March 3, 2004

Sakai and the Four Cs of Open Source

The 2003 Campus Computing Survey reveals that about one-third of all college courses make some use of a CMS, up from 15 percent in
2000. Equally significant in tracking the rise of CMS: fully four-fifths (82 percent) of the colleges and universities participating in the 2003
Campus Computing Survey report that their institution has established a "single product standard" for the campus CMS--typically Blackboard or WebCT.

CMS emerged in response to an institutional need: how do we "make it easy" for faculty to use the Web in instruction? While CMS may not be the
mythical "killer app" of the Internet, CMS products--from Blackboard, eCollege, WebCT and other providers--have certainly become an integral component
of campus IT offerings.

In the language of business school profs, CMS looks like a mature market with immature products. From the market side, more than 80 percent of the
potential buyers--in this case colleges and universities--have made a commitment to a single product standard. But the products are young, the product
category less than a decade old. Consequently, it is not surprising, given the relative youth of the product category and the corporate providers,
that campus conversations, chat rooms, and articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education document concerns about upgrades software bugs, and, of
course, the rising cost of the CMS license.


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