Evaluating the Understandings, Uses, and Management of Third-Party Content in OER

In late 2009, Open.Michigan joined forces with the Creative Commons (CC) to gather information on how copyright law plays a role in, and perhaps acts as a barrier to, the production of Open Educational Resources (OER). CC and Open.Michigan conducted an exploratory survey of issues associated with incorporating materials released under varied license terms into a single open resource. The survey results showed that OER creators feel incorporating third-party content is important to their ability to create high quality materials. It also revealed that OER producers encounter copyright issues when creating their materials, and most commonly rely on exceptions and limitations to copyright when including third-party content in the OER they produce. The complete survey results are detailed in this paper, “Evaluating the Understandings, Uses, and Management of Third-Party Content in OER.” This paper is available on the CC website along with the original survey questions and other supporting documents.

So you wanna be an Open Education Coordinator…

An update: This position has been filled. We’ll make a formal announcement in the next couple of weeks.


You’re in luck — Open.Michigan needs a new teammate: an Open Education Coordinator. Here’s the brief on what we’re looking for:

  • a community-builder and advocate for open education at the University of Michigan and beyond
  • a teacher and production specialist for online publication of OER
  • a strategizer and assessment guru to help align Open.Michigan’s goals with its efforts

Here are the steps to become a part of the Open.Michigan team:

  1. get to know Open.Michigan, what we do, and how we do it. we’re not your average OCW group.
  2. read our job posting.
  3. decide if you’re interested – if you are seriously enthusiastic about all of this, follow through and apply (#4). if not, you probably don’t really want to be an Open Education Coordinator. oh, well – go tell your friends about us.
  4. get your resume and stats ready and put them into U-M’s system. go to our job posting and click on the “apply” button on the right side of the page and follow the process.
  5. sit, wait, and let your excitement build. we’ll be getting back to candidates very shortly.



About Open.Michigan

Open.Michigan <http://open.umich.edu> is an initiative for people in the University of Michigan (U-M) community, in the state of Michigan, and throughout the world to explore, contribute, learn, and build upon the unique resources that are a part of a U-M educational experience. This open view of the U-M scholarly community can help enrich our own experiences for the development, use, and sharing of knowledge. By raising awareness of participatory education on a global scale, Open.Michigan is part of an emerging paradigm where a wide array of contributors add to and build upon the open knowledge commons.

The Position

This full-time position is within the Office of Enabling Technologies at the University of Michigan Medical School and will be a key member of the Open.Michigan staff <http://open.umich.edu/about/team.php>. The position is the main liaison between Open.Michigan and the students, faculty and staff at U-M, acting as a catalyst for cultural and practical change within the institution.

Open.Michigan seeks an Open Education Coordinator to engage the campus and its peer institutions on open education and to cultivate a robust community of practitioners in this area, from content producers to instructors to librarians to researchers and beyond. This individual will build a network of like-minded educators on campus, share knowledge and resources with this group, and bring critical needs assessment back to the Open.Michigan and U-M staff in order to improve infrastructure and support for open education activities.


Under general supervision, the Open Education Coordinator reports to the Director of Enabling Technologies and may provide functional supervision over four to five project team members. This position may also provide administrative and functional supervision over student employees.

About the Office of Enabling Technologies

The Office of Enabling Technologies <http://sitemaker.umich.edu/enablingtech/> operates from the Office of the Dean of the Medical School. The role of Enabling Technologies is to position the Medical School as an innovative applier of leading edge information and communications technologies.


Community-Building and Advocacy (40%)

To effectively cultivate the sharing and dissemination of U-M knowledge and resources, both the Medical School and the University need a solid foundation of advocates and contributors to the commons. To meet this goal, the Open Education Coordinator will:

  • raise awareness of open education activities across the Medical School and U-M campus, encouraging and generating broader participation by Medical School departments, faculty, and students;
  • build and organize community around open education with domestic and international peer institutions, with the goal of identifying potential collaboration opportunities in open education;
  • organize meetings for Open.Michigan members/participants to facilitate discussion on events, outreach, projects, policies and future direction; and
  • convene open education interest groups across U-M schools, colleges, and departments.

