Building Good Robots: A Case in Successful Open Source Learning Management
This roundtable responds to Jeff Grabill’s 2016 call for good robots by offering up our successes and pitfalls with open-source learning technologies as a case study for how open-source can fulfill the needs Grabill identified. While we neither see open source as a panacea nor as a simple solution, Iowa State’s ISUComm Foundation Communication program has enjoyed success with open source technologies for the past decade or so. Each panelist will discuss his or her experiences with developing these platforms, including achieving buy-in from faculty and other stakeholders, addressing users’ needs and concerns, and overcoming technical and logistical obstacles. The primary technologies employed by ISUComm are Moodle and WordPress; both platforms are popular and continually developed by their respective open source communities. While we have witnessed flaws with using open source software, the benefits of open source outweigh the potentially negative consequences of Grabill’s “bad robots” in our estimation.