Computing & Information Services

Murdock Open Source Initiative
Progress Report - January 2009

Re-implementation of existing software –– Our online course registration system (SOLAR) was completely rewritten in Ruby-on-Rails, our newly-adopted programming framework.  While we had not initially planned to migrate SOLAR first, we adjusted the project schedule to accommodate the Registrar's needs.  Staff have continued training in Ruby-on-Rails and have started migrating other web applications, such as Alumni e-postcardsand Admission visit registration.  Migration of the core IRIS portal system is underway.  Once completed, all project programmers will begin migrating existing IRIS modules to Rails.

Deployment of new software –– The new account management system initiated last spring has been implemented for student, faculty, staff and alumni, who are now able to use it for access to the IRIS portal and other network services.  A new file storage system was deployed for students and faculty this fall. A blogging system was implemented and a number of blogs are now publicly available for Chemistry news, the Reed Canyon, and other topics. The courseware toolkit (Moodle) was rolled out campus-wide. In January, Reed hosted a workshop for programmers from ten private colleges to collaborate on the development of Moodle enhancements and extensions.

Integration of internal, commercial, and open source software –– We completely rebuilt the user interface for the CONTENTdm digital asset management system to improve image panning, zooming, and slideshow capabilities.  Our digital audio and video site, hosted in Apple's iTunesU, was launched in fall 2008, with approximately 270 tracks.  Initial programming is underway to enable Moodleto receive audio & video feeds from iTunes U. 

Staffing –– At the end of November the system programmer left to work in the private sector, thereby slowing down work on several grant projects. We have a recruitment underway now to fill the position. In mid-December the instructional technologist left to return to teaching.  We have reassigned our foreign language instructional technologist to provide project support for the balance of the grant period.  At the conclusion of the grant we will evaluate our long term need for instructional technology support and maintain, modify, or eliminate this position as circumstances dictate.