Enabling open education in Australia by supporting open licensing decisions

Padgett, L; Wright, R; Bossu, Carina and Whitehead, D (2017). Enabling open education in Australia by supporting open licensing decisions. In: Proceedings of the 2017 ODLAA conference, 5-7 Feb 2017, Melbourne, Australia, Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia, p. 1.

URL: http://ecite.utas.edu.au/117327


In a response to the rapid development of MOOCs by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) globally, the Australian Trade Commission (Australian Trade Commission, 2012, p. 1) provided that "education systems around the world are on the brink of major transformation" and "to increase higher education participation rates, learning outcomes, graduation rates and employability, a strategic rethink of the current education model is required." In the years following this statement we have seen HEIs providing free online courses, coupled with innovative approaches to the delivery and use of open educational resources (OER), assessment practices, credentialing and teaching and learning practices.

HEIs are now looking beyond the MOOC and engaging in new approaches to the delivery of education described by some commentators as "post-traditional" (Butcher & Hoosen, 2014, p. 2). New delivery models include new types of informal short courses and approaches to certification, growing openness in access to intellectual capital, and a lively diversification of teaching and learning methods.

However, Australian universities are not well positioned to participate in new approaches because there are still unresolved issues of copyright. Australian copyright law is not as flexible as that of the United States and other competitor countries (Harris, 2013), and the impact of this on open educational practices (OEP) has not been widely analysed. Unlike the US, Australian copyright law does not contain exceptions which would permit even limited open publication of copyright material for educational purposes (Wyburn, 2006). Therefore to include copyright material, such as text, images and audio-visual content, in open course offerings, Australian universities must understand the limitations of existing copyright exceptions. Not only must they be able to source content which meets their needs, but they must make important decisions about how to license their own open courseware for student users and further re-use by other teachers (Butler, 2012).

Australia will benefit by maximizing access to open content. Therefore, universities and individuals engaging in post-traditional delivery models in Australia need clear information and practical tools to ensure that best practice open licensing solutions are adopted that meet their needs. This showcase session will discuss some key elements of the Open Education Licensing (OEL) Project, which has been funded by the Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching. One of the aims of the project is to empower Australian universities to understand and implement effective licensing practices for opening access to educational content. In particular, the session will explore the project's main deliverable; the OEL toolkit. The toolkit provides a practical mechanism for Australian universities to engage with copyright licensing matters within their own OEP initiatives and make business and licensing decisions around the deployment of open course material. It is also a web based online tool that will enable Australian higher education teachers, instructional designers, educational developers, policy makers and other university staff to create a body of open content which will assist to enhance learning and teaching within higher education in Australia and globally.

This showcase session will engage the audience in discussion and activities at different stages of the presentation. These discussions will invite participants to critically reflect on their current learning and teaching practices and how the toolkit can be useful to them and their institutions.

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