Monday, 15 October 2007

Say Ahhhhh! Life after Interact?

Yr 3 & 4 kids at SPS were exploring using the cameras today in preparation for their big day out at Puke Ariki tomorrow.

Jane has created a really useful resource for teachers starting out with photography in the classroom it can be downloaded through the Tai o Rupawai cluster area on Interact.

Of note for users of Interact & there are heaps of us that do (especially for the hosting of ICTPD cluster resources) is that Interact is on the way out. Not tomorrow but in the foreseeable future. I only heard about this by accident as a kind person emailed me the details. I host two sites on Interact. One is a repository of shared resources that were developed during our time as the Bard Wired cluster. The other is our TaraNet ECampus site that i was hoping that in the years to come would develop into a vibrant and busy place to support the elearning needs of our secondary school distance learning students. So now to cast an eye across the alternatives - most likely to be Moodle. Time to start playing :-)

Here is the full information for those who don't already know. Contact Glen if you have any questions.

"DearInteract User
Some months ago we informed you that the future of Interact developmentat the University of Canterbury was being reviewed. This process has taken longer than expected but we have now made some firm decisions and are in a position to communicate these to you.
Approvalwas recently given for a project to review the University's LearningManagement Systems with a view to moving to a single system by 2010. This review will consist of an evaluation of a short-list of opensource systems in comparison to Blackboard. It was decided that Interact will not be on the short-list of evaluated systems. This was not an easy decision to make as we believe that Interact is a good product that is meeting the needs of a wide range of users both within and without the University. The following reasons were the basis for this decision:
* For whatever reason the open source release of Interact has not generated a development community. There are a wide range of users of the system, but none of these are contributing development back to the project(perhaps it is because the system is so good they don't need to do any additional development!). This means that the University is 100%responsible for ongoing development, with associated costs and risks.To realistically keep pace with developments in this fast changing area would require at least 2-3 full time programmers, which means that it ceases to be a cost effective solution.

* As mentioned in our previous communication, the other major open sourceplayer in the New Zealand education market, Moodle, has had millions of dollars poured into its development, as well as a worldwide network of voluntary developers contributing back to the project. We don't believe it is viable to compete against that in a market as small as the New Zealand compulsory education sector.
This means that the University will only be supporting Interact for the next two years, until December 2009. We will continue to provide hosting and technical support for this period but there will only be limited development work done, mainly bug fixes, etc. During this time we will be working on migration strategies for moving our own dataout of Interact, which will hopefully provide other users with migration options also if they need them.

Interact is Open Source, so you own all of the source code as well as the data. This means that you are free to keep using Interact on your own or other hosted servers for as long as you wish, so this announcement doesn't require any immediate action on your part. We would however recommend that you review your LMS requirements some time in 2008 so you are in a position to make a decision about your future direction some time before the end of 2009.

It has been a pleasure working with you and we regret any inconveniencethat this move may cause, but given the circumstances we believeit is the best decision for all parties involved. Please feel free to email me at glen.davies@canterbury.ac.nz if you have any questionsabout the above, or wish to discuss this further."
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