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Open Education India #2

- August 24, 2015 in communication, featured, guestpost, world

Our first ever Open Education Around the World post was written in September 2013: Open Education India. It highlighted work going on in India to improve education using Open Education approaches such as the open licensing of textbooks through the Open Education India project. The post was written by Subhajit Ganguly, Open Knowledge Ambassador for India, who tragically passed away earlier this year.

mayank trivediDr Mayank Trivedi, University Librarian & Senate Member, from the Hansa Mehta Library, University Library System, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda(MSUB), Gujarat-India, has agreed to take on the baton and report on some recent activities in India.

Dr. Mayank is a University Librarian and Senate Member at Smt. Hansa Mehta Library, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara. He has been instrumental in developing Open Knowledge Gateway(OKG), IR @ MSU and the web portal of Bhaikaka Library, Vallabh Vidyanagar. Prior to this he was University Librarian and Publication Officer at Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar. Dr Trivedi has been actively involved in establishing a new Medical Library from grass root level at CU Shah Medical College as per MCI norms. Dr Trivedi was nurtured at Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Govt Dental College & Hospital and M P Shah Medical College, Jamnagar.

OER Update

Back in 2013 India launched a new learning repository for open educational resources (OER). India’s Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and the Central Institute of Educational Technology, National Council of Educational Research and Training have collaboratively developed the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER). The repository’s default license for all resources — Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA). The OER repository continues to thrive. In 2015 it added the Expression Series – a platform to know more about the selfless and courageous services of the women and men who have served the Indian nation in their own ways.


In this Expression Series one can watch audio and video biographies of eminent personalities and take inspiration from their lives to move forward and achieve the unachievable.

The OERC-India portal is open and free for everyone to use, with a special emphasis on serving the needs of cancer-focused healthcare professionals, patients and their families in India. You can use the portal to:

  • Find free, open, and online educational and training resources.  We will be “recommending the best” and “linking to the rest” of materials that could meet your interdisciplinary needs.
  • Contribute to the global digital library of cancer resources so everyone worldwide can have the best and latest information.
  • Develop and lead the social networks needed to bring individuals out of isolation and into a supportive community.
  • Participate in online discussions and consultations with cancer researchers, physicians, healthcare professionals, and others working in cancer education to freely share experiences, educational materials and expertise.

Free of commercial, industry, or institutional bias – we are focused on the members of the broad community of cancer creating and sharing resources for the betterment of cancer treatment, education, and research.

The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) formerly known as National Open School (NOS) was established in November,1989 as an autonomous organisation in pursuance of National Policy on Education 1986 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. NIOS is providing a number of Vocational, Life Enrichment and community oriented courses besides General and Academic Courses at Secondary and Senior Secondary level. It also offers Elementary level Courses through its Open Basic Education Programmes (OBE).


In late 2014 India announced that it will be running its own MOOC platform named SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds). Swayam offers courses from IIT-Bombay and one from UC Berkeley’s Umesh Vazarani (Princeton).

Open Access

At present there is no mandatory Open Access policy in India, the government of India have to think in that direction. In fact recently DST will be going to make mandatory to keep DST funded research in Open Domain. A draft has been framed to make it mandatory.

For IR also there is no policy framed by government. The vision of our Prime Minister is “Knowledge must be accessible to all, and it should be free of cost” for that he has given a project of National Digital Library in which Data available at all Institutional Reporitories of all MHRD funded Institutes will be harvested and will be organized on the NDL platform.

The Open Access India is a community of practice working for Open Access, Open Data and Open Education in India.  One  may also follow the community on Facebook Page/Group, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Google+ as Page/Community and Open Access Week.

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Other Initiatives

Open Education Turkey

- August 11, 2015 in featured, guestpost, world

On our continuing Open Education from Around the world trail Cengiz Hakan Aydin is leading us out of Europe with his post on Turkey. The Republic of Turkey is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia making it a country of significant geostrategic importance! It is famous for both historical reasons (the Ottoman Empire, palaces, sultans) and for edible pleasures (Turkish delight, baklava and coffee)!

cenCengiz Hakan Aydin, PhD, is currently serving as the Dean in the Faculty of Economics (open and distance learning institution) of Anadolu University, Turkey. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, such as Instructional Design, Designing Open and Distance Learning, and Trends in ODL. His research interest focuses on design and development of open and distance learning environments, social aspects of online learning, technology integration into learning environments, evaluation of technology interventions, e-learning in workplaces, adult learning, and educational communications. He served as the President of the International Division of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), as one of the board member of the International Council for Educational Media (ICEM) and of the International Division of AECT. Professor Aydin has been a member of editorial boards of the journals, the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), and Educational Media International (EMI). He is currently serving as a member of the steering committee of OpenupEd, a MOOC platform based in Europe. You can contact him using or on Twitter uisng @chaydin.


Many have agreed that the Open Education Resources (OER) movement is a consequence of the Open Education trend started with the establishment of Open University of UK in late 1960s. Since then, a number of open universities in various countries have been built and provided learning and/or earning a degree opportunity to those non-conventional learners. Due to the increasing the need for more open and flexible education opportunities as well as boosting number of non-conventional learners, and some other developments, opening up education through information and communication technologies has become one of the major trends in Higher Education. It is worth noting the success in open courseware (OCW) movement, initiated first by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002, fostered the OER initiatives and grasped the attention of major international institutions, such as UNESCO. Later, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) contributed the popularity of OER movement.


Open Education has a long history in Turkey, rooting back to 1930s. However, the most sustainable Open Education initiative is the establishment of the open Higher Education programs of Anadolu University. The university first launched two four-years long undergraduate programs in 1983 and since then have been providing open and distance learning opportunities to millions of those unconventional as well as conventional students via its distance degree and certificate programs, MOOCs and OER. Anadolu University is currently serving 1.4 million active students via 17 bachelors, 34 two-years long associate degree ( and 26 certificate programs (, and 65 MOOCs ( Anadolu University is also supporting and participating Europe based open education projects, such as OpenEducationEuropa project ( initiative of the European Union, HOME ( and OpenupEd (, a project of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU).


Turkish Open Courseware project: Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA)

Another OER project, inspired by MIT’s one, is the Turkish Open Courseware project. The project initiated in 2006 by the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA), a semi-governmental institution. TUBA intended to bring together the major Higher Education institutions in Turkey to open up some of their courses. A working group built and some funds acquired from the State Personal Development Agency. During 2007-2012, course materials belong to 85 courses in varying fields developed and still open to the public. According to recent figures up to May 2015, approximately 1.2 million individual users accessed these course materials. More information can be found here ( Meanwhile Anadolu University decided to open up its course materials designed and developed for its distance students to all via a new platform, entitled as YunusEmre. More than 2.5 million of users accessed the course materials related to 167 courses between 2007-2013.



