Author Archives: carolrossini

Why books?

Why Books?” will bring together speakers from a variety of disciplines—from literature and history to sociology and computer science—to probe the form and function of the book in a rapidly changing media ecology. Although cultural commentators today speak of “the book” as if it were a well-defined term, its boundaries have been and remain shifting and porous; therefore, one aim of this conference is to expose the complexities and internal contradictions of the “before” against which the digital-era “after” is defined.

In order to look forward to the future(s) of the book, the conference will open with a dialogue on the public-policy implications of new media forms, looking in particular at Harvard’s own response to current technological, legal, and commercial developments. The three panels that follow will explore some of the major functions that we identify with books today: production and diffusion (of texts and images, of knowledge and information); storage and retrieval (of widely varying content in different media and genres); and reception and use (including, but by no means limited to, reading).

The Friday conference, which will take place in the Radcliffe Gymnasium, will be preceded by a series of Thursday afternoon workshops which will take speakers and preregistered participants on “site visits” to various local institutions, including a printing press, a conservation lab, a digital humanities center, and special collections of books and manuscripts. Several exhibitions will coincide with the conference, as well.

For a conference schedule, please visit

Conference on University and Cyberspace

Later this month, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, in partnership with the NEXA Center for Internet & Society at the Politecnico di Torino, will host a conference on “University and Cyberspace: Reshaping Knowledge Institutions for the Networked Age,” in Torino, Italy.

This multi-disciplinary conference – held within the context of COMMUNIA, the European thematic network on the digital public domain, - will focus on the ways in which the Internet affects universities as knowledge institutions. The discussions aim to outline changes and questions in order to maximize the benefits offered by these technological advances.

The conference will be held on 28-30 June 2010 on the main campus of Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy.
Please register at: The event is free and open to both COMMUNIA members and the public at large.

CC launches Catalyst Grants program!

Creative Commons announces the new Catalyst Grants program! CC will invest up to $100,000 (via grants ranging from $1,000-$10,000) to provide seed funding to projects around the world devoted to increasing access and openness.

With the Catalyst Grants program, Creative Commons will seed activities around the globe that support our mission. Our goal is to scale our community’s efforts and support them in becoming self-sustainable. Through a rigorous public review and transparent evaluation process, the best proposals, submitted by CC Jurisdiction Teams and the broader community, will be selected to receive $1,000–$10,000 to make their ideas a reality.

OER is one of the issues they are expecting to cover. More at Catalyst Grants Program

Latin American Learning at MSU

Michigan State University announces the launch of its Latin America Learning – a project of the Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies.

This collection provides rich, interactive open educational resources (OER) focused on Latin America and the challenges and issues facing it. These materials are available in a variety of formats and openly licensed to suit the needs of educators and learners. Learn more.

OER Workshop in Brazil

The OER-Br Project, in partnership with UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, the House of Digital Culture, the OER-Br Community, is organizing a series of workshops in Brazil during April 2010, funded by the Open Society Institute.

Two workshops are planned. On 26th of April, in Brasilia and on 27th of April, in Sao Paulo. You can find here the agenda for the 26th of April workshop. Registration is free and open, and simultaneous translation will be provided.

You can register and check more at the UNESCO “The Impact of ICT in Education” International Conference website.

Green-Paper released: “The State and Challenges of OER in Brazil: from readers to writers?”

The “Brazilian Project on Open Educational Resources: Challenges and Perspectives,” a project funded by the Open Society Institute and Coordinated by Carolina Rossini, is pleased to share its Green-Paper on the state of Open Educational Resources in Brazil.

The goal of this Green Paper is to examine a wide variety of issues in applying information and communications technologies to education, through the lens of the Brazilian experience. Such issues include teacher training, intellectual property rights, content price, access privileges, access to taxpayer-funded educational resources and technical standards.

Education policy and projects that combine infrastructure investment with a coherent “network” approach to content are the most likely to have significant positive impact, and to realize the goal of a more inclusive education capable of inserting the learner in the Information Society.

The paper brings an extensive analysis of the Brazilian educational system and the role of public policy to foster OERs. It also analysis more than 13 Brazilian projects, which aim to provide educational resources, but fail in becoming open – due to the lack of legal and technical interoperability. A recent presentation on this discussion can be found at Slide Share.

Open Poland

On  March 1st,  2010 the Instytut Obywatelski PO RP (Civil Institute) and Ośrodek Badań nad Przyszłością Collegium Civitas (Collegium Civitas Centre for Studies of the Future) held the Open Poland Conference. (in English)

The Conference provided a forum for policy makers, experts and participants to discuss a strategy for the public domain organisation in Poland and opportunities to leverage it for the development of education and culture.

More information in Polish here and videos from the conference here.

Peer 2 Peer University applications deadline is around the corner

The Peer 2 Peer University announced its second round of free and open online courses on February 17h, opening sign-ups for 14 courses dealing in subject areas ranging from Physics to Transformational Art. Some of the courses were offered in the first phase of the pilot which launched last September, but seven are brand new, including “Urban Disaster Risk Management,” “Mashing Up the Open Web,” and “Solve Anything! Building Ideas through Design.” P2PU is also excited to announce its first Portuguese language courses organized by Brasil’s Casa de Cultura Digital, one of which is an introduction to the thinking of Paulo Freire (educational theorist who is author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed). The P2PU community has grown and is excited to have these new courses and their organizers on board.

You can follow more news at the P2PUniversity blog.

LOP2P: Architecture for Institutional Learning Objects Sharing

An interesting technology was developed and is under adoption process in Brazil. The architecture, developed by Rafael de Santiago and André Raabe, is designed to connect educational institutions interested in sharing and use of Learning Objects through a single network, named LOP2P (Learning Object Peer to Peer). As defined in their paper, this technology is:

an interoperability architecture to allow different educational institutions share their learning object repositories for creating courses using Learning Management Systems (LMS). The initiative is in line with a current trend in educational institutions to produce learning objects and make them freely available through web repositories. The proposed mechanism is based on Peer to Peer architecture where each institution is a peer.

Two main components of this architecture are a plug-in for LMS like systems and the Mediation Layer. You can read the paper and a presentation about it site.

New materials from the UNESCO OER community

Two interesting resources were launched recently by members of the UNESCO OER international community.

A OER toolkit authored by Philipp Schmidt and a new report about Access2OER. Two were already the outcomes of the discussion around ACCESS2OER. As reported by Bjoern Hassler.

The first proposal is about “Introducing digital Open Educational Resources into Zambian primary schools through school-based professional development”. Through this project we seek to overcome access barriers, and engage with OER for Zambian primary/secondary school mathematics teaching. The barriers are manifold, including infrastructural, awareness, appropriateness of materials, etc, but we hope that we’ll be able to draw on the various experiences and solutions to make this successful.

The project has a small amount of funding, which we will use to engage with teachers in Zambia in Spring 2010. The “we” here is a North-South partnership, which of course includes various partners in Zambia. The outcomes of the project will be reported at eLearning Africa (May 2010, Lusaka). Further information is available here.

The second outcome is continued engagement through the UK National Commission for UNESCO. Within the Information Society Working Group, OER has been a long-standing theme. However, based on the experience of the discussion, we are now focussing on issues around OER access and collaboration. The aims for this are concrete: We are running a series of meetings to further focus on feasible projects in this area.
The first meeting will take place on 25th/26th in conjunction with the Nottingham Open Learning Conference and in conjunction with OER Africa.