OpenCoesione School (or ASOC, from Italian “A Scuola di OpenCoesione”) is an educational challenge and a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), designed for Italian high-school students. ASOC was launched in 2013 within the open government strategy on cohesion policy carried out by the National Government, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Representation Office of the European Commission in Italy. The project is also supported by the European Commission’s network of Europe Direct Information Centres.
Objectives. On the national OpenCoesione portal (www.opencoesione.gov.it), everyone can find transparent information on investment projects funded by Cohesion Policies in Italy. Open data on more than 900,000 projects has been posted so far with details on the amount of funding, policy objectives, locations, involved subjects and completion times. Data are updated every two months and can be freely re-used and explored interactively on the portal using maps, filters and detailed data sheets on projects and recipients. A Scuola di OpenCoesione builds on the OpenCoesione portal to actively promote the use and reuse of data by participating schools for the development of civic awareness and engagement of local communities in monitoring the effectiveness of public investment.
Program Contents. The program is composed of 6 main sessions. The first 4 build on the use of innovative and interdisciplinary skills to focus, respectively, on public policies, ICT and digital capacity and open data analysis, citizen monitoring and citizen participation , data journalism and storytelling. During the fifth session the students carry out on-site visits to public works and/or services financed by EU and national funds being developed in their territory and interview with key players involved in the projects’ implementation, beneficiaries or others on the sites where they are being developed, while the sixth step is a final event where students meet local communities and policy-makers to discuss the findings of their investigations and evaluations.