Open Source Software in Education Series on Terra Incognita

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Welcome and Project Description

Welcome to the Open Source Software in Education Series project site. Thank you very much for your interest in this project. The goal of the project is to collect and expose the thoughts of practical innovators in education who can provide insights on the impact of OSS in a forum that allows for some commenting and discussion. It is then my hope to make the postings and comments available as Open Educational Resources on WikiEducator. I imagine these resources being used in a number formal and informal educational setting across disciplines.

Although most of the postings will be reasonably brief treatments of some topic of the author’s choosing that relates to the impact of open source software on Education, there will be occasional interviews, project descriptions, and perhaps postings that take other formats. In addition, the authors are asked to provide a “shameless promotion” for a project, posting, article, etc. that they are involved with or find interesting that relates to education, open source software, or open educational content. We have no preconception about appropriate themes for the postings. I imagine that postings could focus on pedagogical impact, community building, economics, national capacity building, impact on developing countries, intellectual property, spurring innovation, software application improvement, strategic uses, etc. In all cases the authors have agreed to spend some time after their postings are made to respond to comments and engage with those who show interest in their thoughts.

Although the project will be managed from WikiEducator and the materials will be returned here freely accessible, the postings will appear on Terra Incognita, which is the Penn State World Campus blog [1]. I am excited that the following group has volunteered their time and effort to contribute to this resource:

Rob Abel Gavin Baker Leigh Blackall James Dalziel
Jean-Claude Dauphin Micahel Feldstein Steve Foerster Christine Geith
Amee Godwin Mara Hancock Derek Keats Pat Masson
Wayne Mackintosh Farideh Mashayekh (Bazargan) Dick Moore Craig A. Perue
Ruth Sabean Gary Schwartz Stuart Sim Kim Tucker
David Wiley Richard Wyles

A list of contributors Series contributors with some introductory information can be found on Terra Incognita [2]

I anticipate more colleagues to joining in. If you are interested in participating in the series as an author, please feel free to contact me directly at, or if you have some suggestions for additional contributors, please feel free to contact me or forward their contact information. The list will grow, so please keep an eye on the schedule below.

Note on Posting Site and Project Site

  • We will be using this site on WikiEducator to "Manage" the Series, maintain the schedule, provide instruction, etc.
  • We will be using Terra Incognita [3] as the as the place were we will publish our postings, make comments, and dialog with each other.
  • We will use another site on WikiEducator to post the assets we create as Open Educational Resources. The site will set-up very soon.

{{Note|Terra Incognita's blog site is no longer available on Penn State servers. Ken Udas informs me that the content is hosted on Connexions] - Randy Fisher 19:22, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Overview of OSS and OER in Education Series (March 2007 – July 2007) Working Document

In preparation for the COSL Open Education 2007 [4] and ICDE Annual [5] meetings this fall a resource has been created that teases out some of the themes that were developed during the first Session of the Series. Note that all papers and presentation materials based on the Series will be available under the Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. The most complete “work in progress” is available for editing, further development, and comment. Please feel free to jump in and further development and edit the Overview of the OSS and OER in Education Series document.

February-July 2008 Schedule

Please select a date and fill in your name. A two or three sentence description would be helpful.

DATE: February 1, 2008

NAME: Christine Geith

TOPIC: OER University: Promise or Peril? The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement around the world is rapidly gaining momentum and taking shape. Can this movement birth a new university? What might it look like? Could it achieve the quality and access goals that online learning alone has not been able to deliver? Or, is this just a repeat of the late 1990's when e-learning made a similar splash?

DATE: March 1, 2008

NAME: Amee Godwin

TOPIC: On “Doing OER”. In her posting, Amee moves the dialog around OER from concentrating on the content to exploring the process of creating, recreating, and reusing OER. She describes doing OER as a catalyst for exchanging ideas and knowledge creation among diverse communities of teachers.

DATE: April 1, 2008

NAME: Stuart Sim

TOPIC: The Business of Open Source. In his posting, Stuart raises some of the challenges of building a business model for wrapping services around intellectual property (IP) that is open.

DATE: May 1, 2008

NAME: Joel Thierstein

TOPIC:“The Role Of University Faculty In The OER World,” which will prove the opportunity to open a conversation on the critical role of faculty in the ecosystem that supports the creation, distribution, use, and reuse of OER.

DATE: June 1, 2008

NAME: Derek Keats

TOPIC: Higher education institutions exist as a result of the need to aggregate resources that are scarce (professors, books, journals, laboratories). The emergence of widespread technical infrastructure (the Internet), coupled with an abundance of Free Software and Free Educational Resources has reduced some of this scarcity, and made other models of education possible. New approaches that build on both the products and processes of Digital Freedom, such as personal learning environments, recognition of learning achieved, and collaborative cross-institutional virtual classrooms, have the potential to create new opportunities for education. But will the potential be realised?

