The quarterly magazine of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

The UOC invites everyone to cross the threshold of ephemeral information and to join in an exchange of knowledge on current affairs. Walk In is born in a virtual world and it projects itself onto paper as a nexus between immediacy and more considered and reflexive thought, placed between global causes and closer local solutions. Come in and welcome

CONTENTS #04’2009

Editorial Power to the masses / Imma Tubella

Dossier Sir Berners-Lee and the African journalist / Vicent Partal
Jean Daniel. An everyday historian / Àlex Vicente
Alpha hour for the Omega man / Lluís Pastor
UOC-COM / Albert Roca
The individual is the medium / Trina Milan
Yaqub Ibrahimi. A writer under threat / Jordi Rovira
The power of entertainment / Martin Kaplan
Alan Schroeder. Electoral debates / Jordi Rovira

Walk the Talk Gabriel Jackson. “History teaches us who we are” / Kim Amor

Spotlight on Jessica Colaço. Mobile-technology ‘evangelist’ in Africa / Leo Ruffini

Zoom In Harvard: splendour and twilight on campus/ Miguel Ángel Violán

The conversation Carlos Albaladejo
talks with Jack Dorsey

WirelessNothing to kill or die for / Eric Hauck


The UOC is now in its 15th year. Target: internationalisation / Jose Medina

Web /


Interview / Saül Gordillo. “The UOC was our benchmark” / Anna Murgadas i Valldosera

Degrees offered


Community / Josep Rivera. “Once you begin to write, you can't stop!!” / Anna Torres

UOC in numbers

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR: Lluís Pastor / ILLUSTRATION: Cristóbal Schmal / PHOTOS: David Campos, Joan Roca de Viñals

drawing by Cristóbal Schmal
Cristóbal Schmal

Sir Berners-Lee and the African journalist / Vicent Partal

There is an image that has fascinated me for years. It is Tim Berners-Lee’s first draft on what we would come to know as the World Wide Web. It is a simple paper, just like thousands that are written around the world every day. A diagram illustrates how Mesh, the first name that the creator of the web dreamt up for his new invention, would work.

No human activity is immune
to the mindboggling yet
creative impact of the web

Journalists in the Internet
age have to be part of the
circulating chaos of the information

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Jean Daniel. An everyday historian / Àlex Vicente

Photo of  Jean Daniel
Lea Crespi

To me, journalism is a profession which requires three talents: to gather information, to give due consideration to this information and to know how to put it across. As if that weren’t enough, we have to carry out this process before other people, with the obsession for speed that is a determining factor of our job. Journalism means breaking records on a permanent basis.

“Power is an enemy in disguise:
it seduces you, makes you drowsy,
anaesthetises you”

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Jessica Colaço. Mobile-technology ‘evangelist’ in Africa / Leo Ruffini

Photo of Jessica Colaço
David Campos

Demolishing clichés is something that drives Jessica Colaço. To prove, for instance, that Africa “isn’t synonymous with hunger and wars” but is, instead, “a market with a huge potential for SMS-based applications”, and that Kenya, a place many people only associate with the jungle and safaris, is becoming “a centre for innovation and technology”.

Colaço has been named one
of the 40 most influential women
under 40 in Kenya

“The mobile phone is a decisive
instrument for development in

Read article

Carlos Albaladejo talks with Jack Dorsey

Photos of    Carlos Albaladejo and Jack Dorses
David Campos

If you catch all the taxis in Barcelona and ask them to tell you where they’re going and what they’re doing you will get a virtually complete visual map of what is going on in the city. But this map would miss the people, the actual citizens, my friends. From there I got the idea to work on a prototype of Twitter in the year 2000, based on a Blackberry, which worked via e-mail.

“Twitter allows huge organisations
which people can’t understand to get
on a level with their customers”

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CONTENTS #03’2009

Editorial Practical utopias / Imma Tubella

Dossier The awakening of Ecology / Montse Cano
May East. Gaia Education / Anna Murgadas
Ecovillages: The sustainable utopia / Laia Forés
The EcoUniversity / Eduard Vinyamata
Defending biodiversity with a knife and fork / Àngels Doñate
Emergency dictionary on food sustainability / F. Xavier Medina
Finding solutions for global problems / Dennis Meadows
Renewable energy's time is now / Andris Piebalgs
Howard Rheingold. Smart Mobs / Leo Ruffini

Walk the Talk Guy Haug. “Those against the Bologna process don’t know exactly what they’re opposing” / Ester Medico

Spotlight on Haruki Murakami. “When I write, I travel to the dark side of the brain” / Albert Nolla

Zoom In Iran: The Twitter revolution / Lali Sandiumenge

The conversation Manuel Campo Vidal
talks with Francisco Lupiáñez

Wireless Between veils and ‘veline’ / Eric Hauck


15 years of network university / Jose Medina


Interview / Francis Pisani. “On the web there’s gold, but there’s also lead” / Leo Ruffini

Degrees offered

UOC in numbers


Web / Virtual Library

Community / Xavier Roig. “Ants help us understand the world” / Laura Catalán

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR: Eduard Vinyamata / ILLUSTRATIONS: Arianne Faber / PHOTOS: David Campos, Joan Roca de Viñals /

The EcoUniversity /Eduard Vinyamata

drawing by  Tere Guix

Universities have an implicit duty: to make this world a better place. Scientific and technological knowledge must be placed at the service of people and the societies they live in: it must make people and societies live in peace, safety and justice; it must ensure freedom, health and welfare; and it must make our environment healthy and ensure that natural resources are not depleted. But this does not always happen when knowledge is not explicitly used for the common good.

