By Lilian Mutegi:
School of Open (SOO) Programme a global community of volunteers providing free online courses, face-to-face workshops, and innovative training programs on the meaning, application, and impact of "openness" in the digital age, is set to be lunched in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa in September.
This comes after months of discussions, deliberations and planning between Creative Commons (CC) staff, African Regional Coordinators, African Affiliate teams and others in the open space, Creative Commons Africa is set to storm Africa by having a continent-wide launch for School of Open in September.
School of Open programs will cover a series of topics ranging from Creative Commons licensing, intellectual property protection, open society concepts, and the Linux operating system. Through School of Open, you can learn how to add a Creative Commons license to your work, find free resources for classroom use, open up your research, remix a music video, and more!
Strategic collaborations are underway with the Mozilla Foundation, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, WikiAfrica, University of Lagos, University of Tanzania, and the Institute of Educational Management Technology of the Open University of Tanzania to make the launch a success.
In Kenya, School of Open already started out as a trail blazer by organizing a two-week after school program that introduces high school students to open culture through the use of online School of Open courses and related open educational resources (OER).
The training was designed to satisfy the academic needs of the students and to enable the students to use open tools such as Creative Commons licenses to create and share knowledge, as well as learning required subjects in new and creative ways.
The students integrated the School of Open training into their school work and were able to produce projects such as this Titration Demo video by the Lenana School under CC BY. Despite its long strides, Jamlab and CC Kenya are not resting their oars; they will be launching a Train the Trainers program this September where they will train 10+ community members to organize and run SOO workshops in more high schools and in neighboring countries. SOO Kenya will also host a SOO Africa launch event and Maker Party entitled PopJam. Jamlab + CC Kenya, in collaboration with Mozilla Kenya and Wikipedia Kenya, will host the event for 5 high schools in the region. Stay tuned for details!
CC South Africa hosts three projects under the School of Open initiative. The first is the #OpenAfrica project where in conjunction with WikiAfrica, open advocates from Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda and Ghana were put through an "open" bootcamp.
The month-long camp covered Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Open Street Maps, Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Data, Open Government, and related fundraising and community building skills. Advocates returned equipped with "open" knowledge and skills to their home countries to influence and spur their communities into action. This has resulted in the creation of new CC affiliate teams in Ethiopia and Cote d'Ivoire and the launch of open mandated tech hubs in these communities.
CC Tanzania is planning to host three sets of trainings. The first will be an ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, the second will focus on teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and the third will focus on training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students. Participants will become new School of Open volunteers, improving and running future training programs as a way to give back to and grow their community. Development will be led by CC Tanzania volunteers with expertise in law, journalism, and information technology. CC Tanzania will host a joint SOO Africa launch event + Mozilla Maker Party, date and location TBD.
CC Nigeria will, in five weekends, train participants on Nigerian copyright law, intellectual property protection and the Linux operating system. The training will have two tracks: the first track being copyright law and the second being the Linux operating System. Participants will have the opportunity to choose either or both tracks. CC Nigeria also plans to host a joint SOO Africa launch event + Mozilla Maker Party during the training. During the event, experienced web users will train participants on easy ways to creating content using Mozilla tools.