Open Education

Q&A with Marieke Guy

You can watch the video recording of the Marieke Guy NetworkED seminar on our LTI Youtube channel and a Q&A with Marieke can be found below



Marieke Guy
Marieke Guy from Open Knowledge




Ahead of her NetwokED seminar talk on Wednesday 26 November Marieke Guy answered some questions for LTI on open data in education.
Q1. How would you define ‘open data’?  How does this relate to ‘open access’ and ‘open education’ ?

We’re very lucky to have an excellent definition of open data from Open Definition, which specifically sets out principles that define “openness” in relation to data and content:

“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.”

So we are talking about data that is available for people to access and can be reused and redistributed by everyone. One of the important points to make is that openness does not discriminate against commercizal use. Open data is definitely a friend of open access and open education! Publicly funded research publications should not only be open access but the data behind them should also be shared and openly available. At the Open Education Working Group we see open education as a collective term that is used to refer to many practices and activities that have both openness and education at their core. Open data is an important area, along with open content, open licensing, open tools, open policy and open learning and teaching practices. This is becoming even more the case with the rise in online learning, MOOCs and the use of learning analytics.

Q2. Who typically uses open data and what does it get used for?

Anyone can consume open data as an end-user benefitting from openness, but there are two main groups who have a specific interest in dealing with open data. Data providers (such as the government or your institution) may be interested in releasing and sharing data openly. Data handlers are interested in using the data available, maybe by developing an app or service around the data, or by visualising the data, or by asking questions of the data and mining it in some way. A nice easy example here is the Great British Toilet map,


The Great British Toilet Map

where government data was combined with ordnance survey and open street map data to provide a public service app that helps us find the nearest public convenience. You can also add toilets you find to the map, allowing the data that is available to be improved on.

Obviously people who want to get their hands messy with data will need to be data literate. One of our core projects at Open Knowledge is School of Data. School of Data works to empower civil society organisations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create more equitable and effective societies.

Q3. What are the pros and cons of open data?

The main benefits for using open data are around transparency (knowing what your government and other public bodies are doing), releasing social and commercial value, and participation and engagement. By opening up data, citizens are enabled to be much more directly informed and involved in decision-making. This is about making a full “read/write” society, not just about knowing what is happening in the process of governance but being able to contribute to it.

Opening anything up makes organisations more vulnerable, especially if they have something to hide, or if their data is inaccurate or incomplete. There is also a cost to releasing and building on data. Often this cost is outweighed by the social or economic benefit generated, but this benefit can develop over time so can be hard to demonstrate. Other challenges include the possible misinterpretion or misrepresention of data, and of course issues around privacy.

I personally see open data as being in the same space as freedom of speech with regard to these challenges. We know that open data is the right way to go but there are still some subtleties that we need to work out. The answer to a ‘bad’ use of open data is not to close the data, just as the answer to a racist rant is not to remove our right to freedom of speech.

Q4. Do you have any examples of projects that have involved using ‘open data’ and if so what advantage did ‘open data’ bring?

Earlier this year Otavio Ritter (Open education data researcher, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil) gave a talk to our Open Education Working Group. He mentioned a case in Brazil where the school census collects data about violence in school area (like drug traffic or other risks to pupils). Based on an open data platform developed to navigate through the census it was possible to see that in a specific Brazilian state 35% of public schools had drug traffic near the schools. This fact put pressure on the local government to create a public policy and a campaign to prevent drug use among students.  Since then a collection of initiatives run by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made a huge impact on the drug traffic levels near schools.

Q5. What does Open Knowledge do?

Open Knowledge is a worldwide non-profit network of people who believe in openness. We use advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and enable people to work with it to create and share knowledge. We work on projects, create tools and support an amazing international network of individuals passionate about openness and active in making, training and promoting open knowledge. Our network is global (we have groups in more than 40 countries and 9 local chapters) and cross-domain (we currently have 19 working groups that focus on discussion and activity around a given area of open knowledge).

Marieke Guy will be talking at LSE on Wednesday 26 November at 5pm in NAB2.06.  To book your place go to the staff training and development system or (for those without access to the system) email

Have a look at previous talks on our Youtube channel.

LTI NetworkED Seminar series – Marieke Guy 26/11/14

Thank you to all of those who attended last night’s event, whether in person or online. A video recording will be available shortly.

