Imagine a world of free education. Anyone can access any up-to-date resources they need, learn from them, and potentially even improve as their study turns into innovation. True learning can happen through focus on information that is relevant to the student. Self-paced schooling, at any time, in any location, with no prerequisites or entry requirements, enables this personal learning on a new level.
Open source education is this fantasy realized.
What is Open Source?
Understanding open source (os) is key to reaping the benefits of its educational applications. OS is a software development term relating to software for which original source code is freely available to end consumers. It is community created and maintained This software may also be redistributed and modified to serve one’s needs. There are no licensing restrictions on open source software (oss). Check out a detailed definition on the OSI’s website.
The philosophy behind oss is user freedom. Users can use the software as is, study and change the code and function of the program, redistribute copies, and redistribute modified versions. This allows the collective knowledge of the developer community to grow much faster than it normally could if everything was locked behind pricing schemes. If you’re not convinced yet, just remember that Android, Chrome OS, and Apple’s iOS/OS X would never have been possible without oss including Linux.
OSS is free in regards to user interaction, price tag, and the imagination.
How Does OSS Tie Into Education?
Since one of the main drivers of oss is teaching, and using that to further improvement, it’s only natural that OS based educational systems have come in to play. OSS learning provides free online education to anyone who has an interest in learning. There are no entry applications or fees, no prerequisites to fulfill. Anyone in any situation, that can access the internet, is able to learn from up-to-date resources. Since there are no formalities students can learn when it is convenient for them, at their own pace.
Since os is community created, it creates its own community in itself. Those who once used material to learn can take their new skills and work to improve it. Students and teachers overlap, become peers, and collaborate on new technologies. It also allows people to try new things without the level of initial commitment that traditional educational methods entail. People with a small spark can do some quick research, learn some introductory information, and move on if needed. Or they have the opportunity to find their passion through their initial interaction.
While there are countless benefits to os learning, there are a few that stand out among the rest.
The internet is international, and so are many companies. Experiencing various perspectives through working with people from different walks of life helps bring about innovation. Students and instructors from all over the world working togethers opens many doors.
Freedom to Master the Craft
Starting with the educational platform that provides the learning content there are millions of os repositories available online to practice development on. OS repositories also come with coding experts, and typically have a curator that reviews all mergers. Working with more senior coders allows newcomers to learn from the seasoned experts, while also questioning their methods with their new perspectives.
Many development jobs require knowledge of oss concepts. Companies want users that are comfortable with peer critiques, that seek input from others while questioning everything that has come before. Employees that are comfortable with using version management tools, collaborating with others, and innovating with iterations are sought after in the job market.