Discussion Forum - Open Source, Open Access and Open Data in ODR

Open Source, Open Access and Open Data in ODR

Discussion Framing Statement:

This forum will encourage discussions about the virtues and challenges of promoting open source, open access and open data projects within the broader Online Dispute Resolution and Conflict Studies field. We'll look at the spirit of the open source movement and share some examples of former and current open sharing projects located within our broad Dispute Resolution, ODR, Conflict Studies and CMC fields. As a pragmatic example, a fledgling e-textbook project (ConflictStudies.org) focused on the development and sharing of open access conflict studies e-books will be introduced and discussed. Our hopes are that some people in the Cyberweek community might wish to get involved in developing or sharing open access materials in new ways.

Participants are encouraged to review the summary article “Fifty Shades of Open” by Pomerantz and Peek to help us parse out the various meanings of “open”.

Find it here: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6360/5460

Broad themes we hope to explore this week:

  • What is "Open Source", "Open Access", and "Open Data"?

  • ODR in an Era of Cyberconflict – What are the pressures for and against sharing?

  • Open Educational Resources (OER) - what are they and where can we find them?

  • Examples of Open Materials Shared at Past Cyberweeks

  • Gaps and Needs in the Field that Open Access Materials Might Address

  • "Create your Own ODR skills textbook" – Solicitation of topics & imagined tables of contents

Sample Project Profiles:


Moderators’ Bio:

Bill Warters, Ph.D., is the Academic Director of Wayne State University's Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution program where he teaches courses on social conflict, mediation, and communication technologies and conflict. Author of Mediation in the Campus Community: Designing and Managing Effective Programs.

David J. Smith, JD MS is the president of the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., 501c3 not-for-profit that offers experiential learning opportunities for students and professionals. He was formerly a senior program officer and coordinator of national outreach at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Author of Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace.

Jennifer Batton, MA is a Conflict Resolution and Peace Education Consultant. She is Co-Chair of the Peace Education/Conflict Resolution Education Working Group (PEWG) of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. For 7 years she directed the Global Issues Resource Center at Cuyahoga Community College and prior to that she served for 8 years as Director of Education Programs at the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management.

Julie Shedd, Ph.D. is currently the Associate Dean for Administration at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University and teaches both introductory courses and courses on terrorism, extremism, global conflicts, and ideologies.  She holds a Ph.D. and M.S.  in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.

Guy Burgess, Ph.D. and Heidi Burgess Ph.DCo-Direct the University Of Colorado, Conflict Information Consortium and its Beyond Intractability (www.beyondintractability.org) and CRInfo Knowledge Base (www.crinfo.org) projects as well as the Consortium's new Moving Beyond Intractability Massive Open Online Seminars (MOOS).  They have spent the last 40 years studying and teaching about the many destructive conflict dynamics that arise in the course of intractable conflict as well as strategies for limiting those dynamics. Since the earliest days of the Internet they have also pursued a series of projects designed to use advancing telecommunication technologies to speed the flow of information on a broad range of conflict-related topics.


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Hi Bill, great points.

I put all my work up on SSRN and have for many years now, my own little plug for open access. Like you, I was concerned when I heard they were selling out to Elsevier. While nothing has changed meanwhile, in terms of the open papers up on the site, who knows what will happen.

There are other outlets, none of which approach SSRN in terms of quantity but still - worth being familiar with. They each have their own flavor (e.g., SSRN is strictly a repository; academia.edu adds a social networking component)



Digital Commons Network

Can anybody add to the list?

Thanks Noam. You've really made good use of SSRN, and ODR folks will find much to love in what you've shared there. Re other locations/outlets, I hadn't been to the Digital Commons Network yet and I was dazzled and impressed by their circular fan topical browser UI.  Nice one.

One way that I've contributed to the open access movement is via our Full Text Resources Catalog for the Conflict Resolution Education Resources website. I used an open source cataloging software (CWIS) that exports library records that can be shared by other repositories who also use and can read the open catalog records standards. The upshot is that all the records that we curate in our specialized CRE collection can be now be searched and retrieved at most public and college libraries via the ubiquitous First Search catalog package, among others. 

I also use the data records as resource suggestions on pages within CREducation.org, such as the following page on Restorative Practices in schools.

Believe it or not, not having open access has caused problems internationally with providing books in a audio version for individuals who are blind.  The issue is not all countries have legal requirements or the means, like the US library of Congress, to scan a hard copy book and reformat it so a software, like adobe, reads the book out load. If that is not done by the institution that has a copyright on the book, other countries are fearful of infringing on the copyright because technically the format, hard copy to electronic, has changed. I don't fully understand or agree with the legal argument but having open sourcing would eliminate this argument and not require a change in the actual law.

Hi Fellow Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution Educators -

This is David Smith, and I wanted to share a bit about the USIP Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators.  I was at USIP until 2012, and the toolkits (both a high school and middle school edition) were published originally in 2011. USIP received funding from both Verizon and the MacArthur Foundation to support the creation of the toolkits.  They were edited by Alison Milofsky, a well-known peacebuilding educator.  When I was at USIP Alison ran the summer institute for secondary teachers.  

