Millions of Canadians are at home, schools are closed, and Canada is undergoing an unprecedented shift to distance or online learning. Adapting course materials to the online learning environment can create significant new challenges for teachers and students alike. Open educational resources (OERs) provides a model for convenient, cost-effective access with no copyright barriers to worry about, expensive texts to purchase, or restrictions on adaptation, customization or re-use. David Porter, who has been a leader in open and distance learning since the 1990s, joins the podcast to discuss how the current shift to online learning places the spotlight on the benefits of OERs and open textbooks.
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 45: David Porter on the Benefits of Open Educational Resources as Millions Shift to Online Learning
My series on Canadian copyright, fair dealing, and education has explored spending and revenue data at universities and publishers, explained the diminishing value of the Access Copyright licence, and conducted a detailed analysis of site licensing on Canadian campuses which demonstrates the foundation for accessing works are the site licences that offer greater flexibility and value than the Access Copyright licence. The series has also shown how some of the publishers who have been most critical of fair dealing are also the ones that have benefited the most from licensing their e-books to educational institutions.
Earlier this year, the Ontario government made a big commitment to open textbooks, investing millions of dollars to create new open texts in fields such as history, finance, politics, the environment, engineering, and the sciences. The resulting open textbook library at ECampusOntario now features hundreds of texts that are free to use for everyone. The Ontario initiative follows leadership in the OER field from BC Campus and its open textbook project. The BC effort has saved students millions of dollars with adoptions by dozens of institutions putting them into use in hundreds of faculties for over 1600 courses.
It is open access week and this year I had the honour of delivering the keynote address at a terrific open access event co-sponsored by the Ryerson University Library and Archives and the University of Toronto Libraries. My talk – which can be viewed in full here or from the embed below – starts with a review of the remarkable success of open access over the past 15 years, but quickly shifts toward the continuing connection between balanced copyright and open access.