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