Open source: The new normal in higher education?


Jama Coartney, head of the digital media lab at the University of Virginia, said the video solution—described by Tsur as a “campus-wide YouTube”—had stored more than 8,500 educational audio and video clips over the past year.

“Kaltura’s video solutions for [colleges] have spread like wildfire, helping today’s educators provide students, faculty, and their own system administrators with the tools they need to drive learning results in today’s digital age,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura’s chairman and CEO.

Industrial embrace of open source

Combining academic ideals with the prowess and resources of industry has become a reality, as campus IT leaders are blending the best of academia and business to create software that is open for tinkering and supported with corporate capital.

Advocates of the academic-industrial approach to open technologies have touted SunGard Higher Education’s unveiling of a shared code repository for colleges nationwide, removing redundant expenditures for campuses hoping to develop their own attendance-tracking software, for example, with no outside help.

SunGard’s shared repository—made secure from unauthorized users—supports multiple code variants, features requests, and assignment tracking, and it allows campus IT officials to contribute to programs, applications, and platforms that colleagues from other institutions launched in the repository.

Bill Thirsk, vice president of IT and chief information officer of Marist College in New York, said SunGard’s campus-based collaboration, since being introduced last spring, has created a larger team of college contributors than he’s ever seen.

“Already, there are more institutions involved in this repository than I have ever experienced in my 25 years of involvement on local and project-driven work,” Thirsk said. “I think open technologies are more tilted to higher ed, but I am still a little surprised at some CIOs’ skeptical view of [them].”

Open technology experts said it’s no mistake that collaboration between colleges and IT vendors has seen an uptick in recent years.

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