Open Source Options For Education

E-Learning

Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
  • Blackboard
  • Echo 360
  • Desire2Learn
  • StudyWiz
  • Frog
  • Moodle is used internationally by hundreds of institutions.
  • There is a highly active Moodle user community providing support.
  • Moodle can be extended an integrated with other systems using the large library of available plug-ins.
  • The Sakai project was founded from a collaboration between Indiana University, MIT, Stanford and University of Michigan. It currently maintains two systems - the Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) and the Open Academic Environment (OAE).
  • Gibbon aims to meet the needs of teachers, reducing workload and helping students learn. It also handles SIM functionality, providing all information in one place.
  • Manchester Metropolitan University selected Moodle as its VLE after an extensive review. Reference http://oss.ly/3o
  • The Open University uses Moodle to deliver distance learning courses with one of the world’s largest Moodle instances. Reference http://oss.ly/3r
  • Over 4000 schools, colleges, universities and companies have an active Moodle site in the UK alone. Reference http://oss.ly/3q
  • The University of Oxford uses Sakai as the basis of their WebLearn platform for teaching, research and collaboration. References http://oss.ly/3s
  • In August 2013, Sakai OAE was relaunched as Apereo OAE. http://oss.ly/58
  • The Utah Education Network replaced Blackboard with Canvas in 9 state-owned colleges and universities. Ref http://oss.ly/4c
  • The International College of Hong Kong uses Gibbon. Ref http://oss.ly/59
Lecture Capture/Podcasting
  • MediaSite
  • Panopto
  • Matterhorn provides an end-to-end solution from automated lecture capture through processing and distribution.
  • Videos can also be published to existing public platforms such as YouTube or iTunes.
  • Captioning, keyboard navigation and screen readers are well supported.
  • Media can be encoded using standard formats, ensuring your media isn’t locked in to a particular system or playback software.
  • Oxford Brookes University are piloting Matterhorn, including integration with their Moodle VLE. Reference http://oss.ly/3u
  • Loughborough University use Matterhorn, using it to capture around 90% of lectures in 2011. Reference http://oss.ly/3v
  • Camtasia
  • Adobe Captivate
  • iSpring Presenter
  • Jing
  • SMART Notebook page recording feature
  • CamStudio allows you to make a video of what’s happening on your screen. It will also capture audio from a microphone.
  • As well as capturing a lecture or presentation, it can be used to record a tutorial or walk through of a system.
  • Videos can be recorded to AVI, or to SWF for streaming via Flash.
  • Windows Sound Recorder
  • GoldWave
  • Mobile phone
  • Audacity is a fully-featured audio recorder and editor for Windows, Linux and Mac.
  • Multiple tracks can be recorded separately and edited together.
  • Additional audio tracks can be imported.
  • Files can be saved to a number of formats.
  • University of Oxford recommends Audacity for recording an editing podcasts. Reference http://oss.ly/3w
Online Lectures/Webinars/Remote Participation
  • Adobe Connect
  • Blackboard Collaborate
  • Mega Meeting
  • These systems allow multiple participants to participate in a session via the web.
  • Users can collaborate on a shared “whiteboard”.
  • Video, audio and text chat are supported.
  • Users can share presentations and applications from their screen with other users.
  • University of the West of Scotland rolled out BigBlueButton in September 2012 following a successful pilot. Reference http://oss.ly/3y
  • Goldsmiths University of London provide BigBlueButton for use through its Moodle VLE. Reference http://oss.ly/3z (Login as Guest)
Video Streaming
  • Planet eStream
  • ClickView
  • MediaCore
  • vShare
  • PHP Motion
  • These products provide a locally-hosted “YouTube” style system.
  • Users can upload videos which are converted into a streamable format and shared.
  • Videos can be embedded into a web page or VLE.
  • Users can rate and comment on videos.
  • Bonn University uses Plumi for its podcast portal. Reference http://oss.ly/3x
  • University of Mary Washington moved away from Kaltura after finding the open source version limiting. http://oss.ly/4t
Interactive Content Creation
  • Adobe Authorware
  • Articulate + Articulate storyline
  • HotPotatoes
  • Qwizdom
  • Xerte allows you to create interactive learning materials, including multimedia content and interactive exercises.
  • Content can be created locally, or online using Xerte Online Toolkits.
  • Once created, Xerte packages materials in a standard format that can be imported into most VLEs, and viewed using Flash.
  • The XENITH project allows materials authored with Xerte to be viewed using HTML5, providing support for more devices.
  • Materials created using Xerte allow users to change fonts and colour schemes, as well as supporting text-to-speech, ensuring that materials are accessible to all users.
  • Xerte was developed by the University of Nottingham. Reference http://oss.ly/40
  • University of Derby support Xerte as part of its Technology Enhanced Learning resources. Reference http://oss.ly/41
Ebook Authoring
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • OpenOffice and LibreOffice provide word processing and drawing programs that can be used for simple desktop publishing.
  • Documents can be saved to PDF format.
  • iBooks Author
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Sigil is a cross-platform suite for authoring ebooks in the standard and widely-supported ePub format.
  • Provides a WYSIWYG interface, as well as allowing direct source editing.
  • TeX and variants
  • TeX is a powerful typesetting mark-up language designed to allow users to easily create high-quality electronic or printed books which display consistently across devices and platforms.
  • TeX is particularly useful for displaying mathematical and scientific formulae in a consistent manner.
  • Documents written in the TeX mark-up language can be rendered to files in the DVI file format, or converted to other formats.
E-book management
  • iBooks
  • Google Play Books
  • Kindle apps
  • Calibre is a cross-platform tool for managing a personal ebook library.
  • Converts between formats including PDF, ePUB and MOBI (Kindle).
  • Supports a wide range of e-readers, tablets and phones for syncing.
  • Provides a desktop e-book reader.
  • Links to online libraries to allow the download and purchase of e-books.
Collaborative Authoring
  • Google Docs
  • Etherpad provides an interface for multiple users to collaborate on a document in real-time over the web.
  • Basic formatting is supported, and users’ contributions can be identified by colour.
  • Documents can be imported and exported using various formats, including HTML and MS Word.
  • The entire history of a document can be viewed using a time slider.
  • Gobby provides similar functionality to etherpad, but uses a client-server infrastructure.
  • Gobby clients are available for Windows/Mac/Linux
  • Owncloud Documents provides Google Docs-style document sharing and collaboration, as well as Dropbox-style synchronisation.

