by Stephen Downes
Feb 16, 2016
Proceedings of the European Stakeholder Summit on experiences and best practices in and around MOOCs (EMOOCS 2016)
Mohammad Khalil, Martin Ebner, Michael Kopp, Anja Lorenz, Marco Kalz,
This is the full collection of papers from the European MOOCs Stakeholders Summit. If it had been up to me, I probably wouldn't have crammed all these papers into one single PDF, since you're faced with an all-or-nothing download (as I with an all-or-nothing decision about linking). I wouldn't have put it on ResearchGate either. And I would have used an open license (CC by-NC-SA would have been sufficient for me to repost it on my site to let readers bypass ResearchGate's algorithms). I wouldn't have put all the references in the text in ALL CAPS. And I wouldn't have encrypted the PDF copy/paste function (which also breaks the search function). Ah, but despite all these user-hostile features, it's still a free download, it's still a good read, and you might want to take some time to skim it. But as a research text it's currently useless.
Slow or Sophisticated? Squandered or Sustainable?
iterating toward openness,
David Wiley takes publishers to task for not comprehending the threat of open educational resources. And with $3 billion of financial aid money in the U.S. spent on textbooks and proprietary learning materials, publishers have a lot to worry about. But I'm not sure I agree with his exact argument. Wiley writes, "OER are not a threat to publishers simply because they’re free. OER are a threat to publishers because the 'open' in OER means free plus permissions." The permissions Wiley refers to are the five Rs - retain, revise, reuse, remix, redistribute. Now it's true I think that these are a deeper threat to publishers. But I think that publishers are threatened by free content in and of itself. Moreover, I think that once content is free, there is very little that stops it from becoming open in the sense of the five Rs - after all, if it's all free, where's the harm in retaining it or sharing it? So when Wiley says "Free isn’t the threat to publishers, open is," I think he's only half right. I think they're both threats to publishers.
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