Helen Turvey

Seeking Harmony Leadership

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on July 21, 2011

Harmony 2.0 Leadership

As part of the Shuttleworth Foundation focus on open content, collaboration and copyright law, we are seeking a steward for the Harmony agreements and leader for the process of expanding their coverage of jurisdictions and types of content.

The digital commons are increasingly important – whether in the form of open source software or wikipedia or music / literature content licensed freely, or open access to knowledge and citizen cyberscience.

Much effort has been spent on the legal copyright licensing frameworks for publishing that material: the Creative Commons licenses, for example, and the work around GPLv3. Much less work has been done on the legal underpinnings for contributions: the legal frameworks by which content from different sources can be combined in the first place.

This represents a weakness and potential friction in the growth of collaboratively produced works. We need confidence that a work assembled out of contributions from different countries and different employers will stand up under international legal scrutiny, and behave in a predictable fashion. Projects that are keen to embrace collaborative development and contributions from “outside” need certainty about the options available to them, and the consequences each path might take.

So-called “inbound licensing” and “copyright assignment” agreements was for a long time simply absent or implicit. Projects often lump together code and content from different sources under a common license without any rigorous framework. In some cases, inbound licenses exist but they are ad-hoc efforts, created project by project.

Recently, the Harmony Project set about reviewing common legal agreements and practices for inbound licensing, to produce a standardised set of legal language covering inbound contributions which also reflects some of the range of approaches, much as the Creative Commons includes a range of parameters that codify different approaches to outbound licensing of open content.

The fruits of the work done by the Harmony group, representing many individuals, projects and companies, are now available as a “1.0” set of legal agreements. They enable organisations to accept contributions either as donations or under “wide license”, and provide a range of flexibility to the organisation as to what they can do with those contributions and which licenses they can in turn publish them under.

Those Harmony 1.0 licenses are a good first effort, covering contributions from the US, UK and compatible jurisdictions. But we know that the field of copyright law is fragmented and diverse, and that other jurisdictions likely have widely divergent perspectives on language that would be legally rigorous for contributions from from, or to, those jurisdictions.

We are seeking a leader for the work needed to expand the scope of Harmony agreements to cover more international jurisdictions, and to refine the concepts and language of Harmony to reflect feedback and experiences gained by those projects which adopt Harmony in the coming months. The person will be a steward of Harmony licensing, with a specific focus on international copyright law and the mechanisms by which collaboration between contributors from diverse jurisdictions can be put on a sound legal footing.

In addition to improvements in the language used between projects and contributors, we are also seeking to establish a framework and network of intermediaries that would act as a conduit for content to flow between jurisdictions. It is envisaged that we would establish a clearing network system, with formal relationships between intermediaries, projects and contributors, which would use agency as a mechanism for brokering the licensing or assignment of content from contributors to projects.

In addition to copyright, such intermediaries and agencies may also play a role in managing the legal risks inherent in copyright ownership, publication and contribution. For example, the risk that code contributed by an independent developer may inadvertently attract the risk of a patent infringement suit in a different jurisdiction. Such risks might warrant the involvement of insurers, and the Fellow would explore the relationship between insurance, risk management and the legal frameworks being developed by Harmony.

Fellowships at the Shuttleworth Foundation
The Foundation supports visionaries and change agents in civil society and academia through single-year renewable grants that cover their own needs as well as a mechanism to amplify their personal investments in programs, projects or initiatives.

Interested?  Contact me directly – or via: fellowships (@) shuttleworthfoundation.org

June – summer reporting

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on July 11, 2011

This month ended with our biannual ‘Gathering’.  As we are based around the world, we all (active and non active Fellows) get together every 6 months to:

  • To share and to learn
  • To collaborate and grow stronger
  • To analyse and amend
  • To speak and to solve
  • To plan and to ponder

This Gathering was fabulously hosted by Francois, who took us to CERN, where we learnt a that we all basically knew nothing about how the world is put together – or indeed our purpose on it.  So please expect some silliness in further reading and in the pictures at the end of the post!

Citizen Cyberscience

For Francois, the entrée consisted of the launch of a series of geotagging experiments in collaboration with UNOSAT, aimed at exploring how well volunteers could match images of destruction in Libya to points on a map of the country. This represents a breakthrough in the CCC relationship with UNOSAT, as we have found a project that could be really useful for their clients, who can use the images to better assess damage on the ground.

The amuse-bouche was recording my pitch for a second year as a Shuttleworth Fellow from the back of  a taxi in the Beijing rush hour. Again and again and again and again.

The pièce de resistance was hosting the Shuttleworth Fellow gathering at CERN. It was a combination of French food, Swiss food and Dog food in large quantities – with a smattering of antimatter and some hadron sauce. The highlights for me included testing out P2PU for citizen cyberscience, and role playing to explore the challenges of protecting indigenous people’s biorights.

The plat de fromages included a slice of the Open Access Initiative workshop, where I spoke about Citizen Cyberscience, a sliver of time with the projects board of the Open Society Foundations, which will hopefully lead to some concrete projects, and a dash to London to plan the next London Citizen Cyberscience Summit with colleagues at UCL, King’s and Imperial, for February 2012.

