Supplementary activity 3.3: Understanding open source

In his report Weller mentions the Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) and ELGG, which is another open source system which can be used as an eportfolio. On the face of it, open source may often seem like an ideal solution from a cost perspective alone, as open source is generally free to use while commercial systems can be quite expensive.  This is not just for eportfolio systems but for other open source systems such as the Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle.  It is often the case that despite a lack of initial cost, open source solutions may be just as expensive, if not more so, than commercial systems, as they require a significant amount of time and expertise to adapt them to the needs of the learning provider.  Having said that, an advantage of open source is its ability to be modified by the learning provider, As Weller said of the OSPI solution “ being open source, we can adapt it – but this would need a serious technical evaluation to determine.”

Another issue to consider with open source solutions is support.  Commercial systems may provide a centralised support team with a clearly defined Service Level Agreement (SLA).  This means that they will guarantee support issues to be dealt with within a certain timeframe.  Open source solutions often rely on a community based support structure, with member s of the community offering support and advice to others.  Weller emphasises the community aspects of the open source system ELGG for learners using the system.  This follows on from the community ethos of open source systems.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s