LTI NetworkED Seminar series Marieke Guy ‘Open data in education’ Wednesday 26 November 5:00pm – 7pm, NAB2.06.

marieke_guyMarieke Guy (@mariekeguy on Twitter) is a project co-ordinator at Open Knowledge (, a global not-for-profit organisation that wants to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful. She has been working with online information for over 16 years and was previously employed by UKOLN, a centre of expertise in digital information management at the University of Bath.

Her areas of interest include research data management, digital preservation, digital cultural heritage, open technologies and open education – she currently co-ordinates the Open Education Working Group (

Marieke Guy will be our third speaker for the NetworkED series this academic year, see below for more information on her talk which will take place on Wednesday 26 November at 5pm.

Data is very much the flavour of the month, from discussions around data mining and monetisation of data, to privacy issues and monitoring.

But what exactly is open data and how does it relate to education? What type of data sets are we talking about and how are they being used? How can open data be used to meet educational needs? Is it just about accountability and transparency, or is there more to it? What about learning analytics? What are the implications of tracking our students? Where does the true potential lie? It clear that open education data sets are of interest to a wide variety of people including educators, learners, institutions, government, parents and the wider public. Marieke Guy will give an overview of the situation as it now stands and prompt us to consider what the implications are for those of us working in Education.

The event is free to attend and places can be reserved via the training and development system or (for those without access to the system) by emailing

All our talks are live streamed and recorded for those who can’t make it. For more information, check out our website or have a look at previous talks on our YouTube channel. 

Q&A with Helen Keegan

If you couldn’t make it to Helen Keegan’s NetworkED talk, click here to watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

Q&A with Helen Keegan – Senior Lecturer (Interactive Media and Social Technologies), University of Salford, Manchester.

photo (2)

Q1.You have been involved in numerous projects which challenge the usual dynamics in teaching and ask students to be producers what has been your personal favourite and what did students produce as a result?

“It’s hard to choose one as they’ve all had their strengths and weaknesses, but I’d probably go with the ‘opera project’ as it was such a challenge and there was a live output as a result of remote collaboration. In this project, we worked with 120 students from the UK, New Zealand, France and Colombia. They formed eight international teams, and each team was responsible for producing the visual backdrop for a specific act in an 8-act opera. The visuals were entirely filmed and edited on mobile devices. Each team was given a one word descriptor for their act, along with the music, which was fairly avant garde so they really needed to demonstrate abstract thought. They collaborated through google hangouts and docs for the planning, so it was quite a challenge for them to negotiate the creative process remotely and across timezones. Complete chaos at times, but worth it to see their visuals become part of the performance at the Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival in 2013.” 

Q2.  Have you experienced any difficulties in getting teachers and students to engage projects which use social media and how did/do you deal with this?

“Yes, there are always difficulties – the main concerns centre on working openly, lack of confidence in using various tools and different platform preferences. Confidence in using tools and working openly tends to build through time, but the platform preference issue is interesting when it comes to international collaborations. We’ve found that students in different countries tend to gravitate towards particular platforms. It’s all very well setting up an international collaboration, but when students in country X insist on using Facebook while students in country Y insist on using Twitter, that’s a problem! We try to be as platform-agnostic as possible, then aggregate content from multiple platforms through a common hashtag. Eventually groups will settle on a common platform for communicating, but at the beginning it can be a challenge to negotiate platform preferences and the resulting power relations.”

Q3. What has been the most exciting/interesting outcome of a project so far?

“This year, we moved from international collaborative projects (like the opera project) to student-led (and initiated) collaborations. 250 students from the same 4 countries started to connect through a common hashtag, and we encouraged them to make one another curious through producing interesting/odd Vine videos and adding them to a collaborative Google map. It was a really neat way to build ambient awareness, and then the students started communicating and collaborating on the production of mobile films – however they didn’t have to do this, so it was great to see how many of them did begin to work together, and the outputs were fantastic! In the past, we’d done a lot of work in terms of organising groups and defining projects, so it was interesting to see the results when we stepped back and let the students self-organise through common interests.” 

Q4.  Do you think these projects change the way that your students view and use social media?