In Turkey, the MOOCs movement has shown its impact a bit later then rest of the world. Although several individual attempts launched before, major initiatives, Anadolu University’s AKADEMA ( and Atatürk University’s ATADEMIX (, were introduced in November 2014. However, the courses started in early 2015. Currently there are 65 courses offered in Akadema and 13 courses offered in Atademix. Akadema uses a customl developed platform while Atademix uses a version of Moodle. Anadolu University mainly transferred its distance course materials into MOOCs in Akadema and according to recent numbers approximately 2000 people completed these courses. This is almost 4 percent of the registered users. Meanwhile all of these courses in Akadema and Atademix are in Turkish, and several courses in Turkish can also be found in Coursera. Additionally, couple entrepreneurs intended to create a Coursera like environment in Turkey, entitled as UniversitePlus ( Currently they offer 32 courses from different universities.



Although Open Education has a long history in Turkey, only a few initiatives have been effective, efficient, engaging and enduring. The major barriers of the development of Open Education in Turkey are similar to the ones in other countries. Lack of awareness and support from government and other decision makers, shortage of expertise in design and delivery of online courses, cost of technology and expertise, professors’ resistance can be listed as the major barriers.


Open Education Moldova

- August 5, 2015 in featured, guestpost, world

moldovaContinuing our theme of European countries today we have a post on Open Education in the Republic of Moldova. Moldova is another Eastern European and former Soviet republic country and shares linguistic and cultural roots with neighbouring Romania.

Cristina Lisii, Dmitri Belan and Alex Oprunenco from the United Nations Development Programme and working on the MiLab (Moldova Social Innovation Hub) Project explain current initiatives and future plans.

Reforming educational system is one of the critical challenges for the Republic of Moldova and it is at the cornerstone of the country’s development agenda. However, as challenges abound, the question we at the MiLab (Moldova Social Innovation Hub) are dealing with is “how we can best help reform the Ministry of Education with relatively limited resources?” For us, the answer is: by advancing open education through civic engagement in outreach.

MiLab: changing the ways we educate…

Moldova Social Innovation Hub aims to establish a Social Innovation Hub, which will act as a multilateral platform to engage actors from different sectors (public, private, non-profit, etc.) to seek and experiment with innovative approaches to the society’s problems. Ultimately, the Hub will develop solutions that have been tested on the ground and co-developed with strong involvement of beneficiaries and are ready to be scaled-up in extended environments. The project started in September 2014 and will end in August 2015.

To fit well into the bigger reform picture MiLab has established close cooperation with the Moldova Ministry of Education and we ensure that each priority we set for our work in education resonates and supports what Ministry is doing.

MiLab on Facebook

MiLab on Facebook

The list of priorities thus far has included:

  1. Open Challenge: This was a good way to step into the field and test what is the level of people’s interest and desire to get involved in changing the current education system. We have asked people: how we can make skills acquired at school more relevant for the students? The answers ranged widely. We heard from teachers, parents, students, pupil’s associations, businesses, etc. As a result, five most voted ideas were rewarded with symbolic prizes, but also we have offered to assist in implementing three of them. This experience showed there are many good ideas are out there in the system, and if the right enabling environment is created they will come forward.
  2. Online and mobile evaluation of textbooks: Moving beyond the traditional is always difficult. In Moldova, the revision of textbooks has exclusively been a prerogative of a limited group of ‘experts’ in education. Together with the Ministry we decided to ask for feedback a larger and more diverse group of users – teachers, pupils and parents. We have developed an online questionnaire with an interactive and user-friendly interface. Moreover, the form was accessible on most of devices, i.e. smart-phones preferred by students and PCs by teachers. We also wanted it to be inclusive, so the feedback form was accessible in both Romanian and Russian. While the number of respondents turned out to be smaller than the Ministry would have wanted, this exercise was the first try to reach online its stakeholders and open a frank discussion on a topic, previously in the realm of few.
  3. Using on-line games for education: The problem in much of our traditional education is that information is presented as a one-way street: the message is supposed to travel, unencumbered, to the receiver. But it is not the best way to ensure that information is received and retained. Time and again, it seems that game can be part of the solution. In our game the players had to answer questions related to economic and social situation in the country, legislative framework and strategic policy frameworks. To be able to answer the players had to follow the links to the specific info or data sets. So besides having fun, you can also learn in the game. As you will see we are set to explore this approach further.
Evaluating a pilot version of EduSoft contest

Evaluating a pilot version of EduSoft contest, Photo credit: UNDP Moldova

Future plans

Starting in 2014, more and more schools in Moldova are computerized and modernized, investing in hardware and smart boards. The efficacy of such an approach, however, is limited as long as there is a shortage of digital content or teaching material that is adapted to Moldovan curricula. Thus, together with a group of students who came up with the idea, we decided to organize a one-month hackathon to develop educational applications for the study of mathematics in schools. What is new about this hackathon is that it will bring together very unlikely partners- IT developers as mentors, mathematics teachers as experts and students studying IT as developers. We are working right now on organizing the contest and eager to see what will be the results afterwards.

Making school budgeting accessible: With the most recent education reform, many schools have gained autonomy in their financial management, thus adding to the tasks and necessary skill set of school directors things like procurement management and budgeting. While they receive intermittent training from budgeting experts (part of a World Bank sponsored project), they still struggle with some aspects of it. Together with the Ministry we decided to review the procedures involved in school budgeting from the vantage point of directors and identify how we can simplify or explain them in a more accessible, “human” way.

All in all, after less than a year of our work in MiLab we are strong believers that big improvements can be made through users involvement blended with new technology solutions.

Open Education Lithuania

- July 24, 2015 in featured, guestpost, world

airinaFrom one side of Europe to the other…this week we have an Open Education story from Lithuania. Lithuania is a former Soviet bloc nation that that is known for its beautiful capital: Vilnius, amazing medieval castles and fantastic scenery. A little known fact – in 2011 Lithuania ranked first worldwide for internet upload and download speed!

Airina Volungeviciene provides us with a historical perspective on how openness and OER have evolved in Lithuania over the last few years. Airina is the Director of Innovative Studies Institute at Vytautas Magnus University and President of Lithuanian Distance and e-Learning (LieDM).

