UNIGIS GIRONA – REFLECTIONS ON THE USE OF OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE IN EDUCATION
UNIGIS Girona is a further education programme with more than ten years of experience in distance learning of Geographic Information Systems. Since 1999, when the project was started, the training we provide has changed and been adapted to the new needs and expectations that have emerged in the areas of GIS and virtual education. The UNIGIS Girona programme has evolved from the exclusive use of some software to a teaching model based on many aspects, including the acquisition of educational competences associated with the mastery of GIS software, most of which is open-source and freeware.
At UNIGIS Girona we believe that open-source software should play an important role in learning, and that our pedagogical approaches must not be based on the use of only one type of software or software that is subject to conditions of use. In this way is how we guarantee that, at the end of their UNIGIS studies, students will have mastered many GIS software programs and will be capable of choosing the one that is most suitable or that best meets their needs. And they will not be restrained by the different sales policies or contract conditions constantly imposed by the companies that own the software. For us it also means that during the master’s course we can devote our time and efforts to aspects less related managing or acquiring software, and more closely associated with students’ teaching-learning processes.
We can now consider the advantages, as well as the difficulties, of introducing and working with this change, and think about ways to measure the added value of our new training approach.
Ferran Orduña - University of Girona
Suani Armisen - University of Girona
Josep Sitjar - University of Girona
Palahí Joana - University of Girona