Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Scott Leslie -
Number of replies: 14
So ostensibly the seminar is scheduled to go until Sunday, but over the next few posts I am going to try and do some wrap-up and summaries. (I find it funny, the idea of this discussion 'starting' and 'ending' because for me it's an ongoing one, out in the open blogosphere, to which you're all always invited, but that's another post I guess...)

What I'd really like to hear, from all of you, is "What is your ideal future for OER?" To get more specific, what would you like to see happening at your institution with OER in 5 years? In 10 years?

What opportunities would you like to see for independant learners in the developing world, in 5 years? in 10 years? For instructors at institutions in the developing world?

And what are YOU going to do to help make it happen? ;-)
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -

Join a live online presentation by Bob Diotalevi on Saturday at 2PM GMT (your time zone). Bob would like the participants to review the powerpoint presentation at the bottom of the page before the session.

About the session:
The age of information has given rise to greater concerns about copyright law. Although it would appear we are headed to a Star Trek-like world, we need to address fundamental areas so vital to educators, business people, computer professionals and the like before beaming too far into our future. This seminar will endeavor to explain the present laws and theories regarding copyright law. It will prove to be a resource as well as a guide to all those interested in traversing these navigable waters. GOALS : A. At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to appreciate the basics of copyright law pertaining to cyberspace, B. At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to understand current legislation involving copyright, and C. At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to apply knowledge of copyright fundamentals.

Presenter for this session : BOB DIOTALEVI
Bob Diotalevi is Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Legal Studies in the College of Professional Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers, he is a facilitator for Indiana Wesleyan University's Online MBA, MS and BS programs. He also has taught for South University and California University of Pennsylvania via online. Over the past twenty-one (21) years I have taught over two hundred (200) courses and dozens of seminars in the areas of accounting, legal studies, taxation, business/management, ethics, liberal arts, real estate and communication. Previously he was Chair of Accounting for four and a half (4 1/2) years at Andover College in Maine. He has as an editor for peer and non-peer-reviewed journals. He has been internationally published with over sixty (60) manuscripts in print, and He has co-authored a book. He is writing a new textbook entitled “The Florida Paralegal” with Attorney William Statsky to be published by Cengage Learning in early 2009. Bob Diotalevi is a member of the Florida and Massachusetts bars. He has been an educator since 1985. He possesses an LL.M. in Taxation, a JD in Law, a BA in Communication and an AS in Business Science (Accounting). He has legal practice experience as well as eight (8) years in professional broadcasting as he's held managerial positions with much success.

In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Gina Bennett -

What is my ideal future for OER? If I am looking around in 5 years' time, this is what I hope to see:

  • There has been a philosophical shift in academia, a paradigm shift that has rotated our attitudes 180 degrees regarding 'ownership' of educational resources. Publishing educational resources openly is the default & open-facing institutions such as Otago are the norm rather than the exception. If you have been paid with public monies to develop an educational resource, you will need a damn good reason to hoard copyright. Educational resources (especially those contributing to basic education, the kind of education you need to earn a living & contribute back to your society) will be seen as a common good & you & your institution will be rewarded in a variety of other ways for contributing them. I don't think this is just crazy-talk. How many of us can remember when it was perfectly acceptable to smoke wherever we wanted? Back then you needed a damn good reason to deny somebody the right to smoke. We really are able to make significant cultural changes when we all recognize that it's for the common good.
  • What opportunities do I see for learners & instructors? Maybe in 5 years or maybe in 10? Educationally, at least, there is no sharp distinction between the 'developing' & 'developed' world. Aren't we all developing in some ways? But I think the biggest change will be in what educators will be doing with their time. We will not be hoarding educational resources & if we are caught doing so, it will be shameful. We will be doing less teaching in secret; there will be less 'gnostic' instructional practice. As Mary & Roger have suggested, some classes will be conducted with more privacy than others, for a variety of reasons. But exercising the right to deny access to educational resources, through copyright, will not be one of them.
  • With so many more educational resources available to them, learners will have different needs & educators will have different roles. Inexperienced or dependent learners will be looking for educators to help them navigate the sea of resources and to assist with the soft skills of educational planning, motivation, time management, & just plain studying. We will do less writing, less classroom management & more of the actual teaching that we love to do. There will be many more independent, experienced learners who have achieved complex learning goals outside of traditional academia & will need educators to help them assess what they've learned & receive credit & credentialling for what they now know & are able to do.
What am I willing to do to make this happen? Whatever!
In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Alice Macpherson -

