Open source college revolution?

Open source college revolution?

Summary: Moodle is trying to lead the break by putting its open source course management system into Amazon's cloud. Moodle is a Sourceforge Community Choice Award finalist.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Open Source, Amazon
11

Moodle logoIs the true open source revolution finally coming to college campuses this fall?

Many universities are big users of open source, and Internet resources. But when it comes time to deliver the goods -- the coursework -- they order textbooks and throw their students the bill.

Now there are vendor promises to rip up those bills. That's what I call a revolution on college campuses.

Moodle is trying to lead the break by putting its open source course management system into Amazon's cloud. Moodle is a Sourceforge Community Choice Award finalist. It's good stuff.

Placing the software, and content, into the Amazon cloud is supposed to reduce costs for creating and serving coursework. (An aside. Amazon's lead in cloud computing really deserves more press attention.)

To make the bundle more attractive it is being done along with Digital Chalk, enabling streaming of lessons via online video. This makes it a dynamite solution for off-campus education.

Moodle says it is doing all this, by the way, in part because Blackboard, the market leader in this area, has been so aggressive in defending its patents.  

If you don't like Moodle, of course, you have other options. Angel Learning went open source last year. CNX, an online book creation and publishing solution, has been online for several years.

Then there's Flat World Knowledge. They're launching in January and promising absolutely free online textbooks. Free as in free beer.

Any chance this can cut the coming bills to send my own kids to college?

I didn't think so.

Topics: Open Source, Amazon

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

11 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Blackboard NG "Next Generation"

    Keynote speaker Blackboard CEO Michael Chasen demonstrated the power and direction of Blackboad NG at today's afternoon session of Blackboard World '08 in Las Vegas.

    TRULY a Next Generation product that makes any institution's 'learning' go everywhere.

    + It will now wrap Moodle & Satai.
    + Courses will be available from Facebook and other social networking sites.
    + Content displays on iphones, cellphones and other mobile devices
    + Open API's and Open Source code development for Building Blocks, Modules, add-ons and more!

    Blackboard is no longer a stand-alone Learning Management System---it just made "learning" ubiquitous to a new generation of users.

    The glimpse on their web site (http://www.blackboard.com/projectng/) is only a peek compared to what CEO Chasen demo'd today!

    (not a Blackboard employee but someone who was at the presentation and more impressed with NG then ANYthing I've seen in a decade of online learning/teaching/CMS/LMS)
    onlinelearning
    • Maybe they can turn it around

      There is a lot of pent up frustration with BB in the market right now. This might be a little to late, several schools I have talked to have already closed the book on BB.
      Chalkboy
    • Perhaps Blackboard is feeling the heat?

      Interesting that Blackboard has finally started to innovate again. Maybe open source has an effect even when you don't use it?
      http://tmccune.blogspot.com/2008/07/open-source-moodle-is-driving.html
      Chalkboy
      • RE: Open source college revolution?

        Angel Learning went open source last year. CNX, an online book creation and publishing solution, has been online for several years.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
        zakkiromi
  • Open Source technologies on the front scene very soon

    The flexibility of the Open Source Moodle ensures the university complete control over their information system in the presnet as well as the futur. No need to buy a newer version, the inovations are free and you can develop applicatrions over it since the source code is open.

    Furthermore, by defending their patent propriatory softwares editors miss on a lot of contribution from independant developer.

    Open source softwares are really begining to eat market shares and I am glad
    lbounin
    • One would hope that...

      Universities might also contribute back to Moodle. Bugfixes, feature enhancements etc. Who knows, that sort of thing might even make for good ComSci projects to toss their students at. Ah well, I can but dream...
      zkiwi
  • Some corrections to this article

    Hi Dana.

    I'm the founder and lead developer of Moodle.

    Thanks for the nice words about us, but I just wanted to correct some of the inaccuracies in this article.

    1) Quote: "Moodle is trying to lead the break by putting its open source course management system into Amazon???s cloud."

    Moodle (See http://moodle.com http://moodle.org) is not doing this at all. Our community has a large number of official Moodle Partner companies who already provide specialised hosting services to educational institutions, using their own cluster based servers etc. You may have got the Amazon story from a press release by an unrelated company that is using Amazon services to host Moodle (and they can do this, because after all, Moodle is open source).


    2) Quote: "Moodle says it is doing all this, by the way, in part because Blackboard, the market leader in this area, has been so aggressive in defending its patents."

    I don't know where you got this information - we have never said that and would never say that.


    3) Quote: "Angel Learning went open source last year."

    This is false information. Angel is absolutely not open source at all. Try and find a download link on their web site, or any place where you can submit patches for bugs.

    Cheers,
    Martin Dougiamas
    Martin Dougiamas
  • RE: Open source college revolution?

    I tried <a href="http://www.ninehub.com/">NineHub.com</a> provides free Moodle hosting with unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Good enough!
    drewburwood
  • RE: Open source college revolution?

    I would suggest using GreenTextbooks.org
    Save Money, Save The Planet
    GreenTextbooks.org specializes in the recycling of textbooks, DVDs, CDs. Buying used textbooks not only saves you money, but cuts down on greenhouse gases caused by the manufacturing of new textbooks.
    With GreenTextbooks.org you're not only saving trees, you are saving some green.
    http://www.greentextbooks.org
    greentextbooks
    • Need a Open Source College and School Administration Software

      I need a open source software for college and school administration which includes the modules for Admin, Teachers and Students.
      Kindly suggest a better software with more features as well as more stable one.
      arunbprasath
      • Open Source College School Admin Software

        Any responses to your request for suggestions for open source college admin software? I've found many but all are k-12.

        The only one I've found that seems like it is really meant for college/university is Kuali. See: http://www.kuali.org and http://student.kuali.org . It sounds the best best, but the student portion of it isn't completed yetm with a phase in for sections of it from 2010 to 2012. I can't wait until 2012.

        So, please share if you've discovered anything.

        Thanks.
        mtpaul01