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Why Openness in Education Matters:

This is the online repository for my Open Education Practice Development (AE3) report.

The online resource this report refers to 'Endless Opportunities' is available to view here - http://endlessopportunities.myblog.arts.ac.uk/

A copy of this report is available to download in PDF format HERE

 

Summary

 

 

This report evidences the knowledge, discovery and analysis that I have undertaken whilst a student on the UAL course - Open Education Practice Module. The report refers directly to an online resource set up with the intentions for academics and students to find useful and to Share reference notes, online video, text and audio files, that are freely available and in some way engage with the idea of openness, sharing and copying as effective tools in the transmission of learning within the classroom.

The online resource of which I shall refer to throughout this report aims to provide an accessible inroad for students of different levels and abilities to gain an understanding of and be encouraged by the wealth of public domain content available for free use.

To address copying as an essential tool for learning and promote the use of ‘smart copying’.

To encourage further sustainability as an ideology in the adoption of free resources under share-a-like licensing.


To encourage transparency and a creative-commons style attribution for work.

To interconnect existing resources by pulling together numerous online repositories and services providing students with the required knowledge to inform creative decision making.

To provoke inspiring projects that question the debate surrounding copying.

 

Throughout the process of building an online resource, I have come to learn about what is acceptable in terms of using online content within education and design practice, conscious that I sometimes fail to take note of the consequences of copying and borrowing from the digital environment. Engaging with the creation of an online resource for the benefit of a community helps for me to consider how, through education, we can anticipate this sizeable shift in attention and work with its many affordances in a positive and open way.

The site has yet to be launched to my students and is in a constant process of being added to in order to keep it relevant and up to date. I expect it to benefit my students greatly, assisting them to become confident and less confused with the rights and wrongs of Intellectual Property. Whilst also helping them to safeguard their creativity and become more confident with the act of sharing through a digital platform and networked activity. I also expect it to help colleagues to stay current with the debates surrounding open practice and copyright law, whilst hopefully providing openings to consider and devise exciting, student /classroom interventions and workshops covering the subject of copying and open learning.

 

Rationale

 

Internet proximity and all that it affords us affecting the way we reach our audience, the way we reach our audience affecting the way we create, the way we create requiring a new model for teaching.

 

My rational to beginning this online resource has arisen due to current observations and shifts within a students learning experience. Observations I have witnessed, although not exclusive to my department only and more than likely institute wide to some degree, are as follow -

1. Students are copying more than ever before

2. The internet allows for this kind of practice, and democratises the act of image making 

3. There seems to be no rules, but actually there are, students and teachers need to become aware of these rules as they are being infringed through ordinary creative pursuit in academies on a daily basis

4. Digital tools make it easy to sample and access material at an unprecedented rate

 

These initial observations were fuelled by a spate of copying evidenced within a recent first year Graphics assessment. I was fairly certain that this was a result of students being ill informed and confused over the apparent divisions of what is right and wrong in IP. From then on I made my decision to use this OEP task/opportunity to address that issue. My intention, to provide an online resource that presents the benefits of copying and ‘open sharing’ within learning and creative practice and alongside this, an instructive and guiding process towards selecting and licensing a students work with ‘Creative Commons’ attribution.

 

IP issues within the classroom are a relatively new occurrence, developing in parallel with the rise of digital technology, our creative digital toolset now has the potential to connect to a massive online community instantly; not unlike the scifi visions of HG Wells, in his novella - ‘World Brain’ 1937.

 

'There is no practical obstacle whatever now to the creation of an efficient index to all human knowledge, ideas and achievements. To the creation, that is, of a complete planetary memory for all mankind.'

 

Imagine having access to anything that has ever been created, not just theoretical access, but like instant access direct to your brain, that would undeniably change your idea of who you are. – Google world brain 2013

 

Students tools currently used to guide navigate research are predominantly digital and networked, this acceleration in digital technologies has resulted in a huge growth in connected devices and open data. According to Cisco and many others, by 2020 there will be around 50 Billion ‘things’ connected to the Internet worldwide. We are already creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data through various social media networks every day. As more and more ‘things’ are connected to the Internet there is going to be an explosion in the amount of data produced. Such abundance in the internet-of-things means greater potential for learning from others and what comes with this, is also a greater potential for copying and a greater need to understand the boundaries within which ‘safe’ copying particularly in colleges and universities is permissible.

 

In her essay ‘Images and Echos: copying and learning in a digital culture. Judith Harding raises the case of IP issues within e-learning through a number of case studies. Harding also puts forward a strong tender for the benefits of copying within education, something which many institutes fail to recognize as an endearing quality and essential process to assist learning and cultural progress.

For further discussions on this subject, read the article ‘Drawing the line at copying’ 10 June 2005. 

Times Higher Education by Stephen Farthing the first Rootstein Hopkins professor of drawing at Chelsea College of Art and Design -

"Art schools stopped teaching students how to draw because they didn't want to colour students' perception of what it ought to look like…But students have been let down because they have been pushed into a culture where they have had to improvise everything, it's insulting to imagine that people can't learn by imitation and then 'take it for a walk' afterwards. Picasso did just that."

