Open Source Application in Higher Education

The larger education sector is rather in contrast to other industries. It has its personal processes and a diverse set of demands. Most commercial proprietary application vendors develop their applications focused on a wider domain spread across industries. This, academics complain, creates a distinct disconnect between software program vendors and the finish-customers in academia.

To overcome these shortcomings, the education sector began seeking to “open supply” as an alternate model. About a decade back, institutions started debating total price of ownership in adopting an open supply based community strategy vis-à-vis proprietary applications, viability of open supply primarily based business enterprise models, sustainability and safety problems.

The success of neighborhood created open supply software is fairly effectively established. Linux and Apache are ample proof of its good results. A equivalent trend, although not that widespread in its attain, can be traced to the improvement of community projects in education like the Moodle and Sakai.

Through the course of its formative years, the open supply neighborhood based approach in education has developed several option models. Some of these models and schools of thought have thrived and been implemented successfully across a considerable spectrum of the business. Progress and success in open source projects like the Sakai, Moodle, Kuali, uPortal, Shibboleth, and a lot of far more are becoming closely watched by the sector.

Community Source Model

One particular college of believed believes that open supply sharing is extra a philosophical method than a viable alternative. The adoption of open source in higher education seems to suggest otherwise. FLOSS (Cost-free/Libre and Open Source Application) communities are thriving properly in learning environments as well.

The FLOSS model has been extensively utilised in initiatives like the MIT OpenCourseWare and Open Supply Biology. Project Gutenberg, the Wikipedia, The Open Dictionary project are prime examples of how open supply has been successfully adapted to education initiatives.

In a community supply project, a number of institutions come with each other to companion in the project. All partners contribute financially as properly as in employing human sources for the work. In the early stages, the partnering institutions provide all style and development efforts and only in subsequent stages is the project opened to the broader neighborhood. This way, the initial assistance is secured and the institutions have a substantial influence in deciding how the application is modeled and made.

The initial focus of neighborhood supply projects is on collaboration among institutions. The concentrate in the important first stages is as a result to type a widespread financial outlook and an suitable administrative framework rather than forming a neighborhood about a shared code. Weekend Batches for IAS in Delhi based open supply projects slowly migrate to open source in the later stages.

The Sakai project, for example, started as a joint work amongst four institutions (Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Stanford). The initial agenda was to set up a framework of widespread objectives that would produce suitable computer software primarily based on an agreed list of objectives. The scope for participation was later increased by forming the Sakai Educational Partners Plan (SEPP), whereby other institutions can join and participate in the community for a small fee.

The Present Landscape

An education enterprise like any organization has its personal desires ranging from resource organizing to budgeting. In addition, they have typical needs like the need to integrate with financial aid programs of the government, a number of payroll cycles, and student information and facts systems (SIS) that manage admissions, grades, transcripts, student records as effectively as billing. All these get in touch with for robust ERP systems. Till not too long ago, colleges and universities mostly rely on either custom-developed systems that are more than 15 years old, or have transitioned to commercial merchandise from vendors like Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft or vendors like SunGard that are geared towards the greater education market.

Kuali Financials was borne due to the lack of open supply solutions Enterprise applications in the higher education sector are comprised of a mix of some proprietary application vendors and some key open source community initiatives. PeopleSoft, Oracle, SunGard and Datatel are some important vendors that offer you tightly integrated ERP packages for the education sector.

Current consolidation in the industry, like the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle and of WebCT, Angel, etc by Blackboard, has brought on considerable unease in the education fraternity. The concern stems from the fear that the trend of consolidation would lead to the monopoly of a handful of essential vendors. The plans of these vendors to give tightly integrated systems heightens the fear that this will deliver an unfair leverage to these vendors as it would extend the community’s dependence on them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.