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Why European universities are selecting open supply software program

Nowadays, it’s no shock that quite a lot of universities, academies, faculties, conservatories, and so forth. have already applied open supply software program of their studying course of.

Open supply tradition and ideas assist college students, professors, and communities have a greater studying expertise, being impartial of tech giants that all the time name the pictures, and due to this fact free to share their concepts and construct on the work of others.

Let’s discover why open supply software program is so enticing for Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Europe.

Combining open supply efforts

Universities do their finest to develop and help numerous open supply initiatives. Thus, there may be the Open Source University Alliance, an initiative of the Erasmus Without Paper venture. Their objective is to assist all increased training establishments meet the newest calls for of digital transformation.

The alliance is creating an open repository of supply code and software program in order that the upper training neighborhood has entry to a number of instruments and providers essential for educating and studying. Among HEIs which have already taken half within the initiative and shared open supply options are the University of Porto, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of Münster, and Ghent University.

Security above all

This is not only an empty phrase or some form of motto of safety fanatics. The safety issue actually performs an important function when selecting software program for universities, institutes, and so forth.

As lots of you recognize, after the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2018, the necessities for processing private knowledge for firms that work with the EU residents grew to become a lot stricter. The knowledge of scholars, academics, professors, and academic workers isn’t any exception on this case.

Let’s keep in mind, as an illustration, when MS Office 365 was banned in German schools over privateness fears. And though that case referred to colleges, the precept additionally applies to universities. Therefore, a rising variety of them want open supply options as a result of usually, “big names” merely don’t meet the prevailing necessities.

Among those that opted for open supply is, for instance, sciebo, a “sync-and-share” service of the IT middle at Münster University, which is Germany’s third-biggest college with greater than 40,000 college students and 5,000 workers. Among sciebo customers, there are many researchers who usually cope with delicate and confidential knowledge. That’s why it is so essential that such knowledge is completely protected in opposition to any leaks or losses. Sciebo applied the combo of open supply content material administration platform ownCloud and open supply on-line editors ONLYOFFICE. The alternative was made as a result of each options are GDPR compliant and provide scalable, sturdy structure.

OwnCloud and ONLYOFFICE are deployed by yourself personal server that permits for holding all the information secure in-house. Data alternate between the storage and the editors is protected with the encrypted signature within the type of JSON Web Token. Advanced sharing permissions and extra options resembling restriction on downloading or restricted entry to separate person teams assist defend information from undesirable consideration and insider actions.

The ownCloud/ONLYOFFICE combo was additionally chosen by GWDG, a computing middle for the Georg August University of Göttingen and a computing and IT competence middle for the Max Planck Society. For them, the chance to prepare safe doc collaboration was the decisive issue.

Another instance is the Institute of Biology of Lille, which additionally applied ONLYOFFICE as a result of they have been in search of a self-hosted answer that would present full management over knowledge.

SURF, the collaborative ICT group that hyperlinks Dutch universities and analysis establishments, additionally went for open supply. They deployed ownCloud to make sure safe knowledge alternate for scientific operations.

The full use circumstances of the above-mentioned universities are printed on the official web sites of ONLYOFFICE and ownCloud.

Flexibility. Enough or not?

I assume most individuals have heard about Moodle, probably the most widespread open supply platforms for training. With Moodle, educators can create programs, share their studying supplies, assess college students, and so forth. One of the the reason why this studying platform is so widespread amongst a lot of universities is that it’s extremely customizable; you will get any essential options by including plugins (in truth, there’s a huge variety of them within the Moodle plugin listing). Just see this list of the newest authorised plugins. There you will discover a plugin for SSO authentication, a plugin that permits creating superior grading kinds, or ONLYOFFICE doc converter that routinely converts submitted textual content paperwork, spreadsheets, and displays to PDF and simplifies the grading workflow.

Let’s uncover one other instance. Universities all the time want content material administration and collaboration platforms. Some of them have determined in favor of open supply platform Nextcloud. Its versatile app ecosystem permits college students and educators to create a personalized studying setting including instruments they want: internet conferencing, Moodle integration, e-book reader, dashboard app, thoughts maps, and so forth.

This versatile adjustment additionally consists of apps that enable extending the Nextcloud performance with on-line processing and docs co-authoring. And it is tremendous straightforward for universities to seek out an applicable answer: Nextcloud presents integration with open supply Collabora in addition to ONLYOFFICE.

So, open supply merchandise enable for extending their performance in the best way you want it. In case any function is lacking, the neighborhood can freely contribute to the venture. And importantly, open supply apps can usually be complemented by different open supply functions that universities already use.


Yet one more reason for selecting open supply software program is pricing. Even primary options that educators and college students want may value an excessive amount of, particularly when speaking about small instructional establishments with a restricted price range. That’s why HEIs usually want free alternate options (that would present even higher performance) to the usually costly proprietary tutorial assets.

Remote studying challenges

While engaged on this text, the state of affairs across the globe modified drastically. Who may ever have imagined that?

Amid the present disaster, when most universities are closed, and in-person lessons are being suspended, digital training is getting much more essential. Open supply software program is of nice assist for many instructional establishments which have to modify to distant studying.

Many distributors and associations are attempting to one way or the other help these in want. For instance, members of the OSB Alliance, Europe’s greatest community of firms and organizations that develop and contribute to open supply software program, provide a lot of instruments and providers for residence workplace and homeschooling. Among these are HumHub, Kopano, Nextcloud, ONLYOFFICE, OpenChallenge, ownCloud, Univention, and lots of others.

Stay secure and share your ideas: ought to all increased training establishments undertake open supply software program? What open supply apps do you assume are the most effective ones for HEIs?

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