Facebook As a Communication Tool For Community Organizations

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Here's a good topic discussing how organizations can employ free online social networking tools as a communication tool for their community and professional organizations. News updates and announcements can be posted and easily be disseminated to members of their group/s in any part of the world as long as there is internet access. Social networking tools has become very popular worldwide and maybe it's high time that we take advantage of its practical uses.
If you're a UPCD student, faculty, employee or alumni member and already have a facebook account, please join our facebook community by following this link: UPCD FACEBOOK PAGE

Facebook As a Communication Tool For Community Organizations
By Crystal Coleman


Small community organizations, such as parent committees, book clubs, sports associations, or service groups struggle to communicate effectively with their members and the communities surrounding them.
  • Limited resources make newspaper or other form of print marketing cost restrictive.
  • Telephone communication can be cumbersome and time consuming.
  • Meetings can be poorly attended or ineffective.
The rise of social networking as a communication medium has implications beyond personal socializing or business networking; it can now be considered a valid tool for community groups. Facebook should be an obvious choice for an organization seeking the benefits of social networking.

On an individual basis, Facebook members will likely have members from their local communities on their friends lists, the audience (or a portion thereof) is already reachable without any ground work; your organization now has an immediately available and concrete audience built-in from the start. New members can easily sign up to Facebook and become part of a network that quickly reproduces itself.

There are multiple ways a message can be shared, two of which being: status updates posted and viewed by friends from personal pages, and through the use of Facebook Pages (formerly Groups). A Page has built-in messaging systems by way of wall posts and a discussion area, in addition to posting features by way of status updates broadcast to all Fans (think group members), and private messages delivered to each Fans' inbox. With the click of a button, the administrators can send an update to the Fans.

To become a Fan is easy; one simply follows a link that the administrators of the page have sent as an invite. Alternatively, individuals can look up a page and become a member by navigating to the website itself. Other useful features of a Facebook Page:
  • Events can be published to a shared calendar
  • Documents can be uploaded for universal group use
  • External links and photos can be shared.
Community organizations struggle to have their message heard, whether it be to their members, or to those within the community. Social networking sites, like Facebook, offer organizations the opportunity to provide universally accessible, clear and dynamic information on events, meetings, fund-raising initiatives, and other group information. The possibilities are virtually endless!


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Crystal Coleman, Virtual Assistant & Entrepreneur

Edge VA - The Virtual Assistance you need for the EDGE that you want.

Edge VA provides administrative virtual assistance to entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Crystal_Coleman
http://EzineArticles.com/?Facebook-As-a-Communication-Tool-For-Community-Organizations&id=2382270

Download Links for Open Office

Monday, October 12, 2009


In line with the University of the Philippines Manila's thrust in shifting from commercial/proprietary software to open source, all of us are encouraged to make an effort to understand and learn how to use these software.  Open source software is Free.  One of the most popular of these is the openoffice which is a suite or bundle of software considered as a counterpart of the popular MS Office Suite. This may be directly downloaded from its official site at http://openoffice.org/

Learn more about Open source particularly the OpenOffice by following these download links.

Download links and User Guides for OpenOffice.org 3.x

How to Write a Letter With OpenOffice Or NeoOffice Letter Wizard

How to Write a Letter With OpenOffice Or NeoOffice Letter Wizard
By Ugur Akinci


In case you don't know, OpenOffice is an amazingly powerful office suite, at least as good as the MS Office suite. It's also free. Search for "OpenOffice" on Google to download it from the OpenOffice site. (Note: if you own a Mac, try NeoOffice. It runs much better on a Mac but basically it's the same suite.)

Select the Text Document option from the OpenOffice menu to display the OO word processor.

This word processor will not write your letters for you automatically but it's got a built-in Letter Wizard to help you get the basic structural elements right.

Select File > Wizards > Letter from the menu to display the Letter Wizard. (Note the Fax, Agenda, Presentation, and Web Page wizards as well!)

Select from one of the following Letter Type options: Business Letter, Formal Personal Letter, Personal Letter.

The first two letters come with three Page Design options: Elegant, Modern, Office.

The Personal Letter comes with the following Page Design options: Bottle, Mail, Marine, Red Line.

Once you select your Letter Type and Page Design Style, you click Next to display the...

Printed Items screen allows you to include (or exclude) the following letter elements: Logo, Return address in envelope window, Subject Line, Salutation, Fold Marks, Complimentary Close, and Footer.

