Friday, April 30, 2010

Copyrighted work and OER

After reading this weeks material it has become clear to me that there is two sides to these different licenses. One might even say that it is a necesary evil

On the one hand I can see the value of the creative commons licences in freeing up the material for people right accross the globe to use and re-use. It also places some restrictions on how, where and when one might use the material. This is were the two sides I mentioned earlier comes in.

On the one hand it protects the author or creator of the material to some extent, for example fair use of material. On the other hand it might place undue and confusing restrictions on the work (I know I was initially very confused)and some individuals might think it easier just to copyright the work and be done with it.

In my opinion these licenses are a good thing, if they are used in the right instances and do not work against the ideal they are trying to uphold

Friday, April 23, 2010

My take on Open Educational Resources (Definitions)

In this post I will give a short overview of what I believe to be the definitions for the terms Open, Education and Resource in the context of this module.

In my readings I have come to understand that the term "open" has a lot of sides to it. For me, in my context, it boils down to two major aspects that influence the degree of openness; namely technical characteristics and social characteristics.
In the first instance, technical constraints such as inter-operability of networks, uncompatible formats of documents and unavailability of technical specifications will limit the degree of openness. I've found that in our South African context the state of our hardware availability (eg. computer access and slow bandwidth) also play a role in the openness of content. For example, slow bandwidth will prohibit a student from watching a video. For all intensive purposes the video will be posted by its creator to be open and freely available to everyone accross the globe, but due to technical constraints it will not be available to some who live in countries like ours.
In the second instance, social characteristics, refers to the limitations that society has placed on the content. There may be various copyright laws placed on reproduction of the content. As I learned from the video of David Wiley there are numerous variants of the constraints placed on "open" content as well. Ultimately for something to be classified as truly open it must also be free. These types of content or works, according to Hill and Möller, allow users the freedom to study the works and apply knowledge gained from it, redistribute copies (in whole or parts)and to make improvements and release the new copies.

The term Educational in OER is at this stage problematic for me. As argued in the readings, is only content generated in educational settings like schools and universities educational resources or is any content no matter its origin a educational resource if someone learns something from it? I am confident that I will have a better understanding of this as the course progress.

The term resource is less problematic at this stage. Any material that a person draws on for whatever reason can be classified as a resource. Therefore we can group photos, documents, videos, sound files, networks and the like together under the communal banner of resources.

I hope I made sense in this post and please comment if you disagree or have anything to add.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cape Town and Budapest initiatives

I am in agreement with the ideas behind the initiatives and thus I have signed both. In an ever more globalized world it seems to me to be next step in effective education. Making information freely available will in the long run educate more peolpe around the world and that is the goal right? It sure is, but does these initiatives create more problems than it answers?

Like I said at the begining I am in agreement with the ideas behind these initiatives, but what will be the cost of initiating them? In one of these initiatives they state that they need publishers and corporartions to make their publications freely available. This is a neat idea but will this not mean the end for those publishing houses? Where will the revenue come from to pay the author? Lets face it no one will work for free. The other probhlem is the fact that not all people that this information will be available to will have the academic state of mind and integraty to treat the information as the intelectual property of the author, thus not giving the proper recognition.

The last point that I want to raise is the one of the technological constraints of the initiatives. These initiatives are completely reliant on the availability of appropriate and up to date technology (computers, bandwidth, 3G connections etc). In developed countries this might not be a problem, but in countires like South Africa where less than half the population has an PC in the house much less an connection to the internet, this is a problem. This problem excludes poor / underpriviliged people from the initiatives and these are exactly the people that would benifit most.

These are my initial thoughts after reading week 1 materials. Heres hoping that we can find answers together for these and other issues that might arise during the course.

All the best