OSSCAR, an open platform for collaborative development of computational tools for education in science
In this paper we present the Open Software Services for Classrooms and Research (OSSCAR) platform. OSSCAR provides an open collaborative environment to develop and access educational resources in the form of web applications, for which various deployment methods are discussed and compared. To minimize efforts in the creation and use of new educational material, OSSCAR combines software tools that have emerged as standards with custom domain-specific ones. The technical solutions adopted to create and distribute content are described and motivated on the basis of reliability, sustainability, ease of uptake and use. Examples from courses in the domains of physics, chemistry, and materials science are shown to demonstrate the style and level of interactivity of typical applications. The tools presented are easy to use, and create a uniform and open environment exploitable by a large community of teachers, students, and researchers with the goal of facilitating learning and avoiding, when possible, duplication of efforts in creating teaching material. Contributions to expand the educational content of the OSSCAR project are welcome.