The learning city concept can contribute greatly to lifelong learning objectives within a community (rural area, neighbourhood, city or region). However, it must be well planned, engage stakeholders from across different sectors and most importantly provide a mechanism for monitoring progress.
I define lifelong learning using the PASCAL definition ‘structured, purposeful learning throughout the lifespan, from cradle to grave’. This links with the UNESCO definition of a Learning City, which feature the mobilization of resources for some broad goals to do with individual empowerment, economic and cultural prosperity, social cohesion and sustainable development. The resources include formal education, workplace learning, community and family learning, technology, ensuring a quality experience while developing a culture of learning within a community.
In this article we present an interview with community activist Dr. Cristina Costa, who is a lecturer in Lifelong Learning (Technology Enhanced Learning) in the Centre for Lifelong Learning, School of Education, Strathclyde University. Her research focuses on the intersection of education and the participatory web through a sociological lens, especially Pierre Bourdieu’s key concepts. She is also interested in broader issues regarding the participatory web in the context of a changing society. She is a co-editor of the Social Theory Applied blog/website. The interview was conducted by Prof. Thomas Eckert, who is full professor at the Institute of Pedagogy at Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany. His major field of interest is qualitative and quantitative methods in quality measurement and participation in adult education.
DISCUSS only recently conducted a series of interviews with European project actors engaged in Communities of Practice. In this article we present an interview with Graham Attwell, research director of Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - , Wales. Graham Attwell's work over the past decades was focused on research and development of new applications and approaches to Personal Learning Environments and use of social software for learning and knowledge development.
1. DISCUSS – What it is
1.1 DISCUSS is the European platform for Communities of Practice in Lifelong Learning. While certain pages of the site are available to the general public, the member pages of DISCUSS are not intended for use by people who have not registered for the DISCUSS platform.
2. DISCUSS – Who we are
2.1 DISCUSS is operated from Germany by the DISCUSS partnership (hereafter referred to as "DISCUSS"). for more information see: www.discuss-project.eu. References to "we" or "us" in these Terms and Conditions refer to the DISCUSS partnership and references to "you" or "members" refer to those who register for or use any of the features available on DISCUSS. DISCUSS is operated independently of the DISCUSS project website at www.discuss-project.eu - and these Terms and Conditions only governs activity on the DISCUSS online platform at www.discuss-community.eu.
2.2 The DISCUSS online platform is hosted by the web services partner Hetzner AG, wich is based in Germany. In accordance with applicable data protection laws, DISCUSS has taken the requisite contractual and other steps to ensure the secure hosting of the services.
3. Registration Agreement – Our Agreement with you
3.1 This page states the Terms and Conditions under which you may register for DISCUSS and use services which are made available to our registered members. If you do not accept the Terms and Conditions stated here, you are not permitted to join DISCUSS or to use the services made available on this website.
3.2 By registering with the Terms and Conditions, you represent and warrant that you are over 18 years of age, and that you have the capacity to understand, agree to and comply with these Terms and Conditions.
3.3 We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change, modify, add or remove portions of these Terms and Conditions at any time. While we will use reasonable endeavours to notify members of any material changes to these Terms and Conditions (for example by means of pop-up screens or email updates), you should check these Terms and Conditions periodically for changes as by accessing and using DISCUSS services after we post any changes to these Terms and Conditions, you are agreeing to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.
4. How to Join DISCUSS
4.1 In order to join DISCUSS, you are required to complete the Registration Form and to provide certain information to verify your identity. When completing the Registration Form you warrant and represent that the information you provide is true, accurate and complete. You must complete the registration process in order to establish your Membership Account.
4.2 If you are unsuccessful in registering for a Membership Account, you can use the feedback form which will enable you to contact the DISCUSS administration to directly to register your membership.
4.3 We may refuse to grant you a Membership Account or we may suspend or terminate your Membership Account if any element of it could impersonate someone else, is or may be protected by trade mark or proprietary rights law, or is vulgar, offensive or otherwise inappropriate, as determined by us in our sole discretion.