Assessment

Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
High-stakes assessment
  • Rogō (formerly TouchStone)
  • QuestionMark
  • Rogō aims to provide an online assessment system with a focus on consistent quality, usability and security.
  • The system supports informal progress tests and surveys, self assessment, as well as formal exam papers.
  • A range of common question types are supported.
  • Features for managing the assessment life-cycle are included, such as standards setting and peer review of papers.
  • Rogō supports Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) allowing it to be connected to VLEs implementing the LTI standard.
  • University of Nottingham provides Rogō for online assessment. Reference http://oss.ly/43
  • 5 UK institutions including University of Oxford and University of the West of Scotland engaged in a pilot project to assess Rogō against the needs of HE institutions. Reference http://oss.ly/42.
E-Portfolio
  • PebblePad
  • Elgg
  • Mahara allows easy integration with Moodle. Students can save work created or submitted in Moodle to their Mahara portfolio. Single Sign-On is also supported.
  • Students can present selections from their portfolio through customised pages, which they control access to.
  • Students can network with one another and share artefacts through groups.
  • The LEAP2A standard is supported for interoperability with other e-portfolio systems.
  • Southampton Solent University uses Mahara for it’s myPortfolio system. Reference http://oss.ly/44.
  • Sparsholt College, Hampshire uses Mahara to support it’s ICT Key Skills programme.

Classroom tools

Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
Interactive Whiteboard Software
  • SMART Notebook
  • Promethean ActivInspire/ActivOffice
  • OpenSankoré provides an interactive cross-platform interface for whiteboards, touch tables, or any type of computer.
  • Whiteboard-style drawing is supported, as well as inserting documents and media.
  • The environment’s functionality can be extended by the addition of Widgets.
  • OpenSankoré was originally developed and used by the University of Lausanne. Ref http://oss.ly/49
Classroom Management
  • SMART Sync
  • LANschool
  • InterCLASS
  • iTALC provides tools for managing the PCs in a classroom.
  • A teacher can view students’ screens in overview mode.
  • Computers can be remote controlled to provide assistance.
  • Workstations can be locked to reduce distractions.
  • Demonstrations can be broadcast to all workstations.

