Higher Education and FOSS for E-Learning: The Role of Organizational Sub-Cultures in Enterprise-Wide Adoption

Higher Education and FOSS for E-Learning: The Role of Organizational Sub-Cultures in Enterprise-Wide Adoption

Shahron Williams van Rooij (George Mason University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-917-0.ch004
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Abstract

This paper examines the paradox of FOSS adoption in U.S. institutions of higher education, where campus-wide deployment of FOSS for e-learning lags far behind adoption for technical infrastructure applications. Drawing on the fields of organizational management, information systems, and education, the author argues that the gap between the advocacy for FOSS teaching and learning applications and the enterprise-wide deployment of FOSS for e-learning is a consequence of the divergent perspectives of two organizational sub-cultures—the technologist and the academic—and the extent to which those sub-cultures are likely to embrace FOSS. The author recommends (a) collaborative needs analysis/assessment prior to a go/no go adoption decision, and (b) broad dissemination of total cost of ownership (TCO) data by institutions deploying FOSS for e-learning enterprise-wide. This discussion satisfies e-learning administrators and practitioners seeking research-based, cross-disciplinary evidence about the FOSS decision-making process and also assists educators in graduate degree programs seeking to expand student knowledge of e-learning technology options.
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Background

Before addressing the role of organizational sub-cultures on U.S. higher education adoption of FOSS for e-learning, a clarification of the terminology used in this paper is in order, particularly regarding e-learning, and the various e-learning technologies. The concepts of organizational culture, sub-culture, and technology adoption will then be addressed.

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