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Changing Minds by Using Open Data

- July 2, 2018 in Open Data, open-education, WG Open Education

This blog has been rewritten from the original post on our Open Education Working Group blog and is co-authored by Javiera Atenas, Erdinç Saçan & Robert Schuwer.   The Greek philosopher Pythagoras once said:
“if you want to multiply joy, then you have to share.”

This also applies to data. Who shares data, gets a multitude of joy – value – in return. This post is based on the practical application at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of ICT in Eindhoven, the Netherlands by Erdinç Saçan & Robert Schuwer of the pedagogical approach developed by Javiera Atenas and Leo Havemann from the Open Education Working Group focused in the use of Open Data as Open Educational Resources in which they argue that that while Open Data is not always OER, it certainly becomes OER when used within pedagogical contexts. Open data has been highlighted as a key to information transparency and scientific advancement. Students who are exposed to the use of open data have access to the same raw materials that scientists and policy-makers use. This enables them to engage with real problems at both local and global levels. Educators who make use of open data in teaching and learning encourage students to think as researchers, as journalists, as scientists, and as policy makers and activists. They also provide a meaningful context for gaining experience in research workflows and processes, as well as learning good practices in data management, analysis and reporting. The pedagogic deployment of open data as OER thus supports the development of critical, analytical, collaborative and citizenship skills, and has enormous potential to generate new knowledge. ICT is not just about technology – it’s about coming up with solutions to solve problems or to help people, businesses, communities and governments. Developing ICT solutions means working with people to find a solution. Students in Information & Communication Technology learn how to work with databases, analysing data and making dashboards that will help the users to make the right decisions. Data collections are required for these learning experiences. You can create these data collections (artificially) yourself or use “real” data collections, openly available (like those from Statistics Netherlands (CBS)). In education, data is becoming increasingly important, both in policy, management and in the education process itself. The scientific research that supports education is becoming increasingly dependent on data. Data leads to insights that help improve the quality of education (Atenas & Havemann, 2015). But in the current era where a neo-liberal approach of education seems to dominate, the “Bildung” component of education is considered more important than ever. The term Bildung is attributed to Willem van Humboldt (1767-1835). It refers to general evolution of all human qualities, not only acquiring knowledge, but also developing skills for moral judgments and critical thinking.


In (Atenas & Havemann, 2015), several case studies are described where the use of open data contributes to developing the Bildung component of education. To contribute to these cases and eventually extend experiences, a practical study has been conducted. The study had the following research question:
“How can using open data in data analysis learning tasks contribute to the Bildung component of the ICT Bachelor Program of Fontys School of ICT in the Netherlands?”
In the study, an in-depth case study is executed, using an A / B test method. One group of students had a data set with artificial data available, while the other group worked with a set of open data from the municipality of Utrecht. A pre-test and post-test should reveal whether a difference in development of the Bildung component can be measured. Both tests were conducted by a survey. Additionally, some interviews have been conducted afterwards to collect more in-depth information and explanations for the survey results. For our A/B test, we used three data files from the municipality of Utrecht (a town in the center of the Netherlands, with ~350,000 inhabitants). These were data from all quarters in Utrecht:
  • Crime figures
  • Income
  • Level of Education
(Source: We assumed, all students had opinions on correlations between these three types of data, e.g. “There is a proportional relation between crime figures and level of education” or “There is an inversely proportional relation between income and level of education”. We wanted to see which opinions students had before they started working with the data and if these opinions were influenced after they had analyzed the data. A group of 40 students went to work with the data. The group was divided into 20 students who went to work with real data and 20 went to work with ‘fake’ data. Students were emailed with the three data files and the following assignment: “check CSV (Excel) file in the attachment. Please try this to do an analysis. Try to draw a minimum of 1, a maximum of 2 conclusions from it… this can be anything. As long as it leads to a certain conclusion based on the figures.” In addition, there was also a survey in which we tried to find out how students currently think about correlations between crime, income and educational level. Additionally, some students were interviewed to get some insights into the figures collected by the survey.


