RUSC: Digital culture and creative practices in education

Guest author: Elsa Corominas
RUSC – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


Elsa Corominas is Economist, Ph.D candidate in Sociology by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Editorial Secretary of RUSC.


A new issue of RUSC (the e-Journal promoted by the Univeristat Oberta de Catalunya and its UNESCO Chair in E-Learning) has been published this week.

This issue opens a new phase of the journal, with two important changes. First, its periodicity has been modified: from the next issue, RUSC will be published every July and January, and numbers will include a monographic section and 5 or 6 additional articles each one. Secondly, RUSC has been adapted to the Open Journal System. All these changes are expected to improve the quality of the journal.




The picture is “Ascii Soup” by Jessica Reeder on Flickr. 

On this number we include, the monographic has been coordinated by Juan Freire and it’s titled “Digital culture and creative practices in education”, consisting on five articles by Enrique Dans, Alejandro Piscitelli, Tíscar Lara, Aníbal de la Torre and Brian Lamb and Jim Groom; they all analyse the impact that digital technology and Internet are having on education, understood as a process based on knowledge, communication and social interactions. Professors and students face drastic transformations with the emergency of digital culture, which may cause the need of changes in educational institutions’ role and organization. <(p>

Another five articles complete the issue; one of them (Aguado-López, E.; Rogel-Salazar, R.; Becerril-García, A.; Baca-Zapata, G.) analyses the universities’ presence in the Network and the digital gap between United States and the rest of the world; the second one (Ávila, L.A.; Miranda, A.; Echeverría, M.R.) analyses the best ways of sharing information in virtual platforms and how virtual communities are constructed for investigation. Another of the articles (Bozu, Z.; Imbernon, F.) studies a work experience among Catalan universities aimed to create communities of practice and knowledge. In a fourth article (Rodriguez, A.) a personal experience tells us how people with visual disabilities can learn data processing sciences. Finally, the last article (Hermes, E.) deals with the pedagogical and reflexive use of the new technological tools as one of the main factors for the creation of processes enable to respond to the needs of the Knowledge Society.

Please, visit for further information about the issue (articles are available for download).

What would you ask to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey?



Well, let’s just imagine that you have a chance to talk with Jack Dorsey, Inventor, Founder, & Chairman of Twitter, what would you like to ask him? Obviously, we are mainly interested on possible educational uses of this tool. Mature your thoughts, and once you find the great question, just leave it on the comments (remember, 140 characters maximum), because we are interviewing Jack Dorsey this week and want to count with your experience and interests. You can also send us (me, in this case) your questions via Twitter. Deadline for questions submission is wednesday 23:59.

UOC opens up its teaching materials

Guest author: Roger Griset
Learning Sources – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


Roger Griset has a diploma in Library Science and Documentation from the University of Barcelona. He is currently working on the OpenCourseWare website at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) where he forms part of the Learning Resources group. He also participates in innovation projects linked to the University’s teaching materials.





Picture taken from OER Commons website. 

Starting point

Since it began, the UOC has always invested in creating and producing specific teaching materials that adapt to the UOC’s own distance education-oriented methodology. These materials are used in the teaching and in the UOC students’ learning process.

Where are we?

Since 2008, certain contracts for authoring and ceding usage rights include a clause that lets the University publish these materials under an open licence. Thanks to this authorisation, some materials have been published on the UOC’s OpenCourseWare website, which already holds hours of materials for around thirty subjects. We plan to expand the subjects currently on offer (and others) with new open content in the future.

Where do we want to go?

The UOC is currently working on a Director Plan for Learning Resources that is to set the guidelines for the coming years. As well as the obvious financial and sustainability aspects involved in this kind of open resource, the Director Plan is, inevitably, going to be influenced by two trends affecting the world of higher education: firstly, the movement to open-access scientific literature at universities, including educational resources; and secondly, the new educational trends (connectivism and social constructivism) and the reform of the European higher education system (EHEA), which bring a new focus on contents in the framework of teaching.

