Great to meet up with Paul Andrews again today. Paul gave an excellent Keynote at the Embedding OER project’s Sharing Practice event last year (a reminder of the event here https://oer.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=789&action=edit) and returned to Lincoln to speak at the School of Social & Political Sciences Colloquia series where he presented ‘OER Signposts: Tools & Techniques for getting started’.
Paul’s fantastic site for all things free to do with creating online resources is here https://sites.google.com/site/technologyenhancedlearning/
If you missed the presentation today, or want to see again how lecturer Bob bought together text, images, audio and video to create his online teaching resources, The Kitten Site is here https://sites.google.com/site/intro2kittens/
Paul’s full Prezi presentation: http://prezi.com/dkb1bcpkdadv/oer-signposts-tools-techniques-for-getting-started-2013-edition/
Paul heads up the Centre for Digitally Enhanced Learning at the University of Wales Newport and can be contacted at paul.andrews at newport.ac.uk or on Twitter @pauls_elearning
A recent Edudemic post addresses the non-use of teaching technology. The reference to teachers who are ‘not comfortable with technology’ resonated. They may be more of them than is often realised. Change is always a challenge and adoption of technology for teaching requires major shifts in practice. Support for the process is essential, either through staff development or teacher education. The Edudemic post claims the amount spent on technology for schools in the US is rising while professional development budgets are decreasing or non-existent. Here in the UK, it can sometimes seem resourcing for staff engagement with technology is not sufficiently prioritised. Competition for funds has never been greater yet digital literacy has not only become plural it’s become complicated. Keeping up to date with is hard enough when you work with the technology. For those at the far end of the digital spectrum, it can seem impossible to even know where to begin.
There is a growing need to support staff to use technology effectively. Without investing in resources to bridge the divide between teaching and technology, staff cannot develop the prerequisite confidence with virtual learning environments. Embedding OER Practice at Lincoln, now in its final weeks, showed how staff engagement with the internet for teaching and learning doesn’t happen in isolation. It happens with appropriate targeted support, customised to suit individual disciplines and personalities. It works best within small groups of shared practice and requires initial scaffolding which can be withdrawn for use elsewhere as the affordances of being online are realised and the necessary skills and competencies embedded into day to day practices. The review into the future of the institutional VLE offers an appropriate opportunity to also review the way in which digital literacies are defined and resourced across the university. The internet and all its associated tools for learning are not going away any time soon. The more we invest in their use the better that use will be.
Embedding OER Practice is HEA/JISC funded project with a dual nature; one part has been engaging with the philosophy and practice of OER and the other looking for ways to embed OER practice as a whole institution strategy http://oer.lincoln.ac.uk At Lincoln we’ve been looking at making units of learning freely available under a Creative Commons licence, while elsewhere in the world the principles of open academic practice have extended into full courses (OU, MIT, Stanford) and free online learning platforms (P2P , OERu)
The move from individual learning activities to modules and courses is an inevitable transition and, as with all educational content development work, it’s valuable apply theory to practice and have the experience of being a student. These past two week I’ve been taking part in Designing for Collaborative Learning, an online course for members of the JISC community. The course has come out of the P2.0PLE project (Peer-2.0-Peer Learning Enhancement), led by the Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester and was free, although the small print says the University of Leicester reserves the right to charge a fee of £100 to any individual who registers and fails to take part. Run through Course Sites (www.coursesites.com) which is Blackboard’s contribution to open education, students are given evidence of participation (no HE credits) and the course materials (including all e-tivities) are open educational resources, released under a Creative Commons BY (attribution) licence. A blog about the experience of being a p/t online student will follow shortly.
I’ve also registered on Open Content Licensing for Educators a week long course in December. OCL4Ed is available through http://wikieducator.org Use this link to register http://wikieducator.org/Open_content_licensing_for_educators/Home
Designed for educators who want to learn more about open education resources, copyright, and creative commons licenses, OCL4Ed is sponsored by the OER Foundation, the COL Chair in OER at Otago Polytechnic, the UNESCO-COL Chair in OER at Athabasca Universityand Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand The collaborative development was enabled by volunteers from the:WikiEducator community, OpenCourseWare Consortium and Creative Commons. This should be an interesting first hand experience of what international open education is all about.
Digital ways of working are changing the way we communicate and manage information. The implications for higher education include more virtual management of teaching, learning and research, greater online collaboration and more steps towards openness. The open education movement with its emphasis on using, reusing and repurposing is an inevitable consequence of the internet and one we have to accept. As VC of the OU Martin Bean said in his excellent opening keynote, the internet is here to stay, students have increasing expectations of openness and sharing, and OER is an ustoppable force.
At Lincoln we are embedding OER practice and investigating the use of OER to support generic aspects of the student experience; transition, reflection, graduate attributes and eportfolios. We are developing a postgraduate online course called Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age which will be offered as part of the university’s Teacher Education Programme. This will be based on content released as OER, include activities which encourage staff to search for OER in their own discipline and consider releasing some of their own content as OER. All this within the context of the shift from classrooms to virtual environments.
