You are browsing the archive for WG Open Education.

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.

Study

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: https://utrecht.dataplatform.nl/data) 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.

Results

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.)  

Conclusion

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.

References

 

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 Prijsvrij.nl. @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

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 education@communia-associations.org. 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.

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 (https://education.okfn.org) 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 rightcopyright.eu 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 https://education.okfn.org/blog 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: https://discuss.okfn.org/c/working-groups/open-education 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 okfn.edu@gmail.com.

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 (https://education.okfn.org) 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 rightcopyright.eu 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 https://education.okfn.org/blog 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: https://discuss.okfn.org/c/working-groups/open-education 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 okfn.edu@gmail.com.

Open Knowledge Russia: Experimenting with data expeditions

- March 11, 2015 in #openeducationwk, Featured, OKF Russia, Open Knowledge, open-education, WG Open Education

As part of Open Education Week #openeducationwk activities we are publishing a post on how Open Knowledge Russia have been experimenting with data expeditions. This a follow up post to one that appeared on the Open Education Working Group Website which gave an overview of Open Education projects in Russia.
Anna

Anna Sakoyan

The authors of this post are Anna Sakoyan and Irina Radchenko, who together have founded DataDrivenJournalism.RU.
Irina

Irina Radchenko

Anna is currently working as a journalist and translator for a Russian analytical resource Polit.ru and is also involved in the activities of NGO InfoCulture. You can reach Anna on Twitter on @ansakoy, on Facebook and on LinkedIn. She blogs in English at http://ourchiefweapons.wordpress.com/. Irina Radchenko is a Associate Professor at ITMO University and Chief Coordinator of Open Knowledge Russia. You can reach Irina on Twitter on @iradche, on Facebook and on LinkedIn. She blogs in Russian at http://iradche.ru//.

1. DataDrivenJournalism.RU project and Russian Data Expeditions

The open educational project DataDrivenJournalism.RU was launched in April 2013 by a group of enthusiasts. Initially it was predominantly a blog, which accumulated translated and originally written manuals on working with data, as well as more general articles about data driven journalism. Its mission was formulated as promoting the use of data (Open Data first of all) in the Russian-language environment and its main objective was to create an online platform to consolidate the Russian-speaking people who were interested in working with data, so that they can exchange their experiences and learn from each other. As the number of the published materials grew, they had to be structured in a searchable way, which resulted in making it look more like a website with special sections for learning materials, interactive educational projects (data expeditions), helpful links, etc. russia1 On one hand, it operates as an educational resource with a growing collection of tutorials, a glossary and lists of helpful external links, as well as the central platform of its data expeditions; on the other hand, as a blog, it provides a broader context of open data application to various areas of activity, including data driven journalism itself. After almost two years of its existence, DataDrivenJournalism.RU has a team of 10 regular authors (comprised of enthusiasts from Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden and UK). More than a hundred posts have been published, including 15 tutorials. It has also launched 4 data expeditions, the most recent in December 2014. The term data expedition was first coined by Open Knowledge’s School of Data, which launched such peer-learning projects both in online and offline formats. We took this model as the basic principle and tried to apply it to the Russian environment. It turned out to be rather perspective, so we began experimenting with it, in order to make this format a more efficient education tool. In particular, we have tried a very loose organisational approach where the participants only had a general subject in common, but were free to choose their own strategy in working with it; a rather rigid approach with a scenario and tasks; and a model, which included experts who could navigate the participants in the area that they had to explore. These have been discussed in our guest post on Brian Kelly’s blog ‘UK Web Focus’. Our fourth data expedition was part of a hybrid learning model. Namely, it was the practical part of a two-week’s offline course taught by Irina Radchenko in Kazakhstan. This experience appears to be rather inspiring and instructive.

