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Changes for the Open Education Working Group

- September 1, 2015 in communication, featured

The Open Education has been running for almost 2 years now and during that time we have:

Later this month I will be moving on from Open Knowledge (you can read more about where I am going on my personal blog) and will be stepping down from the post of Working Group Co-ordinator.

Paul Bacsich (responsible for POERUP and other OER projects) will be taking on the role of Co-ordinator. He will be supported by Elena Stojanovska from the Center for Local Initiatives in Macedonia (writer of Open Education Macedonia) and by Javiera Atenas, Project Manager, Management Science and Innovation at University College London (who has been working on Using Open Data as Open Educational Resources).

If you are interested in helping the team lead the working group then email Paul on

I have thoroughly enjoyed setting up and co-ordinating the Open Education Working Group and want to send my thanks to everyone who has been involved! I wish Paul, Elena and Javiera the best of luck and will follow the group’s progress with interest!


Flagging OER16: Open Culture

- August 18, 2015 in featured, oer

oer16While things are quiet and people are enjoying their summer holidays (here on the Northern part of the globe!) I thought it would be a good time to mention OER16 which will take place on the 19th and 20th April 2016 at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

The vision for the conference is to focus on the value proposition of embedding open culture in the context of institutional strategies for learning, teaching and research. The conference will be chaired by Melissa Highton and our very own advisory board member Lorna Campbell.

Themes will include:

  • the strategic advantage of open and creating a culture of openness;
  • the converging and competing cultures of open knowledge, open source, open content, open practice, open data and open access;,
  • hacking, making and sharing;
  • the reputational challenges of openwashing;
  • openness and public engagement
  • and innovative approaches to opening up cultural heritage collections for education.

If you are interested in being on the organising committee you can sign up here.
Follow #oer16 to keep up to date with all conference news.

Illustrating Open Education

- August 10, 2015 in communication, featured

So what is your mental image when you think of Open Education? Is it open books, or huge amounts of data flowing, or children using ipads? Or is it the Open Education week logo, or even our Open Education Working Group logo?

Image from

Image from, CC-BY-SA

Quite often I need to illustrate blog posts, reports or presentations with an image that symbolises Open Education and I have a few go-to places I thought I’d share:


Flickr has some great Open Education images and the best bit is the licensing is very clear. I tend to search for the term I’m interested in and then make sure I’m selecting the appropriate open licence.



Pinterest is a great place to look for images, but also a great places in which to store links to images. I have created a board for all my favourite Open Education pictures, there are almost 100 pictures on it now. Be careful to check the licensing of images when you reuse them though.



Pixabay has a wealth of free openly licensed images. Many are CC0 Public Domain but a few come from Shuttleshock so be careful when reusing.


They are everywhere but it is so easy to make your own infographics to illustrate your work. My favourite tools at the moment are:

So for example this image below is taken from a Piktochart presentation on OERs created by Alicia Johal (CC-BY-ND).


Using Images

A quick word on using images. I know I’m preaching to the converted here…but as Open Education practitioners we really want to be participating in best practices. So when possible attribute images, add a link to the source and use the licence!! You know it makes sense!

So anyone else have any other suggestion?? Do post below!

Survey on your Experience Sharing in Open Communities

- August 3, 2015 in featured

How do you exchange ideas in the open and professional virtual communities? Do you feel like you are part of a ‘virtual group’? Does your organisation use OERs to support virtual communities?

The Open Educational Ideas project, developers of Idea Space, are running a survey on the idea and experience sharing in open and professional virtual communities. These open professional virtual communities aim to foster collaborations beyond organizational boundaries, enabling networking and personal development of the members, e.g. Facebook pages for professional interest, applying Google Drive, Idea Space etc. The survey includes also a part about sharing of Open Educational Resources (OERs) such as powerpoints, teaching materials and assets online but this part is not mandatory.

You can access the survey here. It will take about 10 minutes to fill out.

For more information on the Open Educational Ideas project see this recent slideset.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 14.23.49

Open Educational Practices for supporting the Tutor-Counselor’s work in the Hellenic Open University

- July 1, 2015 in featured, OEP

Sofia_medeanetOpen Educational Practices are teaching techniques that draw upon open technologies and open educational resources in order to facilitate collaborative and flexible learning. There are many ideas in this space including thoughts around collaborative working, fusing post-web pedagogy, andragogy (adult learning) and heutagogy (self-determined learning).

