Trends and Advances

Trends and Advances

Chao Lee (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-376-0.ch012
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Abstract

In this chapter, we will discuss the advances in open source products and the trends in the technologies used for developing online teaching/learning systems. The topics of trends and advances discussed in previous chapters will be summarized in this chapter. We will also look at new features and new ideas in the application of the open source products that will potentially have an impact on the online teaching/ learning systems. The discussion will start with the advances in the network related open source tools. As more and more university courses are taught online, there is an increasing demand for faster and more reliable network technologies. A lot of effort has been made to improve network hardware and software. In this chapter, we will examine some of the new network and telecommunication related technologies and how these new technologies will impact online teaching and learning. Then, we will look at the advances in server operating systems and services. We will investigate the trends in server software, hardware, and services. We will discuss the new and emerging technologies that can potentially improve servers’ performance and reliability.
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Background

Using open source products in e-learning is one of the trends in the area of e-learning technology. The open source products such as Web 2.0, Linux, Moodle, Apache, MySQL, and PHP are gaining popularity among higher education institutions. Many factors are contributing to this movement. Online teaching/learning systems are one of the major costs of universities’ operations. By using the open source products, universities can significantly reduce their spending on the online teaching/learning systems. The usability of the open source products has been improved significantly. The Firefox Web browser is such an example. Open source product companies are also making more effort on marketing and on support for their products.

The open source approach will continue to be a main way of inventing new technologies. MacManus (2007) picked the open source movement as the most promising trend for the Web in 2008. He predicted that Web browsers, social networks, mobile Web, open data, open ad networks, and microformats would significantly influence Web-based computing. Torkington (2007) has summarized some trends in the open source approach. One is to strengthen the effort to convince users to adopt the open source products by improving the usability, marketing, and support. The second one is to adopt the business models which embrace the open source strengths. Another trend is to resolve the scaling and platform challenges for Web 2.0. Also, there is a trend to extend open source to the territory of proprietary software, hardware, and data.

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