Friday, January 13, 2012

Open Licensing

I was excited to learn that David Wiley is starting up the winter 2012 Introduction to Openness in Education course.  I first encountered Wiley via his facilitation of week5 of the  #change11 mooc. Last week he announced on his blog that he is now the Senior Fellow for Open Education at the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, also known as Digital Promise. Congratulations to him, and to educators and learners everywhere that will hopefully benefit from the work that he does in this position.

I learned a lot about the history of open learning from his week of #change11 and I highly recommend an article he wrote called The OpenCourse Wars (be sure to click the link at the bottom to read the remainder of the chapter) though I have to admit that I was rather naive when I read it and had to spend considerable amount of time afterwards trying to sort out where fact ends and fiction begins.

The class that he is starting up now is a refined version of a course he has taught before and it is breaking new ground in how an online course can be delivered openly. Anyone can sign up and contribute the course and he has incorporated an assessment system that utilizes badges that look like they will make the course fun in addition to be informative.  Look out for the #ioe12 hashtag that is associated with it.

The first topic in the course is Open Licensing which is a critical issue underlying the open educational theory and practice. Wiley himself was quite involved with the conception and development of the Creative Commons (CC) licenses drawing significant inspiration from the Open Source software movement which is the next topic in the course.  

The Creative Commons License provide an easy and legally legitimate way for anyone to maintain ownership of their creative work while at the same time allowing for it's free use by others within a choice of parameters about whether or not it  requires an attribute, can be used commercially, and/or can be adapted and reused.

CC Monitor Project
The power of this licensing system is in it's relative simplicity and especially ease of use for the creator and future users. The first set of CC licenses were release almost 10 years ago in December 2002 and there are now estimated to be over 450 million works using the license. These licenses have empowered an entire movement for Open Educational Resources, another topic that is covered later in this course.

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