open education

The Student-engineered Open Textbook: Chemical Process Dynamics and Controls

Jane Park, December 4th, 2008

It is commonly known that students learn by doing—by practicing, rather than simply soaking in, the information that is taught them in the classroom. But it is also commonly known that anyone can obtain information; the internet is chock-full of the stuff; all one has to do is type in a few key words and hit search. The reality is that formal education, aka the classroom, can no longer be, and no longer is, just one side of this perceived divorce in education: the acquisition of knowledge versus the practice of it. 

Open education acknowledges that information is abundant, and that it takes someone to organize, interpret, and make it meaningful. This is one value that formal and higher education still offers the net generation, those bred on Google and Wikipedia. The culling of data becomes the responsibility of professionals, their peers, and their students—the results of which are high quality educational resources available to the rest of the world. 

The Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan has taken this idea of synthesis and run with it. They have integrated the practice of knowledge into class curriculum, by requiring students to contribute to an open textbook in wiki format—Chemical Process Dynamics and Controls. Since 2006, senior chemical engineering students have been developing this resource, building off of the preceding year’s work. The result is a comprehensive and dynamic textbook, available for free on the web, that is both high quality and openly licensed under CC BY. Though you must be a member of the class to directly edit the wiki text, nothing prevents the rest of the world from copying and deriving it for their own uses—even republishing it and distributing it at a low cost in concrete form is possible.

Originally conceptualized by Peter Woolf (Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering) with help from Leeann Fu, the system of textbook creation is anything but haphazard. Each week, a team of students is selected to become “experts” on a particular topic. The students research and present on the topic, adding the relevant text and diagrams to the wiki. The wiki’s content is further vetted by “the faculty and Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs)” who “act as managing editors, selecting broad threads for the text and suggesting references.” They also check for copyright issues, and the students are encouraged to re-use public domain materials.

In contrast to other courses, the students take an active role in their education by selecting which material in their assigned section is most useful and decide on the presentation approach. Furthermore, students create example problems that they present in poster sessions during class to help the other students master the material.

In addition, full class lectures in video format and powerpoint presentations are available on the wiki, also under CC BYCC BY is the most appropriate license for educational materials, since all one has to do is attribute the original authors. The freedoms to copy, adapt, remix, and redistribute are crucial to advancing progress in education.

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Latam Commons 2008 is a Success

Jane Park, December 1st, 2008

Latam Commons 2008: The Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Open Education in Latin America, held Nov 19-21 in Santiago, Chile, was a great success. The event was co-hosted and excellently managed by NGO Derechos Digitales, and representatives from all over Latin America were present and actively participated in the meeting. Project Leads of Creative Commons jurisdictions first held a one-day meeting to discuss their projects, possible strategic initiatives and collaborations across the region, and shared challenges. These conversations are just the beginning of what is planned to become a regular regional gathering to leverage the expertise and resources that are distributed throughout the region. The next day was devoted to a highly interactive “unconference” on open education which brought together leading international advocates for open education with key figures in libraries and ministries of education in Chile and beyond. The goal of the meeting was to gather information regarding top concerns and key projects involved in the growth of the open education movement, to be synthesized and then leveraged for collaborative opportunities both within and beyond the region. Look for a report on this event in the coming months. Finally, Derechos Digitales orchestrated a seminar on the public domain which included cutting-edge research reports and discussions regarding the legal and practical elements of both defining and utilizing the public domain in Latin America. The philosophical and legal issues pertinent to consideration of the public domain is clearly of broad interest in the region, and we are hopeful that these ideas will continue to serve as organizing themes for ongoing conversation and action to enhance access to knowledge and improved scholarship in the future.

Additional details will be forthcoming from ccLearn, CCi, and Derechos Digitales.

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Latam Commons 2008

Jane Park, October 6th, 2008

Santiago, Chile: ccLearn is hosting a three day conference on “open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America” from November 19th to the 21st. The conference is split up into three meetings over the three days. 

Nov 19 is for Creative Commons International, where CC affiliates will meet to discuss the latest developments in licensing and other CC-related issues. Though this day of the conference is only CC, the latter two days are open to all. From the Latam Commons 2008 invitation:

“We are writing to invite you to join us in Santiago, Chile, on Nov 20-21, for a ground-breaking meeting about open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America. The meeting on Nov 20 is called Latam Commons 2008: Creative Commons, Open Education, and the Public Domain. It is being co-hosted by ccLearn, the education division of Creative Commons, and Derechos Digitales.”

