Currently Harvard Extension's online copyright course
(http://copyx.org/) uses a service conducted by Adobe Inc.
There are two main problems with Harvextensionard's using this service
1. It forces students who decide to take the online course to hand over
personal information to Adobe Inc., which other than the service has
nothing to do with the class.
2. It forces students to run proprietary software on their computers. In
order to use the service, students must install an Adobe plug-in (either
the Adobe Connect plug-in or Adobe Flash) to utilize the service.
Adobe uses this power-grab to gauge Harvard of money via vendor lock-in,
of course. It probably (most likely) spies on Harvard and its students
in various ways.
At any rate, the professor is interested in replacing Adobe Connect with
Jitsi if--and only if--it is modified to become a suitable replacement
functionality-wise. Is this something that the development community is
interested in doing?
$$ Money $$
So, the other part of this is how do we pay the team that makes the
improvements. The current proposal is to crowdfund via
https://www.crowdsupply.com/ -- is this something that would be
agreeable with the Jitsi development team?
The big question is /how much would an undertaking like this cost?/ When
the developers reading this have the chance, please propose some quotes
based on desires and needs stated by the class' team (detailed below).
If an exact number is difficult to pinpoint, please let me know between
what range might it cost as well as an acceptable hourly rate for
members of the development team who would work on this project.
The functionality desired by Harvard's team is the following (as
described by a TA for the class):
Requirements for CopyrightX collaboration tool — Draft, 1/14/2016
For Devin Ulibarri and the Jitsi project
* (Asterisk) indicates feature present in Adobe Connect
Structural needs (that are currently met through Adobe Connect):
• Dedicated, medium-term tech support (most of our users have little
to no technical know-how, and because class time is very limited, we
need to be able to troubleshoot issues in real-time during the course’s
operation from January to May)*
• Off-site hosting*
• 25-30 simultaneous users at a time*
(Devin's NOTE: I do not know if the /really/ want "Off-site hosting" --
I think the TA's and teachers just do not want to have to think about it
too much. I do know one person on the Harvard IT team that may be able
to assist if we want to try and host it at Harvard)
• Audio chat*
• Text chat*
• Presentation sharing (screen sharing)*
• Ability to track attendance*
Features that would be nice:
• Breakout groups*
• Ability for students to meet on their own without a teaching fellow
or admin present
• Ability for users to attend a different section (without manual
intervention and without distorting attendance data)
• Single sign-on*
• Ability to track participation*
• Ability to look at bandwidth statistics
• Ability to look at login attempts for users
• Ability to upload presentation material, i.e., PowerPoint slides*
• Ability to limit access to the meeting and/or remove participants
from the meeting*
(Devin's NOTE: Harvard is forking over thousands--maybe ten's of
thousands--of dollars to Adobe for their current service, so really I
think some kind of recurring fee for Jitsi-as-a-service is justifiable
given that it doesn't compromise the ideals of 1. protecting
student/school privacy and 2. software freedom)