Over the last weeks, during three productive encounters, Italian students have explored, analysed and communicated on several EU policies in the Italian context. By doing so, the students made themselves familiar with EU policies and shared their views with those making the policies. In all of these encounters, Open Data played a pivotal role in sharing knowledge and insights from a European level to a national one.
The first encounter between the Italian students and European policy makers took place last November in Brussels. During a meeting on the European Cohesion Policy, a team of students from the University of Turin had the chance to present their civic monitoring report of EU Funded Projects. The project was an adaptation of methodology from A Scuola di OpenCoesione (ASOC, an educational challenge and a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), designed for Italian high-school students) combined with experiences from data journalism. Due to the interesting findings and possibility to involve citizens in policy-making, the initiative was well received by the EU officials. In the following encounter, Open Data was discussed as a means to accompany EU policies with 'real stories'. By sharing data directly from the source through initiatives such as the DG Regional Policy Open Data Portal, Open Data can help disseminate stories to contextualise the data. The last encounter was organised by the Italian Agency for Cohesion, during which Open Data was discussed as a means to identify and share best practices on the implementation of national and EU cohesion policies.
The sequence of encounters between students and policy makers from different levels show the new possibilities for collaborative policies. Read more about the encounters in this article from the Open Education Working Group.