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Craig Perue's contribution to the "OSS and OER in Education Series." In this post, he shares his experiences while leading eLearning@UWI’s investments in open-source software to make eLearning a self-sustaining, across all of the campuses of the 15-country University of the West Indies.

Author - Craig Perue, "Not IT, not Business Processes, but Organizational Culture". Originally submitted June 14th, 2007 to the OSS and OER in Education Series, Terra Incognita blog (Penn State World Campus), edited by Ken Udas.


About one week before I joined the IT department of the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI) as the first staff member of Instruction Support Systems (ISS, the educational technology unit), I sat in a room with about twenty other persons, primarily faculty members, and was trained to use WebCT, as part of the forty or so persons on our campus to be so trained.

The next week I was put in charge of ensuring that faculty members across the campus adopted the system. That was May 2003. Four months later and two IT staff members richer, having worked long hard hours with faculty members on the Mona campus, we had about twenty four courses with over a thousand unique students ready to go for the start of the first semester.

Both the faculty members and I thought this was an immense success - but at that point I was informed that the University simply could not afford that many licenses. They wanted me to ask the faculty members to use another proprietary system with lesser functionality.

In apologizing to my clients, I assured them it would never happen again. I also told them plainly why it had happened, and why it would not recur. The reason it wouldn’t recur, of course, is because we would implement an open source replacement by the next semester. And that was how I came to receive permission from the IT Management team and the blessings of our faculty members to deploy the University’s first open-source enterprise system.

A little background on the university of the west indies

With three campuses - Cave Hill (in Barbados), Mona (in Jamaica) and St Augustine (in Trinidad) in addition to twelve centres in the other contributing countries (known as the UWI-12), The University of the West Indies currently has a total enrollment of over 36,000 students and graduates annually approximately 5,800 students (at undergraduate, graduate and diploma levels).

Evaluation, selection and implementation

Below, I will suggest why I think higher education institutions ought to consider open-source software, but first let me quickly gloss over the evaluation, selection and implementation. Other than licensing regime – it had to be an open-source license, there were three other demands imposed by our particular circumstances.

  1. Since WebCT was being aggressively implemented by the Distance Education Centre and the other two campuses, the replacement would need to be implemented as soon as possible to reduce the number of persons who would need to be re-trained for the entire University to adopt the FLOSS replacement.
  2. Because the influential, tech-savvy first adopters across the University would be among the WebCT user base by the end of the first academic year, the replacement system would need to have a low learning curve relative to WebCT for these persons and at the same time provide additional value other than cost-savings (since their campuses could afford WebCT).
  3. Although 2003 marked the official launch of the first University-wide LMS implementation, several other LMSs were already in use or proposed for use in 2003 by individual departments, and so any replacement system would need to provide an equivalent or more powerful set of features.

Questions & Answers

find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
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how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
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I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
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Commplementary angles
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what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
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Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
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I'm interested in nanotube
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what is nano technology
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what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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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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