OER

IssueLab Launches Research Remix Video Contest

Jane Park, October 19th, 2009

IssueLab, “an open source archive of research produced by nonprofit organizations, university-based research centers, and foundations,” launches their Research Remix Video Contest this week. The contest “aims to engage working artists and digital media students with social issues while encouraging nonprofits to make their research more broadly available and usable through open licensing.” If you recall my interview with co-founder Lisa Brooks earlier this year, a good chunk of IssueLab’s research is licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses. From the press release,

“Contestants will be asked to remix facts or data from one of over 300 openly licensed research
reports on IssueLab into a video or animation under three minutes in length. Winners will be selected
after the December 31, 2009 deadline, and nonprofits will be able to use all submitted videos freely to
support their causes.

The launch of “Research Remix” coincides with Open Access Week, an international movement that
pushes for broad and free access to research findings and publicly funded studies. IssueLab’s official
participation is marked by its continued commitment to bringing open access and licensing to the
social and policy research fields. “It is especially important that nonprofits consider openly licensing
their research and resources. By giving people the ability to re-use, remix, and share research on
social issues we can much better inform and engage public debate and public policy.”

We encourage you to remix and submit your videos by the year’s end, especially because all finalists receive a free CC t-shirt and buttons (not to mention first prize is a netbook). I’m also one of the judges, so I look forward to your submissions!

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UNESCO OER Toolkit

Jane Park, October 15th, 2009

Last October, I mentioned that the UNESCO OER Community was developing an OER Toolkit “aimed at individual academics and decision-makers in higher education institutions interested in becoming active participants in the OER world, as publishers and users of OER.” Today, the draft version (1.1) has been released with an announcement by Philipp Schmidt of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa:

“15 October 2009 — Today the UNESCO OER Toolkit (with support from the UNESCO Communications and Information Sector) was released as a resource for academics and institutions — with a special focus on developing countries — who are interested in participating in open education projects.

OVERVIEW — Most of the Toolkit is designed for academics who are interested in finding and using OER in the courses they teach, or who wish to publish OER that they have developed. Some sections are aimed at institutional decision-makers and academics that [are] interested in setting up a more formal OER project. These projects may start with just a few interested academics but, as they grow, institutional policies, funding and legal constraints become more relevant. Individuals who are not aiming to set up a institutional project may nonetheless be interested to read the whole document. Likewise, institutional planners, IT staff or librarians who are interested in setting up an OER project would benefit from understanding the academic’s perspective.”

The toolkit, like the all content on the UNESCO OER Community site, is available via CC BY-SA.

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CC Talks With: A chat with Stephen Downes on OER

Jane Park, October 12th, 2009

A prominent member of the open education community, Stephen Downes is a researcher, blogger, and big thinker in open education and access related issues. He frequently debates with other open education advocates via the medium of the Internet, once in a while meeting up in person at conferences to hash out more of the same. I thought I might capture his slice of insight into the future of open educational resources and how he views them evolving in an ideal world.

CC BY-NC by Stephen Downes

CC BY-NC by Stephen Downes

So I caught up with him via Skype; and though different operating systems and timezones may have jumbled some of our conversation, I was still able to catch most of his words, if not the heart of his views. Below is our chat transcribed, in more or less the same fashion as it progressed.

Read More…

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Dealing with Legally Incompatible Content in OER

Jane Park, October 12th, 2009

Last month, ccLearn published “Otherwise Open: Managing Incompatible Content in OER“. For those of you who never got around to reading the paper, it basically provides an overview of the problem posed by the incorporation of “all-rights-reserved” materials into otherwise open educational resources (OER). It also explores ways of dealing with this problem and the trade-offs involved in relying on jurisdictional copyright exceptions and limitations, such as fair use or fair dealing. As the paper is intended to spur further inquiry and research globally, “Otherwise Open” does not offer concrete solutions to the problem right now.

