This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

In reviewing the materials for session 1 of the Open Content Licensing for Educators (OCL4ED) mOOC (micro Open Online Course) I was immediately taken back to a brief exercise I put together for another MOOC, the Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL) hosted by ALT.  I use two blog posts to demonstrate open and proprietary, or closed, resources.

See and

I thought, at the time, it was a simple way to show some fundamental differences between OER and proprietary systems.
The commitment to using OER requires checking and verification.  The commitment to creating OER is even greater, checking and verifying against known copyrighted works, and then re-creating or rewriting as necessary.  Consider the following from (Brown, Holding, Howell, Rodway-Dyer, 2010):

"Checking for potential copyright infringements hasproved to be a resource hungry activity. Contributing academics are asked to mark up their material, indicating what they know is their own authorship, what is third party (and whether they have permission to use it), and any content whose provenance they areuncertain about. The material is then forwarded toprofessional support colleagues who check more forensically, including passing text through plagiarism detector software. Disturbingly, their observations are that awareness of copyright issues by academics is low, interest probably lower but non-compliance at a worryingly high level! Much discussion then ensued with the academics in seeking e.g.infringement-free replacements or re-writing some portions of text. In such negotiations, inevitably the initial goodwill became strained and the academic’s enthusiasm considerably dimmed. There is an unanticipated call upon academic’s time and OER is unlikely to be anywhere near the top of their agenda."

Creating OER is a massive commitment with (currently) little recognition. It is a labor of love, of belief in humanity, and in belief that a free and open body of knowledge can exist in our consumer society.

Browne, T., Holding, R., Howell, A., & Rodway-Dyer, S. (2010). The challenges of OER to Academic Practice. Journal Of Interactive Media In Education, 1-15. 

Doctoral student in Adult and Online Learning; IT Director; Director of Distance Learning and Educational Technology.

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