I love your vision of what could be. I don't think this is just crazy-talk, either! This speaks to me more than worrying about what we can't do. Let us be creators and share our creations is the ways that we can imagine, feel good about, and survive with.

The item that Nellie posted is good as far as it goes, but does not speak to Canadian Law which is about Fair Dealing rather than Fair Use. I believe that it would be better to get away from the nationalistic viewpoint and open it up to a world wide(r) view. I continue to use the Creative Common concept and hope that it has some use for others as well until something better comes along.
Here's to random acts of copy kindness.
In reply to Alice Macpherson

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Gina Bennett -
"random acts of copy kindness"... I love it! approve
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Gina Bennett -

We've had 2 days of quietness on this topic & of course that's to be expected as a scheduled discussion draws to a close. Part of it too, I suspect, is because we are sort of preaching to the choir. SCoPE is a very open community & none of us would be here if we were hyper-concerned about copyrighting every word we write. But we also know that not everybody feels the same way; progress towards openness seems glacial at times. What can we personally do to speed things up?

What, specifically, can *I* do? I can rant, of course, but I already do that & I have to be careful with that compulsion. I can be concientious about using CC licencing or copylefting what I produce. But for change to occur, to push us over the tipping point with OERs & openness in general, we'll need more & wider strategies. There's a range of strategies already out there, from the guerilla-like tactics of gpirate all the way to the friendly reminder from BCcampus to use at least a BC Commons licence on provincially-funded online development.

I suspect the next Big Step will take place at the institutional and regional/provincial levels. Institutions can declare their commitment to openness, as Capilano University did when it became the first institution in BC to join the OpenCourseWare initiative. In BC, we have the requirement for provincially-funded educational resources to be published semi-openly in our repository (SOL*R). In terms of providing incentive for publishing OERs, this cover the 'stick' approach. But maybe we would benefit from some additional 'carrot' approaches: some showy publicity for the institution which publishes the most OERs in the most open format, maybe a special funding envelope for curriculum developed with existing OERs, perhaps a targetted innovation award for the team that has done something really exciting with openness.

Somehow I think we have to increase the porosity of our institutions, of The Academy overall. Educational openness in general & OERs specifically have to be tied in with our strategic plans and vision statements & talked about as contributing to the positive future we're all hoping for.

In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Barbara Dieu -
Some of you may be interested in discussing it further with others and presenting on your work at the OCWC 2009 : Content, Infrastructure and Creativity which will take place at the Campus Monterrey of the Tecnológico Monterrey, México between April 21-24, 2009. Deadline for papers in 10 days.

Although I am an independent educator in that I do not belong to or have the financial backing of any institution (public or private), I have presently joined the Brazilian OER list led by Carolina Rossini and will try to contribute with what I can in spreading the OER idea as I favour openess, flow of ideas, creativity and sustainable development in all areas.
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Nicola Avery -
Hi all, apologies for joining so late in the week again.

Hmmm great questions and responses.

"What is your ideal future for OER?"

A particular area of interest to me is device flexibility, open standards, openness of mobile devices, operator networks, copyright issues around formats e.g. transcoding are sorted and banished. That using devices in loads of different ways for learning, are not viewed as a way of making money for developers or manufacturers or service providers but a significant step in helping anyone access and share anything.

I don't know really know a huge amount about the commercialisation of opensource but if it continues I hope that 'free' will be coming back into our vocabulary again and not just 'open'.

"your institution with OER in 5/10 years?"