Work related to OEP is an increasingly significant part of the Open Education landscape.

Dr Sofia Papadimitriou from the Ministry of Culture, Education & RA, Greece has written for us about her experience of supporting the Tutor-Counselor’s work in the Hellenic Open University using OEP.


Advanced learning technologies have changed distance learning and transforms radically 21st century education. Both traditional and Open Universities approach more and more distance education, since learning is possible to happen in areas outside the traditional campus, occurring anytime and anywhere.

The teacher is the key factor for improving the quality and efficiency of education. A fairly large percentage of scientists who consists the academic staff of Open Universities derived from conventional education. They have extensive expertise in their scientific field, however they lack experience and knowledge on methodological issues of distance education. Focusing on the Open Higher Education, the role of the tutor-counselor has a significant impact in completing the studies of adult students. The loss of student motivation due to the lack of interpersonal contact with their tutor-counselor and also with peers is an obstacle to successful distance education and a possible loss of the second educational opportunity which Open Universities provides to their students.

Survey at the Hellenic Open University

In this context, a survey was conducted in the Hellenic Open University from 2009 to 2013 aiming to explore methods which have the potential to support tutor-counselor in Open and distance Higher Education and also approached the components of a supporting mechanism for them. The research phases include four case studies and an action research on the course Geography, Human Geography and the Material Culture in Europe, focusing on authentic problems faced by tutor-counselor and explore the process of constructing new knowledge. The supporting mechanism entitled Guide for Effective Teaching was developed and evaluated in the framework of the research aiming to:

  • Enrich and update the existing teaching material using Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • Design and implement Open Educational Practices (OEP) based on OER to promote both collaborative and adaptive personalized learning.
  • Engage tutor-counselor in Professional Learning Networks on their particular cognitive field.

The Guide for Effective Teaching (GET) available at the URL was developed using the methodology of distance education and the principles of adult education, aiming to implement OEP of active and inquiry based learning and creating by that, effective learning environments. The GET includes OEP based on the template of the Phoebe Pedagogical Planner by JISC UK. They are described by a detailed set of metadata as learning goals, objectives, OER used, activities, the role of tutor etc. In addition, the learning objectives for each activity are based on the four pillars of education by Unesco (1996). The proposed OEP combine tutor-counselor’s rich expertise gained so far and also the achievements of learning technologies.


Open Educational Practices for Effective Teaching

The GET includes a series of OEP based on a rich variety of OER aiming to support tutor-counselors in the framework of:

  • implementing face-to-face meeting combining OER with diverse active and collaborative methodologies,
  • guiding students to implement assignments,
  • enhancing interactions in online Communities of Practice approaching by that socio-constructive theories of learning.

The study highlights the use of OER as social objects with active learning techniques as brainstorming, debates, role playing, group working in both collaborative online or face-to-face setting. Each tutor-counselor is able to use, reuse, remix, repurpose the OEP and also share them, extending and enriching the repository.

Guide for Effective Teaching

Guide for Effective Teaching

OEP are based on the pedagogical framework of experiential and active learning. The fundamental principle of experiential learning is that learners discover knowledge and develop skills via interactive learning environments, experimentation and practice. Students build practical, virtual and real symbolic representations through relevant OER in order to understand information and achieve cognitive development.

A concrete set of single learner, self-paced OEP was proposed to support tutor-counselor’s work in achieving personalized learning for students who prefer an individual approach according their own pace. The Online Learning Management System LAMS was used to develop indicative OEP aiming to guide and monitor the development of assignments or essays and having the potential to provide extensive data for statistical analysis (learning analytics) towards personalized learning. OEP based on LAMS provide personalized, interactive, just-in-time, current and user-centered services. During their implementation they can be adapted in students learning needs and tutors choices so as to be more effective. Based on the analysis conclusions, methods of effective personalized learning can be redefined and redesigned.

