Talk:Open Education Declaration

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Wrong Forest121:06, 3 October 2011
Will I sign the declaration?321:04, 17 December 2007
Title318:48, 13 December 2007
Vision117:08, 13 December 2007
Strategies114:46, 13 December 2007

Wrong Forest

Edited by another user.
Last edit: 21:06, 3 October 2011

Paragraph 8: "Thousands of educators ..." - this paragraph prompted my "wrong forest" posting on the UNESCO mailing list. I worry that the mindset is becoming too inwardly focused on building the "open education" community (with too strong an emphasis on the educators). So, reword the second sentence more along the lines of the opportunity society has (rather than "we have" ... and consider changing the sentence from:

"Most importantly, we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through freely available, high‑quality, locally relevant educational and learning opportunities."

to take cognisance of these points:

i. Whose opportunity? (recall "enabling people to empower themselves with knowledge" ‑ see Declaration on libre knowledge).

ii. Quality can only be defined in local terms (by the users).

and (consider) rewording the sentence to something like:

"Most importantly, hundreds of millions of people around the world will be able to improve their lives dramatically through the opportunity to participate in this global libre and open knowledge society."

Optionally clarify with something like: "Participants have the freedom to use knowledge resources (or any parts thereof) for any purpose, the freedom to co‑create, adapt, enhance and share knowledge for collective benefit."

(the reference to quality becomes implicit ‑ 'adapt' includes localisation)

This apparently minor change is actually highly significant and points to a possible systematic bias in the "open education" movement ‑ wrong forest"?

Ktucker (talk)14:50, 13 December 2007

Hi Kim,

I don't think a world which segregates the free knowledge community on the basis of sector, eg Education, Goverment, broader society etc is necessarily the best way forward. That said -- the education community does have unique characteristics - for example that the majority of education provision on our planet is publically funded. Fortunately free cultural works can transcend institutional and organisational boundaries.

I do take your point that quality will always be contextual. At the same time I think that its important for the OER community to strive for the development of high quality educational materials. So I guess we need to think carefully about the wording here.

Mackiwg (talk)17:35, 13 December 2007

Will I sign the declaration?

This is a tough question which in my personal case as a active member of the free knowledge community could be likened to an moral dilemma. There is a fine line between doing things right and doing the right thing.

From the perspective of "education as a common good" -- I feel that it's important for us to support the intent of free content as a social good for education.

As a active member of the free knowledge community I do not support the closed way the declaration was developed. I'm also concerned that the declaration does not adequately address the distinctions between free and non-free OERs.

RMS in in many of his speeches offers advice when faced with an ethical dilemma like this. Namely what do you do should a friend ask for an unauthorised copy of non-free software?

  • Do you help your friend? or
  • Do you uphold the copyright requirements and refuse to give your friend a copy of the software?

RMS suggests that you should accept the lessor of two evils and give your friend an unauthorised copy of the software.

With regards to the Cape Town declaration, in many respects, I think that its better to accept the lesser of two evils. That is to support the intent of what they are trying to do.

So I have signed the declaration as a launch signatory -- but feel more like I'm doing things right than doing the right thing.

Mackiwg (talk)19:04, 13 December 2007

Personally I would rather wait and see how the document is amended after the various comments have been processed and assimilated.

There has been some talk about inclusivity.

A point to ponder:

"inclusivity of the Open Education community" vs "inclusivity".

Use of the term "libre" aligns with the latter. Use of the term "open" and much of the associated "baggage" (e.g. CC-BY-NC- etc.) (and the wording in the declaration and the process its development followed) is aligned with the former.

Nevertheless, the work being done by all the "open" communities is important and admirable. Hopefully it all leads towards the same thing - but I am not so sure yet.

("the latter" above implies: "inclusivity" of _everyone_ in the global knowledge society.)

Ktucker (talk)08:46, 14 December 2007

Kim that's a fair position and more than reasonable to wait and see whether proposed amendments will be incorporated into the document .

PS -- thanks to your postings on the net on the topic -- the debate has now opened up.

