An Open Source Fairytale

June 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

So here is the ups and downs of Open Source. After a lot of work, we have a great looking theme and a Moodle 1.95 to install. 1.95 offers a really amazing  gradebook features and I know it will have an impact on staff. I check notices and dates and as soon as 1.95 is ready I am pushing for the install to happen and then we hit a bump in the road. There is an issue with the upgrade and would you believe it, its with the gradebook….. Its a visual thing but its just not right and its just not simple  click here and here fix. Its tweeted, posted and recoded and its still lop-sided.

The community come to our aid. Suggestions, testing and conversation and in the OS fairy tale it always works out for the best….. but its still lop-sided. Now its been a frustrating week and with a CPD event fast approaching adding extra pressure to the situation, we are getting frustrated. Then Andy Kemp comes up trumps, he has rewritten the theme from scratch and shares it with our team (incidentally, he uses the same theme). Now we have a little bit of customisation, but its fixed. What is more, its better than before and we have been able to share the solutions with others. For me, that’s Open Source.

Wait, there is more to this OS story. We met Ian Tasker at MoodleMoot (strongly recommended). We stayed in contact and our Moodle guy has been down to visit him at his school. To date, Ian has brought more to the Moodle table than us but we share OS trials, investigations and interests. Today he lets us know he has installed a timetable block for us! Its ronseal! Simple and effective and just how much time will it save student services in September when the students lose their timetables!

Next, OPENFIRE (server)  SPARK (client). Instant Messenging takes another step forward at Hamble College. We have installed Openfire on a virtual server and installed spark for a number of administration staff. We like the tie in with Active Directory and simple looking Spark user interface. More as we share this with our staff.

Finally Spiceworks, complete network management and monitoring, helpdesk, PC inventory tool, and more, we just keep finding new ways to use it. We were planning to map the network this summer, spiceworks does most of the hardwork!. We continue to improve our help desk, our response time has improved slightly but our communication on how the jobs is much improved.

So thats my OS fairytail, it was just a longer read than I had expected.



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