Effective open licensing policy and
practice for Australian universities
Open Education Licensing - Blog

This blog is a discussion of licensing issues around open educational resources. It is part of the Open Educational Licensing research project conducted in Australia by Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Tasmania.

Contributions are made by members of the OEL research team (Robin, Carina, Derek and Luke) and friends and colleagues interested in open education licensing issues. Comments are welcome, please send to oelproject@swin.edu.au.

Possible changes to Australian copyright law

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In Australia, the Department of Communications and the Arts is currently considering a Bill to update copyright law.

The aim is to introduce some minor simplifications and modernisations to the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) to help the disability, education, libraries and archives sectors operate in the digital environment. For the education sector, the changes would simplify the use of copyright material by removing many of the current complex provisions around the copying and communication of copyright works for educational purposes, replacing them with a simplified test to protect the interests of copyright owners.

The change doesn’t include all the changes suggested by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in their 2014 report which proposed the introduction of either Fair Use or Fair Dealing for Education. However; this small simplification of the statutory educational licences could be one step towards improved flexibility for educational institutions operating in the online environment.

Australian universities have just been ranked second in the Times Higher Education World’s Most International Universities 2016 so a more flexible copyright law should help Australian institutions as they expand their role in the global market.

Surveying OER in Australian universities

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The OEL project is currently in the data collection phase, with our survey being distributed to all 39 Australian higher education institutions over the next couple of days. You may see an email or advertisement through your industry association’s communication channels with an invitation to participate. The survey closes July 14. For more information see http://www.oel.edu.au/research/

Around the World – Open Education Australia

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Last week a blog post by Robin Wright from the Open Educational Licensing project was featured in the Open Knowledge Foundation’sAround the World’ series. With reports from countries as diverse as India, Tanzania, Wales and Kyrgyzstan, the series offers some fascinating insights into the development of open education initiatives around the world.

Have a look at Robin’s post at http://education.okfn.org/open-education-australia/.

Online help with open licensing decisions

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The OEL project team is very interested in interactive or web based information resources that help users to make decisions around open licensing. As part of the OEL project we will be developing an Open Education Licensing toolkit next year. So while we’re gathering data from Australian universities on what they need, we’re also looking at how other people are finding ways to help people make decisions about open licensing.

We’ve been keeping a list of interesting examples of aids that provide information about open licences or help people find licences / content or make open licensing decisions. So we just thought we’d have a look at a few of these we’ve noticed recently:

HowOpenIsIt? http://howopenisit.org/lookup/

The Open Article Gauge helps user to determine what type of licence applies to journals and journal articles. Put in a list of DOIs or PubMedIDs to find out what licence applies and how open they are. Still in beta – but potentially very useful.

Choosing an OSS license doesn’t need to be scary http://choosealicense.com/

This great plain language resource from MIT provides help with choosing an open software licence. It gives a simple explanation of what different OSS licences do and which other software systems use those licences.

P2PU course on how to ‘Get a CC licence and Put it on your website’ https://p2pu.org/en/courses/3/get-a-cc-license-put-it-on-your-website/ Covers some really useful questions such as: Is your work copyrightable? Do you have the rights? Really helpful for those interested in sharing.

And of course there’s always the Creative Commons automated licence chooser https://creativecommons.org/choose/ and CC Australia’s useful Creative Commons flowchart http://creativecommons.org.au/content/licensing-flowchart.pdf

The OEL team is always on the lookout for good examples of open licensing decision resources.

Open Education Week (9 to 13 March)

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Hello colleagues,

This week is the Open Education Week (9 to 13 March) (openeducationweek.org/). Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone. This is the event’s fourth year and it’s organised by the Open Education Consortium (oeconsortium.org/).

There will be activities, workshops and presentations hosted by institutions all over the world. Some of them will only be offered locally and others via webinars (some will even be recorded and made available online). Please check the website for a list of events – openeducationweek.org/event/

Athabasca University is hosting a series of webcasts celebrating Open Education Week. All webinars are from noon-1:00pm MDT (5am AEDT) and will be held at:  http://connect.athabascau.ca/oew2015

The event details are:

  • Monday March 9 – Sustainability Strategies For Open Educational Resources, Paul Stacey, Associate Director of Global Learning, Creative Commons.
  • Tuesday March 10 – The Battle for Open, Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology, the Open University.
  • Wednesday March 11 – The Campus Alberta Open Educational Resources Initiative, Janet Welch, Assistant Dean, Academic Technologies, University of Alberta.
  • Thursday March 12 – Open Education Initiatives in Australia, Carina Bossu, Lecturer – Learning and Teaching, Univeristy of Tasmania.
  • Friday March 13 – Preparing for the Digital University, George Siemens, Assistant Professor, Athabasca University.

Questions can be directed to Colin Elliott coline@athabascau.ca

Happy Open Education Week!


Carina (carina.bossu@utas.edu.au)