Reflection on OLDSMOOC and OERs

OERThis week I was looking at OERs as part of Week 6 in OLDSMOOC.  I tried to find some OERs related to a Moving on with Moodle training course I’m preparing. I’d say this has been a very useful exercise because it’s made me think how I might incorporate OERs and other publicly available materials into what I provide here within the University (as well as making me think I should make some of my materials and courses available as OERs).

The difference between a publicly available website and something that is categorised as OER has me thinking. I can link to either, but if the copyright permission is not explicit, am I allowed to adapt material that is simply publicly available? When does adaptation become plagiarism, when is it simply “inspiration”?  Inspiration is something I get a lot from the Web.  If I find another University’s Moodle Helpsheet, I’ll work through it, learn something, silently thank them, and then write from scratch something that suits our needs, in our context and our style. But it was very much inspired by the one I found.

Is a registered and licensed OER going to do any more for me than that?

If I find an OER that is a video the  it is much more difficult to adapt.  If I then create the same (or what cannot be the same, so will only be similar) video from scratch – have I adapted? Or been inspired?

I am a great supporter of open education, open access etc.  and work to support it wherever possible. I’ll continue to extend my knowledge of how it all works!

See you at OER13 perhaps!

More on OLDSMOOC and OLDSMOOC-W6 in my OLDSMOOC Learning Journal

One comment

  • A really nice post Helen. The concerns you raise made me think immediately of what John Naughton says about creativity in his book ‘From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: what you really need to know about the Internet’. Naughton describes creativity as a social phenomenon – this is because ideas are infectious and they always look for each other’s company i.e. they build upon each other. For this, he says, they have to be free agents. Looking for good ideas, taking inspiration from what other people have done, building upon it, adding value to it – is valid and good practice. From what you mention you wouldn’t just take the video and create an identical copy (for this you could just reuse it as it is), you would produce a similar one, but with all the adaptations and changes that are necessary to suit your context, audience, preferences, style etc. So I really don’t think that there is any form of plagiarism to it. But it’s always good practice to cite/thank the author of the resource that inspired you.