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Thank You

KU: Ruth, first thank you for the time that you put into this interview, your thoughtful responses, and your willingness to share your experiences. I also want to thank Heather Chakiris, who leads the World Campus Advising team, for reviewing the text for clarity. I also want to invite comments and questions to this posting. Ruth has generously agreed to follow this posting and to respond to questions and comments posed as comments to this post.


9 Responses to “UCLA Selects Open Source Solution, Part 2, Interview with Ruth Sabean”

1. heather.chakiris - march 12th, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Ruth, was there an immediate buy-in to the recommendation to pursue an open-source application? Or was there initial push-back that the team had to overcome? If the latter, can you share any strategies/approaches used to make the case for an open-source system? How did the team change the minds of folks who may have at first been apprehensive? Thanks.

2. rsabean - march 13th, 2007 at 9:35 am

Yes, there was immediate buy-in. Open source was not an issue, possibly because UCLA has a strong and continuing culture of being developers. We have several locally developed CMS and most of our enterprise level applications were developed at UCLA. A primary criteria in the selection process was the ease with which staff and faculty could continue to develop rapidly and integrate tools to meet immediate needs. The challenges that lie ahead are more likely to come from gaining the discipline to develop such that we can continue to take advantage easily of new releases, the work of the global community, etc.

3. ken udas - march 13th, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Ruth, I have been in a number of institutions that like the idea of being able to modify code and update software, but most do not have the skills or history with contributing to an OSS community to do this effectively. While at the Open Polytechnic, we were committed to going Open Source, but we were equally committed to taking advantage of the strengths of a robust community by not forking from the Moodle community. Richard Wyles and his team managed the tensions around working with the Moodle community, influencing the Moodle development roadmap, and setting appropriate internal expectation at the Open Polytechnic regarding the trade offs between “autonomy” and “community”.

Can you share UCLA’s position around participating in the Moodle community and meeting institutional requirements?

4. rsabean - march 13th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Hi Ken, We have worked out the process regarding donating UC IP back to the community, but I suspect you were referring to what I alluded to in my 9:35am post — although the former is critical to the heart of your question. We are currently too new to the process for me to state a position on this beyond saying that all the discussion to date has been, as it was at the Open Polytechnic, of building with the Moodle community and not taking Moodle some UCLA-centric direction. Certainly the real possibility of multiple Moodles running at UCLA means that attempting to speak with one voice is not realistic. Speaking for the moment for the commonly served Moodle, the vision (and attraction!) was to build with the Moodle community, working out the tensions between autonomy and community that you described.

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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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