[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]

RE: [school-discuss] Updated Coalition Procedures - Members sign up here

As part of the new membership list has now been made public, please provide a response at your earliest possible convenience.  If I don't receive a response soon, I will have very little choice but to remove the reciprocal link being provided on my website to Schoolforge (since Schoolforge is in turn failing to provide a link to my website via the "new" members listing page).
Based on the Schoolforge Operating Procedures (http://www.schoolforge.net/coalitionprocedures), which state "Groups in the coalition would need to be active, defined as having their website/CVS/documents/whatever-their-primary-project-is updated at least once every 6 months. Groups not meeting this requirement will be declared inactive members, with no vote in coalition management until they do begin updating things again. After a similar period as inactive members, groups would be removed from the coalition.", there are 2 criteria that must be met for an organization to be removed:
1) Failure to update their primary project for a period of 6 months, at which point the organization would be placed on "inactive" status.
2) After placement on inactive status, no activity for a minimum of 6 months.
Only after 1 and 2 have been met (meaning a minimum timeframe of no activity for 1 year), can an organization be removed from membership.
Also, "open resources" are defined as being part of Schoolforge's mission.  Specifically, it states "SchoolForge's mission is to unify independent organizations that advocate, use, and develop open resources for primary and secondary education."  As such, the earlier comment that seems to imply that "free / open resources" are not welcome as members, directly contradicts the mission statement of Schoolforge.
Again, please provide a response at your earliest possible convenience.
Thank you,
Michael Viron
President & CEO, General Education Online

From: owner-schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Michael Viron
Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 11:54 AM
To: schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [school-discuss] Updated Coalition Procedures - Members sign up here

Let me address your concerns, as follows:
1) While General Education Online does provide an "open-source" copy of the software powering the findaschool.org website (albeit not currently licensed under a specific license atm), producing software is incidental to the primary goal of General Education Online (to provide certain free / open resources to others).  You'll find that copies of the source-code for the software developed to run the website can be found at http://www.findaschool.org/releases/ .
2) Due to certain requirements in listing facilities (ie, verification of accreditation, existance, etc), General Education Online has not historically allowed individuals outside the organization to directly add requests, although they are certainly free to email such requests in.  Many of these requirements are to try to ensure the validity and accuracy of those entities in our directory.  I'm not necessarily opposed to open collaboration, per-se, but I have valid concerns regarding providing open access to the admin functions of the portal (which would potentially affect the validity and accuracy of information available).  If you can suggest an alternative, while still maintaining the validity and accuracy that GEO's findaschool.org portal is known for, I'd greatly appreciate the input.
The other projects, as they are still very early in the design / development stage (aside from the disaster blog (v0.02alpha of the Education Disaster Information System), powered by open-source blog software Serendipity), have not yet released any code / software.  As a matter of fact, everything from the design stages forward are open to community involvement on these other projects.
I'm concerned with the statement "As for SchoolForge Coalition membership, for now your entries are rejected.", which seems to indicate that no organization is presently considered a member of Schoolforge, even though General Education Online (and many other organizations) had already previously been accepted into membership.  This also raises the question as to who decides to "close" a member's membership standing in Schoolforge, notification procedures, and so forth, which are not currently documented.  My strong recommendation is that the decision not be made only by a single individual and that some type of procedural guidelines be established for such things.
The other question I have, is since I have submitted the information previously, do I now, based on your response, have to resubmit the list in its entirity?
Thank you for your time,
Michael Viron
President & CEO
General Education Online, A Schoolforge Founding Member
International Education Resources, A General Education Online organization

From: owner-schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Justin
Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 8:37 AM  
To: schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [school-discuss] Updated Coalition Procedures - Members sign up here

Michael, these are good questions. 

I must again mention something regarding the narrow definition of "FLOSS" on the website which seems to indicate that "free / open resources" are not welcome as members of schoolforge.  This is in direct contradiction to the founding principles which allowed for those projects that provide web-based open resources which may or may not include providing a copy of the underlying "software" that powers the site."

Actually, there are no contradictions to the founding principles in this definition.  Over the years since the founding principles were laid out, the 'web services' landscape has made enough ground that we can start to see what utilities share our view of free and open, and can be used to create even better resources in the future. A site such as Wikipedia, for example, serves as an example of a 'web service' that is free and open - and facilitates the principles of unity and resource building through collaboration that SchoolForge was founded on. 

Free (cost wise) resources are a great thing, but using that along with SchoolForge principles seems flawed.  An example could be that Mac offered to provide their operating system free to the OLPC project for free, which was turned down on the basis that it's not open source.  I think Microsoft has offered their OS for free to schools that were going with open source alternatives.  In both of these cases, it's the licensing of the open source tools that has prompted a response of lower costs/free resources.

As for SchoolForge Coalition membership, for now your entries are rejected.  I think what you provide are wonderful resources, and I invite you to resubmit your request when your resources can be accessed without any question as to whether they meet the definition of "FLOSS" as provided on the website.  I'm willing to work with you towards reaching that, but if that isn't the direction you want to go - please make this point clear.