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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Starting Introduction to Contributing to Apache OpenOffice Module
Date Tue, 09 Jul 2013 14:02:58 GMT
On Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 1:21 AM, Tom Goldie <> wrote:
> "Who are you, where are you from, what are you interested in? These are all
> good things to cover."
> My name is Tom Goldie, and I am from, and live in, Arizona. I am an educator
> by trade.

Hi Tom,

I'm Rob Weir, from Massachusetts, and a member of the Apache
OpenOffice Project Management Committee.

> My interest in this list and this community is as follows: I currently teach
> inmates in a large (3500 men) prison -- 75 at any one time -- how to use
> OpenOffice. I use it, love it, and share what I know wherever I can. My
> motto: "Friends don't send friends document it will cost them hundreds of
> dollars to open."

Interesting.  I'd love to interview you for a blog post on your work
with OpenOffice and the inmates, if you would be willing.  This sounds
like a good story that our user community would enjoy reading.

> We have one problem: we don't have any recognized standards to teach to.
> Sure, we have come up with what WE think is important, but we're looking for
> something that guys can feel good about earning and that will tell potential
> employers what they are likely to know.

We have various tutorials, as I'm sure you've seen.  But we (Apache)
don't currently have formal user certificates.  There is, however, a
3rd party that offers accredited user certification per frameworks in
the UK and Europe:

I'm not deeply familiar with that work, but if you contact Ian I'm
sure he can explain it better.

> Here's what I'm offering: my "expertise", such as it is, and a whole lot of
> prison labor (voluntary, you can be assured) to flesh-out and test standards
> and curriculum materials to form the basis for an OpenOffice Certification.
> I believe the approach I'm suggesting is different and more easily completed
> because it is driven by produced documents -- which brings into ready and
> sharp focus requisite skills and thought processes.
> Here's the idea so far, with some sketching-in in a few places to give you
> an idea of how it would go together:
> 1) OpenOffice users across the globe are asked, "What documents is it
> important to know how to make?" Of course, depending on experience the
> responses will be varied, but perhaps it begins to shape up as follows:
> Writer -- business and personal letters, shopping lists, mailmerge letters,
> academic papers (MLA in the US, not sure about elsewhere), memos,
> newsletters, etc.
> Calc -- inventory sheet, payroll calculation, balance sheet, budget -- I
> KNOW there is a lot of variety out there, but perhaps representative sheets
> with common functions and can be settled on
> Draw -- line and block organization chart, simple product illustration,
> landscape scene with imported bitmaps, artistic rendering of automobile,
> whatever.
> Note that Impress, Base, Math,and Basic are left out for now -- but not
> forgotten.
> 2. We (a working group of me and interested people from this community)
> gather from all over the globe .pdfs of each of these documents and their
> specifications. We decide which document elements are signature, come up
> with different levels of elegance of handling them, and then assign
> documents and methods to certain levels.
> Some sketching here is in order: Let's take letters. There are business and
> personal letters. We can say what SHOULD NOT be done (hard returns at the
> end of lines), but also say that adding paragraph markers for above/below
> paragraph spacing is a beginner-level technique (and students should be
> aware of the pitfalls), but creating and applying a paragraph style is an
> intermediate-level technique. Instruction can be provided for creating
> common elements: page numbering, dates, alignments and indents, margins, and
> such -- which will be determined by looking over user submissions. The
> student passes the letter portion at either basic or intermediate level when
> they avoid all the don'ts, and then apply the appropriate techniques.

Some checks like this can be automated as well with scripts or by
using the ODF Toolkit, if you look at the original ODF file rather
than the PDF.

> This is done for each type of common document for each facet of OO. More
> difficult documents (say, books, or long academic papers -- things that
> require tweaks for headers, bookmarks, cross-references, etc.) are in the
> advanced section.
> For Impress, it is pretty easy to figure out what are basic tasks
> (transitions, animations), intermediate tasks (more complicated animations
> and timing, making groovy slide masters), and advanced topics (printing
> handouts, notes, etc.).
> For Base, beginners should be able to navigate a database, view data using
> filters and sort, perform queries, use forms, enter data in tables and
> forms, run reports with parameterized queries, etc. Intermediate users
> should be able to design/write queries, design tables, make forms, make
> reports, etc. Advanced users write code to make their forms more functional
> -- probably intersects with Basic (see below).
> For Math, symbols are divided into groups (up through high school algebra
> for basic -- I know there will be variety by country, but there should be
> some common ground), common college stuff for intermediate, and specialized
> notations for advanced.
> For Basic, beginners should be able to import/export code, insert macro
> code, maybe write simple macros for a spreadsheet; intermediate level should
> be able to make dialogs, and pass info back and forth between code and
> dialogs, write apps; advanced use UNO objects to manipulate dbs, text docs,
> draw objects, etc.
> 3. Our guys produce learning materials and release them under a Creative
> Commons SSA (or other license, if this community has a preference) to be
> used by anyone wishing to deliver training in OpenOffice for little or no
> cost. (If someone wants to issue certificates and oversee testing quality
> for a small fee, I can suggest a certain customer with 3500 possible clients
> ;-)

I'm not really an expert on training or certification, but would a
complete set of materials look something like:

0.  Maybe an initial evaluation to determine student's initial skill level.

1. Instructional materials for teaching the skills, maybe a set of
presentations (for live teaching) or videos.

2. Some simple exercises to do after each unit.

3. A "teachers guide" that explains each unit, its purpose/goals,
common questions or conceptual problems, tips, etc.

4. A post-evaluation for measuring end skill level, and a rubric to score it.

Are you talking about something similar to this?  Or were you
interested in only the materials for the evaluation?

> OKAY, so this is a lot of going on about something most will delete. BUT if
> you want to help and have ideas, I'd like to hear from you. I've sent
> e-mails to the OO cert group addresses, but it all came back undeliverable.
> I have to do this to keep my company happy, but I'd like to have broad input
> to make the final product as relevant and as useful as possible.
> I look forward to finding helpful folks with a common interest. If that's
> not you, thanks for indulging me by reading this far and I'd appreciate you
> forwarding this to anyone you think might be interested. If it IS you, I
> hope that what I've laid out excites you and we can get started ASAP. I've
> got a lot of resources to offer to get this done, but need your input.

Right now we're in the midst of the final end-game for our Apache
OpenOffice 4.0 release.  So your note is probably not going to receive
a huge response right now.  But things will calm down another two
weeks or so.

Personally, I'm interested in what you describe and I think I can help
drum up some additional volunteers to help.

A core prerequisites (IMHO) for this to be successful, would be your
leadership in coordinating the activity, both in Arizona (obviously)
but also here online with the OpenOffice volunteers.  Efforts like
this tend to fizzle if there is no one taking the active role to
coordinate the efforts of the other volunteers.  I'm pretty sure we
can recruit volunteers willing to help, by reaching out within the
direct project community, but also via our blog, Facebook page, etc.
But once they answer the call, success depends on keeping volunteers
motivated, having fun, seeing progress, having their contributions
recognized, etc.

If the work is done under the Apache 2.0 open source license, as part
of the project here, then wikis, mailing lists, version control,
website, etc., can faciliate the work.



> Thanks,
> Tom Goldie
> Instructor, Arizona State Prison - Kingman

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