Click Next and you get the...

Recipient and Sender screen allows you to enter the Sender's Address and the Recipient's Address.

Click Next to the...

The Footer screen allows you to type in any footer text you like, with two additional options: you can include page numbers and/or include the footer only on the second and following pages but not on the first page.

Click Next...

The Name and Location screen allows you to attach a name to your template and save it in any file you like on your computer so that you can easily load it up and use it for other letters in the future.

And lastly, after you finish making the right choices for your template, the Letter Wizard asks you how to proceed.

You can then go ahead and create a letter from the template you've just created or make manual changes to the template. You can for example replace all the icons and images in the template with your own custom-designed logos and images, etc.

A perfect letter wizard from a fully-equipped office suite that costs you zilch, zero, nada.

Note: You can open all your MS WORD documents inside OpenOffice without a hitch and when you're done reading or editing them, re-save them as MS Office documents.

I've been using OpenOffice (on Windows and Linux machines) and NeoOffice (on a MacBook) for the last 3 years without any problems whatsoever. (This very article, for example, is written with the NeoOffice word processor.)

Go ahead. Make your day! It might be a very bright one that costs you nothing.


Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. is the author of 101 Ways to Power-Up Your Writing

Sign up for his free writing tips newsletter at http://www.writer111.com/

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http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Write-a-Letter-With-OpenOffice-Or-NeoOffice-Letter-Wizard-&id=1693153

How to Write and Design a Slide Presentation With OpenOffice Or NeoOffice Presentation Wizard

How to Write and Design a Slide Presentation With OpenOffice Or NeoOffice Presentation Wizard
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Ugur_Akinci]Ugur Akinci

If you think you need to have MS PowerPoint to prepare a great presentation, I have to disagree respectfully. Actually there is a free alternative that does just as well, if not better.

OpenOffice (OO) and its Mac-version NeoOffice (NO) are two amazingly powerful and complete office suites with their built-in Presentation Program called Impress, which in my judgment is as good as MS PowerPoint. And... it also happens to be FREE. Search for "OpenOffice" and "NeoOffice" on the Google to download them from their respective sites.

Here is how to design and prepare a great Presentation by using OO or NO Presentation Wizard.

Select the Text Document option from the OO/NO menu to display the word processor.

Select File > Wizards > Presentation from the menu to display the Fax Wizard. (Note the Letter, Fax, Agenda, and Web Page wizards as well!)

Or alternatively, you can also directly select File > Presentation from the OO/NO menu. That also displays the same Presentation Wizard.

SCREEN 1:

On the first screen (numbered 1) of the Presentation Wizard you can select from one of the following three types of presentation: a) Empty Presentation, b) From Template, or c) "Open Existing Presentation."

a) If you select Empty Presentation option on SCREEN 1, you click Next and move on to the other wizard screens. (See SCREEN 2)

b) If you select From Template option on SCREEN 1, the wizard allows you to select from one the two modest built-in business templates available: Introducing a New Product, and Recommendation of a Strategy.

This same screen allows you to select a Presentation Background as well: Dark Blue with Orang, or Subtle Accents (my personal favorite).

You then click Next and move on to the other wizard screens. (See SCREEN 2)

c) If you open an existing presentation, the wizard will allow you to browse for it on your hard drive. Once you select and open the presentation, the wizard will carry you to the full-fledged editing window of the Impress application.

There, just like in MS PowerPoint, you can select from a variety of Master Pages, make any text edits you want on any slide, include a dizzying array of graphic elements, call-outs, images, and even manipulate the images (like rotating, etc.) The number of things that you can do both to your presentation template and the individual slides themselves is too long and has to be experienced in person to be appreciated. (All that from a totally FREE application!)

NOTE: Both OO and NO open any MS PowerPoint presentation perfectly well, without any problem! And once you're through, you can again save them in MS PowerPoint format and no one would ever know the difference.

Click Next to advance to the next screen.

SCREEN 2:

On the second screen (numbered 2) of the Presentation Wizard, you are allowed to select a Slide Design.

Here there's a seeming-repetition that may confuse some users since the wizard again asks you to select a Presentation style and Presentation Background, the same options offered in SCREEN 1. However, that's not a repetition of you 've chosen the Empty Presentation option in the previous screen.

SCREEN 2 also allows you to select from one of the following Output Medium options: Original, Overhead sheet, Paper, Screen, Slide (my personal favorite).

Click Next to advance to the next screen.

