Akwé: Kon (“Ahgwégoh”) or “everything in creation”

Image available here

One of the main achievements of COP-7 was the adoption (decision VII/16 F) of the Akwé: Kon guidelines, the voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessment regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities. The Guidelines, which were named with a Mohawk term meaning “everything in creation”, provide a collaborative framework ensuring the full involvement of indigenous and local communities in the assessment of cultural, environmental and social impact of proposed developments on sacred sites and on lands and waters they have traditionally occupied. Moreover, guidance is provided on how to take into account traditional knowledge, innovations and practices as part of the impact-assessment processes and promote the use of appropriate technologies.

Full text available here

Booklet in English available here



ADAPT-r is an ITN network that aims to develop new knowledge and understanding of Creative Practice Research (CPR) thus design thinking, public behavior, as well as the emergence of new methods oriented towards the explication of tacit knowledge. It comprises of 33 early stage researchers all creative practitioners and PhD candidates, 7 experienced researchers and 7 institutional partners. Research was conducted in the form of 9 paired interviews.

WORK PACKAGE 01_Primary Research: it follows the logic of the referential focuses of creative practice research training;

  • case studies: these are the venturous practices of the creative practitioners
  • community of practice: the communities that contextualize these case studies
  • transformative triggers: what shifts and transforms their creative practice and how it is related to social contexts; triggers uncover the challenges and the challengers of creativity the practitioners are not aware of; the revisiting, sorting and mapping past work triggers changing understandings; they are the markers of knowledge creation and recognition of development and change in the creative research practice; when things fall into place; Embracing Uncertainty: The space of not knowing; Other ways of knowing: intuition, hunch, feeling and bodily knowledge; they are not immediate insights but rather a means of opening up
  • public behaviors: it means that the practitioner positions himself/herself in his/her communities of practice/relevance; they point to navigating contexts; it is an interaction ritual
  • explicating tacit knowledge,
  • explication of methods

Methodology Analysis: Wording/Metaphoring/Anecdoting/ Diagramming*/ Choosing/ Playing/ Manifesting/ Structuring

Interesting findings on knowledge creation and creativity. 

(…) by thinking about knowledge as socially constructed, something that operates in networks, in relationships between actors, it becomes clear that there is no singular thing that amounts to knowing, instead, there are multiple knowledges. Knowledge represents multiple considerations about creativity. creativity can be a new idea, imagination and/or innovation; it too is multiple. As such it can be thought of as a responsive and relational, not classic and timeless.

There are three types of knowledge. There is input knowledge: the knowing before action. There is output knowledge: the knowing after action. There is relational knowledge: the knowing in action (communities of practice) developed relationally through interaction and collaboration

In order for innovation to be innovative it must be recognized as such by the creative practice researcher’s community of practice (…) the outputs of creative practice go beyond any objects of practice(…) doing creative practice is not the same as doing creative practice research; the practice needs to be framed differently



J. Verbeke, K. Heron, T. Zupancic, Relational Knowledge and Creative Practice, 2017, A publication by ADAPT-r (eds Tadeja Zupancic, Claus Peder Pedersen), ISBN 9789082510850, available here

ADAPT-r official webpage

*Diagrams as a research tool, Annotated, Different Aesthetics, Handmade, Collage, Landscape-like, as tools to discover or represent, as texts, to measure and visualize the projects, spider diagrams, time diagrams, architectonic diagrams, research space diagrams

Next Generation Digital Learning Environments (NGDLE)


Five domains of core functionality:

  • interoperability and integration_the system has to be open to allow different kinds of expressions (…) interoperability has four dimensions: transferable content, easiness of use, learning environment as a source of data, creation of interoperability standards.
  • personalization_it is highly dependant interoperability (…) it encompasses two aspects: the configuration (at all levels: individual, departmental, divisional, institutional and consortium) and outfitting of the learning environment and adaptive learning (coaching and suggestions specific learners’ needs)
  • analytics, advising & learning assessment_Data: Dispositional, Course Activity and Engagement, Student Artifacts, all intended here in two dimensions: learning analytics and integrated planning as in institutional capability to create shared ownership
  • collaboration_as a lead design goal (…) it doesn’t simply involve peers but also institutional collaborations (…) the usual walled garden system allows more freedom for content sharing but learning in social settings seems to be of great value
  • accessibility & universal design_ for inclusion, addressing accessibility means framing the learner both as receiver and as creator of content


Full Report available here

Image available here

The BASE* is Up!