To return to Judith Harding, in the chapter ‘ Copying as learning’ she goes on to make evident the abundance of (copious) wealth our entire history owes to the act of copying –

 

Etymologically, ‘copy’ means ‘abundance’, linked to words like ‘copious’. Though we may often focus on the immense cultural losses of what was not copied at all, or not copied enough to survive, we

owe whatever sense we have of the past to the act of copying’

 

However, issues of copying can also have a detrimental effect on a students learning, and this is why the practice of ‘smart copying’ is something that I wish to reinforce throughout the online resource, ensuring students receive a balanced perspective on how not to fall at the obvious pit-falls, copyright contentions and dupes that copying as learning can bring.

 

For more information on the issues of copying in the classroom, see the article ‘Frequency and cost of copying college homework revealed. March 21 . 2010

 

In this Science Daily article, Young-Jin Lee, assistant professor of educational technology at KU, and the Research in Learning, Assessing and Tutoring Effectively group at MIT spent four years seeing how many copied answers MIT students submitted to Mastering Physics, an online homework tutoring system. Out of this research came a number of significant findings including -

 

Students who procrastinated also copied more often. Those who started their homework three days ahead of deadline copied less than 10 percent of their problems, while those who dragged their feet until the last minute were repetitive copiers.’

 

Method

 

Shared reference notes, online video, text and audio files, available for students and teachers to engage with the idea of openness, sharing and copying as tools within the classroom, assisting independent learning, collaboration and culture building.

 

My approach has been to provide a relatively neutral online learning resource, encouraging exploration of the various online resources and open sharing community user bases available. The online platform is becoming far more common within the classroom as a means to share and exchange ideas, and satisfies the criteria of the OEP brief as a project output perfectly, connecting my resource with a larger community than I have in my immediate surroundings.

Along with students continually developing design projects specifically for an online market, I see this resource as an excellent opportunity to teach students how to protect their media as and when they produce it. I expect the resource to help inform a positive perspective on creative copying, I hope that through the resource students and teachers can focus on the idea of ‘smart copying’, where decision-making and image appropriation is guided by an integrity in keeping with current, creative commons legislation.

The resource will take the form of a website, evidencing the proliferation of successful representation and misrepresentation of intellectual property within the public domain and has the following aims:

To provide an accessible resource for students of different levels and abilities to gain an understanding of and be encouraged by the wealth of public domain content available for free use.

To address copying as an essential tool for learning and promote the use of ‘smart copying’.

To encourage further sustainability as an ideology in the adoption of free resources under share-a-like licensing.


To encourage transparency and a creative-commons style attribution for work.


• To interconnect existing resources by pulling together numerous online repositories and services providing students with the required knowledge to inform creative decision making.

To provoke inspiring projects that question the debate surrounding copying.

 

Why have I chosen to place this resource online?

Because this is the first stop for most students looking to research and find inspiration! 

How will I reach a large audience?

It will leverage the use of community forum sites (e.g. flickr/github/ccmixter) this will allow for a growing community of practice, it will have its own web presence on these sites along with a regular twitter feed (@opencopy). This will provide the opportunity to bring interested parties into the discussion and engage with the most recent topics being discussed.

Examples will include found imagery resourced online, but also works as evidenced within the department and from the student community. 

All uploads will be anonymous, with no bias towards or against the originator, the copier, the remixer.

Alongside this, I will also provide clear instructions instructing students how to attribute the relevant creative commons copyright for ‘themselves’ to attach to their work. 

To ensure that students who do copy, will not fall in to the act of violating any I.P. laws themselves. The resource will provide relevant and up to date articles, text and online resources.

 

Issues

Technical issues I faced were primarily deciding upon where to host within the myriad of choices, do I go for something more appropriate for my students like tumblr? Or do I go for one of the more teacher centric sites e.g. process, workflow, or myblog? I opted for myblog due to its flexibility and easy to use wordpress template.

Issues in not reaching my specified audience in time arose due to the fact that this project commenced within the summer holidays, which meant I had no students from which to test out the resource. My alternative approach to remedy this was to open up a dialogue on twitter and linkedin, posting discussions from my resource, quotes from the resources and retweets tackling the subject of copying and open sharing practice within education. I have started to use this twitter feed to follow the main educators and protagonists of open learning and copyright activity internationally and this feed is now embed within the side panel of my blog site.

Other issues I am facing, is the fact that creating an online resource of any kind is really a vast undertaking, it has been difficult to ensure the time needed to invest in all areas, to make sure the resource is understandable, intelligible, relevant, approachable, engaging, resourceful and above all useful. Indeed, the issue of maintaining such a resource are numerous. Fundamentally I believe an online resource needs to remain active or else it is in someway failing the people it has been set out to assist, what makes a resource useful is its regular activity and its lively forum of members, with a member of one this is difficult.

 

Impact

 

The impact this project has had is largely personal as my students haven't been around to make use of it yet.

