OPEN 2011/Abstracts of the Speakers

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1. Tan Sri Emeritus Professor Gajaraj Dhanarajan

This presentation is about the changing concept of 'openness' in higher education and how the Open Educational Resources [OER] movement is influencing many of us who have been promoting Open Learning to re-examine our views as well as practices on access and equity to learning. I shall consider the drivers that require us to rethink and reformulate our options on how this innovative approach to sharing knowledge can freely be sustained in our region. The presentation, in three parts is as enumerated below: ?Discussion on concept of 'openness' in higher education ?Review of the drivers and trends that are reshaping our thinking on 'openness'. ?Discussion on major challenges that requires research studies on OER ?Some thoughts on moving forward with a new paradigm of 'openness'

2. Dr. Savithri Singh

In recent years technology has come to play a major role in education. There is an immediate need for development of online materials both for the distance mode students as well as enrichment materials for the face-to-face mode. With the rapid increase in online content, considerations of access to the materials are prime. Content locked away behind passwords may make money for a few but the need of the hour is 'access to all'. Wikipedia led the world in creation of 'open education resources'. Besides OER, it is important for us to adopt Free and Open Source software (FOSS) in our educational institutions. OER and FOSS constitute 'Free cultural works'. This talk will discuss the importance of switching to this paradigm in our educational institutions and stress on how it can contribute to the teaching-learning process.

3. Professor C. N. Krishnan

FOSS (Free/Open Source Software) is not merely about lines of software code being made freely available to the public. As an alternate way (alternate to today's dominant systems) of producing and organizing technology, FOSS has proven itself on the ground in certain settings and contexts. But in countries like ours, pre-FOSS attitudes and afflictions tend to persist strongly into the FOSS times as well, because of which it cannot be taken for-granted that the full benefits of FOSS will automatically become available to us also. We would need to consciously plan and work towards it. If our aim is that FOSS should make a significant and sustained economic and social impact in India, then we will have to consciously create an ecosystem that enables and empowers FOSS to play such a role. This “FOSS Ecosystem” would have to connect all the significant stake holders - FOSS Communities, Academia, Government, Industry, Media etc. - into a symbiotic web in which each entity contributes to, and benefits from, the ecosystem. The talk will present and discuss some aspects of such an ecosystem with specific reference to our country, and comment on the efforts that are needed to build and sustain it.

4. Dr. Neeti Misra and Mr. Subhash Kumar

There are a large number of websites and interactive forums/user groups that provide support for Open Source Software. Many sites also provide a platform for sharing the software related problems, their solutions and new developments among open source community. The presentation will discuss about these sites along with those sites where various alternatives to proprietary software are available for downloading. The talk will also briefly outline the various initiatives taken by the College in popularizing usage of FOSS tools in teaching and administration.

5. Mr. Colin Charles

MariaDB started life as a database to host the Maria storage engine in 2009. Not long after its inception, the MySQL community went through yet another change in ownership, and it was deemed that MariaDB will be a complete database branch developed to extend MySQL, but with constant merging of upstream changes. The goal of the MariaDB project is to ensure that everyone is part of the community, including employees of the major steering companies. MariaDB also features enhanced features, some of which are common with the Percona Performance Server. Most importantly, MariaDB is a drop-in replacement and is completely backward compatible with MySQL. In 2010, MariaDB released 5.1 in February, and 5.2 in November - two major releases in a span of one calendar year is a feat that was achieved! DBAs and developers alike will gain an introduction to MariaDB, what is different with MySQL, how to make use of the feature enhancements, and more.

6. Mr. Ravikant Sharma

The talk addresses the issue of linguistic divide and free culture of learning by sharing. An attempt is made to analyze some fundamental problems emerging from a blind faith in copyright and by suggesting some creative solutions emerging from the best practices in the world of Hindi web and ask whether these cannot be replicated in social sciences.