Collaborative Creation of Free Software in African Universities

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The African Virtual Open  Initiatives and Resources  (AVOIR) project, initiated by the University of the Western Cape (UWC), is a collaborative effort of several African higher education institutions. It attempts to create educational and business opportunities that contribute towards the development of Africa through Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development activities. It has taken an existing e-Learning platform application, Knowledge Environment for Web-based Learning (KEWL) that was developed at UWC, and rebuilt it to run on a FOSS platform. The new version of the software, KEWL.NextGen, and then the Chisimba Framework is based entirely on FOSS. An innovative modular architecture is implemented using a model view controller (MVC) design pattern and offers great flexibility to adapt the framework for any purpose. It also has unique features such as the support of offline authoring of content, Active Dynamic Mirroring, and instructional design capabilities.

AVOIR can be seen as an inclusive collaborative network. This means that anyone is welcome to join the network and start contributing to the  projects at any time. There are very few stipulations for new members of the network:

1.  All code submitted to the project(s) should be GPL licensed
2.  All documentation and subsidiary files should be CCBYSA licensed
3.  All communications should be open and transparent for the entire network to see
4.  Collaboration should be fostered at all times.
It can be said that there are four cornerstones of the AVOIR project. To ensure the success of any AVOIR node, these four cornerstones should be addressed as much as possible in equal amounts.

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