Category Archives: Open Platforms/Software

The Open Movement and Education – Part Two (Copyright)

This is my second in a series of blog posts about the “Open” movement and education.  Here’s a link for those of you who missed reading Part One – The “Open” movement(s) and education – can they work together?.  Having discussed some of the motivations for both sides of the “Open” movement, it is time to address another important issue – copyright.

Copyright legislation and education have a long and connected history.  Authors and publishers of educational content have, very rightly, used copyright to protect their ideas and their material from theft and illegal use with and without profit.  Enter – the digital age.  Materials and new educational resources are no longer predominantly printed, now they can literally be any type of media including media such as videos, blog posts, webinars, proprietary software, etc.  In addition, these various types of media are being created and shared by individuals from around the world.  Copyright legislation could not keep up and many thought that there had to be a better way.

Indeed, a better way was found – Creative Commons (CC) licensing.  In early 2001, three individuals founded a non-profit organization called Creative Commons.  It allowed ordinary individuals and organizations to license their digital work(s) in a variety of ways, with legally binding licenses in a wide range of countries, for free.  Most revolutionary, in my opinion, was the opportunity that individuals had to license their works/intellectual property in a variety of ways.  These included:  commercial and non-commercial, as an exact duplicate or modified content/repurposed content, with attribution and without attribution, for educational use and/or public use.  Obtaining a copyright was, in contrast, time intensive, costly, and singular in scope – the various options available to the Creative Commons licensee were not available to the copyright holder.

By 2008, according to Wikipedia, there were an estimated 130 million works licensed under Creative Commons.  Since then, the number of licenses has grown tremendously with some major social platforms such as Flickr and YouTube allowing you to attribute a CC license to your picture or videos respectively.  Indeed, the addition of CC licensing on YouTube has already resulted in at least 10,000 new videos for public use and resuse!

If you are a music therapist with videos on YouTube – consider assigning your older and new videos a Creative Commons license to:          a)  better protect your video and its’ content from theft and piracy, and b) ensure that people can use it in educational and continuing         education contexts

Courses, such as those found on MoodleCommons.org, developed with Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Moodle also allow you to assign CC licenses.  Finally, you can assign a CC license to your blog postings, on platforms such as WordPress, and to Wikipedia entries.

Many people, as well as myself,  rightly feel that this is a tremendous step forward in the development of open education and open resources,  There is, however, one area where CC licensing is challenged – evaluation of the resource in question.  Just because you can post something then assign it a CC license does not mean that the content is accurate or trustworthy.  Using the previous method of protection, namely copyrighting something, meant that your content had been peer reviewed for accuracy (i.e.  in a proprietary journal or a book edited by a known authoritative figure in that particular field).  With widespread sharing of content, blogging, and CC licensing, anyone, from anywhere, can post something that may or may not be accurate.  The contentious, and very public,  debate found in this recent blog (and its’ commentary) is but one example of how issues may now by skewed in one direction or the other direction for both honest and/or negative purposes.

So should we scrap CC licensing?  Definitely not!  How then, can we ensure that content published under a CC license is accurate?  In my next posting, in this series on the “Open” movements, I am going to suggest the creation and use of official digital repositories.  In the meantime, please feel free to comment and reflect on this posting.

Related Links

Adding a Creative Commons license to a YouTube video

Adding a Creative Commons license to a WordPress blog

Using Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr

 

John Lawrence MMT, MTA

For the record – I am a music therapist with over 15 years experience in clinical settings, predominantly involving geriatric clients.  I obtained my Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Temple University in 1995 and have subsequently served in a wide range of appointments and positions related to the field of music therapy.  For the past 8 yrs I have served as a sessional instructor in music therapy at a number of post-secondary institutions and most recently served as chairperson for the first Online Conference for Music Therapy (OCMT2011) held in March 2011.  You can reach me using:  E-mail:  jlmt@telus.net, Twitter@JLisaMT, FacebookJohn Lawrence and LinkedIn:  John Lawrence MMT, MTA.

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Filed under Books and Resources, Business Tools, Education, Global Education, Music Therapy, Open Platforms/Software, Organizations, Pedagogy, PR/Advertising, Web 2.0 Tools

The “Open” Movement(s) and Education – Can they work together?

I’ve been reading and educating myself through a variety of online and offline resources, through day-to-day use, and speaking with educational colleagues at a variety of conferences about open education.  During this process I’ve seen a huge variety of terms used to describe the “open” concept and I’ve learned a lot.  Some of the terms that you might see are:  open learning, open education, open source, open courseware, open texts, open educational resources, flat classrooms, etc.  And, after much reflection, I’ve decided that perhaps I finally understand enough to share my thoughts and opinions with you.  This will be a series of posts, as the issues involved are complex and lengthy.

So, here I go with my first post.

Motivations

From the dawn of civilization, whenever there was a perception that someone, or a group of people had a “special knowledge”, people have tried to barter, steal or derive financial/other benefit from that knowledge.  The individual(s) with that knowledge quickly learned to guard the knowledge to maintain their advantage.  Before public education became common you could either share in that individual(s) experience (apprenticeship or trade associations), or hope that they would share their knowledge, sometimes freely, sometimes for a cost.  “The holders of knowledge” were teachers and professors however they only shared a part of what they knew.  Students regurgitated that knowledge through testing, in order to prove their “acquisition” and “knowledge” of the subject.  More recently, much of the educational literature has begun to recognize/promote a significant alteration in thinking – namely that education and expertise should follow an “open” or “low-cost” model of delivery with everyone contributing to learning about a particular subject, as equals, including the instructors.

