Aimed at e-Learning developers, this case study draws on the JISC-funded Cascade project’s experience of customizing the Moodle assignment module, to highlight the benefits and pitfalls of working with open source software.
This aspect of the Cascade project had two key challenges: (a) to specify requirements for enhanced assignment-handling functionality in Moodle; and (b) to develop the code itself. Both proved far more challenging than anticipated.
The experience of the project suggests that customizing open source software to meet the institution’s bespoke curriculum delivery requirements can result in the development of a robust system offering improved services to stakeholders, however there can be pitfalls. Key recommendations for other developers considering similar projects are:
- Define the processes involved before working on the development of software; a broken or unclear process cannot have an effective technological solution;
- Keep all stakeholders informed of what the final result will be, providing updates when the requirements/functionality change;
- Have everyone concerned with functionality and bug identification use an issue management system from the start of the project;
- Use version control to manage code, but keep it simple;
- Learn and work with the norms of the open source community for maximum wider benefit.
Read the full case study at: Cascade Case Study 2: Customizing open source software: benefits and pitfalls.