What is it? ….Is it free? …. Are we there yet? …… What is it all about?
There is a wealth of information being made freely available via the internet, challenging traditional copyright law, and promoting the open sharing of resources, information, and knowledge. Interest in open access, and a corresponding rise in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and Open Educational Resources (OER) highlights the changing face of education and will inevitably impact on all learning, teaching and research. I listened to an interesting interview with Dennis Viehland, an associate professor at Massey University, on National Radio at the weekend, discussing the significance of open content to online learning.
A recent report about the role of Academic Libraries within an open access future, looks at the changing nature of academic research. The focus is on the university environment, but the findings are relevant to all academic institutions. The report concludes that we need to “…evolve and be prepared to be creative, as the ways that researchers and students use information are changing and will continue to change.”(Harris, S. (2012). Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries: A report. Retrieved from http://www.uk.sagepub.com/repository/binaries/pdf/Library-OAReport.pdf).
If you want to know more about the creation and sharing of resources check out Creative Commons Aotearoa
To see what is freely available in terms of resources and content WikiEducator has an extensive list of repositories which hold open education resources. Check out the Kahn Academy , and Merlot, or browse the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals).
Content without Borders and OrangeGrove are two good examples of publicly accessible repositories which promote and provide access to resources contributed by academic institutions and repositories from around the world.
And if you are looking for images, browse the National Gallery of Art or Free New Zealand Photos both of which include images which are in the public domain, or try Open Clipart.
There is a geat deal of interest and activity in the open education movement in New Zealand, from schools through to tertiary level education. Rather than a threat, open education is seen as an opportunity to transform the way we create, share and deliver learning.