“Absolutely – these kinds of projects introduce students to the collaborative potential of social media. Although they’re all avid social media users (in terms of social networking) they still tend to view collaboration as working in small, local groups. Through working on large-scale international collaborations, they become comfortable with the idea of working across cultures and timezones, and they also benefit from learning from one another’s disciplinary perspectives. They’re much more likely to instigate collaborative projects themselves after taking part in these projects, as they become confident in their ability to work in international teams with people they haven’t met face-to-face.”

Helen will be speaking more about her work at LSE as part of the LTI Networked seminar series on Wednesday 5th November at 5pm.

The event is free to attend and places can be reserved on the staff via the  training and development system  or by emailing

All our talks are live streamed and recorded for those who can’t make it.  For more information, check out our website or have a look at previous talks on our YouTube channel .

Celebrating Open Education Week

This week is Open Education Week and colleagues on the Digital Developments blog wrote a post on Monday to highlight some of the open education initiatives that we have worked on at LSE in the Library and in CLT. The main one is of course LSE Learning Resources Online, which is a collection of open educational resources, many of which were produced during the JISC / HEA funded project DELILA.

I recently took part in a short project also funded by the HEA and JISC to see how the open educational resources we created as part of DELILA might be used internationally. The project was called CoPILOT and there is now a short case study about how to promote and share resources internationally on the DELILA website. Working with the University of Birmingham and UNESCO we looked to build an online community of practice for sharing information literacy resources, and used a platform provided by UNESCO called the WSIS Knowledge Communities platform.

OERs are not online courses, they are simply resources, and our main audience was other teachers, but the concept of open education and encourage teachers to share their resources is something LSE CLT should be proud to be involved in.

March 13th, 2013|Open Education, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Celebrating Open Education Week|

Celebrating Open Education Week 2012: LSE Learning Resources Online

NataliaOur guest post this week comes from Natalia Madjarevic, Academic Support Librarian (Economics) and LSE Research Online Manager

This week is the first Open Education Week (5-10 March 2012), raising awareness of open education and how it is used in teaching and learning around the world. Open education, as defined by the Open Courseware Consortium, ‘seeks to create a world in which the desire to learn is fully met by the opportunity to do so’.  A significant component of increasing access to education around the world is sharing open educational resources (OERs). This could be materials such as course materials, lecture slides, workbooks, video lectures on an open access platform.

There are a number of significant global OER initiatives including MIT’s OpenCourse Ware initiative and the Open University’s OpenLearn. You can also find OERs from around the world on the OER Commons website. UNESCO also recognise the value of OERs, arguing that they ‘provide a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of education as well as facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.’ It can be particularly helpful for new teachers to see examples of how others teach a specific topic or theory in their discipline. Open educational resources can also be used by students to support their learning.

LSE Library recently launched LSE Learning Resources Online, for open sharing of teaching and learning materials. The service complements LSE Research Online where staff can deposit research publications in open access format. Where possible, OERs will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareLike licence, which means the original author will get credit and anyone reusing their materials will also need to share them under an open licence.

March 8th, 2012|Open Education, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Celebrating Open Education Week 2012: LSE Learning Resources Online|

NetworkED: second seminar to be given by Professor John Naughton

On Wednesday 25 January 2012, Professor John Naughton will be speaking at LSE following the publication of his recent book. The title of the seminar, which is the second in the NetworkED series, run by CLT and funded by the LSE Annual Fund is ‘What do people really need to know about the Internet?’networkED: technology in education logo

The Internet has gone from being something ‘exotic’ to a mundane utility in the course of two decades. But there is abundant evidence that many people – including those whose livelihoods depend on it – do not understand it. This talk is based on the research that went into John’s new book – ‘From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: what you really need to know about the Internet’. The book will be publishd by Quercus Books on January 5th 2012.

The event will be held at 2pm – 3.30pm. To book a place to attend the seminar at LSE visit LSE online booking system. External guests may request a place by emailing The event will also be live streamed to a worldwide audience. If you wish to watch the live streaming you do not need to register in advance. Simply visit the NetworkED website shortly before 2pm. A recording of the lecture will later be posted on this website.

