Free Open Source Tools

You are aware of the Moodle learning management system (LMS) but you may be less aware of eXe, the open source e-learning authoring tool. eXe started from the  New Zealand Government Tertiary Education Commission’s eCollaboration Fund and is aimed at users not proficient in HTML and XML but wanting to publish content.

The first thing you notice about eXe is that it doesn’t feel like a commercial authoring tool. Once you get used to the simple site approach where you build sections, topics and pages it is very easy to add pages and content. In essence each page is a blank screen and you choose the interaction you want for that page, such as a flash animation, text and graphic, audio file, and so on. You can also combine multiple items on a page. The tool then generates html pages with an integrated menu on the left. Resources authored in eXe can be exported in IMS Content Package, SCORM 1.2, or IMS Common Cartridge formats or as simple self-contained web pages.

Overall the tool works really well, fast and easily to generate content. The only downside of eXe is that it lacks a set of decent templates to improve the look and feel of the e-learning. But you can’t really complain with free open source software.

Freemind is an open source “mind mapping” software program. Freemind enables you to brainstorm and link together ideas quickly, creating “maps” of concepts similar to what you might do on a whiteboard. This can be incredibly useful when putting together ideas for new projects or brainstorming creative ideas. Use it to:

  • Keeping track of projects.
  • Project workplace, including links to necessary files, executables, source of information and of course information.
  • Workplace for internet research using Google and other sources.
  • Keeping a collection of small or middle sized notes with links on some area which expands as needed.
  • Essay writing and brainstorming.
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