Posts filed under 'Pedagogy'

xMOOCs Derailing Open Education?

How much fact is in the discussion about openness/unopenness in licensing of many MOOCs?

George Siemens will deliver a keynote at ICDE about MOOCs derailing open education in part because they have open enrollment, but not open licensing. That page mentions posts by Timothy Vollmer and Justin Reich about this very idea.

Let’s take a look, however, at an actual use case for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), which has been offering Open CourseWare (OCW) since 2005 and courses on Coursera since 2012. If you were to enroll in all of the JHSPH courses on Coursera, and view all the video content, for example, you’d find a mix of items that are licensed with a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and those that are not. This is because that licensure is up to the individual faculty member:

JHSPH Coursera courses with CC-licensed content

  • Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp (all)
  • Community Change in Public Health (most)
  • Principles of Obesity Economics (all)
  • Intro to the U.S. Food System (all)
  • Health for All Through Primary Care (some)

JHSPH Coursera courses with no CC-licensed content

  • Computing for Data Analysis
  • Data Analysis
  • Vaccine Trials

It would be a good idea at this point to also review the somewhat vague Coursera terms of service surrounding licensure:


All content or other materials available on the Sites, including but not limited to code, images, text, layouts, arrangements, displays, illustrations, audio and video clips, HTML files and other content are the property of Coursera and/or its affiliates or licensors and are protected by copyright, patent and/or other proprietary intellectual property rights under the United States and foreign laws. In consideration for your agreement to the terms and conditions contained here, Coursera grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access and use the Sites. You may download material from the Sites only for your own personal, non-commercial use. You may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material, nor may you modify or create derivatives works of the material. The burden of determining that your use of any information, software or any other content on the Site is permissible rests with you.”

Two things are notable here: first the use of and/or. In other words, what you find may be owned and licensed by Coursera, or owned and licensed by Coursera and the university, or owned and licensed by the university. In the case of JHSPH course content, it follows the CC license (or not) as mentioned above. So it’s not exactly clear cut enough to make a general statement about the openness or closedness of licensure across all of Coursera. Next, the statement in italics, actually goes against the license of much of the JHSPH content, so that is confusing. A student of┬áMathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp, could, for example, download the lecture contents, modify, and redistribute that content, as long as it still contained the proper CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 license with attribution.

Granted, there is other content besides “video lectures” – assessments, discussion forums, and even student created original works. It does appear by the Coursera TOS that student-created original works which are posted to the Coursera course sites would actually become Coursera property, however that would not prevent a student from creating materials, CC licensing them and uploading them to YouTube or Flickr and then posting a link to them in Coursera.

I’m not attempting to argue that everything in Coursera is openly licensed, but I do think it’s important for the sake of perspective, to make sure it is known that at least a portion of content there is able to be licensed Creative Commons, exactly like the contents of JHSPH OCW.




Add comment May 24th, 2013

Agile Teams: Rapid Iterations & Feedback

This TED talk does a swell job demonstrating how hidden assumptions can make collaboration murky, and how self-direction, self-organization, rapid prototyping and iterations as well as evidence-based feedback can enhance collaborative efforts:

Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team

Add comment February 29th, 2012

Another Podcasting Success Story

Availability and choice of resources is the name of the game for student access and success. Educational podcasts can enhance both of those in a big way, since they are portable. Here’s another success story of podcasting in the classroom, from a college not unlike MCNY. They use WebCT, coupled with Tegrity to offer students the option of reviewing classes (whether they missed the class or not) with audio and/or video. By podcasting class sessions, students can review as much and as often as they need to. And meeting student needs is the name of the game. Wait a minute! :)

Add comment July 27th, 2006

From textbook to Performance Content

As you can tell, Campus Technology is my new favorite magazine of the moment, so I’ll keep bringing up more articles I think are interesting enough to pass on…

This recent article delves into the move away from textbooks as kings of content toward a more constructivistic idea of “guided learning materials” created by a faculty member, or student-generated performance content such as “spontaneous performance content,” which occurs in discussion forums, reflections, analyses, and in student-created content.


Add comment May 15th, 2006

Suspicions confirmed!

I found this article about Educational Technology from the current issue of Ed Tech magazine, which confirms a few suspicions about the immediate future and education. A lot of it has to do with what I’m calling (and I hope I coined, I hadn’t heard anyone else use it:) “portable learning.” The thing is, a lot of it is already going on now, but only on a small scale.

Then this article, expounds upon the types of learners we are dealing with more and more these days: “They absorb information quickly, in images and video as well as text, from multiple sources simultaneously. They operate at “twitch speed,” expecting instant responses and feedback. They prefer random “on-demand” access to media, expect to be in constant communication with their friends (who may be next door or around the world), and they are as likely to create their own media (or download someone else’s) as to purchase a book or a CD.”

Very interesting, eh?

Add comment April 19th, 2006


    April 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov    

    Posts by Month

    Posts by Category