The dessert was running a panel with Rufus on Open Science at the OKCon in Berlin and a one-day hackfest/workshop just prior to the conference. Both events exceeded expectations both in the number of participants, the work we got done and the new contacts and projects that were established during an intense few days. It was a very sweet experience!

Open & Collaborative Resources

As it is that time of year – Philipp also did his Fellowship Reapplication – Blog post about the last year is online, and the video on vimeo.

OKCon – Gave a presentation about “Hacking Education” (and P2PU) and together with other P2PU volunteers ran the P2PU workshop. Focus of the workshop was the creation of:
More Schools — School of Open Data (with OKFN/RP) and School of Citizen Cyberscience (with CCC/FG) are officially under development. Very excited to start working in these two areas – and do so with other fellows.

Building the Org – More interviews and discussion with the lawyers how to hire staff. Also getting ready to bring on three new people on in July/ August and a lot of the organizational groundwork has to be put in place. Also started working on book-keeping / financial set-up with Karen (CFO, Shuttleworth Foundation).

Gathering — I loved how every time I thought I couldn’t possible eat another bite of cheese fondue, Rufus would pass me the Raclette spatula. I strongly suspect that I sat next to a future nobel prize winner during at least one of the lunches. Probably the last one. By the way, rumors that I ordered cheese fondue again at the OSI dinner are entirely true. Thanks for organizing FG!

Highlights for Mark include:

1. New Siyavula identity created
2. New website, siyavula.com, launched which more accurately reflects what we do than the old one.
3. 3 Grade 10 textbooks were submitted for review for inclusion on the national catalogue, Mathematics, Physical Science and Wiskunde.

For Kathi:

  • Open Repositories SWORD Workshop: Met with the SWORD technical team to learn more about the second version of SWORD to make sure it would work for the OER Publishing API. Decided to use SWORD for the publishing API. The full reasoning is published in two blog entries: here  and here.
  • Publishing Clients: Continued investigation into clients that will use the SWORD service, including two translation clients and one word processing document uploader. More info here.
  • The Gathering: Met everyone, was given the idea for a WordPress plugin to publish OER, and fell for CERN.
  • Sprinting in Cape Town: The goal of the sprint was to learn about SWORD (the publishing API), start a generic implementation of a SWORD service for Plone, and get a couple of clients off the ground. We had 7 participants and even got started on the WordPress (or more generically, blog) plugin for publishing OER. More info here:

Access to knowledge

Kabir was also focussed internally with:

1) A number of strategy meetings to develop strategy documents for the way forward for the organization through 2011 and 2012
2) Presentations on community protocols at the 2 day meeting on Economic Justice organized by OSISA
3) Acted as the legal advisor to the African countries at the 1st meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee on the Nagoya Protocol in Montreal
4) Legal advise to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on reviewing the South African IP Amendment Bill

Open data

Rufus held an Open Data Event and Workshop in Bulgaria <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/06/07/open-data-workshop-and-opencamp-in-sofia-bulgaria-4-5-june/> and also an Open Gov Data Conference in Vienna – included a 1-day CKAN workshop and semantic web meetup the evening before.

It was also the month for OKCon – <http://okcon.org/2011/after>  – which is the annual event hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation.  “OKCon is a wide-ranging conference that brings together individuals and organizations from across the open knowledge spectrum for two days of presentations, workshops and exchange of ideas.”

Youth publishing

Gavin spent this month signing off  research and spending time out in the field with the agency, talking directly to target audience and starting to unpack issues around youth unemployment and disenfranchisement in SA townships.

Work was also done, conceiving and working up the Ikamva Live one-week magazine sprint: another opportunity for immersion and road-testing aspects of Live Magazine with a group of township teenagers – to be completed and sent to print in early July.

He is super excited about the Google-powered mobile learning idea beginning to emerge and take shape, with positive early conversations with Google and other potential collaborators.  Lastly,the Gathering: meeting, presenting to – and being presented to by – the other Fellows and SF team. Great pleasure and honour to spend the week at CERN with everyone, (but sad to have missed the raclette – die to Chilean ash clouds!).

May I?

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on June 12, 2011

Open & Collaborative Resources

Kathi has started her phased implementation strategy for the OER roadmap.  In May, she attended the IMS Learning Impact conference to get advice from leaders in learning software that have experience creating interoperable pathways between software and developing API’s. They recommended a phased implementation of the publishing API in Connexions (sooner is better than complete) and get started building demonstration tools that use the API right away to generate interest and create software that others can build on.

SWORD chosen for publishing API: They settled on SWORD and AtomPub to use for publishing OER (with extensions) and this was validated as a good approach through discussions at Learning Impact and subsequently at the Open Repositories 2011 conference (in June). SWORD is implemented in many institutional educational repositories (DSpace, Fedora, ePrints, arXiv, Zentity), which makes clients that can publish to multiple repositories much more likely and which provides a strong developer community.

