But why is it free?

9:05 pm Open source

The idea of open-source software is something that baffles a lot of people. They just can’t understand why so many talented developers would spend so much time producing and supporting something that is often made available for anyone to use free of charge. There is also an assumption among some people that since it is free of charge it must be sub-standard in some way. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since there is such an active user and developer community for open-source applications new features are constantly being introduced and bugs and other problems are identified and fixed very quickly. Some examples of excellent open source applications used in elearning are Moodle, a learning management system, and eXe, an authoring tool for producing elearning resources.

Something that is perhaps not so well known, but is in the spirit of open-source is open-courseware. These open educational resources are, according to the Open Courseware Consortium (OCW), “a free and open digitial publication of high quality education material organised as courses”. The OCW website has links to a wide range of open education resources made available by several providers. Also, in addition to providing open learning resources, the Open University (OU) has a course at its Open Learn website (open course-ware of course) on creating open educational resources. If you are interested in exploring open courseware further, this OU course has plenty of theoretical and practical¬† information to get you under way. Just register for a free account and away you go.

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