[okfn-discuss] Free Technology Academy

Hinde ten Berge hinde at freeknowledge.eu
Thu Feb 19 08:33:27 UTC 2009

Hi all,

We're working on a new project to set up a virtual campus with masters 
on free software (using all free educational materials). I thought you 
might find it interesting!



Free Technology Academy set up to foster distance learning

A Consortium formed by three universities and led by the Free Knowledge 
Institute (FKI) has received the support from the EC's Lifelong Learning 
Programme to offer an international educational programme on Free 
Software. Following the Open Educational Resources movement, all 
learning materials will be freely available through the Internet. The 
use of Free Software (also referred to as Open Source software or Libre 
Software) is expanding rapidly in governmental and private 
organisations. However, still only a limited number of IT professionals, 
teachers and decision makers have sufficient knowledge and expertise in 
these new fields. In order to cover this gap, the Free Knowledge 
Institute and three European universities have founded the Free 
Technology Academy. The first course materials will be available after 
this summer.

Policies on Free Software

Governments worldwide stimulate the use of Free Software (such as the 
GNU/Linux operating system and the Firefox web browser), so that users 
become less dependent on one single software vendor. In contrast to 
proprietary software, Free Software can be used, copied, studied, 
modified and redistributed freely. Therefore, Free Software offers 
freedom to learn, freedom to teach, freedom of competition and freedom 
of speech. Open Standards and the ability to exchange data and to share 
information and knowledge have become essential for cost-effective, 
flexible and transparent processes in government and business.

In the Netherlands, the government has launched the action plan 
“Netherlands in Open Connection” to promote the use of open standards 
and Free Software in the public and semi-public sector. The Spanish 
government, together with several regional governments and major IT 
companies, set up a national reference centre for the use of ICT 
technologies based on Free Software. Many other European countries have 
launched their own initiatives in this direction.

In order to enable IT professionals, students, teachers and decision 
makers to further their knowledge in this area, a distance learning 
programme will be set up with specific learning modules. In developing 
and transitional countries there is a lack of knowledge as well, while 
its significance is evident. Through the Free Technology Academy's 
distance learning programme the option to enhance their knowledge will 
be feasible for people worldwide.

Free Technology Academy and master programmes

The Free Technology Academy (FTA), initiated by the Free Knowledge 
Institute and financially supported by the Life Long Learning programme 
(LLP) of the European Commission, is a collaboration between the FKI and 
three European universities: Open Universiteit Nederland, Universitat 
Oberta de Catalunya in Spain and the Portuguese Instituto Superior de 
Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa.

The Free Technology Academy consists of an advanced virtual campus with 
course modules that can be followed entirely on-line. The learning 
materials are Open Educational Resources that can be studied freely, but 
learners enrolled in the FTA will be guided by professional teaching 
staff from the participating universities. The full master programme can 
be concluded at one of the three universities.


Although the production and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) is 
expanding rapidly, few experiences of real world usage exist. The 
educational programme of the Free Technology Academy is a wonderful 
showcase of the collaborative production and exploitation of such freely 
licensed course materials.

The FTA Consortium partners aim to accelerate the adoption of Free 
Software and Free Knowledge by working on strategic projects like the 
FTA, the international SELF Project, and other initiatives. They 
collaborate with parties to set up a solid ecosystem for the production 
of free educational materials. With these projects, the FTA Consortium 
partners are among the innovators of the knowledge society.

Contact information:

Wouter Tebbens, Free knowledge Institute
tel +31 20 8910.319 or +31 6 22.500.981
wouter at freeknowledge.eu

More information about the okfn-discuss mailing list