The benefits of open source virtualization

While colleges and universities have a well-deserved reputation for being ahead of the curve in many areas, their willingness to be at the forefront of innovative technologies often flies under the radar. And yet, many higher-ed institutions have shown a readiness to embrace new technologies to better support students and faculty.

Such is the case with open source virtualization software. While the rest of the world—including businesses, elementary, middle, and high schools—was first beginning to grasp the benefits of open source virtualization, colleges and universities were already reaping those benefits.

Open source virtualization shares many traits with proprietary virtualization software. Both allow organizations to consolidate physical servers into powerful virtual machines. Both can greatly reduce an organization’s datacenter footprint, reducing costs and complexity. And both can pair with automation to reduce the need for manual oversight.…Read More

OER can lower the cost of higher ed-but only if 4 steps are taken

Publishers and Open Educational Resources (OER) sound like strange bedfellows but, the fact is, all in education have a responsibility to make learning more affordable without sacrificing quality. And OER offers a way to do that. OER adds value to the learning experience.

OER can change the nature of teaching and learning by enabling instructors to personalize and improve it, as well as allow students to co-create and actively contribute–all things that can make learning more effective.  And importantly-OER belongs to everyone.

But, OER alone won’t drive transformative change to the learning experience. Many instructors are skeptical about quality; it can be hard to find, maintain, and sustain; it may have gaps in coverage; and it may not be available in ways that are efficient to use. At Cengage, we thought about the benefits of OER – and some of the challenges – and sought to determine how can we add value?…Read More

Groups partner on open-source tech for digital archival processes

Marist College and the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) have partnered to develop and implement a sustainable and robust platform capable of supporting the complex archival management of digitized and born-digital records. This joint initiative builds on the College’s long-standing tradition of supporting the Hudson Valley and New York State communities and on the RAC’s leadership and expertise in the archival profession. The initiatives of this exciting partnership are supported through the New York State Cloud Computing and Analytics Center located at Marist College and with the Rockefeller Archive Center’s generous financial contribution.

The two main components of this two-year digital records infrastructure project are a repository that fulfills long-term storage and maintenance needs of digital records and a microservices API layer that orchestrates the flow of data between archival systems and this repository. The systems implemented as part of the digital records project will be compatible with existing archival standards and best practices and will be built using well-documented, open-source technologies and user-centered design methodologies, so that components can be widely shared and deployed by other institutions.

This digital records repository and API infrastructure will be built using a unique combination of applications selected by Marist and the RAC, including open-source portal technology and researching the use of Blockchain, ArchivesSpace, Archivematica, Fedora, and other open-source tools. The result of this collaboration will be a powerful platform that will allow for more scalable systems integration and the rapid implementation of emerging technologies to meet the challenging task of managing digital records in an archival context.…Read More

Major OER initiative targets new degree programs

38 community colleges in 13 states will join a national OER initiative to cut costs while improving degree, certificate completion

A major new community college initiative will work to develop degree programs using open educational resources (OER) in an effort to ease textbook-related financial obstacles students often face in higher education.

The national community college reform network Achieving the Dream announced the initiative on June 14, and representatives said they hope it will spur other changes in teaching and learning and course design that will increase the likelihood of degree and certificate completion.

Achieving the Dream will help colleges make OER degrees critical elements of their student success efforts. Lumen Learning will provide technical assistance; SRI International will evaluate the initiative and conduct research on how OER degrees impact student success and the institutions providing them; and the Community College Consortium of Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) will facilitate a community of practice.…Read More

New partnership expands OER access

Groups work to broaden digital courseware based on OER

MBS Direct and Junction Education are working together to expand access to affordable, comprehensive digital courseware based on open education resources (OER).

MBS Direct’s Higher Ed partners will now have access to Junction’s library of college courses and its authoring platform. This continues to extend the range of affordable options MBS Direct has available to clients spanning rental and used textbooks, eBooks and digital materials.

“Junction’s curated courses are an outstanding option to support campus-wide efforts for affordable blended and fully online learning options,” said Bill Dampier, President & COO, MBS Direct. “We’re impressed by Junction’s ease of use, customization capabilities and rich analytics—all in an affordable package helping to reduce burdens on today’s time and budget-pressured students.”…Read More

Ed Map accelerates textbook affordability, OER access

Ed Map offerings align university missions with evolving content supply chain

Ed Map, Inc. is answering widespread calls for affordable course materials with a new business model, and expansion of its content curation services, that further aligns itself with university missions of access and affordability.

An Appalachian-based education technology company offering next-generation bookstore software and services, Ed Map is leveraging its 14 years of experience serving large, scaled online programs as well as their proprietary OPENVUE course materials management platform, to provide institutions with flexibility, control, and access to emerging content types.

With its innovative solutions and business model, Ed Map is challenging assumptions of many in higher education that the primary way to reduce course materials costs is to send students unsupported to the open market for used and rental traditional textbooks.…Read More

OpenStax, Knewton introduce adaptive learning into OER

Peer-reviewed OER digital textbooks will be uniquely personalized for each student

OpenStax and Knewton have formed a partnership intended to personalize the learning experience for college students using open source digital textbooks.

OpenStax is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials, and its open educational resource (OER) textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet scope and sequence requirements.

Knewton’s adaptive learning platform will provide specific content recommendations for precisely what a student should study next by analyzing the data set of what the student knows, how she learns, and what concepts she needs to achieve a stated learning goal.…Read More

Open textbooks gain in push for college affordability

Open textbooks are growing in popularity as university administrators see them as a way to increase affordability

open-sourceThe standard textbook for Fundamentals of General Chemistry I at the University of Connecticut has a list price of $303. For students who use the version professor Edward Neth is preparing for the fall semester, the cost will be zero.

An early adopter of open source textbooks, Neth said he turned to the new technology out of frustration with spiraling prices of commercial textbooks.

“It’s seeing the costs go up every semester and almost feeling powerless,” Neth said.…Read More

Textbook Liberation Fund aims to save students $1B

Textbook alternative offers benefits to students, faculty and schools, supporters say

textbook-fundA new $500,000 fund will provide grants to faculty members or departments who want to transition their courses away from high-priced textbooks.

The Textbook Liberation Fund is intended to help save college students $1 billion. It was launched by Skyepack LLC, an organization focused on the design and production of digital course materials as an alternative to the traditional textbooks ecosystem.

To apply for a grant through the Textbook Liberation Fund, faculty or department chairs must complete a proposal and submit it according to the rules and conditions explained on the fund’s website by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 28, 2016.…Read More