Sprinting at the Plone East Symposium: They sprinted (communal coding) to extend an existing partial Connexions SWORD implementation to allow creation of modules from deposited Word files or CNXML (Connexions semantic document format) files and improve the handling of metadata (title, language, etc). With the help of fellow fellow, Mark Horner, we found and invited Carl Scheffler, whose background is in machine learning, and whose interests include improving education, to participate in the sprint, along with Connexions, and Penn State (advising).

Starting to expand the team: Carl will continue as a team member and began working on an editor that will make it easier to translate existing Connexions content and publish the translations. Also found was a team member to help with User Experience design for tools and services and with community engagement.

Philipp has a new website – P2PU launched their beta site at http://new.p2pu.org in late April, but started moving users onto it during this month. It’s a slight reboot of the learning model to allow more flexibility – not all courses have to start at the same time, and also hopefully encourage creation of more self-organised study groups in addition to courses. Also changed is some of the terminology, and are pushing the peer learning angle more strongly, so that users don’t fall into the old model of expecting to teach or be taught. They put in some groundwork to prepare the migration in June, but more on that next time…

Better support – Also did a lot of thinking about how to better support users. It is not perfect, but the combination of redesigned P2PU Handbook, and Q&A site, works much better than before. The new P2PU Handbook is part resources (screencasts, tutorials) and part community support forum. They set up an open Q&A site for any question that might come up at http://qa.p2pu.org. Both are monitored by the core community. And the newsletter now focuses on promotion of new courses and study groups as they are created.

Badges grow up – The interest in an open badges infrastructure has been overwhelming, and the project is transitioning to sit more within Mozilla. P2PU will be the pilot implementation for the badge issuer functionality. They also continue to help drive and
promote the ideas and are part of the advisory group, but it frees up some of resources to focus back on our core challenges at P2PU.

Hiring an army – a touch of an exaggeration – but not much!. They are growing and hiring, and the interview process is taking up a lot of time. The positions we are filling are a P2PU product manager, who will take over much of the platform development work from me; a product manager for School of Webcraft (which is a Mozilla position, but will co-report to Mozilla and P2PU), and two assessment related position (an assessment specialist and an assessment developer) to drive the Hewlett work forward.

Mark Horner has been extremely busy in May!  He completed an extremely successful translation hackathon on the 7th of May at Stellenbosch University’s Elec. Eng. Dept. (summary video still to come), presented at 3 of the 4 Tshikululu trust’s Maths educators’ meetings (Cape Town, Johannesburg and Limpopo (4th meeting is in June)) and this represents a partnership that could result in demand for Siyavula’s products, advice and support from 105 schools.

Both Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg hosted a week of evening events each. Both were very successful and established good connections with many schools. A number of interviews of educators using OERs/technology were filmed and these will begin appearing on the Siyavula site soon.  St Johns School for Boys in Johannesburg also expressed interest in uploading all of their science content (Effectively their own textbook for Physical Science Grade 10-12) onto Connexions

Siyavula registered as a member of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA) which is trivial to do but PASA has always been the organisation journalists have gone to to challenge what we do!

Citizen Cyberscience

Francois Grey’s Brasil@home  was the main highlight of the month, with a group of eight researchers touring Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, giving a lecture series on citizen cyberscience, running a two-day hackfest (in Rio) and having meetings with specific institutes, in particular INPE, the Brasilian space agency.

The main outcomes of the event are a series of new projects in the pipeline: volunteer digitization of archival documents about the Brazilian economy with the Brazilian think-tank IPEA; volunteer mapping of deforestation with INPE and two Brazilian Universities; drug design for parasite borne diseases with researchers from the Fiocruz institute. Plus several other areas of future collaboration defined in climate science and particle physics research.

Another important outcome of this event was the establishment of a Brazilian sister site to the Citizen Cyberscience Centre,  by several of the local organisers.

Access to knowledge

Together with the Centre for International Environmental Law, the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, Kenya Young Greens, the Rainforest Foundation Norway, and BirdLife International, Kabir and the Natural Justice team developed a submission on REDD+ safeguards for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It was stressed that “In the discussion of biodiversity and social safeguards relating to REDD, … Articles 8j and 10c suggest that the most fundamental ‘biocultural safeguard’ is the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).”

They co-facilitated the first Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Workshop for African lusophone countries in Maputo, Mozambique. Approximately 35 participants from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique included the ABS focal points of each country and other government officials, as well as representatives from the scientific community, civil society organizations, traditional healers, NGOs, and the private sector.

Also in Paris, the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) hosted a back-to-back experts meeting on access and benefit sharing (ABS) and biotrade and a conference on “The Strategic Importance of Biodiversity: The Beauty of Sourcing with Respect”. They explored the links between ABS and biotrade, particularly cross-cutting issues such as traditional knowledge, fair trade, and corporate social responsibility.The conference was directed primarily towards companies engaged in “ethical biotrade practices” and included some discussion of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS. UEBT also launched the latest version of its “Biodiversity Barometer”, which helps track awareness of biodiversity issues among consumers and the business sector.

Participated in the launching workshop of the Open AIR (African Innovation Research and Training: Exploring the Role of Intellectual Property in Open Development). The workshop sought to kick off the 3-year Open AIR project, which is supported by IDRC and GIZ. It seeks to address the questions, “What is the relationship between innovation, development and “openess”? What are the enabling conditions, and how do they interact?

