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Adopting Open Textbooks in the UK

Javiera Atenas - March 27, 2018 in communication, Featured, guestpost, oer, OpenTextbooks


By Beatriz de los Arcos In March of 2017 the Open Education Research (OER) Hub received a small grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to assess whether current US models of open textbook adoption would translate to the …

“The night of the living MOOCs”: a feasible and high-impact proposal

Annalisa Manca - March 21, 2018 in guestpost, MOOCs, oer, open educational resources

By Fabio Nascimbeni, assistant professor in the International University of La Rioja and member of the Open Education Working Group Advisory Board. The current  #fixcopyright campaign that aims to modify the upcoming European Copyright Reform by instilling more …

Illuminating the global OER community with data

Javiera Atenas - January 29, 2018 in communication, Data, Featured, guestpost, oer, world

This is the first post of a serie of notes shared by the members of the Open Education Working Group Advisory Board. In this post, Jan Neumann (@trugwaldsaenger ‏) shares the latest news of the OER World Map project

OpenCon Santiago 2017: No more streaks in the water

Javiera Atenas - January 4, 2018 in #opencon, Data, Events, Featured, guestpost, oer, Open Data, Open Science, open-education, world

Guest post by Ricardo Hartley @ametodico and Carolina Gainza @cgainza

When organizing any event, questions always arise; Will enough people come? Do those who have positions to make the changes come? Will come those who should have interest …

Open Education Working Group meet in Ljubljana

Annalisa Manca - October 2, 2017 in advisoryboard, guestpost

Post written by Lorna M. Campbell

(L-R) Cable Green, Fabio Nascimbeni, Lorna M. Campbell, Leo Havemann, Virginia Rodés and Sophie Touzé at the OER World Congress, Ljubljana.

Members of the Open Education Working Group Advisory Board had a rare opportunity …

Open in a Nutshell: Monkey Nuts of Openness

Annalisa Manca - April 19, 2017 in guestpost, oer

Post written by Christian Friedrich & Kate Green

 

Peanuts, by Anna – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

After a couple of days at OER17 conference in London (if you haven’t yet, check out the recordings and documentation), we (Christian and …

An open pathway to learning for all: learning through making (OER) and by experiencing (OEP)

Annalisa Manca - March 29, 2017 in Featured, guestpost, oer

Post written by Chrissi Nerantzi & Viviane Vladimirschi

Reflections on #OEglobal in Cape Town, March 2017

OEGlobal (#oeglobal) took place in Cape Town this year, 10 years after the Declaration of Open Education was signed there. With the Table Mountain

How students can help EU policies work better thanks to open data and civic technology

Javiera Atenas - November 30, 2016 in Data, Featured, guestpost, higher education, italy, oer, Open Data, open-education

Post written by Luigi Reggi 

Three small but important steps toward a more participatory EU policy were made in the last few weeks between Brussels and Rome, Italy. They are three episodes of a series of productive encounters between students equipped with open data and civic technology and policy makers managing EU funding.

Civic monitoring of EU funding as a way to assess results

The first episode happened  in Brussels. On November 22, a group of Italian higher education students engaged in a productive discussion with the European Commission – DG Regional and Urban Policy and the EU Committee of the Regions. The debate was focused on the role of open data and public participation to assess the results of the European Cohesion Policy from the point of view of the final beneficiaries. The team MoniTOreali – composed of students from the University of Turin and led by Alba Garavet, responsible for Turin’s  Europe Direct Centre – had the chance to present the results of an intense “civic monitoring” activity focused on one of the most visible EU-funded projects in the city. Its goal is the renovation of the “Giardini Reali”, the historical gardens of Turin’s Royal Palace, one of the city’s landmarks.  With a total funding of less than 2 million euros, the project is hardly one of biggest investments of EU policy in Italy. However, its central position in the urban landscape gives it the potential to shape the way citizens perceive the contribution of the European institutions to the improvement of their neighborhoods. The goal of this monitoring was to find out how the EU money was spent and whether the project delivered the promise or not.
The Royal Gardens in Turin, Italy, funded by European Structural Funds. Photo: MoniTOreali

The Royal Gardens in Turin, Italy, funded by European Structural Funds. Photo: MoniTOreali

