Computing & Information Services

Murdock Open Source Initiative
Progress Report - July 2008

Re-implementation of existing software –– We merged and enhanced the student and alumni information systems (IRIS) and added features such as a new (commercial) emergency alert system.  We evaluated a number of open source development tools and selected Ruby on Rails for future software development.  IT staff are now receiving training in this technology.  A successful proof-of-concept software re-implementation using Railswas completed for the Residence Life housing lottery program and the Admission Office visit scheduling program.

Deployment of new software –– The courseware toolkit was deployed in fall 2007 and was used by roughly 60 faculty members and nearly two thirds of the students.  Software was written to enhance the toolkit and link it to our enterprise administrative system, Banner.  We initiated deployment of an identity management system with a tool that allows students and faculty to access the courseware toolkit, email, file storage, web publications, and other networked services by means of "single sign-on."  Back-end development of Reed's portal is underway.  Work is nearing completion on the deployment of Reed-hosted blogging system and a new file storage system.  We expect to go live with these new systems by the beginning of fall semester 2008.

Integration of internal, commercial, and open source software ––  We installed more than 70,000 images in our digital asset management system (CONTENTdm) and deployed a digital audio and video distribution service.  Both of these are commercial products.  We are now developing software to link each of these systems to our open source courseware and collaboration toolkit, Moodle

Staffing –– At the outset of the project we hired a System Programmer.  Unfortunately, he was forced to leave after several months due to personal reasons and we had to re-fill the position.  In November 2007 we hired a Web Programmer and in January 2008 we brought the Instructional Technologist position up to full-time.