FTA Announce #16: Learners take the lead

1. A Community-based FTA

Following the announcement about rebooting the FTA, quite a few people have sent us encouraging emails, some willing to take courses, complete masters, others to teach courses, offer company training through the FTA campus or help otherwise. Though the first reaction for many of us was that of surprise and sadness, now we are also seeing this as an opportunity!

The way forward is to go with a group of committed people. Committed to get this new phase off the ground. It will be completely bottom up, so those willing to take active leads can make something beautiful of it. We have plenty of good things to be proud of: the online campus, completely based on Free Software, ten existing course books most of which are examples for universities (several of them have started to use and translate FTA course books), the methodologies to run online courses, work on continuous improvement, quality assurance processes, recognition of certificates and a network of tutors and of partners. But most important is an active group of people, committed to take this further.

We hope to have elgg mailinglist integration in the Community Portal soon. For now, we have set up a discussion list in Mailman. Join us here: [1]

2. The FTA goes on: Bottom-up courses

Learners are identifying which courses should be run in 2012. If you are interested in a certain topic, form a group of peers willing to take part in a self-organised course and commit to contribute an agreed tuition fee to cover the course's costs. Choose from a list of existing courses and topics, though variations may be discussed. Peers contribute, within the course context, to the advancing of the existing knowledge base on the course topics. Currently available courses, ready to be run, are those with complete course books listed in FTA materials [2]. With some additional work, courses from the draft common curriculum can also be run (please first consider how much additional work, and how as a community we could solve that best).

3. Survey to detect course interests

With thanks to Harry Thijssen we have a peer survey to share your interests for the 2012 Semester 1 courses. Fill out your desires and make FTA courses happen here [3] and join the discussion list!

4. New payment methods

We have received quite some remarks on making it easier to send donations and payments for courses. Indeed, up to now only bank transfers are accepted and sometimes that can be rather complicated. We are looking into additional payment methods such as BitCoin and PayPal. Additionally, we're discussing crowd-funding schemes to develop much needed courses.

5. Redefinition of sustainability models

Apart from the promising bottom-up approach, there are plans in the making to offer trainings to organisations to help them understand Free Software and Open Standards and facilitate their migration and deployment. This helps increasing the user base of FS&OS, and at the same time bring in some money for those participating in that. Private training is aimed to all kinds of organisations interested in upgrading the knowledge of their staff in the area of Free Knowledge and Free Technologies. These organisations may be considering a partial or total migration to Free/Open Source Software and Open Standards, adopting an Open Development production model, may be interested in Communities, Free Culture, Peer Production, the Commons... Interested? Let us know! [4]