OII-IN3 Workshop on e-Government (part II)

On Thursday March 8th, 2007, a workshop on e-Government is taking place at the IN3 headquarters in Castelldefels, Spain, among researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute and the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute. Here come my notes for the second part of the workshop:

eLearning, Copyright

Julià Minguillón, IN3 vice director, begins the session speaking about e-Learning research at UOC, both a goal and a process at the same time in our University.

Raquel Xalabarder introduces UOC’s projects on Intellectual Property Rights: whose is the ownership of works created in the University, what kind of use can be done of copyrighted material, what are the exceptions (i.e. fair use, educational uses). In her opinion open licensing is not a good solution as, in fact, what it does is not opening but putting more content under copyright: what should be done is to allow more (fair) uses by changing the law and letting out of copyright more and more works. In this aspect, the role of libraries would be crucial in spreading knowledge and content.

Julià Miniguillón and Rebecca Eynon
Julià Miniguillón and Rebecca Eynon

Regarding Open Educational Resources, UOC’s UNESCO Chair is supposed to be the place where all the research in the field should meet and be fostered. In this line, Rebecca Eynon talks about informal learning and how networking can be driven towards e-science, how people talk to computers and what they do with them in terms of (self)learning. In Minguillón’s words, knowing our students, building a profile for them should be the first steps to personalize the teaching we want for them, customizing the one learning path to different learning paths according to the preferences and background of the students.

Bill Duton says that the OII is deep into e-Science and Open Science, specially the ethical aspects of Open Science, confidentiality and so on. Authorship is another delicate issue in the field of Open Science or Open Educational Materials. Actually, the boundaries between e-Learning and e-Science are blurring.

Political parties, political participation

Albert Batlle and Ana Sofía Cardenal explain their research on political parties’ organization and political parties’ use of ICTs. One important side effect of this research is to discover the level of (cyber)activism around a political party and, depending of the degree of activism, try and see how ICTs are affecting the connection with this activism and how it determines the degree of (de)centralization of the party’s structure.

Rosa Borge, along with Clèlia Colombo, is analyzing experiences of (ICT mediated) political participation, and see how this participation changes according to the intensity of ICT use. Also, how municipalities are organized depending on the use of ICTs.

Steven Ward focuses on electoral campaigning and how parties use technologies to raise activism, to self-organize, etc. with special emphasis on how those technologies change the (pyramidal) relationship among the top direction of the party and the members and sympathizers. A good point is whether people are “activated” online or are contacted online after “activation”. Another point is how ICTs can improve the experience of collaborating with one party.

Bill Dutton puts the example of smartmobs and how researchers aiming to understand those movements should set up “firefight research headquarters” that could move quickly and study the target from within, on site.

Ward says that, notwithstanding, it looks like despite technology incredibly easing being connected one to each other and with the party, engagement with the party lasts less and less over time, and citizens just gather around projects or punctual campaigns, but not identify themselves with the party’s ideology nor with the party itself. I compare his statement with some findings of my research on e-Learning for Development, where there actually were some smartmob-like online volunteers that joined specific campaigns — what I called “Type I: Online Advocacy” volunteers — but there were also long term online volunteers — “Type IV: Pure Online Volunteers” — that were deeply identified with the way the NGO worked and even lasted, in their collaboration, longer than onsite volunteers. Thus, the problem might not be with technology/ies but with the parties themselves.

eGovernment indicators

To close the session, Ana Waksberg Guerrini says there’s a lack of a “network government” definition and how governments are transitioning from the bureaucratic, analogue form of organization to a more networked, digital one. It’s all closely related with efficiency, efficacy, public service. Are Administrations (net)working around projects the way the public sector does when it cooperates? Or they just stay within departments? How do we measure this?


OII-IN3 Workshop on e-Government (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII-IN3 Workshop on e-Government (part II)” In ICTlogy, #42, March 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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