2018-2019 Annual Report
The Apereo Foundation was five years old last year. Those five years have seen Apereo grow from a handful of software communities to seventeen, the establishment of a successful incubation process and the development of new partnerships to help deliver our mission. Our sixth year was one of further consolidation, review and open consultation. Early 2018 saw the elaboration and initial implementation of a two-year strategic plan for Apereo. After a period of community consultation culminating at Open Apereo 2018 in Montreal, the Foundation Board began to implement the plan.
The two-year strategic plan was organized around six key themes:
- Membership and Financial Health
- Communications and Outreach
- Development Opportunities and Recognition
- Software Community Health
- Foundation Services and New Ideas
1. Membership and Financial Health
Apereo is a membership organisation. The resources we gather and focus, whether financial contributions or volunteer effort, are the bricks that we build with. Open source software has had a significant impact on higher education, but that impact is not as great as in some other industries. Advocacy is central, therefore, to developing our membership further. That advocacy tends to naturally fall into three types; advocacy for openness in education, advocacy for open source software – particularly software produced by Apereo software communities – and advocacy for Apereo membership itself. Over the course of the last year, the Foundation Board have worked to refresh the ‘Join Apereo’ section of the Foundation website, and published two key resources on the value of open source software and the value of open source software to education. In the coming period the Foundation Board will be working with other volunteers to add resources to help develop advocacy further.
Partnerships are important to Apereo. The Foundation Board continue to explore practical collaboration with other organisations with congruent or overlapping missions. Members of the LAMP consortium of small colleges participate in the Apereo Teaching and Learning Community, and Apereo software communities. Ian Dolphin, the Foundation Executive Director will speak at the forthcoming LAMP Camp in Kentucky in July. The Board continues to explore how the two organisations can more effectively and practically work together to further our respective missions.
The relationship between Apereo and ESUP-Portail, an open-source consortium representing around 80% of French higher education, continues to grow in depth and breadth. Apereo software adoption is growing in France, with significant new pilots of the Karuta ePortfolio system and Shuhari learning analytics stack adding to the established use of uPortal, CAS, and the Open Academic Environment. Representatives of Apereo and ESUP-Portail continue to meet, virtually and face-to-face, four times per year, and Mathilde Guerin sits on the Apereo Foundation Board as a representative of ESUP- Portail. Both organisations maintain close contact with the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
Apereo maintains strong informal contact with a number of other organisations among them PESC (the driving force behind our incubating EDexchange Project) and SoLAR (the Society for Learning Analytics Research). Several leading members of SoLAR are involved in our incubating OnTask software community.
3. Communications and Outreach
Early in the year, a working group of board and other volunteers came together to review the Apereo website and establish directions for significantly refreshing the site. The group consulted via the Apereo open list (an index of Apereo mailing lists is available together with details of how to join) and solicited proposals from the community. Work is about to commence on refreshing the site, it will focus on a cleaner look and feel, reducing complexity under the hood, and simplifying navigation and terminology. Accessibility will be improved, and the entire site restructured to emphasize and promote advocacy. The refreshed website will introduce standardized descriptions for our software communities, including some basic software health metrics. Site developers will actively work to more effectively syndicate content from software community websites and other sources.
4. Development opportunities and recognition
Apereo will be reviewing and renewing its recognition programs, the Apereo Teaching and Learning
Awards (ATLAS) and Fellows program over the course of 20019-20.
5. Software Community Health
Adopters of open source software often report difficulty making an assessment of the health of the community developing that software. With this in mind, a working group drawn from a number of Apereo software communities established a set of core community health metrics. These are included in the software community section of this report and will be used in the software community descriptions on the reworked Apereo website. We anticipate the metrics being refreshed on a six monthly basis.
6. Foundation Services and New Ideas
Apereo deliberately maintains a minimal number of services, including management of intellectual property and licensing, events support, technical infrastructure, accounting and other community infrastructure. Our intention is not to replicate what is available elsewhere but to provide services that add distinctive value that could not be provided in another way. From time to time, suggestions for new services arise on Apereo mailing lists. A working group drawn from several Apereo software communities established a lightweight formal process by which new services might be suggested, or little used services withdrawn.
Individuals involved in Apereo work across, and influence, a range of organisations. They are involved in standards work such as IMSGlobal Learning Tools Interoperability and Caliper, in the emerging communities around learning analytics, and in a variety of regional and national groups. We promote our software, and our software communities by outreach, face to face events, our own webinars and those of other organisations. Of particular note was last year’s ELI Webinar “Building the Next Generation: Emerging Stories of the NGDLE”. An audience we sometimes don't reach, but one engaged in developing flexible institutional learning landscapes, learned about Apereo's capacity to be part of their local solution.Our message to Apereo members, and Apereo member organisations is “let’s make next year the year of engagement and advocacy”. We hope you will spread the word about the great work our community does to benefit education.
Apereo Foundation Board of Directors