Monday, August 25, 2008

Working with an open access intellectual policy

A couple of things have made me reflect on how it is for me to be working under an institutional intellectual policy that recognizes the individual's ownership of intellectual property, and encourages open sharing of knowledge and resources.

Otago Polytechnic IP policy
Otago Polytechnic has a default creative commons attribution license to all its material and resources, and recognizes personal ownership of the intellectual property of staff and students in its IP policy.

I have been very aware of the IP policy and I guess I have got to the stage that I take it for granted. But it wasn't until I attended the Heywire8 Think Tank on Friday that I truly realized the significance of this amazingly stance taken by the Otago Polytechnic leadership, Phil Ker and Robin Day. For example, I did not realize that Otago Polytechnic was the first educational institution in the world to take this stance with regard to IP. And it was inspiring to see how excited the Think Tank participants - e-learning leaders of New Zealand - were about working to make this a national approach to educational resources.

The other thing that has made me reflect on the IP policy is a comment Lorna Davies made when she heard the details from Leigh Blackall at the DEANZ conference last week. Lorna says

What this session did for me was to bring home the huge responsibility that this inverted policy places on staff. I appreciate that they retain rights over their own material
but they also incur a considerable amount of responsibility.

What I feel is a great sense of liberation knowing that my material is my own. I am free to share my teaching materials in forums such as Slideshare and YouTube. I can take my material with me when I leave my employment. I do not have to worry that my employer will rebuke me if I use my materials outside the institution. Yes, I have a responsibility to be professional about my behavior, but the fact that I am being treated like a grown up encourages my loyalty to my employer.

At the moment the courses I teach are closed, which causes a dissonance between the policy and the realities of what I do. But the foundation for open sharing of midwifery education has been laid, and that is a very exciting prospect.

Image: HeyWire Think Tank Leigh Blackall


Leigh Blackall said...

Nice post Sarah, something that needs to be added: You can take your stuff with you if you leave - very true, but because you licensed in CC By, we can keep using it if you leave too :)

I am involved in a $500 000 collaborative project between about 5 Institutions in NZ looking at educational uses of SL. It wasn't that hard to get all of them to agree with using a CC By license. I wonder if you could offer some ideas or comment on the perceived difficulty between Otago and Canterbury as they approach their Midwifery collaboration. Is there anyone proposing the use of a CC By license for the development? Is there any one there to explain the workings of it and how it will likely simplify a lot of what follows? Is it really too difficult to get CPIT to look at it?

One thing about adopting a CC By license for teh Midwifery project - while it would simplify so much and offer a great range of flexibility, it will limit what you can do with 3rd party media such as commercial text books and the like. If you are not creating your own materials you will be compelled to look for open educational resources or create them. If you used restricted materials you will have to restrict access and resuability for those materials. Hopefully the project will decide to go open by default, and restrict where necessary, rather than restrict everything and open only when a staff member like you pushes hard enough.

Sarah Stewart said...

To be honest, I am not sure what the project members have decided about access to content. The course is being developed in Moodle as a closed course. But resources are being made like videos, and I don't know if they will be shared on sites like YouTibe - I certainly hope so.

I think there growing interest for open access resources like small post graduate papers, that can be used to hook in midwives to support our students.

What has been very pleasing has been the response to the last open online seminar led by Sally Baddock:

I have had a great response from women (not midwives) who have wanted to know more about the online seminars & be invited to the next one. I would like to explore the potential of involving consumers in online programs. Eg, I have been having great fun with hbacmama (a consumer) in the role play of some post graduate midwives learning about nutrition: