Content Without Borders

Various authors, Pearson / Equella, Sept 04, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Someone sent me this link, which is to a Pearson Education sponsored open educational resources page featuring one of my talks in a prominent role. Although I have no great affection for commercial publishers, I have no problem with them making these resources freely available. Contrast that with this article from the New York Times touting the "free online" University of the People - which charges people to access content and to take exams. This has the OER University Groups thread in a roil - Steve Foerster writing "it shouldn't be touted as 'free' when it isn't," and Wayne Mackintosh adding "it would be great if institutions providing more affordable access to open education would share back any value additions based on OERs they have received freely." But the defenders of the so-called 'free' Creative Commons licenses, which allow commercial use, are defending exctly this sort of scenario. Rory McGreal even suggests that blocking content behind a tuition wall may be allowed even then a "non-commercial" license is used. But this isn't why people use these licenses. They use them because they want the content to be accessible without barriers, not locked away to give some enterprise something to sell. Funny that Pearson seems to get this, while some of the most vocal defenders of open educational resources do not. Image: UOP Founder Shai Reshef.

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