A Historical Perspective

The concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) has a very specific development in Lithuania. The concept of openness of education has historical roots. Education was open in the country for many years, in the sense that it was free. The concept of open resources was also embedded in the tradition, as all the resources were the public good for many decades in the country or were supposed to be provided by education institutions for free.

Trakai, Vilnius County, Lithuania

Trakai, Vilnius County, Lithuania on Flickr, by Mindaugas Danys, CC-BY

On the one hand, education was free and accessible to everyone, on the other hand – no one asked the question how open education was?

With the regaining of independence in Lithuania, educational resources started to be updated (we all believe towards the openness of their content). They continued to be provided for free at education institutions, but the time came when organisations faced difficulties with the availability of the resources in their hard form.

Possibilities created by new digital and online forms of the resources were met very enthusiastically. The case of Lithuania is a success case to develop good preconditions for OER: advanced ICT infrastructure established for distance learning resources development and broad band connection provided by the Lithuanian Academic and Research network. These preconditions were established by Lithuanian Government and the Ministry of Education and Sciences which launched the national projects to establish the infrastructure in the country suitable to broadcast and access high quality education content throughout the country (started in 1998). These decisions had many important positive effects in terms of preparation of education organization for online learning, development of professional competences of staff, experimentation of the new forms of education.

However, the content created using huge technological infrastructure networks was closed in many ways: it was used for dedicated study programs within the closed virtual learning environments; digitalised content was not available for accessing in terms of re-use, re-publish, re-design; copyright would raise more questions for the correct use of the resource rather than facilitated content use.

Free access did not mean openness at all: openness to the evaluation of the resources, re-use of the resources, re-publishing and editing of the resources. But most important – questioning the contents of the resources.

It should be acknowledged here that the global concept of OER came to Lithuania from Scandinavia with the advent of the first OER focused projects: Nordplus Horizonal program NORDLET project and eContentPlus program OpenScout project. These projects introduced the long – time awaited discussion – are the resources that we can openly (freely!) access open educational resources?


Unesco Institute for Information Technologies in Education coordinated the project on Open Educational Resources (since 2009) which tendered a Lithuanian case study on the state of the art of OER in Lithuania. The study was implemented by researchers at Vytautas Magnus University and produced the results which demonstrated that huge repositories that contain openly accessible content and publications for education organizations in Lithuania are not OER repositories. Surprisingly enough, the study revealed that school sector has the best existing examples of OERs and the best OER repository for secondary school education available in the country.

The most important infrastructure projects were of huge importance for the country, but the movement of OER was still to come: Lithuanian educators had to learn the new concept of collaborative and open professional networking to establish open, free-licensed content and resources, the correct use, re-use and re-purposing of OER, the development of open educational practices and cooperative learning. Still, in the past five years, there is confusion existing in education organizations in terms of OER, OEP, open access, open society, and open education. But this is challenging and needs time.

Opening Up Education

European Commission launched the communiqué of Opening Up Education, and national priorities started integrating the concept of open education more actively. This was a very important moment. The Ministry of Education and Science launched many projects to meet the initiative of open education, and the best examples again can be attributed to school education.

Universities and higher education institutions have already developed open resources (with different levels of openness). The phenomenon of MOOCs introduced large discussions and confusions in the country and was often confused with OER phenomenon as such. However, the majority of higher education organizations discussed the strategies for opening in terms of scalability and study program portfolios. The tendency which is quite evident is not to follow a quite segmented MOOC format (opening one or two courses for the society), but rather to establish a more consistent and study program portfolio covering option of open education. Recent discussions imply the question of scalability and the variety of forms. But universities are on their way.

Looking back at the year 2008 when the first OER project NORDLET reached Lithuania, the global concept of OER has found its place in Lithuania. The term “Atviri švietimo ištekliai” was coined, the study and recommendations were developed, the policy makers integrated the concept of opening education in strategic programs and projects calls. Schools do have and do use OER from the best and the oldest repository at New repositories appear and their developers learn and share their experiments with others.

Lithuanian Distance and eLearning (LieDM) association embracing secondary schools, vocational education and training organizations, adult learning centres, and higher education institutions organizes trainings and seminars for teachers all over Lithuania. The topic of OER is among prior demanded topics of organizations. Teachers need to learn to work in an open education way. Organizations need to find scalable strategies to integrate new open education forms. The international conference “Open professional collaboration” organized by LieDM association and Vytautas Magnus University in 2015 is the event dedicated to meet the aims of opening up of education organizations.

openUThe concept of openness found many ways that were integrated in higher education. One of them – virtual mobility – bringing the best international studies with full credit transfer and recognition, using OERs in higher education – both, open and closed virtual learning environments. Study programs at universities introduced the curriculum subject Open Educational Resources.

OER Projects in Lithuania

Several projects should be mentioned here that have considerable input towards embedding of OER into education ‘direct’.

ubicampUbiCamp project (526843-LLP-1-2012-1-ES-ERASMUS-ESMO) established open educational practices when universities started opening up their study resources as OERs on the basis of learning outcomes. Universities opened up their study forms to meet virtual mobility requirements, as well as to allow consistency of OER in terms of study subjects (e.g. ). Even though small attempts, the initiatives contributed to the shift in attitude and study forms.

Another Erasmus+ project “Opening Universities for Virtual Mobility – OUVM” (2014-1-LT01-KA203-000550) developed the idea further on also preparing training material for teachers on OER and Creative commons, with the aim to train teachers on how to integrate OERs into international virtual mobility in university studies.

openprofErasmus+ project “Open Professional Collaboration for Innovation – OpenPROF” (2014-1-LT01-KA202-000562) educates adult educators, university teachers, company trainers and CVET target groups to collaborate in developing and re-using OERs. Even though a lot of issues seem to be clear and easy for the advanced professionals, very simple and very important challenges – like creating editable versions of OERs, with collaborative options using ICT – evolve and are already solved by OpenPROF.


Erasmus+ project “Open Educational Ideas – 2” facilitates collaboration of educators providing collaborative idea development space. The space created allows development of editable versions of open educational ideas and resources and allows collaboration on OERs.


OER pilot 3ECTS course

The Open Educational Resources (OER) pilot was a 3ECTS course delivered by 10 teachers from 6 countries in 2014. 18 students from 7 universities participated in the pilot. Vytautas Magnus University coordinated virtual mobility course design and virtual mobility implementation. There were 3 target groups selected for pilot (e-learning centre staff members, teachers and trainers, and students of different levels of study programs), because the topic of the curriculum was considered as transversal on. Course designers and teachers agreed that though the topic of the course has great potential to be very popular among the audience, the teachers agreed that they should limit the number of registered participants per institution, allowing only 5 places per institution.

