by Stephen Downes
Aug 08, 2016
This is a pretty good post, but it leaves me hanging at the end. The 'boring way' of implementing Open educational Practice (OEP) is, as Jones describes it, is to "spend the time and effort to polish course materials into a book and make that book openly available to all." Fairly common, but yeah, fairly mundane. As less boring, them, maybe "trying to move beyond seeing it as a book?" Or maybe "what Wiley calls renewable assessments?" So OK, but inevitably someone calls for a "centralized repository" of student assignments. And we're back to boring (and unworkable) again. "Integrate this type of assessment into Scootle or related services?" Not bad, but it's not federated, and it's not connected. So then, instead, we should...
A common trend in business writing recently has been to drop the determiner (so, for example, writing 'Business case is solid' instead of 'The business case is solid.') I think the belief is that it appears more efficient, but I just read it as more illiterate. The title of this article indicates the need for a determiner; I read it as meaning "There has been little tribute to Tim..." when the author meant "A little tribute..." or even better "My little tribute..."). I know it seems picky, but it's a really common error, and indicates sloppiness of thought.
Along those lines, Donald Clark writes, "Without the World Wide Web there would be no search, web content such as Wikipedia, open educational resources, online learning, online games, online book stores or social media." I would never belittle the huge contribution made by Tim Berners-Lee, but it's just not true. In fact, on the internet, 25 years ago we already had many of these things, in the firm of FTP, email archives, Archie, Gopher, adventure games and MUDs, UseNet, IRC, fidonet and shareware, and more. The internet was a wonderful and beautiful place even before the web came along, and while Berners-Lee certainly enhanced it, he didn't create it. We did. All of us.
That's also why you don't capitalize 'internet' or 'web'. We say the internet, the web - it's a description, not a name.
Who should own the intellectual property arising out of a student's work on a thesis, or a professor's work in academia? How about government researchers? With respect to the former, the Financial Post reflexively says "institutions should get out of the way as much as possible." But it's far from clear institutions are actually in the way - they may well have created the conditions that made the invention possible in the first place. And not everyone wants to become an entrepreneur. Though if it's a student, iit should be clear that they are not employees and should own what they create outright. So in fact the best approach might be what we actually have in Canada, a patchwork of approaches that attract different types of academics. And as for government institutions? Give it back to the people in the form off public domain knowledge, or give the developer room to spin it off as a new enterprise. The worst thing to do is to give government-created IP to large corporations (especially foreign corporations).
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