For the survey, 40 students have been approached. The response consisted of 25 students. All students indicated that working with real data is more fun, challenging and concrete. It motivates them. Students who worked with fake data did not like this as much. In interviews they indicated that they prefer, for example, to work with cases from companies rather than cases invented by teachers. In the interviews, the majority of students indicated that by working with real data they have come to a different understanding of crime and the reasons for it. They became aware of the social impact of data and they were triggered to think about social problems. To illustrate, here some responses students gave in interviews: “Before I started working with the data, I had always thought that there was more crime in districts with a low income and less crime in districts with a high income. After I have analyzed the data, I have seen that this is not immediately the case. So my thought about this has indeed changed. It is possible, but it does not necessarily have to be that way.” (M. K.) “At first, I also thought that there would be more crime in communities with more people with a lower level of education than in communities with more people with a higher level of education. In my opinion, this image has changed in part. I do not think that a high or low level of education is necessarily linked to this, but rather to the situation in which they find themselves. So if you are highly educated, but things are really not going well (no job, poor conditions at home), then the chance of criminality is greater than if someone with a low level of education has a job.” ( A. K.) “I think it has a lot of influence. You have an image and an opinion beforehand. But the real data either shows the opposite or not. And then you think, “Oh yes, this is it.’. And working with fake data, is not my thing. It has to provide real insights.” (M.D.)  


Our experiment provided positive indications that contributing to the Bildung component of education by using open data in data analysis exercises is possible. Next steps to develop are both extending these experiences to larger groups of students and to more topics in the curriculum.



About the authors

Javiera Atenas: PhD in Education and co-coordinator of the Open Knowledge Open Education Working Group, responsible for the promotion of Open Data, Open Policies and Capacity Building in Open Education. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Education Lead at the Latin American Initiative for Open Data [ILDA] as well as an academic and researcher with interest in the use of Open Data as Open Educational Resources and in critical pedagogy. Erdinç Saçan is a Senior Teacher of ICT & Business and the Coordinator of the Minor Digital Marketing at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of ICT in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He previously worked at Corendon, TradeDoubler and @erdincsacan ‏   Robert Schuwer is Professor Open Educational Resources at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of ICT in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and holds the UNESCO Chair on Open Educational Resources and Their Adoption by Teachers, Learners and Institutions. @OpenRobert55

Open Education in Spain

- June 5, 2018 in Featured, guestpost, oer, open-education, Repositories, spain, world

Guest post by Gema Santos – Hermosa 
In this post, we’ll review the state of open education within the European context – and, more particularly, in Spain – with a special focus on higher education institutions (HEIs). There is often …

Open Education in Spain

- June 5, 2018 in Featured, guestpost, oer, open-education, Repositories, spain, world

Guest post by Gema Santos – Hermosa 
In this post, we’ll review the state of open education within the European context – and, more particularly, in Spain – with a special focus on higher education institutions (HEIs). There is often no common understanding regarding contemporary open education (OE), and it is usually confused with open educational resources (OER). Nevertheless, OE goes beyond, proposing a mental shift towards allowing the implementation of a number of practices focused on openness (Going Open Report, JCR, 2017). In this sense, the perspective is extended to enable a comprehensive view, thus encompassing practices such as the use of ICT in education, innovation in pedagogy and staff training, the use and development of OER, the massive open online courses (MOOCs), and the engagement in open science activities.

Open education is “in vogue” in Europe

Ever since OE was identified as a potential solution to some of the challenges detected in the EU educational systems, there has been a growing interest in establishing an OpenEdu framework (European Commission’s Communication of Opening up Education, 2013). The core dimensions of OE for HEIs have now been identified as well as several policies and recommendations (Opening Education’s Support Framework, 2016; OpenEdu Policies, 2017 & 2018). Recently, the relevance of OE has been reinforced by the consideration of “open and innovative education and training” as part of the strategic framework for European cooperation in Education & Training (ET2020). Meanwhile, OE is not just a bureaucratic issue, but a topic of discussion among researchers, practitioners, policy makers, educators, librarians and students from all over the world, as demonstrated the OE Global Conference 2018. OE in Europe has improved, but there is still a way to go. This is particularly the case for certain countries, since the initiatives are advancing at different speeds in each of the 28 EU member states.