A more detailed presentation of the pilot is available on Slideshare. A full report on the pilot is also available.

And of course, there are more important projects and initiatives that are running on, and which will be started in the near future.

To summarise, it should be acknowledged that opening up education is possible only with the agreement of all the stakeholders: policy makers, decision makers, education organisations, teachers and learners. All are evoked here in Lithuania and are tuned into the opening up. This is a different opening up from that was perceived for many years – the Open Education which allows open content, open society, open evaluation and feedback, open licencing, open networking, open learning and open professional collaboration and development.


Open Education Macedonia

- July 23, 2015 in featured, guestpost, world

elenaThe Republic of Macedonia (R. Macedonia) is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and is famous for mosiacs, folk music and being Mother Theresa’s birthplace!

Elena Stojanovska, MPA, Coordinator for project development and writing, NGO Center for Local Initiatives (CLI), R. Macedonia, has kindly written a blog post for us about exciting Open Education activities that are currently happening in Macedonia.

Elena has 6 years of experience working in the non-profit sector on implementation of projects related to entrepreneurship support and development, funded by USAID, European Union, Netherlands Government, etc. At CLI, she is one of the proponents of Open Education and was the initiator of a project on promotion of Open Educational resources (OER) through training using OER in the teaching process in R. Macedonia. She has also facilitated Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). She was part of the team who created the first MOOC in Macedonia on entrepreneurship topic in the frames of the project: “Why go abroad, when you can stay and invest in your country” supported by the US Embassy in Macedonia and implemented by the NGO CEFE Macedonia. Elena blogs on the CLI blog:


In R. Macedonia there are significant efforts for development of Open Education and still work to be done. The free access to educational content should be widened and more organisations and educational institutions should digitalise their materials. Beside further development of the already existing projects for Open Education, there is a need for more intensive promotion of the benefits of using OER and how to create new one, publishing them in one place. In addition still the culture for sharing OER is not well developed and the institutions rarely have the capacity for independent development of OER. There are some exceptions, such as personal blogs, wikispaces, web sites, forums by some authors but they are difficult to find and the publication is not according to the international standards.

OER in Schools


Project for free textbooks website

The Government of R. Macedonia in 2006 started with implementation of the project Computer for every child in the state primary and high schools which was one step towards the process of Open Education. The Ministry of Information Society and Public Administration (MISPA) in 2010 developed the Project for free textbooks, web portal where the students from primary and high schools can find text books in electronic format. In 2010 MISPA developed the Strategy for development of e-resources 2010-2015 that had the goal to define the aims and benefits and give directions for successful and quality inclusion of the ICT technologies in the educational process.

In addition during 2009 and 2010 MISPA in cooperation with Intel company developed the portal where different educational tools, notes, multimedia classes, simulations were structured in categories according to different grades in primary school. Unfortunately this web page does not exist anymore, although it was important step towards open education. Furthermore the Edubuntu educational software was implemented in order to increase the quality of the informational technology in the educational process. There was training for teachers in primary and high schools how to use this software in cooperation with USAID Project on Primary Education (PEP). The ToolKID software was the first educational software in Macedonia for lower primary grades. Later the website ToolBox was developed (different instruction materials on several subjects) representing important step in the OER development. This website does not function now either, but the youtube channel of the PEP project is available with the video materials.

OER in Higher Education

When we are talking about OER in Higher Education, there is a way to go. Some faculties use the Moodle platform for delivering their courses and the process of using and creating of OER should be enhanced because rarely the Universities offer their courses, textbooks, materials online and for free. Taking into consideration the increasing offer of MOOCs from different universities worldwide, the Macedonian Universities need to take more pro-active approach for using and creation of OER.

An important project that was started by the Metamorphosis Foundation (non-profit organization) from 2011 and is still in progress is the project: Open Educational Resources whose goal: “is to contribute to the development of critical thinking and democratization in Macedonia through the constructive use of new technologies as tools to increase the quantity and quality of educational, scientific and academic e-content. Particularly, the project has a specific aim to raise the awareness and build the capacity of the academia for creating and using open educational resources.” (Metamorphosis Foundation, 2015). In this regard, the web page: was developed serving as a central point for different OERs divided in certain categories. In the frames of this project, there has been organized number of presentations, discussions, round tables, conference with interested parties, significantly contributing to the development of open education.

Alliance for OER was founded by the individuals, organisations, institutions with main goal of raising the awareness of the academic public for creation and using OER in Macedonia. The Alliance in 2013 announced the Declaration for OER gathering support for improvement of the open education in Macedonia, increasing the quality of the whole education system.

A positive example of Open Education is the first produced Macedonian MOOC on topic “Entrepreneurship in Macedonia” in the frames of the project “Why go abroad, when you can stay and invest in your country” supported by the US Embassy in Macedonia. The implementer of the project NGO CEFE Macedonia together with actors from different sectors created the MOOC and the videos would be included in the Coursera platform as a part of the online course: Beyond Silicon Valley-Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies offered by Prof. Michael Goldberg from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio.

Activities of the Center for local Initiatives Macedonia

The NGO Center for Local Initiatives (CLI) Bitola is local NGO located in Bitola-the second largest city in Macedonia. It was founded in 2002 working mainly in the educational sector. CLI started with promotion of OER in the beginning of 2015. In these terms CLI was part of the global Open Education Week (9-13.03.2015) promoting different open educational resources on the blog and facebook fan page and holding presentation of OER in front of faculty students. Regarding the OER, CLI is more focused on promotion of the MOOCs, how they can be used and what are the benefits.

Training on use of OER, high school SABA

Training on use of OER, high school SABA

Another project was promoting the use of OER in front of teachers of Private high school academy SABA Macedonia implementing training program for Project Management using OER. (February March 2015). By combining traditional way of training delivery with OER (the online course for PM was offered in the frames of Udemy platform) we promoted how teachers can combine blended learning with traditional teaching methods. Also on 14th of May, CLI hold training for e-resources and OER for the team of the Student Dormitory in Veles Municipality who is one of the biggest dormitories in Macedonia, how the staff can use OER, especially MOOCs in front of their students and how to integrate in their everyday work and in their educational programs.