Whatever the personal and strategic motives my institution may have - I hope that we will be much more collaborative both amongst staff and Surrey into the wider community, that maybe anything anyone creates for either teaching / learning / research will be available as one gigantic openly accessible repository, where anyone trying to access or share something doesn't have to think about formats, licensing, assuming we are all still using keyboards or keypads, each one will be equipped with an 'open' or 'free' button (or as a voice command) that you just press and off it goes onto whatever form of web (2D / 3D / mobile).

In reply to Nicola Avery

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Nicola Avery -
Also, I guess this isn't 10 years but - the artifical intelligence in our software reaches a point that it starts telling you if you are creating something "Hey, this isn't open...this isn't free - you have exactly (specified timeframe) to sort it out" and then if it continues being created along a closed / proprietary route, the 'resource' will automatically delete itself from your local device and send itself out onto the web where it can be modified by someone else (or another piece of software) into an open format :-)
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Scott Leslie -
My 'ideal future' looks something like this:

Both because of pressures from many different avenues, as well as the increased awareness of how they can use the network to increase their value and usefulness, institutions and instructors start to 'open up' both their content and educational processes. It starts slowly at first, but by 2020 it becomes commonplace to find Massively Open Online Courses online, the communities and networks which they tap into, spawn and help nurture often far outlasting the short duration of the course. Instructors still get paid, institutions still credential, but many many more people benefit from the actual learning content and processes. Indeed, while institutions still exist, they are much clearer in their focus and mandate, and within society there are many new ways that become generally recognized as ways to become learned. "Open Source" learning communities abound. The term 'personal learning environments' now sounds quaint, as increasingly ubiquitous access to the network and to learning and collaborating with others in it, across many existing boundaries, is now the norm.

Over the 10 year period, translation technologies leap forward, spawning the 'Translating Telephone' - a phone-based device that can translate either text or speech on the fly. This innovation, which even 10 years earlier had seemed like science fiction, suddenly enables learners in all nations to access scores of content and learners that had previously been inaccessible to them. Both the developed and developing world come to understand network access as both a fundamental right and a key enabler of innovation; while it works out differently in different jurisdictions, the basic tenets of net neutrality survive the first two decades of the 21st Century and create a renaissance as never witnessed before. (Hey, I did say 'ideal'!)

More locally - in BC, by 2020 there are 4 more post-secondary schools running OCW-like projects on a large scale, and many other smaller scale initiatives under way; the province and BCcampus supports this and gradually abandons the 'BC Commons license' in favour of fully open content licenses (like CC-Attribution). BC leads the way in Canada in preserving net neutrality, and these efforts at promoting open content, open education and access help it weather the global economic collapse much better than many jurisdictions. BC becomes a leader in sustainable green technologies, especially around forestry, wind and aquaculture, and helps pioneer co-opetition partnerships with many developing nations through opening up access to the underlying technologies and knowledge.

And what am *I* doing to try and bring this about? Everything I can ;-) I know the above picture likely sounds naive to many people, but I'll trade that over its alternative any day.

I am a pretty slow learner - I intuitively gravitate to many different issues and projects without explicitly understanding how they fit together. But after 7 years working on OER, and 16 on the web, I have started to see that my interests and work on PLEs, on mashups, on the educational browser, on blogs and wikis, on Open Content and OER, on Network Learning, on Net Neutrality and copyright... were all about the same thing - helping people take control of their learning in an easy and sustainable way that leads to an increase in the collective consciousness. Which I now realize isn't that surprising, because the first person I ever worked for explained to me that this is exactly what we were doing. It just took me this long to figure it out for myself.
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Paul Stacey -
Scott's a bit sick this week so hasn't been able to lead us in this discussion as much as he wanted.

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's vision of the future for OER and what they are doing to help make that future happen.

I think OER have had some early adoption but by no means have become mainstream. I think there are significant cultural, financial, and legal barriers to be overcome for OER to become pervasive. However, I'm really encouraged by the acts of "copy kindness" occurring at the individual level outside of formal institutional parameters.

Thought I'd gaze into my crystal ball too and came up with the following as potential OER futures:

I imagine OER that are not the solo works of one faculty member but group works of teams of faculty members all sharing a common interest in a particular subject area or academic domain. The very vision of OER is based on collective creation process.