An overview of open education in Spain

OE is also on the agenda of educational institutions across Spain, which is significant as a starting point. According to an Open Survey report in 2017, there are some general trends that demonstrate how diverse OE policies can be: legally-binding regulations – such as the National Centre for Curriculum Development in Non-Proprietary Systems (CEDEC) – and non-legally-binding initiatives, such as the mobile app Edupills and EDUCALAB-INTEF MOOCs. In fact, Spain has many interconnected policies and initiatives that support OE which are mainly addressed to the primary and secondary education levels. According to the four types of policies identified for European countries, Spain falls into the second category (together with Portugal, Lithuania, Italy and Cyprus) characterised by a national policy for ICT in education (OpenEdu Policies Report, 2017). The main stakeholder is the Spanish Ministry of Education, in collaboration with Spanish autonomous communities´ regional governments. The most prominent national policy was the Plan de Cultura Digital en la Escuela, including the OER repository PROCOMUN and the open source tool EXELEARNING. This video presentation at the Second World OER Congress better explains these initiatives. In higher education, the most common OE approach adopted by Spanish universities has been focused on MOOCs and OER. The relationship between these two practices within the open ecosystem is part of a common strategy, since HEIs that promote the use of OER are also very likely to offer MOOCs, and vice versa (Castaño et al, 2016) Some HEIs embraced the Open Courseware Consortium (OCWC) by providing specific platforms for open courses (around 30, according to a Report on Spanish OCW). There is also a large participation in the Universia network, which offers OCW projects in Spanish and Portuguese. In parallel, over the last few years there has been a considerable increase in institutional repositories with OER collections (Santos-Hermosa et al, 2017). While less than half of Spanish universities deposited OER in their repositories five years ago (Fernández-Pampillón et al, 2013), this number has risen to 77.4% nowadays, according to the preliminary results of a recent survey launched by the OER action group which I coordinate at REBIUN (a national network of Spanish university libraries). Regarding the emergence of MOOCs in Europe, and its different approach with respect to the US model (Jansen & Konings, 2017), Spanish universities’ global supply is remarkable: 35% of Spanish universities have at least one MOOC and they are situated among the top five countries, as for the volume of students (Oliver et al, 2014). During the boom of the MOOC movement, Spanish HEIs participated in two of the main MOOC platforms (Udacity and Coursera), but the most commonly used was Miríadax, which just offers courses from Spanish and South American universities (Sangrà et al., 2015).

Two outstanding Spanish higher education institutes: UNIR and UOC

The Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR) and the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) are both online universities, their open strategies are focused on digital contexts and in the use of ICT. However, this is not performed in a “classic” way, as in some other blended learning institutions, but involving the use of online simulations and laboratories, mobile learning and further innovative methods. In addition, both universities have had a historic involvement in OE initiatives over the years in scenarios such as: In short, both universities have a strategy or policy statement that supports OE. UNIR has recently announced an open education policy which aims to encourage its adoption in teaching and learning practices, and it is the first Spanish university with a policy of this type (UNIR Research, 2018). Also, the UOC is currently working on the definition of an open plan based on its strategic goal of “0303: Open knowledge to everyone and for everyone” and characterised by the correlation of open education and open science (Strategic Plan 2014-2020). In this sense, openness is a multidimensional concept in these two HEIs, since a correlation is being sought between the OE offer, OER and publication in open access routes, as well as the support of open data in research, and open licensing in technology and content authoring. Thus, we’re heading in the right direction … let’s keep it up! — About the author Gema Santos-Hermosa hold a Ph.D in Information Science and Communication. She works as an associate lecturer at the University of Barcelona (UB) and a research support librarian at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). She also chairs the EMPOWER Knowledge Resources expert group within the EADTU university network and coordinates the open learning resource activities organised by the Repositories Working Group within the REBIUN university network. Her doctoral thesis  discusses the development and reuse of open educational resources  in higher education. Her research interests are OER, open education, open access, repositories, information retrieval and digital libraries.      

