Open Access Education and ‘south-south’ cooperation

 

Recently there has been increasing interest in the benefits obtained from free knowledge provided through open access initiatives. In the last decade a number of relevant initiatives have been created to promote open access practices in education and research [i.e.: Open CourseWare Consortium, Science - CreativeCommons; UNESCO Chair in Open Educational Resources; Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge; EU Commission announced new measures to open up science].

Why Open Access matter? The society as a whole can benefit from accelerated research cycles (immediate access to findings) and new possibilities of (self/informal) learning. Researchers and educators who provide open licence educational/scientific materials gain visibility, recognition and expand their networks. Broader and more rapid access to scientific papers and data can make it easier for researchers and businesses to build on the findings of public-funded research. Publishers likewise also benefit from wider dissemination and higher journal citation impact factor of their articles.

For instance, the European Commission announced by 2014 all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible:

  • articles will either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher (‘Gold’ open access) – up-front publication costs can be eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission; or
  • researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (‘Green’ open access).

Conversely, the promised benefits of Open Access for developing regions are not necessarily realistic. For instance, Open Society Foundations has made noteworthy contributions in a few developing countries (i.e. Brazil). Unfortunately these are rare exceptions and not the norm. Open content is insufficiently adopted by academic and educational organizations in these regions. Although there are particular ‘Open Educational Resources and Open Access’ [OER & OA] initiatives in developing countries, the immense majority are produced by individuals or institutions from developed nations and therefore not always sufficiently adapted to the circumstances of the target country. This imbalance is problematic.

Some of the key proxies to understand this growing divide are lack of social and cultural capital; geographical location (developing countries) and language barriers (non-English speaking communities). Moreover it is not possible to develop a culture of OER & OA if the inhibiting factors are not analysed with local stakeholders.

Open Society Foundations, for instance, has made noteworthy contributions in a few countries developing (i.e. Brazil) unfortunately these are rare exceptions and not the norm. New efforts are needed in this field not only to enhance traditional north-south collaboration but also to foster  ‘south-south’ cooperation. We welcome the existing OA initiatives [i.e. Global OER Graduate NetworkOerAfrica.org or our OportUnidadProject.EU] but also we encourage supporters to contribute towards enabling the creation of new projects in this field.

Peter Suber prepared an Open Access Overview which include a great compilation of ideas in this field. Some of this benefits described by him need to be carefully reviewed by education senior manager and policy makers from developing regions. Let me highlight some of them here:

OA serves the interests of many groups.

  • Authors:  OA gives them a worldwide audience larger than that of any subscription-based journal, no matter how prestigious or popular, and demonstrably increases the visibility and impact of their work.
  • Readers:  OA gives them barrier-free access to the literature they need for their research, unconstrained by the budgets of the libraries where they may have access privileges. OA increases reader reach and retrieval power. OA also gives barrier-free access to the software they use in their research.
  • Teachers and students:  OA puts rich and poor on an equal footing for these key resources and eliminates the need for payments or permissions to reproduce and distribute content.
  • Libraries:  OA solves the pricing crisis for scholarly journals. It also solves what I’ve called the permission crisis. OA also serves library interests in other, indirect ways. Librarians want to help users find the information they need, regardless of the budget-enforced limits on the library’s own collection. Academic librarians want to help faculty increase their audience and impact, and help the university raise its research profile.
  • Universities:  OA increases the visibility of their faculty and research, reduces their expenses for journals, and advances their mission to share knowledge.
  • Journals and publishers:  OA makes their articles more visible, discoverable, retrievable, and useful. If a journal is OA, then it can use this superior visibility to attract submissions and advertising, not to mention readers and citations. If a subscription-based journal provides OA to some of its content (e.g. selected articles in each issue, all back issues after a certain period, etc.), then it can use its increased visibility to attract all the same benefits plus subscriptions. If a journal permits OA through postprint archiving, then it has an edge in attracting authors over journals that do not permit postprint archiving. Of course subscription-based journals and their publishers have countervailing interests as well and often resist or oppose OA. But it oversimplifies the situation to think that all their interests pull against OA.
  • Funding agenciesOA increases the return on their investment in research, making the results of the funded research more widely available, more discoverable, more retrievable, and more useful. When funding agencies disburse public funds, OA helps in a second way as well, by providing fundamental fairness to taxpayers or public access to the results of publicly-funded research.
  • Governments:  As funders of research, governments benefit from OA in all the ways that funding agencies do (see previous entry). OA also promotes democracy by sharing non-classified government information as widely as possible.
  • CitizensOA gives them access to peer-reviewed research, most of which is unavailable in public libraries, and gives them access to the research for which they have already paid through their taxes. But even those with no interest in reading this literature for themselves will benefit indirectly because researchers will benefit directly. OA accelerates not only research but the translation of research into new medicines, useful technologies, solved problems, and informed decisions that benefit everyone.

