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Notes from the World Congress on OER

The World Congress on OER, sponsored by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning, highlighted the rapid progress being made in other countries in support of Open Educational Resources. John Daniel, the former CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning lead the proceedings by stressing that for the first time the vision of educational idealists for increasing accessibility to learning and the practical pragmatism of the accountants comes together with OER. The adoption of OER, not only increases accessibility to learning but also significantly reduces costs to  government while maintaining and even improving quality.

Lawrence Lessig, the American lawyer and Creative Commons founder, gave an excellent presentation pointing out that Creative Commons supports copyright, recognizing that there is a need for creators to receive compensation but also recognizing that educators are already compensated by the public. He suggested that both needed to be accommodated.  Creative Commons allows creators to maintain their copyright and choose the license restrictions according to their particular needs. For educators, this is important because with a CC license, they can maintain ownership while facilitating wide dissemination.

Major OER initiatives from government in the USA and separate states, the Netherlands with WikiWijs, Poland, Brazil and some Arab states were highlighted. Most initiatives in other countries have been led by institutions and engaged individuals through specific projects. Canada was conspicuous by the paucity of its iniatives in OER. Other than AU and BC Campus there was nothing else.


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