This change of philosophy has several opponents highlighted by a recent blog posting discussing the reaction of publishers to a new government program offering  $2 billion (USD) to developers using the “Open Educational Resource (OER)” business model.  There is also opposition from higher education institutions that fear the offering education freely is likewise untenable in the long-term.  Finally, educators themselves have been slow to pick up on the concept of “open learning” or “open education”.

There are, of course, notable exceptions.  Publishers in a variety of scientific and artistic disciplines have increasingly begun to offer “open access” journals. The Voices e-magazine is an example of open publishing .  (For a searchable list of other open access journals check out the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) search engine.)   Beginnning in 2005, the Massachussetts Institute for Technology (MIT) began offering its’ undergraduate and many graduate level courses online, for free or low cost.  This evolved into the Open CourseWare Consortium that presently boasts the membership of, “over 250 universities and associated organizations worldwide committed to advancing Open CourseWare sharing and its impact on global educational opportunity (About the Open CourseWare Consortium (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://ocw.mit.edu/about/ocw-consortium/).”  The Open Education Resource University (OERu) and the Open Education Resource Tertiary Education Network (OERTen) are two initiatives described in the blog entitled, “Views, dreams & creative writing…” (Prasad, A.  (2011, May 25).  OERu to establish OERTen.  Retrieved from http://apletters.blogspot.com/2011/05/oeru-to-establish-oerten.html).  Finally, two educators (Dr. Alec Couros and Dr. Stephen Downes) with whom I share many common opinions are certainly, in my opinion, outstanding advocates for Open Education and they are working very hard to change the attitudes of current and future teachers and educators.

Changing attitudes is just, however, a small piece of the puzzle.  In the next post we will be looking at the issue of copyright and OER resources.

Please leave your comments in the space provided below.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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What’s on your reading list?

I am a dedicated life-long learner.  There, I said it!  I can’t go a day without finding something that peaks my interest and curiosity.  Today it might be a new web page, tomorrow a new piece of software, an infographic or newly released book about an aspect of music therapy.  Sometimes I find something useful, other times I find that something doesn’t really apply.  The point is, I am always looking for ways to improve and enhance my professional practice and knowledge and – that can’t be bad!

So what are some of the tools that I use and what are some of the recent books that I have read?  For things internet, I lean heavily on a few blogs and a tool called StumbleUpon.  It depends on users to literally “stumble” across and promote websites that they like using their web browser.  I also use information gleaned from the postings on Twitter, organized and monitored by the TweetDeck application (there are also other Twitter feed aggregators such as HootSuite and Twitter for Mac).  Finally, I listen to a variety of podcasts such as the Music Therapy Roundtable and the Music Therapy Show with Janice Harris.

For new textbooks and resources about music therapy I depend on e-mail notifications from some of the major publishers such as JKP – Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Barcelona Press that was started and may still be owned by Ken Bruscia, and publication lists from major music therapy associations such as AMTA and Nordoff-Robbins.

I also seek out resources that are useful in my business.  I have been in private practice where you are chief cook, bottlewasher, promoter, accountant….  You get the picture.  A very useful book that I found helped me to focus and get organized was Scott Belsky’s, Making Ideas Happen.  It is specifically aimed at us creative types and has very practical and useful suggestions.  I’ve also been reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of the very successful internet company called 37signals.  This book encourages you to “keep it simple” and “underdo your competition”.  It is a radical departure from the normal “do it better, do it smarter” type of business guidebooks. 

Finally, I recently took the opportunity to read a book about, but not about, music therapy entitled, Sing Me Home by Jodi Picoult. Several other music therapists have written reviews of this book (see the links below), that may also become movie.  It features a music therapist as one of the lead characters.

I found it a compelling read, not because of its’ advocacy of gay rights but rather because of its’ depiction of the field of musictherapy and clinical practice.  The American Music Therapy Association listserv (MUSTHP-L) has recently had a very active discussion entitled, “I think that my in-laws finally know what I do” started by M. G. that discusses the fact that we [music therapists] still often find our work misunderstood and incorrectly described.  In the book Sing You Home, I think that Ms. Picoult does a decent job of describing how music therapy works, especially as it relates to her work with Lucy, another main character in the story.

Reviews of the book by music therapists

1.  Kimberly Sena Moore (The Music Maven) – http://www.musictherapymaven.com/book-review-sing-you-home/

2.  Rachel Rambach (ListenLearnMusic) – http://listenlearnmusic.com/2011/03/friday-fave-sing-you-home-by-jodi-picoult.html

3.  Life in Harmony Music Therapy – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-In-Harmony-Music-Therapy-LLC/150845808287240?sk=info

These are just a few of the reviews by music therapists specifically.


So what’s in your reading list?

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Filed under Books and Resources, Business Tools, Clinicial Skills, Education, Music Therapy, Open Platforms/Software, Web 2.0 Tools