#OCL4Ed – 3rd Learning Reflection – With Gratitude

When I began this mOOC, I really thought I would be learning all about different types of free textbooks, where I could find them and how I could customize them. I am embarrassed now to say this is what I thought. I had no idea that I would spend two weeks reflecting on my entire pedagogical philosophy. In particular, I really did not grasp that OER is a movement with a distinct educational philosophy driving it.

I have always believed in the free sharing of knowledge. In the United States, where I teach, free sharing has become increasingly difficult. The cost of teaching materials is one significant barrier. The cost of attaining the necessary credentials to teach is another. Also, movements to legislate what should and should not be taught in schools create additional barriers to intellectual and academic freedom. Now that I have a much better grasp of OER, I can imagine solutions to some of these problems—particularly the first two.

My heart wants to say that the OER movement will open minds sufficiently to solve the third issue, but the rational part of me hesitates.  Recently, California voted to make publically available all educational materials created with public funds. This decision seems like a great step forward for the OER movement. I applaud it. And yet, California’s new policy also stirs certain fears. I can imagine groups with political agendas using the open access policy to police what some schools teach. Professors who teach controversial or unpopular subjects could be vulnerable to attacks. Believe me when I say that some groups try to insinuate their agendas into the educational system via any means available, in order to stifle freethinking and tolerance. I worry that making all educational materials available might give the groups enough fodder to actually defeat the very freedoms that OERs seek to establish.

Nevertheless, I remain hopeful, and I am extraordinarily grateful to have taken this mOOC. It’s been fantastic!

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#OCL4Ed – Remix and Reflection Using Materials on St. Augustine and the Wise Old Man Archetype

This semester, I am teaching a World Literature survey organized around the concept of archetypes. So far we have examined the Hero, the King, the Lover, the Beloved, and the Mother. All our examples have come from imaginative texts. In each case, the literary work contemplates important social issues through archetypes. For instance, Euripides’ Medea critiques the powerlessness of Greek women. The play turns the Mother and Hero archetypes inside out. Jason and Medea openly display violence and power-lust—forcing us to confront how far they have fallen from maternal and heroic ideals.

Archetypes are not confined to imaginative works. We also find them in histories, biographies, and autobiographies. The historian or biographer often presents an archetype as a social aspiration. Our next class will explore the archetype of the Sage or Wise Old Man. St. Augustine’s great spiritual autobiography, The Confessions, can be read as a story of becoming the Sage.

To understand the Sage/Wise Old Man archetype, we can review an excerpt from Wikipedia’s “Wise Old Man,” which carries the CC-BY-SA license. Citations for the sources used by the article’s editors appear at the end of this excerpt:

Traits

This type of character is typically represented as a kind and wise, older father-type figure who uses personal knowledge of people and the world to help tell stories and offer guidance that, in a mystical way, may impress upon his audience a sense of who they are and who they might become, thereby acting as a mentor. He may occasionally appear as an absent-minded professor, appearing absent-minded due to a predilection for contemplative pursuits.

The wise old man is often seen to be in some way “foreign”, that is, from a different culture, nation, or occasionally, even a different time, from those he advises. In extreme cases, he may be a liminal being, such as Merlin, who was only half human.

In medieval chivalric romance and modern fantasy literature, he is often presented as a wizard.[2] He can also or instead be featured as a hermit. This character type often explained to the knights or heroes—particularly those searching for the Holy Grail—the significance of their encounters. . . .[3]

In Jungian Psychology

In Jungian analytical psychology, senex is the specific term used in association with this archetype.[4] In Ancient Rome, the title of Senex (Latin for old man) was only awarded to elderly men with families who had good standing in their village. Examples of the senex archetype in a positive form include the wise old man or wizard. The senex may also appear in a negative form as a devouring father (e.g. Uranus, Cronus) or a doddering fool.

In the individuation process, the archetype of the Wise old man was late to emerge, and seen as an indication of the Self. ‘If an individual has wrestled seriously enough and long enough with the anima (or animus) problem…the unconscious again changes its dominant character and appears in a new symbolic form…as a masculine initiator and guardian (an Indian guru), a wise old man, a spirit of nature, and so forth’.[5]

References

1. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, p 151, ISBN 0-691-01298-9

2. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, p 195, ISBN 0-691-01298-9

3. Doob, Penelope Reed (1990). The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. pp. 179–181. ISBN 0-8014-8000-0.

