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Stephen Downes

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OER Panel

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Author: Stephen Downes
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2010 Conference, Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, Saint John, NB, Panel, May 18, 2010.

Three-way discussion, from widely different perspectives on open educational resources. I recorded audio and Grant Potter recorded a UStream video of the panel presentations here (go to 5:45 to get to the actual starting point) and a second part here and a third part here

Two things 1. OERs and commercialization - not just the thing about CC NV licenses, but relevant - there's "free" and there's "free with conditions" and commercial access always involves 'free with conditions' - most common condition is that you have to pay money – which violates any sense of free - but as recent kerfuffle's over Facebook show, conditions can be non-monetary - don't want to define 'free' as "without conditions" but do want to suggest that payments & conditions impose an encumbrance on free, and that I'm generally in support of mechanisms that remove these encumbrances - 'for profit' is not always evil – but they have a history of protecting their turf – and a history of promoting a consumerist model of learning & OERs 2. OERs and consumerism - discussion of OERs typically leads to questions of sustainability - based on the 'publisher' model of OERs - the various 'sustainability models' are usually based on the idea of raising money (through foundationsm, through governments, through upselling, through advertising) and then paying 'content creators' - has resulted in the odd scenario of money destined for international development ending up at MIT, Stanford, Harvard - also raises concerns about the difficulty of localization, cultural imperialism - we need to consider models where producer and consumer are not separate entities - it is in the production of these resources that the greatest learning occurs - production not only teaches, it empowers and emancipates - which to me is th more fundamental meaning of 'free'

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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