Wayne Mackintosh’s Presentation

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Wayne Macintosh Part 1 Introduction

Part 1 Introduction NOTES

(0:00) Introductions and Thanks from Ken Udas

Thanks to:

  • Nancy Thomas
  • Juan Xia
  • Kelley Moran
  • Chrissy Fitgerald
  • Karl Leitzel
  • Michael Moore
  • Michael Aduwammi

Kelly Moran Introduces Wayne Mackintosh Chrissy Fitgerald Introduces Eric Feinblatt

(4:30) Wayne Starts his presentation

Wayne makes reference to the role that Penn State has taken in the development of distance education, citing the significant work of Michael Moore and Gary Miller.

(5:30) Wayne’s Commitment to free software

Uses no proprietary software finds it immoral. It provides a professional dilemma, which s stated as: As an educator I like to share and I want to be able to do it without transgressing copyright.

Ideas want to be free.

(6:50) Objectives of the Freedom Culture

Education is a common good. If educators can work collaboratively it can make a big difference. Even when we give knowledge away we still have it ourselves to use.

Strategic objective in Freedom Culture. By 2015 we want a free version of the entire education curriculum. Available for use adaptation and modification. If we don’t get it right, that’s okay. We’ll just take a little longer. We are not attempting to replace closed curriculum. We want to have a Free alternative available.

There are providers that do both open and closed content. This is not a competition between open and closed content.

Quality is import for both groups. Want the best quality Free materials that we can develop.

Just 22 years ago there was no such thing as free software. Today we have all the free software that we need to do our work available as free alternatives. Coding software is more challenging that developing content, in the sense that entry barriers to participation are lower.

(9:30) Will cover today:

  • We will talk a little bit about what the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is.
  • For COL Free content is important. We work in the developing world.
  • Will introduce some COL projects.
  • Pose and open question about “how you can help us in achieving these aims”.

To illustrate the ubiquity of open source software (OSS) we took a hand count of who uses Firefox, most do/have. Wayne points out that approximately 67% of all web pages are delivered using Apache. So we have all experienced the benefits of OSS/Free software. We all use Free software that we might not even be aware of.

Who is the Commonwealth of Learning? Intentional governmental organization set up by Commonwealth heads of government to encourage development and sharing of open learning and DL knowledge, resources, and technologies. Work through the Ministers of Education in the 53 states of the commonwealth. Focus primarily in developing regions of the world. We try to improve access to quality education throughout the Commonwealth.

COL is headed up by Sir John Daniel. Wayne’s background is in elearning and ICT policy. There are a number of other specialists at COL who focus in different areas. Today the focus will be on ICT policy, so it is a rather narrow part of what COL does.

(12:54) What is Free Content & Why Should it Be Important to the University?

  • US data on Cost of Education to Consumer Price Index. Cost of tuition at public universities in the US indicates that education is becoming less affordable. If it is becoming a problem in a large developed economy, imagine the challenges in the developing world.
  • Value proposition of Free content is related to the fact that approximately 80% of the costs in developing high quality distance education materials is tied-up in faculty time in developing resources. There is of course design, multi media design. So, theoretically, if we are able to spread and share the costs across many institutions we should be able to reduce the cost (I assume that Wayne meant the per/institution cost across the curriculum). The central value proposition of free content is spreading costs across institutions to make high quality content available and affordable to all participants.

Part 1 Introduction FILES

Wayne Macintosh Part 2 Technology and the Developing World

Part 2 Technology and the Developing World NOTES

Wayne Macintosh Part 2 Technology and the Developing World

This file focuses on technology and access to education

(0:00) Technology and Access to Education

  • Back in 1973 “Trove” came up with a gross enrolment ratio of 15% that would classify a society as providing mass education. The gross enrolment ratio is based on the normal cohort that would participate in higher education. Most of industrialized countries have ratio of greater than 50%. In Africa on the other hand, it is often lower than 3% for the age cohort. Traditional methods will not be able to achieve mass education in developing world.
  • One foreign commissioner for UNESCO expressed her hope that Wayne’s work with Open & Free Content in secondary education is to help get 70% of our children into school, or give them access to school level education.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio for secondary education in Kenya is approximately 30%, meaning that 70% of the children who should be in school, are not receiving a secondary education.
  • The average annual income of a Kenyan is $400/year, while it cost $150/year to provide secondary education for a year. This represents nearly 40% of distributable income, highlighting the challenges of providing secondary education under the current cost and income structure in the developing world.

(2:30) Access to Infrastructure

  • Access to Internet (2006), US = 1:1.5, one users for every 1.5 people, while in Africa the ratio is 1:38, and when considering Africa less South Africa & Egypt the ratio is between 1:250 to 400. This points to challenges of getting rich digital content into the developing world.
  • Growth of Internet usage in Africa has been significant, although the rates are distorted due to a small base, but it is still promising.

(3:50) Technology in Africa, Pedagogy, and Globalization

Wayne believes that continents like Africa will be responsible for pioneering next generation pedagogy. This is due in part to forward looking disposition in Africa, and that access to technology is surmountable. The problem of access ultimately is not technological, which is important to recognize.

Challenges of Globalization, Africa’s view is that you can’t become part of the global village by passively becoming globalized, we want to be the globalizers. This is a shift in disposition and dialog that is now becoming obvious in the developing world.

As an example Wayne shows an example of this spirit in the NC3 course (No Computer, Computer Course). Course about computers that does not use computers. Community driven project taking place in rural Nigeria. Woman of the village wanted to learn about technology. They use presentation materials such as posters that connect past experiences with technology to computer processes. This is an illustration of the passion to move forward with technology

(6:15) Africa and Legacy Technology

Advisors frequently assert that Africans must use legacy technologies, but this is not the heart and will of Africans. They do not want to use legacy technology, the want to move forward.

There are a number of projects that illustrate interest and ways of gaining access to technology. Wayne discussed some projects that are helping to provide Internet access for Education. tuXlab [1] (uses Linux thin client) runs off of server, where major investment is. Communities propagate the model, teachers are trained to do maintenance. Once a school has established a tuXlab, it would help establish the next lab in the next village.

Part 2 Technology and the Developing World FILES

Wayne Macintosh Part 3 What is Free Content

Part 3 What is Free Content NOTES

(0:00) What is Free Content? Can I give you some examples? Yes I can.

As an educator every time I teach I give away knowledge freely. This is not a new phenomena.

In US, David Wiley USU 1988 coined the phrase Open Content, then MIT launched their Open Courseware initiative in 2001, CC License, UNESCO 2002 coined the phrase Open Educational Resources “OER”.

To get a good understanding of what free content is, you ought to go back to roots of Free Software, understand the tenants, and translate them into Free Content Arena. Richard Stallman, the father of the GNU free software project, he believes that you have to know what freedom is to fight for it, or it is very easy to lose.

(2:45) Wayne shows a video clip of Richard Stallman on Free Software

Free Software and GNU, free software respects the user’s freedom. Is the exception, and was more so 20 years ago. Most is proprietary. Proprietary software keeps users divided and helpless. Each user is forbidden to share with anybody else (divided) and none have the source code so they can’t change anything or verify what it is doing (helpless). It is “Just trust me” software. Free software respects the user’s freedom. Which means that users have 4 essential freedoms:

  • Freedom 0 - Use: The freedom to run a program, for any purpose.
  • Freedom 1 - Help Yourself: The freedom to study how a program works, and adapt it to your needs (Access to the source code is a precondition for this).
  • Freedom 2 - Help Your Neighbor: The freedom to redistribute copies
  • Freedom 3 - Help Build Your Community: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public.

If one of the freedoms is missing or significantly compromised, then the software is proprietary, the development is unethical, and it must not be used if you want to keep your freedom.

Why are these freedoms so important? Freedom 2 is necessary on basic ethical grounds, so you can be a good member of your community. You will be in danger of a dilemma of choosing between, give away a copy and violate the license, or deny your friend a copy. The lesser evil is to give away a copy and violate the license. This is because, assumedly, your friend has behaved well to you in the past and merits your cooperation. (Wayne ends clip)

Freedom to help yourself, freedom to help your neighbor, and freedom to help your community.

