This week #OLDSMOOC looks at the principle of the open licensing of online content and the relevance of Open Educational Resources (OER) to curriculum and learning design.Although the introduction to this topic gave us plenty of places to source OERs, SCORE, for example; I think that one very simple method was overlooked. Namely, that a great way to find OER resources is often through your PLN. This is how I found the resource, “Syllabus for Social Media Literacies” from Howard Rheingold. Having been previously signposted to the resource by a member of my PLN, I already had the resource bookmarked because I knew it would be useful to me at a later stage. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth tagging and bookmarking potentially useful OERs as and when they crop up. In this way you can develop your own archive of searchable OER resources and you’re not starting a search from scratch as you already have a bank of resources, which have been vetted by your peers.
Nonetheless, as Dave White acknowledges in the OLDSMOOC blog “it’s not as easy as it first appears though, many of the participants […] have been discovering that often resources are free to use but that they don’t have a proper open licence”. Indeed, on closer inspection the situation relating to OER licensing does seem to be a little murky. In the case of the Howard Rheingold resource, the following permission has been given by the author: “please feel free to use, modify, and share this syllabus. Reorder the modules, add or subtract required or recommended texts and learning activities. Use your own assessment methods”. However, I can’t find any indication as to the existence of an open licence, so consequently, at this stage, I’m not as confident as I was initially about using the resource.
Dave White explains “it’s […] likely that the author has uploaded their material with the expectation that it will be used and modified as this is the generally accepted ‘culture’ of the web i.e. if you put it online you accept a certain loss of control over the use of your work(?). It’s interesting to reflect on how the inherent principle of the web is based on sharing and how this is in tension with legal issues that are still largely modelled on physical world paradigms”, without a doubt!
All in all though, this has been an interesting introduction to the topic of Open Educational Resources (OERs), and to its complexities.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/6555466069/
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