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5. heather.chakiris - march 14th, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Hi, Ruth. A follow-up to my question about buy-in. You explained that “UCLA has a strong and continuing culture of being developers” — and I know you have not spent your entire career at UCLA, so you might not be able to answer this — but do you know if UCLA has always had that “developer” culture? Or was it something that happened over time? If the latter, do you have a sense of how that comfort level came to be? And/Or do you have any guidance for how to cultivate a similar comfort level when it comes to institutions that might be more conservative in their approach to embracing new technologies?

6. rsabean - march 15th, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Hi Heather, You like to ask tough questions! I suspect UCLA always has — or at least since 1984 which was when I started here — had a development culture. It’s not only a technology related culture. I think it stems from a fundamental philosophy that is fairly broadly held — that the essence of UCLA is about faculty innovation in both teaching and research and that the way you sustain that is by placing resources as close to faculty as possible. To give two examples: when server based computing and personal computing both came along — they were needed and, therefore, were funded in local units (sometimes for a faculty member). It’s also less about an institution embracing emerging technologies as it is about enabling individuals to discover and follow their own creative directions.

Be careful what you wish for! It is often hard to see the appropriate timing and methods to recognize when what was at first an innovation is now a utility and should be done as a common service, freeing up local IT to move on to supporting the next innovation and, in the process, improving over-all support to faculty and students.

So, no, I don’t think it happened over time except perhaps in scope, tracking the steady increase in use of IT in every aspect of the academic mission.

How to cultivate a similar comfort level? put appropriate resources where you want it to happen. If you can do that AND keep faculty and IT staff connected around working on common problems and solutions together while sustaining individual innovation, you’ll have achieved the best of both!

Please let me know if I haven’t adequately addressed the issues you raised.

7. heather.chakiris - march 16th, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Hi, Ruth. Last question: You live in the Los Angeles area. Can you introduce me to George Clooney?

Just kidding. :-) This is simply a thank you for participating in the series and for making yourself available afterward for questions. I’ve enjoyed our dialogue. Best of luck with Moodle! Come and visit us at World Campus sometime.

8. pmasson - march 16th, 2007 at 8:07 pm

Ruth, Too many interesting conversations!!! You mention that there may be multiple Moodles running on campus and that “a primary criteria in the selection process was the ease with which staff and faculty could continue to develop rapidly and integrate tools to meet immediate needs.” Can you please expand on this: how will (if at all) the multiple instances of Moodle be integrated and managed? In addition how will other services such as UCLA’s student and course information be integrated with both the central and the multiple Moodle instances?

Was this deployment strategy (multiMoolde) a factor in your choice for open source? Obviously OSS provides access for this type of integration, but here in SUNY, Angel is now busily providing multiAngel instance integration and SIS development. SUNY seems more comfortable with Angel providing the development than local development. How was development resourcing evaluated?

Thanks again, Patrick

9. rsabean - march 17th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Hi Patrick, The short answer to your first questions: we don’t know. We are doing many, many things simultaneously right now. I think there was a general realization that no matter what open source solution was chosen, it was likely that at least some of the academic units might choose to run their own implementation because of the current culture, funding, and practice and the anxiety surrounding potential loss of control. We also thought that a significant number might not choose to run their own and that over time, as we gained experience with and trust in a common service, additional units might shift all or some functionality to the common service, for example, looking to the common service for myMoodle and project sites.

We are just beginning to set up a detailed planning team that will be working on these and other issues, including understanding and evaluating overall architectural options. There has been 100% acceptance of single sign-on as a goal and some level of commonality in look-and-feel. We know that additional functionality is coming in the next release(s) of Moodle. We need to get those installed and see whether they provide the “integrated” solution we need from the end user perspective. A student, for example, at a recent meeting talked about wanting upon login and get a list of all the new activity on all his course and project websites.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “development resourcing”. Here’s one take on it: We have a fleet of distributed developers, intended to request some level of core funding for full-time developers who could work off community-set priorities in collaboration with the distributed developers, and the very robust Moodle community of developers. The maturity of Moodle and its community also convinced us that although our use cases went beyond what was available last fall. we were likely not to face the types of costs some units had experienced with requesting new functionality from vendors of proprietary systems.

We’re also looking to join a community of schools, organizations, and individuals who want to work on interoperability so that migrating tools among systems is not the recoding effort it is today. We know, already, that there are tools or functions in Sakai we want, for example, not to mention those in our own campus systems that need to be brought over to Moodle.

Please let me know if this does not address your questions adequately. Ruth

Questions & Answers

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Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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