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Original author(s) Greg Gay
Developer(s) ATutor development team
Initial release December 4, 2002 (2002-12-04) (1.0)[1]
Stable release

2.2.4  (June 19, 2018; 5 years ago (2018-06-19))

Preview release 2.2.3 B1  (Unknown) [±]
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in Multi-lingual
Type Learning management software
License(s) GNU General Public License v2.0

ATutor is free web-based open-source learning management software.

Product history

ATutor is based upon a graduate school project of primary developer Greg Gay. Following research in 1999 and 2000 by the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) at the University of Toronto regarding the accessibility of e-learning environments, Gay further developed his learning management ideas in an adaptive, accessible, open-source environment.[2] On February 23, 2001, Gay started an open-source SourceForge project for ATutor[3], and a stable 1.0 release arrived on December 4, 2002.[1]

By 2004, the source code was made publicly available in a Subversion repository, signaling a move towards distributed development.[2] On July 6, 2010, version 2.0 was released, featuring restructured code and a new look and feel among other improvements.[4]

Blackboard Inc. patent dispute

On January 17, 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted learning management software developer Blackboard Inc. U.S. patent 6,988,138 for "Internet-based education support system and methods." The patent established Blackboard's claims to certain features of course management systems.[5][6]

The Software Freedom Law Center filed a request on behalf of ATutor and two other clients with the U.S. Patent Office to re-examine Blackboard's patent in November 2006, and in January 2007 the request was approved on the basis of prior art cited by the Center raising "substantial" questions.[7] In February 2007, Blackboard addresses the concerns raised within the education software and academic communities, announcing it had made a pledge to not assert its patent rights against open-source and non-profit software projects like ATutor.[8][9]

Blackboard would eventually go on to abandon U.S. patent 6,988,138 in early 2010, and in November that year the company's legal counsel announced the patent's "official termination" and stated that Blackboard had ended its appeals.[10]

Awards and recognition

In 2007, ATutor won a $50,000 prize in the Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration.[11]

In 2008, ATutor won a Gold Learning Impact Award from the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a recognition of using "technology in context."[12]

In 2009, Greg Gay and others received a Delegates Award for a Microsoft-sponsored W4A Web Accessibility Challenge.[13]


The main features of ATutor include[14]:

  • IMS/ISO AccessForAll support
  • support for SCORM 1.2 LMS-RTE3
  • social networking support
  • current events
  • password encryption
  • course management
  • enrollment management
  • messaging system
  • student and work groups
  • document management
  • blog and chat tools
  • content tracking
  • testing
  • glossary
  • query tools
  • reporting

Hardware/software requirements

Installation requirements for Dokeos 1.8.6 (sadly installation guides for 2.0 and 2.1 don't seem to exist) include:

  • Apache web server
  • PHP 5.0.2 or greater with specific libraries installed
  • MySQL 4.1.10 or greater

Consult the documentation for more information on necessary PHP libraries.

Videos, screenshots, and other media

  • Video tutorials for ATutor can be found on YouTube.
  • Screenshots of ATutor can be found on SourceForge.
  • A demo of ATutor is available via the ATutor site.
  • Documentation for ATutor can be found here.

Entities using ATutor

Further reading

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "ATutor News". Adaptive Technology Resource Center. Archived from the original on 12 February 2003. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gay, Greg (6 October 2009). "ATutor LMS: a case study". University of Oxford. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  3. "ATutor (Learning Management System)". SourceForge. Retrieved 05 Janaury 2013. 
  4. "ATutor - Change Log". Retrieved 05 Janaury 2013. 
  5. Pope, Justin (15 October 2006). "E-Learning Firm Sparks Controversy With Software Patent". The Washington Post. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  6. "Patent US6988138: Internet-based education support system and methods". Google. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  7. "Patent Office Orders Re-Examination of Blackboard Patent". Software Freedom Law Center. 25 January 2007. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  8. Hammer, Ben (19 February 2007). "Blackboard: Patent won't be used against nonprofits". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  9. "The Blackboard Patent Pledge". Blackboard Inc. Archived from the original on 2010 April 1. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  10. Keller, Josh (30 November 2010). "Blackboard Drops Appeals on Software Patent". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 05 January 2013. 
  11. "Recipients of 2007 Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration Announced". 10 December 2007. Retrieved 05 Janaury 2013. 
  12. "IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces 2008 Learning Impact Award Recipients" (PDF). IMS Global Learning Consortium. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 05 Janaury 2013. 
  13. "W4A Best Paper Awards". W4A. Retrieved 05 Janaury 2013. 
  14. "ATutor Features". Retrieved 05 January 2013.