Promotion of OER in American Corner Photo credit: American Corner Bitola

Promotion of OER in American Corner
Photo credit: American Corner Bitola

In addition, in cooperation and with support of the American Corner Bitola on 26th of May 2015 in the premises of Corner, CLI gave a presentation on OER and its benefits for the wide public. Therefore the participants from different profiles and professional background had the possibility to hear more about OER, how they can use it, how they can engage in creating OER, what are the advantages, etc. Also during July, in the premises of the Corner we facilitated sessions of the MOOC “Project Management: The basics for success” offered on Coursera platform. There were 5 facilitated sessions, one per each week where the participants were acquainted with platforms offering MOOCs and the course material was followed in a group.

To sum up, the concept of OER is still at the beginnings in Macedonia; in future it needs better coordination between different activities, institutions and further development. The sustainability of some projects is a challenge in this regard; the process of promotion should be enhanced and Universities should use more the benefits of OER and start publishing their own OER. In these terms also the cross sectorial cooperation should be enhanced in order with joint efforts to continue developing Open Education in Macedonia.

Romanian National Open Education Conference

- March 17, 2015 in communication, featured

Adelin Dumitru has written a post for us about the second Romanian National Open Education Conference held in Bucharest as part of Open Education Week. The event was organised by the Open Society Foundation and Coalition RED Romania. Adelin works for, a Romanian platform that hosts information about open data projects, events and news.


On 10th of March the Open Society Foundation, endorsed by the Government of Romania and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Romania organised a Romanian National Open Education Conference in order to reaffirm Romania’s commitment to the principles of open education. This year’s Conference, the second to have taken place in Romania, represents a step forward towards cementing this tradition in a country which lacks a culture of openness, a fact which was reiterated throughout the event by some of the panelists. A full agenda for the day is available in Romanian.


The discussions at the conference mainly focused on harnessing the potential of open educational resources in education and research and on the convoluted problem of copyright and the challenges this issue poses to the Romanian educational system.

An open framework for education in secondary education

Ovidiu Voicu, the Open Society Foundation’s Public Policy Department director, opened discussions in the panel session on ‘An open framework for education in secondary education’ with an intervention in which he emphasised the benefits of open education. He focused on presenting the case for open education as a change of paradigm. An open educational system would purportedly solve some of the pressing problems of the current state of affairs. It would correspond with a permanent enhancement due to its focus on analysis and evaluation, with easing access to education due to its elimination of institutional barriers and with efficiently and transparently employing resources to achieve its ends. This last point is connected to another characteristic of an open educational system, that it is deeply interwoven with technological advances.

Another point he has made is that to enter the open education paradigm would require neither legislative changes nor investments. What is needed, instead, is a change of perspective, which can be accomplished only by conceptually integrating and coordinating the many strategies that currently co-exist but do not interact as they should. Moreover, the open education paradigm does not entail massive investments, though it requires a rethinking of the way we allocate resources.

 Ciprian Fartuşnic, Director, Institute of Education Sciences     Cristian Dinu, Technical Lead, Co-founder, Learn Forward     Eugen Crai, specialist educational policy     Iosifescu Serban, President ARACIP     Tincuţa Apăteanu, President, Association Edusfera

Panelists: Ciprian Fartuşnic, Director, Institute of Education Sciences; Cristian Dinu, Technical Lead, Co-founder, Learn Forward; Eugen Crai, specialist educational policy; Iosifescu Serban, President ARACIP; Tincuţa Apăteanu, President, Association Edusfera

Although open education is not a panacea, international good practice examples show us that it can have propitious effects, such as increasing educational equity by easing access to educational resources, raising standards and improving quality by promoting peer evaluation, increasing community’s interest in education, stimulating innovation and increasing competition and making investments in education cease to be seen as uncertain, and instead become safer bets.

One particular field where open education effects could be immediately seen is that of online textbooks, which would effectively implement a proposal mentioned in the National Education Law. This makes reference to an online platform which would host open educational resources at a national level. During the conference this was contrasted with the actual online textbooks, which are neither open source nor legally open, since they do not have any associated license. This makes things complicated for authors, since the lack of a specified legal status represents a disincentive for improving upon the existing textbooks. Another proposal in the spirit of open education would be increasing transparency and integrity of educational institutions. This could be done by publishing budgets and by ensuring that consulting procedures are respected by the Ministry of Education.

Interventions from the public have brought up some interesting aspects, such as the fact that parents may be those who oppose change and who pose threats to the shift to an open education paradigm. The conclusion that has been drawn was that teachers should be those to educate not only children, but also parents, presenting the advantages of open education and trying to reduce their incredulity in alternatives to traditional textbooks, for instance. One participant has mentioned that textbooks represent anchors for parents, which preclude them from seeing the real benefits of reforms. Such issues will have to be dealt with if we want a paradigm shift.

Open access and OER in higher education and research

The second panel session focused on open access and open educational resources in high education and research. Nicolaie Constantinescu of Kosson explained to the public concepts such as open access, open resources, licenses, and shed some light on misconceptions associated with these concepts. He elaborated on the history of open education in Romania, focusing on open access via data bases. Radu Atanasiu, Adjunct Lecturer of Critical Thinking at the Maastricht School of Management Romania highlighted the utility of Massive Online Open Courses (MooCs) and also their hidden potential which could be tapped in the future by Romanian scholars and students. Constantin Vică, from the Research Centre in Applied Ethics, talked about the problems encountered by researchers in accessing data, and also about the difficult state of Romanian journals in the context of globalization of knowledge and keeping up with international household names.

Nicolae Constantinescu, Kosson     Marius Nicolăescu CIO Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation     Puchiu Radu, State Secretary, Prime Minister's Office     Radu Atanasiu, Adjunct Lecturer of Critical Thinking, Maastricht School of Management Romania     Constantin Vică, Center for Research in Applied Ethics

Panelists: Nicolae Constantinescu, Kosson; Marius Nicolăescu CIO Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation; Puchiu Radu, State Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office; Radu Atanasiu, Adjunct Lecturer of Critical Thinking, Maastricht School of Management Romania; Constantin Vică, Center for Research in Applied Ethics

The last panel session represented an extensive debate on copyright and education. There have been put forward two perspectives, one promoting a relaxation of copyright and the other supporting a better enforcement of copyright. While the latter represents the dominant perspective, the debate has shown that the counterarguments should not be easily dismissed. The Analysis Report of the EU legislation, realized by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament, has been presented as the main case against copyright protection. Contentious topics such as the status of orphan works have been brought up, proving the numerous lines that can be opened by such a discussion, benefiting from a framework that reunited specialists and practitioners in the field. One proposal has been that the Ministry of Education should put at the public’s disposal digital textbooks in workable formats, without restrictions on their usage, according to the principle “any resource produced with public money shall have open access“.