Open Educational Practices for face-to-face meetings

Open Educational Practices for face-to-face meetings

Learning in the 21st Century

The proposed series of OEP affect critically to tutors’ effective role in social and educational context. Developing OEP based on OER provide to tutor-counselor, a repository of good practices, which they are able to expand, adapt, reuse, repurpose and remix with their everyday work approaching by that pedagogical innovation and creativity. In parallel, emphasis is given in the social context which influences each cognitive process. All three generations of pedagogy, behaviorism, constructivism and connectivism are necessary to cover the whole spectrum of educational needs of students in the 21st century. Combining pedagogies is crucial for the development of flexible content-based OEP.

Enhancing tutor-counselor’s work with OER and OEP has a crucial impact and improvement to students engagement and performance, as well. They study in an effective collaborative environment, rich with new media, using a wealth of trusted and reliable resources. When students get involved actively in the learning process, high percentages of students’ drop-out from Open Universities could be reduced, too.

Author details – Sofia Papadimitriou

Sofia Papadimitriou has studied Mathematics and Computer Science (M.Sc) in the Athens National University. Her PhD entitled “The role of tutor-counsellor and the development of his supporting mechanism in a collaborative learning environment in distance education” regards in the field of Open and Distance Learning in Higher Education and has been developed in the School of Humanities at the Hellenic Open University. She has been an ICT Secondary teacher since 1990 and also an educator in ICT training courses for primary and secondary teachers. She has been working in the Educational RadioTelevision (Ministry of Education), since September 2007 coordinating its Social and Digital Media. Furthermore, she has coordinated 5 working groups on behalf of the Educational RadioTelevision for the European projects: EduTubePlus, MEDEAnet, March (MAke science Real in sCHools). Sofia has also participated in the Energy-bits, a cross media European project distributed in Television and the Web and also at the development of the Photodentro/Educational Video, an Open Educational Resources/Video Repository for school education, designed and developed by CTI Diophantus in the framework of the reform “Digital School”. Sofia has co-authored 4 book chapters and published 31 papers in scientific conferences and journals on the topics of Open and Distance Learning, using Media in Education, Open Educational Resources and Practices, Academic staff development and STEM (papers and presentations are available at the URLs:,

Education data sets in the Global Open Data Index?

- June 25, 2015 in data, featured

The Open Data census systematically tracks the state of open data around the world and publishes them in the Global Open Data Index. For the last 3 years the GODI has looked at 10 data sets for each country: National Statistics; Government Budget; Election Results; Legislation; National Map; Pollutant Emissions; Company Register; Transport Timetables; Postcodes / Zipcodes; Government Spending.

Screen GODI

The team are now keen to create a civil society audit of the data revolution and have launched the 2015 Global Open Data Index public consultation to find what themes and datasets civil society think should be included.

So should there be any education data sets in the GODI? Suggestions made so far include:

  • Name and locations of schools
  • Performance of schools
  • University course data
  • Digital literacy data

Are there any ideas missing? There are lots of education data sets listed in our Open Education Handbook.


You can add ideas and vote on current ideas on the 2015 Global Open Data Index public consultation WikiSurvey site. [Voting involves choosing between 2 ideas].

So lets get education in the 2015 Global Open Data Index!!

Minutes from 7th Open Education Working Group Call

- June 4, 2015 in calls, data, featured, oer

Thanks to everyone who attended our call earlier today! The video is now available online and embedded below.

We focused on the theme of ‘Open Data as Open Educational Resources’. There were three speakers:

  • Leo Havemann: Birkbeck, University of London
  • Javiera Atenas: University College London
  • William Hammonds: Universities UK

Slides from Leo and Javiera’s talk are available as a PDF. Notes from the session are available in the etherpad.

Discussions centred on:

If you have an idea for a focus for a working group session do let us know!

Open Education Australia

- June 2, 2015 in featured, world

robinHow fantastic to have an Around the World post from an Oceanian country! Australia is actually the world’s sixth-largest country by total area and is beginning to make some big strides in the area of Open Education. Robin Wright provides us with some background story and a look at some new projects that are taking off.

