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Clarity at Last! – Creative Commons


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This week we looked at the issues of reuse in OERs. Activity 9 is;

For your blog content and other material you produce, consider which of the Creative Commons licences you would use, and justify your choice. You can post this in the forum or in your blog, remembering to use the tag #h817open.

I am glad this has come up as a topic as it is something I have been aware of and concerned about for some time. Not necessarily in relation to OERs, as this is a relatively new concept for me, but in terms of reusing things generally. I have probably committed a number of copyright offences over the years, for example by making a poster for work and using an image from Google without attribution.

There are two issues;

1. Not understanding, or knowing where to begin with, copyright laws.
2. Not caring. I don’t mean that in a mercenary way, but there is a mentality of if it’s on the Internet it must be okay as it’s in the open.

I have started to think about this more as I have undertaken MOOCs, added my photos to Flickr, and more recently started writing a blog. I am very grateful to Creative Commons as I can now obtain resources and know how I am allowed to use them and give credit where asked.

The next thing I need to think about is how I mark my work. It’s difficult because I don’t consider myself to be in a league where my “work” should be protected or marked. I am not a professional, I know my photos won’t earn me a living and my writing certainly won’t. So does it matter if people use it without any rules? Probably not, but as I spend more and more time doing something it would be nice for this to be recognised in some way. I would be so ridiculously excited if someone ever used one of my photos that I would sign my soul over to the devil. However, Creative Commons has taken the stress away as I can select the protection I need. A professional photographer can request the work is not distributed with permission and not altered in any way. Whilst I can stipulate that you can do what you like so long I get recognition. I think given the nature of what I do, take photos and write for fun and learning, the attribution license is good enough for me.

As they have made it so simple I think people are more likely to respect and adhere to the rights unlike copyright laws which are seen as faceless, corporate, incomprehensible and not applicable.

Activity 8 -OERs, not as simple as it looks

This week we were asked to devise an outline for a 5 week course. Once the outline was completed we had to look at a selection of OERs to see if any of the available resources could be used as course content. The purpose of the task was to see if a course could be created using existing OERs, and if the resources are already out there, how useful they are. We were asked to rate the resources (G) good, (M) medium and (B) bad.

I decided to design a course on using digital skills in the classroom aimed at secondary (high) school teachers, and here are the results of my evaluation.

1. Week 1 – Introduction to using Digital Skills in a Secondary School Classroom (G) (G) (G) (G)

2. Week 2 – iPads and apps, including Edmodo and Doddle, for learning and revision.

Integrating digital skills in the classroom by Liz Wilkins, (G) (G) (G) (G)

Lots of resources here (g)

3. Week 3 – Social media in the classroom (G)

4. Week 4 – Things to consider when using “digital skills” in the classroom (G) (G)

5. Week 5 – Applying your digital skills in the classroom – practical assignment

Not applicable as this is a practical assignment where teachers write a lesson plan for their subject area. The lesson plan must include at least one digital resource ie video or social media. The plan should include an outline of the learning outcome/s expected, any issues that might arise from using the specified resource and what can be done to overcome it.

Those taking the course may notice that I don’t seem to have used any of the sources given to us, Ariadne, Jorum, Merlot, MIT, OpenLearn and Rice Connections. I became frustrated quite quickly as I couldn’t find anything useful for my course.


I turned to TED to inspire me and came across this talk by Richard Baraniuk, the man behind Connexions which is one of the OERs we were offered as a repository. It was an interesting and inspired talk but didn’t match my experience. Perhaps I was too impatient or maybe the resources for my specific topic just weren’t there.

In the end I got so cross I just searched Google and found a wealth of useful information using the same search terms. So I am afraid I just continued using this method. I had to curb myself as there was so many resources out there.

I am not saying that the repositories we were offered are bad it’s just that in this instance they were not useful to me. Whilst searching them I found a wealth of information, just nothing relevant to My course. Perhaps because they are American and not specific to the UK. Or maybe my course outlines were too specific, or I used the wrong search terms. I will be interested to see what the experiences of other #H817 students are.

In terms of the main objective of this task, can a course be created using existing materials, the answer is yes. You may have to dig around and spend a bit of time researching but this is all part of the learning process so get stuck in!

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