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Posts Tagged ‘higher-education’
This piece is the first part of an invited post by Mathieu Plourde.
For those involved in educational technology, it’s something to expect. A new year brought in a new buzzword (or should I say buzz-term?): open educational resources.
The promise behind open educational resources is that is that they are contents that are made available to anyone for free. But that’s a little too broad of a definition… Isn’t pretty much everything on the Internet, from the most obscure movie on Youtube to the CNN website available for consumption? Pretty much, yes.
We all understand that, as consumers, we can access the web and consult resources that are made available. Let’s say I’m interested in whales. I can find a clip from Whale Wars online. It’s right there. But what if we wanted to use that video in class to demonstrate the cruelty of killing whales, or mash it up with sequences of other videos to explain the point of view of the Japanese fleet, am I allowed to do that? There is a fat copyright sign at the bottom of the page… You might be courageous enough to dig in the legalese on the Discovery.com site. Chances are, by this time, you have already abandoned the idea.
So if putting digital resources online isn’t being open, what is?
It’s All In the License
By default, any creative work is protected by copyright, whether that work is produced as text, image, video, sound, etc. Even if there is no mention of the ownership, or no copyright symbol, it is still copyrighted. Copyrighted material can usually be consumed under strict rules, beyond which the owner of the intellectual property has to be paid, or you have to get a special permission.
Professionally produced material (books, newspapers, magazines, tv shows, radio broadcasts) are usually very expensive to produce because they are built by teams of experts, peer-reviewed, advertised, distributed, etc. People spending all that energy creating high-end content should expect to be paid for their work if it’s good enough. It’s economics 101: supply and demand.
But what about the work of amateurs, or the work of experts not expecting to be paid for their work? If their goal is to reach out to as many people as possible, plain copyright doesn’t make sense. Enter Creative Commons.
Creative Commons are a licensing set of permission that the intellectual property owner can voluntarily apply to the created work. They allow the owner of a resource to declare that it can be used by others under certain conditions.
|*||Attribution||This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.|
|*||Attribution – No Derivative||This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.|
|*||Attribution – Share Alike||This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.|
|*||Attibution – Non Commercial||This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.|
|*||Attribution – Non Commercial – Share Alike||This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.|
|*||Attibution – Non Commercial – No Derivative||This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.|
|*||CC0 (CC zero) – Public Domain||Universal public domain dedication. See this article for more details. http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0_use_for_data|
So if you’re looking at a resource that has one of those licenses, you’re already closer to your goal. But you’re not there yet.
According to David Wiley, Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University, as explained during his Educause Learning Initiative keynote address in February of 2011, openness for the purpose of education should allow the 4Rs:
- Reuse – copy verbatim
- Redistribute – share with others
- Revise – adapt and improve
- Remix – combine with others
In other words, open educational resources should give the end-user local control:
“I’m the Instructional designer who’s creating the best thing I know how, and I’m giving you, as the local person, permission to make the changes and adaptations you know you need locally for your students to be able to learn the best that they can.”
Interpreting Wiley’s definition, out of the seven Creative Commons licenses, the only ones that really enable open educational resources (OER) are the plain Attribution (the recommended one) and Attribution – Share Alike (which is, by the way, the license used on Wikipedia), and, of course, the CC0/Public Domain.
Another thing to pay attention to, as a teacher, is the openness in content but not in the underlying technology or format. Some learning resources might be made available for free, but you need specialized software to run them (an SPSS database, for instance). Or you don’t get access to the original work in order to make the remix process easier. That happens a lot with people sharing slides exported as pdf files or jpeg images, when all you want is the original PowerPoint document to extract the one graph you really need to put in your own slides.
How should recorded lectures be distributed – exclusively to registered students or beyond the borders of the classroom? Read more
What are the technologies that universities use to produce their lecture recordings? Read more
Yesterday I looked at the possibilities that lecture capture provides for improving learning in university settings. Some of the early pioneers have written down their reflections about introducing lecture capture at their universities and shared them on their blogs.
Speed geeking, Human sociagram, World café, E-learning. A three-day workshop jointly hosted by UNU-ViE, DAAD and COL was anything but boring, bringing revolutionary concepts and a variety of facilitation tools, and participants from over a dozen Sub-Saharan African nations . Find out more on how they avoided death by powerpoint.