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Open Source

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Open Source... Serensoft Style

How to  support an Open source solution even though your IT resources are stretched tight

Serensoft can help. We recognize that Institutional IT resources are limited. Serensoft lives in the world of Open source. We maintain very close ties to the user communities for Sakai and OSPortfolio. We test new features and functionality as they become available... and we help deploy them into institutions like yours. Instead of committing your precious IT resources to learning about various open source initiatives in detail, leverage Serensoft's skill set and keep your team focused on what's important. Use the economies of scale that Serensoft provides.

Technical implementation is important, but what about the Users?

The question becomes not "can I download and install the software and get it running?" but rather "how do I get the technology (brand new technology to most faculty) diffused out to the user community?"

Adoption is not a Given

You can't simply put an Electronic Portfolio system out there on a server somewhere, point the faculty to it and say "Have fun." Sure, for some people that may be adequate... but not for many. Even for the one-in-20 or one-in-30 for which that may be adequate, are you striving for 'adequate' or are you looking for self-sufficient users?

Technical Implementation is important but a relatively small piece of the whole picture. DIFFUSION of the technology is much more complex and difficult. Technology Diffusion goes beyond a couple of discrete training sessions. Rather it involves an involved process of working directly with the users (and IT) through an iterative approach to learning.

Serensoft's Providence Methodology ties together iterative learning and diffusion of technology through the 7 components of ProvidenceSM. We like to think of ProvidenceSM as a practical, yet holistic approach to institutional technology.

Serensoft focuses on Diffusion AND the technical facets of implementation, through ProvidenceSM.

e-Portfolios

If you ask 10 different people for their definition of an e-portfolio system, you will get 8 different answers -- or maybe 12! While it is true that electronic portfolios are not as clearly defined as, say, Learning Management Systems (LMS), there are simple ways of looking at this complex topic.

Electronic Portfolios are considered by an institution for a number of reasons. The majority of the functionality of an e-Portfolio is designed from two perspectives - the student perspective and the institutional perspective. Virtually all of the functionality of an e-Portfolio falls into one or both of these two perspectives.

Let's explore this a bit. If an institution is simply looking at an Electronic Portfolio for how a student may use it to store 'artifacts' and present them in particular formats (like a resume), there are several commercial tools and services available for schools that charge a per-student monthly fee. These solutions look at e-portfolios from the student perspective This puts all the control in the hands of the individual student, but is of limited or no value from an institutional perspective.

When an institution has more complex needs... needs that require a student to be able to demonstrate specific achievements or competencies relative to a customized set of standards (whether they be state, Federal or institutional standards), more robust capabilities are required. The academic departments need to be able to specify what those standards are and allow the individual to associate specific artifacts to specific standards set up and established by the faculty or department head.

Serensoft will help you translate your standards into an Electronic Portfolio "Matrix". A single department may have many matrices customized to a specific pedagogy. The goal will be to allow students in different programs or cohorts to demonstrate through artifacts, reflection, faculty and peer review the ability to demonstrate that they have met the established standards. This level of institutional control also fosters a 'cumulative learning' on the part of students — something that is much more difficult to achieve without an e-Portfolio.

Get to Know Us

Serensoft is a services company. We are focused on what is best for our higher education clients. Serensoft listens to you and is able to offer a range of solutions... and the open-source solutions have no software licensing cost whatsoever. Looking out for your institution's best interests is central to Serensoft's Providence MethodologySM. Whether it's Learning Management / Course Management Systems, Electronic Portfolios, or Administrative Computing -- Serensoft listens and designs fully-customized solutions aimed at your institutional needs.