You can register for the Nov 20 meeting on Open Education here. Registration is free and open to anyone until we reach our capacity of 60. So register now to reserve your spot.

Derechos Digitales is also hosting a seminar on the public domain on Nov 21, to which everyone is welcome.” There is no attendance limit on this day.

“Latam Commons 2008 is expected to include representatives of different organizations and projects in open education from throughout the Latin American region. The meeting will be a participatory gathering in which all attendees will be able to discuss a range of issues relevant to open education in Latin America, with the goal of developing a broad understanding of major education issues in the region and a focused vision of how open education and widely available educational resources can address these needs. As the workshop will be dynamic and discussion-based, we are inviting anyone interested in these issues to attend and contribute.

Please visit the registration page at: http://accesoalacultura.cl/registros-cclearn/ You can sign up for one or both of the meeting days at this site. Registration is free, and some meals will be provided for all registered participants. Visit the meeting wiki (http://derechosdigitales.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_Learn) for additional information about travel, lodging, and the meeting agenda.

This meeting is intended to catalyze conversations and projects that will continue after the meeting is over, and to build relationships among people and organizations so that we can bring our collective energies and resources to bear on common challenges for open education. Future meetings are already planned, and we look forward to seeing the progress on this global effort that grows out of Latam Commons 2008.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ahrash Bissell, Grace Armstrong, or Claudio Ruiz. We hope to see you in Santiago.”

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International OER Community Update

Jane Park, October 1st, 2008

The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement is a global movement. Education is an issue that crosses borders and spans continents; open education—the creation and distribution of OER—empowers people in a global dialogue. However, the mere promotion of OER is not sufficient for the success of this international effort, as many issues and barriers to open education are country- and culture-specific. In this sense, the international OER community has some significant differences to bridge, and we must somehow synthesize the diverse range of projects and perspectives into clear and tangible objectives.

The UNESCO OER Community exemplifies progress made on this front, with currently 700+ members from 105 countries. Although North America and Western Europe account for about half of the participants, the community is still represented by 72 developing countries. One of the most compelling components of the community is its case studies project, “stories – of how institutions and individuals have developed or used OER,” based in various countries. These case studies—including those from Canada, Rwanda, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, the Netherlands and more—explore OER against the background of their heterogeneous contexts. What works? What doesn’t work? What did the organization or persons involved do or must they now do in order to overcome obstacles—either due to institutional bureaucracy, lack of resources, or otherwise? These stories are windows of insight into different ways of progressing globally.

In addition to case studies, the international community is developing an OER toolkit, templates for ease of sharing more stories (from community members, academics creating and using OER, and learners using OER), and discussion surrounding such issues as access to technology, copyright, best practices, learning psychology of OER, and more. The OER toolkit will prove especially useful in addressing the issues raised by case studies, as it targets any persons interested in becoming involved with OER, either as creators or users, and those wishing to integrate OER into their institutions or organizations.

eLearning Papers, a journal that “promotes the use of ICT for lifelong learning in Europe,” recently examined similar issues surrounding OER and the international community in its September installment, “Open Educational Resources.” From the editorial,

This issue of eLearning Papers is dedicated to the thriving work around Open Educational Resources (OER) by committed individuals, institutions and user communities. Five selected papers by the guest editors investigate the organisational, social, cultural, pedagogical and technical aspects of implementing OER…

We have two papers that investigate how higher education institutions work OER into their policies and practices. “Open Educational Resources for Management Education: Lessons from experience” elaborates on a French faculty which created a digital distribution place to share and disseminate university courses. The initial resistance of the faculty members evaporated as they started receiving positive feedback on their courses, as well as international interest in their French content. On the other hand, “Reflections on sustaining Open Educational Resources: an institutional case study” shows how first gaining high level policy support within the institution for the initiative of OER was turned into a sustainable institutional practice.

The journal is licensed CC BY-NC-ND, while the UNESCO OER Community site is open for re-use and adaptation under CC BY-SA. It is also hosted on a wiki which means anyone is free to contribute to the OER case studies and OER toolkit. The UNESCO OER Community has been funded by one of our avid supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, since its inception in 2005.