2. International Data Expedition in Kazakhstan

The fourth Russian-language data expedition (DE4) was a part of a two-week’s course under the auspices of Karaganda State Technological University taught by Irina Radchenko. After the course was over the university participants who sucessfully completed all the tasks within DE4 received a certificate. Most interesting projects were later published at DataDrivenJournalism.RU. One of them is about industry in Kazakhstan by Asylbek Mubarak who also tells (in Russian) about his experience of participating in DE4 and also about the key stages of his work with data. The other, by Roman Ni is about some aspects of Kazakhstan budget. First off, it was a unique experience of launching a data expedition outside Russia. It was also interesting that DE4 was a part of a hybrid learning format, which combined traditional offline lectures and seminars with a peer-learning approach. The specific of the peer-learning part was that it was open, so that any online user could participate. The problem was that the decision to make it open occurred rather late, so there was not much time to properly promote its announcement. However, there were several people from Russia and Ukraine who registered for participation. Unfortunately none of them participated actively, but hopefully, they managed to make some use of course materials and tasks published in the DE4 Google group. russia2 This mixed format was rather time-taking, because it required not only preparation for regular lectures, but also a lot of online activity, including interaction with the participants, answering their questions in Google group and checking their online projects. The participants of the offline course seemed enthusiastic about the online part, many found it interesting and intriguing. In the final survey following DE4, most of the respondents emphasised that they liked the online part. The initial level of the participants was very uneven. Some of them knew how to program and work with data bases, others had hardly ever been exposed to working with data. DE4 main tasks were build in a way that they could be done from scratch based only on the knowledge provided within the course. Meanwhile, there were also more advanced tasks and techniques for those who might find them interesting. Unfortunately, many participants could not complete all the tasks, because they were students and were right in the middle of taking their midterm exams at university. russia3 Compared to our previous DEs, the percentage of completed tasks was much higher. The DE4 participants were clearly better motivated in terms of demonstrating their performance. Most importantly, some of them were interested in receiving a certificate. Another considerable motivation was participation in offline activities, including face-to-face discussions, as well as interaction during Irina’s lectures and seminars. russia4 russia5 Technically, like all the previous expeditions, DE4 was centered around a closed Google group, which was used by the organisers to publish materials and tasks and by participants to discuss tasks, ask questions, exchange helpful links and coordinate their working process (as most of them worked in small teams). The chief tools within DE4 were Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Refine and Infogr.am. Participants were also encouraged to suggest or use other tools if they find it appropriate. 42 people registered for participation. 36 of them were those who took the offline course at Karaganda State Technical University. Those were most active, so most of our observations are based on their results and feedback. Also, due to the university base of the course, 50% of the participants were undergraduate students, while the other half included postgraduate students, people with a higher education and PhD. Two thirds of the participants were women. As to age groups, almost a half of the participants were between 16 and 21 years old, but there was also a considerable number of those between 22 and 30 years old and two above 50. 13 per cent of the participants completed all the tasks, including the final report. According to their responses to the final survey, most of them did their practical tasks by small pieces, but regularly. As to online interaction, the majority of respondens said they were quite satisfied with their communication experience. About a half of them though admitted that they did not contribute to online discussions, although found others’ contributions helpful. General feedback was very positive. Many pointed out that they were inspired by the friendly atmosphere and mutual helpfulness. Most said they were going to keep learning how to work with open data on their own. Almost all claimed they would like to participate in other data expeditions.

3. Conclusions

DE4 was an interesting step in the development of the format. In particular, it showed that an open peer-learning format can be an important integral part of a traditional course. It had a ready-made scenario and an instructor, but at the same time it heavily relied on the participants’ mutual help and experience exchange, and also provided a great degree of freedom and flexibility regarding the choice of subjects and tools. It is also yet another contribution to the collection of materials, which might be helpful in future expeditions alongside with the materials from all the previous DEs. It is part of a process of gradual formation of an educational resources base, as well as a supportive social base. As new methods are applied and tested in DEs, the practices that proved best are stored and used, which helps to make this format more flexible and helpful. What is most important is that this model can be applied to almost any educational initiative, because it is easily replicated and based on using free online services.

Veni Open Education Competition: Vote now!

- September 11, 2013 in Linked Up, OKCon, open-education, WG Open Education

There is just one week left to chose a winner in the ‘People’s Choice’ strand of the LinkedUp Veni Competition. linked up The Veni Competition is the first in the LinkedUp Challenge, a series of three consecutive competitions looking for interesting and innovative tools and applications that analyse and/or integrate open web data for educational purposes. Twenty-two submissions were received with innovative ideas in areas as different as mobile education, knowledge sharing, museum visits, politics and sustainable development. The LinkedUp project is an EU project that aims to push forward the exploitation and adoption of public, open data available on the Web, in particular by educational organisations and institutions. We will be holding the award ceremony for the Veni Competition at OKCon in Geneva next week. Prizes will be awarded to competitors by Philippe Cudre-Mauroux, Professor at University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Director of eXascale Infolab and LinkedUp Advisory Board Member. We are keen to get the wider Open Knowledge Foundation community involved in the judging procedure, so decided that we would have an open voting session for ‘the Peoples Choice’, which would take place at the same time. To ensure that details of the submissions are accessible to all we have invited the team behind each entry to publish a blog post describing what they created and how. This week we will be posting these blog posts, so please do keep an eye on the LinkedUp Project blog, and vote for what you think the most interesting entry is! Get voting!!

