An overview about available creative common licenses. Picture by progressor, no attribution required

In topic 2, the ONL community was confronted with open learning and a scenario in which a teacher is interested in opening up courses and share resources in a responsible way. Within our group, we identified two main areas that we investigated using the FISh model during the two weeks of the topic: firstly, we discussed practical implications and secondly the institutional impact of open learning. We had intense and inspiring discussions and while summarizing our findings in a common “coggle” the complexity of open learning for all players involved (i.e. teachers, students and higher education institutions) became quite obvious. The summary of our discussion can be found here.

For my personal reflection, however, I have chosen another topic that we did not have the chance to discuss in detail in our group. During the introduction of the topic, the question of “how open are you” was raised. I see myself as a quite open person and I share my knowledge, experience and ideas with colleagues and co-workers to a very large extent. The process of sharing, discussing and cooperating is for me an integral part of evolving and developing ideas to a higher intellectual level. In fact, cooperation is an important part that formed our human social development and structures, in contrast to the believe that evolution is mainly based on competition as summarized in a very comprehensive way by Rushkoff.

However, regarding sharing of “physical” resources that I produce for teaching, I came to the conclusion that I want to have a better control of how others make use of my resources. Moreover, I have seen over the years as teacher and researcher that many colleagues and students use (online) resources without referring to the source, in a proper way or at all. And the same is true for a lot of content that is found online generally and in social networks specifically. With this in mind I started to get familiar with creative commons (CC) licencing. CC is a non-profit organisation that makes licenses for creative work freely available for everyone. The creator can give the right to use content already during publishing of the work and by different licenses available define under which conditions the work can be-reused or shared. In contrast to copyright, permission for every specific case has not to be granted before creative work is used or shared by someone else. On the one hand, CC licenses are therefore a simple way to make creative work accessible for sharing while creators get attribution for their work. On the other hand, they are a promising opportunity to enlarge general awareness that creative work has been produced by someone and that the creator has to be acknowledged for the work on terms determined by the creator.

In respect to the new EU copyright directive, I believe that CC licenses can be an integral part of a new era, where internet users don’t just see creative content and resources as freely available common property, but learn how to acknowledge the creator in an appropriate and just way. It might take a few years for users to adjust to the new regulations and get familiar with its utilisation, for the attribution of intellectual property it might however be a step forward. The application of CC licenses (e.g. an integration in Microsoft Office software, on internet pages such as blogs) or the attribution of licenses when using content is very simple. Considering my own resources, it gives me a better control and security in sharing my resources even in a more uncontrollable environment as the internet. In order that the attribution system will work in future, especially teachers have to be consistent regarding referencing in their recourses and strict in demanding the same in resources produced by students.

Open Learning – Sharing and Openness