Advantages and opportunities of free & open source software for education, example of the migration from a closed source to an open source e-learning platform (invited keynote)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Abstract

Free and Open Source software has roots in and similarities to academic research and education. In essence, Free and Open Source Software comes with licenses guaranteeing basic freedoms (or rights) for users and developers. These freedoms include the freedom to run the program for any reason, to study and modify the source code, to redistribute the source, and to share any modifications. In practice, the access to the source code allows peer review quality control, while the reuse of code (building knowledge upon existing knowledge) allows the most interesting Open Source projects to gather a community around them of enthusiastic and contributing users. This paper discusses also other significant benefits and explores briefly the wealth of (educational) Free and Open Source software.
E-learning platforms are becoming cornerstone infrastructure at universities. Rather than being simply customers and losing control with costly, inflexible and non-interoperable commercial or closed source e-learning platforms, it's better to be (contributing) users of an open system made by and for the users. In the paper is shown what has driven the Vrije Universiteit Brussel to migrate from a closed source to an Open Source e-learning platform (Dokeos). By investing the same amount of money in Open Source software (by substituting license costs for extra developers), one can get better integration between the e-learning platform and other campus information systems, and one is able to better fulfill the wishes of students and teachers or even get their participation in the development in the form of student projects. The development community has fostered new collaborations between the participating universities. Likewise, efforts to enable the sharing of learning objects or Open Courseware are growing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Fifth International Congress on Higher Education, Universidad 2006, Cuba
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of Fifth International Congress on Higher Education, Universidad 2006, Cuba

Conference

ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period21/09/0925/09/09

Keywords

  • open source
  • education
  • e-learning

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