The Europe 2020 strategy set the use of innovative, digital, and flexible learning as the means to increase employability, boost growth and enhance innovation and competitiveness across the EU. The pandemic has accelerated the shift from traditional teaching methods to online learning. Over the last decades, many cities around the globe have gradually transformed themselves into smart cities.

It is common knowledge that Smart Cities (SC) are producing a high volume of data, originating from the urban environment, the use of public services, traffic noise levels, population projections among many others. During, the last years there is a growing global trend for systematically studying and opening data. The European Commission is fully supporting open data initiatives

At the skills development level, several organizations, HEIs and VET providers are offering courses and eLearning resources on open data development and exploitation. For example, data.europe.eu is offering a large number of open data eLearning modules. Similarly, USA federal CDO council in its strategy is defining the Federal Chief Data Officer position. Other organizations such as Open Data Institute are offering selected courses on the topic. These are a few of the many systematic training offerings available worldwide.

Within this context, project Open Data City Officer – OpenDCO aims to bridge a gap in  educational offerings on open data  by developing an innovative e-learning curriculum  that will provide :

  1. an occupational profile that is focusing on smart cities’ open data at the European level and,
  2. a systematic curriculum able to cover all different aspects of an Open Data City Officer

The partners of the project listed below had their kick-off meeting in Athens recently and agreed on the next steps to implement the project Objectives.

  • Hellenic Open University, Greece
  • Panepistimio Thessalias, Greece
  • Universidade Do Minho, Portugal
  • Fernuniversitat In Hagen, Germany
  • University of Nicosia (Coordinator) , Cyprus

The Work Packages of the project include

  • WP 1 – Project Management
  • WP 2 – Development of Pedagogical Educational Approach
  • WP 3 – Development of the OpenDCO Curriculum
  • WP 4 – Development of the OpenDCO Training Kit
  • WP 5 –  OpenDCO Certification of Pilot Cohort, Evaluation, Dissemination and Exploitation

The overall objectives of the OpenDCO project are to:

  1. Provide in a structured and systematic way a framework for educating smart cities staff on open data,
  2. Develop an innovative curriculum for OpenDCOs (according to our best knowledge there is none available worldwide),
  3. Provide innovative learning tools,
  4. Close the competence and skills gap for municipalities officials,
  5. Promote the European Collaboration on smart cities’ education,
  6. Increase the awareness of the Member States, Local Authorities, Municipalities and of various stakeholders that smart cities open data competences is a complex and difficult to acquire, and
  7. Build-up on important work delivered from other ERASMUS+ projects

The project aims to support and enhance high volumes of open data generated by smart cities’ infrastructure that  can lead towards the development of innovative services and provide positive stimuli for the growth of smart cities.  OpenDCO relates to the Horizontal priority “Addressing digital transformation through development, resilience, and capacity” as it targets a shortage in digital and transferrable skills identified in open data officers of smart cities and will develop a new job profile and design, develop and deliver a pilot training program to certify the first cohort of Open Data City Officers. It proposes a holistic approach for the professional development of trainees envisioning to enrich their portfolio of competences and increase their employability on the basis of actual competence gaps and learning experiences and profiles.

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