OSS in Schools

I would be all for adding OSS to my work environment. Working in a high school the possibilities of many of these free software programs are endless.  Take a program like Odijoo which allows you to create publish and store online courses.  Teachers could augment the courses they teach with online modules….. something like a webquest?  It would cost the school nothing and would develop a whole new world for students to learn in.  Students could log on from any computer connected to the internet at any time.  It would be a great way to fit in that unit that there just isn’t time for.  It could  be an interactive independent study opportunity, all for no cost.


1 Byron Kask { 10.23.09 at 8:26 am }


I agree with you completely, but I have a concern about the example you provided. This is from Odijoo’s terms of use:

“You grant Odijoo™ a license to market the Content you post on Odijoo™. By posting, downloading, displaying, performing, transmitting, or otherwise distributing Content to Odijoo™, you are granting Lambda Solutions Inc., its affiliates, officers, directors, employees, consultants, agents, and representatives a right to use the Content in connection with the operation of Odijoo™ and any of its other business activities, including without limitation, a right to copy, distribute, license, sub-license, transmit, reproduce, and reformat Content. You agree that Odijoo™ may publish or otherwise disclose your company name in connection with becoming a customer.”

Basically, you still retain rights to your content, but so does the company. This is on one hand exciting, as it means that there could be a repository of lessons and learning activities and content, but this also means that Odijoo can take and market your work as their own. Lamba, who owns Odijoo, is a for-profit e-learning company. It would be interesting to see how many lessons make the transfer from the “free” side to the “for profit” side.

Since most school districts have their own webservers, it would be interesting to see if they would host a similar service for you.

2 jennie wong { 10.23.09 at 8:56 am }


That is exactly what I do in my school for business education. All the courses are broken into individual strands (modules). The students come into the business classes (whether it is marketing or legal studies, etc.) and go into my hand outs folder. They prefer to work at their own pace. I do lecture for a bit of the course but the modules are very ideal for distance learning. We do have somebody from the Alberta Government in charge of all the business careers and technology sector. Everybody who teaches in this genre has the right to join the blog set up and we become a network of specialist. When students are done with the module (have completed it – it works out to approximately 25 hours for one module). The student love that they can work from home and send their assignments back to our server. Students drop their completed assignments into the drop in folder. From that point on, I do my marketing. The paperwork behind the marking for individual strands is very challenging but other than that, the system works well.


3 Omar Ramroop { 10.23.09 at 10:35 am }

As Byron stated, there is concern for the implementation of OSS or FOSS in educational contexts. Many of these types of applications allow users to upload/modify/expand upon content for students or other professionals but at the same time, they obtain rights to any content that goes through their systems. Essentially, these companies have an excellent platform for obtaining intellectual capital and venture ideas without any true repercussions.

As such, I am most wary when implementing or utilizing these types of services for my business students. Most are young and upcoming professionals with a flurry of great ideas, and I do not want to expose these ideas so as for someone else to profit off of them. Everything has their pros and cons, the trick is finding the right circumstances and context to implement them.

Great post.

– Omar

4 Barrie Carter { 10.25.09 at 10:52 am }

Hello Tony:

Yes, Odijoo is opening new doors to hybrid classes. I will definitely use Odijoo since it is web-based and free (for now). With, Odijoo, I do not have to unzip compressed files or need a website .

And, even though Odijoo is not F/OSS, I would still use it at a nominal cost (i.e. membership).

Lastly, as you have mentioned, Odijoo can be used at all levels: district, school, and classroom.


5 Tony D { 10.25.09 at 6:09 pm }

Thanks for pointing that out Byron, I didn’t readthe fine print! Wouldn’t it be a good indicator if Lamba did use your work though? Is there a way to find out if they were publishing it somehow?

6 Ernest Pao { 10.25.09 at 8:13 pm }


You’re right there is no cost for the software but there is certainly a cost for hardware and IT support. For example, at my school, we purchased a server to host our own Moodle, WordPress and Wiki system. Previously, our Moodle was hosted by some US company and they charged us about $100/year. Tech support was terrible as we would email them and wouldn’t get a reply in months. For our wiki and blog sites, we were using free ones such as PBWiki and Blogger.com (now Blogspot). By setting up our own server, it cost us about $300-$400 in server hardware and another $50 or so in registering our address and so on. Basically, there was an upfront cost but in the long run, it will be cheaper. More importantly, though, we have full control of the information on the server and provide our own tech support. If there are any problems, I get the tech-kids to work on it right away and they are on it just like that (compared to waiting ‘forever’ through school board tech services).


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