Also participated in the information and preparatory meeting for Indigenous peoples and local communities on access and benefit sharing (ABS) and traditional knowledge entitled, “The Nagoya Protocol and the Way Ahead”. The meeting, which took place from May 21-22, is organized and supported by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative for Africa, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN), Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), Conservation International, GIZ, and the Equator Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme.

Youth publishing

Gavin did some ‘youth employability in SA’ research fieldwork with partner agency the Consumer Insight Agency, including a 24-hour overnight immersion for me with them in the field, in Mxenge, Phillippi.

This process is proving crucial in developing an increasingly detailed understanding of the beneficiary group, their needs and the approach needed to tailor the project to make the most impact based on the model of Live magazine UK is trying to replicate… Research will be complete by mid-July.

Gavin had an intensive three weeks of meetings, networking and doing ‘creds’ presentations: notably Nike, Google, Red Bull, Ikamva youth, Big Issue, RLabs, Equal Education, British Council, Mahala magazine, Young in Prison, Children’s radio Foundation, and fellows past and present… creating foundations for potential partnerships and collaboration.

Agreeing and creating the plan for Ikamva Live – a one-week mini-mag production sprint taking place in early July, taking a group of 20 young people through the process of creating a publication… giving the chance to make a mentor call-out for volunteers.

As part of walking the talk, Gavin began mentoring two young people for a two-way learning process for me and them: a young publishing entrepreneur from Langa, an aspiring journalist from Phillippi.

Lastly, and perhaps most pleasingly, final figures show that Live Mag UK 10th birthday issue beat its £38K quarterly ad revenue target by £10,000… a significant marker in the push for full sustainability. read it online:

Nice = good business sense?

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on May 15, 2011

I have been feeling extremely virtuous over the last few days…

My office had become rather cluttered with no longer required items that have little or no monetary value so over the w/e I popped them onto Freecycle.  Children’s toys, books, games, slippers, Christmas decorations and a computer screen have all found good homes and I am rather smug – having done something for others and my bit for the environment.

Yesterday evening, as someone came to collect the last of the items, they remarked upon the signage of my husbands vans (which is rather prominent) and asked if he was looking for more clients, including her and her workplace – good deeds working harder than any targeted marketing campaign – my smuggness knew no bounds!

Today then, I was pointed to Lunch Money for Tips as an interesting concept.  I think this is dreadful – and super sneaky.  The basic premise is that small business get paid ‘donations’ for being helpful.  If you have something like wikipedia – a charity, built for and by the people who use it and needs support or FOSS plug-ins that specifically require the cash to keep going – that is one thing.

A business however, that earns money for products or services, can choose how to operate, if good people are building good customer relations, then they will attract more business.  You can’t charge, or even make the suggestion of charging for time and advice that is not specifically agreed.  It feels sordid and messy.  What happened to just being nice making good business sense?

April showers…

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on May 9, 2011

… and storms – but also the sun has been shining on us.  Highlights for this month are:

Open data

Rufus has started to talk about a data ecosystem where there are data cycles – rather than ‘one way street’ data processing ( Building the (Open) Data Ecosystem)as well as keynoting at UKSG’s annual conference and REPUBLICA about open data.

The OKFN (which Rufus heads up) has launched a new Film about Open Government Data and the Open Data Challenge – a pan-European open data competition.  His projects CKAN and Where Does My Money Go? / Open Spending go from strength to strength – noteworthy is a new Italian instance of Open Spending and EU Budget and EC Financial Transparency System Finances.

YourTopia – Development beyond GDP also won 3rd prize at World Bank Contest.

Access to knowledge
Kabir organised the Pan African Biocultural Community Protocols (BCP) Initiative in Cape Town with nearly 40 participants from all over Africa to strategize and plan an African BCP program for the year 2011-2012 (11th-12th of April) as well as the African Biocultural Rights Meeting with lawyers from across the continent to discuss the emerging community rights to their common property resources and the kind of legal capacity development required for communities to get legal recognition for their BCPs (13th of April- Cape Town) – an impressive amount of support and energy for each subject.

He also spoke at the SEED Green Economy event in Johannesburg on BCPs and how they add a rights based approach to the Green Economy and facilitated a 3 day workshop on Developing an Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy hosted by the Ministry of Forests and Agriculture in Bhutan. The workshop included a section on BCPs and how they can help secure community rights to their commons (18,19,20th of April, Thimpu).

Finally Kabir was the legal adviser to the National Biodiversity Center of Bhutan in developing their first working draft of their National ABS Policy. The draft will be subjected to extensive national consultations after which the final draft will be adopted by the Cabinet of Bhutan.

Citizen Cyberscience

Francois lectured on citizen cyberscience at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science and Education in Mumbai, the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai. Also met with reps from the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, and top Open Access guru Subbiah Arunachalam in Chennai. The main outcome was identifying a scientific topic that would be suitable for kickstarting a larger citizen cyberscience effort in India (India@Home), involving citizen-based tracking of animals and plants, to study animal behavior and impact of climate change. A special focus is on using such projects as educational tools in schools.  Possible dates for an India@Home event were discussed: December 2011 is the current working assumption.