All in all, the Romanian National Open Education Conference gathered 130 participants, among these professors, inspectors, scholars, representatives of the government, of student associations, of non-governmental organizations. An increased interest can be noticed in comparison to last year’s edition, the number of participants almost doubling, proving that, to a certain extent, the Romanian public has become more intent to learn about open educational resources. This could be a harbinger that the aforementioned paradigm shift is due to happen at one point or another, and it is through events like these that the public becomes informed and from this awareness can emerge the necessary reforms and the necessary change of perspective on education, transparency and integration.

More details about the event are available from the website in Romanian.

Open Education South Korea

- March 13, 2015 in featured, world

34d8ddcIn our final Open Education Week #openeducationwk post we have an introduction to Open Education in South Korea from 신하영(Stella HaYoung Shin).

Stella is a Ph.D candidate of Educational Policy and Administration at Sookmyung Women’s University in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Founded in 1906, Sookmyung is Korea’s first royal private educational institution for women. She is also a volunteer and activist for Open Educational Resource at Creative Commons Korea.


The Republic of Korea a.k.a. South Korea is a sovereign state in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. Roughly half of the country’s 50 million people reside in the metropolitan area surrounding its capital, the Seoul Capital Area, which is the second largest in the world with over 25 million residents.

OERs in South Korea

In South Korea there have been an increasing number of OER available since 2009. The slide set below was shared at a Creative Commons Asia-Pacific Regional meeting on 2012 to introduce that time’s current aspects of OER in Korea. It contains many of screen shots and labels on those OER cases in Korea and brief tendency analysis about the OER movement in Korea.

From the slide, written and worked by Diane Jung and myself, the key part is the last page – the 4 Future Directions of OER in Korea which suggests:

  1. Integrity between each contents with blended usage of offline textbook and live lecture with online video lecture and various multimedia resources
  2. Using various media devices thanked from wide distribution of smartphone and highly ranked IT literacy
  3. Small number but very intensive and passionate student and teachers are working together to maximizing effectiveness for building, running, sharing, and promoting
  4. More and more participations by governmental sector (ministry and related institutes), individuals, NGOs, community, and corporates.

MOOCs in South Korea

Until 2012 most OER projects in Korea happened in the Higher Education area, driven by universities, for example the OCW –now MOOC- movement. However in late of 2011 there was an uprising of the OER movement in K-12 education with great wave of D.I.Y activities. This was driven by the new curriculum introduced by the ministry of education which improved cognition of Creative Commons licences in Korea and open resources. There are now some remarkable OER case studies in Korea (see POERUP for more information). These have not only been facilitated by Creative Commons Korea but also by many individuals and groups.

SNOW (Sookmyung Network for Open World)

Much of my work at Sookmyung Women’s University (SMWU) has been devoted to developing OER surroundings in South Korea through launching and running SNOW (Sookmyung Network for Open World) during 2009-2010. SNOW has launched a vision of an ‘OER missionary’ to Korean users under the motif to provide valuable global OER to Korean users and accessible guidelines to make use of them. Comparing other OER interfaces and service providing organizations and web-sites, SNOW can be one of the most ‘kind’ and ‘open’ OERs allowing users find localized OER easily.


SNOW developed an interactive OER localizing platform for not only students of SMWU but also general users seeking ‘kind, local’ OERs. The most remarkable achievements of SNOW are the user-based content uploading-sharing-review system, SNOW Wiki system, as cooperative translation and interactive revision system and SNOW Eco-system as unique credit-saving system for donation system. SNOW can be a frontier model to envision the way to distribute OER efficiently, legally-based on Creative Commons licences, and suggests a mutual vitalization of Asian universities’ OER projects.

Creative Commons Activities in South Korea

The Creative Commons Korea Association (CC Korea) was founded in January, 2009. As a not-for-profit incorporated association, CC Korea started its activities as the official CC project team in Korea. Around thirty to forty voluntary staff with various backgrounds, such as lawyers, students, artists, professors, businessmen and so on, are taking part in many projects to promote open culture including spreading CC in Korea. For more information see the Creative Commons Korea wiki, Facebook group and Slideshare site.

2013 Open Education Week led by Creative Commons Korea

8604494For 2013’s Open Education Week festival Creative Commons Korea supported an opened webinar: an online seminar on March 12, 2013. At this webinar, Creative Commons Korea’s chief coordinator Jennifer Kang gave short and impactful lecture on “the Change of Education and How to use Creative Commons licences” and she led the web conference dealing with various issues from MOOC contents making in university related with copyright infringement.

Link to announcement post (written in Korean only).

South Korea’s National Library of Congress Signed MOU with CC Korea

This consigned MOU contract states that the National Digital Library of Congress will release the contents with using CCL towards the Library’s repository stored contents and also web contents produced by 4 major NPOs (Non-profit organization) in Korea, accessible unto National Digital Library’s web repository. The mentioned NGO through this MOU contract are; the Beautiful Foundation, Think Café, the Hope Institute, and the Simin corporation these NPOs are making and sharing their own experience and knowledge from their NPO movements and activities so lively. CC Korea and National Library of Congress expect that this MOU consignment will be the first step for the potential cooperation on more concrete and various contents sharing for citizenship education with open resources.

Creative Commons Salons on OER

The Creative Commons Salon, is a small ‘talk concert’ with tea, coffee and snack for very close and casual atmosphere in which to share ideas and experiences on specific theme, just like in a ‘salon’. The salon’s theme is picked from the open movement area i.e. OER, Open government, open data, open source, and many potential ‘open’ things. Among the almost quarterly CC salons since 2010, CC Korea has picked up OER as their salon’s theme for 3 times – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

2013 Creative Commons Salon on OER “Kaboom! Open Education!”

A salon looking specifically at Open Education took place on March 26, 201 in the HahHahHuhHuh Café@Haja Center (Seoul city government supporting center for youth).

Speaker 1: Sung-geun Lee, Elementary school teacher, Project lead of “Learning Playground”

  • “Learning Playground” is the outbreak learning and study habit innovation project by in-office elementary school teachers, providing students to grow one’s own learning habit without private academy. Teachers make video clips on current elementary school’s curriculum with their own effort as volunteerism.

Speaker 2: Tae-kyeong Lee, teacher, project coordinator of “Big Camp”

  • “Big Camp” is a project to realize the innovative and creative ideas by teacher, student, planner, developer and designer with volunteerism, to make change in education world.

Direct link to event posting (only in Korean).

