Thursday, March 20, 2008

Open access education at Otago Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic, the institution I work for, is a tertiary education provider in Dunedin, New Zealand. It provides a range of vocational courses from Certificate in Automotive Engineering to MA Midwifery.

Otago Polytechnic has a policy of open access intellectual property in conjunction with creative commons with attribution. I was very interested to find out more about this, especially as I am currently developing a paper that supports the development of open access midwifery education courses.

So I asked Deputy Chief Executive Dr Robin Day a couple of questions to explain more about why and how Otago Polytechnic supports open access.

What is Otago Polytechnic's Open Access policy?
Otago Polytechnic has considered the issues around open access to information and Intellectual Property over the past couple of years and have come to the view that to be consistent with our strategies around teaching and learning and research, we need to have a much more open view. The recognition of Creative Commons with attribution as our default position has been widely accepted and feedback has been that it has been instrumental in building OP's reputation as an educational provider.

Why did OP come up with this policy?
We struggled somewhat with the traditional views of controlling ownership / copyright and found these to be very restrictive. Significant feedback from staff was that we needed to be more open to support creative thinking and application of theory to practice in a way that was less constraining. This debate took a significant amount of time with key stakeholders and the outcomes were a change in our position to be less restrictive and more open. Similar moves of course are happening in many areas including things like Wikieducator, open source learning / software and so on.

What are the benefits for OP?

The benefits are many - including reputation as a quality place of learning. We are much more open and collaborative and the networking of individuals is not constrained artificially. Individuals are less likely to feel that their creative works are going to be taken from them and indeed will, and are feeling supported in developments

What about the danger of other institutions using OPs material and running the courses themselves in competition with OP?

Well they might do that - however we will gain the reputation over time of being a quality provider especially since under CC they have to attribute the source to OP. Those institutions will do that anyway - they will just go somewhere else. It's better to work with them, I think.

I would love to hear what people think of this. What is your institution's policy about open access and intellectual policy? Do you know of any open access midwifery education?

Image: Otago Polytechnic F Block


willie campbell said...

I have found creative commons very acceptable for photos of the Christchurch demolition.
and regular copyright very difficult to manage in my role as a church organist when we try to intoduce new music to the congregation.
so bring on Creative commons I say.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Willie, have you found people publishing their photos of Christchurch with a CC licence?