Open Education has a long history or utilizing and re-purposing tools including services like Facebook and Twitter to support learning and teaching. Increasingly within education, and more widely in society, there is greater awareness of the implications of using such services. Greater digital literacy and legislation, such as the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is leading people to question where and how their data is used. As a consequence more people are considering alternatives in which they have more control of content and data.
The internet has a rich tradition of developing open source and free tools and some of these like WordPress have been extended by the community to replicate functionality of many of the most popular existing services. This open ethos also extends to the infrastructure used to host websites and still the majority of websites are served on the combination of four open source technologies Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, collectively known as a LAMP stack (Netcraft, 2017). Given it’s popularity the majority of web hosting companies will often use a LAMP stack and there are a number of tools that make it easy to deploy web applications like WordPress in a couple of clicks.
However, as web applications get more complex they have been developed to use different server infrastructure. While many of these new server infrastructures are still open source one of the struggles technologists, faculty, and students face with exploring new web applications such as Discourse, Ghost, Mastodon, and MatterMost is that they do not run on a standard LAMP stack (Mann, 2012). Currently, this often means an independent server would need to be configured for each of these applications which would then require additional time, overhead, and often IT intervention. Any one of which can be an immediate deal breaker for introducing a wide range of learning tools.
A solution for this is to use ‘platform virtualization’. Virtualization allows you to create virtual environment using your existing hardware. Whilst virtualization has been around the 1960s open source projects like Docker have improved accessibility and functionality allowing projects to distribute themselves and server configuration as a package (Owens, 2017). This presentation will look at how open source virtualized platforms can make using a wide-range of new-generation applications just one-click away. As part of this discussion will examine how a next generation infrastructure can empower learners to take more control of their work making the next generation of web applications open to all.
Mann, B., 2012. “The New Hack Stack” Retrieved January 24, 2018, from http://blog.bmannconsulting.com/new-hack-stack
Netcraft, 2017. December 2017 Web Server Survey. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from https://news.netcraft.com/archives/2017/12/26/december-2017-web-server-survey.html
Owens, T. 2017. “Beyond Lamp” Retrieved January 24, 2018, from https://blog.timowens.io/beyond-lamp/