Lengthy interview with Patrick Mason from the Open Source Initiative that talks about the use of Open Source Software in Higher Education. Caveat that much of this discussion is from a US context, although there is a specific question about other regions of the world.
Mason’s answer to question 8 on what are the biggest hindrance in preventing the adoption rate of OSS from being higher is bang-on, and his observation about the role of increasing acceptance of OER as a pathway to greater acceptance of OSS is interesting. Mason notes that, among institutional IT departments, Open Source Software (OSS) is a pretty known entity. But move out of the backroom and away from IT staff and the level of awareness of OSS plummets. Both statements ring true for me. However, Mason notes that the open educational resource movement has to potential to change that.
Interestingly to me, I find the introduction and rapid growth of open educational resources—teaching and learning initiatives beyond software—to be the most impactful in raising awareness of the benefits of open development, licensing and distribution models as well as, eventually, open source software. Many faculty and non-IT staff (e.g. librarians, researchers, etc.) are engaging in open textbooks, open courses, open data, open analytics, and many other open initiatives. Through these efforts faculty and staff are realizing the benefits of openness, which can then more easily be transferred when assessing open source software.
This point is interesting to me, too, because many of the early open education resource pioneers were inspired by the open source software model. Open source software inspired open educational resources which is now leading educators back to open source software. Talk about a virtuous cycle.
First published in the EdTech Factotum newsletter.