Perhaps the first question I asked myself was whether open educational resources, while very good for myself and others who can get free access to them, would be good for society. I’d also thought about this previously regarding other areas of society, e,g, music, films, etc., and wondered how it could work. After all, we often hear musicians complaining about their royalties being taken away from them by file-sharing, for example; is this the same in education/the world in general? (Although some would say musicians, for example, have been fleecing the public for a long time)
Yochai Henkler outlines how society has changed from companies/ gvts having to pay a fortune for infrastructure, to these tools being available to society at large. He says it can develop alongside the traditional industrial model, and that free tools such as Skype, for example, can replace traditional telecommunication companies who have traditionally dominated (and cleaned up, making HUGE profits).
Interesting interview with the head of Harvard libraries, who points out information can be shared in repositories by members of the Harvard community for the benefit of all, while maintaining some journals on a pay as you require basis, for example for extremely specialist topics. Here
George Siemens‘ has the opinion that more radicalism is required in open resource sharing. but show someone willing to stick their neck out for their principles, which I admire. A summary of the responses to this post were collated by Brian Lamb. Lamb points out that with govt cuts in education looming/underway, open resources may be a way to allow progression; universities all over the world sharing resources to help each other. Siemens’ point about democracy being used too often strikes a chord somewhere. I find the point that ‘open’ may now just become a term bandied about by big companies to sell their resources, and thus maintain their stranglehold on the market and thus the status quo, extremely salient.
The video about copyright, outlining the length of copyright being 100 years and some of the key issues, was interesting to me; I didn’t, and still don’t, know much about the topic. 100 years does seem a bit long, however.
I think from reading and listening to different resources, some of them mentioned, it seems the model of media is changing, that the market is moving towards more of collaborative community. I think that clearly not everyhting can be free, but just as in the music world where people have been paying top dollar for too long to the few who had control of the market, collaborations and OERs can help the ‘wee’ man. I have only one rankling, however, which is this: how many people would lose their jobs in publishing firms,and I don’t mean high powered executives, were OERs to become the norm? This is not meant as a polemic, just a thought, and I suppose could be countered by the argument, at least in part, that more democratic open educational resources can help people who have traditionally had less access to education. Is this just utopian thinking?