Archive

{“fill”: “#999″ }

Low awareness of open licenses among teaching faculty

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Openness | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In 2014 Babson Survey Research Group published Opening the Curriculum, a report examining the attitudes, opinions and use of OER among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. In relation to faculty members’ awareness of open licensing, they found that:

Most faculty report that they are aware of copyright licensing of classroom content (77.6% “Very aware” or “Aware”) and public domain licensing (67.9% “Very aware” or “Aware”) but fall short on awareness of Creative Commons licensing. Less than two-thirds of faculty report that they are at least somewhat aware of Creative Commons licensing, with the remaining one-third saying that they are unaware”. (p. 16)

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Awareness of OER not a requirement for adoption of OER

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Openness | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In 2014 Babson Survey Research Group published Opening the Curriculum, a report examining the attitudes, opinions and use of OER among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. One of the key findings highlights the disparity between lack of awareness of OER and actual use of OER:

More faculty are using OER than report that they were aware of the term OER. Resource adoption decisions are driven by a wide variety of factors, with the efficacy of the material being cited most often. These decisions are often made without any awareness of the specific licensing of the material, or its OER status.” (p.2)

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No applications for accreditation of ‘Vampire Fictions’ MOOC

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Transition support | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The first UK massive open online course to offer students the option to pay for academic credit has ended, with none of its participants opting to fork out for official recognition.

The Edge Hill University Mooc, entitled Vampire Fictions, was announced in May last year and attracted about 1,000 students.

Of these, 31 reached the end of the course, with none opting to hand over the £200 that Edge Hill was charging in exchange for 20 credits at level 4 – the equivalent of a module on a first-year degree course.

One of the 31 completing students did sign up for a three-year creative writing degree at Edge Hill, with fees of £9,000 per year. They could have applied for their Mooc to be recognised for credit towards their degree, but opted not to do so.

This counts against the idea that open education supports learners in moving to formal study – though they may well experience high levels of satisfaction with their private study.

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MOOC pilots fail to lead to significant policy change

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER policy change | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

At the MOOC Research Conference, December 5-6, 2013 in Texas, Arlington, Deborah Keyek-Franssen, associate vice president for digital education and engagement at the University of Colorado System outlined some of the results from MOOC pilots:

“I don’t see revenue, and we’re not going to see revenue in Colorado for … ever — or for a long time,” Keyek-Franssen said. “We are not ready for Signature Track…. We’re not ready for credit…. We will probably not license anyone else’s content.”

The university system has experimented with MOOCs through Canvas and Coursera, but the results have yet to provide a definite answer.

“What I’ve been trying to is reframe the question,” Keyek-Franssen said. “The question is: Is it worth it? Is it worth it to the faculty? Is it worth it the financial investment? Is it worth it to restructure our support units to be able to provide significant among of expertise that we currently don’t have in-house?”

Keyek-Franssen wasn’t asking the questions rhetorically. “For us, we’ll continue to do them because there are so many enthusiastic faculty members,” she said. “But we don’t have that [return on investment] piece, and without that, you can’t convince leadership or financial planners.”

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Students able to identify features of OER

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Openness | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The HEA/NUS Study Students‟ views on learning methods and Open Educational Resources in higher education found that students showed good awareness of the features of OER:

Most of the students surveyed (82% of traditional learners and 83% of non-traditionallearners) were able to identify at least some of the characteristic features of OERs; the principles of “openness” and “accessibility” featured most strongly. Conceptualisations of OERs that focus group participants offered included: accessibility, equality, sharing, choice, inspiration, freedom and change.

However, licensing did not feature strongly as a feature of OER.  The report continues:

A small number of students were aware of creative commons licences, usually in relation to Wikipedia or Flickr:

It is what the Wikipedia model is based on. It‟s the idea that you are free to edit, change or use the information, but if you have to change it then you have to make it your own, and it has to go back into the creative commons. (Participant 48, 20: 25–30)

Others mentioned intellectual property (IP) and copyright law. One student mentioned a difference between commercial and non-commercial use of images and another spoke about the need to seek permission from the copyright holder in some cases. A few others were aware of some differences between using resources for academic and commercial purposes.

Many students seemed to believe that OER was an agreement to share resources between institutions and were only available to registered students.  Reuse and repurposing of resources was another aspect of OERs which did not feature strongly, but was mentioned by a small number of participants.

