Free the OERs?

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Over the last few years, the adjective “open” in Open Education Resources (OER) has come to mean “free.”  That is, an OER, for all practical purposes is being interpreted by most people as Web-based materials that are free of cost.  In addition, some (many?) are claiming that for an OER to really be an OER, it must carry a CC BY license.  If these things are in fact true, that would mean that if you find something on the WWW, you don’t have to pay to use it, you can change it any way you like, use it any way you like – whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes, just so long as you give attribution to your source.  Sounds pretty liberal to me.  Maybe too liberal? What do you think?

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3 Responses to “Free the OERs?”

  1. drstong Says:

    I’m not following how the leap from OERs to all web content is being made. Yes- some sort of misguided legislation making any web published content free to re-use is beyond liberal. To make content that gets the label ‘OER’ require a CC BY license, though, seems pretty reasonable.

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  2. Sorel Reisman, MERLOT Managing Director Says:

    OER refers to Web-based materials that may/will be used for teaching. learning, and/or research. Not any and all Web-based materials. See the original definition at http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education/open-educational-resources. Check out the IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol 57, No 4, Nov 2014 Guest Editorial: Open Education Resources in Engineering Education: Various Perspectives Opening the Education of Engineers for a more contemporary view of OER definitions.

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  3. drstong Says:

    Sorel, I’m familiar with the definition; thanks. I’m thrown by the line in the post that says if these things are true, then ” if you find something on the WWW, you don’t have to pay to use it, you can change it any way you like, use it any way you like” I take that as a leap from just finding an OER to finding any content. Possibly I’m misreading.

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