 

During the process of resource creation I have read many interesting accounts and watched many online videos on the subject and have become far more aware of the issues of copyright within art, design and education. With each addition to the site I am in one way or another engaging with the notion of openness within my practice and this has had a result in my teaching and learning processes and will become more evident as I continue.

 

Personally, the building of an online resource can help me learn about what is acceptable in terms of using online content within education and design practice, conscious that I sometimes fail to take note of the consequences of copying and borrowing from the digital environment. As an artist and designer, I have conflicting economic and moral concerns about the protection of my work. As a lecturer, I have concerns about the legal implications relating to students navigating the wealth of on-line images and referencing of internet culture, and what effects this activity has on their overall learning capabilities. Engaging with an online resource like this, helps for me to consider how, through education, we can anticipate this sizeable shift in attention and work with its many affordances in a positive and open way.

 

I envision when the resource grows and becomes more complete, those students that use it will remain less confused about the rights and wrongs of Intellectual Property. Whilst also helping them to safeguard their creativity and become more confident with the act of sharing through a digital platform and networked activity..

 

The site will also provide a platform to impact my colleagues, providing ‘sign posts’ and in routes into engaging with the mass of open content available within the public domain, it will help colleagues to stay current with the debates surrounding open practice and copyright law, whilst hopefully providing openings to consider and devise exciting, student /classroom interventions and workshops covering the subject of copying and open learning.

Next Steps

Future plans for the site will be to engage with a student community and to share the network through social networking sites more consistently. During the new academic year I also expect to encourage participation and the uploading of content, devising workshop plans and project tasks, which in some way address the central issues of copyright in a playful and creative way.


Project Idea 1 - Design a project which makes it easy for your students to create new and modified versions of creative works, while retaining chains of attribution back to those that have come before. Enrich your students work by preserving and building upon a unified and shared, cultural heritage.

Having created many successful and some unsuccessful websites and worked on blogs before, I realise that a resource is only as ‘good’, or as ‘relevant as its latest article. This means that I must now maintain the resource and add to it at the very least twice a week. This is an addition to my workload that I hadn’t really expected, but will endeavor to continue for the next for-seeable future. It is my intention within the start of our next semester to engage interested students with editorial rights and to seek out a steering group who can help maintain the site.

One other ‘Next Step’ which I would of liked to address with this resource in my original premise was to approach educationalists, designers, artists and to ask pertinent questions in the form of interview covering the copyright copy-left debate and provide these Tran scripted interviews for reading on the website. This is definitely something I will engage with over the next academic year.

Resources

Online resources

Farthing.S. (2005) Times Higher Education. Drawing the line at copying. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/draw-the-line-at-copying-not-him/196599.article

Lee-Y.J. (2010). Frequency and cost of copying college homework revealed.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318113750.htm

O’Brien.D. (2008). Copyright, Fraud and Window Taxes (No, not that Windows) http://www.oblomovka.com/wp/2008/08/07/copyright-fraud-and-window-taxes-no-not-that-windows/

Wolter.M. (2012). Sharable: life and art knowledge sharing from the artists perspective. http://www.shareable.net/blog/knowledge-sharing-from-the-artists-perspective

 

Papers

Harding.J. (2007). Images and echoes: copying and learning in a digital culture.http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/e-learning/gallery/harding_images_echoes.pdf

Walsh.P. (1998). The Coy Copy: Technology, Copyright, and the Mystique of Images. http://www.studiolo.org/IP/TTM/WALSH.htm

 

Books

Hobbs.R. (2011). Digital and Media Literacy. Connecting Culture and the classroom. Corwin Press. UK

McClean D and Schubert, K (2002). Dear Images: Art, Copyright and Culture. Riding house. London.

Schwartz, H (1996). The culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles. Zone Books. NYC

 

Videos

Wiley.D. (2010). TEDxNYED. Openness in Education. http://www.openeducationweek.org/tedxnyed-david-wiley-030610/

BBC4. Storyville. (2013). Google The World Brain http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qxmqc

 

Audio

Zimmermann.J. (2011) . WFMU Radio. The war on sharing. http://www.wfmu.org/flashplayer.php?version=2&show=42137&archive=72472&starttime=0:41:45

 

 


This report is supported under a creative commons 'sharealike attribution 2' license. 

This means you must attribute the work in the manner as specified by the author - Share Alike asks you to distribute the resulting work, after you have transformed, altered or built upon it, using the same or similar license.

 

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Comments

cfollows's picture

Lots of really interesting stuff, I can relate to the time and effort pressure of building a open resource, CoPs and user generated CMSs I found were the way forward.  I'm really interested in the relationships between open practice in education and industry/commercial world and how it transfers e.g. if we can do a lot more remix in education are we prepared not to outside education, are we preparing students the right way or setting them up wrong? I'm also interested in the difference between online environments and the remix, high risk, low risk and how blogs can be seen as a free for all with no rules or much responsibility been taken. The relationship between open practice in arts practice and appropriation is also one I'd like to explore more too.

Thanks for the post.

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales
This Work, Why Openness in Education Matters: , by jaygo bloom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license.