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Online Resource Survey

  • 1.  Online Resource Survey

    Posted 21 days ago

    I'm a current MA student. For my dissertation, I'm researching Open Educational Resources (OER) for English Language learners. OER are free educational materials that have limited to no copyright rules. This is fantastic for new teachers and learners! But when things are free, it's hard to know if they are quality. The idea is to establish whether this specific textbook series is a "good" one for learning grammar.

    Many of you have likely spent hours pouring over online materials for use in your teaching and learning. So have I! I have a huge range of resources save on my computer although most have remained unused because I don't have the time to evaluate them all.

    I chose this topic long before the current pandemic, but it has certainly become even more important now for teachers and learners to have access to online materials! If you have taught or studied the English language, I'd so appreciate you taking my survey for my dissertation.

    Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UniofNottingham-aexreh-OER-Textbooks



  • 2.  RE: Online Resource Survey

    Posted 6 days ago
    Do you have a link to the OER textbook so that I can see it fully in context? Thanks.

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    Charity Davenport
    Instructor
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
    United States
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  • 3.  RE: Online Resource Survey

    Posted 5 days ago
    On 2020/06/19 at 08:50pm, Rebecca Haymore via TESOL International Association wrote:

    > For my dissertation, I'm researching Open Educational Resources (OER)
    > for English Language learners. OER are free educational materials that
    > have limited to no copyright rules.

    OERs can be excellent resources, for sure, and I am very happy to see
    that people are researching the quality of various OERs.

    However, to be fair to the people who make Open Educational Resources,
    we should not oversimplify the copyright status of the resources. Some
    may in fact be put into the public domain and have no copyright
    attached, but the majority that I am aware of are fully / normally
    copyrighted. Enforcement of copyright is the threat that prevents
    exploitation of the resource in ways that the copyright holder does not
    allow.

    This is why most OERs are licensed, for example, under Creative Commons
    or similar licenses. If you breach the license in some way, then it
    dissolves and you (the ex-licensee) are left having probably breached
    copyright. If you breach the license and broke copyright (by, for
    example sharing or selling the work), then you can be taken to court for
    damages.

    I hope this does not come across as pedantic. Many people do not
    understand copyright ("If it is on the Internet, it is free to use,
    right?"), and it is not fair to those who work to make resources freely
    available to say that OERs are somehow not copyrighted. We should
    understand how OERs, copyright, and open licenses work so that we can
    understand what we can do with OERs as well as what we cannot do with
    non-OER materials.

    Good luck with your research.

    --
    Chris Spackman chris@osugisakae.com

    ESL Coordinator The Graham Family of Schools
    ESL Instructor Columbus State Community College
    Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Wajima, Ishikawa 1995-1998
    Linux user since 1998 Linux User #137532




  • 4.  RE: Online Resource Survey

    Posted 4 days ago
    To clarify a couple of points. All OER materials are copyrighted simply because all materials placed in a fixed medium are
    copyrighted. The difference is that OER can be copyrighted in ways that allow them to be more easily shared without having
    to receive persmission. So there are rules but they are different. That is the purpose of using Creative Commons, which allows the creators of materials to copyright their material in the ways they want. In some countries, copyrighted materials can be used under certain circumstances based on a fair use defense.
    However, these uses may be ligitated if the owner of the copyright wishes; by using Creative Commons. Creative Commons was
    designed to avoid the litigation attached to fair use claims and allow creators to determine how they want their materials used. These materials
    therefore can be used without permission or payment but perhaps only in certain ways or with the attribution of the creator, who can determine
    whether they want these materals used commercially or if they want them to be revised by other teahers. Personally, I only want my name acknowledged
    but that is determine by me and not the court. Good luck with your research

    ------------------------------
    Joel Bloch
    Ohio State University
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Online Resource Survey

    Posted 4 days ago
    On 2020/07/06 at 11:30am, Joel Bloch via TESOL International Association wrote:

    > All OER materials are copyrighted simply because all materials placed
    > in a fixed medium are copyrighted.

    True.

    > The difference is that OER can be copyrighted in ways that allow them
    > to be more easily shared without having to receive persmission. So
    > there are rules but they are different.

    Not correct. They are copyrighted in exactly the same way as everything
    else. The difference is that they are additionally *licensed* for other
    uses. The license is separate from the copyright.

    > That is the purpose of using Creative Commons, which allows the
    > creators of materials to copyright their material in the ways they
    > want. In some countries, copyrighted materials can be used under
    > certain circumstances based on a fair use defense.

    I'm sure we are talking about the same thing, but I worry that saying
    that CC-licensed works are under a different sort of copyright is
    inaccurate and misleading. Copyright is copyright. Ignoring the topic of
    copyright registration, which is not relevant here, the only "change" a
    creator can make to copyright is to place their work into the public
    domain - giving up *ALL* copyright protections. All works are either
    "copyrighted" or "not copyrighted" (public domain).

    Fair use is an element of copyright law and has nothing to do with
    Creative Commons or other open content licensing. This is because open
    content licenses are licenses, and not copyright.

    Fair use of CC and non-CC works should work mostly the same, in law. I
    say mostly because fair use is a gray area that is often determined by a
    judge, if the dispute makes it that far. Fair use has nothing to do with
    open licenses. You are free, for example, to use a short portion of a
    longer CC-licensed work in a non-CC work, regardless of the license
    terms, just as you could do so with a short passage from a traditionally
    published novel or a quote from a news article.