2014 Creative Commons Salon on Hack the School

CC teachers (inner-group of CC Korea by teachers) and students share their experiences related to OER and educational and learning innovation using OERs. This salon was held as the format of ignite, a serial short presentations with multimedia contents and filled with 11 speakers’ insightful and passionate presentations of their own experience and life change through OERs.

Link to announcement post (written in Korean only).


Short introduction to Speakers and Talks:

  • Talk 1: “Introduction to ‘Learning Playground'” by Sung-geun Lee, Elementary school teacher, project lead of the ‘Learning Playground’, DIY OER repository for elementary school students and in-office teachers
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 2: “I am teacher in my own classroom, in the world of ‘Learning Playground'” by Ji-hyun Yoon, 12 year-old student & power-user of ‘Learning Playground’
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 3: “Why Uncle Kim goes to school?” by Young-gwang Kim, given nickname as “Little Big Hero” through TV documentary, youth activist and social enterprise
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 4: “Miss Tong Tong Tong and her 30 dwarves” by Hye-jeong Yoon, former kindergarten teacher and current CC Korea intern activist
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 5: “Teacher Kang’s Travel to Math World” by Sung-hee Kang, in-office high school teacher & OER maker for math subject classroom contents
    Slideshare link for this talk:
    Talk 6: “What you want, What’s your course” by Dong-wan Lee, founder and project lead of the ‘Passion University’, open online-offline learning platform for university students making their own DIY course out from official university classroom
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 7: “How I became a fool” by Gyu-sik Yoon, in-office teacher for special education, activist of OER movement onto special education field in Korea
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 8: “Haru, the development of SNS and the Behind Story” by Seong-beom Park & Hyung-geun Yoon, founder and developers of ‘Haru’ (‘one day’ in Korean), the SNS awarded as most creative service as instant posting, pass-over one day and automatic deleting after one day; this service was developed when they were only 18 year-old as school assignment project. Surprisingly, they learned most of their coding and development knowledge from Google and other OER contents throughout the programming filed.
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 9: “Soar High with Wiki Talki in Your Classroom” by Eun-hey Koh, in-office high school teacher & founder and planner of ‘Wiki Talki’ service; the service for English and other language class with enabling students share their own voice recording to practice their own pronunciation, wording and speaking skill; made by volunteer group and shared as OER for language comprehension class, as smartphone application without charge for students
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 10: “Outing towards World for Teenagers in Korea” by Deborah Kim, President and Founder of ‘Sian Education Corporate’ & Contents planner for youth career education
    Slideshare link for this talk:
  • Talk 11: “Take Action and You Are a Hero” by Jeong-hoon Lee, Founder of education corporate for candidate venture company people
    Slideshare link for this talk:

Links: OER Initiatives and Groups in Korea

  • CC Korea:
  • CC wiki for OER in Korea:
  • CC Teachers (sub-group of CC Korea by in-office teachers and educators)
  • Learning Playground:
  • KOCW (Korea Open Course Ware): Open Courseware repository and platform for universities of Korea run by KERIS (Korea Education and Research Information Service)
  • SNOW (Sookmyung Network for Open World): OER platform and translation, localization repository for Korean users run by Sookmyung Women’s University: Many of OER contents are hard to access for Korea because of language barrier, so that Sookmyung Women’s University made volunteerism based translation platform for OER at 2009; SNOW are accessible without charge with continual OER contents uploading by SMU’s students, professors and other users.
  • Coding Everybody: non-profit project for programming education; open tutorials for novice, lay persons and even children and elderly people. Developer and founder of this project, Going Lee is now covering web-service making, various programming languages, client server development, development toolkit, and other programming knowledge. Users can access dictionary and repository on programming knowledge with Going Lee’s own voice guideline with screenshots and other multimedia resource, with very easy and considerable teaching for first learner on programming. All courses are free and open for everyone; tutorials cover many programming parts and are constantly updated by Going Lee with vigorous open conversations with Hi:

OER in Adult Education

- March 12, 2015 in adulteducation, featured

Our next post for Open Education Week is from Sara Frank Bristow on the ADOERUP work to produce a “Note” (short briefing report) to the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee on the use and potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) for Adult Education/Adult Learning. This work supports the POERUP, Policies for OER Uptake previously posted about on this blog.

saraSara Frank Bristow, founder of Salient Research, LLC, is a digital education researcher and writer based in Chicago, US. She is presently writing the UK Country Report for the Sero Consulting Ltd ADOERUP (Adult Education and Open Education Resources) study. Recent projects for Sero and other clients have focused on online, blended and open learning, with an emphasis on drivers, business and learning models for OER.


Adult Education and Open Education Resources

Adult learning is a vital component of the European Commission’s lifelong learning policy. It is essential to competitiveness and employability, social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development across Europe. The challenge is to provide learning opportunities for all, especially disadvantaged groups who need them most. It comprises formal, non-formal, and informal learning for improving basics skills, obtaining new qualifications, up-skilling, or re-skilling for employment. The demand for adult learning is increasing and the Commission is committed to helping all EU countries create adult learning systems characterised by flexibility, high quality, excellent teaching, and an enhanced role for local authorities, employers, social partners, civil society, and cultural organisations.

In 2013 the European Commission published a communication on OER and MOOCs. This highlighted the potential of OER in adult learning. OER in fact make use of large scale digital technologies and the aim is to support a radical development of new teaching methodologies based on the use of ICT. The Communication emphasizes that, likewise, in adult learning ICT and OER offers huge potential for structural change. Therefore efficient tools and methodologies will prove decisive in handling future funding needs. In the Communication, the Commission mentions that it plans to create a new network called EPALE (Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe).

Coverage of the ADOERUP report

I am now working on a study to highlight the possibilities offered by the employment of OER with the overall aim to:

  • Review the availability and feasibility of OER in adult learning, and
  • Make suggestions for possible action to be taken.

The study is thus expected to serve three distinct functions: Description, Assessment and Recommendations.

With regard to the general objectives outlined above, the following general questions will be addressed and answered in the study:

  • What is the availability and feasibility of OER in adult learning?
  • What possible actions may be taken in order to enhance the use of OER in adult learning?

While answering these general questions, a few more specific ones will be addressed, as well:

  • How can OER be integrated into certified courses provided to adult learners? What is their sustainability (in terms of work and funding)?
  • What quality aspects may be considered in the use of OER in adult learning? What quality assurance issues may be considered? How OER can improve the quality and efficiency of training and education in adult learning?
  • Is management of Creative Commons licenses specific and in what respect?
  • Do OER improve the knowledge base on adult learning and contribute to a better monitoring of the adult learning sector? If yes, how?
  • How OER can contribute to raising participation rates in adult education?
  • What are the implications for educational planners and decision-makers of use of OER in adult learning? In particular what issues of accreditation/validation of skills and competences acquired via OER could be considered?
  • How existing policy tools to support adult learning can best be used for the inclusion of OER?
  • What is the role of educational establishments (particularly universities) to design, plan and implement education based on OER?

