Posts Tagged ‘open’
Let us say that you would like to offer video-based courses online. You propose this to someone at the highest level of management or to someone who is in charge of technology infrastructure. You are likely to be asked this question: How will you protect our copyright or intellectual property?
That question is built on at least two old premises. First, copyright is the golden standard of practice. Second, that sharing something online somehow puts us at a disadvantage.
There are other standards of practice that have already started challenging the notion of copyright. For example, there are the open resources movement and Creative Commons licensing.
Sharing resources can actually give an institute the upper hand.
If a resource is good, it helps build reputational capital. Putting a resource online time-stamps it so you can claim “who’s-on-first” ownership.
Time-stamping is not the only protection. If you create a video and share it on YouTube for example, that system will detect similarities between your video and those belong to other parties.
CeL has experienced this in two ways. After e-Fiesta 2013, we uploaded our videos to YouTube a keynote presentation by a speaker from Google. The YouTube system informed us it was similar to another video. Of course it was! The speaker had been recorded in other videos using similar slides and words.
When we put our own videos online, we often include soundtracks from stock music that we have purchased. We get the same notification from YouTube and we simply ask the company we purchased the music from to create an exception.
In both cases, we have not infringed on copyright. The videos were ours, the content can be linked or attributed to others if needed, and there was a policing system in place. Where there is an apparent copyright violation, it can be quickly contested, clarified, or resolved.
Long story short: Attempts to copy or modify work and pass these off as your own can be easier to detect when you put them online. The standards are changing and so must the practice.
It would probably be hard to find someone online who has not heard of the Gangnam Style viral video.
It would also not be hard to find folks who are tired of it already, especially with so many spoofs and parodies of it.
But this latest flip animation of GS pays homage to it with sheer effort!
The creator of the video opted to remove the soundtrack for fear of copyright infringement.
The multitude of GS spoofs and parodies are evidence that Psy would not come after them for copyright. I think he understands the reuse, remix, and redistribute culture of the medium.
But his music label company might not feel the same way. They are entrenched in the numbers game and old school practices. They are not likely to see how being more open will actually bring more opportunities.
There is a parallel in education. Progressive educators see the need for openness and sharing; schools and universities want to maintain the status quo. Only one group is going with the tide and providing what learners need and want.
Fortunately, I found this video and am scheduling this entry to be posted around the time we conduct the unconference segment of e-Fiesta.
The video is about how one photographer, John Butterill, started virtual photo walks to benefit folks who could not go on photo trips, particularly those who were bedridden or in hospital. He attached his smartphone to a camera, and with the help of Google Hangouts, video-conferenced with others.
I like how the video ends: Sharing your view. That’s a plus.
That is Google’s marketing tagline. But it is also relevant to promoting open learning processes and products. We must want to share our views with others openly.
Doing so is a plus to those who receive. The issue is convincing the givers to share more openly and freely. They will ask why and what-do-I-gain.
Thanks to the open Web, I can share a resource like this that provides answers to those questions. There are many other reasons and resources, of course.
One only has to search. You will find because someone has opted to share openly.
2013 might just be the year for the open learning movement to build on the attention and momentum it built up last year.
Much has been said about the benefits of open learning systems and resources. But I think there is one benefit that has not been celebrated as much: Transparency.
In the context of higher education, a university can laud its rankings due in part to academic publications. Despite the closed and exclusive nature of most journals, other academics can buy these journal articles to gauge the quality of research from that university.
If that same university has, say, a reputable service learning programme, it can also share what it does with publications and conferences. NIE’s GESL is one such example. Though that website and publications, it can allow interested others some insights into the programme.
But how do we let the public or stakeholders gauge the quality of instruction if they are not taking our courses? How do we build up our reputational capital in this academic area?
We might publish articles or share at conferences elements of our teaching practice, but these are spotlights on what we choose to share. They are not representative of our overall ability to educate. I think an answer lies in open learning.
By creating free and easy-to-access resources, teaching faculty share their knowledge and skills with those inside and outside their immediate classrooms. There is a transparency like no other. Being open and transparent allows others to see how well we teach.
There is also added stress from more open feedback and critique, but this is an excellent form of quality control. This can, in turn, polish our courses and teaching, and create demand for our courses.
So I think that universities stand to gain more by being open than by being closed.
The old system of academic exclusivity is passing because we live in the age of Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube. To survive, we must not only understand the changes as exemplified by these tools, but also take advantage of them.
These tools, platforms, and systems were created outside the university system and designed to be mostly open. We must go there and play by those rules because those rules are relevant now and in the near future.
It is Friday and time for something light for learning.
One of the features of having an open learning mindset is allowing one’s original work to be remixed. Here are two examples.
Original: “We Are Young”
Original: “Dumb Ways To Die”
The original videos were not created with open learning or remixing in mind. But the fact that the remixed versions are not taken down indicates the users’ need to remix and share, and the creator’s willingness to let that happen.
This in turn not only promotes creativity but also the mindset and culture of open sharing.
I like watching Marco Tempest, technoillusionist extraordinaire! I have watched his TED talks and now I feature his talk on Inventing the Impossible.
One of the things he said struck a chord with me.