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ccLearn’s COSL Open Ed ’08 download

Jane Park, September 30th, 2008

Although we’ve already had a weekend plus a Monday to digest COSL’s Open Ed ’08, the events from the conference and general good feeling inspired by speakers and individual conversations still drives us forward into the week and the beginning of next month. This year’s conference featured several notable speakers; the keynotes themselves were given by WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh, Magnatune‘s Teresa Malango, and MITE’s (Monterey Institute for Technology and Education) Gary Lopez . Personally, I attended all three keynotes plus a few other sessions from which I extracted some thought-provoking facts and ideas.

WikiEducator, Commonwealth of Learning: Wayne broke the news that WikiEducator will be moving to the awe-inspiring Dunedin, New Zealand, home to not only breathtaking landscapes but also Otago Polytechnic, the first ever university to have a default CC BY licensing policy. See my interview with Leigh Blackall in April. He also shed light on why many educators use WikiEducator. Surprisingly (or not, depending on your presumptions), the number one reason people go to the site is “to explore new ideas and trends”. I found this encouraging; educators are seeking to innovate, to learn in order to innovate. Case in point: the second reason was “to learn wiki skills”. Now we’ve just got to help them do it. Wayne also mentioned catering to different knowledge levels when it came to open source and sharing. He described what he called “capability phases”. The phases go something like this: personal teaching resources → WikiEducator featured resource → WikiEducator featured collaboration → peer-reviewed resource. Teachers begin by sharing their personal educational resources developed primarily for their own classroom; then they realize they can create resources on WikiEducator; furthermore, in collaboration with other educators!; finally, they ensure quality by reviewing each other’s work and constantly making changes to better place the work in context.

Magnatune – a history: Teresa’s presentation provided an outside viewpoint regarding possible business and sustainability models for openly licensed resources. She described how Magnatune was founded with a few core principles around which the business models had to be developed. The principles included respect and fair compensation for the artists, engagement with the consumers, and transparency in all that they do. Much of the conference focused on issues of sustainability and mechanisms for leveraging the value of OER, so her presentation served as a useful lesson regarding such issues from a different domain. Many of the key tools and technologies developed by Creative Commons, such as the CC Plus protocol, are core elements of the Magnatune site. What possibilties lie ahead for OER?

MITE on How to Build a Financially Self-sustaining OER: Practical Considerations: Gary launched an interesting study of how OER could financially sustain itself, based on MITE’s own policy regarding individuals and institutions. Basically, the premise is that individuals shouldn’t have to pay, but someone’s got to―that leaves institutions who are usually more than happy to pay for a service that would be free for their members. The value I took away from this was this off-shoot idea; that in the age of the internet, we are now living in a service-economy where content is free (either legally or illegally on the internet), but the services required to aggregate, make cohesive, and analyze that content is still needed. In the words of David Wiley, “If my students can Google it, I don’t need to teach it.” Open education is not just about freeing up content; it’s about making that content accessible in ways that are smart, novel, and interesting.

Financial sustainability is still an issue, but if we go back to Wayne’s presentation: what about commercial activities that would support OER? There are distribution channels; for example, we’ve already got sites like Lulu.com, and Flat World Knowledge is another big open textbook initiative set to launch next year. We’ve also got to think about incentive systems to get educators, researchers, and commercially employed persons to contribute beyond their full-time jobs. And finally, the most important statement that, I think, reiterates David’s sentiment: in the development of OER, quality is more about the process than it is about the product. Quality is a very different thing in one country’s context than it is in the next. But the process of producing OER, of gaining those critical thinking and analytic skills (remember why some of us went to college?) yields a quality process that can be integrated universally.

Demos: I was busy demo-ing ODEPO while Nathan was just as busy demo-ing the Universal Education Search, but I did get to check out one other tool―the University of Michigan’s dScribe. This technology was definitely built around the idea of sustainability. The basic question as I saw it: How do you make the materials (slides, handouts, images, video, etc.) that an educator uses in the classroom legal so that it can be shared online as OER? Further, how do you do so without draining the school of huge amounts of dollars and other resources? Answer: You build a tool that trains and allows students to gauge and evaluate the course materials for copyright information, and then to search for creative replacements (licensed under a CC or other open license) for those materials that are fully restricted. Ingenious! Props to the U of Michigan; we look forward to seeing progress on this initiative.

Various other sessions I attended were equally inspiring, but the basic sentiment I gathered from everyone was that this year’s conference marked great progress in all the projects initiated the year previous. ccLearn is excited about its own projects and looking forward to more dizzying collaboration within the Open Ed community.

