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Dr. Darren Wilkins
By Dr. Darren Wilkins (Email: [email protected] Tel: 0777129092 & 0886703789)
The digitization of apprenticeship is a abnormality that has adapted the apprenticeship area globally, while Liberia continues to comedy “catch up”. Nowadays, bookish institutions analyze the abeyant for digitizing apprenticeship through, basic universities, online courses (AME University afresh ran a pilot project), apprenticeship portals, courseware and so forth. Furthermore, the appearance of the Internet and its technologies has afire added opportunities to amalgamate educational and bread-and-butter goals on a common, globally attainable platform. But such a belvedere requires all-encompassing abstruse abutment to actualize and sustain the software basement on which agenda apprenticeship primarily depends.
In Liberia, abounding of our colleges and universities abide to attack with the affiliation of ICTs in their institutions. This is primarily due to the abridgement of assets (financial and technical) and to some extent, the abridgement of will and eyes on the allotment of some of our leaders. To abode this (in my own way), I accept arrive a accumulation of ten acceptance to appear to my training and development lab to accustom them of the bags of chargeless and accessible antecedent bookish resources, (especially educational software) that are accessible on the Internet. The additional acumen is to alternation them in the use and development of Chargeless and Accessible Antecedent Software (FOSS), and actualize an ambiance that allows them to test, develop, arrange and use accessible antecedent software at their assorted colleges and universities. The third acumen for agreeable these kids is to body a aggregation of evangelists who will go out and deliver the charge for the beverage of ICTs in our colleges, universities and the absolute nation, so as to leapfrog amusing and bread-and-butter development.
As I mentioned above, one of the capital affidavit why technology affiliation has been apathetic in the Liberian apprenticeship sector, is the abridgement of resources; both banking and technical. The abridgement of accessories (computer labs, testing environment, and internet), the abridgement of able advisers and the abridgement of a able-bodied Educational Technology Policy or Plan to adviser the area in its efforts to advance apprenticeship through a archetype about-face that leverages ICTs, are some of the challenges that area faces. But as they say, area there is a will, there can consistently be a way. We apperceive that the amount of software has consistently been prohibitive, appropriately abstinent ICT managers the assets appropriate to accommodate abundant bare ICT casework to their users. In affliction cases, the prohibitive amount of software is one of the capital affidavit ICT managers install PIRATED SOFTWARE in their environment; commodity that can accompany action from vendors. Hence, we try to advance the use of FOSS area applicable. Addition advantage is to go to the CLOUD. But that’s a altered affair for a altered day. Let’s focus on FOSS today!
Before activity further, let me attack to accommodate a blunt description of what FOSS is. FOSS is software that can be acclimated for free. It additionally provides the antecedent cipher of the software for the user to boggle with. There is additionally a bartering adaptation which additionally provides the antecedent cipher to the user for tinkering. For the purpose of this article, FOSS refers to both chargeless and bartering software that accomplish their antecedent cipher accessible for user to boggle with. Below, I altercate a few FOSS that colleges and universities could use for Academy Administering Arrangement (SMS) or Academy ERP, Online Acquirements Administering Arrangement (LMS), FOSS for advisers and acceptance to use for teaching, acquirements and accomplishing assignments, Web Development, as able-bodied as software for teaching a Computer Science or Engineering Program.
School Administering Systems
Fedena is an open-source university administering software that abundantly focuses on administering records. It is a academy ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that offers absolute administering and apprentice logins to use their system, forth with absolute courses and batches. The arrangement includes, admission, advance management, adroitness messaging, appearance tracking, apprentice information, dashboards animal resources, a calendar, banking management, assay management, and student/parent logins. Fedena has chargeless adaptation and a bartering version. The bartering adaptation acutely adds added appearance and provides a bigger akin of support.
Gibbon: This apprenticeship ERP software can be acclimated to administer the administering administration and column all student-related advice like acceptance information, agents management, payroll, invoicing, scheduling, gradebooks, rubrics, assessments, library catalogues, assay accommodation and timetables. It additionally comes able with accoutrement like assessments and planners which can be acclimated to enhance the teaching acquaintance for the teachers. Gibbon has a bright user interface for affluence of use. One affair to agenda about Gibbon is that aliment is absolutely technical, acute coding knowledge, which is accepted for open-source software. Abutment is bound to online guides for administrators, teachers, and parents
There are added SMSes both Chargeless and Accessible Antecedent and bartering or proprietary. Ascend SMS, Smart Edu, EduKiran, are a few commercial/proprietary SMSes.
Learning Administering Systems
LMS accoutrement are acclimated mostly to actualize and administer acquirements agreeable on the web. Some of the best broadly acclimated LMS accoutrement are MOODLE, Bodginton, Sakai, Claroline, Dokeos, ATutor, OLAT. Of all the LMSes, I adopt MOODLE; not alone because I accept deployed, managed and acclimated the platform, but because it is what I acclimated as a apprentice in college. MOODLE is downloaded about 500 times a day. It is installed on added than 28,000 registered sites, over a actor courses are actuality offered admitting MOODLE, and it has a acquirements association of 10 actor users in 175 countries.
There are additionally several bartering or proprietary LMSes: WebCT, Blackboard, ANGEL Learning, and Desire2Learn. Depending on your institution’s resources, you can adjudge on which belvedere to use.
Teaching Computer Programming and Engineering
The IT/ICT administration can use the afterward to advance their colleges or universities’ website or portals.- ZEND framework, PHP, Apache web server, MySQL MariaDB database, etc. They can use LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, and PERL or Python) as their web development platform. Drupal is addition accessible antecedent agreeable administering software that many, if not all Ivy League schools use for their websites.
For Advisers and Students
Instructors’ assignment affairs and students’ assignments and presentations can be done application LibreOffice or OpenOffice. Advisers teaching Accounting can use GNU or LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet solutions. Advisers teaching Engineering, or Architecture can use CAD or DIA to accord acceptance a applied experience.
Open educational assets (OERs)
Open educational assets (OERs) are online assets that accommodate chargeless applications and acquirements abstracts for bookish institutions. Some Accessible Educational Assets accommodate but not bound to:
Open educational assets are accessible from the afterward initiatives:
Connexions provides advisory actual for primary, secondary, and postsecondary levels, as able-bodied as the automated sector.MIT OpenCourseWare makes undergraduate and alum advance abstracts from MIT accessible on the Internet. This action has not damaged the university’s acceptability but instead has encouraged added institutions to broadcast their courses online as well.
Finally, I accept briefly discussed a few software that can be acclimated at our colleges and universities at little or no cost. These institutions will charge a archetype about-face to be able to accommodate ICTs in their acquirements environment. And this archetype about-face has amorphous as some colleges, universities and schools in Liberia, accept amorphous hiring CIOs or Vice Presidents for ICT or IT or Technology to advance transformation to a agenda acquirements and analysis environment. Liberia has 55% of the ACE cilia optic cable capacity. I accept 10% of that accommodation is alloted for Education. It is time we advantage that 10% accommodation and body a broadband arrangement and name it; “Liberian Universities Broadband Network”, or LUBNET. This arrangement will affix ALL universities and colleges for acquirements and analysis purposes. With FOSS and a broadband network, we can advance our apprenticeship sector, decidedly at the tertiary lev