[OSGeo-Discuss] Next 5 years for OSGeo

Rafal Wawer Rafal.Wawer at sadl.kuleuven.be
Fri Oct 2 08:38:14 PDT 2009

Hi Ian,
My colleague teaches both: ESRI and FOSS software at our University (KULeuven). We first exercised it during the Summer School with lot of sweat and stress (-; http://www.sadl.kuleuven.be/sadl/opleidingenDetail.aspx#FOSS
Then he included it in his regular teaching in GIS. From our experience with the professionals from the developing countries attending our summer schools, who are meant to teach our material further, we know that after 3 schools 17-50% of the people used the materials (documents) in teaching GIS, 17% used it in their operational work, 13% for research. Software is indicated to be used by 13-17% for operational work, teaching 13% (only) and 25% for research. On the other hand... 38-75% of the people did not use the software at all after the course. For further details you can refer to our paper addressing the effectiveness of training materials in teaching FOSS4G: Van Orshoven, J., Wawer R. and Duytschaever K., 2009. Effectiveness of a train-the-trainer initiative dealing with free and open source software for geomatics. CD-ROM-proceedings of the AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2009, held in Hannover, Germany, 2-5-june-2009. 

You mentioned the general students' attitude to learn ESRI, which may beO true for the students targeting to be employees. In case they want to establish their own companies FOSS presents a lucrative option, diminishing the costs of starting the business.

Nice weekend to everyone (-:

Best regards:

Dr. Rafal Wawer
R&D Division SADL (Spatial Application Division)
Celestijnenlaan 200e bus 2224
BE-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel. 0032 16 329731

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Ian Turton
Sent: 02 October 2009 16:55
To: OSGeo Discussions
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Next 5 years for OSGeo

On Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Peter Batty <peter at ebatty.com> wrote:

> I think that programs to encourage greater use of OSGeo products in 
> universities would be a great idea too - ESRI dominate in this area at 
> the moment, but this would be another way to get the word out to a 
> broader audience.

Currently universities are locked in a vicious circle with GIS software in that the students demand we teach them on ESRI software because that's what employers want and employers use ESRI software as that is what the universities are teaching the students on.

The fact that ESRI are giving the software away for free (or nearly
free) doesn't help. I'd love to teach more (undergraduate) students with FOSS but first I have to find technician time to install the software on all the lab machines in the university (which is where ArcMap is provided) for just one course (and any way why can't I use Arc like everyone else will be the question). Of course we're supposed to be teaching techniques not software packages but you still spend most of your time sorting out the software issues.

So *I* think that universities are a lost cause and we should focus on high schools - but in many states ESRI has got there before us and has signed deals with the state to provide arc in schools at no cost to the school. When I query teachers as to how the kids will do their homework they usually shrug and point out it's too hard for them to do on their own or that they can use the school library. May be elementary schools are the winnable battlefield?

Ian Turton
These are definitely my views and not Penn States!
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