He also met with the Director of the Mauritius Research Council, the First Secretary of the recently formed Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and various representatives of the University of Mauritius, the Technical University of Mauritius and the Mauritius Cybercity initiative. The main outcomes were full support for the local part of the organization of a Summit on Mauritius, possible dates spring 2012, based on the concept of a South-South meeting that would gather researchers from India, China and South Africa. Also made contacts to three researchers with relevant projects for citizen cyberscience: one in the area of radioastronomy, one in mobile health statistics and one in modeling the impact of cyclones on Mauritius.

Other work in April concerned moving the LHC@Home alpha test towards a beta version, planned public launch in May, and testing all components of citizen mapping software developed by colleagues in Ghana, for possible deployment in a project for damage assessment in Libya. Finally, a good deal of effort was expended on the final preparations for the Brasil@Home events, running 2-6 May, in Brasilia, Rio and Sao Paulo (lectures by several experts in each city + two-day hackfest in Rio).

Youth publishing

Live Mag SA seems to creating a lot of buzz on the ground.  Gavin has had positive noises from SA-based brands about Live Magazine plans, notably Nike and Coke – which would be an amazing start for the sustainability of the brand.  Plus a lot of media interest for Live Mag SA in the UK, including a meeting with Alex Clark (feature writer for the Times and Observer), Ben Ferguson from the New Statesman, and CNN International.

First iteration of the ‘live’ project mindmap for Live Magazine SA posted up on the blog.

Live UK has been certified by the Audit Bureau of Communications for Live Magazine in London, for an approved circulation of 28000+ – providing fantastic reassurance for potential advertisers.  Also in the onward march towards self-sustainability, having the best advertising yield yet for an issue for the 10th birthday issue of Live Mag in London – very encouraging sign.

There has also been the first internal presentation of the Live ‘Kidflow’ system: an attempt to develop some kind of new, ongoing social impact measurement for the level of engagement the project provides to young people (which will be used and replicated in SA).

The BBC in London has agreed to jointly submit a proposal for a Live Magazine pilot in Manchester linked to the BBC’s move to Salford, as a community engagement tool, using BBC mentors, and producing a joint London/Manchester one off issue in the Autumn.

Livity’s Google Zeitgeist Young Minds competition results in, with three of the successful finalists coming from Cape Town (who win a trip to the Zeitgeist event in London this month).  Developed by Livity, the Google Digital Experts first phase of recruitment finally launches, giving non-grads the chance to get free Google digital media training.

Open Educational Resources

Philipp had his first P2PU board meeting hosted at MIT OpenCourseWare office. Mark Surman (Mozilla Foundation) and Cathy Casserly (Creative Commons) were appointed to the board. Karen Gabriels, Shuttleworth Foundation CFO, joins as Treasurer. More info on organizational development here: http://sharing-nicely.net/2011/04/the-machine-that-runs-p2pu/

The re-boot of P2PU model and website is underway. The new site is progressing faster than anticipated, supported by an emerging open source contributor community. Check it out at http://new.p2pu.org and read about it here http://blogs.p2pu.org/blog/2011/04/27/313/

They also agreed to pilot with Saylor.Org to offer one of their courses through a P2PU study group and are initially testing this with an art history course, but could be rolled out to other courses and lead to stronger relationship. Early draft here: http://new.p2pu.org/en/groups/baroque-art-of-italy-spain-and-the-netherlands/

Generally thinking more about “Hacking Certification”, both in the context of P2PU pilots and work on badges, and more generally. Spoke about it in Vijay Kumar’s Open Education course (slides and notes here: http://sharing-nicely.net/2011/04/hacking-certification/) and again this week at the OCWC conference.

Finally P2PU submitted a proposal to Department of Labor OER grant program as part of the consortium of community colleges. Goals of the proposal include developing web developer training materials, and enhancing the P2PU platform to support community colleges, as well as spread the materials developed by the DoL to self-learners outside of institutions.

On the platform side, Siyavula hired another team member, Ewald Zietsman, who has reproduced the Connexions PDF pipeline locally but to produce FHSST-style PDFs which are crucial for printing the final books. Modules and Collections work which is very exciting.  Also, Obami have given a portal within their private social network for schools which we will use to raise awareness about our products.

Mark was interviewed for the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Youth feature which will be super convenient because it will come out in June, the same time as when we are trying to maximise publicity about the books (will link to this when possible), plus he presented on the OER panel at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative’s Education Think Tank.

With a focus on administration: the new Siyavula website has been finished and is busy being populated with content. Expect www.siyavula.com any day now.  The Siyavula company name, Siyavula Education, has been reserved, now just waiting for changes of name, directors etc. to propagate.

At the beginning of April, Kathi Fletcher attended the NITLE Summit where liberal arts college leaders are thinking about liberal arts education in a digital age and wrote about John Seeley Brown’s keynote on educating for change.  Also participated in the OER workshop led by Hal Plotkin of the US Department of Education.For the OER Publishing API, Kathi worked with Connexions to determine the changes that will be needed in their code to support a publishing API, and started a site for sharing the API design, Connexions implementation, and the code for tools and services that make use of the API.

