Education

UC Irvine's new OpenChem project

open source your university

I recently spoke with Larry Cooperman, director of OpenCourseWare at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Larry also serves on the boards of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and the African Virtual University. I asked Larry about UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project.

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Students map their university campus with MapKnitter

open campus

In the fall of 2010, I asked the biology class I teach at Western Carolina University for volunteers to help map the campus. Three years later, dozens of students have participated in learning how to use aerial photography and cartography techniques created by Public Lab.

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The no-excuses guide to introducing yourself to a new open source project

open source projects

Getting started in an unfamiliar open source project seems intimidating because it is intimidating; plunging into the unknown usually is. Navigating new territory is a lot easier with a guide—which is why I recently taught a seminar at Hacker School on "getting started contributing to open source" that mostly amounted to "first, find a mentor." The basic steps are:

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Open Course Library's best resource: introductory college course materials

open education resources

Open Course Library has now released 81 high quality, free-to-use courses to the public. Users are can adapt and distribute content under a  Creative Commons license and download, remix, or teach using them. All content is stored in Google docs making it easy to access, browse, and download.

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Market pressure builds to provide alternatives to costly textbooks

open education resources

A report issued by the United States Government Accountability Office on June 6 confirms a trend of the educational publishing industry: textbook costs to students at higher education institutions are rising 6% per year on average, and have risen 82% over the last decade. The study, ordered by Congress, looks at the efforts of publishers and colleges to increase the availability of textbook price information and "unbundled" buying options as required under provisions in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The GAO also interviewed faculty regarding benefits of this transparency and offering of new options for students purchasing course materials.

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Maker Machine sends open source robots to school

Robots deliver apples to teachers at school

Maker Machine is a mobile makerspace that brings 3D printers, DIY robotics, and interactive art to primary schools, libraries, museums and youth clubs. The project is currently fundraising for a tour of Australia to bring our workshop to schools around the country.

Started by myself and Sam Nikolsky, two Melbourne Industrial Designers, Maker Machine transforms the traditional classroom into a high tech workshop.

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How to get a class involved with an open source project

open source projects in the classrom

We talk about "community" a lot when it comes to open source, but it's important to remember that just like local communities within a city, town, state, and country, each community has its own culture. One community is not just like another. Each has its own ways of communication and tracking and decision-making. Processes for code submission differ—perhaps two communities both use Bugzilla, but with different flags. Others require you to also alert a mailing list. A large software project may even have smaller sub-communities within it with their own customs and quirks.

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Desperate times call for Tux Paint

Tux Paint for open education

Bill Kendrick created Tux Paint in only a couple of days. A friend asked why there wasn't a free and open source drawing program for kids, something like GIMP. Bill chuckled, knowing that many adults have a hard time learning how to use GIMP, much less kids. He replied, "I can probably put something together." 

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How libraries can be a haven for makers

open source in libraries

I work at a public library in the Washington DC-area and often think about what needs to be designed into the space of future public libraries. I was recently visiting the MAKE magazine website when I saw a fascinating how-to video about building your own portable Raspberry Pi game system.

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Win a Linux training course in 300 words or less

Linux scholarships available

Attention Linux developers: If you’ve ever wanted to take a class with the Linux Foundation but have been held back by enrollment costs, then here’s your chance to win a scholarship.

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