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Mara Hancock's contribution to the "OSS and OER in Education Series." In this post, she asks some questions and shares some insights about the changing nature of OSS in teaching and learning and relates it to its impact on user experience and teaching and learning methods.

Author - Mara Hancock, "Open Source Software and the User Experience in Higher Education". Originally submitted July 11th, 2007 to the OSS and OER in Education Series, Terra Incognita blog (Penn State World Campus), edited by Ken Udas.

Open source software and the user experience in higher education

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 by Mara Hancock

Open source software has moved up the technology stack. We are now seeing consumer software such as Content Management, Learning Management, Portals, and other Web 2.0 tools all emerging directly out of open and community source efforts which provide unique opportunities for higher education to address the unique needs of their academic constituencies. But do we have what it takes to do this successfully? Do we have the right skills in our development shops? Can we bridge the divide created by distributed development teams to make for meaningful and seamless applications that will meet the work flows of all our users? How does the fact that we are in a teaching and learning environment impact that work and the methods we apply? This blog entry may be destined to ask more questions than I can answer! I hope that at the very least it might help to instigate a healthy dialog, illicit some emerging best practices from open and community source communities and from our — often less visible — local environments.

Let me enter into this conversation by way of a brief introduction to the work that has influenced my thinking in this area.

UC Berkeley has been actively working on Sakai since early 2005, when it was solely a grant and University funded project. We continue to be actively involved as it transitions to a full-fledged open source foundation model. I have been on the Sakai board of directors through this time. We are also a core member on the Fluid Project , recently funded by the Mellon Foundation , along with the University of Toronto (PI), Cambridge University, York University, UBC, and experts in usability, accessibility, and UI design across the globe. This community source project was created to focus on addressing the precarious value of UI and accessibility design in community and open source development work. In addition, UC Berkeley will be a core partner on the upcoming Kuali Student Project , which, as a project, has boldly declared a determination to be user-centered from day one. As you can see, as an organization UC Berkeley is deeply embedded in – and increasingly reliant on – open source applications, and in particular the community source projects, to deliver critical and integral functionality to our student and instructors every day. If these users – the heart and soul of our university’s endeavors – cannot use these tools to successfully fulfill their goals we are not doing our jobs.

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket 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
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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