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Campaign for IT literacy through FOSS and Spoken Tutorials

Summary

Textbook Companion (TBC) has code for solved problems of textbooks, coordinated by FOSSEE (http://fossee.in). We explain a collaborative method that helped create 500 Scilab TBCs (http://cloud.scilab.in) and over 100 Python TBCs (http://tbc-python.fossee.in/). We also explain a self learning method that trained 250,000 students on FOSS systems using spoken tutorials (http://spoken-tutorial.org).

Description

The FOSSEE team has been promoting the use of FOSS in educational institutions in India. It focuses on the following FOSS systems currently: Scilab, Python, Oscad, OpenFOAM, COIN-OR and OpenFormal (http://fossee.in). On each of these systems, the following three standardised help are provided:

  1. Support to conduct spoken tutorial based workshops, explained below
  2. Creation of Textbook Companion (TBC)
  3. Support to Lab Migration.

A TBC is a collection of code for solved examples of standard textbooks. We have completed a large number of TBCs on Scilab and made them available for online use at Scilab and offline use at Completed Books. Similarly, one may access the Python TBC at Python TBC. These TBCs are created by students and teachers from many colleges and each creator is paid an honorarium through a project funded by the Government of India.

Spoken Tutorial is a screencast of ten minute duration on a FOSS topic, created for self learning. Using Spoken Tutorials, we conduct two hour long workshops on FOSS topics through volunteers, who need not be experts. We conduct online tests and provide certificates for all who pass the tests. All of these are done completely free of cost, thanks to the financial support from the Government of India. Using this method, we have trained more than 200K students in the last two years in India (statistics).

The students love this method, see some testimonials at http://www.spoken-tutorial.org/testimonials. It is being increasingly accepted by colleges and universities, officially. We expect to conduct 5K to 10K workshops in 2014, training 200K to 500K students. As we dub the spoken part into all 22 languages of India, the FOSS topics are accessible also to students who are not fluent in English, thereby helping us reach out to many students. Spoken Tutorial, which started as a documentation project for FOSS systems has transformed into a massive training programme. Our methods are scalable and are available to the FOSS enthusiasts in the rest of the world.

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