The clash of corporate IT and open source learning management system: a nascent research idea

Following up on a broader research idea the following paragraph summarises a nascent, more specific idea a colleague and I are stumbling toward. It fits within the broader agenda.

Suggestions, volunteers, pointers and criticisms welcome.

For now it’s just a single paragraph.

Open source education is seen by Davidson and Golberg (2009) as one of the principles key to the rethinking of learning institutions. Perhaps the most prevalent incursion of open source into Universities has been the adoption of open source Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Moodle. Currently, at least 15 of the 38 Australian universities have adopted Moodle. The typical implementation of such systems appears to be informed more by best practice in enterprise systems implementation with its focus on scalability, consistency and cost savings (Jones, 2008). The governance and management of these open source LMSs seems likely to be an early focal point of the struggles between traditional organisational practices and policies and the requirements of the digital age. The aim of the research will be to investigate what is happening, what is changing and what might the future hold within the context of this struggle.

2 thoughts on “The clash of corporate IT and open source learning management system: a nascent research idea

  1. “Best practice in enterprise systems implementation” includes items like standardizing on an enterprise database solution and managing enterprise databases centrally (cost savings in expertise, in DB servers, in managing SAN, etc), precluding many of the “default” databases open source LMSs tend to use. Instead, practitioners are adding to open source communities, painfully sometimes, by choosing the LMS, then figuring out how to run the LMS with an Oracle database, etc.
    Governance and management in the LMS space will indeed stretch the institution as it finds itself more capable of responding to ideas from faculty and students for enhancement. Faculty and students can even be included as participants in coding and design. The question then becomes how to be inclusion yet manage the rate of change such that stability and expectations are not compromised.

    1. A good summary Laura.

      I’ve actually seen the problems with “choosing the database” first. An almost complete failure for the first couple of weeks of the first term with every course on the LMS because the new version of Oracle didn’t play nicely with the LMS (or vice versa).

      It will be interesting to see just how much institutions respond to the capabilities open source LMS theoretically offer.

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