Planning for a coding sprint at the Plone East conference in mid-May and with Mark Horner’s help.  The sprint is designed to begin the process of implementing an OER Publishing API in Connexions, provide input about the cost and complexity of the full implementation, attract developers to the implementation of the API, and generate buzz about the OER Publishing API.

She also talked with several groups about how they might benefit from the OER Publishing API. Sometimes the ideas were slam-dunk ideas that seem immediately useful, and sometimes it was more of a cold call where I was planting ideas for the future. In the slam-dunk category, Kingston University has been using CNXML (the format of educational materials in Connexions) and has an editor that could publish directly to the Connexions software, Rhaptos, once the API exists.  Siyavula is creating translations and working on an offline editor to preserve document structure while facilitating text translation. Being able to publish derived copies back would be a huge benefit. In the area of planting seeds and ideas, I talked with MITE (interesting possibilities for publishing textbooks as remixable OER in Connexions), Wikimedia (building structured editors that might be shareable, and working on offline packages that could combine reference and textbook and other educational material), and OERCommons (concentrating on discoverability and creating great communities for sharing. It would be great if sharing in existing repositories was easier.)

The pain of reporting vs the joy of sharing and learning

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on April 11, 2011

As a Foundation, we have a responsibility to our trustees and Founder to know where our money is spent and how it has changed the landscape.  The problem with reporting is that is is arduous, lengthy  and rarely do we have time to garner the interesting nuances of facts and figures. It is best, imo, to report as things are happening (release early and often) whilst there is still excitement about the findings (and doings) rather than have your mind on the next prize.  So…

Years ago, we used to do a monthly blog post on what the Foundation and the Fellows had been up to and we have decided to reinstate it.  It is not complicated, and far more information can be found by following the specific websites themselves, but hopefully will give you a point to jump off.  This post is long, b/c it looks at the first 3 months of the year, going forward it will be on a monthly basis – and shorter.

Open Data

Whilst Rufus is continually flying around promoting Open Knowledge (CCSR in Manchester about Open Data, Cambridge Geek Night, Workshop at Dev8D, EPSI Platform Berlin – Open Data: Apps for Everyone?, British Library, Managing Public Sector Information, NCVO Annual Conference, JISC Annual Conference ), he also has time to implement some impressive progress on his projects.

The Annotator (and AnnotateIt.org) project now has v1.0 ready to go, as well as overseeing the javascript library development he has personally developed the python-based Annotator store webapp deployed at AnnotateIt.org. He now plans to launch the system and work with partners to integrate and scale up.  Those interested in this killer piece of software – or simply keen to help explain the web, see: Open Shakespeare for how it works.

CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) has released CKAN v1.3 and there is a new CKAN wiki and CKAN site, CKAN tutorial at Dev8d as well as many more community instances.

There has been major code and community development on Where Does My Money Go? and Open Spending.  Rufus also announced: YourTopia – Development beyond GDP, in his words:

As well as having a very simple function: to tell you what country is closest to your ideal, the app also has a very serious purpose: to help us develop a real empirical basis for the measures of development that are used to guide policy-making.

Is health more important than education, or GDP, is the amount of R&D more important than amount spent on primary education? Help us find out what the world thinks!

Open educational resources

The big thing in the world of OER’s for me – is how it is becoming the norm.  The US government just ear marked a $2billion fund for the creation of OER’s and more and more institutions are changing their policies to align with open ideals.

Kathi Flecther, has started her long road of creating the OER highway to ensure that the many incompatible formats of OER’s can work together.  As the popularity of OER’s increases, the need for an Open API becomes more and more crucial to the success of the ecosystem.  The beginning of her work is be drawing on all of the contacts and projects she has worked for and with over the last few years to ensure that the OER highway infrastructure that she is creating will be useful for everyone.

Mark Horner continues to take his OER  project Siyavula to new heights.  Over the course of the next year, Siyavula will go from being a project developing OER’s for the South African education system to a for profit (profit making?) business.  The business plan is in place, team on board and they are ready to go – just waiting for the paperwork to come back from the powers that be…  Various different services have been added to the offering including Open Press (a web-service for the aggregation of print orders, offering users the benefit of economies of scale achieved through collaborative purchasing) and Full Marks (an open assessment bank with some tools to help educators generate tests and analyse results).

Whilst Mark is constantly in demand to talk at events such as the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative’s Think Tank – on Education, it is his routine work of weekly hackathons and evening events that continue to take up the bulk of his time (in fact, it is probably because he spends much of his time actually building the community that he is so in demand!).

P2PU is also growing up, they have completed and submitted incorporation documents for P2PU, Inc. (drafted bylaws, incorporation filing, appointed first board members, etc…) which will be based in the US, so are waiting to hear on tax exempt status from the IRS, Philipp says ‘form 1023 is a term that will strike fear in the hears of the bravest open education activist – we haven’t heard back yet, so I still only whisper it’.