What MoniTOreali students found was mixed results. While the project should have been completed by 2012, actually it is still under way due to a series of administrative delays. Its implementation is also influenced by a complex social environment, as conflicting social groups have different views on the future of the gardens and this had the effect of stalling policy decisions. To disentangle this intricate web of relations, the students interviewed experts, citizens and local public administrators. They analyzed the project’s objectives, strengths, weaknesses, history and recent developments in a civic monitoring report, which was published in the independent civic technology platform Monithon, the “Monitoring Marathon” of the European funding in Italy. The students also provided suggestions and ideas on how solve some the project’s issues. But the most interesting aspect of this experience is that Mrs Garavet succeeded in adapting the methodology of A Scuola di OpenCoesione (ASOC) – which was originally created by the Italian Government for high school students – to a higher education course.  She was able to effectively combine her experience as an activist in the Monithon Piemonte civic community with the more formal, six-step ASOC methodology, which also includes sessions on open data, data journalism, EU funding, and field research.  Earlier this year, Chiara Ciociola, the ASOC project manager, actively participated in the teaching activities in Turin to promote a sort of cross-fertilization between the two communities.  More information on the ASOC method and results is included in the book edited by Javiera Atenas and Leo Havemann. The idea is that an improved version of the course’s syllabus could be adopted and used by other universities in Italy and in Europe to replicate the same practice, contextualising its application. The fact that all European Countries share the same rules when it comes to EU funding can help spread a common approach. It turned out that EU officials loved the idea. The main conclusion of the meeting was that participation in the civic monitoring of EU policy could be a way to bridge the gap between EU institutions and the public. Moreover, the spread of these activities across the EU could also help policymakers evaluate the outcome of interventions from the point of view of the local communities. This is particularly important given that, according to recent developments, EU policies will be more and more focused on actual results in terms of real change for the final beneficiaries. More concretely, the European Commission proposed to use its programme “REGIO P2P” to fund an exchange of civic monitoring practices between EU authorities managing the funds in different Countries.

A new way to communicate policy outputs

The second episode was a stimulating workshop organized by the EU official Tony Lockett at the European Conference on Public Communication. As Lockett describes very well in this report, open data initiatives such as the EU Portal or the DG Regional Policy open data website are probably not enough to get real impact if not combined with effective citizen participation. In particular, Simona De Luca – representing the OpenCoesione team at the Italian government – showed how independent civic monitoring of EU-funded projects, based on the open data published on the governmental portal, can profoundly change the way the policy is communicated to the public.  While most of the “good stories” about EU funding are selected by a few experts at the managing authorities and then told by communication officers, the idea of relying on real stories by citizens for other citizens makes official communication extraordinarily powerful. People’s stories, based on official data but augmented thanks to new information collected with a sound and shared methodology, can represent not only a potential risk for the government – when the projects don’t match the expectations – but also a great way to show how problems can be solved together thanks to a meaningful collaboration between governments and citizens.  
Source: OpenCoesione - The Italian open government strategy on cohesion policy

Source: OpenCoesione – The Italian open government strategy on cohesion policy

The third episode happened last week at the Italian annual meeting with the European Commission on EU Cohesion Policy. The Agency for Cohesion, a national administration responsible for monitoring the implementation of EU Cohesion policy in Italy, for the first time used the stories from the citizens to present the results of EU Structural Funds. In particular, a set of good practices from the 2007-13 period was selected based on the civic monitoring reports included in the Monithon platform.  Most of the projects presented were monitored by the A Scuola di OpenCoesione high school students in different locations. The only exception was a project in Ancona, which was the focus of Action Aid’s School of participation. Although problematic projects were not mentioned at all during the event, the presentation was the first attempt in Italy to represent the results of EU Policy “from the point of view of the citizens”.  A kind of Copernican revolution for official communication that surprised most of the participants.
Current civic monitoring reports as displayed on Monithon.it

Current civic monitoring reports as displayed on Monithon.it

Collaborating with the Open Government ecosystem

These three examples indicate that a process of positive change is under way among European and national administrations that manage EU funds toward a more collaborative management of EU policy.  However, stronger and more stable mechanisms are needed to ensure real participation in the monitoring and evaluation of EU policies. What seems to drive this change is not only the desire for a more open and inclusive public policy, but also the urgent problem of finding out whether the projects funded really deliver or not. It is in the interest of all actors involved to assess the actual performance of the huge amount of money that flows from the EU budget to the European regions and cities, given the common ambitious goals of sustainable growth, innovation, job creation, social inclusion, and education. I believe that this question cannot be answered only with aggregated figures or econometric exercises. It requires a painstaking, bottom-up assessment of each single project involving local communities, journalists, analysts, and public officials at the EU, national and regional levels. This is a complex task that public authorities cannot handle by themselves. They need to be ready and capable to collaborate with the whole open government ecosystem composed in this case of
  • open data producers such as OpenCoesione.gov.it
  • government proactive initiatives such as A Scuola di OpenCoesione, which focus on the crucial element of civic learning
  • data users like the MoniTOreali group developing the right skills and expertise to provide meaningful feedback
  • civic tech initiatives like Monithon
  • intermediaries such as local media or NGOs aggregating and interpreting the feedback from the final beneficiaries
  • policy makers willing to listen and act upon the suggestions from the public.
Monithon calls it a “monitoring marathon”, indeed. If you want to know more about the open government ecosystem of the EU Cohesion Policy in Italy you can read this paper, which develops a conceptual model based on this case.BIO screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-17-02-16Luigi Reggi is a technology policy analyst at the Italian government and a PhD student in Public Administration and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany, USA. He is interested in Open Government Data, collaborative governance and European Cohesion Policy  

