by Stephen Downes
Mar 27, 2015
Stop Saying “High Quality”
iterating toward openness,
I've been at the Hewlett OER grantees conference in Sausalito the last few days and I find myself agreeing with David Wiley in this post: "The biggest surprises to me were the number of times the phrase “high quality” came up, and what a strong, negative reaction I had each time I heard the word." Same here! "'High quality' sounds like it’s dealing with a core issue, while actually dodging the core issue. The phrase is sneaky and deceptive.... when people say “high quality” they actually mean all these things (author credentials, review by faculty, copyediting, etc.) except effectiveness." Wiley won't say this, but in my view it's a way for publishers to weasel into a position of being the sole provider of open educational resources, because of course nobody else could produce "high quality" materials.
State of the Commons
Report from Creative Commons on, well, the state of Creative Commons. A.k.a. "the Commons". The short version: we are up to 882 million CC-licensed works (I have maybe 30K of those, counting OLDaily posts and photographs). According to the table, more works are licenses as CC-by than of non-commercial variants (which I don't believe). And they continue (erroneously) to lable licenses allowing commercial licensing as "more open" (tell that to some poor schmuck staring at a paywall). I'm frankly this close to dropping support for Creative Commons over this issue. 14 countries (they say) have made national commitments to open education (according to this, Scotland is a country). Update Cable Green writes to state that the data are here. If we don't count each of 111 million Wikipedia articles as a separate item, the statistics look very different.
Students cheated by posting test questions on social media
This article approaches the issue from a very different perspective, depicting Pearson as aggressively attacking the cheating problem, and acting to enforce its own copyright. "Pearson... has found more than 70 instances in six states of students posting testing materials on a public social media site, according to spokesman Jesse Comart," says the article. "'We are not delving into people's profiles. We are looking for inappropriate sharing of the intellectual property,' said Steve Addicott, vice president of Caveon, the test security subcontractor." This is a softball article suggesting that Pearson is responding to criticism with a PR campaign. But there are deeper implications: first, that the spying is widespread, and second, the extension of copyright into the enforcement of testing.
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