Open Education

Open Up: OER for Higher Ed Teaching, Learning, and Support Services

In my previous blog post on Creative Commons, I shared a bit about copyright and the rights users can apply when sharing/licensing their work. This is often a common practice for those who create “works” (e.g. media, photos, designs, writing, songs, etc.); however, more educators need to consider how they actually share in open ways. Opening up your practice in higher ed is not a new concept – but sadly, open licensing is not a commonly used practice among my peers who teach, publish, and support learners. I think we could do better go get even postsecondary educators (graduate students, staff, faculty, and administrators) to join this open movement by educating and informing them about open licensing and OER practices.

Let’s first get on the same page by review the UNESCO’s (May 2019) definition of Open Educational Resources (OER):

“Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, reuse, repurpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others.”

Openness in higher education is often used by librarians, instructors, and a handful of other professionals around campus. Storing, archiving, and sharing artifacts from our work in academia is often left to those publishing, authors, and academic librarians. I think we could do better as individual professionals, at our institutions, and even within our professional organizations/associations. For example, when is the last time a conference or workshop suggested you share your presentation, paper, etc. with a given license on it for it to be reused, remixed, or adapted?

For those of you who are interested and want to get acquainted with the land of the OER, have I got a resource for you! There is an excellent OPEN toolkit on the topic of open licensing recently released by the National Forum Teaching & Learning (NF T&L) in Ireland,

This past week, NF T&L also offered an Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Licensing to accompany this open publication. [Thanks for hosting and sharing about this, @catherinecronin]:

The National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit outlines the National Forum’s commitment to open licensing, which enables the creation and sharing of open educational resources. The toolkit provides a detailed description of Creative Commons (CC) licenses, the global standard for open licensing, as well as a 4-step guide to choosing, creating and adding CC licenses to resources in order to make them OER, i.e. able to be shared, reused and adapted in different institutional, disciplinary and program contexts.

Reference:

National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. (2019, May 15). The National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit in teachingandlearning.ie Retrieved from https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/publication/the-national-forum-open-licensing-toolkit/.

This webinar and toolkit offers some great ways to start thinking about and applying OER into your daily work in higher ed. I have been a big fan of The 5 R’s for OER (from The Power of Open Educational Resources by @opencontent) for a while as I always appreciate an open educational remix. The 5 R’s offer ways to have control of rights, accessing others work, and updating works for your own projects and work (if permitted, and licensed):

  1. Retain: make and own a copy
  2. Reuse: use in a wide range of ways
  3. Revise: adapt, modify, and improve
  4. Remix: combine two or more
  5. Redistribute: share with others

Professionals using OER are not just limited to higher education (e.g. libraries, faculty, students, researchers or administrators), but a number of businesses, NGOs, publishers, museums, government, galleries, and more are finding open licensing helpful in their occupational domains. Beyond the CC Search (https://search.creativecommons.org/), there are OER repositories that house openly licensed materials, images, media, files, lessons, books, etc. Here is a short list (not exclusive) of OER repositories mentioned in the NF T&L webinar and a few others I like to use for teaching, learning, and projects:

As you search, find, and perhaps use one of the 5 R’s, you can then choose to share your work by selecting the appropriate open license. This continues the cycle of openness as you disseminate your practices and scholarship openly for others to access. If you search and find an OER object for your teaching, learning, and/or services on campus, you will want to include TASL with the open license for attribution:

  • Title: name of item, object, media, or work
  • Author: who created said “thing”
  • Source: this is the URL or website where it was found or retrieved from
  • License: include the CC BY open license label

In the @CreativeCommons regularily updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) list, there is a wealth of information and resources, regarding the legal and use copyright laws. These are the typical questions you might have and seek answer for to understand more about CC BY licenses. Two shared in the webinar, were the following questions (with linked/URL responses):

Can I combine material under different Creative Commons licenses in my work?

Answered in the URL connected to the question, but I thought I’d share this visual. This chart offers a helpful crosswalk of how you can use CC BY work, and how you can remix and license your work after using a particular CC BY object. This is very useful for when you might want to remix or reuse OER content for teaching, learning, and support services AND redistribute this updated version of your work:

If I create a collection that includes a work offered under a CC license, which license(s) may I choose for the collection?

This chart identifies what licensing can and cannot be use commercially if utilizing any Creative Commons licensed materials. Beyond attribution and use, it is important to note the legal* rights and protections of works with CC BY licenses.

Thanks for a helpful 101 for open licensing and OER resources NF T&L: http://bit.ly/NF-OER — I look forward to following along with your educational offerings and I will definitely share these with my colleagues to expand openness in postsecondary education.

*I am not a lawyer, nor should you consider this specific legal advice when it comes to copyright. Just overarching advise and direction of where to get started. Get a copyright lawyer and/or campus attorney to inquire more about intellectual property and copyright. Thanks!

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