UNESCO&UNDP: Advanced Software for Educational Institutions On 19-23 March, 2007 the UNESCO-supported Regional Training on Advanced FOSS Solutions to Learning Management Systems has been organized and conducted by a team of UNDP-led project “Strengthening Educational Capacity of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University” at the Regional Academy of Informational Technology in Education located within the University. UNESCO&UNDP: Advanced Software for Educational Institutions On 19-23 March, 2007 the UNESCO-supported Regional Training on Advanced FOSS Solutions to Learning Management Systems has been organized and conducted by a team of UNDP-led project “Strengthening Educational Capacity of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University” at the Regional Academy of Informational Technology in Education located within the University.
UNESCO&UNDP: Advanced Software for Educational Institutions

On 19-23 March, 2007 the UNESCO-supported Regional Training on Advanced FOSS Solutions to Learning Management Systems has been organized and conducted by a team of UNDP-led project “Strengthening Educational Capacity of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University” at the Regional Academy of Informational Technology in Education located within the University.

The training attracted 37 managers, educators, methodologists and R&D specialists representing various higher educational institutions, administrative educational authorities and business circles in Ukraine and CIS.

This workshop has been organized with the support of UNESCO initiative to develop and implement software products created on FOSS (Free Open Source Software) platform within the educational systems in the countries of European and Asian region.

The workshop participants studied the following topics:

· FOSS look-and-feel and its effective use in educational systems;

· Experience-sharing mechanisms in using commercial and open Learning Management Systems (LMS);

· How to conduct exams on granting certificate of FOSS Learning Management System Administrator;

ther strengthening of UNESCO-supported cooperation with other organizations for using FOSS in different ways of ICT-development.

Open Source Software has been increasingly used in designing modern software programmes worldwide. The main feature of this process is free access to software codes from end-user side. As many workshop participants agreed, it allows programmers to improve existing and create new software products, creating a power boost in the sphere of ICT development. Moreover, major parts of this software are provided free of charge, making it an important factor for its use, for instance, in educational systems especially in developing countries. Therefore, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has been rather progressive and, thus, supported by UNESCO.

The educational systems substitute most favourable environment for FOSS implementation. First, any educational organization is bound to use a great deal of software programmes, while purchasing a commercial product with a close source code, for instance, manufactured by Microsoft™ Corporation might be a rather costly exercise for educational institutions, as their budgets in developing countries are lean to ensure a somewhat sustainable development of educational system.

Second, educational institutions employ many high-qualified IT and computer science specialists who could adapt the Open Source software product in accordance with specific requirements and needs that exist in different educational institutions. By continuously working with these products the specialists are able to further develop and improve them.

Thus, these products are developing in a more dynamic way and sometimes can offer best qualities than their commercial counterparts. A similar case happened, for instance, with computer systems for electronic and distance-learning management (Learning Management System, LMS). A couple of years ago commercial products (IBM Lotus LearningSpace, WebCT, WBT Manager and so on) dominated the educational markets both internationally and in Ukraine. However, at present, the Open Source LMS that were created later become prevailing over commercial counterparts. As a result, the production of some commercial LMS (e. g. IBM Lotus LearningSpace) has been suspended.

Taking into consideration the importance of Free and Open Source Software for ICT development in the world, coupled with its high significance for developing countries, UNESCO supports the software further elaboration. The currently organised seminar has been dedicated to further strengthening of FOSS implementation into Ukrainian educational system.

For more information, please, call Sergiy Polozov, at (+380 44) 239-3404.