This post was written by Alek Tarkowski and originally posted on the European OER Policy Project site.
A week ago, the European Commission launched the “Opening Up Education” initiative, a proposal for modernizing the European educational system. The proposal contains a strong “open” component. We’re using this opportunity to strengthen open educational policies in Europe, and we started our project with a workshop in mid-September. Below you can learn about the outcomes of our workshop, including an overview of the OER landscape in Europe, concept for a policy brief, and ideas for policy-related activities.
The workshop took place 14-15 October as part of the German “OERde13” conference. The workshop marked the public launch of CC’s collaborative „Open Educational Resources Policy in Europe” project. Eleven OER experts from all over Europe met for two days to discuss the state of OER policies in Europe and ways in which CC can increase their reach. Participants included Lisette Kalshoven (Kennisland, Netherlands), Eneli Sutt (HITSA, Estonia), Teresa Nobre (Creative Commons Portugal), Valentina Pavel (APTI, Romania), Hans de Four (KlasCement, Belgium), Bardhyl Jashari (Metamorphosis, Macedonia), Ignasi Labastida y Juan (Universitat de Barcelona, Catalonia / Spain), Ivan Matejic (Creative Commons Serbia), Kamil Śliwowski (Centrum Cyfrowe, Poland) and John Weitzmann (Creative Commons Germany). The workshop was led by Alek Tarkowski from Creative Commons Poland, open policy advisor to CC and lead of this project.
State of open education in Europe
We started with a session presenting the state of OER developments in EU countries, focusing particularly on public policies for open education. The session gave a good overview of the range of approaches to increasing adoption of OER: public e-textbook programs running in Poland and Macedonia; OER repositories such as Belgian Klascement, Dutch Wikiwijs, and Norwegian NDLA; “1 on 1” computer in school schemes used as entry channels for open content in Portugal or Macedonia; bottom-up hubs for open education communities such as German ZUM Wiki and the OER Champions project initiated in Macedonia.
We discussed the broader context for such initiatives, including national educational strategies and the specific shape of legal regulations–in particular copyright exceptions and limitations for educational use. In general, while there are very few functioning national-level policies supporting open education, there are multiple OER projects being implemented with public funding. Some are directly branded as “open education” projects, while others apply this philosophy without naming it that way.
Similarly, there are multiple initiatives at the European level, often funded by the European Union, that fit within the scope of the new initiative. The Open Education Europa portal has been developed on the basis of a previous e-learning portal. At the same time, projects that deal with ICTs in schools, e-learning, or quality of education are not necessarily aligned with OER issues. This means there might still be low awareness among key potential stakeholders. At the same time, there remains a great potential for gaining ICT allies in support of open education policy.
What kind of open education policy?
We spent part of the workshop discussing the concept of CC’s policy brief for open education in Europe. The basic policy position, achieved through a quick consensus among participants, can be summed up very easily: A free license like CC BY or CC BY-SA + (open formats, WCAG accessibility standards and metadata) should be adopted for all publicly funded educational content. (In other words, of all the varied definitions, the Hewlett Foundation OER definition is our definition of choice – and we’re happy that the new Open Education Europa portal sets a high standard by adopting CC BY as a default).
So while the basic policy rule is simple, the challenge lies in providing the best arguments for its widespread adoption. The workshop participants discussed essential elements of a successful policy brief. These should include:
- A grounding both in rights issues, in particular the right to education and right to knowledge, but also in broader pedagogical theories, such as connectivism;
- Proof that open education works, especially in economic terms; everyone knows this is not easy, often due to lack of data, but basic arguments can be made, especially about cost savings for parents and schools;
- Evidence of existing OER projects and their scale and usage, including those that are not directly framed as “open education”, but follow the general model.
Finally, a challenge that any European educational policy faces is the limited scope in which the EU deals with educational issues, which are largely left in the hands of national governments and schooling systems. Other than a new Directive (which would be binding for EU member states, but also difficult to introduce), the EU could introduce an open education policy model to apply to its own funding of educational content. It could also work with national governments by promoting good examples and following best practices and standards. A policy brief needs to address the interdependence of EU- and national-level governmental bodies.
How to promote open education policy?
Policy matters are often difficult to understand beyond a narrow circle of policymakers, experts and stakeholders. During the workshops we discussed ways of making them easier to understand. We focused on three projects, two of which we’d like to work on in the coming months.