OER Canvas: Το πρότυπο για την δημιουργία Ανοιχτών Εκπαιδευτικών Πόρων και στα ελληνικά

- March 2, 2018 in Canvas, News, open-education, resources, ανοιχτοί εκπαιδευτικοί πόροι, εκπαίδευση

Πώς μπορεί κάποιος να οργανώσει και να σχεδιάσει ανοιχτούς εκπαιδευτικούς πόρους (open educational resources); Αν και υπάρχουν οδηγοί που καλύπτουν το κομμάτι των αδειών και της εκπαιδευτικής αξίας των πόρων, δεν υπήρχε μέχρι στιγμής ένα γενικό πρότυπο δημιουργίας ανοιχτού εκπαιδευτικού υλικού. Αυτό το κενό ήρθε να συμπληρώσει το OER Canvas που δημιουργήθηκε από το Open Education Working Group σε συνεργασία με το

OER Canvas: Το πρότυπο για την δημιουργία Ανοιχτών Εκπαιδευτικών Πόρων και στα ελληνικά

- March 2, 2018 in Canvas, Featured, Featured @en, News, open-education, resources, ανοιχτοί εκπαιδευτικοί πόροι, εκπαίδευση

Πώς μπορεί κάποιος να οργανώσει και να σχεδιάσει ανοιχτούς εκπαιδευτικούς πόρους (open educational resources); Αν και υπάρχουν οδηγοί που καλύπτουν το κομμάτι των αδειών και της εκπαιδευτικής αξίας των πόρων, δεν υπήρχε μέχρι στιγμής ένα γενικό πρότυπο δημιουργίας ανοιχτού εκπαιδευτικού υλικού. Αυτό το κενό ήρθε να συμπληρώσει το OER Canvas που δημιουργήθηκε από το Open Education Working Group σε συνεργασία με το

OpenEdu Policies reports: JRC Research Centre

- January 25, 2018 in open-education, WG Open Education

This blog has been reposted from the Open Education Working Group blog and has been written as a joint effort by Javiera Atenas and  Paul Bacsich, co-coordinators of the Open Education Working Group.  Hot off the press: OpenEdu Policies reports . These reports are the final outcome of one and a half intense years of research into open education policies involving many stakeholders, particularly ministries of education, research and science across Europe. ‘Going Open’ is a report bringing policy recommendations on open education at regional, national and EU levels. ‘Policy Approaches to open education’ is a report covering the 28 EU Member States, presenting case studies about how each country approaches open education policies. Both reports are part of the JRC’s OpenEdu Policies project. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has just published a comprehensive overview report (164 pages) on Policy Approaches to Open Education across all of the 28 EU Member States. The Foreword to the report, by Yves Punie (Deputy Head of Unit DG JRC Unit Human Capital and Employment) summarises the conclusions as follows: “The diversity of polices and approaches presented herein reflect the diversity that is intrinsic to the European Union. Each Member State has specific goals for education and priority areas to address when formulating its policies. However, this research shows that Member States are aware of open education issues and that in one way or another nearly all of them have implemented some sort of initiative or action plan in relation to open education, even though that goal is not explicit in some cases.” He goes on to describe the report as “another step taken by the European Commission (DG EAC and JRC) to meet Members States’ requirements for more research and evidence on open education in support of policy-making in Europe.” The work for the overview report was carried out by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with the Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) at the Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR) in Logroño, Spain. An international team based in Spain (Daniel Burgos), Italy (Fabio Nascimbeni and Stefania Aceto) and the UK (Javiera Atenas and Paul Bacsich) carried out the work, with assistance from 28 ministry officials and other experts who agreed to be interviewed. The interview work was supported by substantial desk research across all Member States, for which a further large number of experts on open education were consulted, along with outputs from key projects such as OER World Map, OERup!, D-TRANSFORM, ADOERUP (for the European Parliament), POERUP and earlier JRC projects and reports on open education. In particular all identified policies were analysed using the OpenEdu Framework produced by JRC, which identifies six core dimensions of open education (Access, Content, Pedagogy, Recognition, Collaboration and Research) and four transversal dimensions (Strategy, Technology, Quality, Leadership). The report is available here. The report, together with additional research and expert consultations, forms the basis for the also just released JRC report “Going Open: Policy Recommendations on Open Education in Europe (OpenEdu Policies)”, which highlights policy options to further open up education in Europe. Our long report is, we believe, the first one of its kind to bring together at a detailed level policy work in open education for a complete geopolitical region. The team will be happy to explain the methodology to other interested research groups. We can see no reason why the approach, including use of the OpenEdu Framework for analysis, cannot be replicated for other geopolitical groupings such as Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie and more widely across Europe. Regarding the last, it would perhaps be most immediately useful if funding could be found for those countries in the European Economic Area and the European Neighbourhood to carry out similar work. Inevitably in such a detailed report, there will be items at the Member State level that get rapidly out of date. Indeed, we hope that such reports as this and the overview reports from JRC will foster an increased climate of policy formation and creation of initiatives at Member State level, not only at EU level. As part of its ongoing work, the Open Education Working Group will continue to make its email list and blog available to interested researchers and specifically to encourage them to produce similar and updated material for their countries. For more details see this recent update blog.

