Large-Scale Open Source E-Learning Systems at Open University UK

Sclater, Niall (2008) Large-Scale Open Source E-Learning Systems at Open University UK. Project Report. EDUCAUSE, Boulder, CO USA.

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The Open University (OU) is Europe's largest higher education provider and one of a handful of mega-universities across the world. As a distance education university that is currently undergoing a process of increasing migration from paper to online, the OU requires exceptionally feature-rich, robust, and scalable e-learning systems. After extensive scoping and requirements-gathering activities, it was decided that adopting and enhancing an open source system to form the heart of the university's learning management system (LMS) would be the most successful strategy. While this made it possible to host the first course websites within months, building the full system required a large amount of development. During a three-year, $10 million program of work, almost all code developed has been given back to the open source community in order to further enhance and boost the sustainability of the product. Adoption of the new instructional platforms and media is being accompanied by changes to work practices for staff and faculty who are accustomed to developing learning materials and tutoring using traditional methods. This research bulletin examines the factors leading to the selection of the open source LMS at the OU, details the many aspects of development work that had to be undertaken, and describes the issues involved for institutions participating in an open source community. It also looks at some of the many business and cultural challenges the institution has faced and at how faculty are being encouraged to move toward a model of education incorporating increasing amounts of e-learning content and activity.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: Education (General) > Higher education
Educational technology > Adoption of educational technology
Educational technology > Open source
Divisions: Higher education, Universities, Vocational training, Colleges
Depositing User: Elizabeth Dalton
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 19:33
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 19:33

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