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and senior academic technology officer at SJSU. Under this
agreement, if Udacity wants to use MOOC content for some
reason, it must request permission from the school and the
faculty member who together own the content rights. Con-
versely, the faculty member must request permission from
Udacity if he wants to use the material for another purpose.
In Cheal's view, this approach makes sense because both
parties are contributing to the MOOC. These are early days
for MOOCs, however, and new business models and certifi-
cation options could eventually make these courses lucrative.
Cheal admits that SJSU has considered many of the potential
uses for MOOCs---such as the chance that Udacity might
want to use SJSU content in a course that's developed with
and even sold by another school---and still hasn't resolved
how such scenarios would be handled. Guidelines on owner-
ship and compensation may have to be fine-tuned as needed.
Complicating matters is the question of whether a publicly
funded institution should be mingling its content and resourc-
es with those of a private company. "As publicly funded land-
grant institutions, schools are concerned that their content is
going onto venture-capital-backed platforms and that it's not
open," says Creative Commons' Green.
As a step toward open-access principles of collaboration and
innovation, a number of schools are granting faculty members
ownership of their course materials and encouraging them to
license the content as open educational resources (OER).
For example, at MIT, which makes virtually all course content
available for free on the web via OpenCourseWare, faculty
own the content, says Stephen Carson, the ini-
tiative's external relations director. "They provide
us a license to publish the content on our site,
and a sublicense for our end users that's a Cre-
ative Commons license." MIT also stipulates that
the content can't be used for financial gain.
Green sees a growing number of schools con-
tributing to OER "in their own time." The Univer-
sity of Maryland, for example, is currently
reviewing 2,000 courses with an eye toward
moving to openly licensed content. If it does so,
UM would join a list of more than 250 schools that make up
the OpenCourseWare Consortium, including MIT, the Uni-
versity of California, Irvine, and Tufts (MA).
The Creative Commons open license, which allows content
to be placed into the public domain immediately, has become
the global default for OER. "This is helpful," Green says,
"because [otherwise] to get something in the public domain
in the US, you have to die first and wait 70 years." He believes
Creative Commons licenses provide the best of both worlds:
"License holders retain the copyright and they share content
under the terms and conditions they choose."
Carson points out that a Creative Commons license doesn't
necessarily preclude faculty from entering into agreements
where their content will be used for commercial purposes.
According to Carson, one MIT professor received a request
for use of his content by a helicopter manufacturer. He simply
gave the company a separate license to that content. On the
flip side, Carson adds, Creative Commons licenses enable
faculty to say, "I don't want to manage these rights."
Ultimately, institutions and faculty are beginning to see
open access as part of their central mission, says Green.
"It's fundamentally about educating: sharing as openly as
possible the knowledge from that university."
Michelle Fredette is a freelance writer based in Portland,
The Online State
AN OPEN FUTURE
Cable Green, director of global learning at Creative Commons, describes how he hopes
open content will impact his children's college future:
"I want their general curriculum to all be open content; I don't want them to buy any
textbooks. Spanish 101 is Spanish 101. It's okay to share curriculum that's this common.
"The best faculty won't be standing up lecturing. It's going to be seminars; problem-
based learning; writing teachers over their shoulders helping push them and debate with
them about structuring an argument. No PowerPoint presentations. And my students
are responsible for making that course better. Instructors get it to the best possible place
and ask the students to improve on it. For next Tuesday."
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