A variety of important projects stem from the work of alternative higher education learning, including the work Philipp is doing on badges (accreditation systems outside of status quo).  P2PU has also secured funding from the Hewlett Foundation for $400,000 over 2 years, brilliant mark of the achievements that the project has made so far.

Citizen Cyberscience

LHC@Home processes over a billion jobs. It’s the worst-kept secret in volunteer computing: CERN’s LHC@home project is now processing real LHC physics. The volunteer computing project, which used to just help accelerator physicists tune the proton beam of the Large Hadron Collider, is now doing the sort of simulation of proton collisions which one day may help physicists spot new particles in the petabytes of data currently being produced by the world’s biggest physics experiment.

Just five years ago, experts thought running LHC physics on ordinary PCs would be impossible. But some nifty use of virtual machine technology – and says François Grey: critical sponsorship by the Shuttleworth Foundation – has removed the remaining obstacle of platform dependency. So far, this is an alpha phase, with a restricted number of volunteer computers (<100). But rapid progress in stabilizing the release means that the public launch of the project could happen by May or even earlier.

Citizen Cyberscience Centre has first annual sponsors meeting. With HP and IBM joining as project sponsors to back Shuttleworth Foundation founding sponsor,  a meeting on January 20th confirmed that the centre is now more than just a concept. Projects such as Computing for Clean Water (simulating nanoscale water filters) LHC@home and Cybermappr (crowdsourced deforestation mapping) are now either running or in the pipeline. CCC events are planned in China, Taiwan, Brazil, India and South Africa.

Best of all, a talented team of young programmers from France, Spain and Ghana, also part funded by HP, assembled for the first time and developed plans for Cybermappr, a general purpose crowd-sourced mapping tool.

Brasil@home starts to take shape. The event is planned for 2-7 May. Host institutions in Rio, Sao Paulo and Brasilia confirmed, and Mozilla Foundation keen to collaborate on one or maybe even two hackfest events there. Initial contacts made with Open Society Foundation for co-funding of the events, which will have the theme of citizen-based climate science. Representatives of citizen cyberscience projects Old Weather and ClimatePrediction.net are confirmed.

Access to Knowledge
Kabir kicked off the 1st meeting of the Asia Regional Biocultural Community Protocols Initiative in Srilanka with partner organizations from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan. The aim of the meeting is to develop a strategy for supporting community based organisations within South and East Asia to develop biocultural community protocols to secure their rights to their lands and cultures.

He also organised a multistakeholder meeting in Geneva in partnership with the Union for Ethical Biotrade to develop a methodology for using biocultural community protocols to facilitate ethical trade relations between companies and communities engaged in biotrade. The meeting is a precursor to developing field based best practice examples in Madagascar, Brazil and Colombia.

A series of community meetings in the Lamu archipelago of Kenya happened, with communities developing a protocol challenging the multibillion dollar port that is being built on their lands without an environmental impact assessment or adequate consultation. The port is likely to displace thousands of people, wreak ecological havoc and disrupt the livelihoods of thousands more.

An agreement was signed between Natural Justice (the organisation Kabir co-founded) and the government of Sabah (Malaysia) to support the government in the development and implementation of laws and policies relating to community rights and biodiversity

A project in partnership with the Environmental Evaluation Unit (University of Cape Town) for the South African Department of Environmental Affairs for developing guidelines for the South African Biodiversity Act and the Bioprospecting and Access and Benefit Sharing Regulations concluded. The guidelines will be in print soon and translated into all the official South African languages. The guidelines also recommend the use of community protocols by communities to regulate access to communally held resources and knowledge

Youth Publishing

Gavin who has gained his experience with Live magazine in the UK, has now got his ‘Exceptional Skills’ visa confirmed – very good news indeed!  He will be moving to South Africa on the 9th May to implement all of the work he has been planning.  Part of what we push in the Fellowship is ‘living out loud’.  It is vital to reflect to be able to learn and for others to learn to, Gavin has started to blog about his activities and posted his communications strategy.

There is a lot that Gavin will have to learn about being in South Africa and how it differs, but he will be able to bring a huge amount of knowledge about business models for sustainability.  He was interviewed this week for a NESTA-funded book about 25 innovative business models in the ‘civic economy’.

That’s all for now folks, as I said – the post for April will be shorter – but not less action packed I hope!

Open entrepreneurship principles…?

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on March 2, 2011

I have been talking with Roshan and Sushmita at Ashoka Globalizer about their upcoming summit in Stockholm.  Below is an evolving draft and great first attempt at understanding the principles behind ‘open source change making’.  Essentially looking at what will help social change makers ideas/businesses/information flow more rapidly, and shorten the time that they can be more successful in – enabling the maximum benefit for all, quickest.


Open Action: How You Can Put the Entire World To Work

In a world of innovation everywhere and constant change, work behind closed doors and closed offices, led by a supersmart leader is becoming a thing of the past. As an article in MIX (Management Innovation Exchange) notes:” It’s no longer the leader’s job to come up with the answers, The job description of the leader has officially changed from ‘smartest guy in the room’ to chief promoter of the idea that nobody’s as smart as everybody… it’s the leader’s job to invite as many smart people into the room as possible, to create opportunities for and channel contributions from the broadest mix of people—wherever they sit in the organization (or the world).” The flip side of this phenomenon is — – everyone had better realize that quietly following is no longer an option in a world that assumes that everyone a changemaker!