I imagine OER that are not just the works of teams of faculty but all the students who have taken the course previously. This in my view is the biggest absent component from OER at this point – students, not just faculty, are knowledge creators. Future students can benefit from seeing the work of previous students. Students will be more motivated and highly vested if we saw them as not mere recipients of knowledge but equal co-creators. I'd love to see students producing OER's as part of their academic work.

I imagine OER that are not just content based but include the complete course including discussion, learning activities, assignments and assessment rubrics

I imagine OER that include an opportunity to interact with the instructor and other students interested in the OER.

I imagine OER that represent complete academic programs not just courses or learning objects.

I imagine OER that include an option for getting a credential for achieving the learning outcomes associated with the OER. I’ve begun to imagine a possible time where the credential comes not from the institution but from the faculty themselves. Especially for “famous” or esteemed faculty such as those featured in http://www.thegreatcourses.com

I imagine OER with varying degrees of “openness”. Open at an institutional level, open at a community level, open at a state or provincial level, open at a national level, open with “education free trade” partners, open globally.
I imagine OER that provide financial (or other) rewards to anyone who creates derivatives that substantially improve the original.


In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by D'Arcy Norman -
My ideal OER future is simple. Ideally, 10 years from now, we'll be reminiscing and shaking our heads. "Remember back when people still talked about 'OER' as though any other approach made any sense?"
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Therese Weel -
The part of this discussion that I've been thinking about most is when Gina said.

So I suppose I would subscribe to the ‘virtuous cycle’ idea that Colby Stuart refers to above.I think information is sort of like electricity: it’s only useful if it circulates. The more it circulates, the more power it generates. Of course you have to know how to use it, how to evaluate it. But you certainly can’t collect electricity in a jar.

To which Colby replied -

Electricity in a jar is a - lightbulb

Which in turn ignited a vision in in my head of a massive pinball machine with us inside bouncing ideas off each other - lighting each other up!

I'm thinking - yeah that's what I want - and that's what I've got. To be in a open space where we can bounce ideas - perfectly imperfect ideas, where it is up to the individual to develop the skills to separate fact from fiction.

I wandered off - as I tend to do - to explore media literacy and the skills an individual needs to navigate the ocean of publicly available information.

Couple of links I enjoyed

Michael Wesch's presentation a portal to media literacy


Stephen Downes course on Logical Fallacies - which I understand he is turning into a serialized rss feed to explore RSS as a course delivery mechanism


I've created courseware at my all time favorite job at BCIT some years ago and worked for a private company creating interactive training and kiosk software. I wonder how my work could have been built upon and what it would be now if the environment had been more open.

In 2006 I set about creating my "Virtual Toolshed" a monthly series of pdfs that explored using publicly available tools and information to empower the individual. I learned a lot and made new friends who read and commented on my work. I learned how quickly information changes and the limitations of the written word when your objective is to help someone become more skilled. I didn't get a dime or a pretty certificate- but it provided a basis for the skills I have now which are invaluable.

I appreciate Paul's explanation of the open source license for public institutions and the efforts to mitigate between the old world and the new. I appreciate having venues such as scope and people working to move our governments and public institutions ahead bit by bit.

To me, the value of the populace as a whole asking their own questions, getting the knowledge they need and applying it daily is paramount to squabbling over who owns what.

I aspire to be... a pinball wizard!
In reply to Therese Weel

Re: Week 3 - Imagining the Future of OER

by Prince Obiri-Mainoo -
I'm happy to learn so much about OERs during these three weeks. I have read almost every posting and checked several of the links referred to by others. I'm encouraged and optimistic about OERs tremendous impact on education and global economies generally in the years ahead. I see Thomas Friedman's prediction of the world becoming flat happening in our generation.

The contributions of practitioners and other stakeholders who believe in the concept of OERs are the collective force behind the leveling of the playing field for students and people everywhere to benefit from this ongoing global initiative. Thank you all at SCOPE for making this happen sooner than later!