The figure shows that over 100 million documents* (about 60% open access) were open through 5,000 content providers.The growth rates (22% for documents, 27% for content providers) are particularly impressive given the high pre-existing content rate.

In the article entitled “Dramatic Growth of Open Access” additional resources are mentioned such as: OECD iLibraryDirectory of Open Access BooksarXivsocArXivbioRxivRePECInternet Archive

* BASE: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine

**Currently in BASE: 103,458,284 Documents of 5,028 Content Sources

Image and Data available here

2016 MOOC Stats

COURSES: 6.850 from over 700 Universities (2.600+ new ones)

USERS: Coursera: 23million/ edX 10 million/ XuetangX: 6 million/ FutureLearn 5.3 million/ Udacity: 4 million

PROVIDERS-Coursera: 1700 + courses/ EdX: 1300/ FutureLearn: 480/ Miriada X: 350 (Spanish)/ XuetangX 300+ 9Chinese)




Image & Data retrieved here

UNESCO Guides to OERs


OER encapsulates a potential vision for educational systems globally wherein individual educators, and then increasingly entire departments and institutions, come together in common online spaces (which, like the most successful Internet phenomena, are not ‘owned’ by any one institutional or corporate interest) to start sharing the materials they have produced, in an effort ultimately to ensure that all the material which students need to complete their studies successfully can be accessed – legally – without any costs of licensing.

Full report available here

Educational Research, Cognitive Science & Neuroscience


Notes from MIT’s Online Education Policy Initiative Report, Pages 6-10

ER: Constructivism: Dewey, experiential learning, Piaget, Vygotsky, Montessori, inquiry and discovery. Active learning, teaching laboratories, Amos Eaton (1824), active instruction, Mazur, peer learning, all-hands-on courses, mini-lectures, simulations experiments. Online counterparts are flipped classroom. Project -based learning, video disks, personal computers and calculators. Papert’s Constructionism, a refinement of constructivism, development of Lego Mindstorms, robot design, prototyping technologies. Problem-based learning, imprecisely defined problems, self-directed learning peer learning, teamwork, internships, work-study programs, blurred boundaries between college and workplace. Student-centered education, reflection, discussion, interdisciplinary thinking, self-paced learning, Bloom, students in small cohorts. Online counterparts are Peer2Peer University where peer is the primary instructor.

CS: level of the brain, Ebbinghaus, how memories form and persistmind wandering, task-unrelated thoughts, make students curious, retrieval practice, engaging repeatedly in recall activities
is called interpolated testing, block of practice right after students have learned a topic, contrast between storage strength and retrieval strength, concept of desirable
difficulties,generation effect, generation of answers can help learning even if they are wrong, and feedback is effective even if it is corrective. Cognitive load theory, “compression” of new information, novices should be given worked examples
rather than open-ended problems. Impact of context, the context of the learning reflect the context in which that information will likely be used.