Though I don't work as much with high school audiences as I did when I was at USIP, I still use the material in the toolkits, especially the high school version.   For college faculty at the undergraduate level exploring notions of peace and conflict resolution, the toolkit exercises can be easily adapted for an older audience (I've even used some exercises with adult audiences).  Some of my favorite exercises include from Lesson 3.1, Identify the Peacbuilders; Lesson 1.1, Quotes on Conflict and Conflict Management, and Lesson 1.2, Peace/Not Peace (which I have used at least 100 times!).  

The toolkits are actually part of USIP's Global Peacebuilding Center which is the "go to" hub to support teachers who are focusing on peacebuilding activities.  The site has an array of activities and resources for educators.  One of my favorites is the conflict styles assessment(based on Thomas-Killmann) which can be used without charge.

Has anyone had experiences using USIP online materials?   Besides the Global Peacebuilding Center, there is also the USIP Global Campus.

Thanks David. The work you did at USIP was really impressive, in part because you were able to bring people together to learn from each other and develop their confidence and readiness to teach topics related to conflict resolution and peace.  It seems to me that part of the success of "Openness" movement relies on conveners and facilitators and editors able to draw together knowledgeable groups and elicit and document new shared knowledge.

I'm reminded of the innovations in Negotiation Teaching projects hosted by Hamline University, published as open access materials here via their DRI press. Lots of people were involved, and someone had to coordinate it all. Thankfully our field is rich with skilled facilitators!

Hi Again. This seems like a good thread to talk more about K-12 materials, and I JUST got an email announcing that Operation Respect, author of the Don't Laugh at Me curriculum (with music by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary) has released their full curriculum on ShareMyLesson, an open curriculum sharing site hosted by the American Federation of Teachers. Another win for openness....

Hello All:

This is Jen Batton, one of the Co-Chairs of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Education Education Working Group of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.  I am writing in hopes you will contribute to the updated free on-line Handbook for Colleges and Universities  Developing and Enhancing their Peace and Conflict Studies Programs.  While the first deadline was today, Nov. 1st, please let us know if you are interested in sharing your good work in the area.  We'd request that you consider either something you are doing that is innovative and/or that you you feel you do really well.  The manual is a "how to" manual, with examples to be placed in the appendix.  More information is located below:

How to Manual for Colleges and Universities Developing and/or Enhancing their Programs in Peace and Conflict Studies


 2nd Ed. Peace and Conflict Studies How To Manual!


Collaborating groups and institutions include: The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Peace Education Working Group, George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Institute for Public Service at Northern Virginia Community College, and Wayne State University’s MA in Dispute Resolution Program.


Our free program development manual supporting peace and conflict studies program development is a product of a collaboration that began in 2009 in which lessons learned about the process of developing programs, certificates, and degrees in peace and conflict studies were shared. The manual is a resource for faculty, staff and administrators authored by faculty, staff and administrators.


An Overview of the Second Edition

The second edition on-line manual, no longer focuses specifically on community college level programs, and focuses on 1) Capacity Building and Sustainability; 2) Course Development and Integration; 3) Student and Supplemental Programming with an appendix with specific programming examples. 


Sample Descriptions of Chapters Still Needed

  1. Study Abroad
  2. Credit vs. Non-credit
  3. Faculty Development - Strategies for Faculty Development
  4. Career Options for Students.
  5. Developing a Traditional Academic Program
  6. Transfer Preparation
  7. Conflict/Peace Centers.  
  9.  Program Management.  Issues related to the overall management of students, faculty, and other dimensions of a program could be addressed
  10. Selecting Electives.  Related to developing a program, what is the criteria for including a course as an elective versus a core course?  The basic question of course development  - things to consider should also be addressed.
  11. Course Delivery. Examination of online/distance and hybrid course delivery possibilities.  Service Learning and experiential education examples.

Contribution Format

  Manuscript Expectations:

  1. In that the publication is designed as a handbook, extensive referencing is discouraged.  However, when necessary, please follow APA guidelines for citation.
  2. The tone of the writing should be in the third person and directed toward practical non theoretical strategies for development.  This should be actual “how to”, with strategies in order of what needs to be done first, etc. 
  3. Specific examples, such as sample courses, transfer agreements, market surveys, etc. are highly encouraged for each segment – reference them in your segment and they will be placed in an appendix.
  4. As is the nature of a “How To” handbook, lengthy articles are discouraged.   Generally, shorter pieces in the range of 2000 to 3000 words should be the goal.
  5. The use of graphs, charts, hyper-text links and other visual aids within an article are encouraged. The author is assumed to have obtained all necessary permissions before submission.
  6. Submissions must be made in MS word.
  7. Editing will be done by the team of Jennifer Batton (GPPAC) and Dr. Julie Shedd (GMU); however, it will be kept to a minimum.
  8. Submission does not imply that an article will be accepted. The editors’ retain sole right to determine whether a submission will be published.
  9. The Second Edition will use a Creative Commons copyright license (see https://creativecommons.org ) to support sharing. The default license for chapters will be Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (you may reuse material if you give credit to the original author and you do not use the material in a commercial endeavor), but more restrictive licenses can be applied to individual chapters if required by the author and agreed to by the editors.  Once published all content will be made available at no charge through the ConflictStudies.org web site with the hopes that all contributing organizations will also link from their sites to the documents as a resource to all.
  10. Submissions for the next chapters should be received by November 1, 2016 (if you need more time, please contact us)


