Archive

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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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Bishkek Resolution on OER and Digital Education

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

June 23, 2014
Bishkek

The International Conference, “Open Educational Resources (OER) and Digital Education” organized by the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan and Public Fund “Roza Otunbayeva’s Initiative”, was dedicated to the advancement of open education and free access to knowledge in the countries of Central Asia and Mongolia. It served as a platform to share experience and ideas between the state sector, educational community, civil society activists, and international experts in OER policies.
The Conference introduced the world’s best practices on OER adoption, participating countries’ successful policies aimed at the development of the digital educational content and free access thereto, outstanding innovative approaches to the introduction of electronic textbooks, and other ingenious methods to improve access to education.
The main objective of the Conference was to present the Draft National OER Concept of Kyrgyzstan as a core policy to optimize the use of budget and donor funds intended for the development of modern teaching methods, and create conditions for free distribution of educational materials and unimpeded use thereof by third parties.
The conference was attended by representatives of the state sector, educational community, civil society activists, and OER policy experts from Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, USA and South Africa.

The Conference focused on the following:

  • International experience in OER adoption (best policies and initiatives);
  • Innovative practices for the implementation of OER and the development of the digital educational content;
  • Presentation of Draft National OER Concept of Kyrgyzstan.

The Conference established the following general strategic objectives for the development and promotion of OER in the region:

  1. Foster strategic alliances and advance the institutionalization of OER promotion through the establishment of OER Coalition; contribute to the sustainable work of the Coalition through building partnerships between governmental and non-governmental organizations, the educational sector, library science, media and telecommunications;
  2. Implement the objectives of the OER Concept by developing of Action Plan and promoting collaboration with representatives of legislative and executive authorities, educational and research institutions, scientists and experts, NGOs and the business community of Kyrgyzstan;
  3. Consolidate government, donor and commercial resources of the Central Asian region for planning and implementing joint international educational, research and other initiatives to actively promote the OER policy in terms of liberalization of educational content;
  4. Ensure information exchange between organizations and activists to promote OER through a single information source as an official website, the use of social networks, and email subscribe list on OER in the region.

The following tasks were approved as priority measures based on the general objectives above:

1.  Establish the OER Coalition, a single expert platform, consisting of civil society activists, NGOs, educational institutions, and donor organizations to promote and implement the OER Concept with functions of information exchange, development and harmonization of policies, formulation and promotion of the OER Concept Action Plan;

2. Conduct an awarness rainsing and capacity building activitties (conferences, round tables, training, education and research initiatives) to stimulate active participation by all stakeholders in efforts to promote OER, recruit active members into the Coalition; publish and widely disseminate the results of this Conference in the media and the Internet for communication and promotion of OER initiatives;

3.  Direct the existing Working Group on the National OER Concept to:

– Finalize the Draft OER Concept taking into account suggestions and comments made at the Conference, organize a series of discussions of this document with all stakeholders;
– Develop an Action Plan for the implementation of the OER Concept;
– Develop the necessary draft amendments to laws and regulations (if it is included into the Action Plan) to accelerate the creation of the legislative framework for the introduction and promotion of OER;

4. Direct the Coalition for Open Education assisted by the Working Group to submit recommendations and proposals to:

– Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) – to accelerate the adoption of new policies on open licensing of educational materials produced at the expense of the state budget;

– Government of the Kyrgyz Republic – to promote an enabling environment for the implementation of OER based on interagency collaboration (Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Culture and Information, Ministry of Youth, Labour and Migration, etc.), and contribute to the rapid establishment of the National Repository of OER at the National Library;

– Ministry of Education and Science and its structural units and institutions – to include the OER policies into the Action Plan of Education Reform Strategy in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2014-2017 to stimulate the development of high quality OER, including digital learning materials (creating a center for digital competencies); ensure training and professional development of teachers and other personnel in production and sharing of high quality and affordable educational resources, taking into account local needs and a wide variety of students;

– Authors and publishers, copyright holders of state certified training materials, – to join the OER initiative and possibly revise the licensing conditions in order to ensure free access to these materials;

– Donor and international agencies – to provide comprehensive support for the OER initiative, and introduce intra-institutional policies on open licensing of products developed at their initiative;

– Mobile operators – to provide free mobile internet traffic to access the National Repository of OER as part of their corporate social responsibility programs, private entities – to support the production and dissemination of electronic textbooks among educational institutions and equip students with tablets.