 

From Kodak Culture to networked image

We are everywhere

[See Dr. Edgar Gomez Cruz's album]

Enclosed you will find the prologue of the new book: “From Kodak Culture to networked image. An ethnography of digital photography” (original title in Spanish: “De la Cultura Kodak a la imagen en red”), writen by Edgar Gomez Cruz. This prologue was prepared by Sarah Pink from Loughborough University.

Edgar Gomez Cruz’s work responds and contributes to an emergent strand in scholarship around Communications and Media characterised by theoretical and practical turns away from the semiotic and towards the ethnographic, experiential, habitual and non-representational. In doing so it participates in the process of re-defining this field of scholarship in relation to a series of key theoretical and methodological moves that cross social sciences and humanities literatures and invite new interdisciplinary understandings of digital media. The geographer Nigel Thrift’s formulation of non-representational theory, he writes, ‘takes the leitmotif of movement and works with it as a way of going beyond constructivism’ (2008: 5). Such approaches, like that of the anthropologist Tim Ingold, have key critical implications for visual culture studies (see Ingold 2011: 316). They enable us to understand how the relevance of photography in the world goes beyond the visual content of images themselves and is bound up with their relationship with the multiple other things that are on-going in the worlds that they are part of. In this context alternative theoretical approaches have opened up new avenues through which we might comprehend digital photography. Indeed Ingold provocatively poses the question: ‘Should the drawing or painting be understood as a final image to be inspected and interpreted, as is conventional in studies of visual culture, or should we rather think of it as a node in a matrix of trails to be followed by observant eyes? Are drawings or paintings of things in the world, or are they like things in the world, in the sense that we have to find our ways through and among them, inhabiting them as we do the world itself?’ (2010: 16). The same of course should be asked of the digital photograph. Likewise conventional approaches to the study of digital photography through visual content are revised through the turn to practice theory, which has become an influential paradigm in sociology. Practice theory offers an analytical lens that turns away from the focus on culture. Instead as Andreas Reckwitz puts it: Practice theory ‘decentres’ mind, texts and conversation. Simultaneously, it shifts bodily movements, things, practical knowledge and routine to the centre of its vocabulary’ (2002: 259). These theoretical moves thus create a context where we have new and inspiring tools and frames through which to think about digital photography and the persons and things with which it is co-implicated in the world. Indeed to develop a contemporary study of digital photography involves departing from conventional analytical techniques in the study of the image. In doing so it moreover calls on scholars to follow the increasing urge towards working across and beyond the confines of traditional academic disciplines.

In this contemporary context a series of key research questions emerge relating to how we might understand how photographic images are produced and consumed as we move through and make the on-line/off-line environments of which we are part. It urges us to ask what, moreover are the implications of this for the roles and potentialities that photography and photographs have in our lives. To understand photography in this way then requires the study not of the image itself but of how these stories, experiences and trajectories emerge. It also requires us to ask how these narratives are interwoven with histories of technologies and the industries associated with them.

“De la Cultura Kodak a la imagen en red” is perfectly positioned to take on this challenge. Edgar Gomez Cruz’s is a project that has precisely brought together both the nature of the online/offline world – what he calls ‘onlife’ – and new approaches to understanding the image, media and the ways we engage with these. This book is on the one hand about a world where people go on excursions with their cameras, in different weather conditions and localities, where they eat together, laugh together and photograph together. Their experiences of the world are framed through these embodied experiences of the environment, of socialities and of things and it is from these experiences that their photography emerges. Yet in this off-line world the web is never far from our realities or, in the case of the photographers with whom Gomez Cruz worked never far either from their intentions. The meanings of photographs, we learn, from his meticulous and in-depth ethnographic study, are not to be found in any semiotic analysis of their content. But rather, in the stories of how, why and where they were taken, their trajectories as they were uploaded to flickr, and in the affective relationships and conceptualisations of both self and the world that emerge with and/or in relation to them. Yet as we are also made aware, these contemporary photographic worlds have grown through time through a historical form of relationality with an analogue world. Indeed to understand the nature of contemporary digital photography is also to ask questions about digital media and socio-technological change. To achieve this Gomez Cruz works at the intersection between media studies, anthropology, sociology and science and technology studies.