Working Group Stories: Public Domain, Open Sustainability, Open Education

- September 6, 2013 in WG Open Education, WG Public Domain, WG Sustainability, Working Groups

Working Groups Stories, a blog series we started back in May, is our way of showcasing the incredible work being done in all different domains across the Open Knowledge Foundation Network. Working groups are domain-specific groups, promoting, defining and producing open knowledge in everything from Archaeology to Shakespeare. okf-booksprint-data

Public Domain Working Group

The Public Domain Working Group has been busy over the last few months, working in partnership with OKF France and the French Ministry of Culture to develop a French Public Domain Calculator. Public Domain Calculators are tools to help users determine whether or not a piece of work is in the public domain. In France, this comes at an important time, as we enter the period when most of the works produced by authors who died during the second world war will (theoretically) enter the public domain. However, French copyright law stipulates that authors who died for France during the war have extended terms of protection. This complication could lead to a number of works being incorrectly assumed to be in the public domain. The value of Public Domain Calculators extends far beyond the particularities of national copyright law. Calculators help identify and promote good practices and open data policies within cultural institutions. They will be used by cultural institutions as a benchmarking tool to identify flaws and gaps in the structure or content of their bibliographical metadata, to increase the accuracy of the results. If you are interested in finding out more about public domain calculators or want to build one for your country, please get in contact at getinvolved {at} okfn.org or join our Public Domain Mailing List.

Open Sustainability

The Open Sustainability Working Group has been growing fast since its launch less than a year ago, with activity in several countries including Finland and Italy and a new twitter account (@OpenSusty). The group are key in the OKFN global #OpenCO2 campaign to bring more transparency to emissions tracking, so big polluters are held to account. The new local Open Sustainability group in Finland has met with energy companies about access to personal energy use data, and is interested in opening up sustainability and climate data and modelling. Energy software has been built using open data at Energy hack events in Germany and Finland. Next up is the Sustainability and Development topic at OKCon this month in Geneva. Join the growing conversation on the Open Sustainability mailing list and follow us @OpenSusty.

Open Education

Open Education, the newest addition to the working group family, has been busy despite its official launch still being a few weeks off! This week, the group organised an Open Education Handbook mini-booksprint in London, inviting open education experts along to share ideas and write down copy relating to various aspects of open education: resources, data and pedagogy. The event resulted in an initial outline of the book to be drafted; the final edited version is due for October 2014. If you are interested in hearing more about the Open Education Handbook or would like to contribute to it then join the Open Education Working Group mailing list for updates. Cover image: The O-Pen, by O’Khoas creations, from the Public Domain Remix. Illustration: OKF Booksprint Data, by Kevin Mears. All CC-BY

Open Education Handbook Booksprint

- September 5, 2013 in Linked Up, Sprint / Hackday, WG Open Education

image5 Yesterday seventeen open education experts came together to begin writing the Open Education Handbook. The handbook is part of the LinkedUp project, and the project team have chosen to also make it one of the first activities of the soon-to-be-launched Open Education Working Group. The handbook takes the form of an open, living document and it made sense to start the process through a collaborative effort – in the form of a booksprint. DSCF4176 The booksprint methodology (initiated by Adam Hyde of booksprints.net) involves moving from zero to published book in 3-5 days. It was decided to take a less-pressurised and more collaborative approach to writing the Open Education Handbook handbook. By kickstarting with a mini-one-day-booksprint we could get the initial outline of the handbook, the final edited version will be written collaboratively over a longer time period of time (with a final version delivered October next year). The booksprint was held at C4CC in London and open education experts from many different sectors (commercial, academic, government, not-for profit) were invited to attend. okf-booksprint-data Details of the day’s agenda are available on the LinkedUp blog, but the result was a lot of brainstorming and discussion, a brilliant community-building day and over 30 pages of outline and written text. If you are interested in hearing more about the Open Education Handbook or would like to contribute to it then join the Open Education Working Group mailing list for updates. The Open Education Working Group will be officially launched at OKCon at a panel session on open education. Images: Illustrations by Kevin Mears, photos OKFN, all CC-BY