Library Systems

Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
Integrated Library System (ILS)
  • Heritage
  • Koha includes modules for circulation, cataloguing, acquisitions, serials, reserves, patron management, branch relationships, and more.
  • Koha supports standard formats and protocols to ensure interoperability with other library systems.
  • An online demo of Koha is available on the project’s website. http://oss.ly/4q
  • The open source Koha project from koha-community.org is not to be confused with LibLime Koha or LibLime Academic Koha. LibLime Koha is a fork of the original project managed by LibLime, while LibLime Academic Koha is a separate product developed for a consortium of institutions.
  • OpenBiblio is an automated library system containing OPAC, circulation, cataloging, and staff administration functionality.
  • Staffordshire University use Koha hosted by PTFS Europe http://oss.ly/53
  • The British Library for Development Studies at the Institute for Development Studies uses Koha http://oss.ly/54
Reading Lists
  • Talis Aspire
  • Refworks
  • A demonstration of LORLS and its features is available on the project’s website. http://oss.ly/4p
  • LORLS is developed by the University of Loughborough and is used by several universities around the UK. Ref http://oss.ly/4o
Digital Collection Management
  • CONTENTdm
  • DigiTool
  • Islandora is built upon an open source base using components from Drupal, Fedora Commons and Apache Solr
  • Islandora is modular, proving Solution Packs to implement best-practice workflows for managing different content types.
  • Islandora is used by the University of St Andrews library. Ref http://oss.ly/57

Mobile Solutions

Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
Mobile Apps for Students
    • CampusM
    • Molly provides a framework for building information portals for mobile devices.
    • A range of mobile devices are supported from low- to high-end through a single web interface using feature detection
    • Data can be pulled from a range of sources
    • Molly can be run in-house, allowing all institutional data to be kept secure within the institution’s network.
    • Molly powers Mobile Oxford, used by University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes. Ref http://oss.ly/4r

    Enterprise Architecture and Service Management

    Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
    Enterprise Architecture
    • Archi and BizzDesign Architect are both enterprise architecture modelling applications that use the Archimate standard.
    • Archi has been used to introduce Enterprise Architecture modelling to several universities around the UK, including Staffordshire University, University of Bolton, and Coventry University. Refs http://oss.ly/4x, http://oss.ly/4y, http://oss.ly/4z

    Management Information Systems

    Solution Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
    Management Information System (MIS)/Student Records
    • Ellucian Banner
    • PeopleSoft Campus
    • A1 Academia Has many core modules for Mid-Large campus management e.g Student Records, Students Finance, Admissions, Registration, Curriculum Management, Course Mgmt, Exams, Hostels etc
    • SIMS
    • SchoolTool is a web-based student information system with features including student record management, attendance logging, gradebooks, and timetabling.
    • SchoolTool integrates with systems including the Moodle VLE via CAS authentication.
    • CanDo is a competancy tracking application built on SchoolTool by teachers and students in Virginia. Ref http://oss.ly/56