Educators ask for a better copyright

- January 17, 2018 in copyright, open-education, WG Open Education

This blog has been reposted from the Open Education Working Group page.  
Today we, the Open Education Working Group, publish a joint letter initiated by Communia Association for the Public Domain that urgently requests to improve the education exception in the proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive). The letter is supported by 35 organisations representing schools, libraries and non-formal education, and also individual educators and information specialists.  
In September 2016 the European Commission published its proposal of a DSM Directive that included an education exception that aimed to improve the legal landscape. The technological ages created new possibilities for educational practices. We need copyright law that enables teachers to provide the best education they are capable of and that fits the needs of teachers in the 21st century. The Directive is able to improve copyright. However, the proposal does not live up to the needs of education. In the letter we explain the changes needed to facilitate the use of copyrighted works in support of education. Education communities need an exception that covers all relevant providers, and which permits a diversity of educational uses of copyrighted content. We listed four main problems with the Commission’s proposal: #1:  A limited exception instead of a mandatory one The European Commission proposed a mandatory exception, which can be overridden by licenses. As a consequence educational exception will still be different in each Member State. Moreover, educators will need a help from a lawyer to understand what they are allowed to do. #2 Remuneration should not be mandatory Currently most Member States have exceptions for educational purposes that are completely or largely unremunerated. Mandatory payments will change the situation of those educators (or their institutions), which will have to start paying for materials they are now using for free. #3: Excluding experts The European Commission’s proposal does not include all important providers of education as only formal educational establishments are covered by the exception. We note that the European lifelong-learning model underlines the value of informal and non-formal education conducted in the workplace. All these are are excluded from the education exception. #4: Closed-door policy The European Commission’s proposal limits digital uses to secure institutional networks and to the premises of an educational establishment. As a consequence educators will not develop and conduct educational activities in other facilities such as libraries and museums, and they will not be able to use modern means of communication, such as emails and the cloud. To endorse the letter, send an email to Do you want to receive updates on the developments around copyright and education, sign up for Communia’s newsletter Copyright Untangled. You can read the full letter in this blog on the Open Education website or download the PDF.

OpenCon Santiago 2017: No more streaks in the water

- 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 …

Leveraging the fight for stronger openness in education

- October 19, 2017 in open-education

This blog has been jointly written by Muriel Poisson (IIEP-UNESCO) and Javiera Atenas (Open Education Working Group): their full bio’s can be found below this post. Education and corruption: these two themes tend to come out in every discussion about development, although, there is little discussion on corruption in the educational systems, or how to teach students and teachers to learn about corruption, ethics and governance. Open school data and open education resources constitute two distinctive areas, but which both contribute actively to the improvement of transparency and accountability within education systems:
  • Open school data constitute a powerful tool to promote citizen control over the transfer and use of financial, material and human resources. Their publication allows the users of the system to better know their rights and to stand up for them.
  • Open education resources, the development of open textbooks, and the adoption of OSS also contribute to promote more transparent practices across the educational sector, with the support of the Open Education Community.

