A list to help schools find open source alternatives to proprietary software applications was published earlier this week by OSS Watch, a service for higher and further education institutions in the UK. Introducing the list, OSS Watch development manager Mark Johnson says: "Where possible, we’ve included real-world examples of their usage."
The list is divided in seven education areas, such as E-Learning, Assessment and Classroom Tools. In the E-Learning section, for example, it lists Moodle, Sakai and Canvas as open source alternatives. "The Manchester Metropolitan University selected Moodle after an extensive review", OSS Watch adds, adding a link to a 2010 report by the university.
The list also contains open source options for subjects including Music, Film and Media production, Theatre and Drama, Design and Technology. OSS Watch: "University of Oxford IT Services run a course on Desktop Publishing with Scribus."
Johnson announced the list on Thursday in a post on his blog. He writes that the OSS Watch 'Open Source Options For Education' complements the UK Cabinet Office’s Open Source Options, which was made public last April.
To compile the list, the Oxford-based organisation worked with the educational community and with the open source communities around many of the featured projects. The list contains several generic packages, Johnson writes, "but we've looked at them specifically in the context of their application to an educational situation, such as using an office package to author e-books."
Late last year, three school management applications, Opensis, Epoptes and Fedena were reviewed by the Italian open source blog Linuxaria. The article was republished earlier this month on Red Hat's Opensource.com. Readers there pointed to a fourth open source student information system, schooltool.org.