Philipp Schmidt


avatar for Philipp Schmidt

Passionate about building prototypes, testing assumptions, and iterating. Interested in assessment and certification for social learning.


Speaking Schedule


10:15 AM
– 11:15 AM

"Which license for OER?" may be the wrong question

Tired of the never-ending debate about "Which license for OER?" We agree! Perhaps we should talk about "Which assets" instead.


For too many projects, and for too long, the OER community has grappled with the proper interpretation of open-content licenses, their use, and possible sustainability strategies built around them. The Creative Commons licensing suite has emerged as the global standard for OER licensing, yet it has not lessened, let alone solved, this debate. The problem can be distilled to three key issues: 1) there is more than one CC license, 2) interpretation of some licensing terms (such as the non-commercial term) is subjective, and 3) the license chosen is widely perceived to be a key factor in determining workable sustainability models for OER use and production.

In this session, we will examine each of these issues, paying particular attention to their effects on people's perceptions of OER, the different ways in which licenses are justified and used, and the overall impact on the progress (or lack thereof) of the field.

We will also discuss whether it could be helpful to shift the frame of the debate, from "Which license?" to "Which assets?" In brief, the contention here is that the persistent focus on licensing has stifled the emergence of creative new production, use, and delivery models and reduced the impact of OER accordingly. One option is to embrace hybrid production models, where all "OER" are released with as few restrictions possible (e.g., under CC BY), but not all resources (from a given producer) need be released as OER. We are hoping that the discussion will reveal other options as well.

We are anticipating that we will be able to integrate the insights gained from this discussion into helpful resources for both existing practitioners and newcomers to the OER field.



10:15 AM
– 11:15 AM

I don't need a certificate to beat you in chess

If I beat you in chess, you know that I can play. Does good learning design create evidence, which can replace credentials?


One of the most interesting topics in the open education movement focuses on certification and credentialing of learning achievements by participants in open learning environments. The underlying assumption is that we need some form of certification, to validate what we have learned. In this session, I would like to to suggest (slightly tongue-in-cheek) that if we can re-imagine learning as a process that is authentic, social, and open - we might not require a separate certification process. Achievements can be evident in the learning itself.

== Does learning require certification? ==

Certification is a signal or currency, that lets us transfer achievements to those outside of our learning community. As a student, I don't need grades to signal my skills to those I studied with - but to those who don't know me, my abilities, or my achievements.

== If I beat you in chess, you know that I can play ==

Jim Gee calls testing "primitive" and the result of poor learning design, and compares students to game players. There is no need for testing in games, because each stage of the game requires some form of mastery and achievement before the player can enter.

== Does good learning create evidence, which can replace credentials? ==

If we follow Gee, we must ask if the problem with credentials is not rooted in the design of learning environments and experience. Can we borrow lessons from game design to make learning so authentic, engaging, and social that it produces all necessary evidence of achievements as a byproduct of the learning? (Or the other way around, does the learning become a byproduct of achievements?)



9:15 AM
– 10:00 AM

Keynote Address: Philipp Schmidt

10:45 AM
– 11:15 AM

Open science and OER: where do they intersect?

Open science and OER are based on similar legal, technical, and social drivers, but in what ways are they actually compatible efforts?


The word "open" as been appended to myriad phenomena to date, ranging from "open access" to "open government"to "open source software." But while there are certainly some fundamental characteristics which are shared across these diverse applications of the word "open," each of these "open"efforts may not be so seamlessly interoperable as we might think.

In this session, we will closely examine the intersection of ?open science? and ?OER?. Open science is a catch-all term that generally refers to the democratization of the capacity for anyone to ?do? science (e.g., ?citizen science? efforts in fields from astronomy to ecology to meteorology) as well as the elimination of the barriers to accessing the outputs of scientific research (e.g., research papers, datasets, etc). ?Open research? and ?open data? are, respectively, broader and narrower terms that overlap with the open science meme. The term ?OER? generally refers to the openly licensed teaching, learning, and research resources used in the service of education, though the term has also been used as shorthand for ?open education? and related concepts that go beyond the materials of education and include educational practices, policies, and infrastructure.

To better understand the points of overlap among these two concepts, we will attempt to diagram different facets of each effort, considering the key drivers, barriers, and current initiatives in each case. For example, many scientists remain skeptical about open science because the concept seems at odds with the need for scientific expertise and precision, such as for experimental design and analysis. Similarly, many producers of educational resources remain skeptical of OER because they have questions about quality, accuracy, and the locus of responsibility for the content. But these seemingly overlapping areas of skepticism are actually directed at very different aspects of each enterprise, and they are likely to demand different solutions and different messaging. As we outline and then consider the different facets of the processes of science and education, we are hoping to better discern how the open science and OER communities may be able to build on shared messaging and developments, or may be better served by pursuing some agendas separately.