Open Education 2006 (II): eduCommons and MIT OpenCourseWare

Here come my notes on the Open Education 2006: Community, Culture, and Content that we are attending:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Concurrent sessions

eduCommons: Lessons from the Field
John Dehlin, COSL/Utah State University

John briefly explains the main features of eduCommons, firstly stating that it is open source: runs on Python/Zope/Plone. He shows import/export tools, licensing, the workflow of publishing, bookmarking/tagging, multiple languages viewing (through a Plone plugin), etc.

As per “strategic” purposes, on how to begin, where to head, some hints:

  • Starting from scratch to produce materials might cost more than reusing/sharing
  • It’s good marketing/branding for your university to show online who you are, what you do
  • OpenCourseWare enters directly the web 2.0 track, with RSS,, blogging, wikiing, etc.
  • You must sit with the Faculty, talk with them about pedagogical goals, what would be the benefits of opencoursewaring for the professor (“what’s in it for me”), how to do it, etc. Some supporting staff is actually required for the professor to go OCW. Depending on the complexity of the materials to be issued (html, presentations, video) more support is required.

After the first programming/launching stages, funded by “seed capital”, the eduCommons tool/project is expected to be supported by volunteers of the eduCommons community of users.

Main comments by the audience:

  • Are we undermining our business model? Will libraries be all we’ll need?
  • What’s the difference among OCW managing system and LMS? Are they mergin?

Intellectual Property in Open Educational Resources
Lindsey Weeramuni & Steve Carson, MIT OpenCourseWare

Intro to MIT OCW’s goal: publish all of MIT’s courses (so far, 1449 of 1800). But, what is course ware? And most important, what is not? No MIT education, no interactive classroom environment, no degree-granting. It’s “just” material publication under a CC NC-BY-SA license.

[legal] Requirements:

  • Ownership of primary content
  • Ownership of third party embedded content, toughest part, but becoming “routine”
  • Licensing both to end users

How to move from C to CC?

The deal: how to clear “IP objects”.
The clearing includes only embedded objects, not recommended readings or the like, that might be subject to IP rights (i.e. articles in not open-access journals, book chapters, etc.).
Publication managers and department liaisons identify sources fo all third party content. Then the IP team seeks permission for all objects assigned to this process. IP audits are also performed biannually.

What makes a project available?

  • Planning materials: syllabus and calendar
  • Subject matter: lecture notes, reading lists
  • Learning activities: homework, exams, labs

Stressing on relevant objects, negociated with the publications manager and the faculty. If it’s not relevant we can (a) look for it wherever else with IP rights already cleared (i.e. Flickr image) or (b) just skip it.

Three approaches to third party content:

  • Remove it and put a citation of or link to its original source in its place
  • Replace it with an original commissioned image
  • Request permission

What more?

  • Leveraging other OER: Open Access Journals, Open Object Repositories, Open Textbooks (Connexions)
  • Blanket Publisher/Industry Permissions
  • Sharing previously cleared content among OCWs


Web 2.0 for Development related posts (2006)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2006) “Open Education 2006 (II): eduCommons and MIT OpenCourseWare” In ICTlogy, #36, September 2006. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from

Previous post: Open Education 2006 (I): eduCommons and Creative Commons

Next post: Open Education 2006 (III): OER in Europe and Nepal

RSS feed RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Your comment:

About Me