Edu #Drupal Unconsortium




I highly recommend that anyone interested in open source, open education,  collaboration between universities, the future of higher education, Drupal, Moodle –  innovation in general , watch the video  presentation by Zach Chandler (Stanford University), Brian Wood (UC Berkley),  and Shaun DeArmond at DrupalCon Portland this week. (at the end of this blog post)

 So incredibly sad to have miss DrupalCon this year, hoping for DrupalCon Austin in 2014.

“Unconsortium: The next phase of collaboration in Higher Ed”  is a project very dear to my hippy-ed-tech-open-source heart.  Every compelling piece feels like an echo of the goals we sought by launching Open Royal Roads.

We are all laboring in isolation on our various campuses, solving the same use cases over and over again –  we’re not sharing code in any meaningful way with each other…. This is counter to academic communities work… we want to stand on the shoulders of our peers instead of reinventing the wheel over and over again.

Yes! And after launching Open RRU, within a week,  we found peers at the University of Montreal  ready to contribute to two separate modules we were sharing.  Within a month, they shared back our Moodle 2.1 module, now upgraded to 2.3. The speed of sharing, eclipses isolated development.

Perfect is enemy of the good.

When we decided to release our  RRU Moodle & Drupal code on Github, we did so knowing the code wasn’t perfect.  What we did know was that we wanted to remove customizations to core (Moodle) by having our code accepted into core, we wanted to contribute back more often, but that for various reasons, time and resources we were holding onto code far too long – waiting for perfection?  Maybe. Release early, release often.

We share the same use cases.

Using Drupal features, allows us to share our solutions for those use cases, but this project I believe has potential to overflow into  an entirely new (and much needed) ecosystem of sharing –  sharing of  ideas, design concepts, research in technology development for higher education.


If you are working with Drupal in higher education you can  REGISTER HERE to start participating in EDUDU.  If you have ideas about how to best collaborate in this new community, we would appreciate some feedback HERE.

On a personal note, for those that don’t already know, I have recently left RRU to pursue new challenges.  In large part because I want to more fully participate in open initiatives (like this), while being challenged as a developer.  RRU was very good to me,  I learned a lot and am already missing so many colleagues, but.. it was the right time. If plans go well, I hope to be more involved in this project. I’ll of course credit my ongoing contribution to Mozilla  as being life changing influence in all of these goals.  Anyway!  Enjoying some time exploring new possibilities, and of course some extra time with my girls :)

Image credits: NASA on The Commons , Open Source Way