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Open Source in Higher Education 2007
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Open Source in Higher Education 2007


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  • 1. An Overview of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) that can be used in Online Learning Steve Sorden [email_address] e-Learning Institute May 22, 2007 (
  • 2. Disclaimer
    • Most of the applications discussed today are not supported by ITS.
    • Please do not contact the Solution Center requesting support for them. Open Source applications generally are well-supported through online forums devoted to a particular application.
    • *Also, my focus was on applications for Windows, but most of these also work on Mac and/or Linux.
  • 3. Why FOSS?
    • Great value for Education.
    • Education can benefit greatly from FOSS, and education can often give back to society by supporting FOSS. Many OSS projects around the world are supported by groups in education.
    • Especially important for K-12 as OLPC programs and One-to-one initiatives take hold.
  • 4. Philosophy behind Open Source
    • Not necessarily free, but the source code is available to inspect and modify.
    • Generally a democratic way of working.
    • Not just limited to software:
      • Creative Commons -
      • OER Commons -
      • Ogg Vorbis -
      • Openlaw -
  • 5. What is “Free” Software
    • My definition of Free software for this presentation is simply that it's given away free of charge.
    • Richard Stallman and others would probably disagree with this: The Free Software Definition
    • My focus is more on functional definition of free and how it can benefit cash-strapped schools and students/families.
  • 6. Tools to aid Online Learning
    • From the perspective of the
      • School (licensing savings, control over process)
      • Instructor (increase opportunities and experiences for students, facilitate instruction)
      • Student (reduce costs, increase opportunities)
  • 7. Obvious & Successful Projects
    • Open Source
    • Linux
    • Apache Web Server
    • MySQL database
    • Sakai, Moodle
    • Wikipedia
    • Proprietary
    • Skype
    • Trillian, MSN, Yahoo
    • StarOffice 8
      • StarOffice Demo:
  • 8. Learning Management Systems
    • Most of us are familiar with Sakai and Moodle, but there are several other LMS's that are maturing.
    • ATutor (Canada) -
    • Claroline (Belgium) -
    • Dokeos (Belgium) -
    • .LRN (U.S. - MIT)
    • For more suggestions, see
  • 9.
    • A completely self-contained desktop that fits on a USB flash drive or other portable storage device.
    • Includes popular Open Source applications
    • Transport your files, bookmarks, and email
    • Runs XAMPP from your flash drive
  • 10.
    • XAMPP is a very easy to install web development platform. The package includes the Apache web server, MySQL, PHP, Perl, a FTP server and phpMyAdmin.
    • It is a great tool for development and testing, as well as having a complete environment on your laptop, but don't leave it permanently running. It is not secure.
    • Moodle has a self-contained XAMPP version
  • 11.
    • Free Flagstaff phone number that can be posted in contact information.
    • Local phone numbers are available for most cities.
    • Messages can be checked online or emailed to you anywhere in the world.
    • Not Open Source. A division of NetZero
    • Jason Edington recommends GrandCentral.
  • 12. Content Management Systems
    • From Wikipedia: “Used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing documentation such as news articles, operators' manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures.” Some of the more popular CMS's include:
    • Drupal -
    • Joomla -
    • Mambo
    • PHPNuke -
    • PostNuke -
    • Xoops -
    • DotNetNuke ( -
  • 13. Content Mapping Software
    • Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)
      • See also
    • CMAP
  • 14.
    • Use EasyVMX to create a virtual machine that can then run with Vmware's free tool.
    • Vmware does not appear to endorse EasyVMX
    • Microsoft also has a free virtualization product called VirtualPC.
  • 15.
    • ePresence is an Open Source Webcasting solution produced by the U. of Toronto
    • It broadcasts live events and archives events for later viewing.
  • 16.
    • From their site ( ):
    • “Google Docs & Spreadsheets is a free web-based word processing and spreadsheet program that keeps documents current and lets the people you choose update files from their own computers. You can, for example, coordinate your student group's homework assignments, access your family to-do list from work or home, or collaborate with remote colleagues on a new business plan.”
  • 17.
    • From the site ( ): “GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.”
  • 18.
    • From the site ( ):
    • “ Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.”
  • 19.
    • Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for several operating systems.
    • You can use Audacity to:
    • Record live audio.
    • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
    • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
    • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
    • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
    (LAME encoder library is needed to output in MP3 format.)
  • 20.
    • Wink is a screen recording application that is comparable to Captivate or Camtasia. It is not as powerful, but free. It creates output in Flash, executables (.exe), & PDF.
    • Windows & Linux versions.
  • 21. Development Tools
    • These tools can be used to learn new technologies like XHTML, CSS, XML, JavaScript, Java, and PHP.
    • Add XAMPP and you have a self-contained, independent development environment.
    • NVU -
    • Kompozer -
    • PSPad code editor -
    • PHPEclipse -
  • 22. Password & Info Security
    • Portable Apps uses KeePass.
    • PINs also secures and encrypts information.
  • 23.
    • 7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio.
    • It is 100% free, Open Source software.
    • Supported formats:
      • Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
      • Unpacking only: RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS
  • 24. Screen Capture Utilities
    • SnagIt is a great piece of software for $29.
    • Two Open Source screen capture utilities are:
      • MWSnap – The closest I could find to SnagIt
      • Gadwin Printscreen (very limited function)
  • 25. PDF Generation
    • PDFCreator by pdfforge is a nice little application that let's you create PDFs from any program that is able to print.
    • Encrypt PDFs and protect them from being opened, printed etc.
    • Merge multiple files into one PDF
    • There is also one that I haven't tried called PrimoPDF -
  • 26. Streaming Media Recorders
    • SDP Multimedia for Microsoft Media Server (MMS) files. Works like a VCR. Can record multiple files and can be set to automatically record.
    • Test SDP with these feeds:
    • However, if you feel that you will need to do this often for various streaming formats, you might want to investigate Replay A/V8 at $49.
  • 27.
    • Wikipedia is the most famous example of a wiki.
    • ITS offers Microsoft Sharepoint, Confluence, and Sakai Wiki as wiki or collaboration solutions.
    • A good general OS wiki is dokuwiki.
    • It runs with PHP, but doesn't need a database.
  • 28.
    • “ WordWeb ( ) is a free English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows, and can be used to look up words from within almost any program in just one click. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.” Features of the free version include:
    • Definitions and synonyms
    • Proper nouns
    • Related words
    • Pronunciations
    • 150 000 root words
    • 120 000 synonym sets
    • Look up words in almost any program
  • 29. The Guide
    • Nice application for outlining & note-taking
  • 30. Some FOSS Web Sites
    • PC World’s 101 Fantastic Freebies
    • The 46 Best Ever Freeware Utilities
    • The Extended Best-ever Freebies
    • Mohawke’s Best of the Best Free and Open Source Software Collection
    • Seul/Edu Educational Application Index
    • Open Source Mac (Free, Open Source software for OS X)
    • Office Applications Toolkit – ZDNet reviews of OS software
  • 31. An Overview of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) that can be used in Online Learning Steve Sorden [email_address] e-Learning Institute May 22, 2007 A PDF version of this Impress slide show can be downloaded at: