OpenEd week 9

October 24, 2007 - 5 Responses

Week 9: Elective Reading Synopses David’s recommended books:

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Benkler)

Coase’s Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm (Benkler)

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (Easterly)

An overview of the book

Chapter with the title “Educated for What?” (…wanted to learn more)

Education level is constantly presented as one of the principal determinants of economic growth, yet Easterly finds little empirical evidence for this correlation. 

The author shows that in Africa, education level of the 90’s are much higher than those in the 70’s, yet efforts to achieve economic growth in this region of the world have failed in the majority of the cases. 

One of the reasons Easterly puts forth is that advances in education must be accompanied by adequate productive capital and the capacity to absorbe new technologies.  The author points out that the supply of knowledge is higher than the demand and cannot be absorbed.

The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (Easterly)

The World Is Flat (Updated and Expanded): A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (Friedman)

A summary of the book

My points: I was rather impressed by the fact that Friedman identifies three broad categories of workers who will have job security in the flat world. Synthesizers, explainers, versatilists and explores the “right stuff”that the educational requirements need to survive in the flattened world. He recommends building right-brain skills, or those that cannot be duplicated by a computer. Friedman believes that globalization serves more to enrich and preserve culture than to destroy it, as each person is given their own voice and vehicle of expression through podcasts, websites and so on.

Enough food for thought…

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (Lessig)

Free Culture (Lessig)

Lessig’s PowerPoint Presentation of the book

Lessig-Valenti debate (mp3)

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Prahalad)

An overview of the book

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (Sachs)

Development as Freedom (Sen)

Add other recommended books here:

Wikinomics (Tapscott, Williams)

Beyond the classroom

SIe-L30marzo 2007: a national Workshop

QUESTIONS: What can the open education movement learn from the book you chose to read? Elaborate on at least three points. Which of the ideas presented in the book did you find hardest to believe or agree with? Why?

My three points from Free Culture come along with Lessig’s refrain:

1. Creativity and innovation always builts on the past

2. The past always tries to control the creativity that builts on it

3. Free societies enable the future by limiting the power of the past

Estabilished companies have an interest in excluding future competitors and claim for extentions of copyright from copying copies to derivate works mainly because of technology.

How about education?

No one can do to Disney what Walt Disney did to the Grimm Brothers.

Well, may this derivative work, from the famous Cinderella, created by school-teachers uploaded and shared on line?


OpenEd week 8 -work in progress

October 21, 2007 - Leave a Response

Week 8: Economic Models of Open Education Common Wisdom: Peer Production of Educational Materials Print version (Benkler, 32 pages)

Advancing Sustainability of Open Educational Resources (Koohang and Harman, 10 pages)

On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education (Wiley, 20 pages)

Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources (Downes, 16 pages)

Interviews with:

  • Gary Lopez
  • Eric Frank

QUESTIONS: How can you build a sustainable business around giving away educational materials? How can you build a sustainable business model around giving away credentialed degrees? Should governments fund open education? (Do they already?)

OpenEd week 7 – work in progress

October 11, 2007 - Leave a Response

Week 7: Licensing Open Educational Resources Creative Commons (Watch the top 4 videos) see also: CC Origins, in Italian (1 Video)

GNU Free Documentation License (FSF, 6 pages)

Free content tutorial (Various, 12 pages)

WikiEducator: Memoirs, myths, misrepresentations and the magic (Mackintosh, 10 pages)

Reasons Not to Use a Creative Commons -NC License (Möller, 9 pages)

Open educational resources and practices (Blackall, 8 pages)

Noncommercial isn’t the problem, ShareAlike is (Wiley, 5 pages)

ShareAlike, the public domain, and privileging (Wiley, 3 pages)

QUESTIONS: Can you think of license options that CC is currently missing that would benefit the open education movement? As the CC and GFDL licenses are incompatible, how can OCW content be legally remixed with Wikipedia content? Some people claim that the Creative Commons ShareAlike clause provides most of the protections people want to secure from the Creative Commons NonCommercial clause. What do you think these people mean, are they right, and why? Is copyleft good for the open education movement? Why or why not?

OpenEd week 6 -work in progress

October 11, 2007 - Leave a Response

Week 6: Background Readings in Copyright and the Public DomainCopyright Basics (Carroll, 9 pages)

Public domain (Various, 10 pages)

Against Perpetual Copyright (Lessig, 8 pages)

An Interview with Lawrence Lessig on Copyrights (Lessig, 5 pages)

Bound by Law (Aoki, Boyle, and Jenkins, 76 pages)

Value of the public domain (Pollock, 18 pages)

Forever minus a day? Some theory and empirics of optimal copyright (Pollock, 29 pages)

Interviews with:

  • Raquel Xalabarder

QUESTIONS: Understanding the importance and value of the public domain, how much (what percentage) of this value would you estimate is realized when works are licensed with a Creative Commons or GFDL license? To what degree would the open educational resources movement (and therefore the world) be additionally benefited if OERs were simply placed in the public domain? Please explain.

OpenEd week 5 -work in progress

October 11, 2007 - Leave a Response

Week 5: Example Open Education Projects Open University (UK) Open Content Initiative

I’m evaluating two courses:

a) Living with the internet: learning on line

Learning online is one of the great advantages of information technology. This unit will help you establish a safe and comfortable working environment to ensure that your study time at the computer screen does not impact on your health. It also looks at the basic skills for online study, such as file management and installing software.

Hide prerequisites

Show prerequisites

Time: 4 hours
Level: Introductory

Topic: Study Skills
Last Modified: September 6th 2007

b) Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus

What does Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus tell us about the author and the time at which the play was written? This unit will help you to discover the intricacies of the play and recognise how a knowledge of the historical and political background of the time can lead to a very different understanding of the author’s intended meaning.

Hide prerequisites

Show prerequisites

Time: 15 hours
Level: Intermediate

Topic: Arts and History
Last Modified: September 19th 2007

Both are topics of my interest as I’m a teacher of English Literature using a blended learning approach in my personal Moodle. What I’m presentely doing is just re-writing the material offered for a more interactive approach adding other moodle resources and activities.

Rice Connexions

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

UNESCO Open Training Platform


National Repository of Online Courses

QUESTIONS: What do these representative open education projects have in common? What differentiates them? In the context of open education projects, what does “quality” mean?

I’m not going to answer the questions direcly as my detailed analysis of the websites has not been completed yet. In the process I’ve been adopting the point of view of a teacher looking for interesting teaching material. Once I found some material of interest I stopped and checked pros and cons.

I found a couple of courses (Living with the Internet and Marlowe) worth analyzing in detail. However I have to admit to have been quite partial in the chioce: I’ve been working in Moodle since a long time with my students and found the delivery quite familiar. They are well designed and efficacious in the communicative mode.

OpenEd Weeks 2, 3 and 4

September 23, 2007 - Leave a Response

 Week 2: Background Readings in Open Education

Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources   (OECD, 147 pages)

Week 3: Background Readings in Open Education

Open Educational Practices and Resources: OLCOS Roadmap 2012   (OLCOS, 149 pages)

Week 4: Background Readings in Open Education

A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievements, Challenges, and New Opportunities   (Atkins, Brown, and Hammond, 80 pages)

Interviews with:

  • Susan D’Antoni
  • Mike Smith


What do these overviews of the field have in common?

The authors of the three reports share the attempt to introduce transformation in educational practices towards a learning society in which open culture overcomes packaged content. 

What do they emphasize differently? What are the aims of the author of each report?

The report about OECD (week 2) deals with OER projects mainly in American universities. The report – OLCOS Roadmap (week 3) is about primary and secondary education mainly in European schools. The aim of the report of week 4 is to review the most important projects in the OER portfolio with a special attention on the Educational Program of the Hewlett Foundation.

Do you see a bias toward or against any ideas, organizations, or approaches in any of the reports?

I have to think back and read through my personal comments on some parts of the reports again to contribute a consistent answer to this question. It has been really hard for me to cope with that great amount of information contained in the reports.

Which report spoke the most clearly to you, and why do you think it did?

The one of week 4 the Hewlett foundation for the emphasis in humanities which is my main field of interest”…The humanities, on the other hand, have often been stereotyped as information technological laggers or even anti-technologist. It is therefore particularly noteworthy that there is a growing interest in the strategic implications of cyberinfrastructure for the humanities and a companion interdisciplinary community pursuing specific projects in this area.”

Here are some bottom up educational resorces in humanities which will clearly show my concerns on the subject.

Based on where the field is now, and these initial ideas about where it might go, what part of the open education movement is most interesting to you? Why?

I’d like to answer this last question with a quotation from the OLCOS report:”If the prevailing practice of teacher-centred knowledge transfer remains intact, then OER will have little effect on making a difference in teaching”.

I’ve been creating digital material mainly with my students and not for the students in general. I believe real learning happens when it is project oriented in a constructivist learning environment. 

What I’m presently experimenting is ‘adding’ the value of web 2.0 tools to enhance interaction while maintaining the bottom up process in learning environments.

OpenEd – Week One

September 12, 2007 - Leave a Response

 Week 1 August 27: Why Open Education?

Removing obstacles in the way of the right to education (Tomasevski, 51 pages)

Free and compulsory education for all children: the gap between promise and performance (Tomasevski, 81 pages)

Testimony to the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education (Wiley, 7 pages)

I finished reading “Removing Obstacles in te way of the right to Education” and I’ll try to aswer the question for the first week
Is the “right to education” a basic human right?

I think it is a basic human right because any other right if not human could be greatly limitative. If we consider Maslow pyramid, much depends on the level and on the time to be needed for poor to ‘get fresh water’.


Maslow organised the categories of fundamental human need into a pyramid structure. An inferior need (at the bottom of the pyramid) must be satisfied before a superior need (at the top of the pyramid) appears.

Inyour opinion, is open *access* to free, high-quality educational opportunity sufficient, or is it necessary to *mandate* education through a certain age or level?

It is not sufficient but it is a good starting point. I’ve been teaching English to students using the blended solution for seven years and the results are quite satisfactory.

Two of the stories presented in the paper made me think about important issues in education –
The Russian woman complaining about the great expenses in educating her son and the close connection between education-economy and society in some developing countries.

If you look at them from a single prospective the value for money in education is missing. If you include them in a broader context there is still hope to educating people for lifelong learning.


May 18, 2006 - Leave a Response

I'm curious to know if anyone visited the English part of the interactive websites presented in the session of FunTeaching.

If you do, please let me know how you would use them in your English Class with your students.

If students happen to surf those pages, leave your comments as well, please.

Every comment or opinion will be greatly appreciated!

      I'll be happy to answer you and give some advise!mysite

Welcome to FunTeaching Blog!

May 18, 2006 - One Response


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