Day 1 of School of Open in Berlin

Building the School of Open
Building the School of Open. It’s a multimedia installation. Materials: post it notes, old refrigerator. / mollyali / CC BY

What did we do today?

Logistics and Agora community
For one thing, we got Molly and Piet set up with all the logistics — lunch cards, $ for the U-bahn (Berlin metro system), wifi at their flat… Though the last issue has yet to be resolved. After all that, we joined the Agora Collective folks to talk about P2PU and the School of Open, and get them to sign up for our workshop and virtual sprint next week. Then we dug in to the history and background of how School of Open came to be conceived — which many of you have already read about.

Individual Focus Areas and Goals
Each of us want to help build the School of Open for different reasons, and we are all coming at it from different backgrounds/areas of expertise. We shared our specific interests and hopes for the School of Open, and what want to achieve in the next ten days:

Piet is interested in integrating openness into everyday life. He wants to start in Academia because that’s where he works currently at the University of Michigan. He imagines building School of Open courses along common themes/philosophies, such as transparency. He wants the School of Open to ultimately address all the many flavors of openness.

What does that look like in practice? The University of Michigan is a public institution that is about developing and curating information/knowledge for the public. He wants to help the university “get” openness and articulate it, and have openness be the state of its culture.

What does that look like at scale? Big picture: Get public academic institutions to become more open.

If we only accomplished 3 (concrete) things in the next two weeks, what would they be for Piet?

  • A set of archetypes so we can have a better understanding of the scope of open and how it relates to real people, eg. librarian, educator, scientist
  • Draft of philosophy behind the School of Open, aka charter/description
  • Creating something tangible/trying something and Failing — the failing being essential, eg. in the process of course building (the faster we can fail, the more we can learn)

Molly was a librarian for five years and saw problems with distributing and sharing knowledge at universities (data, content, etc.). The system — how we take information and share it — is broken! Copyright is a huge piece of it, but it also includes patents, how we approach data, etc. There are many closed systems interacting or not interacting with each other. Molly is in graduate school to help fix these closed and broken systems.

What does that look like in practice? She sees the School of Open as providing straightforward tools/resources to educate members of the academic community, policymakers and the public about “what openness means, why it matters, why it’s of value to them” so we can stop reinventing the wheel. For example: Librarians in the U.S. teach courses about copyright constantly, but only reach a roomful of people at a time. If we can have universal/shareable resources, we can improve the efficiency of awareness-raising.

What does that look like at scale? Big picture: Get all closed information sharing systems to be more open.

If we only accomplished 3 (concrete) things in the next two weeks, what would they be for Molly?

  • More than one course developed that is nearly final. (topics: Intro to CC/CC licenses, finding open content/OER, creating open resources)
  • Skills map nearly finalized (a map that makes it easier to say what is and is not a School of Open skill)
  • Badges/Certification aligned to skills map (Integrating certification from the beginning, rather than tacking it on later.)

Jane has been involved with both the Creative Commons and P2PU communities for a long time — since 2008. She views the School of Open as an ideal overlap in needs and interests of both organizations — as CC needs better education about its tools and how they apply across various sectors, and as P2PU is all about open peer learning about anything, by anyone — what better topic(s) to learn about with your peers than what you are already practicing? She wants the School of Open to be a collective learning and building experience that evolves over time.

What does that look like in practice? Resources and courses about open tools that make it clear how anyone can integrate those tools into their daily work, starting with CC licenses and public domain tools.

What does that look like at scale? Big picture: Many individuals and communities practicing openness like it’s second nature.

If we only accomplished 3 (concrete) things in the next two weeks, what would they be for Jane?

  • 3 new partners/communities on board to create courses
  • 6 courses started, 1 nearly finalized
  • Skills map aligned with certification. Part of that is a checklist or set of criteria for what is and is not a School of Open course

Kamil from CC poland participated remotely on the etherpad. He has been with CC Poland for 4 years as an analyst and instructor, educating about openness, copyright, and privacy (for Panoptykon foundation), and as an NGO activist in a few other projects. He is interested in searching for more effective and scalable ways to teach openness, about open educational resources and basics of copyright and copyright reform.

What does that look like in practice? Develop online materials that can be easily adapted to offline learning (eg. for school teachers or workshops instructors in NGOs).

What does that look like at scale? Big picture: Spreading “open” knowledge and skills to NGO trainers, instructors, educators.

Group Goals

From that, we came up with our top group goals for the next two weeks:

  • Develop a Skills map
  • Creation of courses
  • Badges/certification aligned with skills map
  • Community outreach/partners
  • Establishing a set of archetypes
  • An initial draft of a philosophy behind/for School of Open

Skills Map – Proto version

The afternoon was spent brainstorming, writing, discussing, and rearranging post-its — as illustrated in Molly’s Instagram photo above. We decided to start small with simple skills we imagine a person well versed in openness might be able to do, such as distinguish between the different CC licenses, attribute a CC-licensed work, or explain the difference between open and closed to someone walking down the street. Soon, the simple skills started getting more complicated… but that was ok. All of these skills are currently still recorded on post-its, but we were able to come up with a list of some major categories and subcategories these skills fell under, which were:

1. Understanding Open
    a. Theory and History of Open
2. CC license basics
    b. Choosing an open license
3. How to build in the open
    a. Finding open content
    b. Creating a CC licensed work (Remixing/reusing a CC licensed work, Attribution, Marking)
4. Openness and the commercial sector
5. Managing other rights
    a. Copyright
    b. Privacy
8. How to practice open
9. Open Advocacy
10. Open as applied to specific domains
    a. OER
    b. Open Software
    c. Open data
    d. Open Science
    e. Open Cultur(al Heritage)
    f. Open government
    g. Open Access
11. Open Governance/Processes (Transparency)

What did we miss?
We’re going to continue building on this tomorrow, and we’d love your feedback! Comment here. You can also join the discussion list at, where we’ll be sending deets about the virtual sprint next Tuesday.

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