What does this mean for the nature of leadership provided by social entrepreneurs? For the scaling of social impact? For unleashing the potential in all to be changemakers?

Here are five broad action principles for discussion:

  • Envision your ‘Everybody”: Even if nobody’s as smart as everybody, clearly and very broadly envisioning the “everybody” who has a stake in your vision is important (eg, the buyers and sellers of eBay or information-seekers of Google or book buyers of Amazon or local volunteers of Kaboom) for relevant changemaking.
  • Create Co-Creation Magnets for your Everybody: Time was when you chased people you needed., or doled out services to those who needed them, because you knew best. Today, you can organize for people you need to chase you, and engage all “beneficiaries” as equal co-creators – draft your “everybody” as partners. The creation of widely accessible technologies and the resultant power shift needs you to manage mass production of change by your Everybody – not just execute ideas you’ve come up with. Different job!
  • Enable Transparent, Reality Innovation: If you do your job right, your Everybody is innovating as you read this. So, your job is to design a smart mix of curating and community judgement that enables the most important innovations to get the most acclaim. While a crowdsourcing approach translates into many contributors and a few beneficiaries ( eg, a few prize winners etc.), a genuine open source approach grows the changemaker in EVERY user, results in many contributors many beneficiaries (e.g. Each contributor who works on a Linux-related project offers time and effort, and is a 100% guaranteed beneficiary of something in return—free access to use Linux distributions made better by his/her contribution). Where are you on this spectrum?
  • Enable Self-Organizing Transactions for your Everybody: How can you enable/incent your community connect with each other for transactions they care about – without your having to stoke this? For eg, the buyers and sellers of e-Bay find each other, keep each other honest through a transaction. What’s the equivalent for you? A self-growing community that polices itself can grow exponentially.
  • Make Collaboration Intuitive and utilitarian: Every time we search on Google, we’re actually collaborating with Google to rank order websites through the mere choice of sites we choose to visit. Amazon book buyers collaborate with Amazon by identifying books that others “like” them are likely to buy . Now, Google and Amazon users don’t have to do any extra work to collaborate with these institutions. They’re just doing what they want and need to do. Imagine if you enabled your “Everybody” what they wanted and needed to do in a way that also spurred on your vision. What does that look like?

Thoughts that spring to mind from me:

  • The ‘unexpected’ everybody – being open to totally unimagined contributors and use cases is vital to keep momentum and gain traction in unexplored markets.  Pouncing on those opportunities and helping them take shape.
  • Can everyone really be equal?  I am not so sure.  ‘Design by committee’ makes for a poor picture.  The question is really about how people enter the community, what sort of voice they have, how to value that voice.
  • Feedback loops – constant feedback loops!
  • If you are serious about open – be legally open and available – not just in spirit.

Your thoughts?

You say Goodbye, I say Hello. Hello, hello.

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on March 2, 2011

It is that time of year again…

Whilst we live by the ‘once a Shuttleworth Fellow, always a Shuttleworth Fellow’ rule, it is sad to say goodbye to those not actively on the programme any more.  Both Steve Song and Steve Vosloo are saying goodbye and, very excitingly, pursuing the projects that they have been working on during their Fellowships – the Village Telco and the mLab iniative.

It has been a delight working with you both, and we look forward to seeing you at the next Shuttleworth Gathering in June and following your successes.

It is also time to welcome 3 new Fellows.  Kathi Fletcher, who is focusing on how to foster an ecosystem of innovative tools and services around an education highway (metaphorically) made of open education resources (OER), Kabir Bavikatte, an environmental lawyer supporting communities to secure their rights to their territories and cultures and Gavin Weale, a journalist and web editor, who has developed the Live magazine, overseeing the transformation of a grassroots magazine into a powerful youth engagement and communications channel for thousands of disadvantaged young people in London, UK. He now wishes to replicate the model in the townships of South Africa.

Brilliant to have you on-board.

Back in business

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on February 23, 2011

Having been back (and forth – twice!) from maternity leave in the last 2 years – I am back in business!  I have opened up my blog again to start talking about what we are up to at the Shuttleworth Foundation.

Most importantly – we have changed our investment model – to be more akin to a Fellowship Fund.  Basically – we invest in amazing individuals who have incredible ideas.  We give them enough money to be able to support themselves (as salary), a nod to expenses (flights/internet access etc…) and match whatever they put into projects up to 20 times.  It honestly could not be more simple to change the world these days…

Our next intake of Fellows will be on the 1st March – and will be announced shortly.

Independence within the Electoral Commision

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on August 22, 2008

My new friend Aslam Rafee (CTO of the DST) has been hanging out in our office this morning before Open Everything this afternoon.   He has pointed out one of the most incredible pieces of democracy I have ever seen.  The so called ‘Independent Electoral Commission’ do not allow you to access information through their site if you do not have propriety software.

The (not so) welcome page:

So much for human rights and access to knowledge….

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