PALO ALTO, Calif. - Aug. 19, 2015 -- Recognizing the growth of open source software within higher education, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) recently expanded their Affiliate Membership Program to include colleges and universities. Today the OSI announced The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has been approved as the international non-profit’s first Higher Education Affiliate Member. OSI General Manager Patrick Masson said of the news, “The OSI Board of Directors is thrilled USQ stepped forward so quickly upon learning of the Affiliate Program's expansion to institutions of higher education, and we’re excited to welcome our first univesity.” USQ’s mission, “to enable broad participation in higher education and make significant contributions to research and community development,” not only highlights its ongoing commitment to openness and inclusion, but also aligns with the OSI’s goals in open source awareness, adoption and community development.
“USQ supports the concept of collaboration and openness,” said Professor Jan Thomas, Vice-Chancellor and President of USQ. “We are working hard to build a culture of open use and reuse of educational resources, with an emphasis on working with communities and contributing.” The university is an active member of the Moodle project working with the Moodle Development Coop, and also participants in the ePrints, Maraha and Wordpress communities. In addition, USQ has developed and released “ReDBox,” an open source collaboration suite for researchers to share information about data collections.
USQ is also expanding their “Collaboratorium” a university-wide Wordpress platform, to discuss issues related to openness, and foster the emergence of community-driven ideas and initiatives. Current efforts include “Enabling New Futures” and “The USQ Salon Series,” each of which complements the university’s active involvement in discussion around open activities.Open-Inform, also in Wordpress, has been developed to support an international community by generating conversation and information about open education, and more broadly openness. For OERu (Open Educational Resources universitas) open education courses USQ utilizes the OERu WikiEducator site as their teaching and learning platform and MediaWiki to upload any media required for those courses. Other open education courses have utilized Moodle OpenDesk as their platform. USQ also has institutional collaborations with the OERu and broader OER communities.
“Institutions of higher education have a long and impressive history in the development of open source software,” noted Masson. “USQ exemplifies how engagement within open source communities cultivates an open ethos, where values like transparency, collaboration, and community are applied broadly, inspiring other academic initiatives around educational materials, teaching and learning activities, and research.”
The OSI Affiliate Member Program, available at no-cost, allows non-profit and not-for-profit organizations—unequivocally independent groups with a clear commitment to open source—to join and support the OSI's mission to raise awareness and adoption of open source software and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.
“We here at USQ are very excited about our affiliation with the Open Source Initiative,” added Thomas, “and look forward to a continued and collaborative partnership.”
About The University of Southern Queensland
The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has forged a reputation as one of Australia's leading providers of on-campus and online (distance) education programs. With more than 75 percent of students studying via distance or online, USQ’s delivery of external education resources continues to lead the way. To learn more about USQ and thier innovative open initiatives, see: http://collaboratorium.net.au/wordpress/
About The Open Source Initiative
Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) protects and promotes open source by providing a foundation for community success. It champions open source in society through education, infrastructure and collaboration. The OSI is a California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. For more information about the OSI, please visit: https://opensource.org.