January 5th, 2012|Events & Workshops (LTI), Open Education|Comments Off on NetworkED: second seminar to be given by Professor John Naughton|

CLT Moodle Tool Guide

Last year Joyce Seitzinger released her Moodle Tool Guide poster on her blog, under a creative commons licence (attribution, non-commercial, share alike). It’s a useful overview of the strengths and weaknesses of various Moodle activities. I’ve adapted and updated Moodle Tool Guide screenshotthis to suit the needs of our LSE staff a little more. Specifically I’ve added the Book module, which is quite popular with our academics, and changed some of the wording as well as the ratings. As per the original licence, ours too has a cc licence, so please feel free to use and adapt in any way you see fit (except not for commercial purposes!). Feedback welcome, of course.

The Moodle Tool Guide.

August 16th, 2011|Open Education|Comments Off on CLT Moodle Tool Guide|

Social media

Earlier this afternoon Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement regarding ‘the disorder in England’, in which he suggested that the government will be working towards the feasibility of controlling social media at times of unrest. Specifically, he said

“Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

The full text is available from the number10 website. Leaving aside that any such targeted control might not be technically possible, Cameron’s statement effectively demonises tools which many of us have been promoting for their collaborative, immediate, and social nature. Social media aren’t only about organising one’s social/ antisocial life. They are about and bring about the free flow of information, and because of this, they are intrinsically linked to the idea of education. As one of our LSE bloggers put it today “In a sense the rioters using social media were only doing what we celebrated when it happened in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab Uprisings”. Surely it is important to emphasise and to focus on the second part of that comparison. Finally, it is important to remember what social media are: they are defined by their openness. Somehow it strikes me as a bad idea to want to fight a technology which embodies the principle of openness, of opening up, collaboration and sharing with a gesture that is all about shutting down.

For a quick overview of social web tools, visit our CLT page.

Finally, for reasons: “Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it…” (MH, 1949)

August 11th, 2011|Open Education, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Social media|

OERs: what’s stopping us?

The recent  M25 Learning Technology Group meeting focussed on Open Educational Resources (OERs).   Despite my somewhat limited knowledge of this topic it fell to me, as the meeting’s organiser, to provide an intro.  So here it is once again if you missed it.  OERs are teaching & learning materials available for reuse without charge. They are one element of a much wider Open Education movement (not sure that’s quite the right word but it’ll do). While reading about OERs I came across an interesting video lecture Openness, Aggregation and the Future of Education (50-mins) by David Wiley that’s worth a look.

In my introduction I gave examples of 4 different  OER-related areas as well as highlighting some upcoming OER conferences & UK projects:

I also highlighted two blog posts that put the case for and against OERs: The OER Debate (Patrick McAndrew) Those OER Issues (Martin Weller). The UNESCO OER Wiki is another place to look for further information on OERs.

Back to the meeting and I just wanted to highlight one of the four sessions which was a discussion led by Leo Havemann, Sarah Sherman & Bryony Bramer from the Bloomsbury group of UoL colleges.

They got us all discussing the barriers that prevent people sharing and those that prevent the use of others’ OERs.  Their This Educational Resource Could not be Opened slides includes a compilation of both the barriers and potential solutions we identified in our discussions (slides 6 & 7).  Despite the success of the likes of MIT & the OU – in terms of getting stuff shared if not re-used – it seems there is more than a long way to go & much to overcome for most institutions and their teaching staff.

Error message from Bloomsbury slides was generated here:

This post is syndicated from:

March 30th, 2010|Open Education, Syndicated, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on OERs: what’s stopping us?|

Backchannel Communication

The latest in the excellent Educause 7 Things You Should Know About… series is Backchannel Communication which is described as:

secondary electronic conversation that takes place at the same time as a conference session, lecture, or instructor-led learning activity

Students in a LectureThe backchannel at a live ‘event’ is usually informal and takes place on tools such as Twitter with the audience sharing comments, questions and links with each other while continuing to follow the the formal presentation.  The 7 Things guide notes that increasingly the backchannel is being brought to the fore as speakers & lecturers positively encourage the audience to participate and then respond to questions posted.  In some cases the communication is being displayed on screens within the lecture theatre.

Some institutions in the States have gone as far to create their own backchannel tools, for example Hotseat from Purdue University & the free to use Live Question Tool developed by the  Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

There are a number of opportunities & challenges raised by the backchannel and I recommend reading the 7 Things guide in full: 7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication (PDF)