One of the challenges of an open education movement is expanding the conversation outside of the open education echo chamber. A recent article entitled Understanding the Ins and Outs of Open Content Licensing within Digital Directions, an online publication for K-12 educators and administrators, highlights the practical challenges faced by educators as they attempt to understand and incorporate openly licensed content into their classrooms. As noted by Jim Klein, director of information services and technology for Saugus Union school system near Los Angeles, California:
Licensing costs are one of the largest ongoing expenses in K-12. As budgets tighten and technology demands increase, educators are beginning to understand the benefits and embrace the opportunities found in open technologies … The biggest challenge for educators is their own education—understanding the need for appropriate licensing and the impact of the choices they make when selecting a license.
The article highlights the learning curve facing students, educators, and administrators, such as knowing how to chose the “right” license, how to mix content of difference license types, and how to tag and store content for effective and efficient aggregation. For most people, these are all very foreign concepts and procedures. Addressing these practical day-to-day obstacles will be key to expanding open education outside of the echo chamber.
As mentioned in this blog and elsewhere this week, the first black and white and full color print formats of the OER Handbook were released. To increase the usefulness of the handbook content, a .zip file containing the Zotero reference list of resources discussed in the OER Handbook is available for upload to your personal Zotero account. If you are unfamiliar with Zotero, this is a perfect excuse to try it! Zotero is a free Firefox extension used to collect and organize research sources and citations.
Below is a screen capture of my Zotero account after I downloaded the OER Handbook Zotero .zip file, unzipped it, and uploaded it into my personal Zotero account. To view any of the Internet based source documents, simply click on the “View” button (highlighted below in yellow) under the “Info” tab. Very handy, indeed!
OER References in Zotero
The August 2008 edition of The Open Source Business Resource (OSBR.ca) is focused on education. Two articles center on research related open education, including:
A Flat Network for the Unflat World: Open Educational Resources in Developing Countries
by Steven Muegge, Monica Mora, Kamal Hassin, Andrew Pullin
Abstract: Open educational resources (OER)
apply the principles of openness – particularly the freedoms of use,
modification and redistribution – to digital materials for teaching,
learning, and research. OER can potentially touch all areas of
education, from elementary schools to higher education to professional
development all over the world, but we are particularly excited about
the potential to expand access to education in developing countries.
That is the focus of our research and the topic of this article.
Why Give Knowledge Away for Free? The Case for Open Educational Resources
by Jan Hylén
Abstract: An apparently extraordinary trend is emerging. Although learning
resources are often considered as key intellectual property in a
competitive higher education world, more institutions and individuals
are sharing digital learning resources openly and without cost, as open
educational resources (OER). The issues of why this is happening, who
is involved, and the important implications were addressed in a 2006
study carried out by the OECD Centre for Educational Research and
Innovation with the support of the Hewlett Foundation. The main
conclusions are summarised here, together with some insights from a
follow-up, and not yet published, study from spring 2008.
Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society, posts on what he calls “huge and important news” regarding free licenses. Highlighting yesterday’s ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States, Lessig notes,
So for non-law geeks, this won’t seem important. But trust me, this is huge … In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.
Also worth a read are the numerous comments following his post. Not surprisingly, folks offer a host of opinions on his observations, as well as commentary about the ruling itself. Ahhh … the joys of copyright!
Registration is now available for the fifth annual Open Education Conference on the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah (USA) on September 24 – 26, 2008. Keynote speakers for the event include Teresa Malango of Magnatune, Gary Lopez of the Monterey Institute of Technology, and Wayne Mackintosh of Commonwealth of Learning.
The Fall 2008 Open Courseware Consortium (OCWC) Conference will also be held in Logan from September 22 – 25. The OCWC Conference includes the Board Meeting and other OCW related workshops and presentations, as noted on the tentative schedule.
Regarding the Open Education 2008 conference themes,
The open content movement turns ten years old in 2008. Since 1998 we’ve seen the emergence of incredible collections of open content like Wikipedia, open course materials like MIT OCW, open e-learning like Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, open record labels like Magnatune, open access journals like the Public Library of Science, and the list goes on. Since 2002 we have referred to open content designed to support learning as “open educational resources.”
While many open educational resources projects and other open content projects are incredibly successful, not all of them are sustainable. The first question of the open educational resources movement will always be “are we supporting meaningful learning?” But the second question must be “do we have a sustainable model for continuing to support learning?” At this 10th anniversary conference we will explore these foundational themes of the open educational resources field.
A Wired Campus post by Jeffrey Young in The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights professor David Parry’s efforts to open up his college classroom to outside participants at the University of Texas at Dallas. As noted in the article,
Mr. Parry had already planned to make recordings of class sessions available online. But he’s now offering to hold a weekly online discussion group by video chat for those tuning in remotely as well … Those auditing the course who aren’t enrolled won’t get any credit, though. “The knowledge is free, the degree will cost you money,” he wrote.
The author of the article asks, “Have others already tried allowing outsiders into online course discussions?” A little digging reveals numerous recent examples which we have linked to in this blog, including:
Feel free to add information about any other open classes within the comments …
The November – December 2007 issue of Educational Technology focusing on Open Educational Resources is available now as a free PDF download. This special issue is edited by Judy Breck and includes a host of open education related articles.
The Open University UK launched a new OUView YouTube site this week. Two sets of videos are linked from the main site at www.youtube.com/ou.
Learning materials are at: www.youtube.com/oulearn. Community stuff is at: www.youtube.com/oulife (watch this space a bit more here as the idea of launching a community space is that our community get involved, but you do get some vblogs from OU folks talking about what they’ve learnt in YouTube and some Big Brother style student vblogs from the Graduation video booth.)
So, why YouTube?
Well it’s a good place to start – according to Nielsen NetRatings, YouTube is the 6th largest internet destination. So reaching more people and opening up access to education should be within our grasp.
by Paul Jacobson on Flickr.com, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The iCommons iSummit ’08 is underway in Sapporo, Japan. The Summit blog offers a virtual glimpse into the conference, including the open education track. Paul Jacobson provides a nice overview of the open education projects discussed in the project review session, including Philipp Schmidt’s proposed Peer 2 Peer University, the Open Education Resources handbook, and the OER Case Study Project. Jacobson also summarizes the open education session on legal issues beyond content licensing.
Cover It Live blogging recaps from sessions on promulgating OERs and maximizing community involvement in OERs are also available on the conference site. In addition, you can follow the live action in Twitter and read notes from sessions within the Open Education Track wiki. The next best thing to being there …
The Fundacao Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and the University of California – Irvine announced the offering of free online courses as part of the UC Irvine Extension’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative. Two new courses, an MBA course “Ethics in Portuguese” and “Training and Human Resources Development”, are offered at no cost in Portuguese as part of the partnership. The courses can be accessed at http://ocw.uci.edu/courses/.
Gary Matkin, dean of Continuing Education at UC Irvine, notes:
The sharing of free, high-quality courses between two higher education institutions with international reach will benefit students all over the world. Exemplifying the power of the OCW initiative, this partnership enables learners, no matter whom or where they are, to gain access to University-level courses. Also, since most educational material is shared from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern, this partnership provides us the opportunity to showcase high quality educational content produced in the vibrant countries of South America. The collaboration between UC Irvine Extension and FGV represents one of the first times that an international institution has created content for utilization by the United States – making it an early example of both cultural significance and educational pioneering.
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Tagged ocw, oer