The Open University of Brazil goes open

Javiera Atenas - September 29, 2016 in communication, Featured, guestpost, oer

In this post (reposted from Edaberta), Tel Amiel tell us about the new OER repository from the Open University of Brazil.
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, by Neil Palmer [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, by Neil Palmer [CC BY-SA 2.0]

The Open University of Brazil (UAB), a consortium of over 100 public higher education institutions in Brazil, has just announced its open educational resources repository — eduCAPES, during the 9th meeting of UAB Coordinators in Brasília. The repository is part of a series of activities aimed at promoting OER within the UAB System.   Our research group has been engaged in promoting openness at UAB since 2010. In 2013 we begin researching the institutions that make up UAB in order to understand how they engaged in the production and dissemination of educational resources. We found valuable initiatives aimed at promoting openness at each institution. Different challenges and strategies had been tried and implemented, and this collective knowledge could be used to remove barriers and promote a system-wide effort towards the production and dissemination of OER. One of the biggest barriers to opening up resources was the lack of a national policy on licensing of resources by DED/CAPES (the organization within the Ministry of Education that coordinates the UAB System). screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-18-09-07 A series of initiatives took place: DED/CAPES hired consulting to identify possibilities for open licensingIED (OER Brazil) provided much needed awareness on OER, and multiple discussions ensued on the benefits of adopting a more liberal, copyleft, as a standard. The System produces a massive mount of resources — videos, books, simulations — which were only used within the courses offered by UAB. The next call for the production of resources (2017) will require an open license, preferably CC-BY-SA. DED/CAPES is also working directly with each Institution to open up older resources. Acceptable licenses also include CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, e CC-BY-NC-SA. The open license mandate is part of a larger set of initiatives aimed at promoting openness at UAB. We are currently developing (along with UFPR and IED) an open course on OER which will be offered in 2017. We are also finalizing a comprehensive questionnaire on the production, dissemination and use of educational resources to be sent to UAB personnel, in order to expand on what we learned during our research project; this knowledge will be used to tailor the course to their specific barriers, needs and interests. The eduCAPES portal is also “born open” in the sense that it operates with a focus on open licenses (primary CC, other compatible licenses accepted). It will host novel content but will also work in a federation model, aggregating metadata from institutional repositories. These activities benefit from the efforts of those who make up the System, as well as the folks at DED/CAPES, who together are working to make UAB more open More information on the CAPES press release (English or Portuguese original)
My presentation on the 9th meeting  (ODP ou PDF) – Portuguese.
More info on the UAB System on this interactive map.
A historical overview of licensing and OER at UAB by Duran, M.R. (Portuguese). — About the author telamielTel Amiel is a researcher at NIED, University of Campinas (UNICAMP) where he coordinates the UNESCO Chair in Open Education. He has previously been a visiting fellow at the University of Wollongong and a visiting professor at Utah State University. He currently conducts research funded by FAPESP and CAPES on schooling and teacher professional development at the intersection of open education, educational technology, and school improvement. UNESCO Chair in Open Education site (http://educacaoaberta.org/).

OER Festival in Berlin – How An Open Event Inspires Open Educational Activities in Germany

guestauthor - March 17, 2016 in #openeducationwk, Events, Featured, guestpost, oer, Open Educational Practices, open educational resources, open-education

ber1Last week the OER community celebrated its first OER Festival in Berlin which consisted of an OER Camp and an OER conference/forum (here is the German website). After the successful OER13 and OER14 conferences in Germany, the goal was to broaden and intensify the debate about OER with relevant stakeholders. In this regard, two additional OER projects are worth mentioning as they are funded by the German government and targeted at “Mapping OER” and synthesising affordances and requirements for infrastructure on which OER-related systems can be built and integrated (feasibility study). These projects have then led to a call for proposals from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for (1) building and establishing a centre for information (and support) related to OER and (2) training for multipliers. The OER Camp in Germany was based on an innovative format called BarCamps: these camps are participant-driven conferences, in which attendees share and learn in an open informal environment. Unlike traditional conferences that pre-schedule a programme, BarCamps rely on input from attendees to create the session programme on the spot and collaborate ad hoc on emerging topics.
Session planning with all OERCamp attendees Photo by “jmm-Hamburg” under CC BY 2.0 Generic