Mackiwg (talk)16:50, 14 December 2007

I would have to take this to my board... but there is a lot in line with the work we are doing at the and I could see us aligning very easily with something like this. In short, we could support it.--Mike 22:04, 17 December 2007 (CET)

Mfinney (talk)21:04, 17 December 2007
Edited by author.
Last edit: 14:17, 13 December 2007

Change the title from "Cape Town Open Education Declaration" to "Cape Town Libre and Open Education Declaration". See Say Libre for rationale.

Ktucker (talk)09:45, 13 December 2007

In the second sentence, clarify whether "free to use" means "free of charge for certain uses" or "for all to use freely". I hope the latter, in which case only a few licenses apply (GNU Free Documentation License, CC-BY-SA and possibly CC-BY - though even these are debatable).

Ktucker (talk)09:58, 13 December 2007

Throughout, where appropriate, reword "open education" to "libre and open".

Ktucker (talk)12:30, 13 December 2007

Kim this is an important distinction.

All free cultural works are open, but not all OERs are free. To be fair to the Declaration team -- this is not labeled a "Free/Libre Content Declaration" -- therefore we can expect signatories to the declaration who do not necessarily support the essential freedoms.

However, I would like to see a clarifying sentence or two which distinguishes between the free and open (non-free) participants of the OER movement.

A reference to the free cultural works definition or similar articulation of the essential freedoms would be beneficial to the declaration. When thinking about our collective responsibilities - I do think that its important to reflect that their are differences of opinion in the OER movement and that free culture perspective is not clearly identified in the document.

Mackiwg (talk)18:48, 13 December 2007

Provide a concise vision statement up-front (i.e. where all this is going). While reading the declaration there were several statements which I thought might have been suitable, though they are probably part of the mission rather than a concise vision statement:

  • Unlocking the promise of open educational resources
  • to accelerate the international effort to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education
  • opening up and enlivening the world of education
  • a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge (I like this one - like Wikipedia :-)
  • to make education both more accessible and more effective
  • to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources

The Declaration on libre knowledge starts with the vision statement - comments welcome.

Ktucker (talk)14:43, 13 December 2007

Hi Kim,

I think a compelling vision statement would add tremendous value to the declaration.

I too like: a world where every person can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge - I would preface the vision with something like "We are collaborating with the free knowledge community to build a world where .....

There is a valid debate that OER content is not necessarily knowledge in the sense that it is internalised and used for the benefit of society --- however approaches which encourage citizens to contribute and collaborate in the realisation of this vision would bring knowledge to the table -- so to speak.

Mackiwg (talk)17:08, 13 December 2007


Use of the word "strategies" seems wrong. I thought of tactics at first, but on further reflection these are more like "pleas" or "recommendations".

I like the first recommendation - the learners are highlighted (but remember to say "libre and open" instead of just "open" throughout).

In the second recommendation, consider specifying free file formats.

and regarding access for people with disabilities and people without access to the internet, add something on localisation (another aspect of "access"). You could also say that the license should permit people to localise the resources and adapt them for any specific needs.

Ktucker (talk)14:45, 13 December 2007

In the third recommendation: Accreditation processes should not "give preference to" OER. Perhaps reword to "embed criteria in accreditation processes that acknowledge the value of collaborative development of educational resources ..." etc.

In paragraph seven, begin with "These recommendations ..." and think about saying "more than just the right thing to do". How sure can one be? For example, the note about the accreditation processes above would be the wrong thing to do, and there is a lot of western baggage that comes with all of this.

In the same paragraph, re "expensive textbooks": is there a time component included? i.e. billions of people will gradually become connected in the next decade, the degree of access will vary. There are still places where text books are still a good option. So it is great that the print option is mentioned earlier in the document. Perhaps be more general than "expensive textbooks" and say "redirect funds from inefficient dissemination methods towards more effective learning.

In the same paragraph: remove the last sentence "These are strategies that make sense for everyone" (are you sure?).

Ktucker (talk)14:46, 13 December 2007