    Subject-specific tools

    Subject Software Consider as Alternative to Comments Real World Use
    Music
    • ProTools
    • Cubase
    • Sibelius
    • Audacity enables recording, editing and mixing of audio tracks. It provides a comprehensive suite of editing tools, as well as supporting a range of effects through LADSPA plug-ins.
    • Ardour also provides a suite for recording and editing audio, but unlike Audacity, also supports multi-track recording.
    • Unlike Audacity, Ardour is a “non destructive” editor, allowing effects to be adjusted repeatedly.
    • FL Studio
    • Sibelius
    • Rosegarden provides a multi-track MIDI sequencer and composition environment.
    • Hydrogen is a cross-platform drum machine.
    • MuseScore allows you to create, play and print sheet music.
    • MuseScore is used internationally by schools, universities and private music teachers at all levels, including by Redbridge College and De Montfort University in the UK. Refs http://oss.ly/4b, http://oss.ly/4a
    • Hydrogen is used at Glen View High School in Beaumont, California for teaching loop-based audio production. Ref http://oss.ly/4u
    • Grégoire
    • Gregorio provides tools for the typesetting of Gregorian chant notation.
    • Gregorio can be used via a command line, through the TeXWorks GUI, or integrated with the Scribus DTP package.
    • Reason
    • Ubuntu Studio is a specialised Linux distribution focused on media creation.
    • While there is no single open source application that provides all features of a comprehensive package like Reason, there are distributions of Linux designed for studio workstations, combining several applications to provide comparable features.
    • Featured software includes multi-track recorders, MIDI sequencers, virtual amplifiers and effects processors.
    • Ubuntu Studio also features JACK, an advanced audio system allowing the audio inputs and outputs of separate applications to be connected together.
    • As with many Linux distributions, studio-focused distributions can often be run from CD for testing without installing anything to the computer’s hard drive.
    Film/Media Production
    • Windows Movie Maker
    • Final Cut Pro
    • Adobe Premiere
    • KDEnlive and PiTiVi are fully featured multi-track non-linear video editors.
    • Based on open source media libraries, a wide range of video and audio formats are supported from a large number of devices.
    • Output to standard formats including H.264 is supported, as well as lossless formats.
    • Blender is an industry-quality tool for 3D animation.
    • The 2010 Undergraduate and Postgraduate fine art exhibition at the University of Reading featured a piece of digital sculpture created with Blender. Ref http://oss.ly/4d
    • University of Plymouth use Blender as part of its Media Production degree, and for data visualisation in their planetarium. Ref http://oss.ly/4e, http://oss.ly/4f
    • Lancaster University provides Avidemux in its computer labs. Ref http://oss.ly/4g
    Theatre/Drama
    • WYSIWYG
    • Q Light Controller is a cross-platform application for controlling DMX or analogue lighting systems like moving heads, dimmers, scanners etc.
    • QLab
    • SFX
    • Soundboard is a cross-platform tool for building and executing sound cues.
    • Final Draft
    • Celtx is a fully-featured cross-platform screen-writing application.
    • Celtx can sync with cloud services and mobile apps, although these are not open source.
    • Fountain is a plain-text format which can be used for screen writing and rendered to a formatted screenplay.
    Art/Photography
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Z Brush
    • The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) provides a complete set of tools for editing bitmaps, including layering, effects, and colour tools.
    • Plug-ins and scripts are supported to provide extensibility.
    • Images can be imported from a range of formats, including from scanners and Photoshop files.
    • Images can be saved to a range of standard formats.
    • A large community of users have produced extensive documentation and tutorials on The GIMP’s features.
    • The engineering department at the University of Cambridge uses GIMP for image manipulation. Ref http://oss.ly/4h
    • London Metropolitan University provides GIMP as an alternative to Photoshop. Ref http://oss.ly/4i
    • Adobe Lightroom
    • Apple Aperture
    • Adobe Bridge
    • Photography workflow and RAW processing tools
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Inkscape is a cross-platform program for creating vector graphics, based on the standard SVG format.
    • Importing and exporting of bitmap graphics formats is supported, as is import of Adobe Illustrator files.
    • The Oxford Internet Institute uses Inkscape to produce data visualisations. Ref http://oss.ly/4k
    Design and Technology
    • Adobe InDesign
    • QuarkXPress
    • Scribus is a cross-platform Desktop Publishing application.
    • As well as typesetting, a range of standard image formats are supported, as are Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files.
    • University of Oxford IT Services run a termly course on Desktop Publishing with Scribus. Ref http://oss.ly/4l
