October-November Issue of Innovate

this issue of Innovate has many articles on Open Source Software

The October-November 2006 issue of Innovate (www.innovateonline.info)
focuses on the potential of open source software and related trends to
transform educational practice.
Our first four articles map out the current state of open source technology
and offer recommendations for how educational institutions can benefit from
its advances. David Wiley sets the stage by offering a recent history of
the open source movement and discussing its recent impact in the
educational sector. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=354 )
In turn, Robert Stephenson argues that the community networks established
by open source software initiatives provide a model for similar networks in
the educational sphere. In his commentary Stephenson outlines his concept
of open course communities, a “knowledge ecosystem” in which the
development and assessment of course materials would arise from
technology-enhanced grassroots collaboration among educators, designers,
librarians, and students themselves. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=345 )
Meanwhile, for many institutions the actual adoption of open source
software still remains an open question; focused advocacy and strategic
foresight thus remain the watchwords in our next two articles. In their
commentary Gary Hepburn and Jan Buley first describe the implementation
strategies available to schools considering open source software, and they
subsequently address the key sociopolitical factors that must be taken into
account by advocates of such implementation. (See
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=323 )
Patrick Carey and Bernard Gleason note that open source software has
resulted in significant advances in commercial software as well, which has
led to the possibility of adopting modular combinations of open code and
proprietary applications. In order to take full advantage of these trends,
they argue, institutional planners should ensure that their systems provide
an open, standards-based architecture that allows for a flexible range of
software options. (See
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=314 )
The remaining articles contain detailed accounts of the development,
design, and use of specific open source applications as well as a study of
how the process of open source development provides a valuable model of
pedagogical design in its own right. Toru Iiyoshi, Cheryl Richardson, and
Owen McGrath introduce readers to the KEEP Toolkit, a set of software tools
designed to provide graphic representations of teaching practice and
thereby support focused inquiry into pedagogical strategies. (See
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=339 )
Harvey Quamen illustrates how he used MySQL software and PHP code to create
a database that streamlines editorial tasks and procedures for a journal on
humanities research. (See
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=325 )
Kun Huang, Yifei Dong, and Xun Ge propose that the collaborative work
environment of open source development has a distinctively pedagogical
value for instructors. In illustrating this claim, they describe a graduate
computing course in which student teams worked on software design projects
in an online environment modeled after the virtual workspaces of open
source software initiatives. (See
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=324 )
Finally, in his Places to Go column, Stephen Downes introduces readers to
Intute, an open access Web site that represents a significant step forward
in the evolution of learning object repositories. Through the distinctive
design of its search feature, Intute gives readers free access to a much
broader network of resource providers than typically provided by other
repositories. With its plans to release its own software as open source,
Intute also promises to spur the growth of similar repositories that will
further fuel vital innovations in teaching practice. (See
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=398 )
Please forward this announcement to appropriate mailing lists and to
colleagues who want to use IT tools to advance their work. Ask your
organizational librarian to link to Innovate in their resource section for
open-access e-journals. Finally, please take advantage of our discuss
feature within each article to add your commentary on this important topic.
James L Morrison
Editor-in-Chief, Innovate
Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership
UNC-Chapel Hill

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