Improving accountability via open school data

The UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) maintains ETICO, an online platform which provides resources to fight corruption in education and to provide the community with instruments to understand what corruption may mean. As summarised on ETICO, corruption may be found in all areas of educational planning and management – school financing, recruitment, promotion and appointment of teachers, building of schools, supply and distribution of equipment and textbooks, admission to universities, and so on”. The tool has recently been relaunched with improved features and updated content on ethics and corruption in education. It provides open, easy access to all of IIEP’s research and training materials on the subject, a media library, a global agenda, and over 1,000 press articles on corruption in education. In addition to a multitude of other resources, ETICO brings to the forefront new initiatives around the use of open data. Its users can access IIEP’s research on an in-depth review of 14 school report card (SRC) initiatives from around the world, which was published as a book in late 2016. It shows that school report cards can be powerful tools to engage communities and hold schools accountable for providing students with a high-quality education. If the process is inclusive and participatory, SRCs can serve as a unique channel allowing education stakeholders to make more informed decisions based on school-level data.


Improving accountability via open education resources

When the open education and science communities talk about transparency, they often have in mind developing open resources and opening up their academic, teaching and research practices, promoting data sharing, and publishing in Open Access Journals, and collaborating towards widening up the participation in the sciences and humanities, and also at the school level by engaging students and teachers in co-creating knowledge by using open resources and practices. The Open Education Working Group, in partnership with other organisations such as the Open Initiative for Open Data (ILDA), Núcleo REA, Abriendo Datos Costa Rica and Giggap, have been working towards promoting openness and the use of Open Data for teaching and learning, by giving workshops for academics in Uruguay and Costa Rica. Also, A Scuola di Open Coesione in Italy has been training secondary school teachers and students in using open data to teach citizenship skills, and Monithon Italy works with higher education students to help them with developing and understanding policy by using Open Data. As a community, we need to start thinking about fighting corruption in the educational systems, promoting a more transparent and open governance, supporting the adoption of Open Contracting Partnership and its standards and work towards developing policies that not only promote the sharing and openness of resources, data and research papers but also fair contracting, transparent governance and accountability of educational institutions. Also governments need to be more transparent with their budgets and how the finance schools and universities and how public funds are administered towards improving education and research.

How to contribute to the ETICO online resource platform

ETICO serves anti-corruption specialists working in ministries, international organizations and agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, and research institutions as well as policy makers and others. Its main features are available in English, French and Spanish and include:
  • a resource base of over 650 items including case studies, analytical tools and country-specific documents,
  • over 1,000 press articles on corruption in education going back to 2001,
  • a media library presenting short films on the subject from around the world,
  • a global agenda of all related events,
  • a quarterly bulletin about ethics and corruption in education (subscribe here),
  • a blog featuring innovative initiatives designed to tackle corruption.
Users now have more opportunity to get involved, share resources on the subject and contribute to the blog. The enhanced search function also has the ability to scan thousands of national and international documents, media articles, and IIEP’s training materials and research findings spanning over 15 years.

How to contribute to the Open Education Working Group Initiatives in Open Data

If you have a case study or if you are using open data as school or HE level, or if you are interested in organising a training session on open data for academics, management or policy makers, email us at You can read more about the Open Education working group at  


Muriel Poisson (@etico_iiep) is the task manager of the IIEP-UNESCO’s project on Ethics and Corruption in Education. She is responsible for research and training activities dealing with a variety of topics on the issue, such as the use of open education data, public expenditure tracking surveys, teacher codes of conduct, and academic fraud. In this capacity, she trained more than 2,000 people on how to design and implement diagnostic tools aimed at assessing distorted practices in the use of education resources; and on how to design and implement strategies to improve transparency and accountability in education. She also provides technical assistance in the area of transparency and integrity planning, for instance to national teams in charge of the development of an integrity risk assessment, a PETS, or a code of conduct. Finally, she is managing the ETICO resource platform, a dynamic platform for all information and activities related to transparency and accountability issues in education. Muriel has authored and co-authored a number of articles and books, including: ‘Corrupt Schools, Corrupt Universities: What Can Be Done?’ (UNESCO Press).   Javiera Atenas has a PhD in Education and is the co-coordinator of the Open Education Working Group and the Education Lead of the Open American Initiative for Open Data. She is responsible for the Open Data agenda, with focus in capacity building across the higher education sector towards supporting the adoption Open Educational Practices and policy development. She works with the OpenMed project for capacity building in South Mediterranean countries and is an associate lecturer at the University of Barcelona, Spain. She has also authored a series of papers and studies about Open Education and Open Data.    