    > Creative Commons was designed to avoid the litigation attached to fair
    > use claims and allow creators to determine how they want their
    > materials used.

    I've not heard this explanation before. Open content licenses (starting,
    iirc, with the GNU Free Documentation License around 1999) are based on
    the GNU Free Software licenses (starting, I believe with the GNU General
    Public License [GNU GPL]) and other open software licenses as applied to
    non-code content. The GPL is intended to protect the freedoms the GNU
    people believe are necessary for ethical computing: "the users have the
    freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the
    software." (from https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html). The GNU
    Free Documentation License works in the same vein - users should have
    the moral right to copy, modify, and distribute non-code
    content. Creative Commons came along a bit later, based on the Open
    Source movement (which is basically watered-down GNU ideals). Nowhere
    in that history is anything having to do with fair use litigation.

    I would never be allowed, for example, to re-publish an entire (non-CC)
    multi-page work under fair use. It would be clear cut copyright
    infringement. I suspect I would be laughed out of court if I tried to
    claim fair use for distributing digital copies of an entire (non-CC)
    textbook. One or two pages of the book, there I might have a strong fair
    use claim, and sure, it may end up in litigation if the original
    publisher wanted to make a point.

    BUT, as I understand it, avoiding any sort of copyright litigation
    (whether over fair use or not) is not at all the purpose of Creative
    Commons or other open content licenses. The license, as you point out,
    gives the recipient permissions that copyright does not allow. Those are
    not copyright permissions, however, they are licensing permissions.

    If my license says that you can modify and share my work, but you must
    give me credit, then if you do that but don't give me credit, you have
    breached the license. NOW, without the license protecting you, copyright
    law kicks in - did you distribute MY book (esp. more than fair use might
    allow)? Did you change MY book (in any way)? Oops, sucks to be you, the
    courts will likely rule in my favor because you infringed my
    copyright. You are free to try to argue that you didn't actually breach
    the license, but then we are litigating your actions vis-a-vis the
    license and not copyright law. These two are separate.

    Notice that in this example, the copyright on my CC-licensed work is
    exactly the same as the copyright on a traditionally published
    work. There is no difference. If we have gone to court for copyright
    issues, it is because the license is already null and void.

    I apologize because I'm sure this comes across as pedantic. I think it
    is important, though, for educators to understand copyright law so that
    they can better understand the transformative nature of OERs for
    education.

    Unfortunately, some online OER repositories have already started trying
    to water down the CC licenses under which the materials they curate (but
    don't always produce) are licensed. For example, iirc, some try to
    require that if you use the works they make available, you must include
    links to their site on every page and you must tell google not to index
    your version (so that only their version shows up in search
    results). Requirements such as these are *not* supported by CC
    licensing. Other sites make it almost impossible to download the "open"
    resource in a way that is actually modifiable, despite that being a
    specific requirement in CC licenses. For example, PDF files, in my
    opinion, are not open enough to fulfill the "[l]icensees cannot use
    technological measures to restrict access to the work by others"
    requirement.

    IANAL and this is not legal advice. But, in my defense, I've been
    working with open content and open content licenses since before
    Creative Commons or even the GNU Free Documentation License (publicly)
    existed. That said, I may not be aware of all new developments in
    copyright law, so if there are court rulings that have materially
    changed the relationship between open content licenses and copyright
    laws, I would love to learn about them.

    If you made it this far, thank you for your time.

    Stay safe.

    --
    Chris Spackman chris@osugisakae.com

    ESL Coordinator The Graham Family of Schools
    ESL Instructor Columbus State Community College
    Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Wajima, Ishikawa 1995-1998
    Linux user since 1998 Linux User #137532




  • 6.  RE: Online Resource Survey

    Posted 4 days ago
    Excellent points made here. From the consumer's standpoint, awareness of copyright is vital to avoiding problems later in OERs. Creators of content need to be aware also of copyleft, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft

    Copyleft, according to Wikipedia, is "as distinguished from copyright, is the practice of offering people the right to freely distribute copies and modified versions of a work with the stipulation that the same rights be preserved in derivative works created later.[1] Copyleft software licenses are considered protective or reciprocal, as contrasted with permissive free-software licenses.

    The license I convey in most of what I put online is Creative Commons 4.0 at-by-sa
    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

    WIth this license users are "free to:
    Share - copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
    Adapt - remix, transform, and build upon the material
    for any purpose, even commercially."

    That last item is particularly important, because if you intend for your work to be shared with academic institutions that collect tuition from students, then they are commercial. Audits of OERs on university websites have revealed the existence of artifacts there that were not free to distribute commerically (needs to be specified by the content creator). At university's conducting such audits, this results in the need to selectivly dismantle components in a syllabus that inadvertently contain items put there by a teacher perhaps long departed who used them in materials that students in your program have been enjoying ever since.

    So these are things to be aware of, espcially by content creators who truly wish to make their work available on an attitbution, share-alike basis, for future users, even in commercial institutions.

    Note that share-alike means the artifacts can be share with users who pay tuition as long as YOUR works are shared the same way as specified in your licence. The license noted above specifies that items are shareable ...

    Under the following terms:
    Attribution - You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

    ShareAlike - If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

    hth,

    Vance



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    VanceStevens
    Malaysia
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