4. Chalquist, Craig (2007). Terrapsychology: Reengaging the Soul of Place. Spring Journal Books. ISBN 978-1-882670-65-9.

5. Franz, Marie-Luise von (1978). “The Process of Individuation”. In Jung, C. G. Man and his Symbols. London: Picador. pp. 207–208. ISBN 0-330-25321-2.

This YouTube video by Mark O’Meara also explains the Sage Archetype:

O’Meara’s video carries the CC-BY license.

The Wise Old Man has seen a lot. He’s endured personal struggles. He wants to pass on his hard-gained wisdom to someone younger. The Wise One needs an initiate. Merlin has Arthur. Obi-wan has Luke, and so on.

St. Augustine expresses the Sage archetype in a sophisticated way. In his autobiography, he is both the old man and the young initiate. He travels from his birth place, Thagaste, to Carthage and later to Rome. He learns Latin and Greek and intensively studies Roman literary classics. He sees it all and does it all—he has affairs, he drinks, he dabbles in various religious heresies, all the while seeking transcendent meaning in the universe. And then one day he has a conversion, a moment of blinding clarity, when he sheds his errant ways and begins the ascent to wisdom.

Augustine structured his autobiographical narrative to emphasize the transformation from naïf to Sage, (as this fair-use quotation from The Longman Anthology of World Literature implies): “[He] tells the story in retrospect rather than from beginning to end, so that he is always able to comment upon his wayward past from the safe harbor in which he now finds himself. In this way he can show how each apparently errant step he took . . . could also play a role in his eventual salvation” (“Augustine” 847).

Artistic renderings of St. Augustine often emphasize his mystical “sage” qualities, as we can see in this image of a 1650 painting by Philippe de Champaigne, which is in the public domain:
Saint Augustine

The different licenses/usage declarations for the material that appears in this post are:

by-sa     by    public domain mark

Works Cited

“Augustine.”  The Longman Anthology of World Literature. Eds. David Damrosch and David L. Pike. Compact Edition. New York: Pearson Education-Longman, 2008. 846-48. Print.

De Champaigne, Philippe. St. Augustine. 1645-1650. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles. Wikipedia. Web. 15 Sep 2013.

O’Meara, Mark. Archetypes: The Wise Old Man. Online Video. YouTube. YouTube, 30 Jul. 2011.Web. 15 Sep. 2013.

“Wise Old Man.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Sep. 2013. Web. 15 Sep. 2013.

Reflection on Remixing

The most challenging thing for me, frankly, was the length. I had to stop myself from going on forever. Perhaps my topic was too complicated for this exercise. My discussion of the Sage archetype in Augustine is oversimplified. I had to cut out a lot, actually, just to keep it to this length.

I fretted over whether to include the list of sources from the Wikipedia excerpt, and decided to do so. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I also wondered whether or not to include a full-blown list of works cited at the end of the post. Finally, I decided to go ahead and make one. As I was scouring my sources for information to make the citations, I discovered that the image I initially chose had the GNU Free Documentation License, which supposedly makes it incompatible with the CC licenses. So I had to get another image. The original image was also noted as being in the public domain. How can it have the GNU license at the same time? How can something with a GNU license appear in Wikipedia, which uses the Creative Commons licenses? I do not understand.

I am not sure whether I have the copyright here or whether my employer would have the copyright. I will certainly use some of this information in my class next week. I doubt that I will use the actual blog entry as educational material.  When does a piece of writing become an actual educational resource?

I decided to apply the CC-BY-SA license to this post because I am uncertain about the copyright ownership.

by-sa

#OCL4Ed — Multiple Choice Questions — Copyright Scenario

As part of my participation in the Open Content Licensing course, I need to two write two multiple choice questions about a copyright scenario. Here goes!

Candida Espris recently retired from a tenured position at Compass Point University in the United States. While teaching at CPU, Candida developed several online creative writing classes. She wrote all of the course materials herself. The course materials include writing prompts and several sample poems by different writers.