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National Mission on Education Through ICT (NMEICT) Open Licensing Policy

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

“Train 10 thousand teachers” is a major initiative under the NMEICT, in which IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay are working as partner institutes to improve the teaching skills of engineering college teachers of the country in core Engineering and Science subjects.

In order to “foster an environment of openness, collaboration, and a culture of sharing, reuse and adaptation” NMEICT endorses the “release of learning resources, software, and technology in an appropriate licence”.

Thus, all projects funded by NMEICT must treat their output as national resources which are freely accessible online.  Moral rights remain with authors, but copyright is transferred to the Indian government to allow for open release.

Within this framework different projects have elected for different licences.  The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) for instance uses CC-BY-NC-SA while the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NEOER) uses CC-BY-SA.

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US Open Data Action Plan

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

The US government has further endorsed steps towards the open publication of public data with the  Open Data Access Plan (2014).  This includes new data releases for small business data, digitized museum collections, and data from the Food and Drug Administration.

Over the past few years, the Administration has launched a number of Open Data Initiatives aimed at scaling up open data efforts across the Health, Energy, Climate, Education, Finance, Public Safety, and Global Developmentsectors.  The White House has also launched Project Open Data, designed to share best practices, examples, and software code to assist Federal agencies with opening data.  These efforts have helped unlock troves of valuable data—that taxpayers have already paid for—and are making these resources more open and accessible to innovators and the public.

As Timothy Vollmer notes over at Creative Commons:

From a legal standpoint, some agencies have decided to place their datasets into the worldwide public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. This means that all copyright and related rights to the data are waived, so it may be used by anyone–for any purpose–anywhere in the world–without having to ask permission in advance–and even without needing to give attribution to the author of the data.

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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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National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP)

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

The National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP) makes specific mention of the current and future value of OER, recognizing that the state has a role in “expanding the availability of digital-learning content, resources, courses, and tools and ensure their continuous improvement by funding the research and development of open educational resources”.

4.3 Support the development and use of open educational resources to promote innovative and creative opportunities for all learners and accelerate the development and adoption of new open technology-based learning tools and courses.

The value of open educational resources is now recognized around the world, leading to the availability of a vast array of learning, teaching, and research resources that learners of any age can use across all content areas. Realizing this value will require new policies concerning the evaluation and selection of instructional materials so that digital resources are considered and processes are established for keeping educational resource content up to date, appropriate, and tagged according to identified content interoperability standards.

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HCR 3009 & HCR3013, Legislative Assembly of North Dakota

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: ,

These resolutions acknowledge the potential of OER to save students money and mandates the further investigation and implementation of OER.  HCR 3009 requires that:

the Legislative Management study the use of open textbooks in the North Dakota University System, including options to develop partnerships with other states to use open textbooks; and report its findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the Sixty-fourth Legislative Assembly

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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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Wikipremed: curriculum innovation through open licensing

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Unassigned | Sector: | Country:

A case study presented by Creative Commons outlines the ways that open licensing of the WikiPremed course has led to positive outcomes for curriculum development.

When John Wetzel offered his WikiPremed course freely to students preparing for the MCAT, he was not primarily addressing the high cost of MCAT preparatory services. He offered his highly integrated approach to reviewing science classes as a way to overcome what he saw as the compartmentalization of science education. The fact that it was free was a bonus.

Aside from the fact that it’s free and openly licensed, what makes WikiPremed different from other premed curriculum? According to John, premed students are constantly getting ready for the “test of the week,” meaning that the takeaways from each unit aren’t very well contextualized. He first noted this gap while tutoring med school students. “Even the straight-A students didn’t get the connections between the biological sciences and chemistry and physics.”  Wetzel set out to create a new approach that not only prepared students for the MCAT, but also connected the dots in their science education.

John sees open licensing as an invitation for others to get involved and suggest improvements. The CC licenses let other experts poke around and suggest improvements that have made it a stronger product and curriculum. “Just making it open makes the world your editor,” said Wetzel. “People see that you are trying to help students and they value that, and it makes them happy to help you.” Because WikiPremed is CC-licensed, it also allows use of other CC-licensed work. “The biggest benefit in this regard is the availability of the biology images from Wikimedia Commons,” he says.

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