It’s Open Access Week (19 – 23 October 2009), where the ideals of the Open Education Resource (OER) movement are highlighted. The movement believes that the Internet should be used to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge. Open Access aims to encourage and enable free sharing of content for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society.
I confess, I’m one of the ones that have not been egalitarian in the distribution of information. I’ve stored when I could have published. I’ve righted my copy when I could have shared. I’ve decided that it’s about time that I opened up my electronic filing cabinet and supported the ideals and ideas behind the Open Education movement.
Here are five ways that I could contribute to OER
- Remove the barriers to using my work.
Notes, worksheets, photographs etc that I publish on the net should be licensed with an appropriate Creative Commons license. Flickr makes it easy to choose an appropriate license for your photographs.
- Author / Sponsor high-quality open content
When writing or co-ordinating resource production, think of ways in which you could make your course accessible to an audience beyond your institution. For example, if you use Moodle, then make sure that you allow guest access. If you use a presentation package (like PowerPoint) add a rights slide to your presentation.
- Stimulate use of OER amongst others
Create a network of people that want to share and collaborate. Follow me on Twitter . Build your own Personal Learning Network, subscribe to a list serv, use Facebook to form/join a community of practice.
- Go beyond your website and publish your work in an online accessible open access repository.
I’ve taken the first step and am putting my work on my website. But it can go further. If you put your material into an appropriate repository (Thutong for example) it will more readily be identified as an appropriate resource.
- If you run a journal, facilitate open access of your research using Open Journal System
The Directory of Open Access Journals has 4370 journals in their directory and have (as of 19 Oct 2009) 319585 articles are included in the DOAJ service. Consider using Open Journal Systems to expand and improve access to research.
15 years on since I first “surfed the web”, the ’net continues to make a profound effect on my learning and a substantial effect on my teaching. Access, however, to eminent educational content, is still limited and large amounts of excellent content still remain locked behind passwords, inaccessible for outsiders. Open Access is a timely reminder that everyone globally should be sharing in the development of knowledge.