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“Opening Up Education”

Jane Park, September 18th, 2008

is the new publication by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and MIT Press exploring “the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education.” Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge is a collection of thirty essays written by leaders in the open education movement. From the press release:

[They] reflect on current and past open education initiatives, offer critical analyses, share the strategic underpinnings of their own work, and delve into open education’s implications in three areas: technology, content, and knowledge. Together, they address the central question of how open education can improve the quality of education.

Co-editor M. S. Vijay Kumar is also quoted:

A look at the landscape tells us that efforts with open education so far have been largely confined to attempts at improving what we already do. While this is certainly valid, we encourage consideration of approaches that transcend traditional practices, organizations, disciplines and audiences.” 

John Seely Brown agrees in his Foreword, “We need to reconceptualize twentieth-century education models, and at the same time reinforce learning outside of formal schooling. This book provides real leverage for open education, and is a major step toward creating a culture of learning for this century.”

The book is also edited by Toru Iiyoshi and is available for download at MIT Press under CC BY-NC-ND.

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OER Handbook for Educators 1.0

Jane Park, August 29th, 2008

The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL) has been hosting an OER Handbook on WikiEducator for a while now, inviting others to contribute and edit various elements of the book. Now they’ve finally published the first printable version of one of their mini-handbooks: OER Handbook for Educators 1.0

The actual handbook isn’t so mini—though it weighs nothing at all in the virtual world, the printed version is a hefty 269+ pages. But you don’t have to print it out; you can access it in various forms for free on the web: as it currently exists on WikiEducator or as black and white or full color pdf’s on Lulu.com. 

The OER Handbook for Educators is the collaborative result of various contributors, ultimately authored by Seth Gurell and edited by David Wiley. Its aim is to serve as an introductory guide to educators on open educational resources: how to “find, use, develop and share OER to enhance their effectiveness online and in the classroom.” The handbook is an especial eye-opener for those new to the world of open education. However, it is also useful for more seasoned OER creators and users, grappling with such topics as “The Copyright Paradox”—because we all know that copyright is no simple matter. 

The handbook itself is licensed CC BY-SA, so go check it out! If your connection is slow, don’t worry: the black and white graphics are just as stunning as their full color counterparts.

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ccLearn Workshop Video Now Live at OSL

Jane Park, May 12th, 2008

In April I blogged about Open Source Lab‘s fourth official workshop featuring ccLearn’s Executive Director, Ahrash Bissell. The Open Source Lab has now posted a video of the workshop at their blog. The workshop focuses on recent developments within open education, including but not limited to the impact of open licensing, as Ahrash emphasizes the grander scale of the movement.

The video, like all content on OSL’s blog, is licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

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eIFL.net on Open Access, Open Education, and Creative Commons

Jane Park, May 5th, 2008

CC BY-SA by * CliNKer *

CC BY-SA by * CliNKer *

In April, ccLearn crossed telephone lines with Italy and Ukraine for the first time. Executive Director Ahrash Bissell spoke with eIFL.net, Electronic Information for Libraries, an international nonprofit organization whose interests, among many, lie in open access publishing and fair and balanced intellectual property laws for libraries.

Below is a follow-up interview over email with Rima Kupryte, Director of eIFL.net, and Iryna Kuchma, Program Manager of eIFL-OA (Open Access).

First, can you say a few words about yourselves and eIFL? How did you come to get involved in eIFL and to hold your respective positions within the larger framework? What about eIFL attracted you?

Rima
I am a professional librarian, graduated from Vilnius University in Lithuania. I joined the Open Society Institute – Budapest (OSI) Network Library Program late in 1995. The idea for eIFL was born at OSI and later the idea turned into an independent organisation which I joined from its establishment in 2003. Coming from Lithuania, which had poorly resourced libraries and where access to information was restricted when I was a student, I was very passionate about ideas—what could be done in order to improve libraries, open them and offer better services to its users. eIFL.net is a very innovative and creative organisation that offers a lot of opportunities and ideas; it makes things happen.

Iryna
eIFL’s mission statement, “Enabling access to knowledge through libraries in developing and transition countries,” appeals to me a lot. I graduated from the social sciences department and access to knowledge was one of my research topics as well as social aspects of open access, free and open source software and open content licenses. For nine years I worked for OSI in Ukraine and Open Access was one of my program areas. It was fascinating to see the positive changes in scholarly communication and I am glad I can go on with this program – Open Access – in eIFL.net.