Teresa Nobre presented the concept of a study of European exceptions and limitations for education. These are rules defined in national copyright laws that allow for legal use of copyrighted content without permission under certain conditions for educational purposes. These vary greatly between countries and between K-12 and higher education. This “balkanization” of law is one of the reasons that open education, based of course on open licensing, is such an important policy alternative. We were initially considering conducting the necessary legal comparison, but we found out during the workshop that this has already been done by Prof. Raquel Xalabarder of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (see the WIPO-commissioned analysis). Therefore, our work will build on this analysis and in particular “translate” it into an explanation that will apply to practical issues faced by educators in order to demonstrate the real-life application of policy decisions.
Kamil Śliwowski talked about a mythbusting approach, focusing on finding counter arguments for current criticisms of open education. Kamil described experiences we’ve had in Poland debating commercial educational publishers, who have been vocal critics of open education policy. These publishers often recite arguments against OER that are not based on evidence–hence, “myths”. The mythbusting approach began last year with a presentation at the UNESCO OER Congress in Paris, and continued with a workshop at the CC Summit in Buenos Aires. As part of this project, Kamil will organize in early 2014 a sprint-type workshop during which we’ll produce an OER mythbusting publication.
Bardhyl Jashari presented the idea of open education champions, which his organization, Foundation Metamorphosis, has been implementing in Macedonia. According to Bardhyl, leaders are crucial in promoting open education policy, since these issues are often difficult to understand for many on-the-ground educators. Empowering education champions to explain these topics makes the policies easier to understand. We agreed that it is a great idea, and in line with the recently appointed European “Digital Champions.” But these education champions will be difficult to implement without the Commission’s support.
We are now starting work on our policy brief and related analyses and documents, and we’ll focus on developing these over the next few months. For early 2014, we are planning several events, culminating during Open Education Week in March.
We’re all the time looking for partners, collaborators and allies. if you care about open educational policy and want to help, please get in touch.3 Comments »
On March 2nd, the Creative Commons & P2PU School of Open will join forces with Wikimedia at the Wikimedia Germany offices in Berlin! As part of Open Education Week, CC Germany and Wikimedia Germany are kicking things off early with a workshop to introduce P2PU and the School of Open, and to create and translate School of Open courses in German, in addition to brainstorming ideas for new courses about Wikipedia as part of the School.
What: School of Open workshop
When: 2nd of March, 11 – 16:00
Where: Wikimedia Germany Offices, Obentrautstr. 72, 10963 Berlin
Who: Wikimedia Germany, Creative Commons Germany, P2PU community, all enthusiastic promoters of free knowledge with the desire to share their knowledge
RSVP: Space will accommodate up to 25 participants; please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb 27th so that we can keep track of who’s coming.
Language: Likely German
From Wikimedia Germany’s blog (and via Google translate),
“We want to start the year with a workshop with Creative Commons and the initiative “School of Open”! The initiative of Creative Commons and the Peer-2-Peer University (P2PU) aims to develop online courses that help you create free content and tools to use and develop. There are English courses on Wikipedia and the use of free content, but as of yet nothing in German. Also, the subject of “free educational content” is not yet represented in courses. So there is still much to do. As part of Open Education Week further work is required.
Together, we want to work intensively on the expansion of the existing courses. It will focus on tools and topics related to free access to knowledge. Anyone can create courses and remix existing courses on their own — but it’s best to share. After some brief input from Creative Commons, we will start working. So bring your ideas, and let’s share our knowledge!”
To participate, please RSVP to email@example.com by February 27th!1 Comment »
The Open Knowledge Foundation’s annual conference, OKCon, is next week in Berlin. They’ve put together an amazing program featuring some of the most exciting projects and speakers in the free/libre/open universe beyond software — though free software is not unrepresented — Richard Stallman is giving what should be an extremely interesting talk on Free/Libre Software and Open Data.
I’m very happy that CC’s policy coordinator, Timothy Vollmer, will be co-presenting with the OKF’s Jordan Hatcher on Open Data Licensing. This follows up on my and Jordan‘s presentations at the Share-PSI workshop in May.
I would also like to highlight sessions by CC project leads from France, Guatemala, and Poland:
- Communia, the international association on the digital public domain (Melanie Dulong de Rosnay)
- Taking the pulse of global Initiatives using technology to promote transparency and accountability (Renata Avila)
- On the road to open data in Poland – where are we now? (Alek Tarkowski)
Go if you can!Comments Off
How do open concepts translate into the political sphere? To what extent is democracy fueled by values such as transparency, access, and participation? What do open source projects teach us about other fields of governance?
