By Niño Manaog, RAC Staff
Photo by RMISG Staff Bill Willard Gange
To address the problem of unavailable and expensive licensed software in computer systems, the Regional Management Information Systems Group (RMISG) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) under Prof. Nilo Araneta of the UP Visayas led a comprehensive training on free software to some 29 Information Service Specialists (ISS) of the varied farmers Information and Technological Services (FITS) Centers across Western Visayas on Oct. 21–23, 2009 at the Computer Lab 1 of UPV’s College of Management in Gen. Luna St., Iloilo City.
In the first day, Mr. John Lorenz Belanio discussed and handled the workshop on word processing using OpenOffice Writer. Then, Prof. Nilo C. Araneta led discussions on communication using Internet via Instant Messaging and voice-over internet protocol (VOIP). In Day 2, RTG Staff Nicolas Banquero led the discussion on Open Office Impress, a counterpart of Microsoft PowerPoint used for e-presentations, after which Araneta lectured on Basic Spreadsheets with OpenOffice Calc. Araneta also covered Internet and Security Guides. In the last day, RACG Staff Niño Manaog shared skills on audio recording and editing using Audacity while RMISG Staff Bill Gange lectured on graphics with Gimp.
The training drew active participation and valuable feedback from ISS. In a sample interview they had during the Audacity workshop, Melanie Baldevieso of FITS Pandan and Mary Ann S. Janoya of FITS Nabas appreciated the importance of hands-on component of the training, discussing further the enhancement of their skills and how they can make use of them in their home stations.
For RMISG Coordinator Araneta, the training on free software will make participants see the need for alternative resources in the midst of rising software expense. According to Araneta, because participants are exposed to operating free software, they also get to increase their skills in rather untested territories.