However, the average OER creator cannot afford to wait, especially if they value their work as part of a global learning commons. In order for OER to be global, the copyright of the OER must be viable across jurisdictions. OER that are available under a CC license are global, as CC licenses are effective worldwide. But the inclusion of third party content that is not under the same terms of the license changes the global nature of OER, potentially walling it off from use in other countries. Thus, ccLearn has developed some practical recommendations and alternatives for those OER creators who are concerned with the global reach and impact of their works.

ccLearn Recommendations – Dealing with Legally Incompatible Content in OER

“Open Educational Resources (OER) are defined by the use of a Creative Commons license and are generally created by those who would like to share their work globally. However, some creators find the need to consider the costs and benefits of incorporating third-party materials with incompatible licenses into their “otherwise open” OER. This document recommends ways of managing or avoiding the problems that will arise.”

This and all ccLearn Recommendations and productions are licensed CC BY.

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A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration

Jane Park, October 2nd, 2009

The Publius Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society offers a new essay on OER and public policy in the United States: A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration . Written by Carolina Rossini and Erhardt Graeff, it does a great job of pointing out the major recent movements toward OER in state and federal governments, and thoughtfully evaluates the issues that each initiative brings to the table.

“This post draws significantly from an interview on August 10, 2009 with Hal Plotkin, a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Dept. of Education, who has closely followed and been involved with OER policies in California. The interview was part of research on the educational materials sector being conducted under the Industrial Cooperation Project at the Berkman Center at Harvard University. The research is part of a broader project being led by Prof. Yochai Benkler and coordinated by Carolina Rossini. In the research, we are seeking to understand the approaches to innovation in some industrial sectors, such as alternative energy, educational materials, and biotechnology. The intention is to map the degree to which open and commons-based practices are being used compared to proprietary approaches and what forces drive the adoption and development of these models.”

Like all content on the Publius site, the essay is available via CC BY-SA.

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Opening Education–the little things you can do

Jane Park, September 25th, 2009

By now, you’ve heard and/or used the term OER (Open Educational Resources) a ton of times. Whether you’re an advocate for open education, promoting the use, reuse, and adaptation of openly licensed educational materials, or an everyday user of them because you find them convenient and effective for your teaching or learning needs, you have contributed in some way to improving the educational landscape for everyone, everywhere.

But there’s a lot of little things you can do to improve education and the educational process no matter who you are and where you’re located. These are things you do all the time as part of your professional or personal routines, such as filling out forms about your job or project, writing up summaries or abstracts on papers you’ve researched, or describing and tagging photos (aka adding metadata). These activities are also integral to the functioning of many open education projects, which depend on efforts from online communities consisting of persons like ourselves. A list of these projects are growing on OpenEd’s volunteer page, which currently points to projects like dScribe and AcaWiki. If your project could use help on a specific activity, please add it here! OpenEd is a wiki; anyone can edit.

dScribe needs descriptions for their medical images
dScribe has created over 200 images to aid instructors in their teaching, but they need to be made discoverable first! You can help by adding tags and short descriptions for one or two images. All images and their accompanying info will be licensed CC BY.

AcaWiki could use those summaries and abstracts you’ve written
AcaWiki makes summaries and literature reviews of peer-reviewed academic research available to the general public via CC BY, allowing people like us to easily find desired information. If you’ve written summaries and reviews for papers before, now’s the time to make them useful by uploading those files to AcaWiki. And if you regularly research and write up abstracts for class or for your own good, you can easily make uploading them a habitual part of the process. It only takes a couple of extra clicks.

We also encourage you to add your project or organization to ODEPO, ccLearn’s Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations. Not only will this make your project more discoverable, it will enable better research across the landscape of open education related projects.

For other ways to get involved, see OpenEd’s Get Involved space.

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Invitation to an International Conference on OER

Jane Park, September 24th, 2009

Open Education and Open Educational Resources: Challenges and Perspectives,” an international conference on OER, is taking place in São Paulo, Brazil on Oct 29-30. Supported by the Open Society Institute and Direito GV, it will focus on “[bringing] together international and Brazilian OER projects and experiences [to set] the debate on policies to foster OER.” The conference is open and free to all, and simultaneous translations will be provided. From the invitation,

“As countries worldwide move to implement open education projects, and developing
nations in particular look to use the Internet to replace outdated and insufficient
educational systems, an examination of existing work is in order. It is important to provide
a map of lessons learned, and to understand how existing projects can be connected to
one another to create the largest possible impact for both educators and learners. Our goal
is to examine these broad issues within the lens of a detailed examination of the Brazilian
experience applying ICTs to education in policy, technology, pedagogy, and the impact of
the emerging concept of “open educational resources” in both theory and practice.