    • 3ds Max
    • As well as animation, Blender can be used for 3D modelling.
    • Models created in Blender can be used for 3D printing.
    • The Blender community has a forum for discussing blender usage in Academic and Research contexts. Ref http://oss.ly/4j
    • AutoCAD
    • QCAD and LibreCAD are a cross-platform 2D CAD packages.
    • LibreCAD is based on QCAD but provides a more modern interface
    • AutoCAD
    • SolidWorks
    • FreeCAD is a 3D CAD package.
    Computing
    • Microsoft Visual Studio
    • Eclipse and NetBeans are both popular general purpose Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).
    • Eclipse is used as the basis for many platforms’ Software Development Kits (SDKs), including Android.
    • Eclipse and NetBeans support a variety of languages through plug-ins and extensions.
    • MonoDevelop is an IDE specifically designed for building cross-platform software using an open source implementation of the .NET framework (Mono).
    • Pascal
    • Delphi
    • Visual Basic
    • VB.NET
    • Scratch is a language designed for teaching programming concepts, allowing students to create programs by dragging blocks onto a canvas rather than typing commands.
    • Ruby, Python and PHP are all widely-used interpreted programming languages.
    • Lazarus is an alternative to Delphi, can run on both Windows and Linux platforms and uses an almost identical interface.
    • PHP is designed for building dynamic web applications.
    • Many common web applications such as Wordpress, MediaWiki, Drupal and Moodle are written in PHP.
    • Ruby and Python are powerful multi-purpose languages which can be used to build both desktop and web applications.
    • Ruby and Python feature consistent intuitive syntax which makes them ideal for teaching.
    • Each language is supported by a vibrant community of users and developers, which comprehensive documentation.
    • A recent survey of the UK Computing At School (CAS) and Computers of Education Society in Ireland (CESI) communities showed Scratch to be the most widely taught language for 11-14 year olds, Python and Scratch to be the 2 most widely taught languages for 14-16 year olds, and Python to be the second most widely taught for 16-18 year olds. Ref http://oss.ly/4n
    Psychology
    • Presentation
    • Applications that help in running experiments in psychology, for example presenting stimuli to subjects and measuring responses
    • PEBL comes with a library of common tests
    • Allow users to develop their own experiments using scripting or programming
    • PsyScope is used by many university Psychology departments in the UK, including University of Bangor. http://oss.ly/4m
    Geography Related Subjects
    • Bentley Map
    • MapInfo
    • Geospatial
    • gvSIG Educa is a customization of the gvSIG Desktop Open Source GIS, adapted as a tool for the education of issues that have a geographic component.
    • The aim is to provide educators with a tool that helps students to analyse and understand space, and which can be adapted to different levels or education systems.
    • gvSIG Educa is not only useful for the teaching of geographic material, but can also be used for learning any subject that contains a spatial component such as history, economics, natural science, sociology…
    • Facilitates learning by letting students interact with the information, by adding a spatial component to the study of the material, and by facilitating the assimilation of concepts through visual tools such as thematic maps.
    • gvSIG Educa provides analysis tools that help to understand spatial relationships.
    • Other open source GIS packages provide similar feature sets.
    • gvSIG Educa arose out of the gvSIG Batoví distribution, which is available to all children of Common Education (grades 1 to 6) and their respective teachers in public schools across Uruguay, thanks to the Ceibal project. Refs http://oss.ly/4v, http://oss.ly/4w
    Engineering
    • NI MultiSIM
    • Open Circuit Design is a collection of tools providing features such as PCB layout design and component simulation.
    Religious Studies
    • Logos
    • E-Sword
    • The SWORD project provides free cross-platform tools for bible study.
    • Al-Misbah
    • Zekr Qur’an is a cross-platform tool for Qur’an study
    Mathematics & Statistics
    • SPSS
    • SAS
    • S-PLUS
    • Minitab
    • MATLAB
    • R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is an open source implementation of the “S” programing language.
    • R-Commander is a basic statistics GUI for R, consisting of a window containing menus, buttons, and information fields.
    • R is widely used by professional statisticians and data miners, as well as professors and university students. Ref http://oss.ly/5a
    • SageMath
    • MATLAB
    • Magma
    • Maple
    • Mathematica
    • Sage is a free open-source mathematics software system licensed under the GPL. It combines the power of many existing open-source packages into a common interface.
    • Sage’s mission is “to create a viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab.”

    Last modified: Friday, 16 October 2015, 4:40 PM