The fifth CC Salon + Open Everything Berlin takes place within Seitensprünge, a Berliner event series about political communication. Speaking at the salon is CC Germany‘s Public Project Lead Markus Beckedahl, whose seasoned blog coverage is keeping the public abreast of Germany’s dawning internet censorship and other pressing political topics. Also joining us is Klas Roggenkamp from the German political discussion forum Wahl.de and media expert Ute Pannen, who will share commentary on open strategies used during the Obama’s campaign. We’ll also be hearing from Sebastian Sooth, who is reporting on open.nysenate.gov, a project with the New York State to give users direct access to its government data through APIs and original software.
Looks like we’ve got a lot of good topics ahead. Hope to see you there!
When: Thursday, 25.06.09, 20:00h
Where: newthinking store, Tucholskystr. 48, 10117 Berlin MitteComments Off
- Hallenprojekt (Berlin) – Sebastian Sooth (Twitter: sebaso)
- Station C (Montreal) – Patrick Tanguay (Identica: patrick, Twitter: inevernu)
- Betahaus (Berlin) – Jan Tanner (Twitter: betahaus)
Where: newthinking store, Tucholskystr. 48, 10117 Berlin Mitte
When: Thurs, 23.04.09, 19:30
The following day we’ll be at Ballhaus Ost for a production of (c)opyme, a solo performance by artist Rahel Savoldelli. The theater piece, with its innovative uses of video, invites the audience into the complex world of creation and copyright laws, and asks: is it possible to feel satisfaction from someone else’s success?
A salon discussion will be held afterward to explore CC and “open source strategies” in the performing arts.
Where: Ballhaus Ost, Pappelallee 15, Berlin Prenzlauerberg
When: Fri, 24.04.09, 20:00
Other (c)opyme performances: 23.04 and 25.04
Join us tonight for the second installment of Openeverything Focus in Berlin. We’ll be talking with designers about how openness can augment their work — from publishing, design tools, community building, customization, and more.
We’ll be hearing from Open Design pioneer Ronen Kadushin, whose work was recently featured in WIRED Magazine’s Mod That Table: High-End Furniture Goes Open Source. Also joining us is Fabbing expert Susanne Stauch and CC’s own senior designer Alex Roberts. A huge thank you to Linda Löser (Fragement Store), Cecilia Palmer (Pamoyo), and the rest of the #oefb team for putting together this outstanding program. See you there!
When: Thursday, 26.03.09, 19:30h
Where: newthinking store, Tucholskystr. 48, 10117 Berlin Mitte
Image: “Flat Knot – stainless” by Ronen Kadushin available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.Comments Off
Encouraged by the resonance of openeverything camp in December 2008, we’re helping put on a regular series of events about “openness.” This Thursday, Feb. 26, kicks off the first openeverything focus, in tandem with the CC Salon in Berlin.
This month we’re focusing on Open Knowledge, delving into project like OKFN‘s Open Knowledge Definition and learning more about the 100,000 CC BY-SA images donated to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archives.
Each focus event draws on theory and praxis to inform the discussion. If you have a project you’d like to share, or are just curious to join the conversation, please stop by!
When: Thursday, 26.02.09, 19:30 Uhr
Where: newthinking store, Tucholskystr. 48, 10117 Berlin MitteComments Off
The globe lit up last week to celebrate the birthday of a community and organization now in its sixth year. Creative Commons, as demonstrated by these events, is about more than just free legal tools — it’s a powerful idea that has spread the world over.
In Chennai the CC Birthday Party merged with the launch of the Wikipedia Academy on Dec. 12, coinciding with a visit from Jimmy Wales and Sue Gardener from the Wikimedia Foundation. Chennai’s Free Culture House, a co-working space founded by party planner Kiruba Shankar, hosted the celebration. Seoul joined in with a Birthday Party on the same day, organized by CC Korea.
An award ceremony for the second CC photography contest impressed guests at the Beijing party on Dec. 14, featuring a live remix of the photos. The next day Belgrade conducted a panel on the legal framework of Free Culture with presentations by CC Serbia, Wikimedia Serbia, and Free Software groups.
On Dec. 16, seven cities held CC Birthday Parties. In Guatemala writers released a special gift: 10 Christmas stories compiled in Aguinaldo Narrable, which will be illustrated by six award-winning photographs from CC Guatemala‘s Fiesta Callejera Contest.
The first anniversary of the ported 3.0 Licenses in the Philippines was commemorated in Manila, following a planning meeting for the upcoming CC Asia Pacific Conference. In Yuletide tradition and CC’s spirit of sharing, CC Philippines concluded the day by walking through Manila’s streets and sharing food and gifts to children.
CC Australia screened CC films and raised contributions for our annual fundraising campaign at the Brisbane CC Christmas Birthday Movie Night. New York City recounts that Happy Birthday may or may not have been sung at their Dec. 16 party in FYI, and Los Angeles teamed up LA’s Geek Dinner for an evening of free culture and internets in uWink.
