Tag Archives: OER

OER and free (of cost) resources (CC Cert)

For the Creative Commons Certificate course I’m taking, one of the discussion prompts is:

Many educational resources are available to faculty and students for free or in a manner that they perceive as being free. These include resources available through library database subscriptions and most of the pages on the public internet. Many of these resources are highly engaging and some are even effective at supporting student learning. What risks are associated with adopting these resources? What is the role of these free resources in the context of efforts to create, adopt, use, and improve open educational resources? (see all assignments & discussion prompts for the course)

Here is what I wrote in the discussion board; I’m posting it here for future reference since I’m guessing that content in the course disappears into the ether after the course is finished.


I use a lot of these kinds of resources when I teach my courses in philosophy. I try to keep the costs for students as close to zero as possible, and because of the lack of OER in philosophy, most of how I do that is through resources like these. Depending on what I’m teaching, there are a number of texts that are in the public domain, but that’s only if we’re discussing things that are fairly old. Most of the other things I assign are free to read but not openly licensed (e.g., journal articles our library has subscriptions to, other academics’ website and blog posts, newspaper and magazine articles, podcasts, YouTube videos that aren’t CC licensed, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy…).

Risks and downsides of using these kinds of resources

I can think of a number of downsides, not all of them “risks” necessarily, but certainly things that aren’t as useful for teaching and learning as OER.

Risks

The one that comes to mind first is that things can disappear or change quickly. I have had it happen where I put a resource on the syllabus and then by the time we got to that point in the term the resource had either moved to a different place or disappeared. And library subscriptions aren’t stable either, given that library budgets are strained with increasing subscription costs.

Another one is kind of subtle: without careful discussion of copyright and permissions, students may get the sense that because I’m using such resources in my course, they can also use them however they want. I often ask students to consider posting some work publicly on the course blog (they can choose to do so or not, as they wish), and it’s sometimes hard going to clarify what they can post publicly and what they can’t. I think it’s very useful to have a conversation about copyright and fair dealing and how those work in educational contexts, and how they affect what students can post publicly, when using “free” resources like this.

In addition, we are in somewhat of a limbo in Canada right now with fair dealing, due to a recent court case with York University. A number of colleges and universities are now wondering just what exactly they should be doing to protect themselves against similar lawsuits related to fair dealing, where they can be liable for many millions of dollars. So there is a potential risk around using materials under fair dealing.

Downsides

These are things that I wouldn’t necessarily call risks, but are downsides to such materials.

Because these materials are not openly licensed in a way that allows for revisions, one can’t adjust them to fit one’s own context or update them oneself. One has to take the good with the bad, and what one wants along with what one doesn’t. Frequently I ask students to do things like: read sections 2.1-2.3, 2.5, 2.8-2.9…etc. It’s confusing and annoying, and it would be much easier if I could just copy the sections I want and put them together in a new document. I could do that with OER.

As noted in the modules this week, if these works aren’t openly licensed one loses another great benefit of OER: students being able to update the works themselves. Just as we see with people making suggestions about the materials in this course here (on the content documents that are open for comment), one can do that in one’s own course–students can often find new, relevant information to include, new links to include, can reword things so they’re better understandable to other students, can write new materials to add in, etc.

A downside with some library resources that may change in the future: sometimes I assign chapters from books that the library has digital copies of, which is great (students don’t have to go to the library to make a paper copy of a chapter on reserve). But the ebook platforms can be awful to read on, very cumbersome and sometimes bad on mobile (depends on the platform). It would be great if I could just post a direct PDF on my website but that’s not always allowed (depends on the particular license agreement with the publisher).

Another issue with library resources: license agreements with publishers are widely different and incredibly complicated. Our library keeps a database of such agreements and when you click on a digital resource you can find out the various permissions, but they differ depending on the particular publisher (see, e.g., Licensed Materials on this library guide for instructors). So one has to check every single digital resource from the library to see what one can do with it (can you make paper copies? Can you post a PDF? Can you only post a link? Where can you post it? etc.).

And some licenses for library materials are less permissive than exceptions to copyright. Here is a quote from the page linked to just above: “If the terms of a licence prohibit uses that would otherwise be permitted by an exception in the Copyright Act, then the terms of the licence apply.” I don’t quite get that because if there is an exception to copyright then why can the copyright holder restrict the terms like this?

Role of these resources in efforts to create, adopt, improve OER

I guess mostly what can happen is that people get confused that OER are the same as free of cost resources like these. So I think pointing out the risks and downsides are important so people can see not just the differences with OER, but why OER are better!