The Creative Commons website http://creativecommons.org has information about the six different OER/Creative Commons licences and a tool for deciding which to choose. OER don’t have to be all singing all dancing multimedia. They are about learning experiences. One single learning activity, designed as a package with alternative formats and information about the level it is designed for and how it has been used, can be more powerful than any amount of expensively produced high end content.
The Embedding OER Practice blog is at http://OER.lincoln.ac.uk and our Twitter hashtag is #openlincoln. On 21st June we held a conference called Sharing Practice: Open Approaches to Teaching and Learning This is the language we are using to take the project forward. OER don’t exist in isolation. They are part of the bigger picture which is about sharing practice and about open approaches to the way in which we manage pedagogy in a digital age.
OER Copyright and Licenses was the first Embedding OER Practice workshop run by Paul Stainthorp, Julian Beckton and Joss Winn. The session introduced the complexities of copyright legislation. In a world where the internet has become the first destination of choice when it comes to creating teaching and learning content, it offers an infinite source of materials and there are many common myths about their usage
- “It’s OK if it’s in a closed environment like Blackboard.”
- “If people put things (e.g. images) on the WWW, they can’t mind me using them.”
- “No-one’s going to sue the University over it.”
All of these are incorrect. It’s worth bearing in mind that in the copyright world everything belongs to someone. So although taking and reusing online content is easy, there are a complex set of rules and regulations to be aware of. Unfortunately there is also no single answer as to what can or cannot be taken but some guidelines are more fixed than others. For example you can reuse content if:
- You are the originator therefore you have the copyright
- You have the permission from the originator to reuse their materials
- The materials have a creative commons licence stating they are freely available
- The content is covered by a university licence to be used
- The content copyright has expired (usually a 70 year time span)
- The amount copied is not considered substantial
- You can claim a defence of fair dealing
The last two are where the complexity begins. Substantial is undefined. For example a square taken from the face of the Mona Lisa would be more substantial than the same sized square taken from the bottom right of the picture. The face would be more recognisable than her dark clothes so has a different significance in terms of copyright legislation. The defence of fair dealing is also an arbitrary ruling. While the work of others can be copied for criticism or review – e.g. teaching and learning – we can’t rely on this as a defence in law that the action was justified. There is no exception to copyright for education purposes in the UK as there is in other countries and the concept of fair dealing is less applicable in law than is often realised. When we take content there is always a risk and individuals have to consider the level of that risk.
Everything belongs to someone. A colleague gave the useful example of wanting to use the London Underground tube map in a book and having the publishers request permission. London Transport agreed but with restrictions on the artwork and a fee of £300. This applies to logos and trademarks and was relevant to me – when I talk about the digital divide I use the slide below.
How illegal is this? What is the risk level of stealing all these logos for educational purposes? Scary stuff if only because this illustrates how easy it is to do this without thinking through the potential consequences.
What all this does do is reinforce the value of Creative Commons licences which will be looked at next.
See my post on Embedding OER Practice for more details about the HEA/JISC funded project to look at the use of open educational resources for teaching and learning. Here are some more reasons why this is going to be an exciting opportunity to put the spotlight on virtual teaching and learning experiences. Embedding OER Practice will draw attention to the role of online learning across the university as well as highlighting the effective use of digital resources. The project will promote the advantages of the open education movement and support staff in becoming more familiar with terms like Creative Commons, Lincoln Academic Commons, public copyright licences, Shuttleworth Foundation, Capetown Open Educational Declaration and the accessing and contributing to repositories of learning content
As well as offering experience with finding, evaluating, using, repurposing and replacing open educational resources, the project is an ideal opportunity for addressing the wider issues around supporting the digital literacies of staff and students.The term digital literacies is popular at the moment. The JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme is currently funding a number of projects across the sector, all aimed at promoting digital literacies strategies and approaches. This is a necessary step forward. For too long those with technical competence have made assumptions about those without. The result is a widening digital divide, exacerbated by a determinist view of technology having transformative potential, not only for access to learning environments which cross barriers of time and distance, but to cut costs and increase efficiency. All this underpins investment in the digital teaching and learning platforms promoted across the sector as a means for institutions to achieve key strategic aims (HEFCE 2005, 2009*). The missing element from these grand schemes has always been the human one; how best to scaffold support for the necessary changes in attitudes, behaviours and practice. Promoting digital literacies is an ideal way to address these issues full on.
The term digital literacies is defined as ‘the confident and critical use of ICT for work, leisure, learning and communication‘ or ‘the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and analyze information using digital technology’. Focusing on the embedding OER practice offers multiple opportunities to ensure digital literacies is on the agenda – and from there it is a small step to include awareness of exclusive and inclusive practices with digital environments and critical reflection on the boundary lines between private/personal and public/professional online identities and behaviours.
Oh yes, 2012 is going to be a very exciting year!
* Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (2OO9) Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology. A revised approach to HEFCE’s strategy for e-learning.
* Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (2OO5) Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology.