Open Software Jumpstarts Academic Communities

City University of New York (CUNY) researchers have developed Commons in a Box, an open source software platform that enables universities and other organizations to create academic communities for faculty, staff, administrators, and students. The software runs on WordPress and a plug-in for WordPress called BuddyPress. “When you build your own network, it’s meant to be very customizable and very flexible,” says CUNY Academic Commons’ Boone B. Gorges. “But with that kind of customizability comes a certain amount of complexity that was a barrier for a lot of people.” Commons is designed to make learning communities accessible for organizations that do not have the staff or funding to design their own communities. An installation manager guides users through the steps to get their site up and running, and the system will not let anyone deactivate one thing if that deactivation will break something else that is activated. “What we’re offering is a way for communities to really own their own data and their own spaces and to be in control of them, which we think is a pretty important move for higher education,” says CUNY Academic Commons director Matthew K. Gold.

To read more check out the full article at the Center for Digital Education.