Open Practices Covered in this Blog
I have written a number of posts on various aspects of openness since this blog was launched back in 2007, with posts in recent months covering topics such as protocols to support open services (“OpenSocial and the OpenSocial Foundation: Moves to W3C“); the implications of open licences (“Flickr and Creative Commons; Lessons from Open Source Software“) and moves towards open practices in the UK (“Report on Modernisation of Higher Education: Focus on Open Access and Learning Analytics“).
The LACE Compendium
I am currently working on the EU-funded LACE project. The LACE (Learning Analytics Community Exchange) project team members have a similar commitment to open practices to support of the project. As an example we agreed that the LACE Compendium, the project handbook which documents the policies and practices the team are taking in supporting the user engagement and dissemination aspects of the project, would be published under a Creative Commons licence.
The first version of the Compendium, which was published in April 2013, described our initial plans for the outreach work. This has been significantly updated in the light of experiences and feedback from team members. The latest version containing 45 pages which cover our strategies for user engagement, events and development of our network of policy makers and practitioners with interests in learning analytics. The document also describes approaches we are taking to measure the effectiveness of the strategies and concludes by summarising approaches for ensuring the sustainability of the project assets, including project deliverables, other project resources, the channels used in supporting the work and the communities themselves.
Why We Have Used a Creative Commons Licence
The team’s culture of openness, which includes use of a Creative Commons licence for the report, is not primarily an end in itself; rather such openness can provide tangible benefits including:
- Encouraging feedback on the document, since others who may wish to reuse the content should benefit from feedback.
- Enabling others to use the document, thus saving effort from having to develop similar project documentation.
- Allow others to build on the documentation should there be changes to the project team.
- Support the long term preservation of the project’s resources by minimising legal and licences barriers to reuse of content.
- To enhance the reputation of the project team.
There are resource implications associated with the implementation of open practices and, in keeping with a culture of openness, it is appropriate to acknowledge such implications as well as highlighting the potential benefits of providing Creative Commons licences for project deliverables.
Unlike the value criteria for copyrighted resources (making money) the value in the project team’s resources lies primarily in their reuse, the feedback we receive and embedding of the resources and the ideas across the community. Feel free, therefore, to reuse this report and our other deliverables. Your feedback is, of course, encouraged.