What about eIFL itself–can you sum up what it stands for, its mission and overarching agenda? Assuming you don’t already have one, if you could come up with a catchy new slogan for what eIFL is trying to do, what would it be?

eIFL.net is a not-for-profit organization that supports and advocates the wide availability of electronic resources by library users in transitional and developing countries. It is universally acknowledged that access to knowledge is fundamental to education and research and the creation of human capital upon which the development of societies depend. This is especially true in a knowledge society where economic progress depends on having a literate and educated population. Libraries and education are synonymous. A library has little meaning if it cannot impart knowledge. Good education cannot exist without access to quality information resources to support teaching, learning and research. Our current slogan is “Enabling access to knowledge through libraries in transition and developing countries”. In July we will be having an eIFL visioning retreat to brainstorm and think where eIFL.net will be five to ten years from now.

Iryna
eIFL.net is a powerful network of 2,220 libraries in 47 transitioning and developing countries with a combined population of 800 million people including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2008, a pilot Open Access workshop is planned in Latin America – Cuba.

I’ve gathered (mainly from information on your website) that eIFL and Creative Commons are promoting and doing similar things. For example, the vision of the eIFL program “Advocacy for Access to Knowledge: copyright and libraries”, known as eIFL-IP, is the development of fair and balanced copyright laws taking into account libraries and the public interest. How would you relate these goals to CC and CC-licensing?

The goal of eIFL-IP is to maximise access to knowledge for education, research and civil society through fair and balanced copyright laws that take into account the needs of libraries and students, researchers and professionals who depend on library services to advance their education, careers and life opportunities. Our vision is that eIFL-IP librarians will become activists and leaders for promoting access to knowledge, especially in the digital age. We are achieving this by

  • creating a network of library copyright specialists and building capacity in the library perspective in copyright issues.
  • becoming the recognised advocate for library copyright issues in developing and transitioning countries at international and national levels.
  • encouraging the international library community to place the issues of developing and transitioning countries high on their agendas.

eIFL-IP and CC are natural allies because

  • eIFL-IP supports the use of alternative models through open content licenses, such as CC and GPL. eIFL.net advocates for open access and OER.
  • eIFL-IP and CC both promote access to content (for CC digital content).
  • eIFL-IP builds capacity and raises awareness, including how to use copyright law as an enabler of access to knowledge rather than a means to distort, deny or delay access. CC licenses support this goal by promoting the full spectrum of possibilities within the copyright system, i.e. from all rights reserved to the public domain.
  • As information professionals, librarians should be in a position to advise library clients on issues relating to access and use of digital content. With its powerful brand, CC helps librarians to understand and promote issues relating to access.

For more information on the library perspective on CC: http://www.eifl.net/cps/sections/services/eifl-ip/docs/handbook-e/#cc

What are some of the major challenges eIFL-IP faces?

The challenge that remains is how to build capacity at the national level; when we are working well at both international and national levels, we will achieve the best results.

The relevance of copyright to libraries wasn’t always recognised because the connection with day-to-day library activities was not fully understood. This is changing, however, and eIFL-IP librarians are becoming more aware and thus are more active. Once this connection is made, the importance of advocating for better copyright laws will be better understood.

Good activists are in short supply so it is disappointing to lose trained people due to changes in jobs or through emigration. We rely almost entirely on volunteers which limits our ability to make too onerous demands or to enforce deadlines.

How do you think these challenges will be overcome?

By focusing on building capacity

  • identifying “champions” and encouraging those who are active e.g. Moldova came to WIPO in March 2008, support for regional events (e.g. Nigeria Library Association pre-conference on copyright and digitisation in June 2008).
  • developing a curriculum in copyright issues for libraries for mass training (see below).

You are also now developing a distance learning course on copyright for librarians jointly with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law. Can you describe the project?

In partnership with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School in the USA, we are developing a brand new curriculum on copyright for librarians. This is a first, and we hope that many more librarians, especially in developing and transitioning countries, will benefit from the training and become advocates for access to knowledge.

The curriculum seeks to develop greater understanding of copyright by librarians. The goal is to build a human network from which they can draw support. We hope to reach a critical mass of librarians who can contribute to public discussion, who can take part in informed debate with government and industry representatives, and who can join the library community from the developed world by expressing their views in important international forums, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The course should be implemented with strategic partners in the global South, such as library training and law schools in universities, as well as distance learning programs.

