Derek Morrison over at Auricle has been commenting on online learning environments (LMS, VLE, etc) and watching open source developments such as Moodle. Although he is generally supportive of those developments he has written previously about the inherent danger of monolithic systems and vendor lock-in.
Picked this one up via OLDaily. The Kiwis are apparently moving over to the open source VLE/LMS Moodle big time. Their Open Polytechnic is leading a consortium project with a budget of NZD 1 million for open source procurement. You might expect me to be cheering this one on but while I feel a lot more comfortable with institutions (or consortia thereof) not handing over de facto control of what is, or will become, a key part of their technical and pedagogical infrastructure to commercial interests, let me remind you of a quote from my Be afraid … be very afraid! posting of 11 April last.
I’m quite a fan of Moodle and, like many others, I can see it’s got bags of potential and that the Moodle community can only benefit from the flurry of interest. Also, Moodle is certainly focusing the minds of the vendors of proprietary VLEs/LMSs, and that’s got to be good thing. But there is no one solution no matter how much we would like this to be the case and, so, institutions (or consortia thereof) need to also build some headroom into their strategies which will allow for future Moodles (or whatever) to emerge.
An open source monoculture is still a monoculture and monocultures tend to get monotonous and prone to disease.