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An Open Source Alternative to Blackboard? 84 84

mandrake*rpgdx asks: "The college I work for is looking into creating an all in one online system for teachers and students to be able to take tests, give online courses and do other daily tasks. They are currently looking into the Blackboard system. Is there an FOSS alternative that I could suggest using at their next meeting?"
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An Open Source Alternative to Blackboard?

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  • TikiWiki? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DamienMcKenna (181101) <{damien} {at} {}> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:27PM (#12579557)
    TikiWiki [] has added many things over the years that could help with this.

    Beyond that, maybe start with e.g. Horde [] and work from there?

  • Re:.LRN (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darkone (7979) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:54PM (#12580559) Homepage
    We are also looking at replacing Blackboard (now $7500/year for the smallest config) with dotLRN, which is actualy built on openACS. We already have blackboard exported courses importing into dotLRN, and have worked a little on making the dotLRN interface look more like Blackboard. So far dotLRN looks VERY customizable, if you know a little tcl!
    As a sysadmin for Blackboard on both a Windows and a Linux platform, I say RUN AWAY from Blackboard. Everytime I restart it I cross my fingers, and keep running the restart script until it works, or try to figure out WHICH java process didnt start this time.
    Blackboard support is worse than anything, Exported courses havent worked right for months, and BBs solution is to upgrade to Oracle 9, and wait for the next update in July(ish).
    Sorry for the rant, I can't wait to see some of the solutions that are posted here.
  • Interact (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mpoli (713584) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @03:34PM (#12581706)
    One of the most flexible packages I ever saw is Interact. I have tried some, but all of them seem too restricted to the model designed by the developer. So, for example, WebCT (whish I used some years ago) you have a place to put material, a place to do quizzes, but no way to make more "complex" arrangements of the capabilities. Interact, for example, operates using a "component" model. You have a number of components to choose from and you can group them in any way you like inside "Folders". Currently available components are: forum, group, dropbox, sharing, chat, journal, gradebook, quiz, folder, file, weblink, note, page, calendar, KnowledgeBase and NoticeBoard. Interact is aimed at being a complete school support system, as such, it has a unique student and teacher login for all the content, and each subject has its own "site". So teachers of a subject have administration priviledges on this subject's site, and students have access to all sites of the subjects they are currently taking. A neat feature is that each component has a unique ID, and it can be "shared" among different sites. So I can have two disciplines to share the same messages of a forum, for example. Components can be copied, as to use older subject's sites on a new subject too. Interact's site is [] where you can also find a demo to play with.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:48PM (#12585204) Homepage
    Different teachers are interested in doing different things. Science teachers don't necessarily have the same needs as foreign language teachers, and even within a particular field, teachers have their own preferences about how they want to do things. You might want to think more in terms of providing a variety of OSS tools, and letting teachers choose. This doesn't have to be instead of proprierary software; it can be in addition to it. Some teachers probably do like the proprietary systems.

    For my own needs as a science teacher who doesn't teach online courses, I wrote Spotter [], which is open source. Also check out LON-CAPA [].

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)