Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Greetings from Texas State University

My inaugural post is all about what I'm doing here. I am a solitary computer programmer at Texas State University in what we call Instructional Technologies Support (I have always been a little miffed about those two S's put together like that). I am part of the well-established schism in higher education between technology for administrative purposes, and technology for instruction. Administrative technologists have the luxury of knowing exactly what they're there for. I came onboard 32 months ago to see about migrating the campus from Blackboard 5.5 to Blackboard 6. Our man Jeff had written some customizations that needed to be ported, and it was beginning to look like the port would be just as much work as the original code. We began casting about for alternatives. In my previous life at the University of Texas at Austin I had seen Indiana University give a presentation about their home-grown course management system called OnCourse. They really seemed to know what they were doing, and it had been a few years, so I decided to drop by their website to see whether I could steal their ideas. That was May of 2004, and it turned out I didn't have to steal anything because they were just weeks away from releasing Sakai 1.0. Now that's what I call service! I will summarize the next two years like this: Sakai taught me how to roll up my sleeves. Our pilot is over; We are entering open migration. Classes start tomorrow, and I bet it's going to be interesting. This weblog is about one nerd's day-to-day life surfing a tidal wave of open source software for higher ed.

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