Humanity and Nature must be
the core and mission of universities
and scientific endeavours

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drawing by  Arianne Faber
Arianne Faber

Renewable energy’s time is now
Andris Piebalgs

“We are the first generation to realize the scale of the problems posed by global warming. The most comprehensive study of the economics of climate change that I know of was carried out by Nicholas Stern for the British Treasury. He concluded that the cost of inaction was substantially greater than the cost of action. The total costs of inaction could be between 5% and 20% of lost GDP every year. These are extraordinarily high numbers, much greater than the proportions of GDP lost by economic slowdown.”

Energy efficiency is one of the least
costly ways of reducing our impact
on the environment

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Guy Haug. “Those against the Bologna process don’t know exactly what they’re opposing” / Ester Medico

Photo of  Guy Haug
David Campos

“The Bologna process isn’t an EU initiative. It grew out of meetings between ministres and universities in Europe. It would only be obligatory if laws and royal decrees and agreements were made at a state level. There is no “Bologna Plan”. There are certain framework agreements which point us in certain strategic directions and Spain has participated at every stage of the process of developing the agreements.”

“In the 1990s Europe lost the privilege of being
the destination of choice for students and academics”

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Haruki Murakami. “When I write, I travel to the dark side of the brain”
Albert Nolla

Photo of  Haruki Murakami and his books
David Campos

When the conversation drifted towards his literature, Murakami explained that what he does when he writes is travel to the dark side of the brain, and that he doesn’t always like what he finds; it repels or scares him, but he feels compelled to write about it because it exists.

“Afterwards,” he added with his proverbial irony, “I always come back, because I’m a professional and if I didn’t there wouldn’t be any novels.”

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CONTENTS #02’2009

EditorialLearning on Internet, a question of attitude / Imma Tubella

Dossier Educating in times of uncertainty / Salvador Cardús i Ros
Zygmunt Bauman. Generation Y / Josep Maria Mominó
Towards Student 2.0 / Anna Murgadas
Digital self-learners / Marc Prensky
Practical guide to use social networks / Raquel Xalabarder
Can today’s schools handle everything we’re asking of them? / Carles Sigalés
Sugata Mitra. “Internet is a right” / Leo Ruffini
Schools and economic outcomes / Eric A. Hanushek

Walk the Talk Zoya Phan. “The world doesn’t really know what is going on in Burma” / Eva Millet

Spotlight on Derrick de Kerckhove, McLuhan’s Heir / Jordi Rovira

Zoom In Digital tunnels in Gaza. Palestinian and Israeli dissent on the Web / Montserrat Arbós

The conversation Mikheil Saakashvili. “Europe and the United States took their time to stop the war” / Eva Millet

Wireless UOC & Co. / Eric Hauck


15 years: From turning on a computer to leading a digital team (part II) / Jose Medina


Interview / Louise Bertrand. “Virtual education has limitless possibilities” / Gloria Zorrilla

Degrees offered

UOC in numbers


Web / IDP: The transformations of Law and Politics in the Information Society / Agustí Cerrillo i Martínez

Community / Anna M. Agustí, Nina. “The UOC is my only refuge of privacy” / Eric Hauck

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR: Carles Sigalés / ILLUSTRATIONS: Hilal Can / PHOTOS: David Campos, Joan Roca de Viñals, Yudit Ilany / INFOGRAPHICS: Marta Sagarra

drawing by Hilal Can
Hilal Can

Educating in times of uncertainty
Salvador Cardús i Ros

Can we educate without knowing where the society on behalf of which and for which we are educating is going? If the future has become so uncertain that it is not easy for us to make predictions even one year ahead – the recent crisis has shown this emphatically and definitively – how can we determine the educational needs of new generations whose world is so wide open that we cannot even imagine it?

Now that everyone has recognised
the strategic importance of education,
it is experiencing the greatest identity
crisis in its history

We must educate individuals who
are profoundly aware of their social

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Zygmunt Bauman. Generation Y / Josep Maria Mominó

Photo of  Zygmunt Bauman
David Campos

He is the father of the theory of liquid modernity, a metaphor that he uses to refer to the changing, fleeting condition of today’s society, which is characterised by individualism, consumerism and the instability of personal relationships. A lucid, hyperactive octogenarian, last year Zygmunt Bauman closed the Debates on Education held by the UOC and the Jaume Bofill Foundation with a talk entitled “Education in the World of the Diasporas”. He underscored the fact that intergenerational communication today is conditioned by the existence of a virtual world parallel to the physical world and governed by its own rules.