N: level of the neurons, initial encoding, integration of memories, consolidation, synaptic and system levels, sleep, blocked learning may be associated with saturation at the synapse during a process known as long-term potentiation, cognitive load has been shown to be measurable using pupillary dilation, activation of sensorimotor brain regions would enhance understanding of torque and angular momentum, MRI shows more active training
methods correlated not only with better test performance but also with greater stimulation of the predicted brain regions

Image available here

MIT’s Online Education Policy Initiative Report


The report was published in April 2016 and focuses on higher education particularly for STEM fields. “The report”, the authors argue, “digresses into deeper and broader examination of learning, and makes recommendations about online learning in that context”. Four main recommendations are indicated:

  • Recommendation 01. Increase Interdisciplinary Collaboration Across Fields of Research in Higher Education, Using an Integrated Research Agenda: look for the convergence between outside-in approach and the inside-out approach in education.
  • Recommendation 02: Promote Online as an Important Facilitator in Higher Education: customized learning, remote collaboration, just-in-time scenarios, continuous assessment and blended learning.
  • Recommendation 03: Support the Expanding Profession of the Learning Engineer: a “learning engineer” is a creative professional who helps build bridges between fields of education and develops additional infrastructure to help teachers teach and students learn.
  • Recommendation 04: Foster Institutional and Organizational Change in Higher Education to Implement These Reforms: creation of thinking communities, identification and development of change agents and role models, groups and not individual visionaries.

Despite these most interesting suggestions what I value most about this report is found in the following image:


What this illustration intends to high light is the need to correlate these three separate disciplines. As the authors say, “only the coming together of these three components would ever have a major impact on education”. Now I have been looking into this matter for a long time and I too strongly advocate for this option. For more check older May posts.

Image available here


Babson Survey Research Group Reports: the passage from MOOCs to OERs

Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman have been tracking for more than ten years the changes that are taking place in online education in the US. Their annual reports representing the Babson Survey Research Group fully register all major changes.

MOOCs make their official appearance as a special category in the 2012 edition entitled ‘Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Education in the United States’. The institutions already supporting them constituted a mere 2,6% and another 9,4% had plans to offer them in the near future. In the following edition (2013) MOOCs had become a distinct category on the content list. That section however, insisted that despite the hype the US institutions were still reluctant to implement MOOCs and the supporting ones had only slightly risen to 5%. In 2014 there was a further increase to 8% yet less institutions appeared keen on implementing a MOOC in the future, the report said. What is also significant is that MOOCs appeared in the table of contents but not as separate category. In the 2015 edition published in July 2016 MOOCs do not appear in the table of contents anymore.

What you do find, however, are OERs. The two authors claim that OERs were first introduced in the research in 2009 but were mentioned as such only in the 2014 report. Until then the authors refered to them as online offerings a term, however, that also included MOOCs.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation. UNESCO Definition of OERs

OERs appear to have a better grasp with the academic community, although it is not very clear to most what they are about. Teachers and students still have a long way to fully comprehend what Open Textbooks and Creative Commons Licenses are, but OERs provide a solution far more viable than MOOCs. Cost has been a major concern in decisions regarding online education and a very important reason why the interest in MOOCs has declined.


In my previous post I argued on the importance of MOOCs and their contribution to online education. I still believe that their hype has contributed enormously to the developement of the current educational landscape. We wouldn’t be talking about OERs unless we saw all these courses get redesigned and reassembled to fit into this new media reality. This free access to organized material gave us the confidence with which we are now able to jump from this to that to connect stuff and create our own personal narrations.



All previously mentioned Babson Survey Research Group reports are signed by I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman and are available here. Image available here

EU’s JRC Report for Opening Up Education


The report introduces a rationale for open education.

The OpenEdu framework for higher education institutions presents 10 dimensions for opening up education. Each dimension interrelates with all the others and allows for different degrees of openness. It is a holistic view of open education which includes different areas where universities can be more open. Institutional stakeholders, 43 open education experts from Europe and abroad, and university managers from 19 European Member States have been involved in different phases of both the development and evaluation of the framework.

The 10 dimensions of the framework are divided into two categories: core dimensions and transversal dimensions. There are 6 core dimensions (access, content, pedagogy, recognition, collaboration and research) and 4 transversal dimensions (strategy, technology, quality and leadership). All dimensions are interrelated; the core dimensions are not more important than the transversal ones. Core dimensions represent the ‘what’ of open education and transversal dimensions indicate `how’ to achieve it.

