Open-source learning management systems such as Moodle and Sakai have made great inroads in higher education, but LMS software isn't the only area where colleges and universities are benefiting from open source. Higher-ed institutions also are saving money by using open-source software to chat with prospective students, improve library storage and research, and create web pages for alumni--whose donations could prove critical while campus budgets are being slashed in a down economy.

Campus technology chiefs are exploring the merits of open source, while vendors that have proved to be staples in higher education--such as Blackboard Inc.--have introduced ways for colleges to...

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