Community workshop:IPR and copyright when sharing educational resources

Community workshop: 

IPR and copyright when sharing educational resources 

University of Southampton, 14 December 2009


IPR for OER: sharing experiences and solutions by Alison Dickens, Director of HumBox Project

Ali Dickens got us off to a prompt start, helpfully reminding us that panic and anxiety were being dealt with in a different academic gathering at the Avenue Campus in Southampton.  This message was indubitably a helpful reassurance to the 40 or so visitors we welcomed to the University of Southampton.  We had gathered to explore the many questions related to IPR and educational resources in open sharing and to understand ways in which we, as a community, can begin to address them.  Ali scoped the currently existing landscape for the area in a succinct presentation.  We were at the start of a day ‘of two halves’ – in the morning we were to share experiences, current practices, attitudes and concerns and identify the real issues.  During the afternoon, we would be addressing concerns, looking to manage the risks and to consider possible workflows to enable pracitioners across the academic community to access some real tools.  Ali stated the core question as:  what are the real risks associated with OERs and how can these risks be managed?

The HumBox Project: practical issues in IPR for OER by   Erika Corradini, Digital Rights Officer on the HumBox Project 

Erika provided an excellent summary of the practical issues which the HumBox Project (OER project based at the HE Academy Subject Centre for LLAS, Southampton) has already faced.  Erika offered a useful, compact workflow diagram to be used for guidance by creators of educational content.     

 IPR for OER by Hugh Davis, Director of Education (with responsibility for elearning), University of Southampton and director of EdShare 

Hugh provided us with an entertaining, and stimulating.  He described the current position of the VLE in UK HE institutions – a good, safe place in which academics can lodge their teaching resources, neither visible nor accessible for collaborative development.  In EdShare, Southampton has developed an educational share which provides a low-threshold simple deposit location for teaching resources with no copyright checks, no quality control and a specific take-down policy.  Hugh identified specific issues of concern to three particular stakeholders in the educational resources space:

 Academics:  to publish resources to students, share resources across teaching teams, share resources with the rest of the world, gain publicity, attract approbation, find other resources which can be re-used, be able to share resources easily, express their academic freedom and exercise their right to generate money from the resources;

Institutions: showcase educational resources – for reputational as well as recruitment reasons; to make money; to improve collaboration and reduce redundancy across resources; to exercise Quality Assurance on teaching resources; access metrics based on activity around resources; remove the risk of losing access to resources when an academic leaves; store ‘crown jewels’; be confident that the university will not be sued; ensure that what is seen publically does not undermine the university’s reputation. 

 UK PLC: the creation of these resources has been publically funded and should be in the public domain, the resources can facilitate ‘learning for life’; the world class quality of UK HE can be demonstrated to the international student market.

 Hugh, from his perspective as director of education with responsibility for elearning challenged the University of Southampton to develop its own clear, educational resource policy to facilitate the continued, responsible and effective development of learning resources.      

 Workshop discussion: Issues and experiences – what are the risks involved in publishing in open content? How likely are they to become real?

We divided into four, facilitated groups (identified prior to the event on the basis of mixing academics, IPR specialists, librarians etc.).  The task was to identify specific risk issues for IPR in educational resources and then to assign a likelihood that the risk might arise.  Finally, if time allowed, we were to identify ways in which the risk might be managed.

  We broke for a short but enjoyable and satisfying lunch. 

IPR in OER: managing risk by Diana Galpin, Heaad of LASS Team and Senior Legal Adviser, Research and Innovation Services, University of Southampton

She provided us with an excellent overview of IPR with respect to education resources prefacing her talk with a statement that what she supports personally is a fundamental commitment to OER tempered by the imperative of acting responsibly. Diana declared her interest in working with Hugh Davis in the University of Southampton to develop a new, workable policy towards IPR in educational resources.

 An innovative IPR checking tool by Will Fyson and Les Carr, Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton

Les Carr has a 3rd year undergraduate students, Will Fyson, who has very recently begun work on developing a practical tool designed to highlight all of the images in a .pttx file, the image identified then links to a search tool – currently primed to search automatically Flickr.  By deploying this resource, content creators can search Creative Commons licensed, or copyright-free images available on the web in order to ensure that they reduce to the very minimum any likelihood of their resources infringing current copyright rules and regulations.

The final session of our day long event was devoted to a panel discussion. The members of the panel being:  Diana Galpin, Les Carr, Chara Balasubramaniam (St George’s Medical School, London), Jason Miles-Campbell (JISC legal, University of Strathclyde), Anna Comas-Quinn (The Open University) and chaired by Hugh Davis. The introduction to the session: Who should engage with copyright within institutions? was provided by Oren Stone, Digital Rights Officer on the HumBox Project.  There was a lively exchange during this session and this brought the whole day to an excellent end. Ali Dickens committed us to communicating further with the community and to implementing some of the suggestions provided for us on the suggestions forms included within the Workshop packs. This work is now beginning to emerge and we will be publicising more actions in the near future. 

Debra Morris

Erika Corradini

December 2009


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