From anthropology Gomez Cruz takes an ethnographic approach that involves long term and everyday engagements with people as they interweave the practice of digital photography with other elements of their lives. He participated in the world and lives of the people he wished to learn about in a way that is more akin to the doing of anthropological ethnography than to its simple borrowing for an interdisciplinary exercise. The depth, consideration and reflexivity of the relationships he describes – and he has been known to say that he considers the participants to be co-authors of his work – is at the core of the types of understandings he is able to bring to his analysis. There is nothing superficial about this work. It is a ‘felt’ ethnography –in both the affective and physical sense of participation.

This means that when Gomez Cruz writes of the shift to Flickr culture, we can gain a strong sense of this not as a culture to be studied as if it were text, or to be analyzed semiotically. Instead, Gomez Cruz’s study shows how culture, from this perspective is emergent, and produced through the very everyday photographic practices that he participated in and studied. Flickr culture, in my understanding, is presented to us as something that is made. The ethnographic approach is a route to showing us how that socio-technical process happens through the intricacies of social relationships, how it becomes part of life through its embeddedness in routine and habitual practices, and its interwoveness with other domains of everyday life and special occasions.

This book then, stands as an example of how we might go about researching and understanding the new digital and web technologies that form part of the everyday worlds we live in. It calls on us to look beyond the confines of our disciplines, to innovate with new methods and approaches and to attend to the detail of ethnography. To communication and media scholars it issues a call to comprehend digital media content as more than text to be read. Rather in this context a visual image is an outcome of the interweaving of social and technological processes and practices. As such it reminds us that in everyday life the moments when photographic meanings become powerful might be those that are contingent on these trajectories, rather than produced independently from them. To anthropologists it offers a reminder that the everyday worlds that we research are increasingly places where the online and offline are also interwoven, and that indeed they might be neither experientially separate nor analytically separable.

[this is a cross-post]

References:

Thrift, N. (2008) Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect, London: Routledge.

Ingold, T. (2010). Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting. Visual Studies25(1), 15-23.

Ingold, T. (2011) ‘Worlds of sense and sensing the world: a response to Sarah Pink and David Howes’ in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 19(3): 313–317.

Reckwitz, A. (2002) ‘Towards a Theory of Social Practices: A development in
culturalist theorizing’ European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2): 243-63.

Scholarly publication in (slow) transition to open access


 

[Further Reading/Information: EU Commission announced new measures to open up science in Europe and UK open-access policy was announced.]

Data from citation indexes can be analyzed to determine the popularity and impact of specific articles, authors, and publications, and the introduction of the Journal Citation Reports (JCR from Thomson Reuters) had given bibliometrics a great methodological push. Science indicators research has also been instrumental in the development of the field of scientometrics since the seventies (Russell & Rousseau, 2002).

The past few decades have seen a large number of citation analysis studies being undertaken in various research fields, from natural sciences to social sciences and humanities. Citation analysis results have also been used widely in scientific evaluation for purposes such as tenure and promotion of academics (Borgman & Furner, 2002). Today bibliometric techniques are increasingly used as an intrinsic component of a wide range of evaluation exercises. However, the current tendency is for institutions to be graded more on the visibility of their products then on their long-term reputation or resources (Russell & Rousseau, 2002).

A number of academic journal databases exist today, offering indices of citations between publications and mechanisms to establish which documents cite which other ones. They differ widely in cost to the user. Scopus and the JCR are major citation indexes that limit their records to those journals deemed by experts to be scholarly and significant to the journal’s given discipline (Bergman, 2012). Both are subscription based, generally to libraries. Other, freely available, citation indexes include CiteBase, CiteSeerX, Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search.

The JCR’s citation indices have been used as the data source for most of the citation analysis studies reported in the literature to date. They have contributed significantly to the wide application of a citation analysis approach in various studies and in scientific evaluation, but have also drawn considerable criticism, especially when applied to the evaluation of scholars.

