More OER #change11

Last week in the Mooc, Rory McGreal returned to the topic of Open Educational Resources again, in his capacity as UNESCO/COL Chair in Open Educational Resources. Like David Wiley, he is an advocate of OER and has been involved in the development of OER guidelines for Higher education which will be available from his blog at https://landing.athabascau.ca/pg/blog/owner/rory from around now.

Rory’s week focused on the tension between the economic value of OER to public institutions and the rise of DRM amid the proliferation of consumption devices afforded by m-learning.  A particular concern, which I share, is the way in which content providers and device manufacturers collude to effectively cripple devices and applications to disallow highlighting, copying/pasting/remixing which are fundamental actions of deep learning.
One example of this from a few years ago is the DIDET project (http://www.didet.ac.uk/ I always quote form this fantastic project because it was such a great idea, and surfaced so many issues). In DIDET, design engineering students were encouraged to bring together design ideas, as a precursor to designing a product (e.g. a can crusher). Content was collected through wiki pages, but copyright issues got in the way of the learning – if the same task were being delivered without technology, then the students would have collected old magazines together and cut out relevant pictures, yet copyright effectively disallows this online (if your institution wants to play safe and stay on the right side of the copyright minefield).
I think OER is a good example of where we need internationally organised policy guidelines to allow relevant bodies at a national level to lobby individual governments to promote open sharing and prevent copyright laws which over-protect IPR in educational settings.
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Author: Colin Milligan

Learning researcher based at Glasgow Caledonian University, and living in beautiful West Stirlingshire.

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