From others’ posts in the discussion board, as well as further thought, here are some more ideas:

  • Students lose access to some of the “free” resources when they finish a course or leave an institution.
  • Resources that are free of cost but not openly licensed may not be able to be revised in order to make them more accessible.
  • Free resources may not be free of cost to the institution: e.g., subscriptions to journals through the library can be very expensive, and as the costs rise then libraries have to cut the number of subscriptions they have.
  • Some kinds of free resources require that people sign up for accounts, so as teachers we may be requiring students to give up some of their privacy in ways that they (and we) may not fully understand.

 

OER and Advocacy on Campus workshop

I was invited to give a workshop at the Student Union Development Summit at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, August 19, 2018.

I was asked to talk about open educational resources and student advocacy. Here are the slides for the workshop, in downloadable, editable Power Point format: OER & advocacy on Campus (SUDS 2018) (.pptx)

 

OOE13 Twitter chat on OER

From Sept. 2013 to May 2014 I helped co-design and facilitate an open, online course for educators (Open Online Experience 2013)  on topics ranging from connected learning to digital literacy to digital storytelling to open education. The domain we had is no longer kept up and has some other website on it, so you can’t get information there. But you can see a couple of other posts about it under the OOE13 category here on my blog

In this post and the next one I’ll be pasting in Tweets from Twitter chats we had in April of 2014, when I was in charge of that month’s topic, open education. Now that storify.com is going away, I need to archive what I had there, here on my blog!

Continue reading

Survey of BC faculty on OER & open textbooks

While I was one of three Faculty Fellows with the BCcampus Open Textbook program, we conducted a survey of faculty in BC and beyond, focusing on their use of and attitudes towards Open Educational Resources and Open Textbooks. We got over 70 complete responses from faculty at various institutions, most of them from teaching institutions rather than research institutions.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 4.47.23 PMWe published a white paper about the survey, which was released in January of 2016. You can read a brief summary of the report here.

Here is a link to the PDF of the full report.

 

 

We also presented the results of this survey at two conferences before the white paper was finished:

The BCcampus Open Textbook Summit, May 2015, Vancouver, BC. Here are the slides from that presentation.

 

The 2015 Open Education Conference, November 2015, Vancouver, BC. Here are the slides from that presentation.

Open Education Week 2016 panel at UBC

I like to keep track of various things I’ve participated in, such as giving talks, facilitating workshops, etc., and this post is part of doing that.

On March 10, 2016, I was part of an amazing panel of people talking about “Engaging Students in Open Education,” as part of Open Education Week at UBC.

Here is the description and panelists:


Open education is a hot topic on post secondary campuses these days. This year UBC saw the #textbookbroke campaign led by the Alma Mater society – advocating for the use of open textbooks and open practices in the classroom to reduce costs for students; the adoption of open textbooks and resources in large multi section physics and math courses; and the continuing development of open teaching practices with Wikipedia projects and student produced, openly published content.

How do we engage students with open educational practices that go beyond making their work public to making it re-usable or available for others to build on? Why is open education important to students and to what extent can it enrich the teaching and learning environment?

Lighting Talks: Each speaker will present for 8 minutes and respond to questions for 5 minutes. This will be followed by a broad panel discussion about open practice.

Panelists:

Christina Hendricks: Senior Instructor Philosophy
Jenna Omassi: VP Academic & University Affairs
Arthur Gill Green Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Geography, BC Campus Faculty Fellow
Rajiv Jhangiani, Psychology Instructor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Leah Keshet, Mathematics Professor
Eric Cytrynbaum, Associate Professor Department of Mathematics
Stefan Reinsberg, Physics instructor


 

This even was live-streamed and recorded, and I’ve been waiting for the recording to show up on YouTube. But I decided to just post the link to where it is now, in case I forget:

Link to the recording on the Ike Barber Learning Commons website.

 

I love doing these sorts of things because I get to learn about what interesting things others are doing on our campus and beyond!

A series of workshops on open education

One of the challenges in our "Open for Learning" challenge bank

One of the challenges in our “Open for Learning” challenge bank

I have been one of a team of facilitators for a series of workshops on open education that we’ve run at UBC from December 2015 to May 2016 (we haven’t done the last one yet!). The idea behind having this series is that we might be able to go into more depth into various topics than we could cover in a single workshop on the broad topic of open education. It has worked well for that, though of course the people that come to the later ones are not always the same as those who came to the earlier ones, so we still always have to do some intro work at the beginning. Still, I think this model works pretty well.

One thing I really like about what we’re doing is that we have used the model of the “assignment bank” from #ds106 and the challenge bank from #udgagora to create challenges that participants can do during the workshop. We were able to do this because Alan Levine kindly put some code up on Github to set one of these banks up as a WordPress theme. Now, I didn’t use that code to set up our challenge site (I only wish I could do that), but Lucas Wright of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at UBC did.

Here’s the challenge bank we’ve been using for our workshops–super cool!

We will keep this challenge bank and have people add their answers as we do this series again in the future (and we have one more workshop to go!).

