Saturday, May 7, 2016

Is OER Free ?, Part 2

It's been about five hours since I published Is OER Free? I linked to it in the Twitter discussion that's been going for a couple of days. Here's the bulk of the exchange that's been going on since mostly with Doug Levin. Steve Midgely had asked in a Tweet if the Learning Registry was a problem for me. I said:

Doug Levin: IP license is part of learning registry schema

Me: Can you link me to some clear directions for searching for OER only on the Lng Reg

Levin:  Details and docs up on Github: . Feel free to join community.

Me: You're kidding, right? You think this is useful for a 3rd grade teacher in Mpls?

Levin:  Learning Registry is a tool for developers. Apps & services are absolutely of value.

Me:  so, Lng Registery is not for teachers?

Levin :  it is an open source data service about education content for developers

Levin: the tools/services developers can create benefit many, inc educators and students

That exchange follows my complaint about the Learning Registry's inability to sort for OER only. I'm writing from the point of view of an elementary classroom teacher who is attempting to locate OER to use with my students, a role I lived for 16 years.

Doug Levin doesn't realize that an 'IP address being a part of a schema' is not standard terminology for most elementary teachers, and most teachers don't want to spend their time on any Githubs, unless they're teaching some form of computer science. Maybe Doug just doesn't care about teachers, the people who actually use OER. He goes on to stress that The Learning Registry is a tool for developers. Except the Learning Registry claims that it's goal is "making it easier for educators and students to access the rich content available in our ever-expanding digital universe." (see the links above) And, that makes sense as a goal, but it's not what Doug is claiming as the purpose of the Learning Registry.

I don't think the Learning Registry is deliberately trying to be confusing to educators. I suspect their motives are more about wanting to avoid potential conflict with legacy publishers and developers who won't want to participate in a registry if their content is singled out as costing money while other content is pointed out as obviously free. 

It turns out that there might be an easier way than Doug suggested. After a little searching on the web I found a paragraph in a document called the Go Open Fact Sheet that says that "Microsoft is committed to index content from the Learning Registry by creating a new app so educators can search and access openly licensed educational resources through LTI compliant learning management and publisher systems." That info then led me via a few Google searches to this page on Creative Commons that announces the Open Education Search App.   I wonder why it's not called the OER Search App. Does it not return only OER if requested? The language in the announcement suggests that a search using the Open Education Search App might not be able to filter out non-OER material.  As I said earlier, this discussion is not over, yet. Stay tuned.

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