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Open Source Sharable Applet (OSSLET) Collection - What's an osslet?

Frank Wattenberg, OSSLETS Editor

Osslets bring the power of the open source movement from software development to curriculum development.  For the casual user, osslets offer free, high-quality, ready-to-use, interactive curriculum materials.  For progressively more adventurous users, osslets are open-ended and flexible.  The curriculum materials accompanying each osslet are written in generally available formats – for example, Microsoft Word – and users are encouraged to modify them.  There are only two rules – you must give credit to the original author and cite the source and you must agree to the open source philosophy – that is, you must provide permission for further use and modification. 

Each osslet also includes at least one interactive component.  As of now, osslet interactive components are written in Java, Macromedia Director (Shockwave), or Macromedia Flash.  The players for all these are free.  These interactive components are written for flexibility.  You will find that you can modify their behavior without knowing any programming.  But, these interactive components are also open source and users are welcome to modify them subject to the same two rules above.  Osslets include source code, complete documentation for use at various levels, and they explicitly include permission for re-use and modification.  All the materials you need are included with the osslets.

Thus, each osslet includes all of the following:

  • An interactive component written in Java, Director (Shockwave), or Flash.  The component is flexible and ready-to-use with no knowledge of programming.  However, source code is also included for those who want to modify it.
  • At least two ready-to-use curriculum units.  The editable documents are included for those who want to make modifications.
  • Several shorter examples illustrating the flexibility of the interactive component.
  • Supporting files and documentation.
  • Explicit permission for re-use and modification.

Frank Wattenberg, OSSLETS Editor, "Open Source Sharable Applet (OSSLET) Collection - What's an osslet?," Convergence (May 2006)