The MOOC Misstep and the Open Education Infrastructure

David Wiley, BC Campus, Sept 21, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Useful and interesting article by David Wiley saying some of the things that needed to be said without pulling any punches: "The horrific corruption perpetrated by the Udacity, Coursera, and other copycat MOOCs is to pretend that the last forty years never happened. Their modus operandi has been to copy and paste the 1969 idea of open entry into online courses in 2014."

He then proposes that we be clear about defining a sense of 'open' that is "worth the name". This type of 'open' includes "free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:" retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute. As he writes, "These 5R permissions, together with a clear statement that they are provided for free and in perpetuity, are articulated in many of the Creative Commons licenses."

That's true. And I would include the CC by-NC-SA licenses I use. I think it's consistent with the 5Rs. But - and I think this is really important - the doctrine of fair use should also support these. All these 5Rs were things that I could do with print texts and vinyl LPs and radio broadcasts and the like when I was a kid. It's not that long ago. We shouldn't have to have a special license that allows us to to these things. Unless we're creating some sort of business out of it, we should already have these rights, out of the box.

It wasn't the file-sharers that produced piracy. It was the publishers. It was the expansion of laws governing commerce to include personal and private use. It was the redefinition of formerly legal acts into some new sort of crime. These are the things that produced piracy. The creation of Creative Commons tacitly acknowledged that expansion of copyright limitations as a fait accompli. I don't accept it.

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