Open Educational Resources and the Creative Commons (part 2)

This is a guest post by Graham R Gibbs, University of Huddersfield

Using materials produced by other people

Yesterday, I discussed using the Creative Commons licence on materials you want to release as OERs. Today I want to discuss how you might make OERs and particularly how you might find images, sounds, music and other media that you might want to include in your OER.

A few years ago I worked on a Jisc funded project that was part of a programme that was promoting the creation and use of OERs in higher and further education. As we worked with academics helping them create OERs from their teaching materials it became clear that a major issue we had to address was these academics’ use of materials created by others, such as images taken from the Internet. If you use other people’s images, sounds and music in your OERs, then unless they have made them free to re-use you will need to get their permission and possibly pay royalties to use them in your OER. Many academics forget this or think that because they are using these materials only in the limited arena of the university they don’t need to seek permission or pay royalties. Actually for some materials, like off-air video recordings we are allowed to use them freely in education. However, once we incorporate them into our resources and make them widely available as OERs that waiver no longer applies.

Fortunately there is a large number of images, sounds and music available that are free to use and which you will not have to pay for. Some are in the public domain (for example many old images and photos) but many use a version of the Creative Commons (CC) licence. Some use the version of the CC licence that allows the re-use of material in the educational, non-profit making field with just the condition that the original creators of the material are given appropriate credit. If you use a CC licence too then (making sure you respect any share alike conditions) it is relatively easy to use material licenced this way.

How can you find these resources? In the case of photographic and other images, there are two main sources, Flickr where you can limit your searches to images with a Creative Commons licence and Wikimedia Commons. To find images and photos with open licences it is easiest to use the facility in Google Images search to find only images with specified licences. Use the Advance Search option under Setting in Google Images.

The situation for music is a bit more complicated. There are more sources and they are of varying quality, variety and licencing. A good list of websites that have royalty free music can be found in the Creative Commons website. If you are making an OER video and include unlicensed music, for example copied from CDs or purchased MP3s then you risk being detected very quickly as a potential copyright infringer if you upload your video to YouTube. I have even been challenged when using out of copyright music from the 19th century in a video of a friend performing. (I successfully repudiated the challenge.)

When you use material with the Creative Commons licence, make sure you keep to the terms of the licence (e.g. giving appropriate credit to the creator) and that you make clear in your resource (or in the information that accompanies it) that this material is licenced under the CC licence.

How to share OERs

When I started sharing educational resources it was well before the days of the Internet. Sharing then meant distributing printed booklets or sending out floppy discs and this required finding some organisation that would promote the sharing. Bodies like the subject centres created by the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP) – forerunner of the now defunct HEA subject centres – were key in such distribution. But the widespread use of the Internet and the growth of the World Wide Web changed all that.

Now, establishing and running websites was possible and with the help of ESRC and then HEA funding I and colleagues established the OnlineQDA website. Originally this promoted and supported the use of software for qualitative data analysis, but later we refocused the site on all forms of analysis. When we started, this required expertise in running websites and writing the HTML code needed for web pages. But now there is a range of options offered by most ISPs and Domain Name Registries which do not require great programming expertise to create webpages. And there are blogging systems like WordPress and Blogger that make it almost easy to establish your own website.

As it’s on the web, the OnlineQDA website is an open resource for anyone to use. And many do. We have about 150 unique users per day on the site and it is linked to by many other websites and used by students and courses around the world. I have recently found links to the site from the online materials accompanying text books on research methods and some of the materials have been used in the creation of US university text books.

However, running and updating a website is a big commitment and fortunately there are alternatives available if you just want to disseminate your educational resources. There are now several repositories that are designed for sharing open educational resources. In the UK, the most important of these is Jorum. This was established by Jisc about 10 years ago and has recently undergone an overhaul that significantly improved the design of the interface and greatly improved the search engine. I have deposited various materials in the Jorum repository. For example, I wrote (or at least rewrote) a manual on NVivo v. 10 (qualitative data analysis software) and deposited this as a pdf in May 2013. It has now had over 434 downloads (see Fig.1).

Graph showing the Jorum download record for the NVivo 10 Introductory Manual.

Fig.1. The Jorum download record for the NVivo 10 Introductory Manual.

Sadly, Jisc is no longer developing Jorum and its future is somewhat uncertain, though I believe Jisc is trying to work out alternative ways in which it might continue to operate. You can follow the developments of the retirement of Jorum on the JISC blog.

Of course, for those of us here at the University of Huddersfield, we have our own repository which can be used to share OERs. I have used this too to deposit booklets, videos and data sets that are openly available. One booklet has proved puzzlingly popular. This is a volume about software for use in the social sciences that I wrote back in 1996. People must be sorely disappointed when they download this very out-of-date document!

Creative Commons Licence
“Open Educational Resources and the Creative Commons” by Graham R Gibbs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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About talintuoh

Supporting and connecting colleagues to develop inspiring and innovative teaching and learning
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