Intellectual Property Rights, MOOCs and OnLine Learning

So who owns all of the work we produce? We’re talking about the lessons, exemplars, test, exams, projects, podcasts, blogs and whatever that is developed in the service of the DSBN. Going by industry examples, not you. That course you have been building for 10 years? It’s the DSBN’s. All that stuff you’ve been uploading to the network, FirstClass or the D2L system? It’s the DSBN’s. They could be perfectly within their rights to download it all and create whatever online courses they want with it.

The Ministry of Education is mandating 25% of courses be online by 2014. Where is all of this material coming from? You. How long would it take to create a standardized online course in your subject area for the province of Ontario? How many teachers do you need to deliver content then?

We can slow this down or put a stop to it entirely by realizing this is a real issue. Moving our content off of DSBN servers is one way. It’s said ownership is 9/10th of the law. Having our material off of DSBN servers and onto anything else keeps us in control of our work.

Distance education is in fact very near. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are quickly being adopted by colleges and universities as ways of increasing enrollment. Why can’t we? If we have a top three education system in the world why aren’t we exporting this to whatever countries we can? A school board in Michigan just went broke. You’re telling me they wouldn’t be looking for a low cost alternative to what they have? Can’t we sell our curriculum and teachers to them? A local student is worth $1200 in your classroom for funding. A foreign student is worth $1600. If someone isn’t already putting this together, they will. And I want it to be us. With OSSTF, we can guarantee teacher involvement and employment because we will have someone who understands and can argue for the value of a teacher in a student’s life. Someone else, there are no guarantees.

Yet no one is thinking, never mind talking, about these things. Political futures are more important than member jobs. Fear paralyzes our leadership. This must change.

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