While in many regions across the world schools have opened up again, other places continue with home-schooling or prepare for a possible second wave of Covid-19 and the related teaching challenges. Politicians, educators, and parents are discussing how classes can continue while the pandemic rages on – and how to transfer remote education elements into existing curricula, also known as blended learning.
Easy access to course material is important for students, while educators have to be able to easily create online curricula and assignments. Among teachers, parents, and school authorities there are many concerns about costs, availability and privacy when creating virtual classrooms.
Remote learning must be accessible for every student. Thankfully, there are a few open-source options out there that enable distance learning while avoiding the costs, data privacy concerns and vendor lock-ins often associated with proprietary software.
Moodle for organized distance learning courses
Moodle is a prominent player in education, whether on- or offline. Big universities and small schools around the globe have adopted this easy-to-use online platform. It lets teachers create digital courses, add resources like documents and media files and manage enrolments. Integrated forums enable students to interact with each other and teachers other like in a classroom, also outside of normal school hours.
Tests and assignments can be created and graded directly in Moodle. This offers a new and productive educational experience with direct feedback and progress tracking. A large online community of teachers as well as a lot of instruction videos offer support on how to set up a convenient moodle environment adapted to specific requirements.
Big Blue Button for a virtual classroom
Big Blue Button is an open source video conferencing tool that excels when creating a virtual classroom. Its feature set clearly reflects that it was built for educational use. Big Blue Button enhances interaction with a digital whiteboard, group rooms, polls, and can share external videos directly. It thereby offers almost a classroom-like experience. Sessions can be recorded and later used as a resource for learning()
ownCloud for frictionless remote education
As the leading open-source software for file sync and share, ownCloud lets teachers and students work on data easily from anywhere, on any device. ownCloud is valued by the research and education community around the globe. It enables schools and universities to sync and share files in a digitally sovereign manner. When integrated with Moodle, ownCloud makes enriching courses easy – with media files, PDFs and other documents.
Integrations Collabora and Onlyoffice simplify the editing of documents – even collaboratively in real time. The file-drop feature is a special favorite among teachers for collecting homework assignments: Students receive a link for a folder in which they can only upload, preventing them from seeing what their peers already handed in. The intuitive user interface makes adoption by teachers and students easy. Apps and Clients for virtually all platforms as well as a fully featured web app make sure no student is left behind, not matter their device.
Please learn more about ownCloud for Educational Institutions. ownCloud is also available to education institutions through special education plans of our SaaS offering, ownCloud.online.
If your institution is located in Germany or in the EU and lacks the resources for deploying these tools for distance learning, you can contact our partners GWDG and Up2University – they offer managed services to schools in Germany and Europe respectively.