May 5, 2014

A Program or Discipline-based Database for Freeware or Free Software in your Teaching

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

The Logiciel Libre team of the IT Representatives’ Network is making an initial academic freeware and free software database available to the teachers of the Quebec college network.

Getting to Know Freeware and Free Software

In the last few years, a number of measures have been undertaken to encourage the use of freeware and free software in higher education. These measure were results of a policy decision at the Treasury Council (Conseil du trésor) to promote and develop the academic and administrative use of freeware and free software in higher education. It should be mentioned, however, that the ADTE (Association pour le développement technologique en éducation) has deplored these initiatives to develop and promote the academic and administrative use of freeware and free software in higher education.

Notwithstanding this, one of the strategies taken by the Logiciel Libre team of the IT Representatives’ Network to get this software more widely used in the Quebec college network is to get it better known within a pedagogical context (course, discipline, program, college).

It is within this context that the team has created an initial database for use by teachers, pedagogical counsellors and other members of the college network. This data presents a large collection of freeware and free software being used within the college network.

Freeware and Free Software – What’s the difference?

Free software can be used, modified and redistributed at will, subject to compliance of the copyright and the license with which it is associated. Free software can be purchased or not. Examples of free software include Moodle, WordPress, Gimp, Open Office, etc. To learn more about this subject, consult a diaporama created by Martin Bérubé (REPTIC at Cégep de la Pocatière) which is in the Ressources section of the Logiciel libre folder.

Freeware is subject to license. It can be used freely according to the standards defined by the license, but cannot be modified or distributed to second parties. Examples of freeware include Skype, Google Apps, Dropbox, CMap tools, etc.

Using the Freeware and Free Software Database of the IT Representatives’ Network

This database was created from a spreadsheet in Google Drive (thanks to Jean Allard, the REPTIC at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf) and contains the following six tabs:

Tab Identifies
Discipline/Logiciel (Software) Software that is used in a particular discipline.
For example, math teachers use GeoGebra, Greenshot, Inscape, LaTex, MacTex software etc.
Logiciel(software)/discipline Disciplines which use a specific freeware or free software. For example VUE software is used in psychology.
Collège/logiciel software) Freeware of free software which is used in a specific college.

For example, Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne uses CamStudio, Firefox, GIMP, Google Drive, Open Office, etc.
Logiciel/collège Colleges which use a particular freeware or free software.
For example, Open Sankoré software is used at Baie-Comeau, Bois-de-Boulogne, Garneau, Lévis-Lauzon, etc.
Programme/logiciel Shareware or freeware which is used in a particular program.
For example, in the Modern Languages program, Diigo,, PowToon and Twitter are used.
Logiciel/programme Programs which use a specific freeware or shareware.
For example, Audacity is used in Communications, Modern Languages and Music.

Far from complete, the database is crying out for your contribution, which can be in English. To get the process started, we invite you to fill out a brief questionnaire which is in French but can be answered in English. If you need help, the IT Representative of your college is there to guide you.

The Cégep de Rimouski has adopted the Open Office Suite to replace Microsoft Office Suite at a considerable savings. Do you see freeware or free software as an interesting possibility in your own teaching? What advantages and disadvantages have you considered?

About the author

Nicole Perreault

She began her college career as a Psychology Teacher and Education Advisor at Collège André-Grasset. She was then the Director of APOP and the CLIC newsletter before becoming an Education Advisor at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit. Since 2005, she is pleased to be the Community Manager for the Réseau des REPTIC (IT Representatives Network) which brings together ICT Education Advisors from across the college network. She has written numerous articles and given many workshops on the pedagogical use of technology. Their integration within the context of student success is a subject that she finds particularly interesting.

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