Building the FTA Bottom-up

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We, the community, are rebuilding the Free Technology Academy from the bottom-up. We are learners, educators, researchers and professionals with a strong interest in Free Technologies, including Free Software, Open Standards, Free Hardware and more generally speaking, proponents of Free Culture and a Free Knowledge Society.

We recognise the importance of Free Software and Open Standards and observe the lack of skilled professionals. Though the demand is rising, not many high level educational initiatives are available.


[edit] Vision of ourselves

We see the FTA as a unique educational community and international study programme, ...

[edit] Mission

[edit] Aims and objectives

At a high level, the FTA strives to:

  • contribute to a society that permits all users to study, participate and build upon existing knowledge without restrictions;
  • contribute to the building of a critical mass in the use of Free Software and Open Standards.

At a more concrete level, the FTA aims to:

  • upgrade knowledge on Free Software and Open Standards of ICT professionals, learners, teachers and decision makers;
  • build a sustainable Free Technology Academy;
  • build a network of partners to share the costs and benefits of education on free technologies.

[edit] Founding Principles

The FTA is a community based in academic principles of transparency and peer review. In line with the object of learning, the academy uses only software that is free as in freedom and complies with generally accepted open standards. A longer list of Founding Principles is work in progress.

[edit] History

See FTA website

[edit] Courses

[edit] Existing courses modules

The following table presents the course modules that have complete course books and have run in the FTA before.

{table} See available FTA course books

[edit] Course modules under development

The following table presents course modules that have been identified as an opportunity to 'port' to the FTA (e.g. after translation into English), or to develop as online course module (when partner institutions have for example face-2-face experience on these topics and/or do active research in that particular field.

{table} See Common Master-Curriculum in Free Technologies.

Discussion about the development of courses takes place in the Curriculum Development group. Discussions about when we could run this or that course can best take place in the Courses group.

[edit] Course organisation

The courses are organised in a bottom-up fashion, where learners form groups, and the group order a course to be organised on demand. See Bottom up Courses.

In the community group Courses is discussed how the details of group formation and enrolment should look like.

[edit] Professional services

The FTA is unique amongst other things because of it being a global community of learners, educators, researchers and professionals. Through the online campus we can provide professional training services for organisations interested in Free Software and Open Standards. Organisations who are interested in a migration trajectory to Free Software can benefit from the network around the FTA.

This provides opportunities for educators, professionals, partners, FTA graduates and customers. See [Private_Training_Courses] for more information.

[edit] Sponsoring

The FTA is looking in ways to organize the possibilities of sponsoring. See Sponsoring.

[edit] Models for sustainability

We have a group discussing different models to continue the FTA in a sustainable way.

Revenue models are documented here: [Course: FTA-Revenue-Models].

Ideas about a "Free Software Guild" are also described, riffing on a discussion in the community forum.

[edit] Communicating the FTA

To reach out to more people is crucial for sustainability. We have an interesting story to tell, but we need to go out and talk with the right groups. This is something we can all contribute to. Here are a list of resources:

[edit] Improvement actions of the FTA

The FTA can be improved, of course. Here is a list of items that have been identified and that we plan to or are working on as community.

[edit] Survey about what people want in the FTA

November 2011 survey and the results. Harry Thijssen has made a derivative of the survey in Google Docs. Though non-free software, some people might like to use this. Harry's version presents the results immediately in a public sheet; the results of the first one, in the campus, will be presented at the end of the survey.

[edit] Enhance payment options

Besides the modality of bank transfers, Paypal is now being added. More suggestions are welcome.

[edit] Elgg Mailing list integration for the community portal

Right now people find it difficult to follow discussions in different groups and threads in the community portal. One way of improving the experience would be to integrate a module called Elggman, which adds mailing list functionality to the discussion forums. Franco Iacomella knows more of this; he is testing the integration and will post further details.

[edit] New General discussion mailing list

At least until the mailing list integration with the community portal is resolved, a new discussion list is set up. Active participants and people interested in the FTA courses and community are welcome to join.

[edit] Improve end user support in community portal

The discussion takes place here. Harry Thijssen has started to enhance the Community_Portal:_Introductory_guide.

[edit] Clarifying Community groups

The main idea of groups in the community portal is to separate different areas of discussion and keep things orderly. Not necessarily the same people are in each group, that depends on their personal interests However, now we have quite a few groups, it becomes harder to find out what is going on where. Besides, some groups get near and are related, for example Courses and Master Curriculum Building.

The Community Portal (Elgg) has a feature to mention related groups or subgroups (see lorea. We should check out what that could bring to us.

Another idea is to make a quick overview of the groups in a Wiki page and link that from the main links.


[edit] Options for obtaining a Master degree

The FTA is not an institution capable of issuing degrees. However, its university partners are and have defined recognition agreements of the FTA certificates. Obtaining a master degree is no sinecure, and the specific details need to be consulted with the universities. Here's more information:

  • Options for master degrees building on FTA modules:
  • A discussion thread on this topic can be found here.
  • The universities are working on a mid-term plan to get a joint master degree from the ground.
  • A project proposal for a common master curriculum and multiple master programme implementations in various European universities has been developed. However the first version was rejected by the European Commission in July 2011. We're thinking of submitting an improved version.