At GCU, I promote the production, sharing and reuse of OERs. I am also the Copyright Advisor and find the two roles complementary. Research (Rolfe, 2012, Gadd & Weedon, 2017, Whitfield & Robinson, 2015) has identified copyright related barriers to the adoption of OERs:
- lack of knowledge of copyright and licensing issues, leading to a reluctance to engage with the topic
- uncertainty about copyright ownership of OERs produced at work. We addressed this with our OER policy, and are considering a copyright policy
- uncertainty on use of third party materials in OERs
Online and transnational education have increased the number and types of copyright enquiries.
We developed an online copyright advisor to quickly answer FAQs on common resources. We have shared it as we saw it as an easily adapted useful tool (available at https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/3266/2/index.html). We also aimed to avoid answering FAQs repeatedly, and to provide 24-7 guidance.
We started with our FAQs list. These are often converted to web pages and then ignored. We already recorded enquiries and wondered if they could be developed into an online resource. A scan found some, but they did not quite meet our needs and were tied to specific systems.
We decided to tackle seven resource types:
- Audio files
- Book chapters
- Computer code
- Journal articles
- Video files
We formed a group from the copyright, systems, administration and PURE repository teams. This helped with the logical flow of questions and ensured consistent language. We developed Q&A flowcharts, then text answers and a glossary https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2706). This was the hardest part of the project – we spent many hours in a small room arguing about copyright.
We built the advisor using iSpring and uploaded it to edShare. We already had a licence and it integrates with PowerPoint. It was simple to set up the questions and navigation paths. However iSpring only allows forward navigation, and it was unclear how to restart the advisor for another query. We later found that refreshing the browser restarts it.
The current design is very plain, though we plan improvements. We aimed to keep the tone positive, suggesting alternatives rather than forbidding actions. Some answers are a bit “wordy”, so we added traffic lights as visual cues. We used links wherever possible, linking to licenses, the library web pages and copyright glossary.
We are now on version two. It is available under a Creative Commons (CC-BY) license and you can download a zip file (https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/document/24149 ) of the content to remodel and reuse. Alternatively, you can use our workflows and texts as a starting point to develop your own system.
GADD, E., WEEDON, R. 2017. Copyright Ownership of E-learning and Teaching Materials: Policy Approaches taken by UK Universities. Education and Information technologies. 22(6), 3231-3250.
ROLFE, V. 2012. Open Educational Resources: Staff Attitudes and Awareness. Research in Learning Technology. 20(1), 1-13.
WHITFIELD, S. ROBINSON, Z. 2015. Open Educational Resources: the Challenges of ‘Usability’ and Copyright Clearance. Planet. 25(1), 51-54.