bsoco : Could you introduce your organization ?
Noa Orizales Iglesias : The Chamilo Association is a non-profit organization comprising a range of worldwide users, companies and institutions who, by means of their code contributions and donations, collaborate to support a project marked for its radical championing of the principles of free software. In this regard, our association differs from others in being:
• a 100% horizontal organization in which each formal member of the association has a vote. No matter whether you are a large company , a small organization, or simply an end-user, all members of the community enjoy equal rights.
• the owner of its own commercial brand (Chamilo), preventing take over by a single private company (as has happpened with Moodle or Dokeos, amongst others);
• a radical free software association that offers a permanent guarantee to users that the project will remain 100 % open source;
• an organisation which bases its funding policy on collective financial support.
bsoco : What are the latest trends in the field of e -learning?
Noa Orizales Iglesias : In e -learning the evident dominant trend is towards providing students with greater individual autonomy in establishing their own learning scenarios, enabling them to select the most appropriate tools to achieve their personal learning goals.
bsoco : Is Chamilo a free software solution?… What is your business model?
Noa Orizales Iglesias : Chamilo is an open source software that is distributed under GNU/GPL v3, the broadest of the existing open source licenses currently license. Any person or company therefore has the freedom to study the code, install the software, modify it and use it for both personal and commercial projects.
The Chamilo Association does not directly provide any professional service associated with Chamilo software. Funding for the Association comes though two different channels:
1) Subscriptions: Chamilo has individual partners, companies and institutions that provide annual contributions (starting at 25 €) to support the development of this project.
2) Support from official providers contributing an annual fee, developments and all the materials needed to make the project grow .
Official Chamilo providers are private companies whose business model is based on selling services around Chamilo software or complementary services. These companies sell training, content creation, custom developments etc. for Chamilo, to adapt it to meet each company or organization’s needs.
Through this model of collaborative work, we can reach more people, reduce the digital divide between technologically impoverished and developed countries, and promote the development of small and medium enterprises which, by virtue of this software, can compete in a globalized market.
bsoco : How do you see your organization in 5 year time?
Noa Orizales Iglesias : Currently we have over 7 million users in Chamilo worldwide, so in 5 years we would like to see Chamilo shine as a leading e -learning solution in the market of learning open source environments.
From the development team and in general from all areas of our community, we have been able to adapt quickly to changes demanded by users : simplify processes , adapt to new devices, develop ease of use, provide translation to different languages... and this gives us a significant advantage in positioning ourselves in the global market. We believe Chamilo will be one of the top 10 platforms featured in specialized e-learning forums over the next 5 years.
Far from disappearing, we believe the future belongs to a development model based on collaboration and not on competition. And there, free software has a lot to say and contribute.
bsoco : If anyone wants to test this software... what should that person do?
Noa Orizales Iglesias : In order to test Chamilo without downloading the software, users can create a free account in http://campus.chamilo.org and create their own courses.
They can also download the software from our website: www.chamilo.org/en/download
For any other issue they can contact us at [email protected]
bsoco : Thank you.