Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 191–209 | Cite as

Open Source software in US higher education: Reality or illusion?

  • Shahron Williams van Rooij


As institutions of Higher Education try to balance limited resources with the rising costs of technology, some institutions are turning to Open Source software for campus-wide applications such as course management systems and portals. The assumption is that Open Source will provide the flexibility to build pedagogically sound learning environments while increasing technology efficiencies. This paper outlines the current state of Open Source software deployment in US Higher Education based on a survey of 772 Chief Academic Officers and Chief Information Officers conducted in 2006. The results indicate that Carnegie classification is a critical differentiator of awareness, adoption, and perceptions of Open Source software applications, with perceived cost of ownership being the key driver of Open Source adoption. Moreover, the study shows that institutions have made little progress in the development of polices and procedures for Open Source regulatory compliance and security. The study serves as a baseline for future research into the conditions for successful use of Open Source for supporting integrated learning environments that deliver campus-wide efficiencies.


Open Source software Institutions of higher education Information systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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