03 February 2010

Welcome to the Free Technology Academy

How did I miss this amazing project?

The expansion of Free Software has brought together a continually growing global community of developers, by offering solid quality products which have not gone unnoticed in business, government and academic circles. Big players such as Novell, IBM and SUN have brought Free Software into their business models, and many more SMEs provide professional services around Free Software. The European Commission and many national, regional and local governments have started adopting open standards and show a preference for Free Software to cover their IT needs.

Although there is a growing interest in free technologies (Free Software and Open Standards), still a limited number of IT professionals, teachers and decision makers have sufficient knowledge and expertise in these fields. This is particularly problematic since these are crucial actors in promoting and implementing free technologies.

So where does the Free Technology Academy fit in?

In order to tackle this problem, the Free Technology Academy (FTA) is being set up as a distance learning programme. This distance learning programme consists of specific modules to enable IT professionals, students, teachers and decision makers to upgrade knowledge and acquire relevant skills on free technologies. Those users interested in getting a master degree could complete their study and get a master degree at one of the participating universities.


The FTA's main goals are twofold. First, to set up a virtual campus offering course modules on Free Software and Open Standards with teaching staff from the participating institutions; and second, to become a showcase of a virtual campus based on FS, OS and the use of Open Educational Resources, in order to promote its use in other institutions. The programme will acquire its shape through close cooperation between higher education institutions and
social and private organisations.

To this end a virtual campus is created where open educational materials are available and users will be able to follow specific course modules on:

1. the Introduction to Free Software and Open Standards;
2. the GNU/Linux Operating System;
3. Network Technologies;
4. Web Applications development;
5. Economical models;
6. Legal aspects of the Information Society;
7. Software development and
8. Case studies.

Even better:

Educational materials in the FTA will be released under free licenses in line with the philosophy of the free knowledge and open educational resources movement. The educational content necessary to complete the curriculum will be developed using the SELF platform, a tool for the collaborative development of educational materials. These materials will comply with dominant open standards such as SCORM and IMS, thus enabling the seamless exchange with other educational platforms.

Sounds a perfect storm of open source, open content, open courseware and open educational resources. Kudos. (Via LWN.net.)

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