Challenges of the Web Open Access November 7, 2008 Tom Feist, Webmaster & CIW E-commerce Developer Tidewater Community College College Communicator’s Association
Overview • Identify some popular open source apps • Define “Open” and “Open Access” (OA) • Examine why OA works (theory) • Challenges of OA (model) • Open computer networks (quick) • Discuss common OA concerns and specific OA challenges for colleges
Open Source • Languages and databases (PHP) • Directories (Open LDAP) • Software (OpenOffice.org, FireFox) • Operating systems (Linux) • Web software (Apache/Tomcat) • Think tanks (eclipse.org) • Hundreds more…
For Colleges • Course management systems • Moodle • Angel Learning (hybrid open/ proprietary) • Flat World Knowledge: free textbooks • Connexions: Rice University project • iPaper: MIT “Open Education” project
What is OA? • First, what is “open”? SYSTEM X
OA Component Parts • Open applications • Open devices • Open services • Open networks
Why OA? • Collaboration • SARS • Hanny’sVoorwerp • “Spirit” of education • OA academic journals • OA to information for learning (MIT) • Lower costs (e.g. open source software) • Customization A high school teacher from the Netherlands discovered an unexplained astronomical object, named Hanney’s Voorwerp, when the public was invited to classify millions of galaxy photos in an open project sponsored by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Why Does OA Work? • How does open access even work in the first place? • Norms & social organizations • Trust and trust networks • Importance of diversity • Aggregating wisdom • How far can trust go?
Firefox Ubiquity Case • Explanation • Est. 250,000 d/ls • As many Ubiquity extensions as general Firefox ones • “No security, no verification, no problem” • HUGE security concerns • Proposed solution: trust network rating system
OA Challenges – A Model Freedom Functionality Security Privacy
Privacy • OA tipping point • How much privacy to allow? • Privacy = anonymity • Inversely related to open-ness
Security • Human nature: inherently good or evil? • Called “sewer monitoring” • Improperly tested code has back doors!
Functionality • Does OA deliver everything we want it to? • OA apps are customizable, (we never have to settle) • OA plug-ins and add-ons raise security concerns (recall Ubiquity)
Freedom • Freedom’s concerns • Bandwidth • Malware • Ethical • What to allow/ disallow? • Filters, firewalls • Total freedom = chaos = creativity Source: www.shannonburns.com
Open Source Trivia • What country was the first in the world to launch 100% open source software in education and government? • Hint: It was also the first country in the world to have more cellular phones than landlines…
Cambodia! • Government and education are 100% open-source • For Cambodia, it’s a question of resources
XO Laptop – Built for OA • One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) open source XO laptops • 433 MHz processor • No hard drive • Open networks are its specialty • RSS news aggregator The rugged, low-power XO laptop from OLPC is entirely open source.
Open Computer Networks • Definition: computer network that does not require user authentication (i.e. log in/pw) • Unsecure (unencrypted) • Convenient • Safety = numbers
OA Concerns and Questions • Expertise and support can be lacking • Design flaws make security holes • Are proprietary systems or OA systems a better value? • Hidden costs • Will proprietary systems integrate w/open ones?
OA Challenges for Colleges • CC: Broader constituencies (open enrollment) • College campuses change frequently • Scarce resources (human and $) • Tight security policies take time to develop and even more time to maintain • “What’s best?” often at odds with “What’s feasible?”
Conclusion/Questions • “Open” floor for questions • Download the podcast and PowerPoint slides at www.tcc.edu/webservices • Learn more about my Cambodian IT research at www.tomfeist.com