Adventures in open source


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  • Session Description
    Over the past 18 months, Purchase College has migrated from Blackboard to Moodle for our campus learning management system. Our decision was partially driven by the lower total costs for Moodle as an open source product and our desire to avoid the risks and lack of control associated with commercial applications. Our primary consideration however was that Moodle provides a pedagogically stronger learning platform, and its openness allows us to integrate it with other learning applications that faculty would like to use to promote student engagement. In addition to Moodle, we have a variety of other open-source applications in use, in development or under consideration. These include e-portfolios (Mahara), faculty web sites (OpenScholar), blogs (WordPress MU), project web sites (Drupal), and synchronous online classrooms (DimDim or Big Blue Button). We are beginning to build an ecosystem of open-source applications that will provide a flexible and robust platform to support instruction and scholarship. This session will present our experiences with the adoption of open source applications, provide evaluations of products we have implemented, and discuss how open source fits into the mix of applications to support the strategic directions of the college.
  • Moodle is our learning management system platform. We switched from Blackboard to Moodle over the course of the 2009/2010 academic year.
  • Moodle is our learning management system platform. We switched from Blackboard to Moodle over the course of the 2009/2010 academic year.
  • This illustration was developed by the independent management consulting company, Delta Initiative, less than a year ago (late 2009) to summarize (quite well) how the landscape of the LMS has changed in roughly the last decade. This is a busy screen so let me attempt to describe what you are seeing:
    For each year displayed along the x-axis (or the columns at the top) you can see the amount of usage for each of the various LMS technologies used for that year. The thickness associated with each individual LMS demonstrates the number of users using that particular system.
    This illustration also identifies the mergers or acquisitions that have taken place over the years. For example we see when eCollege was acquired by Pearson in 2007 and when several systems including WebCT and ANGEL were acquired by Blackboard.
    A couple things stand out to me with this illustration:
    1) Below the dotted line you can see that in the proprietary space there has been quite a bit of volatility primarily due to acquisitions. In fact, there is only proprietary system displayed that appears to have not YET been acquired by either Pearson or Blackboard.
    2) Above the dotted line you can see the most notable open source systems. The story here is quite different. Here it is clear that the open source systems are experiencing slow, consistent yet substantial adoption by institutions. In a recent survey by the Campus Computing Project, Moodle is the second most used Learning Management System in the US behind Blackboard (or Blackboard’s suite of acquired systems).
    Not only does this illustration do a fantastic job of demonstrating where we have come from, but also signals the direction in which LMS technology adoption is headed.
  • Self-host vs. vendor host:
  • Moodle is our learning management system platform. We switched from Blackboard to Moodle over the course of the 2009/2010 academic year.
  • Debian
  • Adventures in open source

    1. 1. Adventures in Open Source - Moodle, Mahara, Drupal et. al. at Purchase College Keith Landa SUNY Wizard Conference 18 November 2010
    2. 2. Student Information System Library Information Systems Academic Analytics Campus Repository The View from 30,000 Feet
    3. 3. Why @ Purchase? Criteria -Functionality -Support -Architecture/integration -Total cost of ownership -Risk management
    4. 4. Background – Purchase – 2008 ERes electronic reserves Liberal Arts and Sciences plus Arts Conservatories ~4200 FTE Web enhancement of F2F courses Online programs in the works
    5. 5. What is Moodle? The world’s most widely used open source LMS •49,000 Registered Moodle Sites •35,000,000 Registered Users
    6. 6. Faculty Blackboard uses 1. Distribute materials 2. Library services 3. Integration with SIS 4. Course communications 5. Links to external web sites 6. One stop shopping for students 7. Discussion forum 8. Gradebook 9. New media (blogs, wikis, podcasts) 10. Drop boxes 11. Student collaboration tools 12. Course reports 13. Self-directed lessons 14. Online quizzing 15. Real-time tools (chat, etc) 16. Clickers LMS desired features No “killer app” tying us to Blackboard
    7. 7. StudentSurveyResponses
    8. 8. Implementation – course migration • Blackboard - ~1000 courses; ERes – substantially more • ERes – document download, upload to Moodle • Blackboard – Moodle can import Blackboard course archives (zip files), but…. (problems with the Bb archives) • Temp services staff - ~300 hours from May to Aug 2009, primarily ERes migration • Bb course migration on request during 2009/2010 year