JCR is considered to be one of the largest academic citation databases, containing over 46 million records relating to 11,261 high impact journals (Pleabani, 2010), including 1,400 journals that are open access (Zhang, Li, Liu, & Zeng, 2012). Scopus is also regarded to be large, with 46 million records (Delasalle, 2012) relating to 18,500 peer-reviewed journals (1,800 of them open access; Elsevier, 2012). It is worthy of note that these two databases register about10% of the open journals indexed in their respective databases.


According to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), an authoritative listing of peer-reviewed scholarly open access journals, the volume of high quality peer-review journals is growing quickly, as well as the number of authors who want to publish in open access journals.

DOAJ represents a great opportunity particularly for “hybrid open-access journals” where only some of the articles require payment and the rest are open access. ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ open access journals also suggest new funding models (Oppenheim, 2008; Houghton & Oppenheim, 2010). Authors can use the JISC-funded RoMEO, a searchable database of publisher’s policies with simple guidelines about how to publish self-archiving journal articles.

JCR citation indices indicate that the number of times a document is downloaded in full text format from an electronic archive relates statistically to the number of times it is cited in other indexed journals. There is also evidence that the number of downloads influences citations, and that citations influence downloads (Moed, 2005). Interesting analyses on the relationship between citation and download can also be found for Citebase, an impact-ranked search service that indexes open access papers in ArXiv.

Other research indicates that free access to scientific articles increases the number of resulting citations; open access academic articles are cited by peers more quickly than articles published in non

-open access journals. Studies indicate that open academic publications are therefore likely to benefit science by accelerating the uptake of research findings and by maximising the impact of scientific production (Eysenbach, 2006; Piwowar, 2010; Wagner 2010; Borgman 2011, Norris, Oppenheim, & Rowland, 2008).

However, it is also fair to mention that other authors have expressed skepticism about whether open access articles are cited frequently (Davis, Lewenstein, Simon, Booth, & Connolly, 2008;Brody, Harnad, & Carr, 2006; Gargouri et al., 2010).

A remarkable example of a repository of open access academic content is the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), which encourages the early distribution of research results and content, downloadable at no charge to the user. SSRN has registered 56 million downloads to date, totalling 1,000,000 per month. The SSRN eLibrary has indexed 7.7 million references and 5.2 million citations.

The ‘open access’ movement in the scholarly literature can offer promising possibilities for stimulating scientific work, by: a) providing access to research; b) speeding up scholarly communication and scientific dialog between researchers; and c) offering greater visibility and impact opportunities.

A few weeks ago UNESCO convened the World Open Educational Resources  Congress. One of its invited speakers was Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig – co-founder of Creative Commons – who explained that knowledge elites ought to ensure free access to content for those sections of the population who can’t pay for it. He emphasized that being a member of the academic community carries an obligation to enable access to one’s own work. Lessig also explained the importance of adopting new forms of access that remove unnecessary controls that are automatically built into the current system of publication. He added that while he believed that author rights are important — “I am against abolitionism… I think copyright is essential” – and didn’t believe in a dichotomy of “open” and “closed” work, he considered it important to recognize more flexible models of publication.

As Zhao (2005) acknowledges, it is well known that JCR citation indexes is still the main data source for citation-based science evaluation, pushing scholars to publish in journals indexed there.

The slow move of journals to open access and the low participation rate of faculty in institutional repositories indicates that simply promoting the benefits of new formats of scholarly communication is not enough. If full-text open access scholarly publications were to be used as data sources for citation-based science evaluation, scholars might become more motivated to make their work available for open access, knowing that it is counted in bibliometric evaluations.

Finally, it seems necessary to bring open access and new publication formats into the tenure evaluation system. Doing this can not only contribute to the tenure process, but may also serve to promote open access and a more efficient knowledge dissemination.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks for Eric Meyer and David Sutcliffe who provide valuable feedback to improve this text.

Picture ftom http://totallycoolpix.com

Special issue Borderless society: the “new” work and education (call for papers)

In a world driven by exponential accelerating technological and social change, globalization, and a push for more creative and context-driven innovations, how can we ensure the success of ourselves as individuals,communities, and the planet? This special issue of On the Horizon explores the converging future of learning,work and how we relate with each other in this emerging paradigm. Of particular importance are the emerging class of borderless “new workers”, “neo-nomads” (or knowmads):

[…] a nomadic knowledge worker – that is, a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas industrialization required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific in regard to task and place.

