have done with Eduforge since I am very interested in providing the kinds of tools that allow staff members to collaborate on learning objects and learning designs with the kind of sophistication available to software developers using SourceForge. I am especially interested in providing some kind of version control facility, so that staff can develop multiple versions of a learning object starting from a common base object, without too much confusion. Whereas, as you pointed, out forking the development of Moodle would have been counter-productive in your situation, I want to encourage faculty members to think critically about their students’ needs, their own teaching philosophy and then fork the development of the learning objects appropriately. As Wayne Mackintosh has written, education is always contextual. Given your long experience with Eduforge, what do you think?

5. ken udas - june 20th, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Craig, Thank you for the very thoughtful reply. First, I want to mention that Penn State (my home institution) is not engaged in “open source learning” at the institutional level. That said, a group of us is developing a white paper to start addressing such issues within the Penn State context, which should be very interesting. At some point the effort might merit a posting.

You mentioned in an earlier comment you mentioned a bold and exciting position of one of your Deans as follows:

Here at the Mona campus, the Dean of our largest faculty agreed that all faculty members should have access to all the faculty’s course websites on OurVLE, which in effect means that they would all be able to see all the learning designs, and importantly, how effective each was.

I am very interested in learning about faculty reaction to your Dean’s position on opening content. Were the faculty receptive to the idea, did the Dean prepare the faculty, how are you implementing this effort, and do you think it is a first step in opening content more broadly (outside of the faculty)? How are you measuring effectiveness?

I think that many of us who work in Universities could learn from your experience. Cheers, Ken

6. craig perue - june 26th, 2007 at 3:33 pm

The suggestion to make the content viewable by all faculty members was made by another faculty member who was interested in learning from the online teaching and learning that was already occurring in the faculty. While I wholeheartedly supported the suggestion I think it helped that the suggestion did not originate with the IT staff. The Dean canvassed his academic heads of department and the faculty members using OurVLE and so far as I know the decision was democratically made and embraced by faculty members. That the faculty members using OurVLE at the time were the more adventurous and open staff members no doubt helped in the initial success of this policy. The decision was communicated by the usual faculty mechanisms, and it has more or less become a standard way of how we operate. The academic heads of department have smoothly managed the few objections that have been raised. Semesterly emails about our policy regarding OurVLE operations are sent to faculty and support staff so that the policy message is continuously reinforced.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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