(7:45) Discussing Free Educational Content

Makes reference to Free Content Definition [2]. Attempts to describe for free content is, and does a mapping to different license that do and do not meet the free content definition.

Essential Freedoms of Free Content

  • The freedom to study and apply the information: There is a right to examine, alter or apply the information.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies: Copies may be sold there should be no restriction on commercial gain from free content. Should be no limit to commercial activity, we believe that is a material restriction.
  • The freedom to distribute modified versions: If you make a change, you should be able to redistribute the changes.

In most of the world, if you create something, you are automatically the copyright holder for those materials or that creation. You do not have explicitly mark the materials, everything is assumed to have a copyright holder. So, if you own the rights, you can give them away, and that is referred to as copy left.

There are permissible restrictions:

  • Requirement to “share alike” (Copy Left)
  • Requirement to attribute
  • Requirement to distribute with transparent file formats (ease of editing)

Part 3 What is Free Content FILES

Wayne Macintosh Part 4 You do not Need a License to Distribute Free Content

Part 4 You do not Need a License NOTES

(0:00)You do not need a license to distribute free content.

You can drop it into the public domain, which means there is no license. It is not a license, it is a declaration that a particular resource is available in the public domain. COL recommends the use of a license to protect the freedoms of the resource and they advocate a Creative Commons license [3]. Using the Creative Commons you can add restrictions. The Creative Commons provides a legal framework and all of the documentation to make content freely available. The user can select the restrictions.

(1:31) The Non-Commercial Restriction.

Although most of the OCW projects in the US use the Non-Commercial Restriction, COL advises to not use the Non-Commercial restriction and no-derivates works. These two restrictions bump against the definition of Free Content. Now, one might ask, what would stop a big commercial from taking that content and make a lot of money out of it? You could use the “Share Alike” restriction, forcing users to redistribute also under a share a like license. So an adaptations or redistributions would have to be shared under the same license, which means that you can’t cut others out of the rights that you received, creating a artificial monopoly. Charging excessive amounts for free content will likely not be supported by the “market”. It seems unlikely that commercial providers will be able to make a lot of money on content that is licensed with a share a like restriction.

Part 4 You do not Need a License FILES

Wayne Macintosh Part 5: Noncommercial Licensing in the Developing World

Part 5: Noncommercial Licensing in the Developing World NOTES

(0:00) Problems of the Non-Commercial License in the Developing World

That said, the problem with a non-commercial license in the developing world is two-fold for example we cannot effectively use content from MIT’s Open Courseware project. And this is for two reasons:

  • The MIT License is not compatible with a range of other Free Open Content licenses. Let’s say that we want to take an article from Wikipedia and combine it with some of MIT’s content for re-release under an Free Open License for Free use in secondary schools. I may not do that because the Non-Commercial restriction sits within MIT’s content license and you cannot mix I with any of the Free Content licenses.
  • The non-commercial restriction will not allow for redistribution with service changes, which is essentially a commercial activity, we cannot use content with a non-commercial restriction. That is, if we have a small business businessperson collecting and redistributing content to rural areas of Africa and changing a service charge, that individual is engaging in a “commercial” activity and would be in violation of a non-commercial license.

Part 5: Noncommercial Licensing in the Developing World FILES

Wayne Macintosh Part 6: Are all Open Educational Resources Equally Free?

Part 6: Are all Open Educational Resources Equally Free? NOTES

(0:00) Are All OER Equally Free?

No, they are not. For example, let’s assume that I create some free content and I save it using the PDF file format. Although the content might be distributed under a free content license, the PDF file format practically restricts modification because it is very difficult to edit PDF files, which breaches the freedom to distribute modified versions, not because of restriction on distribution, but because of the practical impact of using a closed file format. This holds also for imagines saved in a closed format that is not easily editable. It is not only about how you license the content, but also about how your choice of formatting practically impacts the user’s “freedoms”.