Now that Candida is retired, she wants to teach a face-to-face creative writing class for free, in her living room. Candida has decided to use the same materials she created for the online class. She reformats the materials for the online class, using a different font and layout. Then, she takes everything to Office Max and asks them to print the materials in spiral-bound booklet form. She purchases several dozen booklets with her own money, which she then distributes free of charge to the people taking the workshop in her living room.

Read the two multiple-choice questions below and select the best answer from the possibilities given.

1. During the second week of this class, Candida receives a call from CPU’s legal office, telling her that she is infringing on their copyrighted materials. Is Candida infringing?

a. Because she is offering this course for free in the privacy of her own home, there is no infringement.
b. Because she wrote the materials herself, there is no infringement.
c. Because she wrote these materials as “work-for-hire” while employed at CPU, she is infringing on CPU’s copyright.
d. Because she had these materials printed in booklet form by Office Max, she is infringing on Office Max’s copyright.

2. CPU follows up its phone call to Candida with a “cease and desist” letter. The letter includes a list of items that CPU demands Candida to stop using in her free class. The list includes: (i) instructions for different creative writing exercises; (ii) sample poems by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and John Keats, which include Candida’s original annotations; (iii) grading rubrics for the creative writing exercises; (iv) hyperlinks to Bartleby (http://www.bartleby.com/) and Candida’s own website, where students can find copies of the poems Candida annotated. Does Candida have the right to use any of these materials?

a. Candida can use all of these things.
b. Candida can use the annotated poems by Emily Dickinson, John Keats, and Walt Whitman because they are in the public domain. She can’t use anything else.
c. Candida can use the grading rubrics under a “fair use” exception.
d. Candida can use the hyperlinks.

Answers
Question 1: C-Candida is infringing on CPU’s copyright. A, B, and D are the distractors. The fact that she created the course is irrelevant because she did so during the course of her employment. The materials are therefore considered “work for hire.” Even if she wrote the class on her own time, outside of normal working hours, CPU would still own the copyright as a “work-for-hire.” The fact that Candida is offering this class for free is actually a big problem with respect to infringement. These students could be taking the class at CPU. If this case were to go to trial and Candida lost, she might be liable for the money that CPU would have earned from these students. Office Max could not hold the copyright; they’re just a printer and have no rights to the work.

Question 2: D-Candida can definitely use the hyperlinks. A, B, and C are distractors. A hyperlink is not an expression of an idea, and therefore is not covered under copyright. Although the poems by Emily Dickinson, John Keats, and Walt Whitman are in the public domain, Candida created a derivative work when she annotated them. She can use the original poems but not the annotated versions. Her use of the rubric may or may not fall under the fair use exception, depending on how extensively she borrowed from the original material.

PS: Writing the scenario and the two MCQ’s was HARD!!!!

Creative Commons License
#OCL4Ed — Multiple Choice Questions — Copyright Scenario by Judith Westley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://jwestley.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://jwestley.wordpress.com.

Case Study Reflection – #OCL4Ed

I did pretty well on the first four questions of the case study. The one that I found the most challenging was question number five. I was surprised to see that all three options were potentially correct answers, but that the journal was most likely the owner of the copyright. I am beginning to see how foggy my understanding of copyright is, and how complex these matters can get.

In my own career, I am much more familiar with journals that have what is termed “First North American Serial Rights.” These rights entitle the journal to be the first publisher of a work in serial form (i.e. in a magazine, a newspaper, etc). After the journal publishes the work, then all rights revert to the author. This system works pretty well most of the time for writers in creative fields, such as me. However, I have run into authors who had works accepted at journals which “sit” on their first rights, and don’t exercise them for years. Some journals want to stock pile pieces by up-and-coming writers. If the writer subsequently wins a major prize (e.g. the Pulitzer) or starts getting a lot of media attention for some reason, the journal will then publish this piece to look hip and in-the-know. Writers in this situation can get extremely frustrated. I had a professor once who had to buy her rights to some poems back from a major US literary magazine so that she could complete a book she was working on.

