Interview with Dr Javiera Atenas. The challenge of openness: Open data, OERs, MOOCs.

What is openness?

In what ways can we ensure the quality of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)? Are there any examples of good quality Open Educational Practices (OEPs)? Is it possible to adopt a model for democratisation of the contents hosted in MOOCs? Are there any common EU policies or strategies regarding OERs, MOOCs' quality, design or pedagogy?

These are only a few of the questions that have been analysed by Dr Javiera Atenas, Teaching and Learning Technologist at the University College London, in a really interesting interview which he has kindly given to the Open Education Europa team.

Opening up access to information and knowledge to all, no matter where they are or what they do, is a big challenge.

The important issue is to equally support all people to develop themselves in a transparent way via education and collaboration. This is what openness is all about, according to Dr. Atenas.

In her interview Dr Atenas also refers to the issue of openness and quality in education. She believes that openness cannot be a thread to quality when users can freely download OERs, review open content, provide feedback, and are able to adapt these resources to their needs. This process is not easy to be generally supported by institutions but it’s not impossible. In fact, developing or reusing publicly available and licensed online materials supported by high-quality pedagogy is an educational need. All that's required is to provide open tools and open software, in order to adapt and redesign all training materials and of course understand and use correctly creative commons licenses.

Dr. Atenas also analyses the ways in which content from MOOCs could become openly available as open courseware for autonomous learning or as OERs highlighting strategies that could ensure their quality. She also mentions a few examples of good quality OERs and MOOCs such as the Federica MOOC platform by the University Federico II of Naples (IT) and the school of data.

Furthermore, she describes how she is envisaging the future of European policies regarding OEPs.

You can watch the full interview of Dr Javiera Jatenas here:

It is also worth mentioning the recent initiative, inspired by Javiera Atenas and Leo Havemann, who successfully collected and edited a number of excellent case studies of educators who have used Open Data in schools. The result of this work is the amazing open access book “Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Case studies of emerging practice”.

You can keep up-to-date with news and research from Dr Atenas on Twitter: @jatenas

References

Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Case studies of emerging practice, edited by Javiera Atenas and Leo Havemann. London: Open Knowledge, Open Education Working Group, 2015. DOI

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Maria Perifanou

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