In celebration of this week’s open education week, we want to highlight how important all forms of open practice are. This was something we have tried to emphasize in our forthcoming book, Copyright and E-learning: a guide for practitioners. If you start with the principles of openness and sharing your resources then it changes how you go about producing them in the first place.
I have always found that open education principles are an opportunity to teach people about copyright in a positive way. They are ultimately about sharing and collaboration. The idea of ‘why reinvent the wheel?’ We should be able to use others’ good ideas for teaching and Creative Commons formalises this. However openness does mean agreeing to let go of the reins a little with how people might use and interpret your ideas. This is something you have to be comfortable with. If you are assigning a CC licence think hard about which one to choose – do you mind people adapting your work and what about if they decide to use it to make money? While the most permissive licences are great I try to imagine situations where I might be less happy with my work being used. Sometimes it varies according to what you have produced. If it’s a research paper then I am always happy for people to read it, to quote from it and there is an accepted way of citing and acknowledging me. However if I share my educational resources such as slides or worksheets or in the case of the card game, actual files to make the cards I am less happy about a commercial organisation using them to make a profit. In these cases I would recommend a non commercial or sharealike licence. People can always ask permission for other uses.
I’m a big advocate of Creative Commons and sharing, however I think the decisions over licences and reuse of our work are highly personal and something worth considering in detail at the start of a new venture. Just as copyright is not an after thought, neither is the decision to be open and to share.