OpenOffice: An Economic Alternative for Our Students

Occasionally, we have students who either do not have Microsoft Office or who have incompatible word processing applications that produce documents with .wps or .wpd file extensions, which most of us cannot open. The best fix is just to instruct all students at the beginning of a course to save their files in Rich Text Format (.rtf), which is not only easy for everyone to open, but also creates a smaller file size.

BTW, the answer is not to say, “Oh, then just give me a hard copy.” We want all students to have the same learning experiences in technology use, and some of those are uploading documents to the Blackboard digital drop box or attaching files to emails.

But another option, especially if we are considerate of the financial burden our students already experience, is to suggest downloading the free open source software OpenOffice, which is a suite comparable to Microsoft Office that creates compatible documents, including word processing and presentation (á la PowerPoint) documents.

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Categories: technology

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