SCREEN 3:

This is where the fun really begins because you get to choose from a bewildering variety of Transition Effects, yeaah!

The Effect drop-down list presents you with over two dozen transition options like "Wipe Down", "Uncover Left", "Wheel Clockwise, 3 Spokes" etc. If the Preview check-box under the mini-preview window is selected, you can actually see in real-time each of these effects as you select them!

The Speed drop-down list allows you to select one of the three available transition speeds: Slow, Medium, Fast.

After that you can also decide whether you'd like to advance from one slide to another by Default (manually), or Automatically.

If you select Automatic, then the wizard also allows you to select the Duration of Page and the Duration of Pause in between the slides.

Click Next to advance to the next screen.

SCREEN 4:

On the fourth screen (numbered 4) of the Presentation Wizard, you are allowed to type in the following general template information:

What is you name and the name of your company? What is the subject of your presentation? Any further ideas to be presented?

Click Next to advance to the next screen.

SCREEN 5:

On the fifth screen (numbered 5) of the Presentation Wizard, you'll be able to select the pages that you'd like to display as a part of your presentation.

Depending on the combination of the choices you've made in the earlier screens, you will be presented a dynamic list of page options.

For example, if you select "Introducing a New Product" template in SCREEN 1, on SCREEN 5 you'll have the following page options:

Title, Long-Term Goal, Customer Wishes, Fulfilling Customer Needs, Cost Analysis, Strengths and Advantages, Next Steps of Action.

If, on the other hand, you select "Recommendation of a Strategy" template in SCREEN 1, on SCREEN 5 you'll have the following page options:

Title, Overview, Long-Term Goal, The Present Situation, Development Up to present, Potential Alternatives, and Recommendation.

NOTE: No matter which kind of page list you are presented, you can always select and un-select each individual page to further customize your slide presentation.

After making all these choices you click the Create button to go directly into the full-fledged editing window of Impress.

And once you are there you can more or less take every editing action that's available in MS PowerPoint, including selecting from a variety of Master Pages, making text edits on any slide, including a dizzying array of graphic elements, call-outs, images, and you can even manipulate the images (like rotating, etc.) to suit your taste and needs.

This editing window further offers you the alternative to work in the following editing modes:

Normal, Outline, Notes, Handout, and Slide Sorter.

You have no idea how powerful and complete this free presentation program is until you use it.

When you are done, you can select File > Save As from your menu and save your presentation in over a dozen presentation formats including (but of course!) MS PowerPoint.

A perfect Presentation wizard and application from a fully-equipped office suite that costs you zilch, zero, nada.

Go ahead. Whip up that great Presentation in no time and impress both your boss and your audience today!

Ugur Akinci PhD is the author of 101 Ways to [http://www.powerupwriting.com]Power-Up Your Writing - Tips and Advice from a Fortune 500 Writer.

He offers free writing tips through his email newsletter. Subscribe today at http://www.writer111.com and claim your free gift!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ugur_Akinci http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Write-and-Design-a-Slide-Presentation-With-OpenOffice-Or-NeoOffice-Presentation-Wizard&id=1696077

Open Source Software Vs Proprietary Software? Tips For Technology Integration

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Open Source Software Vs Proprietary Software? Tips For Technology Integration
By Sophia Peters


Is open source the right option for your online training, teaching, or learning efforts? This articles compares the difference between open source and proprietary software. Open source software has become mainstream. Applications such as the Firefox Web browser and Linux operating system are available to aid in all areas of operation, including teaching and learning. Open source software has become a strong contender in online training and e-learning sectors. As technology continues to evolve, more open source offerings will continue to emerge in the area of e-learning, continuously changing the landscape of online teaching and learning both in academia and business fields.

Open source software has grown to include:

  1. Learning management systems (LMS)
  2. Learning content management systems (LCMS)
  3. Course authoring tools
  4. Tools to create media elements such as animations, audio, and video
  5. Browsers and players to present content
  6. Courseware libraries
These resources has some important benefits:

  1. Open source software is free to download therefore lower in cost.
  2. Flexibility and customizability
  3. Extensive active builder and user communities that forms a good technical support base.
  4. Many open source applications run on multiple platforms including Windows and Linux.
  5. Adherence to established standards, which is a high priority for open source software development.
  6. Ability to use and link to other open source software
Most proprietary software comes without the source code, which is the code originally written by the programmer. Without this code you do not have right to change the way the software is developed. When you buy proprietary software you are essentially buying the right to use the software in a specific way, and in many cases the company that developed it owns the software, and you just purchase rights to use it.