He explained how magicians of old lived by the code of secrecy. But in modernizing magic with technology, he found that he could not protect his knowledge. Instead, he chose to share experiences with his audience and saw the importance of collaborating with others. He might be the first person to coin the phrase “open source magic”!
I think the parallels in education are in collaborating, being open, and collaborating openly.
There is too much information now for one person to know. Teachers need to form collaborative networks of teachers-as-learners if we are to stay relevant to our learners.
As we teach, we could share openly instead of hoarding what we think we know. If we do not share, our audience will simply go elsewhere. If we do not share, we do not build up our reputational capital.
The problems we leave for our children are more complex than ours and we do not have all the solutions. But we could adopt an approach that will help them solve those problems. That approach is open collaboration. After all, we cannot each be brilliant, but we can be collectively brilliant.
One other thought: A talent like Marco Tempest draws from multiple fields. He is good at what he does not just because he specializes, but also because he can connect the dots by connecting with other people.
by Marc Wathieu
The theme for our e-Fiesta on 30 Jan 2013 is Open Learning.
We needed a tagline or slogan for it so we opened a Google Doc up to our department to get some ideas.
We received lots of ideas over just a few days, and after some cross pollination, we came up with “Say open sesame to open learning”. Catchy, no?
If we did not open this process, we might not have had our slogan to quickly and creatively!
My reflection today is about open access and learning even though it might not seem that way.
When one the presentations I created got some attention in SlideShare, I concluded that it was likely the visual elements that got the attention.
After all, it is quite easy to play the SlideShare game to get a presentation noticed. Frankly, you can get away with more style than substance.
I left the Google Presentation open for critique and I received a comment from someone who actually analyzed the slides for substance. In response to slide 6 (see screencapture):
I heartily disagree with the idea that talks are boring. Sure, some of them are. But if the speaker is someone who knows a lot more than I do about, or offers a fresh perspective on, something that I am interested in—and if the speaker makes the effort to prepare and organise their talk so that I can follow their argument or story—then I’m sold. I think it’s valid to say that on this occasion you prefer to deliver/conduct/take part in a chat, but I really don’t like this overgeneralization.
In the context of what I was trying to do that day (model changes to a keynote speech), I used the “talks are boring” to inject some humour into the proceedings and to justify my methods.
In hindsight, I agree that the statement might come across as a generalization. Perhaps I could have said some or most talks are boring.
But judging from my own experience as an audience member of one too many talks and the nodding heads of my audience that day (in agreement, not in falling asleep), I stand by my statement that talks are boring.
They are boring because sometimes the audience does not really want to be there. They are boring because the audience is not more actively involved. They are boring because not everyone has the natural charisma or well-honed skills of a master presenter.
They are boring because they are losing relevance in this day and age.
How is my reflection about open access and learning?
If I had not made the Google Presentation open and available, I might never have received that comment two months after the keynote and from someone who bothered to share his thoughts.
Now I blog openly about this exchange. Doing this might result in comments in Twitter and Facebook because I crosspost there.
I am not likely to get comments here though because blogs do not seem cool any more. Some blogs are about as cool as a lecture theatre warming up for a talk…
Today I share a longer video that was created in the style of RSAnimate. The topic is open access which is a critical component of open learning.
The video focuses on research, specifically on open access to data and journal articles.
It makes sharp point bluntly: Very smart people (researchers) and libraries pay princely sums to get journal subscriptions. Some even have to pay to get their articles published. The journal publishers get all the money but the researchers do all the work: Writing the articles, arranging for peer reviews, doing reviews, serving as editors, etc. This is dumb.
The closed and costly nature of journals severely restricts access to people. People who need it most or could be impacted the most by the implementation of ideas or principles locked within the journal tombs. (Yes, the high-sounding language of the articles might be beyond the comprehension of lay folks, but that is another issue that is related to creating this exclusive club.)
We do this because “it has always been done that way”. But that does not make it the right way to do things.
The creators of the video make the argument that the research is already funded in some way. This could be by a private individual or group, or by the government, which in this case means that taxpayers fund research. In either case, why not let the results of the studies be free to access and free to reuse?
Why allow reuse? To cite the video, this is to allow other folks to “build new tools that can interact with the articles and uncover new relationships”. We know there is a lot of information out there. We now need to connect the dots.
How might we break the cycle that is fueled by conservatism, exclusivity, and prestige?
One way is to appeal to the continued survival of researchers. If the mantra is “publish or perish”, then highlight how being more open helps you publish and get cited more. If journals are closed, it is hard to publish. If journals are closed, fewer have access and cannot cite your work.
Another way is to fear-monger. If researchers do not challenge current practice, someone will come along and offer a better system. To cite the video: “scientists and publishers are slow to change… some are going to be left in the dirt because openness is the future… and the creative ones are going to survive.”
This was the second-placed video in the contest promoting open learning.
The recurring critiques of the current closed schooling system are:
- it is costly (and becoming more so)
- information within the system gets old or irrelevant quickly
The benefits of using open educational resources (OER) are that they:
- are media-rich and more up-to-date
- offer opportunities to collaborate with other like-minded teachers and learners
- provide learners with greater choice
- can be more fun and engaging