The International Open Scene

OER production and promotion isn’t just happening at the University of Michigan. It’s a global effort that has far reaching implications and impact. Recently there have been a few global (and local) events that illustrate the power of advocacy and may affect what we in the OER world can do in the next few years:

Brazil’s Copyright Reform Proposal

Earlier this summer, you may have heard about Brazil’s Copyright Reform Proposal. What’s so great about it is that it encourages freedom of expression and it discourages hinderance of fair use materials through digital locks or DRM. As we know, DRM and DMCA can cause all sorts of trouble for creating openly licensed content (as well as librarians just trying to do their jobs). By discouraging the abuse of these provisions and encouraging fair use, Brazil’s government is approaching the subject of use and re-use in a very proactive manner.

Arabic OER Platform

Creative Commons just announced the winners of its Catalyst grants and a Jordanian proposal was among the winners. As a grassroots initiative, the Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA) will use this funding to build an OER platform that addresses the learning interests and needs of the K-20 spectrum. It illustrates another link in the global network of OER production and the movement toward open access of information and another country’s willingness to support and sustain OER that can be localized and re-used in many different learning contexts.

U.S. Department of Education Priorities

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) just released its Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs (with comments) one of which explicitly states support for OER.  It’s housed in Proposed Priority 13, devoted to “Improving Productivity.” Their definition of OER “means teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others.” There have been recommendations to make this language stronger but it is certainly a great acknowledgement to see more and more OER efforts supported at such an institutional level.

These are just a few of the global activities underway to increase the standardization and reach of OER efforts at all different levels of support.

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