Open source: The new normal in higher education?

“Open-source [software] isn’t subject to being sold to another company and being discontinued forever,” Coppola said. “And I think there’s an affinity toward community development in colleges and universities. … [Sakai and Kuali] were developed by and for education, and I think people are really recognizing that.”

The impact of open-source LMS options was seen in the latest Campus Computing Project survey, a nationwide survey of campus technology trends.

About half of colleges now use some form of Blackboard LMS, down 7 percent from 2010 and more than 20 percent from 2006. Twenty-six percent of campuses said they used Sakai or Moodle, another open-source LMS option.

Letting students create a campus YouTube

Seven of eight Ivy League universities are using an open-source online video platform created and maintained by Kaltura, an open-source company that works with schools and businesses.

Kaltura’s Cross Campus Media Suite video platform, released in July, offers a web-based repository where students can upload lecture videos and other educational content that can be searched by their professors and peers.

Michal Tsur, co-founder of Kaltura, said large universities have gravitated to open source in part because their IT resources can support and maintain the various open systems.

“Universities have a great abundance of technological resources, so they can support and maintain the systems on their own,” she said. “They’re also interested in enhancing the software, and that’s something that’s impossible with closed systems. … Schools don’t want to be locked into a particular vendor. The openness is really great.”

Students at Stanford, Harvard, New York University, the University of Virginia, Houston Community College, and the University of Southern California are among those who use the open-source online repository.

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