The goals of the course are:

  • To develop greater understanding of copyright by librarians by providing copyright training tailored to the needs of librarians in developing and transitioning countries.
  • To support librarians’ mission (participation to the access to knowledge movement).
  • To help librarians answer copyright questions they face during their work.
  • To help librarians answer users’ questions on their rights (professors, students, general public).
  • To empower librarians to advise governments and other public policy makers and initiatives toward balanced copyright law.

The project lead Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Berkman Fellow, has been legal lead for CC France since 2003.. A meeting of international experts in libraries, copyright, distance learning and developing countries took place at the Berkman Center 17-18 April 2008 to provide advice on the structure, methodology and the content of the course as well as its sustainability.

How important is this and other collaborative relationships to your work? Are you reaching out to additional partners? What types of organizations are key to your efforts?

Collaboration is very important as our agenda and wishes are great and we can not accomplish everything by ourselves. There are certain movements and program areas that require strong advocacy, and for this, more voices are better. This applies to our activities in Open Access (OA), Intellectual Property (IP) and Free and Open Source (FOSS). Some of our programs are more advanced than others as we launched them in different years. Our newest program is on FOSS; we started it only last fall. We have quite a long list of NGO partners in IP, which were built due to our strong presence at WIPO. We are building more partnerships in OA and FOSS this year.

Iryna
Our target audience is scholars and researchers, doctors and lawyers, students and teachers. And in Open Access projects we set alliances with human rights groups, environmental organizations, patient groups demanding access to government information, Internet activists (Wikipedia communities, Creative Commons, etc.) modeling the approach of the Alliance for Tax Payers Access (a diverse and growing alliance of organizations representing taxpayers, patients, physicians, researchers, and institutions that support open public access to taxpayer-funded research). We are working closely with SPARC and SPARC Europe, EurOpenScholar, DRIVER project, Electronic Publishing Trust, BioLine International, Association of Research Libraries, Stichting SURF, Dutch collaborative organization for Higher Education and Research on IT, Directory of Open Access Journals, and we are also glad to start working with ccLearn and Creative Commons International (and iCommons).

Like ccLearn, eIFL is a project that is involved with the Open Education Movement. How would you define the Open Education Movement, and what role does eIFL play in it?

The goal of the Open Education movement is to create a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. This goal can be reached by developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. eIFL Open Access (OA) Program encourages sharing of research publications and educational materials.

Through the eIFL OA Program, eIFL members build capacity of the issues related to OA to enable members to benefit from the content, which is made freely available through OA, as well as ensuring that the local content produced within their countries is widely distributed. This is accomplished through the development of open repositories (for the research papers and educational materials) and by encouraging authors within the countries to publish their articles in Open Access journals. eIFL-OA Program seeks to enhance access and use of research findings, increase the efficiency of research developments, and accelerate use and innovation—stimulating the economy. To achieve this, we apply the developing practices of Open Access as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (http://www.soros.org/openaccess/). The same practices became the foundation for the recently launched Cape Town Open Education Declaration: Unlocking the promise of open educational resources (http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/).

Among other things, ccLearn is focused on educating people about the importance of legal and technical interoperability for open education. What are your thoughts on this? What other activities do you think should be priorities for ccLearn (and Creative Commons) with respect to open education?

Yes, legal and technical interoperability is extremely important for open education. We encourage educators, scholars and students to use open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing. We advocate for Creative Commons Attribution Licenses used by a number of open access projects, e.g. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) – a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a public resource. Everything they publish is freely available online to read, download, copy, distribute, and use (with attribution) any way one wishes. Creative Commons did a lot for the free culture movements around the world. These approaches should be adjusted now for the educators and learners encouraging them to practice open education and raising their awareness about open content licences. Raising awareness and sharing good examples and advocacy are key elements to the success of the Open Education movement.

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ccLearn—Features in Open Education

Jane Park, April 22nd, 2008

Lately, a virtual whirlwind of projects and people and organizations have blown our way, and we don’t expect the dust to settle any time soon. To keep track of some of the progress and collaboration within open education, we’ve started to host bi-monthly features ranging from individual interviews to project spotlights. We hope to open your eyes and ears to what these voices in the movement have to say.

This month’s feature is on “Attribution Only” as Default Policy—Otago Polytechnic on the How and Why of CC BY; this and all subsequent features will be on our home page. You can join our listserv for automatic updates on these and other ccLearn issues. And for those who like to compartmentalize, you can even sign up for a separate feed of our news blog.

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