(Please contact Jennifer Batton prior to this date if you are interested in submitting a chapter in order that colleagues across the country do not duplicate efforts and/or may choose to collaborate on segments.  She can be reach at 216-952-5609 or by e-mail at:  Jennifer.Batton77@gmail.com).  All final chapters and items for consideration for the Appendix should be sent to Jennifer Batton by e-mail at:  Jennifer.Batton77@gmail.com


Thank you Jen.  We definitely would like more submissions and we should mention that we're using the new ConflictStudies.org book site to produce this second edition, so it will be a pioneering volume. It is serving as our learning launch on the new platform.


Welcome to Day 2 of our forum. One of the earliest discussions around Open Source software circles around the question of what do we mean by the word FREE?  Is it about the right to view source, and to create and share and modify and then run the code that drives our software (freedom as in Free Speech) or is it about price (free as in Free Beer, provided gratis).  Joining the debate, techies with a sense of humor suggested that perhaps we should be thinking more about Free as in getting a free puppy. It is great and exhilarating to receive, but it turns out to require a lot of maintenance and effort to raise a healthy and safe companion animal.

What version of FREE makes sense in the ODR field, if any? Should we be focused on providing platforms that give people voice and choice (on the front end, not in the software), helping to promote a version of freedom of speech and democratic voice, or should we be focused on no-cost access to dispute resolution services (like free beer, only more constructive), or even enabling of people to inspect the algorithms that undergird their tools and influence and potentially bias their approaches? Or should we be concerned about developing maintainable longterm platforms that will serve us long into the future, like a healthy puppy that grows into a trusted companion? What say you?

As our contribution to the Cyberweek discussion of the use of open source and open access technologies by the conflict and peace building field, we'd like to tell you about the Massive Open Online Seminar (MOOS) concept described below and in the accompanying video.  The non-credit MOOS seminars are designed to merge the free and widely accessible reach of massive open online courses with a seminar's exploration of frontier the field issues.  Our goal is to involve a great many more people in a high-level exploration of the tough issues at the frontier of the field.

-- Guy

Moving Beyond Intractability
Massive Open Online Seminars
A new place to explore and discuss ideas for moving beyond the complex intractable conflict problems that so threaten human society.
Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess

MOOS stands for "Massive Open Online Seminar" (not course) focused on better ways of handing the biggest challenges of our time: terrorism. war. mass immigration, inequality, jobs, education, deficits, climate change...you name it. We can't seem to successfully tackle any of these issues, largely due to our inability to handle the intractable conflicts these issues spawn. 
In order to encourage many more people to learn about and actively engage with this issue, we are convening this “MOOS,” which is being hosted on Beyond Intractability (www.beyondintractability.org), and linked to many of the most popular social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 
Unlike a standard MOOC (massive open online course), which is designed to certify mastery of a settled body of knowledge, this MOOS is being structured as an online seminar designed to present key existing ideas, but also to address unknowns and uncertainties and to discuss tentative new ideas at the frontier the field. The MOOS will consider both the nature of the intractable conflict problem, and strategies for dealing with it more effectively.  We will focus extensively on the problems of scale and complexity that, we believe, make these problems so extraordinarily difficult and dangerous.

More information about the project is available at: http://www.beyondintractability.org/moos
A new version of the system will soon be posted with an expanded round of seminars planned for Winter/Spring 2017.
Tell us what you think and how, especially, you think that the project might be promoted and improved.

Hopefully, the embedded Vimeo Link will work for you. If it doesn't, the video and supporting additional text can be accessed from this link on the MOOS:

Thanks Guy and Heidi for this valuable contribution.  FYI, the video embed worked great both on my phone and laptop. Your body of work starting with CRInfo.org and Beyond Intractability and now these Massive Open Online Seminars really ties together many aspects of our forum topic. You have gathered and curated knowledge about a problem set and made it available out in the open, you are promoting constructive conflict resolution, and you are seeking ways to promote conversations around key problems and knowledge in a way that produces new information and action. Bravo.  As a professor teaching conflict studies, I love pointing students to the knowledge base.

Regarding the new MOOS model (which my wife, a Canadian, approves of!), do you see it also including the production of new knowledge along the lines of Open Educational Resources or open access journal articles or some kind of wiki? Is that too much to ask of a bite-size learning and discussion space? While I know it is early days for this, I'm interested in your thoughts.

Thanks, Bill. In addition to providing lots of opportunities for relative "newcomers" to the field to get "up to speed," the new system will also include support for those wishing to help advance the frontier of the field (and improve the quality of MOOS materials). There'll also be an integrated blog which will allow us to better publicize the work that others are doing to on the intractable conflict problem.


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