The Open Education Working Group: What do we do and what is coming up next

- August 22, 2017 in open-education, WG Open Education

The Open Education Working Group ( is a very active community of educators, researchers, PhD students, policy makers and advocates that promote, support and collaborate with projects related with the advancement of Open Education in different fields at international level. This group aims at supporting the development of Open Educational projects at international level but also, at promoting good practices in Open Education. In this blog we give an update on our recent activities. The coordinators of the group are Paul Bacsich (@pbacsich) (Open Policies), a professor with a large experience in educational policy and open education, Annalisa Manca (@AnnalisaManca) (Open Science), an expert in critical pedagogy currently completing her PhD in Medical Education and Javiera Atenas @jatenas (Open Data) a lecturer with a PhD in Education with interest in Open Data and Media Literacies. Our ethos is to be a platform that promotes Openness in education at all levels, including OER, Open Science, Open Education and Open Access focusing on Open Educational Practices to democratise and enhance education at all levels. Our mission is to support organisations and individuals to implement, support and develop Open Education projects, research and policies and also to support communities of open practice towards ensuring that everyone can have democratic access to education. In the last years we have done lots of things, published books, worked with Open Education international organisations, and participated in a large number of projects, some of which can be summarised as follows: Publication of the Open Educator Handbook, which has been written to provide a useful point of reference for readers with a range of different roles and interests who are interested in learning more about the concept of Open Education and to help them deal with a variety of practical situations. Publication of the book Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Case studies of Emerging Practice. This book contains a series of case studies related with use of open data as pedagogical materials. The authors of this chapters are academics and practitioners who have been using open data in different educational scenarios and the cases present different dynamics and approaches for the use of open data in the classroom. Involvement in the POERUP policy project and the OpenMed project, aimed at opening up teaching and learning resources in the southern Mediterranean countries – in partnership with UniMed Rome. Organisation of a pre-Open Data Day event at UCL,  which was round table to discuss challenges and opportunities of the use of open data as teaching and learning resources with a group of expert  and practitioners  and with the Latin American Open Data Initiative. We also organised a course for academics on Open Data as Open Educational Resources with the support of the Open Education Unit of the Universidad de la República Uruguay in partnership with A Scuola di OpenCoesione. The outcome of the course can be read in the blog Putting research into practice: Training academics to use Open Data as OER: An experience from Uruguay. In regards with campaigning we have worked with Communia in support for their campaign for better education, aimed at collecting petitions from educators throughout Europe to let the European Parliamentarians know we need a better copyright for education. You can read more about it in this blog. Our blog at reflects the current state of the arts in Open Education around the world. We have blog posts from Croatia, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain on different topics, from Open Educational Resources Toolkits, Open Education Policy, Open Data and Open Education  Research. In our forum we have spaces for different communities of practice to interact, exchange and discuss. You can join the discussion through: At the moment we are supporting the 101openstories, a collaborative project led by a group of Open Practitioners aimed at collecting stories and ideas of openness from educators, researchers and learners in general. Also, we are supporting the development of local Open Education Working Groups such as the Italian network of Open Educators, who met recently in Bologna to discuss an agenda to promote and enhance open education accross all the educational sectors in Italy (read more). In this Year of Open we will be participating in a series of events and congresses, including the Latin American Open Data Conference in Costa Rica in August, Con Datos and the OER congress in Slovenia in September. Also, we have joined the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data towards collaborating with different initiatives towards improving Open Data literacies. We are always open to collaborations and willing to support innovative projects on Open Education. If you would like to get in touch with us, you will find us on twitter as @okfnedu or via email at