Wannita Phanchana drawing at Open Coffee in Limerick in 2007.
I FOLLOW CLEVER EDUCATORS online, especially those conversation in Open Education Resources #oer. I advocate interoperability of platforms, tools, and resources in education and want to ensure I'm doing my part in sharing assets I've stored in Azure through the Limerick Institute of Technology's Office 365 services. I don't have all the details yet.
Championing Open Education Resources is more than ensuring everything is interoperable.   I'm striving to ensure my basic learning objects are discoverable and shareable, first by colleagues inside my educational institution and then by other third level lecturers who might want to share pedagogy and learning materials.
The main issue for me is showing hesitant colleagues what open really means. I helped promote the concept of OpenCoffee, something I may want to restart in Limerick with an emphasis on Open Education Resources instead of open source, start-ups and entrepreneurs. We have records from as late 2006 of Open Coffee in Ireland featuring lecturers and technology providers talking about how to set up and run open education services. We envisioned open content (not locked down with DRM), open educational resources (not dependent on annual software licensing), open access, open data, open knowledge, open source, and open standards. Let’s take a quick tour of what open means in each specific setting.
Open Content and 5R
I turn to OpenConfent.org to help define the “Open” in Open Content. From my RSS reader, the term “open content” describes any copyrighted work licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
- Retain. The right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage).
- Reuse. The right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video).
- Revise. The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).
- Remix. The right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
- Redistribute. The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend).
Open Content, O365 and 5R
I use Office 365 to teach 116 students pursuing four different degrees across four years of third level in five different academic modules. To optimise my workflow and to leverage simple yet sophisticated technology licensed by my parent institution, I use O365 to keep me on message, to prevent mission creep and to improve academic engagement. I am trying to stay true to the essence of 5R through the following practises:
- Retain. Anybody can edit and own the main academic content I've created. I share assets stored in OneDrive and OneNote. It's possible for me to offer full editing rights for my learning materials to people outside of our organisation. This means people who do not pay for the course can download, duplicate, store, and manage learning materials I've created. However, I have to cede those rights through an email invitation to their remote account.
- Reuse. I teach students how to repurpose and recraft learning materials. They often use my content on personal websites, inside co-authored documents or with videos on their YouTube channels.
- Revise. I expect student to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content in order to complete briefs I assign on various modules.
- Remix. My material is labeled CC-by-4.0 through the Creative Commons, meaning it can be combined with revised content or with other open content to create something new. We discuss the most interesting forks of the original material.
- Redistribute. I want students to share copies of my original content. I want them to reflect on my revisions, the remixes I create or the iterative work they document.
I want my current academic modules to be discovered when people inside my organisation search our O365 assets for useful information. I don't know the best way to ensure this happens, so I'm starting with putting pointers to my work inside the space called Bernie @ Sites - Limerick Institute of Technology. We have several staff training days in the months ahead and I'm curious to discover whether any other members of staff are doing the same thing.
** Bernie Goldbach is a creative multimedia and business lecturer in the Limerick Institute of Technology. The photo accompanying this blog post shows Wannita Phanchana from her student days using a set of Derwent pencils to draw during an OpenCoffee session in The Clarion Hotel. **
1. According to the Hewlett Foundation, Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.
2. David Wiley -- "The Consensus Around Open" on his blog, January 29, 2016.