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Tuesday, October 25 • 10:15am - 11:15am
"Which license for OER?" may be the wrong question

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Tired of the never-ending debate about "Which license for OER?" We agree! Perhaps we should talk about "Which assets" instead.


For too many projects, and for too long, the OER community has grappled with the proper interpretation of open-content licenses, their use, and possible sustainability strategies built around them. The Creative Commons licensing suite has emerged as the global standard for OER licensing, yet it has not lessened, let alone solved, this debate. The problem can be distilled to three key issues: 1) there is more than one CC license, 2) interpretation of some licensing terms (such as the non-commercial term) is subjective, and 3) the license chosen is widely perceived to be a key factor in determining workable sustainability models for OER use and production.

In this session, we will examine each of these issues, paying particular attention to their effects on people's perceptions of OER, the different ways in which licenses are justified and used, and the overall impact on the progress (or lack thereof) of the field.

We will also discuss whether it could be helpful to shift the frame of the debate, from "Which license?" to "Which assets?" In brief, the contention here is that the persistent focus on licensing has stifled the emergence of creative new production, use, and delivery models and reduced the impact of OER accordingly. One option is to embrace hybrid production models, where all "OER" are released with as few restrictions possible (e.g., under CC BY), but not all resources (from a given producer) need be released as OER. We are hoping that the discussion will reveal other options as well.

We are anticipating that we will be able to integrate the insights gained from this discussion into helpful resources for both existing practitioners and newcomers to the OER field.


avatar for Ahrash Bissell

Ahrash Bissell

EdReady Project Manager, The NROC Project
I'm most passionate about inspiring learning, collaboration, and the pathways to a more just, equitable world. I believe that all things "open" have the potential to foment positive changes in those directions. I currently work for the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, and have previously worked for Creative Commons, as well as Duke University and other academic institutions, and I have been (and remain in many cases) a... Read More →
avatar for Philipp Schmidt

Philipp Schmidt

Passionate about building prototypes, testing assumptions, and iterating. Interested in assessment and certification for social learning.

Tuesday October 25, 2011 10:15am - 11:15am

Attendees (55)