Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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Costello, E;Johnston, K;Wade, V
Interactive Learning Environments
Crowded house: an analysis of how the Virtual Learning Environment Moodle is built via bug tracker participants
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This research investigated how the bug tracker database of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle is developed as an application of crowd work. The bug tracker is used by software developers, who write and maintain Moodle's code, but also by a wider public world of ordinary Moodle users who can report bugs. Despite many studies of the phenomenon of open source bug fixing and software building, much remains to be answered. Specifically, we sought to analyse the implications of this massively distributed collaborative development process for education and educational technology. The research examined the ways educators interface and contribute to the development of the VLE Moodle at the granular level of bug fixing as an example of a global crowdsourced activity. In this study, twenty community participants were interviewed, from fringe members, to key actors, including lead developers from the Open University, Moodle HQ and Moodle founder Martin Dougiamas. We uncovered rich stories of practices of community members. We found that projects are complex interplays of many actors assuming different roles and identities, and that brokers, or "kindly souls", play a key role in activities such as filing reports on behalf of others, or inducting new members.
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