Scholarship Winner Sarah Kiden will use Linux Training to Help Others

One of the things that our Linux training team looks forward to every year is reading through the submissions that come in for our Linux training scholarship program.  We’re aware that when we provide a Linux training scholarship to one person, that knowledge does not just help them alone, but typically has an impact on others they work with and those in their community.  

This seemed especially apparent in the case of Sarah Kiden, one of the recipients of the 2013 Linux Training Scholarship Program.  While Sarah Kiden is excited to learn more about Linux for her own personal growth, she’s also eager to pass along what she learns and help others advance their Linux skills.  Sarah works as the Web & E-Learning Administrator for Uganda Christian University, which has a goal of moving most of it’s technology to free and open source software (FOSS) in the next couple of years.  Sarah elected to use her scholarship to enroll in the Linux System Administration Course (LF242) and we recently caught up with her to ask what she’s most interested in learning and how she plans to pass along what she learns to others. 


1.   What are you most excited about for your Linux training course?  Are there specific things in the course material for the Linux System Administration Course (LF242) that you are most interested in learning?

First and foremost, I am just excited about learning something new. The course content seems very well-rounded, covering various system administration aspects/topics and I am sure that I will learn new things as well as reinforce my knowledge on topics like package management systems. After the training, I know that I will be able to more ably and confidently carry out my work.

Specifically, I am really interested in learning about user and group account management (LDAP authentication) because that is being used at the university. Also, topics like backup and recovery and Linux filesystems that I have limited knowledge on, will be areas that will come in handy. The final topics in the course, local system security and basic troubleshooting, will also be useful.


2.  How can the system administration training you’re going to receive help others?

After taking a short training or attending a conference, I have always made it a point to share what I’ve learned with other staff during our monthly department meetings. I plan to do the same with the Linux training that I am going to receive from Linux Foundation. The training will definitely help me improve the work that I do, but sharing the knowledge with other staff in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) department will help ensure continuity when I am out of office, improve our overall productivity and allow us to provide better services from the department as a whole, which will have a positive impact on the university.  

It is part of our strategic plan that 90% of the equipment on our network will run free and open source software (FOSS) by 2015. It is therefore important for the university community to know what they are getting into. With this plan of going open source, there needs to be a massive amount of training so that users can comfortably use these systems and to ensure that they embrace them. I have been privileged to be a facilitator/trainer at three of these trainings we have provided, so I feel confident that I’ll also be able to train users on basic Linux use.   


3.  What do you feel the people in your community are missing as far as their knowledge of Linux that you're hoping you can help with after the course?  How will you share what you learn with them?  

The biggest challenge with regards to Linux that many communities face is just a lack of awareness about FOSS. This has made many users resistant. Many people assume that Linux and other open source systems cannot complete certain tasks. A specific example that I run into is the perception that OpenOffice is missing key features when in-fact it’s able to do most key features found in other software.  The task ahead of Linux administrators is creating awareness as well as training users on new systems.

My department is in charge of ICT training for the university staff and we are required to organize training for both teaching and non-teaching staff in various capacities. In addition, the university runs a bi-weekly newspaper and the University ICT Services department has been given a technology column where volunteers can write about various technology topics of interest. I will use this forum to inform the public about the advantages and disadvantages of Linux and FOSS versus proprietary software. Other communication channels like the university community mailing list will be used to share small bits of knowledge.





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