This conference will present results and discuss recommendations from the OER Brazil
Project, funded by the Open Society Institute. The conference aims to open the door for a
richer discussion focused on OER through sharing information on international and
national OER projects. The idea is to transform the conference into a working group and
draft recommendations for future public policy for OER in Brazil, in preparation for the 2010
National Conference on Education.”



En Brasil se hablará de apoyar Recursos Educativos Abierto (REA) en politicas públicas

Educación Abierta y Recursos Educativos Abiertos (REA): Metas y perspectivas, es un ciclo de conferencias que se llevará a cabo en Sao Paulo, Brasil el 29 y 30 de octubre financiado por Open Society Institute y apoyado por la facultad de Derecho de la Fundación Getulio Vargas.

Lo interesante de este evento es que presenta los resultados y pretende discutir las recomendaciones del proyecto OER Brasil financiado por Open Society Institute. Con ocasión de esta conferencia se reunirán proyectos brasileños e internacionales que tienen como foco de trabajo los Recursos Educativos Abiertos (REA, que son los OER por su sigla en inglés) y experiencias en este campo con el fin de poner sobre la mesa el debate en torno a las políticas públicas.

Con este fin se espera que los asistentes conviertan la conferencia en grupo de trabajo que proponga recomendaciones concretas de políticas públicas en la materia como preparación para la Conferencia Nacional de Educación que tendrá lugar en 2010.

El evento y sus resultados son importantes en la región pues de implementarse una decisión de este tipo en el sector público brasileño tendríamos un antecedente importante y relevante para apoyo de quienes creemos en los beneficios de una educación abierta y más accequible apoyada por las Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (TIC).

Para quien interesen las conferencias y/o pueda asistir, el programa puede consultarse desde la página de la Fundación Getulio Vargas y la asistencia no tiene costo.

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Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America

Jane Park, September 23rd, 2009

Last year Latam Commons 2008: Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Open Education was the first meeting of CC leads in Latin America, and also the first meeting to focus specifically on open education and OER of its kind. Though I blogged briefly about its success in December, the fruits of the meeting have shown itself over time, as Latin America has been working towards greater openness in education and otherwise, with our very own Carolina Botero joining as a ccLearn liaison for that region of the Spanish-speaking world.

Now, the particular results of that first meeting are recorded for the first time, in both English and Spanish in the same report, Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America. The report was a joint production of CC Latin America and ccLearn, and is licensed CC BY so it can be further translated into other languages sans the hassle of a middleman. We urge you to check out the summary of the first meeting. As we continue to acquire better information about the open education issues in the Spanish speaking world, we hope to better facilitate communications within and beyond the region; for example, productions like this and translations of relevant CC blog posts should ideally reach interested people regardless of where they live or what language they speak (and read).

Speaking of blog posts, two more Back-to-School blog posts are now available in Spanish, Back to School: DiscoverEd and the Back to School Conclusion: The Open Trajectory of Learning. The translated versions are posted just below the English, and as more translations come in, we will add them to the original posts. All relevant blog posts will be tagged Latin America, so that you can see Latam open education news at anytime in one place.

And in Spanish, thanks to Carolina Botero and CC Latin America:


Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina.

El año pasado tuvo lugar la primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina: Latam Commons 2008: Dominio Público, Creative Commons, y Educación Abierta. Esta fue también la primera reunión que se enfocó específicamente en educación abierta y REA (Recursos Educativos Abiertos, OER por sus siglas en inglés). Aunque ya se había blogueado brevemente sobre su éxito en diciembre, los resultados de la reunión se han ido mostrando con el tiempo, América Latina ha venido trabajando hacía una mayor apertura tanto en educación como en otros temas, al punto que Carolina Botero se unió oficialmente como enlace para la región hispanoparlante.

