The openSE project: opening up Software Engineering education

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Software Engineering (SE) is a fast changing subject that often poses a moving target both for learners and educators. In order to tackle this problem, an open approach to SE education can provide continuous feedback between educational institutions and “the real world”, where these skills will be finally applied in most cases.

Free Software projects provide an ideal practice field for SE learners: they are real, living projects that anyone can study, and they always have pending tasks that learners can take up as part of their learning process.

The openSE project aims to build an open educational framework for computer science Software Engineering by bringing together higher education institutions, free software projects and companies. The project is initially suppported by the EC’s Lifelong Learning Programme, but it is conceived to be self sustainable after this initial period.

The Free Knowledge Institute’s role in the openSE project is mainly related to the development of the openSE Content Framework. This framework will facilitate the exchange of learning resources between educators, learners and institutions. These materials range from the traditional textbooks to student’s projects or multimedia resources. One of the most important aspects of this framework is that all openSE learning materials are published under free licenses that allow them to be used, copied, modified and redistributed by anyone.

Apart from that, the FKI functions as a bridge between openSE and the Free Technology Academy (FTA). While the FTA produces and publishes its course materials openly and under free licenses, it is not designed for free learners. The openSE project can benefit from the FTA’s materials while FTA learners (as well as any other person) can make use of the openSE platform. For assessment and certification people can go to the FTA and register for a particular course.

The project is powered by a strong partnership of universities and other education-related organisations:

  • Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação – Portugal (co-ordinator)
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – Greece
  • Universidade Rey Juan Carlos, Departamento de Sistemas Telemáticos y Computación – Spain
  • Tampere University of Technology, Department of Software Systems – Finland
  • University of Oxford – OSSWatch, Research Technology Service (RTS), Oxford University Computing Services. – UK
  • The Open University, Institute of Educational Technology (IET) – UK
  • UNU-MERIT: United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and social Research and training centre on Innovation and Technology – The Netherlands
  • Free Knowledge Institute – The Netherlands
  • EPITA, Ecole pour l’Informatique et les Techniques Avancées – France
  • ELIG – European Learning Industry Group