These OSS solutions include [listed in alphabetical order]:

For learning management:

Sakai Project: A community-source software (CSS) project, Sakai is used for learning management in over 350 colleges and universities around the world. According to Dr. Stuart Lee, deputy CIO at the University of Oxford, “Sakai provides the flexibility we need to offer a LMS to support the teaching methodology at Oxford. We can include best-of-breed products from other sources too, to offer a cutting-edge platform for online learning.”

For mobile:

Kurogo: At Indiana State University, where open source is used for mobile app development, administrators launched an app with the help of Modo Labs, which offers mobile solutions and support services based on the Kurogo open source mobile platform. The project has gone well, and officials are looking at open source for development of a content management system, as well as creation of “sandboxes” for students who want to develop their own apps. Other institutions currently using Kurogo include Harvard University, Brown University, University of Central Florida, Rochester Institute of Technology, and many others.

For multi-purpose platforms:

Kuali Foundation: Michael Bourque, vice president for ITS at Boston College, notes that his school is a member of the Kuali Foundation, which provides open source administrative software solutions for higher education. Leveraging an international community of educational institutions and organizations, Kuali aims to provide sustainable software that helps schools keep their money in their mission by significantly reducing administrative costs and promoting administrative best practices. Kuali is home to software systems for financial management, research administration, student services, human resources/payroll, library management, business continuity, and middleware/workflow. Other members include Brown University, MIT, Lehigh University (Pa.), Cornell University (N.Y.), Colorado State University, and many others. “It feels like we’re crafting a vision together for what schools really need,” Bourque says. “If you use open source, you don’t have to follow one vendor’s trajectory. You can work together to create your own path.” Boston College created a customized student system they’re supporting in-house. That experience will allow them to share insight with the Kuali community, says Bourque, about what it was like to move into open source. As they develop more systems over the next couple years, they’ll turn to other Kuali members as development issues crop up, he expects.

Modo Labs: Modo Labs was founded in 2010 by Andrew Yu and a team of mobile developers from MIT. This team created the original MIT Mobile Framework with the vision to enable college students to easily create rich mobile websites and native applications using data and content from university back-end systems and other data repositories. Now, hundreds of universities, as well as hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and financial institutions, use solutions from Modo Labs to deliver mobile websites and native apps for their students, employees, faculty, staff and alumni. “The team here had concerns initially because we’re not a very big team,” says Santhana Naidu, VP of Marketing and Communications, and former web services director, at Indiana State University. “But Modo took care of the hardcore programming and provided support, and we didn’t feel at any point like we’d be stuck surfing the online support forums.” Andrew Yu, CEO of Modo Labs, is also a firm believer that open source has an edge when it comes to security because the level of transparency allows for more thorough software testing. That’s also what’s reduced the amount of bugs and flaws in open source platforms and applications over the past couple years. “The open source community makes a huge effort to address bugs and security concerns,” he says. “If done correctly and applied correctly, open source becomes more secure.”

(Next page: OSS solutions 5-8)

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