Ahora, los resultados particulares de esta primera reunión aparecen por primera vez, tanto en español como en inglés en un mismo informe titulado Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes CC en América Latina. El informe fue una producción de CC América Latina (ccLatam) y ccLearn, se encuentra licenciado CC BY por lo que puede ser traducido a cualquier otro idioma sin intermediarios. Los invitamos a revisar el resumen de esta primera reunión. De otro lado, una vez tengamos una mejor idea sobre los temas de educación abierta que le interesan a los hispanoparlantes podremos concentrarnos en comunicaciones más efectivas, por ejemplo, en lograr que producciones como ésta y traducciones de entradas del blog de CC relevantes para esta audiencia puedan llegar a sus miembros.

Respecto a las entradas en el blog aprovechamos para contarles que hay dos nuevas entradas de la serie Regreso al Colegio están disponibles ahora en español: De Regreso al Colegio: DiscoverEd y De Regreso al Colegio, conclusiones: El camino abierto para el aprendizaje. Las versiones traducidas se agregan al final de la entrada en inglés y, a medida que otras traducciones lleguen las iremos agregando allí. Todas las entradas de este tipo en el blog serán etiquetadas Latin America, para que puedan registrar las noticias de América Latian a cualquier hora en cualquier lugar.

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Back to School: Legal Challenges for Teachers (Sharing Patient Health Data)

Lila Bailey, September 3rd, 2009

As students around the world return to school, ccLearn blogs about the evolving education landscape, ongoing projects to improve educational resources, education technology, and the future of education. Browse the “Back to School” tag for more posts in this series.

For this post in my Legal Challenges for Teachers series, I will focus on challenges for medical education. Although copyright issues are a problem for medical education as in any other educational area, those who educate and train doctors face many additional hurdles.

According to Open University,

Ethiopia has a population of 84 million people served by fewer than 1800 doctors, most of these in private practice. People are suffering and dying because they cannot get access to a doctor when they need one.

To combat this problem, the Ethiopian government is planning to create 11 new medical schools and 8000 new places for medical students to obtain training. Open University is working with the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia to pilot open and distance learning medical training with students at the recently opened St Paul’s Millennium Medical School in Addis Ababa.

Given the desperate need for new doctors in Africa and around the world, and the distinct lack of trained doctors to teach them, many medical education programs are turning to digital technologies and distance learning for innovative means of educating new doctors. One interesting model being used is the Virtual Patient (VP). VPs are interactive computer simulations of real-life clinical scenarios, and may consist of many learning objects (e.g., text, images, animations, and videos). VPs are becoming recognized as highly effective training tools.

Yet while the use of distance education, such as via Open University, and digital technologies, such as VPs, have the potential to vastly expand the number of doctors with access to quality clinical training resources, it is not without its own challenges. Access to information about real life patients is necessary to develop VPs and other effective clinical training resources. VPs are very time-consuming and expensive to develop, so it is necessary to be able to share existing VPs in a manner that is adaptable to different cultural, linguistic and educational scenarios. Therefore, a prerequisite to the success of these projects is the ability to actually share and reuse the relevant digital content (i.e., the patient information). However, sharing data about patients is subject to numerous laws and regulations, including considerations of confidentiality, patient privacy and protection and control over patient data. This makes sharing data between institutions quite difficult, and even more so when the institutions are located in different countries having different legal requirements.

The Electronic Virtual Patient, or eViPs, program is a collaboration between nine universities across Northern Europe and MedBiquitious, which helped to develop the technical standards used in e-based healthcare education. eViPs has managed to compile a repository of 320 VPs which will soon be made available under a Creative Commons license. In order to share the health data that was used in the development of the VPs contained in the repository, full consent of the participating patients had to be obtained, as detailed in this report. It is wonderful to see collaborations such as this one that have been able to meet the challenges particular to sharing patient health data.