The study will focus on: United Kingdom, Spain, France, Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Romania and Germany.

Asking for help

Sero has been commissioned to do a report for the Education and Culture Committee of the European Parliament on OER in Adult Education in the EU. Obviously we shall leverage on POERUP and on three relevant studies done for IPTS but we want to make sure we are up to date with the last 6 months of information on important projects developing OER for use specifically in Adult Learning (rather than spilling over into Adult Learning) – across all educational sectors: key skills (numeracy, literacy, IT skills, etc), school-level qualifications for adults, Vocational Education and Training, and University Education in a Lifelong Learning context.

We are particularly interested in the following Member States: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Latvia, but projects from any Member State are of interest.

Of course we shall be asking POERUP project staff as well as our network of consultants and advisors but we want a broader range of input.

For policy aspects I shall be talking in depth to authors of EU-level and Member State OER-related policy documents, to perform a realignment of POERUP-style recommendations to the Adult Learning/Lifelong Learning/Flexible Learning domain.

Please contact Paul Bacsich if you are a local expert or policy expert with relevant information.

Open Education Russia 2

- March 11, 2015 in featured, world

In the second of our Open Education Russia blog posts and the third of our #openeducationwk posts Anna Sakoyan and Irina Radchenko look at how they have been experimenting with data expeditions. The first post gave an overview of Open Education projects in Russia.


Anna Sakoyan

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


Irina Radchenko

Anna is currently working as a journalist and translator for a Russian analytical resource 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

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


Experimenting with Data Expeditions

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.


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.


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.


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.



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 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.

Teaching children about Creative Commons Licenses to re-use images

- March 10, 2015 in featured, oer, schools

Time for our second Open Education Week post! At the recent OER Schools Conference in Leicester it was great to meet teachers who are working at the coalface – sharing their lesson plans and resources under Creative Commons licenses.

jobadgeDr Jo Badge is a class teacher and computing subject leader at a Leicester Primary school with a year 5 class. She is also a Google Certified Teacher. Prior to this she was the Web resources development officer for School of Biological Sciences, University of Leicester where she provided support for learning technologies for staff and students.

In the workshop on OER resource building in the area of computing a group of teachers worked together on a lesson plan for teaching Children about Creative Commons and reusing images. Jo has now written up the lesson plan and shared it. The Open Education Working Group are delighted to be able to republish her thoughts here as part of our series for Open Education Week #openeducationwk.


I have always been keen to share ideas about my teaching, and regularly tweet lesson ideas or activities. However, I haven’t gone as far as making the resources I have made available online, partly because I’ve always been wary about its licensing. Although I work in a primary school, I know that I am ultimately employed by the City Council and so the council owns the Intellectual Property Rights for any educational resources I produce in the line of my employment. As an employee I don’t have the automatic moral rights i.e. the right to be named as author on those resources. I know it isn’t something that many of us think about, but with the massive increase in access to shared resources online, it is really is an issue I believe we teachers should begin to embrace. After all, Open Education is a philosophy that is essentially at the heart of teaching, sharing and learning together, building on each other’s work and collaborating to enhance our own teaching and learning.

Open – image found on photos for class with automatic attribution

Open – image found on photos for class with automatic attribution

Fortunately, Leicester City Council has Josie Fraser working for them. She is a leading proponent of Open Education and under her leadership the Council have take the pioneering step of giving permission to all its school employees to share any educational resources they create using a creative commons licence. I feel incredibly proud to be working for such a far-sighted employer and couldn’t miss the opportunity to begin to share my teaching resources more widely under a creative commons licence.

I attended the Open Education Schools Conference in Leicester this January. The first event of it’s kind in the UK, was organised by Leicester City Council in partnership with De Montfort University. 92 attendees from 48 primary, secondary and specialist provision schools took part in the day, as well as representatives from five UK universities. One of the sessions I attended was a workshop by Miles Berry who encouraged us to think in a very practical way about how we could begin to teach primary school children about Creative Commons licenses and the correct re-use of other people’s work. There were some fantastic ideas generated, such as children remixing scratch scripts that had been shared online. I worked with two colleagues, Hannah Boydon and Marieke Guy to plan a half term unit of work to show children how to search for CC licensed images and then use them in a website they built, making sure that they included the correct attribution and a link back to the original image. Marieke was one of the main speakers at the event, and her write up of the day and impressions of Miles’ workshop are on her blog.

The final product is a medium term plan of 6 lessons:

Unit Objectives:

Digital Literacy:

  • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour

Information Technology

  • use search technologies effectively and be discerning in evaluating digital content
  • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) to design and create content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting information


The aim of this unit of work is to teach children the principles of copyright compliant searching and accurate attribution of digital content when it is re-used. Children will learn about the ownership of created content and creative commons licences. They will use search effectively to find images that can be re-used and learn to attribute them correctly. They will create a website which combines the images that they have found and combine them with text to explain how other children can search for images to re-use on their own blogs or websites.

I used the lessons myself in the last half term and will be building the websites with my children in the next couple of weeks. I hope that the plans could be adapted to fit into other areas of the curriculum so that the final end product has a real purpose. My children were studying space and we wrote recounts about our visit to the National Space Centre in our English lessons, which we will then turn into websites using the images we found in the computing lessons. The final websites could be recounts, information texts or even instructions on how to search for creative commons licensed images!

Places for children to search for images to re-use

We did hit a few filtering issues while we were trying to search for CC licensed images. We found using Google advanced image search was reliable, but when images were from flickr, they were often blocked by our filters. Some alternatives the children used successfully were:, and for clipart If you are able to use Flickr, I would highly recommend using which uses Flickr images that are pre-filtered to provide a pseudo-safe search. The massive advantage here is that with a quick quick, images can be downloaded with an attribution automatically added (like the photo at the top of this post).

Lesson plans

The lesson plans are shared under a CC-BY 4.0 licence on TES resources. Thanks to Leicester City Council for giving me this freedom!

CC BY 4.0

CC BY 4.0

OER images lesson plan (2015) by Jo Badge, Rushey Mead Primary School, Hannah Boydon, Mayflower Primary school/ Leicester City Council shared under a CC-BY 4.0 licence.