The main difference between commercial support for proprietary software and commercial support for open source software is that the proprietary software is obligatory and the open source software is optional. If you opt out of paying for support for proprietary software, you lose the right to use it in most cases. The costs incidentally tend to be quite high for proprietary software.

Perceived advantages of proprietary software include:

1) Reliable, professional support and training available;
2) Packaged, comprehensive, modular formats; and
3) Regularly and easily updated.

The downside however is that it is:

1) Costly, and
2) has closed standards that hinder further development.

Open sources software has the advantage of:

1) Low cost and no license fees;
2) Open standards that facilitate integration with other systems; and
3) it is easily customizable.

The down side is:

1) Lack of professional support;
2) Evolving developer communities;
3) Lack of release co-ordination; and
4) Erratic updates. However, with such a large development and user-base, many discussion forums and help sites are available for users.

So what is the right solution for you and your organization? Generally, for smaller organizations and projects, Open source solutions seem to suffice. The difference in cost more than makes up for the perceived disadvantages mentioned above. Larger organizations seem to require more robust, high-quality product with high levels of service and support. They want responsibility, reliable assistance, and support from their suppliers.

With rapid developments in technology, chances are you can find tools to meet your training needs in either the open source or commercial sector. But open source provides unique advantages which include filling the low-cost high-control niche that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve through commercial, proprietary avenues.


Sophia P. is the editor of http://www.about-elearning.com/authoring-software.html and http://www.colleges-and-careers.com/computer-degrees.html, information and resource guides for e-learning and degree programs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sophia_Peters
http://EzineArticles.com/?Open-Source-Software-Vs-Proprietary-Software?--Tips-For-Technology-Integration&id=835437

Open Source Vs Closed Source Software - Product Support

Open Source Vs Closed Source Software - Product Support
By Joseph Devine


Once new software is unleashed into the current market, those who decide to use or develop the new software are often faced with the challenges of updating, protecting, maintaining, and overall improving the product. Because of the differences in structure between open and closed source software, the way in which it is supported and maintained varies as well.

Support for Closed Source

Closed, or proprietary software, is much different than open source software. The main difference between the two is the access of the source code. For closed source, access to the source code is denied and solely controlled by the developer of the software. This means that if a problem arises, or updates need to be made, the developer of the software is the only group that can make the appropriate changes.

This puts many companies and organizations at the mercy of the closed source software developers. If the developers choose not to update or fix any problems, the organization that utilizes the software will be stuck with a useless product. Having to filter any and all problems through one location causes problems to be solved at a very slow pace. Users are not given the opportunity to attempt to fix the software on their own. While there may be alternative fixes, these are often illegal to use with proprietary software.

The main argument for closed source software is the ability to control the quality of the product. While this is a valid argument, the needs of all users can often overwhelm the developers, causing changes to come very slowly, if at all.

Support for Open Source

Unlike closed source, open source software makes the access code accessible to all users and developers. This allows users and developers to quickly take care of any issues that arise with the software. Instead of having to take all of your concerns to a centralized group, the users and developers are given the chance to create their own fixes.

This kind of innovation allows users to truly customize and control their software, with the support of the developer whenever needed. The resources available to users of open source software far exceeds those who use proprietary software. The potential for users to customize their software to meet the needs of their organization is practically endless. Organizations are only limited to the reaches of their own creativity.

While closed source software is less customizable, open source is less simple to control as far as quality is concerned. The potential of the software is completely in the hands of the users, meaning that development can either be very fast of very slow. Without careful planning, open source software can cause confusion, inconsistencies, and even compatibility problems. Users of open source software must be careful to avoid this type of confusion.

Contact an open source software developer to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of open source software.


Joseph Devine

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joseph_Devine
http://EzineArticles.com/?Open-Source-Vs-Closed-Source-Software---Product-Support&id=1543484

Online Learning Management Systems - The Software Options

Online Learning Management Systems - The Software Options
By Ray Lawrence


With e-learning on a stellar rise, more and more organizations are evaluating how best to introduce or improve on their learning management systems for online courses, virtual universities and learning portals. Online learning can allow companies to train staff more effectively - from addressing front end staff development to upskilling the training department itself. Businesses are also increasingly recognizing the value of social networking tools in the workplace and many are considering the best way to introduce online discussions and portals.