DATE: July 1, 2008



September-December 2007 Schedule

Please select a date and fill in your name. A two or three sentence description would be helpful.

DATE: September 5, 2007

NAME: Gavin Baker [6]

TOPIC: Open access journal literature is an open educational resource: why free education needs free scholarship [7]. Gavin will write about linkages between open access journal literature and open educational resources, arguing that free education needs free scholarship.

DATE: September 19, 2007

NAME: Rob Abel [8]

TOPIC: Interoperability Standards and Open Source/Open Content: What I Think I've Learned in the Last Two Years. Rob will relay a few thoughts on the relationship between open source software that supports teaching and learning and open standards for data and application interoperability in the same space. I

DATE: October 3, 2007

NAME: David Wiley

TOPIC: David will write about the role of open content in open education, treating OER and Content as Infrastructure.

DATE: October 17, 2007

NAME: Gary Schwartz

TOPIC: Gary will write from the perspective of a open source project manager. He is the project manager and spokesperson for Bedework, the open source, enterprise calendaring system for Higher Education.

DATE: October 31, 2007

NAME: Michael Feldstein

TOPIC: Michael will be writing about how open source projects work from an economic perspective. Drawing on the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase and Harvard economics professor Yochai Benkler, he will provide some perspective on how open source projects manage to defy conventional wisdom about economics and self-interested behavior, and gives some questions that universities can ask when considering whether a particular open source software project is likely to be successful.

DATE: November 14, 2007

NAME: Steve Foerster, Director of E-Learning at Marymount University

TOPIC: Fair Use as an alternative and complement to open licensing. Steve will be writing about American legal system’s concept of fair use of copyrighted materials as it relates to education.

DATE: November 28, 2007

NAME: Leigh Blackall

TOPIC: Leigh will be writing about Otago Polytechnic’s adoption of a Creative Commons Attribution copyright license and its use the Wikieducator platform - along with many of the popular media sharing services, to develop and publish Open Educational Resources.

March-July 2007 Schedule

DATE: March 12, 2007

NAME: Ruth M. Sabean, assistant vice provost for educational technology in UCLA’s College of Letters and Science

TOPIC: Recently UCLA selected Moodle as their common collaboration and learning environment (CCLE). This is an interview with Ruth Sebean who was responsible for the evaluation and selection process. [9]

DATE: March 21, 2007

NAME: Richard Wyles, | Flexible Learning Network,

TOPIC: Networking Moodles across multiple institutions, Mahara ePortfolio and related projects. Some examples of how open source is delivering on the promise of innovation for education. [10]

DATE: April 4, 2007

NAME: Wayne Mackintosh, Commonwealth of Learning

TOPIC: Bridging the educational divide with free content and free software [11]

DATE: April 18, 2007

NAME: Patrick Masson, Chief Information Officer, SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

TOPIC: Barriers to the Adoption of Open Source: Personal and Professional Observations [12]

DATE: May 2, 2007

NAME: Kim Tucker, Meraka Institute, CSIR

TOPIC: FLOSS, OER, Equality and Digital Inclusion [13]

The topic covers FLOSS, Free Knowledge and Equality in Education. What do we mean by equality in education? What are the implications for digital inclusion?

DATE: May 16, 2007

NAME: James Dalziel, LAMS Foundation & Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE), Macquarie University, Australia

TOPIC: Pedagogy, technology and open source - experiences from LAMS [14]

LAMS is an open source Learning Design system. It provides tools to author, run and manage Learning Designs (also known as digital lesson plans). LAMS supports the sharing of Learning Designs as open educational content via the LAMS Community. Using LAMS as a case study, this topic will explore the intersection of pedagogy, technology and open source.

DATE: May 30, 2007

NAME: Dr. Farideh Mashayekh (Bazargan) , - Pedagogy, Lifelong learning, Learning Environment, Learning Performance & More

TOPIC: Lifelong Learning in Knowledge Society: Pedagogy, Lifelong Learning, Knowledge Society - experiences from [15] (founded on July 2005 in Tehran, Iran) is an independent open window toward learning and knowledge construction. "" is developed around two fundamental and interrelated concepts:

a) learning performance(ends), b) learning environment (means).

Using as a case study, this topic will explore the intersection of pedagogy, lifelong learning and knowledge society.

DATE: June 13, 2007

NAME: Craig A. Perue, Programme Manager for eLearning@UWI (see OurVLE)

TOPIC: eLearning@UWI: A fulfilled promise. This topic covers the investments in people and process that were part of a multi-year programme that Perue conceptualized three years ago to use open-source software to make eLearning a self-sustaining, revolutionary force that could cross first one campus and then all the campuses of the 15-country University of the West Indies. [16]

DATE: June 27, 2007

NAME: Jean-Claude Dauphin, Project Manager, Section for ICTs in Education, Science and Culture,Information Society Division, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO (see [17] ,[18]

TOPIC:UNESCO activities promoting the use of FOSS Solutions in Education. A brief description of past, current and envisaged activities aimed at promoting the use of Free and Open Source Software solutions for Education.