Although this scenario does not concern an educational context per se, it does illustrate how copyright matters can create professional blocks for writers. While taking this course, I have discovered that my school, in all likelihood, owns the rights my teaching materials. Actually, since a lot of my materials were created when I worked at a different school, then it is my previous employer who owns the copyright to these things. Am I violating a copyright by continuing to teach with these materials? Madness! I can’t imagine that my previous school would consider sending me a “cease and desist letter.”

I did find a website that listed some prominent cases regarding educational environments and copyright law in the US (http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/copyright-ownership/work-for-hire-case-summaries/). This Columbia University website specifically deals with “work for hire” cases. In a conversation I had on Google+ while reading the case study, I confronted what it truly means to be “hired” to create something (https://plus.google.com/u/0/?tab=wX#115620049325842097941/posts). Some contend there is a “teacher exception” to work-for-hire rules, but in many cases the US courts did not find this exception to be applicable.

The question of who owns teaching materials has particularly serious implications in part because the US has a deeply entrenched two-tiered professoriate. Some educators, like me, work full-time for one institution. We are paid for instructional activities and for office hours, research, personal study, grading and so on. Other educators do not work full-time for one institution; these are known as “adjunct” or “contingent” faculty. Adjuncts technically receive compensation only for the time they spend in the classroom. They are not paid for office hours, grading, research—anything that goes on outside of class. Obviously, no teacher can create teaching materials while standing in a classroom. So, are their teaching materials a “work-for-hire” to which one institution owns the copyright, or not? Many adjunct instructors work for more than one school. How would an adjunct determine which school has the rights to something? What if the adjunct is teaching the same course (say, Comp 1) for two different schools with slightly different course requirements? Let’s say this instructor creates a lesson that meets the requirements for both institutions. Do both have an equal share in the copyright?

Let’s say an instructor wants to get a different job. Should the instructor just hand over all her teaching materials and start from scratch to avoid infringing on her previous employer’s copyright? In some disciplines, having to start all over again would be such a huge burden that accepting a new job might be unadvisable or perhaps impossible.

I have come to believe strongly that there must be a teaching exception to copyright laws.

2nd Learning Reflection – #OCL4Ed

My understanding of the how OERs work is growing and growing. I am increasingly having ideas for how I might try to use them in one of my classes. I would like to create a hybrid creative writing class using OER materials, for example.

As I learn more about OERs, I find myself reflecting back 11 years. I moved from a big city (where I had lived most of my life) to a small, beachside town. The town had a large gated community, as well as many neighborhoods without gates in front of them. Coming from a large urban area, I had never encountered gated communities before. I didn’t understand what they were. I could see the neighborhood, and the gate, but I did not really grasp that I wasn’t entitled to walk through the gate. The gated neighborhood looked beautiful to me. One afternoon, I decided to take a stroll through it. The guard at the gate stopped me, asking in a very rude voice if I “was a member of the community.” I was flabbergasted, and explained that I lived in the neighborhood on the next block over. He wouldn’t let me in. I stalked away, really furious.

Then, I began to read more about the phenomenon of gated communities. I grew to hate them intensely for many reasons. For example, a gated community distorts the traffic pattern in the town where it is located. Everyone who does not live behind the gate must drive around it, expending more time and gas to get someplace. In the town where I lived, the gated community was quite large, so driving around it was quite time-consuming. In other municipalities, people who live in gated communities can opt out of paying certain local taxes; this tax opt-out was not an issue where I lived, but it definitely does exist. Often, gated communities are built on very beautiful or desirable land, so lovely, inspiring scenery is blocked off from everyone else. Ultimately, a gated “community” actually undermines the sense of community in a town by creating cumbersome barriers that literally, physically separate one group of people from another. The gate destroys social capital and good will.

So, why am I ranting about gated communities? Well, I think that current copyright laws are similar to the gate. They diminish and fragment the community of learners. Those with adequate financial resources can get around the “gate” to enjoy the view; those without resources can barely glimpse the view and may remain ignorant of it forever. I hope my analogy illustrates how onerous the “gate” can be.

Taking this class is allowing me to understand the deep forces of segregation that permeate our society. Copyright laws can separate us from knowledge we need to be productive citizens–real members of the “community.”

