What is Open Education
“” encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment.
(OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials intentionally created and licensed to be free for the end user to own and share. The gold standard of OER is also the ability for users to modify the item.
, otherwise known as Open Educational Practice, is the use of open educational resources (OER) to support learning, or the open sharing of teaching practices with a goal of improving education and training at the institutional, professional, and individual level.
Open education is also endorsed at various levels of government.
Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 :
H.R. 4137, passed in 2008. Reauthorizes Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
State of Arkansas Act 175:
Act requires a list of all textbooks and course materials to be posted at the bookstore and published on the institution’s website for undergraduate courses. Lists have to be posted by noon on April 1st for the summer and fall semesters and November 1st for the spring semester. Late adoptions would need special permission.
Defining the “Open” in Open Content and Open Educational Resources
The term open describes any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like ““) that is either (1) in the or (2) licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities.
The relate to rights that are generally “reserved” for the copyright holder. Licensing allows some or all of the 5Rs to be acted upon by another person or entity.
The 5R activities are:
- – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
- – 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)
- – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
- – the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
- – 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)
Legal requirements and restrictions make 0pen content and OER less open
While a free and perpetual grant of the 5R permissions by means of an ” qualifies a creative work to be described as open content or an open educational resource, many open licenses place requirements (e.g., mandating that derivative works adopt a certain license) and restrictions (e.g., prohibiting “commercial” use) on users as a condition of the grant of the 5R permissions. The inclusion of requirements and restrictions in open licenses make open content and OER less open than they would be without these requirements and restrictions.
There is disagreement in the broader community about which requirements and restrictions should never, sometimes, or always be included in open licenses. For example, , the most important provider of open licenses for content, offers licenses that prohibit commercial use. While some in the community believe there are important use cases where the noncommercial restriction is desirable, many in the community believe that limiting licensing typically harms the global goals of the broader open content community.
Poor Technical Choices Make Open Content Less Open
While open licenses provide users with legal permission to engage in the 5R activities, many open content publishers make technical choices that interfere with a user’s ability to engage in those same activities. The ALMS Framework provides a way of thinking about those technical choices and understanding the degree to which they enable or impede a user’s ability to engage in the 5R activities permitted by open licenses. Specifically, the ALMS Framework encourages us to ask questions in four categories:
- Access to Editing Tools: Is the open content published in a format that can only be revised or remixed using tools that are extremely expensive (e.g., 3DS MAX)? Is the open content published in an exotic format that can only be revised or remixed using tools that run on an obscure or discontinued platform (e.g., OS/2)? Is the open content published in a format that can be revised or remixed using tools that are freely available and run on all major platforms (e.g., OpenOffice)?
- Level of Expertise Required: Is the open content published in a format that requires a significant amount technical expertise to revise or remix (e.g., Blender)? Is the open content published in a format that requires a minimum level of technical expertise to revise or remix (e.g., Word)?
- Meaningfully Editable: Is the open content published in a manner that makes its content essentially impossible to revise or remix (e.g., a scanned image of a handwritten document)? Is the open content published in a manner making its content easy to revise or remix (e.g., a text file)?
- Self-Sourced: Is the format preferred for consuming the open content the same format preferred for revising or remixing the open content (e.g., HTML)? Is the format preferred for consuming the open content different from the format preferred for revising or remixing the open content?
Using the ALMS Framework as a guide, open content publishers can make technical choices that enable the greatest number of people possible to engage in the 5R activities. This is not an argument for “dumbing down” all open content to plain text. Rather it is an invitation to open content publishers to be thoughtful in the technical choices they make – whether they are publishing text, images, audio, video, simulations, or other media.
resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment
teaching, learning, and research materials intentionally created and licensed to be free for the end user to own, share, and in most cases, modify
inclusive teaching in which the students are participants in the open experience
open source refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. Often used to describe software
materials which have never been or no longer are under copyright
permissions given by the copyright holder for their content which allow other individuals to perform activities which are generally the rights of the copyright holder
the five principles of open licensing. These allow users to reuse content in its unaltered original format, retain copies for personal use, revise or modify and alter content, remix content in order to create something new, and redistribute content by sharing in the original or altered format.
the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
reproducing a work without significant changes to its content. The right to reuse a work lies with the copyright holder.
a version of a webbook which is derived from another work and is not just a copy. The ability to create derivations of works lies with the copyright holder
sharing something out among people in a different way. Redistribution is one of the rights of a copyright holder.
a license which grants permission to access, re-use and redistribute a work with few or no restrictions
a non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering individuals to legally use and re-use creative works through the development and availability of legal tools to supplement copyright globally