This issue aims to explore the role of education in developing and supporting such a “knowmad society”.
Suggested topics include (but are not limited to)

  • Roles of technology in human potential development for hyper-individualized creative and
  • innovation workers
  • The role of learning organizations in the creation of personal identity in post-cultural society
  • Key skills and competencies development areas for knowmadic, new workers
  • The economics of education for knowmadic workers
  • Maximizing human potential development in a society embroiled in accelerating change
  • Managing chaos and uncertainty in post-industrial careers
  • Redesigning and reformatting conceptualizations of space and “place” to attend to needs of knowmadic
  • learners and workers
  • New economics and comparative dimensions of knowmadic workers globally
  • What new worker parallels are emerging in other working classes (i.e. blue collar workers)?

Submissions of title and 250-word proposal due: July 1, 2012
Notice of acceptance: July 13, 2012
Papers due: December 1, 2012

Review result notification: January 15, 2013

Submit a paper
Submissions to this special issue of On the Horizon should be sent to the guest editor at John Moravec moravec@gmail.com

General questions to:
Tom P. Abeles, editor
On the Horizon
tabeles@gmail.com
More information, including full author guidelines, is available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/oth.htm

Changing Higher Learning Forever?

Source http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/05/02/harvard-joins-the-mitx-project/

The first time that I hear about the MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses, video) I thought that it was a crazy idea (I didn’t liked at all). It sounded to me as using the Internet instead of television to broadcast educational contents without caring who, where and how to learn. But after exploring with more details the ideas of Siemens (in discussion with Howard Rheingold) I could understood the rationale behind that.

It is widely acknowledged that the relationship between contents, availability, consumption and learning has been changing significantly in the last years (discussed two weeks ago in Cambridge). Nearly ten years after the creation of the OCW in MIT, now (May, 2011) Harvard and MIT have announced a new ambitious initiative (which will cost $60-Million), called edX: it will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. Since edX courses have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students, the edX platform will not receive university credit, although they could earn certificates.

What is the main difference between this new initiative and the previous OCW?

Basically 10 years of experiences. The current initiative is inspired in experiences such as the highly commented open course in ‘Artificial Intelligence’ offered by Stanford which gather more than 100,000 students (!). That initiative later evolved into Udacity [more information in Wired Magazine: The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever]

Simultaneously, other educational initiatives have develop interesting practices, such as Khan Academy with millions of students, educators and self-learners using its videos. TED-Ed inspired in Khan also is doing a truly outstanding contribution in this area. Regarding new ways of assessing the learning experience, something recently discusses in an OECD summit, there are interesting initiative to learn from, such as P2P University or University of the People.

Loads of videos and new assessment methodologies are some of the ingredients that feed these changing educational practices. Very little time after the open course was offered by Stanford, MIT announced a new initiative: MITx, which in addition of providing the educational contents for free online, will implement a new system of qualification. Not based on academic degrees but on specific courses certification.

“This certificate will indicate that you earned it from MITx’s pilot course. In this prototype version, MITx will not require that you be tested in a testing center or otherwise have your identity certified in order to receive this certificate” [MITx].

Certainly behind this initiative there are a whole new sets of business models that will be required to explore with details. This new approach seems to be particularly suitable for those professionals who are aiming to re-skilling or keep updated (as well as competitive in a global labour market).

All these disruptive practices came meanwhile there is increasing interest in a creative (and probably very easy to adopt) initiative called Flipped Classroom: Where videos take the place of direct instruction, allowing students to get individual time in class to work with their teacher on key learning activities. Lectures are taken at home or somewhere else (using mobile phones or laptops) and face-to-face classes are used to discuss and promote hands-on learning experience base on the contents previously watched [see video bellow].

Now is still to be seen the middle and long terms implications of all these innovations. Also it will be interesting to see how other world-class higher institutions behave in this scenario. What are the learning implications of all these initiatives? Is open (and more flexible) education just a hype or it will really change Higher Education for ever ?

Probably the next Network of Excellence Internet Science Summer School in Oxford will be a good place to discuss it.