Here is a PDF with the descriptions of our workshop series for 2015-2016: Open for Learning Workshop Final Descriptions

And I wanted to embed our slides, too. Here are the slides for the first three workshops (I’ll add the fourth when it’s done, if I remember).

 

Workshop 1: Open for Learning: Exploring the Possibilities for your Classroom

This was an introductory, overview workshop covering a number of things in open ed.

 

Workshop 2: Using and Remixing Open Resources in Your Courses

 

Workshop 3: Teaching in the Open

Engaging students with OER

Near the end of May I worked with Jon Festinger and Will Engle to do a 1.5 hour workshop on how using and creating Open Educational Resources (OER) can have pedagogical value in courses (beyond saving students money, which is also important). You can see the basic abstract for the session in the wiki page embedded below.

Click here to see our slides for the workshop, on Google Slides (or see below).

We also created a wiki page for the event, which has numerous link to resources. We also tried to get small groups to post answers to discussion questions on the wiki, but as the event was held in the late afternoon, a bunch of people left when it was time to do the small group activity (I guess many instructors, like many students, think the “real action” is in the presentation rather than the group discussion!).

The wiki page for the workshop is embedded below.

 

About this session


"Increasing Student Engagement through Open Educational Resources" is a workshop held during the CTLT Institute in May 2015.


Abstract

Open educational resources are educational materials (text, video, audio, and more) that are licensed to allow others to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and retain them free of cost. There are numerous pedagogical benefits to both using OER and creating OER in courses; this workshop will focus on a few of them, including the following.

Asking students to create OER in courses means, in part, asking them to create things that are available to and of use by other students in the course (both past, present and future) and by people beyond the course. Assignments that are read only by an instructor and/or teaching assistant can seem to be what David Wiley calls in a blog post “disposable”: “assignments that add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away” (Resource here). If, instead, student work is adding value to the world, contributing to a larger body of knowledge that can be used by others, it is much more likely that they will be engaged in working on it and try to make it as good as possible. Examples of such assignments could be student blog posts, student-created web pages or wiki pages, videos, and more that others can see/hear/interact with and learn from. Another example that will be discussed in the session is having students edit an open textbook and share their edits openly.

Using OER in courses means asking students to read/watch/listen to/interact with educational materials for the course that are publicly available and licensed for reuse and (often) revision. Finding and assigning OER can allow for presentation of material in different ways: e.g., a textual resource can be augmented through finding and using a diagram, an image, a video, another text that explains things differently, etc. This can help both engage students and improve their understanding of course material. Further, if the OER are licensed to allow revision, students can edit them or mix them with other resources to create something new, both helping their own leaning and contributing OER for others to learn from.

In this session we will all discuss together the various kinds of open educational resources, including open textbooks, how to find OER for your courses, and several of the pedagogical benefits of creating and using OER.


Facilitators


Will Engle is a strategist for open education resources at UBC's Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology. He engaged with projects that are leveraging emerging technologies, approaches, and pedagogies to support open learning. With a background in library science, Will is interested in understanding and supporting the removal of barriers that limit access to education, information, and knowledge.

Jon Festinger, Q.C. (LL.B., B.C.L. 1980 McGill University) is a Vancouver, British Columbia based counsel and educator. He is an SFU Professor of Professional Practice and a faculty member of the Centre for Digital Media. Jon has taught media, entertainment and communications law topics at the UBC Faculty of Law for over two decades, as well as teaching at various times at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. He is the author of the first edition of “Video Game Law” published by LexisNexis in 2005, co-author of the 2nd Edition published in 2012. The open and on-line components of his courses can be found here & here. Jon was named a member of Creative Commons’ “Team Open” in 2014.

Christina Hendricks is a Sr. Instructor in Philosophy at UBC, and she also regularly teaches in the Arts One program. She has been a proponent of open education for several years, having participated in and few open online courses and been part of the design and facilitation team for others, including one with Peer 2 Peer University called Why Open?, and a course on Teaching with WordPress. She uses as many open educational resources in her teaching as she can, and posts many of her teaching materials as open educational resources herself.


Agenda and session outcomes

Agenda

  1. Introductions--to us, to you
  2. Defining openness and open educational resources (OER) in groups
  3. Discussion of openness and OER
  4. Presentation on pedagogical benefits of OER and open courses
  5. Groups: take a "traditional" assignment and discuss how you might use what we've talked about today to transform it (and why)
  6. Conclusion


Session outcomes

By the end of the session, you should be able to:

  • Give a definition of “open” and/or open educational resources
  • Explain at least two pedagogical benefits to using and/or creating OER in teaching & learning
  • Explain one or more courses/projects at UBC using/creating OER
  • Say how you might adapt an activity or assignment to make it more "open," and why this would be pedagogically a good thing to do

Group activities

Click on your group number to go to the page where you can type in your answers to the questions in the group activities during the session.

