[Open-education] Open policies for MOOCs

Atenas, Javiera j.atenas at ucl.ac.uk
Fri Dec 11 12:47:22 UTC 2015

Dear all,

Thank you so much for your responses and for sharing your ideas, I do agree with Terry, Pat and co that the problem is the real openness of MOOCs, that's why we need to think about open policies for opening up MOOCs, as lots of these courses made in proprietary platforms and with copyrighted materials.

I wrote a paper a while ago about this issue (http://journals.uoc.edu/index.php/rusc/article/view/v12n1-atenas) however, and despite the efforts of many OEP advocates, Universities are signing contracts and partnership to provide MOOCs with companies that retain the rights of use of the content and charge a lot of money to host them (as course design is normally managed - paid by the universities with little support from the providers).

I think with worth a discussion, maybe via OKFN-EDU we can arrange a webinar early next year as it would be interesting to collectively develop a "template"  for policies with common guidelines regarding openness of content and code used in MOOCs for future development. In the case of the Chilean university I'm supporting in developing their openly licensed MOOCs they will be using OpenEdx which might have less restrictive conditions but still need to study a lot, that's why all your comments, ideas or stories in MOOCs development are gold to me.

Have a lovely weekend

Dr. Javiera Atenas
HEA Fellow
UCL School of Management
Gower St, London, WC1E 6BT

From: Open Educational Resources <OER-DISCUSS at JISCMAIL.AC.UK> on behalf of Darco Jansen <darco.jansen at EADTU.EU>
Sent: 10 December 2015 15:56
Subject: Re: Open policies for MOOCs

Dear all,

Very important issue indeed. We need to facilitate the re-use of OER of MOOCs.

But my proposition is push it somewhat further. We should stimulate to reuse, remix, redistribute, revise and retain a full course. I.e., the open license must be attributed to all course elements and not just educational content (also quizzes, tests and course environment with open software and re-usable instantiations). Such that smaller institutions are easily re-use other MOOCs, facilitated by translation services to offer their own MOOCs added with local knowledge, case studies, etc.

In addition I like to refer to for example NOUN. Today they launched there OER program and soon will introduce MOOCs with OER, like most of OpenupEd partners


First Nigerian MOOCs from the National Open University of ...
On Thursday 10 December 2015, Prof. Vincent Ado Tenebe, the Vice Chancellor of NOUN chaired a meeting, co-organized with UNESCO, for representatives of Nigerian ...
Read more...<http://www.openuped.eu/partners/15-news/111-first-nigerian-moocs-from-the-national-open-university-of-nigeria-noun>

Best wishes,


Van: Open Educational Resources [mailto:OER-DISCUSS at JISCMAIL.AC.UK] Namens terry at dawsonloane
Verzonden: woensdag 9 december 2015 12:27
Onderwerp: Re: Open policies for MOOCs

It does seem to me that in practice most MOOCs have almost nothing to do with the notion of open educational practice.  Pat mentioned FutureLearn, and it is perhaps worth re-emphasising here the very hard line on copyright in the FutureLearn terms and conditions<https://about.futurelearn.com/terms/>. For example at paragraph 12 we read:

"The Online Content and Courses IPR is protected to the fullest extent possible by copyright laws. All such rights are reserved. You agree that the Online Content and Courses IPR remains the property of us or the licensor, as applicable... You also agree that you have no rights in or to the Online Content and Courses IPR other than the right to use it in accordance with the terms of the licence in paragraph 6 above."

I have just completed FutureLearn´s "Blended Learning Essentials" course, and interestingly the course did include significant coverage of open educational resources and creative commons licensing. But this did not extend to reflecting on the non-open nature of the course itself. (Every week of the course included a reminder that the material was "© University of Leeds / UCL / Ufi Charitable Trust".) Of course many institutions use FutureLearn as a form of marketing/awareness raising. When I followed Liverpool University´s "Introduction To Electrical And Electronic Engineering" FutureLearn course they were quite open about the fact that they were promoting their own degree courses in this area to people who had done the FutureLearn course (although they were looking for potential students 40 or more years younger than me, of course:-)

Regarding Pat´s reference to "the business model of unis", I think we have to face up to a difficult fact: the principle of open educational practice is in direct conflict with the power and influence that educational institutions wish to continue to hold over the process of learning. Universities may be willing to offer all sorts of freebies as part of a freemium model of promoting their own interests, but surely this has nothing at all to do with "real" open education.

Terry Loane

On 09 December 2015 at 10:04 alannah fitzgerald <alannahfitzgerald at GMAIL.COM<mailto:alannahfitzgerald at GMAIL.COM>> wrote:

Thanks, Pat. Veritable gold mine as always.


On Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 10:18 PM, Pat L (pgogy) <info at pgogywebstuff.com<mailto:info at pgogywebstuff.com>> wrote:

Share anything I've said. It can't have been that bad.

It was the Coursera conference at Senate House (2013 or 14). I was pretty much live tweeting so i will fish through my.twitter archive. I think i asked about the logic of having a list of coursera videos outside of the courses people could use. The response from Koller or Ng was it didn't seem to fit the business models of unis. I spoke to Penn afterwards who do a lot of OER and they thought it was a good idea. It might be worth noting here that after three years of using the coursera 'VLE' the only visible interface changes are on the analytics side and a little bit on asset management. Most of the work has been on the ondemand side. Perhaps thy see no benefit to openness and have a business to run. Perhaps it might be easier to level this criticism at futurelearn.

