Capetown Open Education Declaration
The Capetown Open Education Declaration
"Specifically, the Cape Town declaration has three calls:
- Educators and learners: “We encourage educators and learners to actively participate in the emerging open education movement. Participating includes: creating, using, adapting and improving open educational resources; embracing educational practices built around collaboration, discovery and the creation of knowledge; and inviting peers and colleagues to get involved. Creating and using open resources should be considered integral to education and should be supported and rewarded accordingly.”
- Resources: “We call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared through open licenses which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet.”
- Policy: “Governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.
The declaration states that following these principles will both improve education in countries with resources — by changing the way people improve upon materials, and decreasing reliance on textbooks — and will provide unprecedented resources to the rest of the world." (http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2008/01/22/capetown)
"In 2002, a small group of foundation officials and technology experts released the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which called for journals to end subscription barriers to online content and for scholars to strive to make their research findings available online and free. While many publishers that charge for content have attacked these ideas, the Budapest manifesto played a key role in a movement that is seeing notable success. The new appropriations bill for the National Institutes of Health contains a provision — fought for several years by publishers but backed by many academics — that requires all studies financed by the NIH to be made available online and free.
Today, some of the same groups that created the Budapest movement are unveiling a new manifesto — the Cape Town Open Education Declaration — in which they call on universities and others to make more of their course and other educational materials online and free, and to encourage faculty members to work with these materials. Declaring that “we are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning,” the signatories affirm that “everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint.”
Among those backing the effort are the Open Society Institute (which is linked to the Soros Foundation), the Shuttleworth Foundation (which is heavily involved in promoting education in Africa), Creative Commons, and numerous educators involved in open access projects. Many of the organizers met in Cape Town last year to discuss issues related to open access — and that’s the origin of the name. The statement is being issued at a time that numerous efforts already exist to make course content available online and free. Projects like OpenCourseWare at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Connexions at Rice University are putting vast sums of materials online and making them available. Yale University is making video of selected courses available.
Richard Baraniuk, the founder of Connexions and one of the Cape Town signatories, said that with many projects and ideas taking hold, organizers of the new effort wanted to draw attention to the way a movement is taking shape. “We want more people out there familiar with the fact that there’s not just a Yale project or an MIT project or a Connexions project, but that they are part of this whole,” he said. “We have these projects that have been founded by people with a vision about what open education can be, and how it can revolutionize the world of education. What has dawned on people the last year or so, was that a movement was starting to crystallize around these projects.”
While not all educators may gravitate to these ideas right away, Baraniuk noted the success of the Budapest effort in shaping opinion, and now legislation. As with Budapest, the idea is to have key principles, but not a ton of detail on how to apply those principles. “The language was very carefully worked out over a number of months,” he said. “The idea is not to be vague, but to be open-ended enough to be used in different ways.”
Baraniuk stressed that all the references to free and open access were not intended to wipe out all concepts of tuition or charging fees for services. “It’s absolutely legitimate to charge” for certain things, he said. The key is to adopt a mindset in which open materials are endorsed, used when possible and produced whenever possible, so that there are many high quality options for people who might never be able to pay tuition at his university or have access to high priced materials." (http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2008/01/22/capetown)
"Cape Town Open Education Declaration: Unlocking the promise of open educational resources
We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.
This emerging open education movement combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet. It is built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. Educators, learners and others who share this belief are gathering together as part of a worldwide effort to make education both more accessible and more effective.
The expanding global collection of open educational resources has created fertile ground for this effort. These resources include openly licensed course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software and other materials that support teaching and learning. They contribute to making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.
However, open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning. Understanding and embracing innovations like these is critical to the long term vision of this movement.
There are many barriers to realizing this vision. Most educators remain unaware of the growing pool of open educational resources. Many governments and educational institutions are either unaware or unconvinced of the benefits of open education. Differences among licensing schemes for open resources create confusion and incompatibility. And, of course, the majority of the world does not yet have access to the computers and networks that are integral to most current open education efforts.
These barriers can be overcome, but only by working together. We invite learners, educators, trainers, authors, schools, colleges, universities, publishers, unions, professional societies, policymakers, governments, foundations and others who share our vision to commit to the pursuit and promotion of open education and, in particular, to these three strategies to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources:
1. Educators and learners: First, we encourage educators and learners to actively participate in the emerging open education movement. Participating includes: creating, using, adapting and improving open educational resources; embracing educational practices built around collaboration, discovery and the creation of knowledge; and inviting peers and colleagues to get involved. Creating and using open resources should be considered integral to education and should be supported and rewarded accordingly.
2. Open educational resources: Second, we call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared through open licences which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet.
3. Open education policy: Third, governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.
These strategies represent more than just the right thing to do. They constitute a wise investment in teaching and learning for the 21st century. They will make it possible to redirect funds from expensive textbooks towards better learning. They will help teachers excel in their work and provide new opportunities for visibility and global impact. They will accelerate innovation in teaching. They will give more control over learning to the learners themselves. These are strategies that make sense for everyone.
Thousands of educators, learners, authors, administrators and policymakers are already involved in open education initiatives. We now have the opportunity to grow this movement to include millions of educators and institutions from all corners of the earth, richer and poorer. We have the chance to reach out to policymakers, working together to seize the opportunities ahead. We have the opportunity to engage entrepreneurs and publishers who are developing innovative open business models. We have a chance to nurture a new generation of learners who engage with open educational materials, are empowered by their learning and share their new knowledge and insights with others. Most importantly, we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through freely available, high-quality, locally relevant educational and learning opportunities.
We, the undersigned, invite all individuals and institutions to join us in signing the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, and, in doing so, to commit to pursuing the three strategies listed above. We also encourage those who sign to pursue additional strategies in open educational technology, open sharing of teaching practices and other approaches that promote the broader cause of open education. With each person or institution who makes this commitment -- and with each effort to further articulate our vision -- we move closer to a world of open, flexible and effective education for all." (http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/)