Session planning with all OERCamp attendees Photo by “Jmm-Hamburg” under CC BY 2.0 Generic

Since 2012, several such camps have taken place in Bremen, Bielefeld and Berlin. On top of the ad hoc sessions, some workshops are offered by the members of the emerging OER Camp, who are practitioners and educators in media for education, adult educators, school teachers, researchers, policy-makers, educational publishers, and OER advocates. The main goals of the OER Camp are to:
  • Network and connect stakeholders across diverse educational domains
  • Share knowledge and expertise on OER
  • Spread the word on existing as well as new initiatives
  • Promote open education among educational practitioners and to decision-makers and policy-makers
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Why did we choose the initiative as good practice? 

The events are very participatory, incubate new ideas and attract attendees with diverse backgrounds.
OER Atlas 2016 - Publication on OER stakeholders and activities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

OER Atlas 2016 – Publication on OER stakeholders and activities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Also, the OER Camp has directly or indirectly produced the following outcomes (there are more that could have been selected):
  • The low threshold to initiate discussions and share knowledge has been the main driver of a growing OER grassroots community in the German-speaking countries. Several established educational platform providers for school education have started to license resources with Creative Commons.
  • The event built on and strengthened an existing community on OER which has had a major influence on the growing political support for the topic in Germany, e.g. the availability of national funding for awareness raising and further education measures.
  • A concise guide for teachers on the objectives behind OER, Creative Commons licenses and the main educational repositories/platforms has been developed by OER Camp participants from Austria and has been remixed and adapted to the German context
  • Plans to issue an OER award were discussed openly during the OER Camp 2015 and put into practice early 2016. Also as a result of the award plans the event grew into a 2-day BarCamp and a 1-day forum involving 7 partners, 30 supporters, 272 registrations, and 109 speakers.. The organisers presented all submissions in a CC-BY licensed publication that gives a good insight into the current OER landscape.
OER Award 2016 Photo under CC0 (Courtesy of Karl Kirst)


OER Award 2016 Photo under CC0 (Courtesy of Karl Kirst)

So it has been an exciting time and a great opportunity to talk about the latest developments of OER in Germany.
  • OER has been established as an important topic in contemporary education. After its slow uptake in German-speaking countries, OER has gained considerable momentum and more and more people from different sectors are now involved. What can be seen in this “OER-socialisation process” is that there is a set of shared beliefs about what OER should be, but less agreement on how we should bring about changes in the educational systems.
  • Although there is growing interest in OER, the discussion on procedures to mainstream OER is at the beginning. It is an interesting process to watch as arguments like “everything that is paid by the public/state should be OER” turn out to be much more complex than initially thought.
  • We are on the verge of reaching a next level as indicated by the afore-mentioned political initiatives.
Overall and to sum up this brief review, it was an inspiring OER event given the diversity of formats and the nicely orchestrated opportunities for discussions. There are exciting times ahead of us and it is in the hands of all of us to keep OER going. — About the authors ACT Anne-Christin Tannhäuser is a project coordinator in technology-enhanced learning and open education programmes and a consultant on educational innovation. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Sciences and Linguistics from the University of Leipzig and she was trained at the Max Planck-Institute for Human Development, Berlin, in the use of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. In the past seven years she has managed and contributed to several TEL initiatives at national and European levels, including for the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning, Cooperative State University Baden-Württemberg, Knowledge Information Centre Malta, Wikimedia Germany, University of Applied Sciences Ruhrwest, Linnaeus University and the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (European Commission) in the field of open education, recognition of open learning and evaluation/communication of R&D projects. She coordinated the Open Access journal INNOQUAL, the International Journal for Innovation and Quality in Learning, for two years. She is also an associate researcher at the Berlin campus of ESCP Europe, a private business school with six locations in the EU. Dr. Markus Deimann Dr. Markus Deimann, has since September 2013 been Assistant Professor (Akademischer Rat) in the Department of Instructional Technology and Media at FernUniversität Hagen. He completed his studies of Educational Sciences and Political Sciences at the University of Mannheim. Afterwards he worked as Research Assistant on the Project BMBF “Mulitmediales Fernstudium has been Medizinische Informatik (MEDIN)” (Multimedia-based Distance Study Medical Computer Science) at the Technische Universität Ilmenau (Ilmenau University of Technology) and at the University of Erfurt. Furthermore, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Florida State University, Tallahassee (USA) for one year. In 2011 he was a Scholarship Holder at the Open University (UK) for three months.

** (Part of this column was published in http://project.idea-space.eu/2016/03/02/oercamps/)**