A wide variety of software packages is available to allow companies to manage their e-learning system - these include proprietary solutions, systems developed in-house, and open source software. The most appropriate option depends upon a variety of factors including: in-house skills for initial set-up and ongoing administration, desired sophistication of the learning management system, accessibility, and number of users (proprietary companies often charge per 'seat' or per user).

Open source differs from shareware or freeware and can be defined as "both the concept and practice of making program source code openly available. Users and developers have access to the core designing functionalities that enable them to modify or add features to the source code and redistribute it. Extensive collaboration and circulation are central to the open source movement1". Such software can be managed completely by an end-user organization or they can use a third party such as HowToMoodle to provide training, hosting and customization. Many organizations begin their experience of such software with help from a third party and use the training they gain to upskill their own staff. They may then choose to manage the ongoing administration themselves and use third party consultancy to help them explore more complex facets of the system and its application to their particular training environment.

Choosing software with a solid and active user base helps to ensure that the software provider will continue development and ongoing support. For example, open source software Moodle has over 48,000 registered sites and the user base has doubled in size in the last year alone. Moodle sites include Dolland & Aitchison, the UK's largest retail optometrists. They used it to develop bespoke training for staff in its 400 stores and support centers after they were unable to find an off-the-shelf package which offered the sophistication in the interpretation of training results that they required. The Chartered Institute of Housing has members in over 20 countries and chose Moodle for its new online Masters degree course.

When costing open source versus proprietary software, the greatest saving will be licence fees associated with closed source software. The organization is not locked into a particular vendor and gains far greater control, speed of change and flexibility than might otherwise be possible.

Open source software is no longer only an option for IT nerds. Moodle is a really intuitive and easy-to-use application that is constantly being added to and refined by the team of developers and community contributors across the world. Closed software is traditionally developed via small beta trials whereas open source software benefits from continual peer review and enhancements through its community of users. Active and mature open source software incorporates improvements on a far more frequent basis than proprietary software yet still follows a published road map.

Back in 2004, open source software to manage e-learning and create courses, activities and communities online was a brand new proposition for businesses. Amongst the early adopters of Moodle were further education colleges who traditionally had good levels of IT expertise in-house but found it hard to find an off-the-shelf system that catered for their complex curriculum and client base. Now the breadth of sectors we deal with is staggering: ranging from the Royal Navy to charities. Open source software is increasing in popularity year-on-year and remains totally free to download and use owing to the absence of license costs. Even the European Union's competition commissioner recently urged the European Commission to use software from open sources2.

We offer some tips for using open source software to develop a learning management system:

- Think about the learning outcomes first and then which tool will help you to achieve these with your learners
- Focus on the activities, try to think beyond the content
- Don't think using open source software means the burden is all on your in-house team, consider using consultants to train your staff or to help you provide the vision to make your learning management system great
- Choose open source software that has a large and active user base, sizable development network and choice of third party trainers/consultants
- Consider sophisticated open source software that allows the learning
management system to be set up to closely match the objectives of your
organization
- Verify how ongoing research and development will be funded or carried out on your proprietary or open source system. There are concerns in the industry that the proprietary systems vendors are increasingly merging, which could lead to a monopoly situation. Could you be linking this mission critical application to a single company whose business aims you don't fully understand and can't influence?
- Think about what other systems you may wish to integrate with your learning management system (eg HR, finance). Open source software is an open system which makes it far easier to integrate with other software applications than proprietary applications - and someone else in the open source community may have already produced a free middleware patch.

1. Lakhan S, Jhunjhunwala, K, (2008) 'Open Source Software in Education' Educause Quarterly. No
2. Tait N (10 June 2008). 'Kroes seeks open-source software for EC' Financial Times.

First published on http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/ November 2008


by Ray Lawrence, Director, HowToMoodle http://www.howtomoodle.com/ Tel: 00 44 845 226 1073

HowToMoodle offers consultancy and training for organizations who wish to use or have already implemented Moodle.

Visit our website for more information http://www.howtomoodle.com/

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Online-Learning-Management-Systems---The-Software-Options&id=2811728

LCD Projector vs. LCD TV


Because of the short lifespan and high cost of the LCD projector bulb, maybe we can consider using an LCD TV in our small classrooms instead. Even a 32" inch wide screen LCD TV would have a big enough screen that can be clearly viewed by students seated at the back rows of the room. The article below shows some Pros and Cons, and a comparison between the two. If you have any questions or comments, you may post them below this blogpost.