MEd Academic Practice – My (Open) Reflections 6

Time for more Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching module (as part of the MED in Academic Practice I’m studying) where pre-session 5 activities (how are we at session 5 out of 6 already?!) focused on OERs…Open Educational Resources, which ‘give access to a wealth of (educational) resources, any time or anywhere’.

Another learning and teaching acronym to add to the mental database. I swear my life is made up of them (in fact manaXi and I actually have an acronym language we use to talk just to each other) as I’ve been splitting my time between CCVA and CFCCA for the last two months.

The first pre-session 5 activity was to complete a short quiz to gauge our current knowledge, awareness and approach to finding and re-purposing other people’s ‘stuff,’ including Open Educational Resources (OERs) specifically our understanding of Copyright and digital Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), the length of UK copyright, IPR and student work, IPR for the work I create through Universities for students, searching strategies for research OER content, the sharing of digital journal articles and more.


For Question 11 (of 12), we were asked to watch a short video called ‘Turning a Resource into an Open Educational Resource (OER)’, which discussed how to embed an open license like a create commons license for your OER and what you need to consider during its creation. Here are the 9 steps outlined in the short animation film…bringing back to the surface my pre-existing Copyright knowledge from 2009. It’s in my head somewhere.

  1. Gather together the resources for your OER (images, letters, manuscripts, diaries, photographs, sculptures, sound recordings and films;
  2. Find out who made the materials – students, freelancers, academics, artists, authors, songwriters and more;
  3. Decide how open you want the resource to be – how will you achieve this? Open source? Creative commons?
  4. Seek permission to use the content in order to license the OER;
  5. What if you can’t trace the rights holder? Perhaps use the OER-IPR support risk management calculator. Do not use? Find something else? Develop risk management strategies to develop the work?
  6. Create meta data about the work;
  7. At meta data and license you’ve chosen to your OER so that it is visible;
  8. Track the use of your OER to see how people use your resource and changing its future;
  9. Look forward to the possibility of lots of people using your OER and it helping others create their own OER.

The final quiz question looked into issues of using pre-existing resources…and made me slightly worry about the content I source and use on my blog here (without referencing)…slightly worry in the respect I need to get better at referencing my image sources.


From the 12 questions, I only got two wrong (the 4 yellow were multiple choice/personal preference answers). I’m pretty impressed that I got that many in green!


Having worked in arts marketing for many years (since 2007) and it being embedded as part of my on-going research and curatorial practice (and life online!), it is something that I regularly have to consider. In fact, I’ve had to think about copyright and IPR twice this week – firstly, for an image that was potentially going to be used for a magazine advert for the new MA Contemporary Arts China course (I’ll share this with you soon!) and secondly, in relation to a recent blog post I wrote on conference outcomes where speakers wanted to clarify their words and image sharing rights. Therefore, without realising, it’s something I confront on a regular basis.

A couple of short pre-recorded presentations started to highlight the specifics of Copyright and Licences and raise critical questions around copyright, using 3rd party content and self-publishing:

  1. Who owns the work you produce as an employee of the university?
  2. Who owns the copyright?
  3. Who will have access to your work?
  4. Who has the right to license your work?
  5. What type of license applies to your work?
  6. Do you have permission from the license holder to use the resources in your work?
  7. Where can you find the BCU Intellectual Property policy?

Also, implications of using the learning resources raise issues of:

  • Access and accessibility
  • e-publishing, legal, IPR, licensing and privacy
  • Open Educational Resources and Open Courses (MOOCs)
  • Quality and Standards
  • Re-usability and longevity
  • Types of repositories
  • BCU licensed resources and learning resources

Is it a minefield using other people’s (digital) resources? Adapted from Littlejohn, A., Falconer, I. and and McGill, L’s 2008 definition published in the article ‘Characterising Effective eLearning Resources’, Computers & Education, of what is a learning resource:

  • Digital assets – a single file
  • Information objects – structured organisation of digital assets just designed to present information
  • Learning objects – one or more objects to create a stand alone unit
  •  Learning activities – used to attain learning outcomes
  • Learning design

We were then asked to select an OER and evaluate its quality as an online learning resources and search engines to see if they can genuinely enhance your teaching and learning. This short quality evaluation form was partly based on a Jisc InfoKit guide to Open Educational Resources (OERs) in HE.

I decided to look at MIT’s OpenCourseware…’a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.’ It aims to “empower minds” and ‘educators to improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective; students find additional resources to help them succeed; and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change, and cancer eradication’ (taken from the OCW website).

“The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.” – Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering

Here are my initial thoughts from using OCW very briefly:

  • Content somewhat outdated;
  • Although there is specific content relevant to Chinese contemporary arts and culture it is in more historical rather than contemporary contexts, thus limited in its relevance. Further searches revealed more relevant content with ‘Fine Arts’;
  • Links to other resources/collaborative content would be useful;
  • Website very text heavy and overwhelming in that respect which I think could put students off using/interacting it;
  • In terms of quality of content and provenance, this is a given due to academic affiliation;
  • Would be interested to know more about MIT TechTV (actually this is no longer live!!!). Also Visualising Cultures (nice link to this image driven scholarship database created by MIT in 2002).

I’m making an assumption that in session 5 we will spend more time looking into and using different OERs, alongside copyright and Intellectual Property Rights. I already envisage a lot of questions and grey area.

Somehow I managed to put my hand on my notes from the 2009 Museums Association workshop on Copyright…and the information still stands 7 years on. The things I keep when there’s the Internet…

TELT OER Copyright 2009

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