The UNESCO OER Community attempts to put OER in light of not one, but many cultural contexts around the world. Connecting 900 individuals in 109 countries, the community runs on a wiki platform and communicates centrally via its listserv. Earlier this year in February and March, they held a discussion on the various barriers to accessing OER in different jurisdictions, with one of its ultimate aims to develop concrete proposals in this area. The outcomes of the discussion are now compiled into a report in both PDF and wiki versions.
From the announcement by Bjoern Hassler,
“The first proposal is about “Introducing digital Open Educational
Resources into Zambian primary schools through school-based
professional development”. Through this project we seek to overcome
access barriers, and engage with OER for Zambian primary/secondary
school mathematics teaching. The barriers are manifold, including
infrastructural, awareness, appropriateness of materials, etc, but we
hope that we’ll be able to draw on the various experiences and
solutions to make this successful… Further information is available here
The second outcome is continued engagement through the UK National
Commission for UNESCO. Within the Information Society Working Group,
OER has been a long-standing theme. However, based on the experience
of the discussion, we are now focussing on issues around OER access
and collaboration. The aims for this are concrete: We are running a
series of meetings to further focus on feasible projects in this area.
The first meeting will take place on 25th/26th in conjunction with the
Nottingham Open Learning Conference (
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/olc/ ) and in conjunction with OER Africa
( http://www.oerafrica.org ).”
The report, as all content on the UNESCO OER wiki, is available via CC BY-SA.Comments Off on Global Access to OER – A report by UNESCO
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!Comments Off on IssueLab Launches Research Remix Video Contest
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:
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“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.”
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.
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.3 Comments »
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.
“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.Comments Off on Dealing with Legally Incompatible Content in OER
A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration
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.
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“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.”
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.2 Comments »
“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.Comments Off on Invitation to an International Conference on OER
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.Comments Off on Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America
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.
A recent emigrant to New York, I experienced the first turn in weather on the east coast marking the transition from summer to a fast approaching fall. Though a lovely relief from the hot, muggy season that has persisted here for the last few months, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness. Many students all over the world are feeling this same twinge, mingled with excitement, as their summer vacations skid to a halt. No more lazy, hazy days in the sun—instead, it’s time to hit the books and lockers, classrooms and lecture halls.
This is the vision of school we have had with us for ages. A first grader, when asked to draw school, usually draws a little red school house with a bell, or a teacher standing at her desk, with an apple for added effect. However, this traditional picture is hardly where the future of education is headed, as new technologies and mediums of communication, like the Internet, have already revolutionized the way we interact, learn, and live.
Peer 2 Peer University is one initiative that acknowledges this fact—that the world has already changed, and not everyone is going to settle for the traditional modes of teaching. First of all, not everyone can afford to dole out the thousands of dollars required for a higher education, and secondly, not everyone has the time to—those of us with full-time or several part-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities, especially.
P2PU, in their own words, is sort of like an “online book club for open educational resources.” It’s “an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses… The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses.” Unlike formal universities or distance education, P2PU’s courses are all defaulted under CC BY, which means anyone can access, share, adapt, and redistribute them. In fact, the founders are more than happy for others to adapt the model they have begun to new and successful ways of thinking about education’s future.
What do you think is the future of education? P2PU co-founder Philipp Schmidt answers the big question and more.
P2PU has been getting a ton of attention lately. Courses are set to start on the 9th! What are you hoping to gain from these first six weeks? What are you most excited about?
This is the first time we will run courses. We have been thinking a lot about how to make sure participants get a lot out of the experience, but this is the real test. I am sure we’ll discover many things we did not anticipate at all—and I look forward to learning as much as the participants. This is an amazing learning experience not just for the participants, but also for ourselves.
I am most excited by the fact that we seem to be providing something that many people from all over the world find useful and want to participate in. One person is taking the Copyright for Educators course and intends to get credit from his university for it. The fact that he is thinking about the course in his own context and trying to “hack” the system in a way that makes sense for him is awesome. This is exactly what we were hoping to see. Another person said that she had always wanted to take a course about cyberpunk literature, but couldn’t find a place to take one. To realize that we can provide a type of learning experience that people are looking for and which simply doesn’t exist elsewhere, is incredible.
There’s so much speculation around the future of formal education. What are your thoughts on it? What will be P2PU’s role in this changing educational landscape?
It is clear to me that the education landscape will change dramatically. I should mention that I am a huge fan of the university as an institution where young people spend a few years learning and immersing themselves into knowledge. It’s wonderful and I wouldn’t want to miss it. However, learning is not just what happens in universities and there will be new and different organizations providing many of the components that today’s universities offer as a package. There are two areas where P2PU could fill a gap. One is to create the social learning experience that will make open educational resources more useful to more people. The other is to provide forms of recognition for informal learning—this could be by enabling pathways to formal credits or by creating a community based reputation.
What do you have to say to those who confuse P2PU with distance learning? How is P2PU more than that?
The core of P2PU is social learning—working with others who are interested in the same topic as you. The fact that it happens by distance is almost secondary and we are hoping to have local off-line groups joining the P2PU community in the future. Distance learning is a broad term, but too often it is used in the context of what I would call industrialized education. Content is delivered to students—either by an online teacher or in the form of course materials designed for self-study. Knowledge is considered as something that can easily be measured, like weight or height. It is a totally different model from what P2PU is doing.
All P2PU courses are licensed CC BY. Why CC BY?
The pilot phase materials are licensed CC BY because that places the least amount of restrictions on others who might want to use and re-mix our content. However, the licensing choice is still a big debate. Some members of the community feel that CC BY-SA better reflects their desire to create a global knowledge commons. It’s one of the topics we will discuss at our upcoming workshop and we will make a final decision there.1 Comment »
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