User:Historybuff/oerblog

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Missing earlier entry[edit]

I'm actually blogging in several spots and then doing a cut and paste to this public page. It seems like one of my earlier sessions didn't get in here, so now I'll have to go look for it. If it does make an appearance, I'll take out this explaining entry and make sure they line up by date properly.

Of licences and copyrights[edit]

Well, having been at Wikiversity for over a year I've managed to involve myself in several Licence and Copyright debates. While interesting from a technical perspective as insight into the legal side of things, they are entirely unproductive and wasteful to the idea of producing learning products of any sort. We have to try and cross pollinate as much as possible, while being both legal and pragmatic. I hope that is where FSF and CC are going with newer versions of their licences.

I was quite interested to see the perspective of Copyright actually limiting, rather then expanding, the original rights that were granted when a piece was created. Lawrence Lessing's talk about how culture grows and is "controlled" by existing elements is an interesting reflection.

I have been an avid supporter of Open Source for quite some time. I'm a supporter of "Free" software, paticularly the Free as in Free speech kind. I'm not opposed to the Free as in beer kind, but I do feel that developers should be able to make money at that which they love, if they choose. The one thing that concerns me about OER and other open activities is -- who pays for the resources? I do think that by networking we can increase the value of resources, and that the sum is greater then its parts. Maybe I don't understand the professional side of the educational spectrum well enough, and those composing content are well paid, and it's just a matter of getting it out there. Maybe there are no content freelancers, or it doesn't make sense.

I think the message to take out of this weeks exercise is that copyright is for our benefit, and we have to use it as such. We shouldn't sit on the sidelines while self-interested parties lobby to limit and eliminate our rights for their best interest. We have to express _our_ self interest, which is to allow our culture to allow future generations to benefit from what has gone before them -- without publishers trying to gently extend their franchises into perpetuity. From and OER perspective, it is important to work together -- on copyright, as well as general technological models. It's important to have systems that will work together, and content that is easily moved from system to system.

LeMill and Wikiversity - Week 2's musings[edit]

Having been a pretty regular contributor, and having it been the reason I got involved with the course, I figured it might be good to explore LeMill a bit. My impressions of LeMill: All of the resources I probed were pretty short, and the linking wasn't as strong as it could have been. There are quite a number of resources, but one must really explore to find things. I really like the themes and the simple layout, which is functional and attractive to the eye without distracting from the core content. It was a little non-intuitive for a newcomer. I had to guess clicking on my name behaved similarly to MediaWiki, taking me to my config area. I was able to fiddle with stuff, but I'm still not sure what is publicly displayed and what is privaate. LeMill seems a bit more community oriented, as they have spots for IM and SMS, as well as a community section and a spot for chatting. This is in contrast to Wikiversity, where live communication is done in an IRC channel not related to the wiki directly. I'm sure I'll be back at LeMill a bit more through the course, but I'm leaning more towards learner focused communications, and for some reason Wikiversity still "feels" more of the approach I want to be principally involved with. But LeMill does have some very interesting features, and I'm always big on collaboration.

OER websites[edit]

Browsing through the various websites, what comes through is the differences between sites which are trying to foster strong community interaction (like Open U and LeMill) and ones that are providing access simply to their resources (MIT). The difference in cultures and approaches is somewhat stark, and reflects the different philosophies and approaches that communities bringing OER's have.

MIT's approach is very typical of a modern University. The courses are there, and the onus is on the learner to figure out where they are and what to do, much like how an Undergrad student would be typically treated. Some of the other sites have collaborative tools of various ways for participants to communicate and collaborate. These sites expect repeat learners to sign up and work through outcomes, perhaps with the help of other site participants. This reflects more closely the "Web 2.0" social-type networking that is the buzz of the Internet.

Ilkka Tuomi Commentary[edit]

Having spent about a year working with Wikiversity, this article was a bit of a breath of fresh air on theories and motivations around Open Educational resources. While Tuomi spends much of the time trying to be precise in the definition of resources, he is forced to admit that resources mean different things to people with different perspectives, and that his definition will need to be adopted from a particular perspective.

Tuomi's approach is fairly high level, looking at the field of OER, and the perceived good that it (and education in general) might provide in both economic and policy perspectives. I agree that this is a good approach, but it seems the piece is satisfied that "access" to educational resources is available, and doesn't advocate strongly enough for redistribution ability or being able to receive certification on the material. This may be partly my past experience with Wikiversity influencing my opinion, but I feel strongly that these elements are important.

About me[edit]

Hi, my name is Gerald. I became involved in Wikiversity about a year ago, and that has motivated me to try my hand at real world teaching and to start a course at College to become a certified teacher. I have a vast technical background, and I have always had a knack for teaching.

I want to take this course because I am interested in Open Resources, and I am trying to practice the Wikiversity policy of "Learn by doing".