Ubuntu supports technology-enabled teaching at The Johns Hopkins University
“As an open source solution, Ubuntu provides both a great platform for development and a desktop solution for deployment.”Cost-effective, easy-to-use and reliable, Ubuntu proved to be the open source platform of choice on which to build a support system for technology-enabled classrooms at The Johns Hopkins University.Background
America’s ﬁrst research university, The Johns Hopkins University is a world leader in research and education. Sean Stanley, Instructional Technology Specialist, and 15 colleagues in theInstructional Technology Facilities (ITF) group support more than 60 technology-enabled classrooms as well as computer classrooms, computer labs, residence hall computing clusters and computer kiosks.The team solves problems in real time and in person, often under the scrutiny of renowned faculty members whose classes can be ruined by an equipment glitch.
When every minute matters andsupport personnel are scattered around campus, processing multiple requests is no easy task. The university equipped many classrooms with integrated control systems including a “Request Help” feature:when a user presses the help button, an email is sent to the inboxes of support staff as well as to an alphanumeric paging system. But the ITF group had no way to manage these support requests apartfrom sending e-mail back and forth, making it difﬁcult to ensure the prompt handling of every request.“I personally kept pushing us towards Ubuntu because of the amazing community and support behind itdelivers the ﬂexibility and reassurance that we need as a business,” he explains.
The ITF Group made the decision to use open source software to build its own simple and robustsupport system, called BigBoard. Many developers are turning to open source and free software tools because they avoid the time and cost drains of securing licenses. Open source allows developers to...
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