12 januari 2012

Just For Learning: an online classroom from Ubuntu Nederland

Since it is almost that time of the year again when the Ubuntu Developer Week will start, I would like to introduce you to nice tool developed by a team in the Dutch Ubuntu community: Just For Learning. Very much like the well-known desktop application, Lernid, the goal of Just For Learning is to make giving online workshops easier. Instead of having to learn how to connect to two IRC channels, they only have to visit this easy web application.

In my local community, Ubuntu Nederland, we have a team that occupies itself with just that: educating the community. The team of Ubuntu NL Mwanzo is very active in reaching out to newcomers to our LoCo. A part of their pursuits concerns giving workshops just like the Ubuntu Developer Week I mentioned earlier. They usually employed IRC to hold these sessions, following the familiar #*-classroom/#*-classroom-chat paradigm. However, they thought it could be done better and a group of interested people got to work.

The application, available in both English and Dutch, has three IRC-based chatrooms: one for the teacher, one to ask and answer questions and one for the general chatting. The fourth pane shows a schedule and displays links mentioned in the classroom. People who want to follow the course with their IRC client can choose to do so too. Teachers are authenticated using the Ubuntu SSO Service. Students only have to give a user name.

The Dutch instance is live on http://communityserver.ubuntu-nl.org/justforlearning/. As you can see, the interface is very simple and easy to use. When you hold your event, all you need to do is provide a link to the site and your audience can join in from any browser on any device with internet.

If you or your team is interested in using this, or have any questions, please look at the project’s Launchpad page or leave a comment here. You may also try the #Ubuntu-nl-mwanzo IRC channel. The code is located in the Bazaar branch lp:justforlearning. The code is still not stable!

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