This semester has been full with loads of events. Cultural and Technical fests swept past with high speed. Seminars, parties and so many different kinds of them. But last weekend something happened that was a first of its kind for our college. But before that let me tell you that NIT Durgapur is a IOTA resource centre an is the third of it's kind. IOTA offers courses on Basic Linux and Open Office. It is a program of West Bengal Govt. and is aimed at improving the training and support scenario of Open Source Softwares.
The program, organized by IOTA Cell, NIT Durgapur, was a three day training program, from 27th to 29th March, for school teachers. It objective was to introduce Linux and various Open source softwares available and consisted of training sessions to make them able to use FOSS in their day to day use. Around 75 teachers from various schools in and around Durgapur an Burdwan registered for the program.
First day was dedicated to basic computing concepts like software, hardware, open source, linux etc and acquainting them to the various flavours of Linux and applications available in the open source area. Some amount was also dedicated to GNOME, KDE, and basic usability. This was done over three sessions spread throughout the day and were taken by Debayan, Shreyank, Kaushik Nandy, Roshan Singh and Amit Daga. Fedora, Open Suse, and Ubuntu were demonstrated to them.
Second day started with the instructors demonstrating the Linux installation process and helping the teachers do the same on the computers in the LAB. This took almost the entire first half. Post lunch, OpenOffice.org basics were demonstrated to them followed by a demonstration and hand on workshop on OpenOffice.org Writer. The lecture stressed on various issues like open document format and compatibility issues with MS Office Suite. Everyone was provided with a hard copy of "OpenOffice.org for Beginners" documentation. All different steps of creating, saving, opening and formatting a document were demonstrated. The enthusiasm of the attendees could be understood from the volume of questions the instructors, which included me and Avishek Basu Mallick, had to answer. The hands on session was pretty productive and we tried to attend to almost all the problems faced by them. Thus ended another very fruitful day.
Third day was rather a continuation of second day had 3 sessions. First one was on OpenOffice.org Calc, second one was on OpenOffice.org Impress and the third one was dedicated to internet basics such as emails, google search, bengali search , groups, web pages etc. All the three sessions were followed by hands on workshops on the topics demonstrated. The instructors were the same as the second day except for Abhishek Gupta and Koushik Nundy. The attendees were pretty excited to find out how easily they can do their office chores with Calc. They simply loved OpenOffice.org. In the end feedback and suggestions were taken on a form so that the program could be improved next time. An almost exhaustive list of Windows alternative applications on Linux, compiled by iLUG-Cal, and a contact details were distributed. THe pictures can be found here.
These three days were a great learning for the teachers as well as for us. We were happy that we could reach such a diverse crowd and have been able to bring them into the world of FOSS, they being teachers can teach others about FOSS. It was a job well done by the IOTA Cell, NIT Durgapur.