Making Sense Day 5

Making Sense Day 5

June 5, 2018 Off By JR

Art by Lønfeldt

Today’s module was by Helen DeWaard, and if you haven’t met her yet you can connect with her on twitter, virtually connecting, and at conferences. I had the pleasure of running into Helen at Open Ed Global and was able to participate in some great sessions thanks to her while there.

This module was about Copyright and CC licenses. I already did the task by sharing an image using a CC license ( I am pretty familiar with CC. I knew a little bit about it in grad school, but didn’t use it that much. I had one of those ‘learn on the job’ experiences when I was working on an open textbook project. All of a sudden I had co-authors who found a multiplicity of resources they wanted to use and I had the most experience with copyright and CC so I had the pleasure of building all of the attribution statements and ensuring the licenses were compatible.


One thing that came to mind as I was going though the module was about how we first encounter CC. I think Helen did a wonderful job laying the foundation for what makes CC useful without falling into the trap I see so many people (myself included, just wait) land in. This module goes through the licenses, but I don’t see that infamous graphic that say “more open/less open”. I’ve used that graphic, but I wouldn’t any more. I think what’s important about having more than one CC license available is that you can pick one that fits your context, and your preferences. If you want an ND license go ahead. If you want NC-SA go ahead. What’s important is that you know what you’re allowing when you choose those licenses. The demanding and requirements of “all much be CC-BY” and only then will they count as open is not an especially open attitude. And so with that, I do also think copyright does have a place as well. (checks to see if I burst into flames).

You see, recently some more conversations have been happening around when open is appropriate, when closed is, and when we need to think about the whole picture when advocating for either. One thing that I think everyone in this course should read is Audrey Watters’, Invisible Labour and Digital Utopias. Audrey posts a lot of really valuable work out in the open without it being CC licensed, and even mentions “I guess, in some people’s eyes, that means my work was never really, truly “open.”” I think that’s worth reflecting on as we go through this MOOC on “making sense of open”. At the end of the day, if you want to use someone’s work, you can always ask. If it’s full copyright, you can ask. If it’s CC-BY-ND, you can ask (I have done that several times). If it’s CC-BY you don’t have to ask, but you still can or just say thanks! (Alan Levine blogged about someone asking for permission recently, but I can’t find the post right now). At the end of the day, we can still assume people are generally good, just like the image says at the start of this module.

Recently in a video interview Jim Groom also made a comment that moves one step up, asking us not to worry so much about OER and the technical requirements (part of which I think is grounded in CC) and to get blogging, “Your blog is an open educational resource.” Food for thought as we move forward into OER intensive modules. So now that we have a better understanding of Copyright and CC thanks to Helen, and that we have a broader perspective from creators/authors, we can move forward with important questions to guide our activities.