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Australia: increasing monies being spent on funding open access

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER saves money | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

Under ‘gold’ standard open access publishing authors of academic articles (or their institutions) are required to ay a fee to the publisher in order for them to make their work available openly.

A recent article by the Australian Open Access Support Group found that, although data about the total amount of money spent on open access is not collected, with some extrapolation from publicly available figures it is possible to show that Australian researchers or their institutions potentially spent over US$9 million during 2013 on publication with the two main open access publishers.

These kinds of figures have implications funders of research who may well end up bearing the brunt of the costs, albeit indirectly.  For instance:

While bearing in mind that their policy states funded published work must be made available open access, and they provide funds for article processing charges, the Wellcome Trust’s expenditure in 2012/13 indicates the numbers are substantial. That year they spent over US$6.5million on OA publication fees. This paid for 2,127 articles, with an average cost of US$3,055 per article.

Central to the issue here is ‘double-dipping':  publishers continuing to charge subscribers for content while at the same time charging authors fees for publication – the article notes that subscriptions have remained constant while author fees have risen.

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PhilPapers moves to subscription model

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER policy change | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

PhilPapers is an international, interactive academic database of journal articles for professionals and students in philosophy.  It is maintained as a combined project of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra and the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.   PhilPapers receives financial support from other organizations, including a substantial grant in early 2009 from the Joint Information Systems Committee in the United Kingdom. The archive is praised for its comprehensiveness and organization, and for its regular updates. In addition to archiving papers, the editors engage in surveying academic philosophers. (Description from Wikipedia)

From July 2014 PhilPapers requires that research and teaching institutions offering a BA or higher degree in philosophy subscribe to PhilPapers in order to have the right of access to its index.  Previously the site had been completely free to access and was built on contributions from volunteers – who may not now be able to access their own work (although the site remains open to individual users).

In 5 years PhilPapers was built by the work of 1000s of volunteers. They are being rewarded by being hit for sub fees http://t.co/69QksSF5Cu

— Downes (@Downes) April 14, 2014

The financial case for the change can be found here.  The move away from openness here can alternatively be read as a move towards sustainability (and institutional libraries will be able to interact more effectively with the data), but without open licensing of intellectual property there is nothing to stop this content being made subscription only in the long run.

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OER did not lead to significant improvement in student performance

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Student impact | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In an interview with OCW consortium, Prof. Donna Gaudet of the mathematics department at Scottsdale Community College (AZ) cautions against thinking that all use of OER improves student satisfaction – although she does note that student satisfaction is unlikely to suffer.

Academics are always interested in improving student’s outcomes, but we should be careful about getting too excited when there are some small changes in student results. There are many other positive reasons for using OER, not the least saving money for students. I’m happy to say that our outcomes are at the very least the same as they were before OER was adopted.

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University of Colorado System MOOC raises many questions

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER policy change | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

Deborah Keyek-Franssen, associate vice president for digital education and engagement at the University of Colorado System, spoke at the MOOC Research Conference 2013 about the impact of MOOC:

“I don’t see revenue, and we’re not going to see revenue in Colorado for … ever — or for a long time,” Keyek-Franssen said. “We are not ready for Signature Track…. We’re not ready for credit…. We will probably not license anyone else’s content.”

The university system has experimented with MOOCs through Canvas and Coursera, but the results have yet to provide a definite answer.

“What I’ve been trying to is reframe the question,” Keyek-Franssen said. “The question is: Is it worth it? Is it worth it to the faculty? Is it worth it the financial investment? Is it worth it to restructure our support units to be able to provide significant among of expertise that we currently don’t have in-house?”

Keyek-Franssen wasn’t asking the questions rhetorically. “For us, we’ll continue to do them because there are so many enthusiastic faculty members,” she said. “But we don’t have that [return on investment] piece, and without that, you can’t convince leadership or financial planners.”

The overall picture appears to be that more information is needed about the effectiveness and outcomes of MOOC programmes before this can be translated to policy innovation.

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Governor of the State of Sao Paulo vetoes bill in support of OER

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER policy change | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

Bill PL. 989/2011, which was passed by Congresso Nacional do Brasil, dealt with three main issues: It 1) required government funded educational resources to be made widely available to the public under an open license, 2) clarified that resources produced by public servants under his/her official capacities should be open educational resources (or otherwise released under an open access framework), and 3) urged the government to support open federated systems for the distribution and archiving of OER.

São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) vetoed in its entirety the PL 989/2011, because of a perceived conflict of powers between the Executive and the Legislative branches in the State of São Paulo.

 

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