All posts by Dr. Sergio Martínez

About Dr. Sergio Martínez

University of Cantabria, Spain

Open education: commercial or social model?

The traditional intellectual property rights try to protect authors in the commercial field (edition, distribution, public communication, translation, etc.). But we are living now in a very different world where a lot of authors don’t want to protect all their rights, but to share their works. And that is the case of university professors. The main part of their educational materials are not used in a commercial way, so why don’t share them with an open license? This is the way University of Cantabria (UC) has followed with some different programmes: OpenCourseWare, Massive Open Online Courses and Open Repository (UCrea). And it works.
The OpenCourseWare site (OCW) has more than 150 open courses, with more than 1 200 000 visits in 2012. Not only individual courses have been published, but also full Degrees (Nursery, Mines, Energetic Resources and Economics). Our main goal is the quality of the materials. From the very beginning we knew that if we wanted to show open resources we had to do it well. OCW is not only a way to spread knowledge, but also a way to show how we do it. Now we have better courses, and professors have a better knowledge of the possibilities of e-learning. All the materials have to pass a quality control. At the same time, texts and photos that could have problems with the intellectual property are removed.
UC has started to work with MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in 2013. We have shown 6 courses in Miriada X with more than 26 000 students. This initiative has had a great repercussion in media. Even though a real accreditation is not offer yet, several ways to do it in the future are being studied (with or without taxes). A lot of professors are waiting to participate.
Finally, UCrea is an Open Repository for professors and researchers. The difference with OCW is that you do not have complete courses but only individual documents (more than 800).
Results of using Open Educational Resources: less costs, promotion of the University, good practises in intellectual property rights, better educational resources.

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