The two aforementioned trends have already had some effect, and have changed our way of thinking and working over the last three years. Since 2005, materials have been produced in XML – allowing us to reuse them. Thanks to this, in 2009, we now have a large amount of materials published in new formats: audiobook, videobook and ebook.

Upcoming challenges

We still have a long way to go before the UOC’s teaching contents can meet the full definition of OERs:

  • Break down the contents into smaller units (teaching materials are currently over 200 pages long).
  • Make production of materials more flexible, so that faculty can publish their own smaller resources more easily and more quickly, without doing away with the University’s centralised management that ensures the minimum quality standards.
  • Create tools for collaborative production of materials within the University.
  • Aid the production of materials in web formats: blogs and wikis.

We have made important progress by starting to open access to our contents. The rest will come with time and effort.

Ronaldo Lemos: future challenges of education

Disclaimer: this post is an exercise of liveblogging. Even when the content remains forever, must be understood as juncture, with some imprecisions. 




Lemos, on the left, talking about the future of education.  

Ronaldo Lemos is going to make a view of the present and a bit of the future of education. One of the most important things on today’s education is the change the cultural industry is going through. Again (like in Brian Lamb’s presentation), music industry is our driver to see how things are shifting to something different. After checking the change in the music and publishing industry, we have to obviously point our view to the digital production.

Ronaldo speaks always from the Brazilian side of the network, giving numbers of his country: there are more wikipedia entries in Portuguese than in Spanish, there is a Brazilian version of Youtube (videolog) which is older than the google’s video site.

There is a lot of innovation in Brazil, says Ronaldo. The idea of citicializing journalism works to emerge the Brazilian culture from the underground.

There is a tension between the traditional closed model and the new collaborative model. The first difference refers to the legal/illegal classic conflict, which take us to the so-called copyright: a very conservative model full of questions and problems that straightly affect the future of education:

  • copyright applies automaticly
  • controls almost every content
  • it is very difficult to get permissions for remixing content

The paradox of the copyright is that is sometimes just doesn’t work neither for users or producers.

Talking about education (at leasT), the only way to get access to the books a student needs for his studies (at least in Brazil) is to copy it. Actually, there is a Brazilian movement claiming the right to freely copy books.

Setting the eye on the future of education, the copyright issue is one of the biggest problem for the right development. You can’t remix educational content unless you have the rights, so the idea of the “legal commons”. Using CC we can recombine the process of work. Other way to get this “legal commons” is to reform copyright.

A new idea introduced by Lemos is the “social commons” (which is different to the “legal commons”), just projects not based on copyright, using CC and public domain but using social practices, that simply ignores intellectual properties (Tecnobrega is the great example of this).

Another example of “social commons” might be the lan-houses phenomena, local area network houses (computers connected to each other at home, usually to play games), but when the connection is enabled some other people that is not interested on video games are paying a very small amount of money to use the network. It is a down-up massive phenomena that works on Brazilian favelas, reaching the number of 90.000.

Symposium Expanded Education (ZEMOS98 International Festival)

Guest author: Rubén Díaz

Rubén Díaz is a graduate in Audiovisual Communication (University of Seville, 2003), has studied a year away in the Department of Hispanic Studies in the University of Birmingham (UK, 2001) and has completed postgraduate studies in Digital Journalism (CEA, 2004). He is currently studing a second degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology (University of Seville).

He is a member of ZEMOS98 Gestión Creativo Cultural, responsible of International Festival ZEMOS98. ZEMOS98 has been projecting activities and research in the area of education and communication since 1998. Rubén Díaz has been an editor of the publications “Creation and General Intellect” (2005 – download PDF), “Television does not film that” (2006 – download PDF), “Digital Culture and Participatory Communication” (2006 – download PDF) and “Control Panel. Critical interrupters for a society under close surveillance” (2007). He has also coordinated a new publication by ZEMOS98 and Mar Villaespesa: “Código Fuente: la remezcla” (2009) and is responsible (together with Juan Freire) for the Symposium “Expanded Education”. He has been in charge of cultural research and educational projects of different kinds, such as seminars, workshops, conferences, exhibitions, courses, screenings and concerts.


