Open.Michigan Reading Group Meets again on 18 November 2009

Please join us for the second meeting of the Open.Michigan Reading Group.  This reading and discussion group, convened by members of the Open.Michigan Initiative, is for anyone with an interest in open educational resources (OER), open access and open content initiatives, open source software, open archives and publishing, open data efforts, and open standards.

Our second session takes place Wednesday, November 18 from 1:00-2:30 pm in the Turkish/American Friendship Room (room 4004) in the Shapiro Library.  The selected readings for this session are:

— James Boyle “The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain”

— Marc Parry “Open Courses: Free, but Oh, So Costly” (which appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Ed on October 11, 2009)

In preparation for our meeting, here are some questions to help get our discussion going:

  • What is the importance of the commons or the public domain in intellectual activities?
  • What is the “second commons enclosure” movement?
  • Why does Boyle say: the “public domain’s primary function is allowing copyright law to continue to work not-withstanding the unrealistic, individualistic idea of creativity it depends on.”
  • What changes in the way information and communication are done currently make these questions particularly important for us?
  • What are the tensions between conceptions of the commons vs those of the public domain for Boyle?
  • What does Boyle mean by the need to “invent” the notions of the commons and the public domain?
  • Bonus question:  What in the work of the new Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom relates to these notions of the commons?
  • Is open courseware a sustainable effort?  Why so or not?  What examples do we have to support either position?
  • What could/should be the relationship between open educational resources, like course materials, and for-fee distance learning courses?
  • What various models for certification are discussed in the article? How do these relate to the open educational resources available from various institutions?
  • Are OER “free online courses” as the article describes the MIT materials, or not?  If not, what are they?
  • What is the role of institutions such as the University of Michigan in learning and teaching in a world dominated by Learning 2.0?  Are universities still useful, or not?

Between our meetings, we encourage you to keep the discussion going on our blog, Twitter stream, or Facebook page: links available at

Please extend this invitation to others who might be interested.  We look forward to seeing you!

Joseph Hardin, School of Information
Melissa Levine, University Library
Ted Hanss, Medical School
on behalf of the Open.Michigan Initiative

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