Robin is the Copyright Manager at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. She is particularly interested in the intersection of copyright and digital technologies in the cultural and higher education sectors. Robin is currently the project leader for the Open Education Licensing project investigating the links between open licensing decisions and new business models for the online delivery of educational content. She can be contacted at Swinburne University of Technology on


The discussion around Open Education for higher education in Australia has to date been dominated by support for open access to scholarly resources and data rather than the development and sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER). However the rapid expansion of MOOCs since 2012 and the involvement of a number of Australian universities in OERu is now moving the conversation more towards the creation, dissemination and re-use of free and openly available educational material.

Open Access at Australian Universities

Swinburne University of Technology by Shou-Hui Wang on Flickr, CC-SA

Swinburne University of Technology by Shou-Hui Wang on Flickr, CC-SA

Higher education institutions in Australia have been active supporters of open online access to scholarly resources for many years. All of the 39 universities operate institutional open access repositories providing links to scholarly publications by their own academic staff. A list of institutional repositories in Australia and New Zealand is available from the Council of Australian University Libraries (CAUL).

An active Open Access Support Group works to advocate, collaborate, raise awareness and lead and build capacity in the open access space. It is a membership organisation with nine university members and a number of informal supporters.

Australia’s two main research funding bodies require funding recipients to deposit their publications into an open access repository. Both the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have open access policies that are aim to maximise benefits from, and the dissemination, of Government funded research.

The move to OER and MOOCs

The Australian higher education sector really began to engage widely with OER and MOOCs in 2012. The University of Melbourne was the first Australian university to embrace a model of open online courses, entering an agreement with Coursera in September 2012 initially offering seven courses, which has now grown to nineteen.

The University of Western Australia and the University of New South Wales now also deliver MOOCs with Coursera. The University of Queensland, Australian National University and the University of Adelaide deliver open courses via the edX platform. Seventeen Australian universities, plus a number of vocational/technical and industry/professional providers, deliver free courses via the Open2study platform operated by Open University Australia and six Australian universities are partners in the OERu network.

One of the earliest universities to introduce OER in Australia was the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). It is a member of the Open Courseware Consortium and offers courses under a CC BY-NC-SA licence at as well as through OERu.

Open Education Licensing

Copyright and licensing has been identified as one of the critical factors limiting the development of OER and one of the most important for Australia when delivering online educational products into the global market.

Two Australian universities; Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Tasmania are currently undertaking a project to investigate Open Education Licensing in Australia –


The OEL project is funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The project is asking individuals from all of Australia’s higher education institutions and relevant professional bodies about: the reasons behind their own and their institution’s use and development of OER and MOOCs, their knowledge of and experience with open licences, and how and why they share their educational resources. The information gathered will be used to develop a practical Open Education Licensing toolkit to help practitioners navigate the licensing challenges within the developing business models for open education worldwide. The toolkit will be available in 2016.

Open Education Kyrgyzstan

- May 19, 2015 in communication, featured, world

IMG-20150518-WA0010Our next Open Education Around the World post comes from Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан, or the Kyrgyz Republic), a landlocked and mountainous country in Central Asia.

The post has been written by Gulzada Urgunalieva, a Project Coordinator at the Roza Otunbayeva International Public Foundation (IPF) and Open Education Coalition coordinator. The IPF was founded in 2012 by the Former President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Ms. Roza Otunbayevawith with the objective of implementing programmes and projects that will contribute to the social, political and economic development of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Gulzada can be contacted on


Currently there are positive changes in the promotion of Open Educational Resources (OER) in Kyrgyzstan. This movement was initiated by the ‘Soros-Kyrgyzstan’ Foundation (Open Society Foundation) in cooperation with other organizations. The Roza Otunbayeva Initiative International Public Foundation joined this initiative within the framework of the ‘Open Book‘ project at the end of 2013.

The Open book Project


Roza Otunbayeva Initiative International Public Foundation

The aim of the project was to assist in development of OER strategies and policy in Kyrgyzstan on the basis of existing governmental policies in education area.

The project has analyzed the situation in the field of OER in Kyrgyzstan and provided recommendations for successful OER introduction in the national education system. The results of analysis were introduced at the international conference Open Educational Resources and Digital Education on June 23, 2014. The research revealed the advantages of introducing OER in Kyrgyzstan on a legislative and public level. Researchers made valuable conclusions and recommendations, and presented strategy for further steps in OER development.

