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FTA Announcement #6: New courses and materials!

1. New course books available!
The Free Technology Academy is proud to announce the online publication of a new set of course books that correspond to the upcoming modules of the FTA programme starting in April: "Web applications development", "Economic aspects of Free Software" and "Software development".

WARNING: the date of this post is approximate! All announcements from 2008 to 2013 have APPROXIMATE, guessed dates, because restored from a partial backup, to document the history of FTA.

One of these new books is called "Introduction to Web applications development" and was written by Carles Mateu and coordinated by Jordi Mas Hernández. This book is a translation and updated version of the Spanish "Introducción al desarrollo de aplicaciones web" of the UOC's Master on Free Software. This is the main learning material for the FTA Module 4: "Web applications development". You can collect a copy here.

We have also published "Economic aspects and business models of Free Software". It was written by Amadeu Albós Raya, Lluís Bru Martínez and Irene Fernández Monsalve and coordinated by David Megías. This book is the main learning material for the FTA Module 5: "Economic aspects of Free Software". You can collect a copy here

Finally, we have made available the book "Introduction to Software development". This text, with nearly 400 pages, was written by J. Pérez López and L. Ribas i Xirgo with Jordi Mas Hernández and David Megías Jiménez as coordinators. This is the main learning material for the FTA Module 7: "Software development". You can collect a copy here.

These books are published under a free, copyleft license. You are encouraged to use, translate, adapt and redistribute these materials. Please let us know if you plan to do so!

2. Registration for new courses is open!

The registration process for the new round of courses has already started. The courses currently open are "Web applications development", "Economic aspects of Free Software" and "Software development". These courses will start on April 26th, 2010 and you have time until April 20th, 2010 to register.
The following sections will introduce you to each of these modules. To learn more about all modules, read here.

Web applications development

This course starts with an introduction to the Internet, including a brief history of the TCT/IP protocol and the World Wide Web. It defines the basic concepts for web servers and studies the case of Apache, the most used web server, while other Free Software web servers are not forgotten. The course continues with web page design, focussing on HTML and JavaScript. XML Schemas, their validation and transformation are covered as well as dynamic web pages built with CGI, PHP or JSP and database access.

Economic aspects of Free Software

The module is focussed on the study of Free Software in relation to the private sector and related economic aspects. We analyse the software industry from an economic perspective: how it was affected by software published under free licenses and what is its potential for the future. On the other hand, we study how to use Free Software in the private sector, from a development point of view but also in implementation and migration.

Software development

This module is designed for IT specialists and developers who are starting their way in the Free Software development universe. Free Software is developed with specific collaboration techniques and tools that engage and enable world-wide communities. Professionals need to handle different programming techniques, languages and develop specific skills to work in a collaborative environment. The programming languages used in this module are C, C++ or Java. We will also introduces contents about collaborative and distributed work commonly known as "the bazaar model".

3. First impressions of the FTA

Two months ago the first FTA courses started: "The concepts of Free Software and Open Standards" and "The GNU/Linux Operating System". We can now share some partial results and general impressions about theses educative experiences.
The two initial modules have over 60 learners, most of them from European countries. The QA team will analyse the results of these courses once they have finished, but we can already see that the degree of satisfaction of learners is high. As an indication of this, many of the learners who are following these modules have already enrolled for additional courses later this year.

4. About the Free Technology Academy

A Consortium formed by the Open University of Catalonia (Spain), the Open University of the Netherlands and University of Agder (Norway) and led by the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI), the FTA has received the support from the EC's Lifelong Learning Programme to set up an international educational programme on Free Software. The courses are taught completely online in a virtual campus based on the Campus Project interoperability framework.
Following the Open Educational Resources movement, all learning materials are freely available through the Internet. The use of Free Software (also referred to as Open Source software or Libre Software) is rapidly expanding in governmental and private organisations. However, still only a limited number of ICT professionals, teachers and decision makers have sufficient knowledge and expertise in these new fields. The Free Technology Academy aims to address this gap by providing high level courses that fit into larger Master Programmes at the participating universities.