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However, distributed teams introduce several UX challenges. Requirements developed in the silo of a remote team tend to focus on the requirements and business rules as expressed in that environment. For example, UC Berkeley might tend toward defining the business rules for the Gradebook based upon our campus policies rather than doing the extra work required to generalize across a wide range of institutions and global cultures. This behavior makes good local sense since as institutions we are driven by enlightened self-interest and need to ensure that we meet the needs of our local users with our local resources. However, producing a tool that only creates interactions based on the primacy of UC Berkeley’s business rules often effectively lowers the ability for other schools to leverage the tools and increases the total cost of adoption.

Another UX challenge is that working in tool silos makes it difficult to create a coherent, “holistic” environment for the end-user. Many user goals are based on work flows that cut across tool sets. This has been an oft-cited usability problem within Sakai. Users don’t think within the same categories and silos as the development teams work.

A code-centric culture

Open source software has historically been developed for and by developers. It is a meritocracy where individuals gain respect through their direct contributions to the end product. This creates an intrinsic reward system for the developers whereby respect and privileges are accorded to those who do things like “play well with others,” provide good feedback and assistance, but most importantly contribute good, solid, workable code.

UI Designers generally don’t produce code. UI Designer Rashmi Sinha talks about this issue in her blog ,

“…The problem of currency: In any system people exchange goods and services using some type of currency. The currency could be any arbitrary thing - it could be fish, cows, or massages. In the open source world, it happens to be code. The problem is that usability professionals generally do not write code.”

While quite successful for projects such as Linux and Apache, this is problematic for end-user applications that are used by the faculty and students in higher ed to support their daily scholarly, teaching, and learning activities. Developers can no longer design for themselves; they have to design for users whose goals are nothing like their own (a good read on this is Alan Cooper’s book, “ The Inmates are running the Asylum “). Developers need UI Designers and Instructional designers to help them translate instructional, scholarly goals into specifications and prototypes. However, in an environment where code is king, what rewards are available for individuals with these other critical skills to participate? Do we even have the right ecosystem in which for them to engage them in the first place?

The right people for the right job

As IT managers, we are probably the first to advocate for the right tool for the right job. However, we continually seem to hire a relative monoculture of IT professionals, thinking that if we just add another programmer all our problems will be solved! After talking with many IT managers across higher ed, it appears that UI design (whether it be User Research, Interaction Design, Visual Design, or Information Architecture) is rarely a formal part of their cycle or designers a regular part of the team. If UI Designers are part of the team, they are often so sparse a resource as to absolutely ensure that they won’t have enough time to get engaged early enough or long enough. This means that the few teams that are able to contribute UI designers to an open source effort, have a hard time being impactful. This is made worse by the fact that designers are often embedded in distributed teams and not looking across the product, inhibiting a holistic user-centered approach.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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