The report was based on several studies conducted since 2013  such as OpenCases, OpenCred, OpenSurvey and MOOCknowledge. The research shows that although opening up education is a policy priority in Europe, many higher education institutions in Member States do not have a strategic plan for opening up their practices. The reasons are:

  • there is no consensus on what opening up education means and hence little common ground on which to build collaboration;
  • opening up education is often seen as only offering OER and MOOCs, or opening up research data – it therefore becomes a specific and isolated practice which does not always form part of an institution’s overall educational strategy aligned with its mission; and
  • there is general agreement on the positive value of open education but little clarity on its scope and possible practices, or the subsequent benefits to those involved.

The OpenEdu Project has produced the following recommendations for HE institutions:

  • Having a holistic strategy for opening up education that encompasses the 10 dimensions of the OpenEdu framework
  • Making the open education strategy part of the overall institutional strategy
  • Promoting intra, inter and cross-border institutional collaborations and partnerships in order to achieve open education goals
  • Exploring new practices and welcoming changes
  • Revising their practices at all levels: mission statement and vision, current organisational management structures and day-to-day policies, and the institution’s role in the community and globally.

AJ Survey shows high percentages of mental health problems among students of architecture


What Richard Waite and Ella Braidwood reported for AJ’s annual survey is pretty disconserting: results show that 26% of British students of architecture have faced or are currently facing mental health issues. These are attributed to stress caused by:

  • student debt and its consequent necessity to get paid jobs (…) almost two-fifths (38 per cent) of respondents said they would have accumulated a debt of £30,000-50,000 by the end of their course (…) 58 per cent of students based in London said their debt would be £40,000 or above (…) nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) reported that they don’t expect to pay off their student loan – an increase from 31 per cent the year before
  • no pay or little money for paid work (…) around a third (31 per cent) of students in the survey said they had been asked to work for free by practices. On top of this, some with a salary claimed they were often not paid to work overtime.
  • confronting the needs practical training or practice (…) A significant number of respondents felt architecture education was too long (61 per cent) and did not equip them for practice (35 per cent) (…) nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) said construction, technology and business teaching within architecture training was either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ (…) RIBA criteria requiring at least 50 per cent of the course to be on design may not leave enough in the curriculum for everything else
  • long working hours, exams and coursework deadlines (…) many students claimed the expectation of working long hours contributed to their mental illness. A culture of working into the night, the survey confirms, remains endemic in architecture schools (…) Just over nine in ten (91 per cent) students reported working through the night for their studies at some point – and almost one in three (29 per cent) said they did it on a regular basis.


Such results were meant to cause some turbulence for the academia. Bob Sheil, director of The Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, told Dezeen that architectural education and accreditation needed “new models” and he pointed towards the qualification system. He addressed the matters raised by propagating the need for the creation of new programs that can embed the rapid changes occurring in the profession and make the most of student talents.

The high cost of student loans or the low wages are matters only tha state can resolve. But what I find interesting in this survey, is that one of the main stress generators comes from within the academia’s unwritten rules or hidden curricula as mentioned in a previous post. As a student claims in the AJ article: ‘A culture of suffering for your art is promoted within education’. Let’s admit we have all been caught victims in this vicious propaganda. This is why I think more attention should be given to class work and the time spent in class. For if there is enough time for students to work during class time there are at least two major gains: first there is less to be done at home and second they get more help while they are there in class both from their peers as well as from the teachers. Not to mention the confidence of having advanced or completed something at the end of the day.



Waite, R., Braidwood, E., July 2016, ‘Mental health problems exposed by AJ Student Survey 2016’, AJ, available here

Dezeen Magazine, Aug. 2016, ‘Bartlett head calls for new models of education to protect future UK architects’

For more interesting reading visit University of Toronto Mental Health Report 2013-2014