No. No. And no. These are the repeated answers echoing from those who’ve switched from a proprietary LMS (or whatever three letter acronym we choose) to an open source LMS. (And pipe up here if you’re one of them. Tell us your story. Tell us why?).
Then come the caveats. These are worth exploring. Especially in my shoes.
- With open source, you can choose how much change you’re willing to invest in.
- With open source, you can choose how much ‘give-back’ to the community your institution is tuned for.
About #1. Institutions find it an attractive proposition that open source would enable them to enhance functionality and/or fix bugs on their own schedule and frequency, thus making them more responsive to the Academy’s needs than they were when using a proprietary system. Can Notre Dame afford to be more responsive to the Academy than we had the option of being with a proprietary LMS?
Now you have options. You can still eat the same cooking everyone else eats. Or, you can cook your own. Cooking your own will take more developer resources. Maybe your Academy wishes the Gradebook you gave them did this ‘n such that-a-way instead? Maybe central IT can tell them they’d be happy to install their departmental version of the Gradebook if they will build it themselves? (You very shortly would be able to tell them that while still using a proprietary LMS, given the adoption of the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, but I digress…).
I think Notre Dame at this juncture in time would choose to provide the same level of support and maintenance as previously, and that means that we can bite off maybe adding one to two tool integrations a year. At least initially, we would not necessarily be any more responsive to our Academy’s growing needs.
If you choose to cook your own, well then, you might as well make that flavor of the widget available to the entire extended community as well. More home cooked meals = more FTEs. Period. Your choice.
For my part, logic compels me to want an open source solution only if it comes with FTE’s to start Notre Dame’s own CookBook.