5. Your Personal Data
5.1 The "Profile" section of the DISCUSS site enables you to control, manage and update the particulars of your own personal data. The DISCUSS (Privacy Statement) contains full details of how we obtain and use your personal data. As a general rule, any Materials that you transmit to, or post on, DISCUSS are, and will be treated as, non-confidential and non-proprietary information, unless you disclose those materials as confidential and indicate property rights by disclaimer.
5.2 If you previously provided an email to the DISCUSS community you may be contacted by another member of the community using a "blind" email service, i.e. another member can send you an email, but they can not see your email address. This default setting can be adjusted at any time, once you have registered with DISCUSS by changing the settings on your "Update My Profile" page.
5.3 A visit to our website can result in the storage on our server of information about the access (date, time, page accessed). This does not represent any analysis of personal data (e.g., name, address or e-mail address). If personal data are collected, this only occurs – to the extent possible – with the prior consent of the user of the website. Any forwarding of the data to third parties without the express consent of the user shall not take place.
5.4 We would like to expressly point out that the transmission of data via the Internet (e.g., by e-mail) can offer security vulnerabilities. It is therefore impossible to safeguard the data completely against access by third parties. We cannot assume any liability for damages arising as a result of such security vulnerabilities.
6. Your Membership Account - Your Responsibility
6.1 You are entirely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your Membership Account information. You may not share your password or user account with any other party. You must notify us immediately in the event of any known or suspected unauthorised use of your Membership Account, or any known or suspected breach of security, including loss, theft, or unauthorised disclosure of your or anyone else's password. You are entirely responsible for any and all activities which occur under your Membership Account. You agree to immediately notify us of any unauthorised use of your Membership Account or any other breach of security known to you.
7. Members' Behaviour – Acceptable Conduct within DISCUSS
7.1 DISCUSS is made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use DISCUSS for any illegal or unauthorised purpose. International users agree to comply with all local rules regarding online conduct and acceptable content, including laws regulating the export of data from your country of residence. Members are solely responsible for their own conduct and any text, photographs, images, graphics, illustrations, logos, button icons, audio clips, video clips, software, and other content, and the compilation, collection, arrangement, and assembly thereof that they submit, post, e-mail, display or otherwise transmit within DISCUSS ("Materials").
7.2 As a DISCUSS Member, you expressly agree that whenever you use the DISCUSS services you will abide by all applicable local, state, national or international laws, including, but not limited to, any regulations having the force of law. You also accept that you are solely responsible for all communications, acts or omissions that occur under your Membership Account.
7.3 The following non-exhaustive types of inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated in DISCUSS and by becoming a DISCUSS Member you undertake to all other DISCUSS Members that you will not: (a) use DISCUSS in a manner inconsistent with its purposes or these Terms and Conditions; (b) use Members' personal data for purposes other than establishing bona fide contact within DISCUSS; (c) act in breach of the DISCUSS (Privacy Statement); (d) upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any Materials that are unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, intimidating, offensive, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libellous, invasive of another's privacy or confidentiality, hateful, harmful or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; (e) interfere with other Members' use and enjoyment of the DISCUSS; (f) infringe another's intellectual property (intellectual property includes patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, right of privacy or publicity or other proprietary rights of any party); (g) jeopardise or prejudice the operation, quality or integrity of the DISCUSS online platform, or the operation, quality or integrity of any telecommunications network; (h) use DISCUSS for any commercial purpose including any direct marketing, surveys, contests or pyramid schemes, nor to use DISCUSS to participate in or cause others to participate in sending chain letters, junk e-mail, spam, duplicative or unsolicited messages, advertising material; (i) impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, the DISCUSS community managers or moderators, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (j) mislead others by, for example, concealing or disguising the origin of a message or the nature of any Materials; (k) harvest or otherwise collect information about others, including e-mail addresses, without their consent or use any robot, spider, site search/retrieval application, or other device to retrieve or index any content in DISCUSS; (l) distribute, download, upload or transmit any material which contains viruses, trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancelbots, or any other harmful or deleterious programs; (m) use DISCUSS in a manner contrary to the terms and conditions of any Internet Service Provider whose services you may use; (n) attempt to gain unauthorised access to any aspect of the DISCUSS platform or computer systems; (o) modify, adapt, translate, or reverse engineer any part of DISCUSS; (p) reformat or frame any portion of the web pages that are part of DISCUSS; or (q) remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices posted in DISCUSS.
