Open-Source Applications for Designer-Developed E-Learning

Jared Palmer, RWD, presented a session on open-source tools for the developer. Many colleagues are wary of open-source applications.

I’m an enthusiastic user of the Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail app. Both are free, robust, work on the PC and MAC as well as performing faster than IE and Outlook. I also use open-source “office” tools (Open Office, Google Docs), KompoZer (wysiwyg HTML editor with CSS editor) and Audacity (an audio editor).

For those in corporate setting, Jared referenced a handy cost of ownership comparing off the shelf and open-source from a Canadian government study, Here’s the link to the spreadsheet download in MS Excel. I could open this file in Open Office. Once you determine is open-source is a fit for your organization, plug in the numbers and build a business case. You can also try this at home. Develop a relationship with an IT buddy (per Brent Schlenker, The elearning Guild) as they may be trying OS apps in some lab. IT has to understand the total cost of ownership (cost of licenses, support, necessary hardware, etc.) and free has to be compelling.

Authoring tools to check out: eXe and myUdutu (free to use, cost to host content with them)
Image editing: GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), Paint.NET
Screen capture and annotation: Wink

I’ll download and play with GIMP and myUdutu. I’ll blog on these tools later.

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