By Adrian Stagg and Emma Power, USQ
In the penultimate post for this course, we’ll focus on the types of activities made possible by open educational resources, and provide some approaches to working with OER.
‘I’m not allowed to do that to a textbook!’ Discovering and (re)using OER
Let’s start today by briefly revisiting OER, and introducing the potential for sharing and reusing content. The following video [3mins 31sec] was awarded third place in the ‘Why Open Education Matters’ contest run by the US Department of Education in 2012, and the points raised are still salient.
Open Education Matters: Why is it important to share content? By Nadia Mireles, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTNnxPcY49Q
One of the focal points of open education is textbooks; especially in the US where textbook prices have begun to exceed the cost of tuition (Senack and Donogue 2016). The following video [2mins 10sec], from Open Education Week 2016, provides snapshots of the student experience of textbook access and affordability. You’ll recall the discussion outlining reasons to engage with OER on Day Two – some of the students recorded here echo those sentiments.
Open Education: What’s the Impact? by VaTechLibraries, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSkffgT5DTg
The textbook focus is also an easier one to communicate, as the direct financial implications are relatively simple to convey to a broader audience. However, it’s worth repeating that OER take many forms from audio, video, photograph, diagram, PDF, ePUB, and many multimedia file types.
The value of OER is based on the flexibility and more liberal sharing of the resource; the ability to adapt the material to suit local contexts. This is supported by a concept known as the Five R’s (5Rs), developed by Wiley (2014). The 5Rs allow the end user to:
Retain the content, that is, to create, own, and store copies of the OER.
Reuse the content, whether it be in the classroom (online or face to face), for research purposes, for student assessment, or for presentations.
The ability to Revise is one of the most powerful as it allows the end user to make changes to the content (whether to make it more relevant for the local teaching environment, to update the content, to translate the content into a range of languages, and to create subtitles or transcripts to improve accessibility).
Remixing content is always an interesting experience and one that encourages student co-creation of content. Remixing occurs when a number of OER are brought together to create a new resource. It can also refer to format-shifting a resource, for example turning a research report into a video, or a OER discussing a mathematical concept into an interactive multimedia game. Lastly, is:
Redistribution, which is the right to share the original OER and resulting works with a wider audience.
Select a resource that you currently use in your work, research, or teaching and apply the 5Rs to that resource. How many ‘Rs’ does it match? If you had the opportunity to work with an open and free equivalent of this resource, what would be the first thing you’d change, and which ‘R’ enables your activity?
Growing the Commons: using open licences
The 5Rs have been supported, for the most part, by Creative Commons licencing, and it seems appropriate to discuss those licences now. In short, Creative Commons licences exist within the framework of Copyright (ensuring that the author can assert the right to be identified as the creator of the work, and the owner), but the licences provide an upfront invitation to share the content. Rather than fielding many requests for use, the author states the conditions for sharing by applying a licence. Provided that the end user complies with the conditions, they can exercise many of the 5Rs. This video [5 mins 32sec] gives an overview of the licences and how they are applied and used.
Creative Commons licences explained by Process Arts, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZvJGV6YF6Y
PDF is where OER go to die: why format matters
The last consideration for today is one of format. When you author and share an OER, the licence will indicate what types of repurposing, revising, or remixing can be conducted with the resource. However, most OER authors don’t consider the format, which provides a challenging space for those who would like to use the resource.
If the resource is created in PDF, for example, altering the content, removing or replacing images, and changing links can be difficult unless you have access to a PDF editor. When creating your OER, consider how you might encourage other users to repurpose your content. Some authors will provide a range of file types in a repository so that the user can choose the best format for their needs, which might include .pdf, .docx, and .odt. Obviously, there are differences between the file types (and formatting can be an issue), but practices like this support open reuse. One example that we’ve implemented is the print- and reuse-friendly versions of these blog posts, available via the OER Commons.
Go back to your response in Activity 6. If you were to remix a resource, what licence would you select (and why); and what file formats or practices do you think would enable other users to reuse your content?
Whenever I ask about openly licencing content, I’m amazed at the diversity of responses. I’m looking forward to the discussion as we head toward our last post. See you tomorrow.
Join us for a coffee in person!
Emma will be joining your coffee course facilitators Katie and Janene at ANU campus for a face-to-face coffee catchup. We welcome you to join us at 10am, Friday 31 March 2017 at Biginelli’s Cafe in the School of Music, Building 100 (note this is NOT our usual coffee location). Emma would love to hear how you have found the course, and is hoping to capture your thoughts and feedback. Please email Janene if you can attend.
The text of this work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. All images and videos retain their respective licences.
Senack, E.; & Donoghue, R. (2016). Covering the cost: why we can no longer afford to ignore high textbook prices. Student Public Interest Research Group, retrieved from: http://www.studentpirgs.org/sites/student/files/reports/National%20-%20COVERING%20THE%20COST.pdf
Wiley, D. (2014). The access compromise and the 5th R [blog post], Iterating toward openness, March 5, 2014, retrieved from: https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221