“The world of harsh and unnegotiable
realities is a totally foreign country for
a great many young people”

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Derrick de Kerckhove, McLuhan’s Heir / Jordi Rovira

Photos of  Derrick Kerckhove
David Campos

In his office in Barcelona, De Kerckhove analyses the most significant aspects of communication today. And when he does so, gesticulating and laughing, he cannot hide the fact that at 64 he still speaks with all the passion of someone who thoroughly enjoys his work. References to Marshall McLuhan, who revolutionized the theory of communication and with whom he worked for ten years, are constant. “McLuhan would not be very surprised by the latest technology”, he says, and goes on to point out that in 1962 his master predicted phenomena such as the global encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

“Digitalization has put an end
to the dictatorship of television”

Read article

Digital tunnels in Gaza. Palestinian and Israeli dissent on the Web / Montserrat Arbós

photocollage by  Yudit Ilany
Yudit Ilany

On the 28th of December of last year, the second day of Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip, Sameh Habeeb began a detailed daily war diary on his blog entitled From Gaza: Suffering Like Gazans, which he would keep up until the end of the offensive. “300 dead while up to 1,000 wounded, around 80 air raids, 2 mosques bombed in Khan Yonis City, 24 homemade light rockets fired from Gaza hit Asklon and Ashdod leaving a few wounded...(...) In addition, Gazans are still out of gas, power and bread!”

“That’s what reality was like, getting small bits and pieces of news at all hours, phones, demos; there was something very overwhelming about it, for me at least. Often it was difficult to understand the bigger picture, as everything was very fractured” Yudit Ilany

Read article

CONTENTS #01’2009

Editorial A New Society. Yes, we can / Imma Tubella

Dossier The toxic legacy inherited by Obama / Lluís Bassets
Manuel Castells. The Obama revolution / Ester Medico
Citizen 2.0. Towards cyberdemocracy / Marta Espar
Back to the UN / Frederic Eckhard
Radiography of a crisis / Josep Lladós et al
The southern shore and the global economic crisis / Mustapha Cherif

Walk the Talk John Strawson. “We have to begin speaking more modestly about human rights and democracy” / Lali Sandiumenge

Spotlight on Timothy Berners-Lee, the inventor of the WWW / Leo Ruffini

Zoom In Develop yourselves! / Xavier Rubert de Ventós

The conversation Jaume Cabré talks with Jaume Subirana

Wireless The role of paper / Eric Hauck


15 years: The UOC reaches adolescence (part I) / Jose Medina


Interview / Bakary Diallo. “The price of Africa’s ignorance is very high” / Lali Sandiumenge

Degrees offered

UOC in numbers


Web / UOC – Knowledge Online: a new diffusion platform / Cristóbal Zamora

Community / Albert Nolla. “A translation shouldn’t sound like one” / Anna Torres

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR: Josep Lladós / ILLUSTRATIONS: Joan Negrescolor / PHOTOS: David Campos, Joan Roca de Viñals, Toni Bofill, Luis Moreno / INFOGRAPHICS: Marta Sagarra

drawing by Joan Negrescolor
Joan Negrescolor

The toxic legacy inherited by Obama
Lluís Bassets

Few presidents of the United States have had to face such a complicated situation as the one that Barack Hussein Obama has encountered when taking office as the president in Washington on the 20th of January in the solemn ceremony of Inauguration. Two wars currently being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and a rampant recession are the main issues that the new president finds on his desk.

The first priority is to ban
the counter-terrorist practices
that endorse torture

The presidential mansion built
by slave labour will be the home
to a black family as its masters

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Manuel Castells. The Obama revolution / Ester Medico

Photo of  Manuel Castells
David Campos

Barack Obama, the first black president of the US, takes office thanks to the support of an important majority of society. Among them, the young, women, new voters and Afro-American and Latino minorities stand out. Their support led to his resounding victory on the 4th of November – 52.5% of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes, compared to the 46.2% and 173 won by the Republican John McCain. He enters office in the midst of a deep-rooted economic crisis of unforeseeable consequences, and of complex social and political challenges around the world.

“The most important and innovative aspect
of Obama’s campaign was the use of Internet”

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Timothy Berners-Lee, the inventor of the WWW / Leo Ruffini

Photos of  Timothy Berners-Lee
David Campos

Sir Timothy Berners-Lee (London, 1955) is the living embodiment of the old adage that fame and brilliance do not always go hand in hand. Barely known on the street – all it takes is a brief survey to prove it – he has neverthless contributed hugely to making our world the way we know it today.

Berners-Lee is the creator of the World Wide Web. It took place at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) on Christmas Day 1990 when, with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young team of students, he managed to establish the first connection between a server and an http client via Internet.

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WALK IN: The quarterly magazine of the UOC

PUBLISHED by the Communication Area of the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Av. Tibidabo, n. 39-43. E-08035 Barcelona) DIRECTOR: Eric Hauck CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Tere Guix EXECUTIVE EDITORS: Rosa Mercader and Lali Sandiumenge PRODUCTION: líniazero edicions EDITOR: Ester Medico EDITORS for MÓN UOC: Jose Medina, Lluís Rius and Anna Torres WEB DEVELOPER: ISSN: 2013-2549 CONTACT: SUBSCRIPTIONS: get_walkin@uoc.edu