As a result, those wishing to participate in open education activities will have access to a strong network of open content creators, producers, and users. These tasks will require working closely with the Open.Michigan staff to synthesize existing and develop new communication and outreach resources for engaging this network.

Training and Content Production (40%)

A key to a thriving open community at U-M is both education of the open culture and production and publication of high-quality, exemplar U-M resources. To this end, the Open Education Coordinator will:

  • train, educate, and guide Medical School and U-M faculty, students, and staff on open content production and publishing;
  • field requests for information, answer specific questions about open education, and provide in-depth consultations with faculty, students and staff;
  • create and share teaching and training materials for producing open educational content and improving open education publishing processes, including materials addressing copyright issues;
  • disseminate Open.Michigan training and process documentation to the greater open education community, increasing the Medical School’s visibility as a leader and expert practitioner in open issues;
  • facilitate and integrate U-M research efforts into open education, including its effects on learning, scholarly productivity, policy, and interdisciplinary and inter-institutional resource sharing; and
  • assist in developing proposals for external funding to facilitate infrastructure development and community needs assessments.

Complementing these tasks, the Open Education Coordinator will liaise with the U-M Library on copyright and communication issues to introduce efficiencies in copyright education at U-M and identify opportunities for collaboration between Open.Michigan and the Library. The candidate will serve to develop and implement policies at Open.Michigan while communicating with the Library about mutual interest issues and policy decisions. With oversight from the Open.Michigan policy team—analyze, evaluate, and create policy documents to assist open content production.

Strategy and Assessment (20%)

In order to foster the growth and development of this open community, the Open Education Coordinator will assess and analyze community needs to develop appropriate support infrastructure. Assessments will establish direct indicators tying the Open.Michigan use of resources to short-term and long-term organizational and institutional goals. The Open Education Coordinator will:

  • conduct research and analysis on community issues related to open content creation and downstream use of open content in education;
  • develop indicators linking organizational goals to Open.Michigan tasks, responsibilities and efforts; and
  • develop organizational strategies, based on assessment of indicator data, addressing community priorities.


Necessary Qualifications

Analyze, compare and evaluate various courses of action and have the authority to make independent decisions on matters of significance, free from immediate direction, within the scope of their responsibilities. Primary activities and decision-making authority are predominantly performed independently affecting business operations to a substantial degree. Under FLSA, incumbents in this position meet the criteria for exempt status.

  • Master’s degree in information science, communications, or related field.
  • Familiarity with open education, OER and associated issues.
  • Experience with web-based publishing, presentation tools (e.g., PowerPoint), spreadsheets (e.g., Excel), and various media types (e.g., images, videos).
  • Demonstrated ability to assess community needs and synthesize resources to support community development.
  • Demonstrated excellent and effective interpersonal, verbal, visual and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and meet deadlines.
  • Intimate knowledge and understanding of U.S. and International intellectual property and copyright laws.
  • Effective relationship builder with ability to resolve challenges and exploit opportunities.
  • Demonstrated ability in analyzing problems and implementing effective and efficient solutions.

Desired Qualifications

  • 2+ years working experience with open education and open content issues.
  • Experience with copyright and intellectual property licensing (e.g., Creative Commons).
  • Working knowledge of a university environment, including its policies and procedures.

Did that just make your jaw drop? Doesn’t this sound awesome!? Go to the JOB POSTING!

Creative Commons Announces Catalyst Grant Program

CC Catalyst banner

The Creative Commons (CC) has announced the launch of their Catalyst Campaign, which is raising money to fund their recently launched Catalyst Grants program. Catalyst Grants will make it possible for individuals and organizations to harness the power of Creative Commons. A grant might enable a group in a developing country to research how Open Educational Resources (OER) can positively impact its community. Another could support a study of entrepreneurs using Creative Commons licenses to create a new class of socially responsible businesses. Anyone may apply for a Catalyst Grant, which ranges from $1,000-$10,000.

CC’s goal is to raise $100,000 from supporters of OER to fund the grants that will make all this possible. The Milan Chamber of Commerce has generously donated EUR 10,000 to jumpstart the effort! Please support the CC and donate today to help spread their mission of openness and innovation across all cultural and national boundaries.

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