Video Edx

Video streaming by Ustream

Flipped Classroom

Open Education Presentation #openeducationwk

[Cross post

OportUnidad is an action-research project supported by the European Commission under the EuropeAid ALFA III programme with the aim of promoting the adoption of Open Educational Practices (OEP) in Latin America. The OportUnidad project will explore the adoption of strategies and channels that embrace the principles of openness and reusability within the context of educational institutions. It will foster the adoption of open educational practices (OEP), and open educational resources (OER) in Latin America as a bottom-up approach to develop a common Higher Education Area in the region.

In the Latin American region, there are still plenty of opportunities to facilitate openness and the sharing of educational content. As part of the project, 60 Latin American higher education organisations will be selected to participate as OportUnidad Fellows. Benefits to the fellow institutions will include assistance in developing open educational practices, online training, and the design of an institutional Open Educational Practices agenda.

How to Join the Network

Latin American universities and other Higher Education entities interested in becoming OportUnidad Fellow Organisations are invited to complete a self-nomination form (versions available in English, Spanish and Portuguese).

On the occasion of this year’s Open Education Week, the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, one of the OportUnidad partner institutions, will be organising a webinar to present the project and answer any questions from representatives of organisations interested in becoming OportUnidad fellow organisations.

The webinar will take place online on 6 March 2012 (16.00-17.00 GMT). Participation is free. The presentation will be held in English, but questions may be answered in Spanish if requested by attendants.

For more information about the project, see the OportUnidad website.

Partners and Support

OportUnidad is led by a group of universities from both Latin America and Europe. The Latin American partners are the Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil) (Candidate Partner), the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (Costa Rica), the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador), the Fundación Uvirtual (Bolivia), the Universidad Virtual del Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), the Universidad de la Empresa (Uruguay) and the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (Peru). The European partners are the Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi (Italy) (Project Coordinator), the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain), the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal) and the University of Oxford (UK).

OpportUnidad is supported by the European Commission under the EuropeAid ALFA III programme. ALFA is a programme of cooperation between Higher Education Institutions of the European Union and Latin America. ALFA III retains the original objective of the previous phases of the ALFA Programme, that is, to promote Higher Education in Latin America as a means to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.

Open Education Resources webminar in the coming Open Education Week

 

A few weeks ago, we started with a new exciting project called OportUnidad (2012-2014) to promote the use, re-utilisation and promotion of Open Education Resources (OER) in Higher Education institutions in Latin America and Europe [visit the OII for more information]. This is an action-research project funded by ALFA III programmme.

The first public activity that we will have is representing the OportUnidad consortium in the next Open Education Week. The idea is to explain the main phases and expected results in an open webminar. If you would like learn more about this initiative, feel free to join our webminar.

The Open Education Week will take place from 5th to 10th of March online (www.openeducationweek.org) and in local events around the world. The objective of this Open Education Week is to raise awareness of the open education movement and OER in order to explore the benefits of free and open sharing in educational materials.

Our OportUnidad webinar will take place online during the 6th of March 2012 – 16.00-17.00 UTC (please see below your local times).

Please fill the self-nomination survey if you want to participate in the OportUnidad project 

tinyurl.com/oer2012

Local times for the OportUnidad webinar on the 6th of March are provided:

  • Monterrey, Mexico, San Jose, Costa Rica: 10.00 – 11.00 AM
  • Quito, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; Medellin, Colombia: 11.00 – 12.00 AM
  • Santa Cruz, Bolivia: 12.00 – 13.00 AM
  • Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 2.00 –  3.00 PM
  • Porto, Portugal; Oxford, United Kingdom: 4.00 – 5.00 PM
  • Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Italy: 5.00 – 6.00 PM

What is going to happen in the webminar? After the presentation of the project, there will be time for Q&A and more importantly, we will open a call for those Latin-American universities which would like to be part of the Oportunidad network. Stay tuned: @cristobalcobo.

Login information for the webinar:

https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?password=M.02943F441C348846BC638C0999A5E8&sid=2008170

The platform for the webinar is Blackboard Collaborate Offered free by Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

If you are not familiar with using Blackboard Collaborate there is an online tutorial available here:http://library.blackboard.com/ref/8186b6cd-7e8e-46f9-9551-74ccf99d6fdb/index.htm

Open Educational Practices: Khan Academy, Udacity and MITx


(The post bellow is an excerpt)*

Ehlers (2011) suggest that the Open Educational Practices (OEP) is seen is as a second phase of this open educational resources (OEP) movement, where organizations such as the International Council for Open and Distance Education, remarks the importance to “promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path. OEP address the whole OER governance community: policy makers, managers and administrators of organizations, educational professionals and learners” (ICDE, n.d.).

