OPAL case study 29: Open Source Electronics Learning Tools project, York University, UK

Java Bread Board (JBB) Open Source Project This project is funded by JISC/HEFCE as part of the OER...

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6 May 2010

Java Bread Board (JBB) Open Source Project

This project is funded by JISC/HEFCE as part of the OER initiative.

The JBB toolset has been developed by project students at York over a number of years, starting with an original project by Nick Glass, a York Computer Science Undergraduate. The project philosophy was also guided by the proposer’s involvement in NETPRO-I and NETPRO-II, European Distance based learning projects funded by the EU Leonardo Commission, and some of this work has already been published internationally. The investigators have maintained some contact with former students who worked on the project, including one with recent industrial experience of open-source development issues. 

The Project Team will undertake a work-plan leading to the open-source release of a software learning tool, “Java Bread-Board”, or ‘JBB’. The JBB toolset currently exists as a tool-set at the University of York and has been used for learning objectives for a number of years. Support and continuing development of this tool-set is required, but not easily resourced, therefore an open-source community model is the preferred route to further development of the tool-set. Work undertaken will include revision of the existing software to bring it up to current standards, implementation of an open-source licence framework for third-party use of the resources, and production of a web-site presence to support the ongoing use of the tools. The long-term intention is for the JBB learning toolset to be widely used and supported by its own user-community. There is already strong evidence of interest, including unofficial mirror sites of the University of York’s JBB site. This is very encouraging, but it is felt that it is important to have a clearly defined repository for the resources rather than ad-hoc user groups spread around the internet without any control over content.

 The aims of the project are therefore to (a) prepare the source code of the JBB toolset for useful release as an open-source software platform for further independent development, and (b) to make available suitable learning resources and guidance to allow use by the learner and educator community as a learning tool.

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