Part 6: Are all Open Educational Resources Equally Free? FILES

Wayne Macintosh Part 7: WikiEducator

Part 7 WikiEducator NOTES

(0:00) WikiEducatoris an Asset for the Developing World

WikiEducator [4], is principally an asset for the developing world to have the space to develop free content. WikiEducator uses a Creative Commons [5] share a like license. It is a wiki, like Wikipedia that COL has set up for the development and distribution of free content. The service is free of charge for anybody on the planet, but it is predominantly the voice for the developing world.

(0:55) The Power of Social Computing and Community and Development

Wikipedia [6] is an example of something very new enabled by new types of technology. It is the 12th most frequently visited site in the having just overtaken AOL. Newpedia was the precursor to Wikipedia and was also founded by Jimmy Wales [7]. They paid experts to create content to get high quality content, but after 2 years only generated 26 articles. So they shifted to an Open Content model, lay people create content and frequently experts come and tidy things up.

This is not really about technology, this is about society. At COL we wanted to leverage this to work for educational content, so we set-up Wikieducator. Community driven. Turn digital divide into digital (relevance?) using free content and community. Everybody is welcome to contribute.

(3:25) The Big Issue for Africa – How do you get Access?

A big issue for much if the developing world is how do you get access to this content? If you don’t have access to the Internet, how are you going to benefit? Other project are trying to address Internet access. One is the eLearning XHTML Editor eXe [8] is among them. It is a tool designed to be easier for teachers to use and create content that is easy to share. This is because it packages content in a number of international standard formats and will run on any IMS standard learning management system.

We are trying to develop a way to extract information from WikiEducator in ways that make it easy to reconfigure and customize the content. eXe allows for packaging using a number of international specifications, so you can run it in any IMS compliant LMS. Can also take collaboratively developed content from WikiEducactor and run it through templates created in Open Office to be redistributed as print-based material. This is an interim measure that points to a way to automatically use Wiki materials and generate customized print-based materials. This could have enormous impact on getting educational resources to parts of the world that do not have access to appropriate textbooks.

How do you get content to kids who need them. How can you use wikis and other technologies to render content for print? How do you get some of that content to learners who do not have Internet access. Wayne points to PediaPress [9]. It is a commercial web service that searches Wikipedia, identifies articles, and spits out a book in PDF format. School teachers can go to an Internet Café, use Free Content, and create a textbook. If the content is “free”, then it can be localized and distributed to kids in schools that do not have textbooks.

(6:30) Some More Projects that COL is Working With

COL’s main strategy is to building capacity for the development and use of Free Content through community. COL is doing no work around proprietary content or software,

  • WikiEducator [10]: Development of Free Content use for teaching and learning. Also used for project planning. For example, funding proposals. Wayne asks us to consider developing proposals as free content. Why would one want to do that? What if somebody steals them? But after all if somebody else is going to have more success getting finding then that is better. It’s about getting the job done. The University of London is hosting a mirror site.
  • WikiResearcher: Collaborative research projects that result in free content.
  • Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth [11]: 54% of statement with under 5 million people. Creates challenges to provide higher education in a small state. Lack of capacity. Twenty-seven COL countries have asked COL to facilitate a network of intuitions. Started with content development. 15 countries have work together on developing Free Content using WikiEducator during a “Bootcamp” activity.
  • Computer Navigators Certificate [12]: ICT Skill development is a big challenge. There is a lot of software piracy according to the Global Software Piracy Study [13] it is upward of 80% in the developing world. COL would prefer people in developing countries not to break licenses, particularly when there is an equivalent Free Software Option. There is no reason to use pirated Software. The Computer Navigators Certificate provide ICT skills training in the use of Free Software tools, made available as free content for anybody to use.
  • FLOSS for Education: African educators are getting together building free content using Free Software.
  • WikiEdProfessional: Developing resources for professional development in education.

General work in facilitating technology innovation. Relationships between PSU and rest of the world with PSU helping to develop educational technologies that enable the developing world. If we get this right in the developing world, it should work here in the US. Through these innovative project, I think we can achieve a lot.

Part 7 WikiEducator FILES

End of Wayne Mackintosh’s Presentation