8. Events, Donations or Other Purchases
8.1 DISCUSS will include opportunities for Members to organise events and communicate details to other Members on the DISCUSS site. Unless otherwise expressly stated, DISCUSS does not take any responsibility for the organisation of any events posted by Members.
9. Limits on DISCUSS's Responsibilities
9.1 DISCUSS does not control the Materials submitted, posted, emailed, displayed or otherwise transmitted by Members and, as such, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, truthfulness, integrity or quality of such Materials. Although we have adopted these Terms and Conditions for Members, you understand that by using DISCUSS, you may be exposed to Materials that you find offensive or objectionable.
9.2 Under no circumstances will we be liable in any way for any Materials (other than for content created by us), including, but not limited to, for any errors or omissions in any Materials, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Materials submitted, posted, emailed, displayed or otherwise transmitted to or through DISCUSS.
9.3 As the essence of DISCUSS is to provide a real-time environment for Members to communicate with other Members, DISCUSS cannot accept a general obligation to monitor Members' use of DISCUSS. However, DISCUSS does agree to use reasonable endeavours to address any breaches of these Terms and Conditions where it is notified of a material breach thereof. Accordingly, we may, but shall have no obligation to, remove Materials that we determine in our sole discretion to be unlawful, fraudulent, threatening, libellous, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable, or which we feel may infringe or violate any party's intellectual property, privacy or other proprietary rights or these Terms and Conditions.
10. Exclusions of Liability - When we will not be Responsible
10.1 YOUR MEMBERSHIP AND USE OF DISCUSS IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE DISCUSS PARTNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY MANAGERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, LOST PROFITS, OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM LOST DATA OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) RESULTING FROM THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE DISCUSS OR ANY MATERIALS, WHETHER BASED ON STATUTE, CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR ANY OTHER LEGAL CAUSE, AND WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
10.2 DISCUSS does not warrant that DISCUSS will operate uninterrupted or be error free, that defects will be corrected, or that DISCUSS or the servers that make it available are or will be free of viruses or bugs.
10.2 DISCUSS is not responsible for any errors or malfunctions in any communications network, computer systems, servers, equipment or software including any injury or damage to Members or to any persons' computer related to or resulting from participation or downloading Materials.
11. DISCUSS Proprietary Rights - Your Right to use our Materials
11.1 DISCUSS does not claim any ownership rights in any Materials that Members submit, post, or display on or through DISCUSS. After submitting, posting or displaying Materials on or through DISCUSS, Members continue to retain all ownership rights in such Materials, and they continue to have the right to use their Materials in any way they choose.
11.2 Provided that you comply with your membership obligations under these Terms and Conditions, DISCUSS grants to Members a non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited right to access DISCUSS and all Materials displayed in DISCUSS.
12. Your Undertakings, Warranties and Indemnities to DISCUSS - Your Commitments to Us
12.1 You represent and warrant to DISCUSS that the Materials posted by you on or through DISCUSS will comply with these Terms and Conditions and you agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless DISCUSS, its staff and service providers, from and against any claims, actions or demands, including without limitation reasonable legal and accounting fees, alleging or resulting whether directly or indirectly from your use of DISCUSS or any Materials or your breach of the terms of these Terms and Conditions. DISCUSS shall provide notice to you promptly of any such claim, suit, or preceding and shall assist you, at your expense, in defending any such claim, suit or proceeding.
13. Notice and Takedown Procedure
13.1 You are solely responsible for your interactions with other Members. DISCUSS reserves the right, but has no obligation, to monitor disputes between you and other Members.
