The Chamilo Association is a non-profit association created in 2010 and pursuing the goal to improve the accessibility to a quality education all around the world. To that aim, we coordinate the development of a Free Software e-learning Management System (LMS) that has already touched the lives of more than 17 million users globally, including many in developing countries.
A few months ago, we were happy and impressed to discover the Digital Impact Alliance
‘s initiative in building a well-ordered list of Principles for Digital Development
Developing a solution to improve the accessibility of anything globally requires pretty naturally our team to respect the 9 Principles for Digital Development as:
- Designing with the user is a necessary requirement to reach areas where our public is not familiarized with computerized systems or do not have the capacity to use them. This is why, between other elements, Chamilo is considered the most usable e-learning platform by its community, and respects the accessibility standard WAI/WCAG at the highest level (AAA)
- Understanding the existing ecosystem is needed in order to provide our community with a platform that does not requires extreme resources to be used. Indeed, Chamilo can be installed and used on a Raspberry Pi device (a computer the size of a big matches box with minimal electric requirements)
- Designing for scale has been part of our achievements since day one, as our beginnings also matched the beginning of the cloud era. Many of our Chamilo installations run on clusters of many servers and can serve hundreds of thousands of users
- Building for sustainability is an ongoing goal. We provide free documentation in 3 different languages (some of the most understood globally) and publish all of our code, so that even if the Association was to disappear, others could continue the project. The association also encourages companies to build sustainable business models around the project, making it more resilient. To date, the Chamilo Association has registered 6 independent companies providing services based on the Chamilo platform
- Being data driven allows us to ensure our theories are confronted with the reality of the market, and that our platform remains relevant. Statistics are collected globally and at each portal’s level to allow for detailed analysis of users behaviours, all the while respecting their privacy through anonymization
- Using Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source and Open Innovation is what defines Chamilo above else in comparison with other similar pieces of software. All of our developments are public. We do not encourage the development of paying extensions. Following Open Standards allow us to ensure greater portability and compatibility with other systems. Our open forum and suggestions reporting platforms ensure Open Innovation is at the heart of our development process
- Reusing and Improving is part of our process as a strategy to reduce costs. Given the fact we develop a Free Software (and, as such, also an Open Source Software), we would have no benefits from not reusing compatible software and libraries that have already been developed by others. This allows us to focus on innovation that benefits our final users above all
- Addressing privacy and security is an important part of our activity. The Association is registered with the corresponding institutions for the protection of our users’ data, and our software is openly available for review by security experts. Any issue reported is currently fixed, and the fix published, under 72h of receiving the corresponding report
- Being collaborative makes our community great. We benefit from other people’s suggestions and points of view, ask for feedback, deliver public validation environments that encourages collaboration. Within the Association itself, all elected members are voluntary members who dedicate their time to reaching our common goal faster and more efficiently. We thrive through communication and shared contributions.
As an endorser of the Principles for Digital Development, the Chamilo Association will seek to embody the concepts the Principles represent in our ethos, our work culture, and in the policies and processes guiding our international development activities.
We wish to thank the Digital Impact Alliance for their efforts in organizing such principles, define them and building a community around them. We sincerely believe that ensuring more organization get to know and endorse these principles will help build a better future for all of us.