I'd also add that we did use OER during our MOOC, even though there is next to nothing out there law wise (bar historical documents), but when we did we tried to ask the person first for permission. This may sound contra openness, but I'd not want to send 40000 people off to someone's website without them at least expecting it. Many web hosts will close a site down once traffic reaches certain levels or once a set level of gigabytes has been downloaded. Of course you could download it and host it on the massive "VLE" (basically AWS) but then all the precious reuse evidence is lost

-------- Original message --------
From: alannah fitzgerald <alannahfitzgerald at GMAIL.COM<mailto:alannahfitzgerald at GMAIL.COM>>
Date: 08/12/2015 22:57 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: Open policies for MOOCs

Dear All,

This is very timely as I'm in the process of trying to encourage McGill Uni. in Canada to openly license their MOOC content, and establish an open ed policy, as part of my pro bono work with them for their Social Learning for Social Impact MOOC. Thankfully, some of the learners raised the question about the level of openness of the MOOC and they knew about the edX plug-in, questioning why it hadn't been used by McGill. It's always helpful when the learners are demanding this change and I expect that this has something to do with the high number of self-identifying edhackers in the social justice community who are taking our MOOC. Anyway, I'll let you know how things go from early Feb once I'm back in Montreal to make a face-2-face case for this with my fellow MOOC facilitators (I'm currently in NZ doing my other pro bono stint with the open FLAX language project till then). The expertise shared here will help with making this case, thanks.

Cable - are the discussions on-going with edX and Creative Commons regarding the uptake of the CC-licensing plug-in for edX, I wonder? And, where does CC plan to go next with edX?

I've been in touch with Pat (aka the open ed policy at the Uni of London for the English Common Law MOOC with Coursera) as part of my research based on the reuse of their openly-licensed MOOC content for the development of open data-driven linguistic support derivatives by the FLAX project. I have some data from Pat in response to the open ed policy questions for MOOCs raised here in this discussion, and I'm sure he wouldn't mind that data being shared here (Pat?) also. One of the things Pat mentioned was that while he was in attendance at a MOOC provider conference (I'm not sure which one) and when he raised the same question about openness for MOOC content he was told that the providers had seen no evidence of demand for this. Perhaps, Pat, you can fill us in more with the details about this interaction? This view from whoever was speaking on behalf of the MOOC providers does seem to run at cross purposes with what we are seeing as, for example, evidence coming from edX MOOC completers, many of whom are educators who have a vested interest in the content and seeing how MOOCs deliver subjects they themselves are teaching [1].

I look forward to sharing more with you all in this important area of open policy development.

With all good wishes,


Alannah Fitzgerald

FLAX Language Project (flax.nzdl.org<http://flax.nzdl.org>) Open Education Research

PhD Candidate in Educational Technology at Concordia University, Canada
https://ca.linkedin.com/in/alannahfitzgerald / alannahfitzgerald.org<http://alannahfitzgerald.org> / @AlannahFitz<https://twitter.com/AlannahFitz> / http://www.slideshare.net/AlannahOpenEd
a_fitzg at education.concordia.ca<mailto:a_fitzg at education.concordia.ca> / alannahfitzgerald at gmail.com<mailto:alannahfitzgerald at gmail.com> / https://plus.google.com/u/0/+alannahfitzgerald

[1] Ho, A. D., Chuang, I., Reich, J., Coleman, C. A., Whitehill, J., Northcutt, C. G., … Petersen, R. (2015). HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses Fall 2012-Summer 2014 (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 2586847). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2586847

see Finding 3: "Among the one-fifth of participants who responded to survey questions about their professional experience as teachers or instructors, 39% identified as a past or present teacher, and 21% of these teachers reported teaching in the topic area of the course in which they were participating. These survey results reflect the diversity of possible, desired uses of open online courses beyond certification."

On Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 6:19 AM, Cable Green <cable.green at gmail.com<mailto:cable.green at gmail.com>> wrote:

Two posts from Creative Commons re: this topic:




On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 8:47 AM, Bryan Alexander <bryan.alexander at gmail.com<mailto:bryan.alexander at gmail.com>> wrote:

Perhaps it's worth pinging the founders, George Siemens and Stephen Downes.

On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 9:37 AM, Brandon Muramatsu <mura at mit.edu<mailto:mura at mit.edu>> wrote:

Try contacting Willem van Valkenburg <w.f.vanvalkenburg at tudelft.nl<mailto:w.f.vanvalkenburg at tudelft.nl>> at TU Delft. He can talk about what TU Delft is doing and what the Open Education Consortium has been doing.


P.S. Oh great, Pat is referring to himself in the 3rd person now. :)


Brandon Muramatsu

Strategic Education Initiatives

MIT Office of Digital Learning

On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 8:23 AM, Pat Lockley (Pgogy) <info at pgogywebstuff.com<mailto:info at pgogywebstuff.com>> wrote:

On 2015-12-08 07:01, Atenas, Javiera wrote:

Apologies for cross posting

Dear all

A colleague from a Chilean university is looking for institutional
policies to ensure that the content they produce for their MOOCs is
openly licensed, if you know one or have developed one at
institutional level which they can refer, please let us know

We didn't have one, we had a Pat, it is like a policy, just a bit more stubborn

I would suggest that looking to host, as much as possible, content outside the platform so switching it to open is a matter of moving some HTML from one place to another.


Bryan Alexander

Future Trends in Technology and Education, http://ftte.us/<http://bryanalexander.org/future-trends-in-technology-and-education/>





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