The “Open Educational Quality Initiative” network defines OEP as “set of activities around instructional design and implementation of events and processes intended to support learning. They also include the creation, use and repurposing of Open Educational Resources (OER) and their adaptation to the contextual setting”. (Andrade et al., 2011:13). In addition, the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services asserts ”priority must be given to open educational practices that involve students in active, constructive engagement with content, tools and services in the learning process, and promote learners’ self-management” (Geser, 2007: 37).

There are notorious OEP initiatives, such as massive open online course (http://mooc.ca); Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) or “peer to peer” education (http://p2pu.org). Here are summarized two initiatives that can be associated with OEP. These living examples, which are still under continuous development, suggest disruptive practices of education associated with two renowned institutions: University of Stanford and MIT.

1) U. of Stanford: Late in 2011 the New York Times announced a free online course Online Introduction to Artificial Intelligence offered by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun in the University of Stanford (Markoff 2011). The course was a success and got the attention and interest of thousands of individuals around the world (https://www.ai-class.com). According to Thrun this course taught 160,000 students over 40 languages; and graduated over 23,000 students from 190 countries (http://robots.stanford.edu). Today this unprecedented experience is evolving toward a new initiative called Udacity (udacity.com). Its goal is to offer online courses that are both high quality and low-cost. Udacity aims to connect “teachers to hundreds of thousands of students in almost every country on Earth” and those students who complete a course will receive a certificate signed by the instructors.

2) MIT: The MIT, regarded as a “game changer“, announced an online, open-source, largely free educational platform that will allow users outside of MIT earn certificates for completing Institute-caliber courses online. The initiative dubbed as MITx pushed MIT’s educational reach beyond campus borders in a way the current OCW cannot. It is envisioned as a laboratory to experiment with online learning techniques, while collecting data from a large user base. So far the principal difference between MITx and its own OCW is a reconfiguration of course credentials where the new system will asks users to complete exams and assignments online. Students would be graded automatically. That open possibilities based on individual credentials rather than entire degrees. Also, its distinctive aspect in relation to the traditional “distance-education” is that students will be asked to solve problems in a freer, creative way, without step-by-step guidance. MIT is preparing a fee structure for individual courses and groups of courses. The aim is to make credentialing highly affordable. Plasmeier, who works in this project adds, “We shouldn’t be afraid of researching new methods to see if there is something better than the standard lecture-based classes”. (Solomon, 2012 and MIT’s News Office, 2011). More in The Chronicle and David Wiley’s blog.

OERu-OL2-0-life-cycles
OERu OL2 0 life cycles by J. Murray / CC BY
[source

So far, some of the ideas linked with the OEP are labelled as “innovative pedagogical models”; “practices associated with the creation”, “disrupting the traditional role of the university in society”, “new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning” which match particularly well with the innovation-rhetoric. However, the examples provided are still “under construction” and it will be necessary to follow up their evolution in order to see if they either become an improvement of the existing technology-based practices (“incremental innovation”) or they represent a breaking point in education (“radical innovation”).

(*) Excerpt of the paper to be presented at the Cambridge 2012: Innovation and Impact – Openly Collaborating to Enhance Education.

Networked Minorities

After the publication of our book Invisible Learning, (now available on Amazon) the Transmedia XXI century Collection (promoted by the Laboratory of Interactive Medias at the University of Barcelona), has just released a new publication called: “Minorías en red. Medios y migración en Europa(that could be read in english as Network Minorities: media and migration in Europe), written by Cilia Willem and Anaïs Le Corvec.

Minorias en Red

This book is the third of the trilogy (preceded by Geekonomy and Invisible Learning). This new publication offers a case study that analyzes how the Internet has been used to build social capital among those low income ethnics and migrant minorities. The authors explored how those communities interact through the Internet, and either those practices foster their social inclusion or not. In this framework the authors analysed  how the digital inclusion places a key rol in among the migrant population. [The first version of this publication is only available in Spanish].

Here you can download an early version in english [pdf].

 

[Alain Touraine talking about Immigrants in Europe]