Skip to main content

OpenSource in Education

After a long silence I'm back. Since I've landed my new lecturer role I have been busy creating Schemes of Work, Lesson Plans and researching ways to increase resources for students so they may have a better learning experience.

In fact, it is the former of the items that this article relates to. The first obvious question is why? Well, the college that I am in provides tuition for international students, who have given up a lot to come here and study. Many of these students are struggling to find work to support themselves during their studies, so if they require resources "free" is a keyword.

These type of resources, that I refer to here, are mostly concerned with software. So let's get started.

OpenOffice.org

Students will be using Writer for all their courses, Calc for subjects relating to maths, economics, accounting, etc, Impress for subjects that require students to present.

There are a number of reasons for selecting this application:

  1. It is open source which means that the students do not need to look for cheaper alternatives to Microsoft Office. This encouraged students to be proactive in their learning and inspired them to install the software at home and work on their assignments in their own time
  2. It is a recognised alternative to MS Office
  3. Generous licensing terms in distributing the application
  4. Encourages collaboration between students so that they may share work and study together. In fact lecturers here have picked up on this and are sharing documents with students. Unfortunately, with Office 2007 it is easy to forget to "Save as" an older version to share with others.
Mac users will benefit from NeoOffice.

Dia

While OpenOffice.org has a Draw application, which many students are using effectively, what if they want to produce Flowcharts, UML diagrams, etc?

This application was slightly inspired by Microsoft Visio but is aimed towards a more casual approach to drawing diagrams. You can also export diagrams to many formats including PNG and SVG.

Notepad++

A very decent text editor, with support for many different languages and can integrate with the compiler of a number of languages.

I currently use this to teach Java programming.

jMemorize or FreeMind

The students still need to revise and work on improving their memorising capabilities. jMemorize uses the flash card technique which are familiar with. Alternatively, FreeMind, makes use of the mind mapping technique and is sometimes used to create a site links page for web sites.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Open Source alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite

With the take over of Macromedia by Adobe, they have increased their arsenal of design packages, as well as the price. No-one can do pretty much without the popular package of Photoshop for their images, and Dreamweaver for websites, especially aspiring design students who do not have much money.

Nevertheless, open source software has come to save the day. What is open source software? In a nutshell it is free software with its source-code freely available to those who would like to expand or improve on the software. To expand further, anyone who’s tinkered with the source code such as optimisation or additional functionality can resubmit it back to the holders and let others enjoy the fruits of your labour.

I have trawled through the World Wide Web to find out how everyone can benefit from Open Source to build up their own studio and compete against Adobe Creative Suite. All this for free, apart from the cost of the Internet. I am planning to have a facility where you can purchase th…

Open Source alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite update

Oh yes, an update to an earlier post about getting hold of free or Open Source alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite.

I actually forgot to mention about Adobe ImageReady, which gets bundled with Photoshop. There are a number of basic animation tools, but none provide flexibility similar to ImageReady. Fortunately, Open Source lovers are in for a surprise in the form of GIMP Animation Package. This link will take you to the Windows download site as I cannot find any references to this for the Mac OS. Chances are that it could be part of the Gimp.app download, but I haven't had time to inspect this.

The Creative Suite package includes Adobe Bridge, which is a thumbnail viewer to convert images and open them up in any Adobe application for editing. No matter how they would try to trump up its name, it is still a thumbnail viewer. The best free application out there for this is IrfanView. Need I say more?

Are there any pixel pushers out there, who prefer to simply draw their own pics? Why…

ASP Reverse For Loop

It's kind of interesting of how reverse linking does not seem so obvious in classic ASP.  You would think that it would be along the lines of:

dim i
for i = 30 to 2
  'code comes here
next

but it's not.  To have a reverse For loop it's:

dim i
for i = 30 to 2 Step-1
  'code comes here
next

That's right that small bit (Step-1) makes all the difference.  I stumbled upon this by chance and thought that someone would benefit from this.

Happy coding.Blogged with Flock