[LINK] Educators wary of open source
brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Nov 22 20:00:46 EST 2005
Educators wary of open source
NOVEMBER 22, 2005
ALMOST 80 per cent of Australian TAFEs and universities plan to use customised,
third-party or open source applications, along with commercial platforms to
develop e-learning, a study shows.
It finds that 89 per cent of respondents consider open-source systems alone too
unstable, too costly to maintain and lacking sufficient support to be viable.
The findings come from a survey of more than 100 Australian educational
institutions and universities, conducted by e-learning systems provider WebCT.
The data shows 95 per cent of respondents plan to further develop commercial
e-learning programs in the next two years.
WebCT marketing senior vice-president Karen Gage says e-learning is a priority
for educational institutions but development is needed before its potential can
be reached. "At any university, the level of resources that they need to
support the development of e-learning in a quality way is a challenge," Gage
The survey finds that most respondents believe an open system platform
integrating open-source applications is most suitable for institutional
This provides the flexibility for customising, integrating and extending that
institutions require, without the risks involved in using an open-source system
on its own.
Educational institutions and universities should consider factors such as
overall functionality, support, stability and flexibility when considering
e-learning platforms, the study finds.
Of those surveyed, 55 per cent note that using open systems in combination with
open source offered the greatest flexibility and ease of management, and 34 per
cent highlighted access to baseline teaching and learning tools to be the main
benefit of a combined system.
"Part of expanding e-learning for a lot of universities is providing customised
systems for different uses," Gage says.
"One big area is supporting transnational programs.
"Others involve working with staff to think about more innovative ways they can
use technology to improve the way students learn."
Gage says WebCT has taken a leading role in defining, installing and supporting
industry standard initiatives, including IMS, SCORM, Shibboleth, uPortal and
WebCT, which has its headquarters in Massachusetts, recently launched the WebCT
Vista 4.0 academic enterprise system and the WebCT Campus Edition 6.0 course
You can't steal second base and keep one foot on first
brd at iimetro.com.au
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