My questions now are: how does one begin to create an open educational resource? Are OERs best created collaboratively to start with? What types of OERs work best for different disciplines?

Tear down the gates. Free knowledge. Free the community./p>

1st Learning Reflection for #OCL4Ed

When I started this course, I had only a vague idea of what an OER material is and how it could be used. I thought of open educational resources primarily as “free online textbooks.” Now, I see that OER includes much more; the types of materials are quite varied and can be used in many different ways. Now, I also understand that the OER movement also has a well-developed educational philosophy behind it.

I enjoyed posting on Twitter and Google+ because I was able to see how many different people from different parts of the world are participating in this class. I have used Twitter before, in a course taught by ITV, but have not yet used it for personal purposes. Google+ was completely new to me, as is using this blog. I am mainly learning how to use it by trial and error. I have also begun studying blogs by other participants, to see how the blogs are set up.

Currently, my main question is this: how can I use OER materials in my classes? In some classes, the college issues common textbooks for all sections of that class. I do have some freedoms to substitute other materials. Frankly, I would like very much to jettison the required textbooks and transition into OERs for some classes. Doing so would require a great deal of time because I would have to make sure that the OER materials met the same learning objectives as the current texts. And this concern brings up another aspect to related to the concept of costs in education: the cost of time. I believe the time spent will ultimately be worth it, but I must mentally psyche myself up to devoting the requisite time.

Other questions I am now considering quite deeply relate to attribution. How much attribution should I give when I borrow materials? How much attribution should I expect when others people borrow my materials? I believe I must consider this concern carefully. I teach the composition sequence in my school; students must learn how to appropriately borrow and cite their research. In creating an OER course, I would want to model proper citation for them.

Throughout the first lesson, I have thought constantly about the relationships between education and money. They are so intertwined in US culture. Students are told they can’t get good jobs without education, so many tend to see what they learn in terms of its future financial value. The educational debt system in the US reinforces this view.  Some students take on so much debt they really cannot avoid thinking the future financial benefits of what they learn. And I really think this truncates a certain spirit of creativity and self-discovery which is necessary to being a productive citizen of our country and world. Without realizing it, students absorb this notion that the most important they do will is to work for someone else, to produce profit for someone else. So, they may not conceive of their own minds as capable of producing an intellectual product truly their own. They don’t become independent thinkers. I am so saddened by this state of affairs. I hope that in some small way, the OERs may free students from some financial anxieties.

My #OCL4Ed Declaration

My name is Judith Westley; I like to be called Judy. For the past five years, I have been teaching English in various community colleges in the United States. My credentials include the M.A. in English literature and the M.F.A. in creative writing. College teaching is a second (or maybe even third) career for me.

My reasons for taking this class intertwine my strongly held beliefs with my desire for professional development.  In the U.S. today, students who want to pursue higher education must take on significant financial burdens. Tuition is skyrocketing. The cost of books is skyrocketing. Every semester, I have students who can’t afford to purchase their books until the second or even third week of the term because they’ve expended all available funds on tuition. Not uncommonly, these students fall behind. Most of them work hard to get caught up, but occasionally I have a student who expects me to re-teach everything he or she missed before purchasing the books. My responses have ranged from “tough love” to heartfelt empathy. Neither approach solves the problem—some students simply can’t afford everything at once. This situation is not going away.

I see the use of OER materials as a one possible solution. I like very much the idea of free course materials. I believe that’s the way it should be. However, I remain ambivalent about how well OER materials will fill the gaps for my students. Sure, the information in OER materials itself is free, but OERs do necessitate other costs. Students have to have reliable internet access and to feel comfortable doing a lot of things online. At my current school, not all students have the access and the comfort level.

Creating this blog is a first for me. I have often thought about blogging. There are some HE blogs I follow. I am a little nervous, frankly, about sharing my thoughts in a blog. In this regard, I guess I am little like the students who are not entirely comfortable with online technologies. Of course, I use the Internet for almost everything related to my teaching in one way or another. I rely heavily on a course management system to distribute my course materials. Yet, I have never thought to make my internet use “public yet personal” the way a blog can be.

I am looking forward to learning more about OERs and to connecting with educators from other parts of the world. Onward!