Week 7: Rory McGreal, OER for learning

By Rory McGreal
Oct 24, 2011

This week’s topic is Open Educational Resources (OER) and the Future of Learning and focuses on the role of OER in the transformation of learning, both informal and formal.. A key Question for the discussions will be: What is the role of OER in supporting not only informal learning but also change in educational systems? week7


Why this topic?

With the growing popularity of tablets, cellular phones, ebook readers and other mobile devices, the opportunities for increasing access to learning content is becoming universal on the World Wide Web. However, there are publisher supported groups that are actively working to limit the Internet “creative commons” and build walled gardens, not only by the enclosure of proprietary content, but also by actively opposing the growing movement for OER.


It is my view that because of restrictive licensing and digital rights management (DRM) it is becoming all but impossible for educators to use proprietary content when they go fully digital. For example, with DRM, many learning content (and learning application) providers cripple the devices such as ebooks so that many simple tasks are not possible. These may included highlighting, copying/pasting and/or annotating, not to mention format shifting or even moving content from one device to another. Visually impaired learners are prevented from using text to speech readers because of DRM. The DRM is also used to block printing and even the use of the content in different regions, while inserting “kill dates” into the software. This DRM is supported by even more restrictive licensing agreements that prevent any forms of sharing.


For this reason (and many others) I believe that our educational institutions MUST begin the process of implementing OER universally in order to bypass and evade the restrictive environment that publishers wish to place on us. With OER learners and instructors are free to do whatever they want with the material with no undue restrictions.


Also, I am the Canadian UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Chair in OER and as such I am charged with promoting the use of OER institutionally, nationally and internationally. On this I am working with the UNESCO OER Chair from the Open University of the Netherlands, Dr Fred Mulder.


The issue

Is this an accurate view of the present state of copyright in your environment?
If so, how can we support the use of OER within our institutions?
If not, let’s put the difference on the table!


Many institutions in Canada are beginning to recognize the need to support OER as a counter weight to the publishers’ control. Recent proposals by the copyright collectives and the new Copyright bill have brought this to the fore. Other countries are experiencing similar “pushes” by publishers and their agents in government.
Laurence Lessig suggests that a law that is good for Britney Spears is NOT good for education.


How will this week of the MOOC work?


For those new to OER, I advise reading this very short introduction put out by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning: A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)


I shall start off the week with a discussion on the draft UNESCO/COL OER Guidelines. A final published edition will be announced in Paris on November 1st. These guidelines have been developed jointly by UNESCO and COL

The structure of this week will be as follows:

1. A very short video introduction to me is available here. This should give you a general idea of who I am and where I’m coming from on the OER issue.
2. I shall be available for a webinar on Tuesday, October 25 at 12 noon Mountain Time. Check the world clock for your time.
3. Posts on this web site (look for #Change 11 in the title of the post, in the RSS feed). Please use the comment box for discussion or questions about the postings.
4. Follow-up activities using the UNESCO/COL Chair blog for asynchronous discussion.
5. A webinar with Dr Wayne Macintosh and myself on the OER Chair and OER university concepts and other OER issues on Friday, October 27 at noon Mountain Time. Scroll down to the last Open Access Week event at this website. This session will take place in Adobe Connect as it is part of Athabasca University's Open Access Week activities.
6. A wrap-up posting on Sunday, 30 October, at UNESCO/COL Chair blog.



Live Events




As listed above, there will be two live sessions this week:


1. Tuesday, October 25 at 12 noon Mountain Time. Check the world clock for your time. This session will be held here in Collaborate (formerly, Elluminate)


2. A webinar with Dr Wayne Macintosh and myself (Rory McGreal) on the OER Chair and OER university concepts and other OER issues on Friday, October 27 at noon Mountain Time. Scroll down to the last Open Access Week event at this website. This session will take place in Adobe Connect as it is part of Athabasca University's Open Access Week activities. The link to Adobe Connect can be found on this page

Announcements




Resources




Along with the short introduction and guidelines linked to above. These article may provoke discussion:


A brief description of the MIT beginnings of the OCW movement:
Abelson, H. (2008). The creation of OpenCourseWare at MIT. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(2), 164-174. Retrieved from http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/37585/ocw-creation-preprint.pdf


A paper supporting the importance of OER:
Caswell, T., Henson, S., Jensen, M., & Wiley, D. (2008). Open educational resources: enabling universal education. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 9(1). 1-11. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/469/1001


The seminal UNESCO document introducing the term OER
D'Antoni, S. (2007). Open Educational Resources: The way forward: Deliberations of an international community of interest. Retrieved from http://www.icde.org/Open+Educational+Resources+-+The+Way+Forward.9UFRzI16.ips


The ORIGINAL copyright law!:
House of Commons. (1709). An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Author's or Purchasers of Such Copies. Anne 8/19.Retrieved from http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s2.html


Introducing the OER university concept:
Mackintosh, W., McGreal, R., & Taylor, J. (2011). Open Education Resources (OER) for assessment and credit for students project: Towards a logic model and plan for action. Available from http://hdl.handle.net/2149/3039


A short harangue by this week’s discussion leader:
McGreal, R. (2009, October 21). Stop paying twice for education material: Online resources, open content make proprietary textbooks obsolete. Edmonton Journal. Retrieved from http://auspace.athabascau.ca:8080/dspace/bitstream/2149/2324/1/rory_ed_journal-1.pdf






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