This is the first day of the New Faculty Experience (NFE) at Fleming College. I’m looking forward to learning more about good practice in teaching and evaluation. It’s also great to have a length of time dedicated to developing a learning community amoung colleagues, so that we might share experiences, successes, and failures. I think our experiences are as diverse as the individuals we teach, so being able to connect with others who have already tried a particular teaching tool or used a certain type of activity in class will be able to explain the benefits and drawbacks.
It’s also a great time to really absorb some of the expertise of the LDS team! By the end of this week I hope to have a mind full of fresh ideas to bring to the classroom to increase student success.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26633780@N08/
Featured image credit: “Creative Commons Global summit 2017 – Day 3” flickr photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg https://flickr.com/photos/ter-burg/33984477750 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Putting in a request to attend the Creative Commons Global Summit, I had a small idea of what to expect, but, after attending, I now realize the far reaching potential of this new way to license material.
The beginning of the conference—I must admit—was very confusing. Creative Commons had been completely restructuring their global network into country teams and platforms. I imagine such an initiation into the CC community is like attending the last of a long series of meetings and overhearing all the decisions that were made, but having no idea what the problems were and why they needed to be solved. However, after attending various smaller sessions that focused on education, it became clear why this is such a big deal to colleges.
The desired change is quite simple. For example, in terms of textbooks, the CC community would like an open access policy to prevail, namely one that allows a community to continually access, add, remove, supplement, or remix textbook content. At first glance this seems like a project of chaos, with different people haphazardly changing content on a continual basis. However, practically speaking, the process of preparing or revising an open textbook occurs in a much more organized manner. British Columbia, for example, has been incredibly dedicated to developing open textbooks. With grant money from the provincial government, textbooks have been written or adapted. This model is groundbreaking because there is no copyright license preventing someone from taking their work and changing it. Even Ontario can take it and use it! They can adapt the questions to suit a local context, or use government money to better the graphic design or provide illustrations for particularly difficult concepts. In essence, everyone can add to it and improve it. Once Ontario has improved it, British Columbia can take what we’ve done and continue to build off from it with newer updated versions.
The chaos that one may imagine in this new approach to ownership is out of place, at least in the creation of open textbooks. Anyone may take and use the textbook, but the “official” Ontario textbook would be the one that has been revised by a team of writers, copy editors, editors, graphic designers, etc. and is hosted on the official Ontario website. There isn’t a nomadic, confused textbook floating around the Internet that everyone is constantly changing, all the while subject to trolls and every other ill of the world wide web. Like regular published books, the open textbooks are put together with the same professional processes as regular for-profit books, but there is no copyright attached to the created material—once finished, it’s for the benefit of everyone. Anyone can take it and use it. For example, if Ontario funds a Chemistry textbook, the whole world may download it, change it, expand it, and share it—including Fleming College. Pay to access textbooks won’t open as many doors for learners. To me, this seems a better representation of the goals of education.
The big fear in all of this is the concern of someone stealing another’s work. Attribution is the answer here. For example, if I create a great chapter of a textbook and another college comes and takes it, they’ll be bound, according to the CC license, to attribute authorship to the original author. As well, the CC license can prevent any kind of for-profit use of the book if the author does not want it. No one can start printing it and selling it for a profit without the consent of the author(s). There are lawyers and policy advocates working alongside the Creative Commons team to ensure this system of licensing, as an alternative to copyright, has binding rules and regulations that prevent people from abusing products within this open access culture. The breadth of this new system of ownership and culture is vast and there are many ways to control how one’s own creations are protected. In other words, the creators of content can choose exactly how they want their material used by the world.
There’s so much more that can be said about the Creative Commons community, but hopefully this provides some preliminary insight. Also, here is a link describing how eCampus Ontario is in the process of launching a library of post-secondary open textbooks and here is a link to textbooks already available through BCcampus—there’s 187 of them so far.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.