Unfortunately, the ability to share patient health data is still limited to specific projects and institutions. I wonder whether it is possible to develop even more robust legal tools that will allow medical educators to share patient data across projects and across borders, while still maintaining appropriate patient confidentiality. Many lives depend on our ability to do so.

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Back to School: DiscoverEd

Alex Kozak, September 2nd, 2009

As students around the world return to school, ccLearn blogs about the evolving education landscape, ongoing projects to improve educational resources, education technology, and the future of education. Browse the “Back to School” tag for more posts in this series.

Years from now, what will it mean for teachers to prep for a new school-year? Will they be reviewing digital textbooks? Collaborating online with colleagues in revising and adapting digital lesson plans? Upgrading operating systems and software on classroom laptops? Scouring the net for those perfect open educational materials to print or distribute to students?

Everyone might have their own image of how preparation for a new school year will look, but the current excitement about open and digital educational resources indicates that teachers are ready for a new model.

As textbooks and learning materials move online, the copyright status of those resources becomes more important to teachers. At ccLearn, the education program at Creative Commons, we strongly believe that developing a global education commons of openly licensed educational resources is the best solution to the legal and technical challenges that teachers face when trying to share and adapt educational resources. But how exactly will teachers be able to find and share open educational resources? After all, a resource simply being accessible online isn’t itself enough for it to be easily discoverable.

ccLearn has developed a prototype search engine, DiscoverEd, that provides one solution to this challenge.

DiscoverEd provides scalable search and discovery for educational resources on the web. Results come from institutional and third-party repositories who have expended time and resources curating metadata about resources. These curators either create or aggregate educational resources and maintain information about them. Metadata, including the license and subject information available, are exposed in the result set.

We are particularly interested in open educational resources (OER) and are collaborating with other OER projects to improve search and discovery capabilities for OER, using DiscoverEd and other available tools.

Our search engine is a prototype and shouldn’t been seen as the only solution to OER search and discovery. But assuming that categorization and assessment of OER are embedded at the point of publication as open metadata, the DiscoverEd model is a powerful and scalable method for discovering and utilizing those data.

To learn more about DiscoverEd, you can explore the DiscoverEd site, FAQ, or read our report entitled “Enhanced Search for Educational Resources: A Perspective and a Prototype from ccLearn“.

You can also test out our DiscoverEd widget below:


En Estados Unidos están de regreso al colegio este mes y con este contexto en ccLearn, han venido publicando una serie de entradas algunas de ellas ya quedaron comentadas en español, creo que justifica comentar y traducir lo pertinente:

De Regreso al colegio, DiscoverEd

En esta entrada Alex Kozak aborda la solución que ofrece ccLearn, el programa educativo de Creative Commnons, para apoyar los problemas legales y técnicos que enfrentan los profesores cuando buscan recursos digitales y abiertos en el universo de Internet donde encontrar no es tan sencillo. Se trata del buscador piloto DiscoverEd que busca enfrentar este reto.

DiscoverEd es un buscador para recursos educativos en la red. El buscador revisa repositorios de terceros que han dedicado tiempo y esfuerzo a curar los metadatos de los recursos. Estos curadores crean o cosechan los recursos y conservan la información sobre ellos en metadatos, incluyendo la información sobre la licencia y el tema que es presentada como resultado en el proceso de búsqueda.

DiscoverEd se ocupa esencialmente de proyectos abiertos, de Recursos Educativos Abiertos (REA o OER por sus siglas en ingles) y colabora con otros proyectos de este tipo para mejorar los resultados en la búsqueda y descubrimiento de estos recursos..

Kosak finaliza indicando que este es un piloto que no debe ser visto como la única solución para la búsqueda y descubrimiento de REA pero, considerando que la categorización y valoración de los recursos se hace en el punto de publicación a través de metadatos abiertos, cree que DiscoverEd sera un modelo poderoso y escalable para encontrar y usar los datos.

La información sobre el proyecto esta por ahora en ingles, puede revisarse en DiscoverEd site, FAQ, o en el informe “Enhanced Search for Educational Resources: A Perspective and a Prototype from ccLearn”

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