The 11th ZEMOS98 International Festival (22th – 28th March | Seville, Spain) focuses on the search for new forms of education that respond to the social and communicational processes arising from the Internet. New digital culture is characterised by networked organisation, collective work, convergence culture, copyleft, etc. The fact that most of these processes haven’t been incorporated into conventional educational systems means that new forms of education aren’t taking place only – or even mainly – within formal schooling, and they are not being led by educational institutions. There are now countless artistic, scientific, communicational and educational projects of a cultural, social, digital and audiovisual nature, and these make up the cutting-edge of 21st century education – an expanded form of education that goes beyond the narrow, traditional institutional, thematic and methodological boundaries.

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UOC eLearn Center presentation



The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya has recently created the eLearn Center, a new office that reunites all the e-Learning related initiatives of the institution. Both research projects and diffusion activities will be now marked with the new Center anagram.

UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning will also be incorporated on the eLearn Center structure.

The new Center is being presented today at Barcelona Support Center with interventions from Imma Tubella, Rector of the University, Begoña Gros, Vice Rector of innovation and Paul Kirschner, Director of Research of Lifelong in the Professions, Netherlands Laboratory for Lifelong Learning (NeLLL), Open University of the Netherlands. Afterwards, there will be a roundtable with Ramón Capdevila (Universia), Jordi Vivancos (Education Department, Generalitat de Catalunya) and Luis Collado (Director of Google Book Search), the three of them will debate about Innovation and research networks creation.

Live notes from the eLearn Center presentation:

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Sugata Mitra's 'Hole in the wall' conference video preview


UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning is proud to start the dissemination of its audiovisual knowledge campaign. Sugata Mitra is the first character of a series of videos that will be published monthly. Today’s piece is just a short preview of the two full length videos that will be out on Friday january 30th. From now on, we will be able to watch a teaser before enjoying a 10-15 minutes version of each conference plus the complete recording done during the chair’s Fifth International Seminar, held in Barcelona on 12-14 November 2008.

Both this and all the forthcoming videos are by-nc-nd Creative Commons licensed. Please, feel free to use the embed code to copy or distribute the video anywhere. Enjoy and stay tuned.

Educational mobile resources

As Shantanu Narayen says, mobiles are of great help in the fight against the digital divide. Now that It’s been a couple of days since I recieved my Iphone, one of the first things that I’ve done is searching for educational applications. Some of them are too simple and useless, but there are some great ones:



Click the image to view full size 

Some informational resources about educational apps for Iphone:

OER Remix: the game

OER Remix Game
OER Remix Game

David Wiley, professor at Brigham University and one of the key speakers of UOC UNESCO Chair Fourth International Seminar on 2007, has a great idea.

He wants to promote the use of open licenses for Open Educational Resources through creativity. For that reason, he has invented a deck of cards (designed with an open source software) to play with. He his proposing two games (Google it and Agreggator), whose rules you can read on the project website, but he want us to invite new rules and new games in order to learn about OER having fun.

Any ideas for that? It worth to think about!

Expanded education symposia

Zemos98 collective and Juan Freire are working on Expanded education, a symposia aimed to “search new educational models” that will take place on Sevilla (Spain) on March 22nd and 29th.

The introduction to the event, as they wrote in Spanish, goes like this:

Education can happen on any moment, any place. In and out of the academical institution frontiers. This proposal aims to reflect about the idea of remeaning education in order not to limit it to the academical and institucional scope”.

Expanded Education

It is very interesting how to idea of the education beyond the university is now on the mind not only of the pedagogues, but of everyone that reflects about new social models and trends too. In this case, the idea of edupunk trascends the academical space and gets deeper into the different social layers:

Educommunication -as a concept that goes beyond of education, refounded from social communication- merges with science and creativity creating a third net culture with new paradigsms like: the design thoughts, the laboratory as a workspace, how the frontier between amateur and professional work vanishes, innovation as knowledge driving force and common spaces as a tool for research and interconnection.

Brian Lamb, Jesús Martín-Barbero and Ronaldo Lemos will speak during the event, but we will try to follow the previous and post dicussion.