[Edu-sig] open source admin in academia? (editorial)

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Tue Jul 20 02:29:57 CEST 2010

It frequently happens that the Computer Science Dept. uses Free
Software for almost everything, and everybody else uses proprietary
software. CS can't talk to the others effectively, because they are
"just geeks". I have more hope for elementary schools.

There are exceptions, such as Moodle.

On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 18:30, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm becoming more aware of the fact that one
> reason universities need to charge those
> tuitions is to pay licensing fees to private
> vendors who provide them with such basic
> services as the ability to store and schedule
> classes, record student enrollment and grades,
> record instructors etc.  The catalog needs to
> be published on-line.  There might be a lot
> of extended education options, e.g. non-credit
> courses open to anyone willing to sign up.
> Some of these proprietary programs are pretty
> old, lack features departments need, and so
> various intermediating applications grow up
> around the edges to fill in the gaps.
> Maybe the big dino system doesn't record
> student evaluations for example, or keep track
> of which courses are in the pipeline, but still
> haven't found a place in the sun.
> One would think that universities in particular,
> which pride themselves on having advanced
> knowledge of state of the art skills, would band
> together in various consortia to pool resources
> and "eat their own dog food" as it were.  A
> school that teaches medicine actually practices
> medicine (the "teaching hospital").  Shouldn't
> schools that teach computer science and
> business administration actually walk the talk
> in some way?  Maybe many of them do, I don't
> actually know.
> To outsource something so core to one's business,
> to pay licensing fees while not having the power
> to make design modifications, just seems more
> than a tad on the ironic side.  It's like a bank
> outsourcing everything it does around money.
> I realize not every college or university wants to
> reinvent the wheel around something so basic,
> but I do wonder to what extent there's some
> open source sharing going on, around these core
> utilities.  Are universities so competitive they
> won't share?  So does that mean they all pay
> the same licensing fees to use the same
> private vendor offerings?
> I remember Zope / Plone and SchoolTool.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SchoolTool
> Is there something even more comprehensive
> that's out there, suitable for college and university
> use?  Does it come in modularized components?
> Is it an over-the-web database?
> Or do few if any universities really eat their own
> dog food?
> Like I say, I'm new to this business, just trying
> to get oriented.
> Kirby
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Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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