California hosted the last CC Birthday Parties of the year, with co-housing and co-working community organizers initiating a round of discussions about Free Culture, free speech, and sustainable communities in Berkeley.
With 14 host cities and a stellar range of events, the CC community is demonstrating tremendous support for Creative Commons. A heartfelt thank you to all the party planners and guests!
Please take a moment and help make another year of CC possible!
Images: (Ann Arbor) “Long table full of revellers” and “Garin, Ted, and CC swag” by mollyali under CC BY NC; (Chennai) “121220082360” and “121220082330” by Kiruba Shankar under CC NC SA; (Beijing) 舞在山乡 优秀奖 under 作者：秦启胜 CC BY ; (Manila) “CC-PH Technical/Documentation / AUSL-ITC“ and “Outreach / Sharing” by CC Philippines under CC BY NC; (DC) “CC 6th birthday party Washington DC” by tvol under CC BY; (Education Network Australia) “Sparklers and cake to celebrate“ by edna-photos under CC NC; (CC Cupcakes) “P1070155“ by creativecommoners under CC BY; (LA) “Happy 6th Birthday Creative Commons!“ posted by felicity redwell from netZoo/revolute under CC NC ND; (Guatemala) “MBosque” by Renata Avila under CC BY.
Creative Commons International (CCi) is moving! Leaving our office in Berlin-Mitte, we’ll be moving to Berlin-Schöneberg to share workspace with Wikimedia Germany. Our move builds upon existing collaborations with local Wikimedia projects and the hope of continued support and unified efforts. To date, CCi has teamed up with Wikimedia Serbia, one of the institutional hosts of the CC Serbia project, and Wikimedia Indonesia will soon begin overseeing the porting of the CC licenses to Indonesian law. Nordic CC and Wikimedia communities are also strengthening ties, as demonstrated by the recent “free society” conference FSCONS, organized by CC Sweden, Wikimedia Sweden, and the Free Software Foundation Europe.
It is our hope that the office share will build bridges across projects, people, and resources. As reported last month, the Wikimedia/Wikipedia community is now deciding whether to offer wiki content under CC BY-SA 3.0. These discussions follow the Free Software Foundation’s release of version 1.3 of its Free Documentation License containing language which allows FDL-licensed wikis to republish FDL content under the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license until August 1, 2009.
Read more about the move in our press release.
Good news reaches another Wikimedia project, Wikimedia Commons, which hosts hundreds of thousands of freely licensed Creative Commons media and serves as the multimedia back-end of Wikipedia. Everyone is encouraged to upload as much educational free media as they can in order to benefit the commons, and this is exactly what the German Federal Archive has decided to do.
Since December 4th, the archive is uploading around 100,000 photos to Wikimedia Commons, all licensed under our Attribution-ShareAlike license. The subject matter varies from not-so-ordinary street scenes to famous German sights, but all of the photos are high quality and offer great snapshots of modern German history. Check out the contributions from BArchBot to keep an eye as the uploads progress over the next couple of weeks.
Image: “Schwerin, Neujahr, Feuerwerk” by Ralf Pätzold, made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License by the Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), Bild 183-Z1228-001.Comments Off
CC Israel Project Lead Rotem Medzini writes about an initiative to combine computer numerical control (CNC) with CC-licensed design information:
Open-Design is an alternative way of designing art. In his M.A. thesis, Ronen Kadushin felt there was a problem with realizing creativity in industrial designs. Ronen, an Israeli designer that also lectures at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, saw that while in fields like music, graphic design, video, etc., creating became inclusive for all and also independent of publishers or producers — all thanks to the digital technology and the internet. But according to Ronen, it isn’t like that for industrial design. It is being left behind because it has material output that needs marketing investment and support from producers.
To solve all that he came up with Open-Design, which combines CNC production and CC design information for publication and distribution. “It is an alternative method to design and production that in my view, is in touch with the realities of information technology and economics,” noted Ronen. He added that while doing his research, he liked the flexibility, clarity, and simplicity of CC.
According to Ronen’s thesis, consumers today are design aware and often look for products with attribution to the designer, as an added value to the designer’s fees. Ronen sees Open-Design as a way in which the designer is also at the center of the customer-base, not only th producer or product. For him, Open-Design is an adventure, an experiment involving his profession and life.
CC-Israel wants to thank Ronen Kadushin for answering our questions and sharing with us his work.
“Flat Knot – stainless” by Ronen Kadushin available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.Comments Off