To see all the groups' notes from the activities, click here: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Sandbox:Student_Engagement_Through_OER/Group_Resource

You can also see how the group wiki pages look when embedded into a WordPress site, here: http://willdev.sites.olt.ubc.ca/


Resources, links from the session or relevant to the session


Slides from the session

The slides used during the session can be found here (on Google Slides).


Examples of open courses or OER

A list of some examples can be found on the open.ubc.ca website, here: http://open.ubc.ca/learning/

Please add other examples that you know of, below!


At UBC


Elsewhere


Open Education

Creative Commons licenses

True Stories of Open Sharing

Watch some amazingly true stories of open sharing--the great stuff that can happen when we share our work openly: http://stories.cogdogblog.com/

source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/sandbox:Student_Engagement_Through_OER

The “open” in MOOCs

I was part of a debate on the value of MOOCs for higher education during UBC’s Open Access Week, on Oct. 29, 2014.

Here is the description of the event and speaker bios, from the Open UBC 2014 website (not sure how long the link is going to be active, so copied the description here). (The following text is licensed CC-BY)


Debate: Are MOOCs Good for Higher Education?

Description

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are subject to both hype and criticism. In 2012, the New York Times declared it was the year of MOOC, while critics branded 2013 as the year of the anti-MOOC. Today, the debate about the impact that MOOCs are having, and will have, on higher education continues and the topic of MOOCs often dominates conversations and questions about how changes in technologies, pedagogies, learning analytics, economics, student demographics, and open education will impact student learning. Many universities, including UBC, are experimenting with MOOCs in different ways – from trying to understand how to scale learning to how to best use MOOC resources on campus.
This session will explore different types of MOOCs, the possible role for MOOCs in higher education, and their benefits and drawbacks.

Speaker Bios.

Angela Redish (moderator) is the University of British Columbia’s Vice Provost and Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Academic Facilities. Dr. Redish served as a professor in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts at UBC for nearly 30 years. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, and her subsequent research studied the evolution of the European and North American monetary and banking systems. She served as Special Adviser at the Bank of Canada in 2000-2001, and continues to be active in monetary policy debates. Her teaching has been mainly in the areas of economic history, monetary and macro-economies.

Jon Beasley-Murray is an Associate Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of British Columbia. He has taught a wide range of courses, from Spanish Language to Latin American literature surveys and seminars on topics ranging from “The Latin American Dictator Novel” to “Mexican Film.” His  use of Wikipedia in the classroom has led to press coverage in multiple languages across the globe.

Jon is a vocal critic of the current model of learning and assessment common in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), especially for the Humanities. He blogs at Posthegemony and is the author of Posthegemony: Political Theory and Latin America. His current book projects include “American Ruins,” on the significance of six ruined sites from Alberta, Canada, to Santiago de Chile. He is also working on a project on “The Latin American Multitude,” which traces the relationships between Caribbean piracy and the Spanish state, and indigenous insurgency and the discourse of Latin American independence.

Gregor Kiczales is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Most of his research has focused on programming language design and implementation. He is best known for his work on aspect-oriented programming, and he led the Xerox PARC team that developed aspect-oriented programming and AspectJ. He is a co-author of “The Art of the Metaobject Protocol” and was one of the designers of the Common Lisp Object System (CLOS).  He is also the instructor for the Introduction to Systematic Program Design MOOC at Coursera. His discussion of the benefits of MOOCs can be found on the Digital Learning blog.

Christina Hendricks is a Senior Instructor in Philosophy and Arts One at the University of British Columbia. While on sabbatical during the 2012-2013 academic year, she participated in a number of MOOCs, of different types. Ever since then she has used her MOOC participation as a form of professional development and a way to make connections with other teachers and researchers around the world. She has also been one of the co-facilitators for an open online course (not massive) at Peer 2 Peer University called“Why Open?”, and is a part of a project called Arts One Open that is opening up the Arts One program as much as possible to the public.


 

For my portion of the debate, I wanted to talk about openness (duh…it was open access week!) and the degree to which what many people think of as MOOCs are open (some of them not very). I talked a bit about OERs (open educational resources) and open textbooks as ways to make MOOCs more open, and also about opening up the curriculum and content to co-creation by participants. This led me to cMOOCs, which could be described as having a more open pedagogy. I briefly touched on the value of cMOOCs for higher education, partly as professional development for faculty and for lifelong learning for students.

Jon Beasley-Murray has posted a copy of what he said during this debate, on his blog.

I’m told this session was recorded and the recording will be posted on YouTube, but I don’t think it’s there yet. In the meantime, here are my slides from the debate. I just had 12 minutes max, though I expect I went over time a bit!