DATE: July 11, 2007

NAME: Mara Hancock

TOPIC: Open Source software and the User Experience. Open source software has moved up the stack. Consumer software: Content Management, Learning Management, Portals, among others are all emerging directly out of open and community source efforts which provide unique opportunities for higher education to directly address the needs of their constituencies. But what do we have to do to ensure that they have an excellent user experience when interacting with these tools? How does the fact that we are in a teaching and learning environment impact that work and the methods we apply? [19]

DATE: July 25, 2007

NAME: Dick Moore, Director of Technology, Ufi

TOPIC: Running a service not a system: learndirect is the worlds largest public funded e-learning platform with in excess of 2,5 million learners. Over the last 5 years we have strategically adopted a range of open source tools and platforms that have helped us transform our Service and reduce our operational costs. This piece will look at some of those tools, decisions and their service impact. it also looks at right sourcing (in-sourced v out-sourced services) and the implications for using open source.

DATE: August 8, 2007

NAME: Taking August Off


DATE: August 22, 2007

NAME: Taking August Off


For Authors


This Series is intended to be a relatively low time commitment activities. Most authors will be writing about something they find interesting and have been thinking about. It is intended to be a fun way to get a bunch of interesting people writing interesting things, sharing their perspectives, and creating a little dialog. In the end, we will have widened the circle, enriched the dialog, and created open educational resources to be used freely.

Making it Work

Although this activity should not be too burdensome for authors I will need you to do the following:

  • Select a spot on the schedule and provide the requested information
  • Submit your posting two days before it is schedule to be posted. It can be updated right up to the last minute, but I would like to ready to go 2 days before it I scheduled. I will ensure that it is posted on the designated day.
  • Be available for at least 5 days after your post to respond to questions and feedback. Once again, this should not be overly time consuming and it should be fun.

Although it is not essential, it would be great if you could do the following:

  • Register with WikiEducator and use your profile as a link in the schedule. This will provide folks with a little bit of your background.
  • "Watch"these project pages.
  • Check out some of the other posts and participate in the dialog. If we are active in this way, it could become interesting.
  • If you are able to point some of your colleagues or students to the postings, that would be great. It would enliven the discussion as t is happening on the blog, but participants might generate suggestions for themes and provide other feedback on this site.

How to Post on Terra Incognita

To help ensure that the post goes up smoothly:

  1. Please register at Terra Incognita [20]. When you register, please try to select a user name that is obvious so your name is reflected on your post.
  2. Please "Save" your posting to the site before the end on the day on the Monday preceding your scheduled posting date (US Eastern time).
  3. Shelby, who supports the blog, and I will check links, look for typos, etc. but will of course not edit content.
  4. She (or I) will "publish" your post on the morning of that your post is scheduled. Because you saved the post, it will publish under your user name.
  5. Before we publish your post I will confirm that you will be monitoring the blog and be available at least until the following Monday to respond to comments.
  6. Finally please send a brief bio to me. A few days before your post, I will make an "announcement" that you will be posting. I would like to provide a little background on the poster and remind folks when the post is going up, etc.

Prospective Authors

If you are interested in posting as part of the Series, please send me an email and we can chat about it. Ken Udas

Managing the Series Assets as OER

I am struggling a bit with how best to make the assets that we are creating in this series into OERs. Right now I am thinking about using eXe [21] to package the content as iDevices [22] [23] and making some packages available for download here on WikiEducator and linking to the original postings on the Terra Incognita blog.

We currently have the following assets:

  1. A welcome message that introduced the author and provides a very high level overview of the post.
  2. The post itself.
  3. The comments that are generated from the post.
  4. The summary of the post.

I am thinking too of imagining what types of potential uses that educators or others might find for the materials listed above and reformat them as “learning objectives,” which can be integrated into the assets as iDevices. I am thinking too of developing a list of perhaps 5 or so descriptors of the materials to help identify the content.

We could ask readers to help contribute the “learning objectives” and the descriptors, which would probably make them more useful.

If you have any thoughts, please comment here, make suggestions, etc.

Related Activities

NUTN 2008 Meeting - OER and Open Education at NUTN 2008, Christine Geith and Ken Udas are providing a presentation titled Access for Open Education and the Impact of Open Source Software and Open Educational Resources at the 2008 annual meeting of the National University Telecommunications Network (NUTN). We are using space on WikiEducator to support development of the presentation, distribute presentation content, develop some community around the presentation, and provide a resource for OER and Open Education to conference participants.

Summer Camp @ Penn State - This summer I went to Summer Camp, which was an event organized by Penn State's Educational Technology Group. Along with a few colleagues I lead a discussion on Open Education and wile doing so, generated a list of Open Education Resources. I am going to continue to build this out and I welcome others to join in. I am parking it here at least for a while.