13.2 If you feel that any Materials have been posted on DISCUSS which are in breach of these Terms and Conditions, you should report it to the DISCUSS community management. Please supply us with as much information as possible, and the DISCUSS staff shall respond, using our reasonable discretion, by editing or removing content that we reasonably consider to be in breach of these Terms and Conditions. If the DISCUSS community managers deem it appropriate, the Member who posted the infringing Materials will be banned or suspended from DISCUSS to limit the possibility of any further infringing Materials being posted. Notwithstanding that DISCUSS will endeavour to address all complaints as we deem fit in accordance with the foregoing, the limitations of liability contained in these Terms and Conditions shall to the fullest extent permitted by law apply to any acts or omissions by DISCUSS in respect of any complaints DISCUSS receives.
14. Termination of DISCUSS membership
14.1 At any time, you can terminate your Membership Account which will remove your profile and other personal information from view.
14.2 Where reasonably possible, DISCUSS will use reasonable efforts to give Members fair notice of termination or suspension of their access to DISCUSS. However, we may suspend or terminate your DISCUSS Membership immediately at any time without notice, without providing any reasons and without further liability or responsibility to you. Accordingly, you should not use DISCUSS as a depository for information where you have no other means of accessing it.
14.3 Once your DISCUSS Membership terminates, you will have no right to access or use DISCUSS. Our proprietary rights, disclaimer of warranties, indemnities, limitations of liability and miscellaneous provisions shall survive any termination of your DISCUSS Membership.
15.1 DISCUSS contains links to third party websites. These links are provided by DISCUSS Members solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement of the content on such third party websites. DISCUSS is not responsible for the content of linked third party sites and does not make any representations regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third party websites. If you decide to access linked third-party websites, you do so at your own risk and in accordance with the prevailing terms and conditions of such third party sites.
15.2 DISCUSS generally welcomes the hyper-linking to the DISCUSS website from other appropriate websites provided such links are to the site's homepage (and no deeper within the site) and provided we give our consent to the establishment of such links. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we reserve the absolute right to refuse to consent to such links without giving reasons. Any links to the site from another website must be presented in such a manner that the viewing of the DISCUSS site is not impaired by framing or similar techniques that may impair the visitor's user experience.
16.1 DISCUSS has been created and is controlled by the DISCUSS partnership. These Terms and Conditions will be governed by, and construed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of Germany. You hereby unconditionally and irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the German courts.
16.2 These Terms and Conditions are accepted upon your use of the DISCUSS online platform and is further affirmed by you becoming a DISCUSS Member.
16.3 The failure of DISCUSS to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Terms and Conditions shall not operate as a waiver of such right or provision. The section titles in these Terms and Conditions are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
16.4 If any provision of these Terms and Conditions shall be prohibited by or adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unlawful, void or unenforceable, such provision shall to the extent required be severed from these Terms and Conditions and rendered ineffective as far as possible without modifying the remaining provisions of these Terms and Conditions and shall not in any way affect any other circumstances or the validity or enforcement of these Terms and Conditions.
17. Limitation of liability for internal content
The content of our website has been compiled with meticulous care and to the best of our knowledge. However, we cannot assume any liability for the up-to-dateness, completeness or accuracy of any of the pages. Pursuant to section 7, para. 1 of the TMG (Telemediengesetz – Tele Media Act by German law), we as service providers are liable for our own content on these pages in accordance with general laws. However, pursuant to sections 8 to 10 of the TMG, we as service providers are not under obligation to monitor external information provided or stored on our website. Once we have become aware of a specific infringement of the law, we will immediately remove the content in question. Any liability concerning this matter can only be assumed from the point in time at which the infringement becomes known to us.
18. Limitation of liability for external links
Our website contains links to the websites of third parties ("external links"). As the content of these websites is not under our control, we cannot assume any liability for such external content. In all cases, the provider of information of the linked websites is liable for the content and accuracy of the information provided. At the point in time when the links were placed, no infringements of the law were recognisable to us. As soon as an infringement of the law becomes known to us, we will immediately remove the link in question.
The content and works published on this website are governed by the copyright laws of Germany. Any duplication, processing, distribution or any form of utilisation beyond the scope of copyright law shall require the prior written consent of the author or authors in question.