    9. 9. Implementation – faculty development • Spring 2009 workshops: hour long sessions, various topics; early adopters; 28 faculty • 2009 Summer Faculty Workshop Series: new programming, not just Moodle; half- and full- day workshops; stipends; 36 faculty at Moodle sessions • Fall 2009: Moodle Kickoff workshops; Getting Started, Gradebook, Learning Activity; 98 faculty
    10. 10. Cost comparisons Blackboard Moodle Licensing $40K $0K Server VM VM Staff Fraction FTE server admin 1 FTE instructional tech Fraction FTE server admin 1 FTE instructional tech Course migration NA $3K onetime (ERes, mostly) Faculty development ?? $3.6K summer 2009 Switch to Moodle saves us over $50K each year (Blackboard and ERes licensing costs) Risk management: -dislocations in the commercial space -self-host vs vendor host:
    11. 11. Community contributed modules Community Modules and Plugins page Map activity Lightbox Gallery resource
    12. 12. Bringing the cloud into the course
    13. 13. Student Information System Library Information Systems Academic Analytics Campus Repository Enrollment automation Open advantages Library integration -Reserve requests -Electronic resources Senior projects
    14. 14. Focus on teaching & learning - Robust set of activities & resources - Add-on modules from the community - Moodle development pathway Costs - No licensing costs - Similar support costs Integration - Other systems - Web 2.0 world Flexible open architecture Why @ Purchase? Risk management - Risks of open source - Commercial products have different risks
    15. 15. Campus lessons - Moodle • LMS focus should be learning – Faculty AND student perspectives • Change is hard, and exhilarating • Stewardship of campus resources • Choose the risk you’re comfortable with • Importance of community critical mass for open source apps • Clear roadmap for product development
    16. 16. “Mahoodle” -Single sign-on -Mahara assignment in Moodle Adoption process for Mahara Why e-portfolios? -Tool to showcase student/faculty work? -Tool to support student learning? -Tool to collect institutional data?
    17. 17. Mahara overview “Collect, select, reflect” and share (access control) Resume building Social networking
    18. 18. Building and sharing a portfolio • Assembling artifacts o File uploads o Blog reflections o External materials (web video, RSS feeds, etc) • Creating a view o Determining the layout o Assembling and arranging portfolio components • Determining access controls o Share with individual user (e.g., instructor) o Make public, generate unique URL o Share with group (e.g., course group) o Submit to a course group (freezes portfolio view) o Creating templates
    19. 19. Campus lessons - Mahara • Adoption slower than with Moodle – Less faculty interest – Stealth adoption • Stronger tie to Moodle 2.0 – Repositories • Focus on tool for student learning – Constraints on student showcase uses – Constraints on harvesting institutional data
    20. 20. Campus Repository Importance of video at Purchase College -Film and media studies; cinema studies; journalism -Class projects -Student organizations -Training materials Existing use of cloud video -Journalism & YouTube -TLTC Vimeo channel - - Five Minute Moodling -Need for a campus solution? Kaltura open source video vs -Use by serious players -Plugins already available
    21. 21. Campus lessons - Kaltura • Too early to tell, hopeful • SaaS and community source model is interesting • Developer community appears vibrant • Baseline integrations with apps on campus
    22. 22. WordPress, Drupal, OpenScholar WordPress -Implemented on campus before Moodle - -Some active individual blogs -Departmental use instead of homegrown CMS -e.g.: Drupal -Replacement for our home-grown CMS? -CampusEAI portal – includes CMS -Drupal for special projects - OpenScholar -Faculty scholarly web pages -Customized Drupal application
    23. 23. Why were we so interested? -Legacy faculty web page service -Faculty desire for self-service -Information reuse possibilities -External faculty profile pages
    24. 24. Ease of faculty updates -Editing existing content -Adding new items -Default layouts, widgets
    25. 25. Faculty choice of -features -themes/appearance Ability to add others Central content access However….
    26. 26. Campus lessons - OpenScholar • Make sure application is ready for primetime – Default authentication, site creation – Server constraints • Be prepared for community growing pains • Persistence Recent progress
    27. 27. WordPress Drupal
    28. 28. Campus lessons – WordPress, Drupal • WordPress – plug-in proliferation – Plug-in and version upgrades • Initial decisions can be critical – WP config • WordPress is easy for most users • Drupal is powerful, can be daunting – Need for turn-key Drupal set-ups
    29. 29. Student Information System Library Information Systems Academic Analytics Campus Repository The View from 30,000 Feet
    30. 30. Questions? Keith Landa Purchase College SUNY 914-251-6450