Open Educational Resources and Digital Education Conference

The international conference Open Educational Resources and Digital Education was held on 23th of June 2014 in Bishkek. World OER practices, particularly, non-English-speaking countries such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Russia were presented at the conference. You can see the Bishkek Resolution on OER and Digital Education on the OER Impact Map.


Promoting OER in Kyrgyzstan: Draft Concept and Open Education Coalition

The next phase of the project was the work of experts in the area of education, IT and copyright on the draft Concept of promoting OER in Kyrgyzstan. This Concept defines the principles and directions of the national policy for the development of OER in Kyrgyzstan. It also provides the rationale for the policy, as well as basic definitions in the field of copyright and open licensing formats and interaction of education with the authors of educational materials, software manufacturers, publishers, teachers, students and children. The concept is the guide for National Action Plan of OER development of in Kyrgyzstan for 2015-2020 years.

The next objective of the project was to form the Open Education Coalition as informal expert network consisting of representatives of civil sector, educational and non-commercial organizations. The main goal of the Coalition is to develop and promote the ideas of free access to knowledge and open educational resources. Currently, there are 30 members (individuals and legal bodies) at the network.


Challenges remaining

Civil society activists and international donors have carried out many reforms to promote open education in Kyrgyzstan: the development of e-textbooks, creation of the joint national repository of open educational resources, a.o. However, there are still big challenges ahead:

  • Creative commons licenses don’t have legal validity
  • High expenditures of national budget for paper textbooks, shortage of school textbooks
  • Weak innovation, outdated textbooks
  • Process of public order and certification of school textbooks works inefficiently.

wikipediaAmendments are planned for local copyright law in terms of public/open/free licenses, and in terms of that publicly funded educational resources should be openly licensed work on copyright issues and legislation; to increase teachers’ ICT competency, to make informational campaigns for promoting Kyrgyz Wikipedia etc.

7th Open Education Working Group Call: Open Data as Open Educational Resources

- May 18, 2015 in calls, data, featured, oer

Our seventh Open Education Working Group Call will take place on Thursday 4th June at 1pm BST / 2pm CEST (note that this is a change to the previously advertised date). Call links:

The call will focus on the theme of Open Data as Open Educational Resources and will feature 3 guest speakers:

  • Leo Havemann: Birkbeck, University of London
  • Javiera Atenas: University College London
  • William Hammonds: Universities UK

There will be time to ask questions and to discuss how the topic could fit in to future plans for the group.

Theme outline

dataeThe scientific community agrees that open data is an invaluable to support researchers and scientist as it encourages transparent research practices but also, the use of open data as open educational resources can become an invaluable asset in academia, as by using these datasets in research centered curriculum or in scenario based learning activities students can improve their subject knowledge and research skills.

For us using real data from research projects enable a series of opportunities for students to collaborate with researchers across disciplines applying quantitative and qualitative methods, so they can understand good practices in data retrieval, collection and analysis, and that these research based activities can facilitate instances for independent research, teamwork and critical digital and data analysis skills.

The aim of this webinar is to identify academic practices and activities in the use of open data and to gather and discuss ideas that can be applied in HE, aiming to help students to develop a variety of skills, including data literacy, research methods, problem solving and citizenship skills. We are particularly interested in examples of where university research and data has been used as we we would like identify good practices for the use of open data in the arts and humanities, social sciences, engineering and physical sciences and biological and clinical sciences.

See the blog post on The 21st Century’s Raw Material: Using Open Data as Open Educational Resources for further details.

Call Information

During the meeting we will be using an Etherpad for the agenda and notes. Please feel free to add your name and items to the agenda. Also add any questions you have for the speakers.

The minutes from the last meeting are available online.

Once again we are planning to hold the meeting in Google hangouts but would really appreciate your Skype addresses in case we have any problems. There is an upper limit of 15 people for Google Hangouts but we will attempting to transmit in Google Hangouts on Air too – Open Knowledge are currently investigating other approaches. Please check out the hangouts spec in advance.

Hope to see you there! Sign up if you’d like a reminder!