One More MOOC Post: Copyright, Licensing, and the Publishers

Since it is the Year of the MOOC (or was that last year?)  I figured I’d post my thoughts and strategies on working with publishers to grant MOOC’s what they often need: textbooks, books, readings, etc.

Much of classroom pedagogy relies on the read & lecture model.  MOOCs have made an attempt to “flip the classroom,” but there will always be classes that require readings – which can be introductory or advanced.  Some of these come in the form of journal articles, some are book chapters, some have workbooks (or interactive readings) and some are just straight textbooks.

How do we deal with these readings when the majority of them are copyrighted? (leaving out, for the moment Open Access works).  A few strategies have moved forward in the MOOCsphere that I have observed.  I have used some of these strategies, or worked on their implementation, and I think sharing these might help the community at large, whether you are a Coursera-ian, edX-ian, Udacity-ites, or any other MOOC person, place, or product.

These are by no means a complete list – but each has their own unique advantages, but also some drawbacks.   I have given them names based on the thrust of the strategy.

  • Let Their (Student) Fingers Do the Walking
  • The “If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Join ‘em
  • The Permissions Dance (or the Permission Two-Step)
  • Let’s Make A Deal

For the next two weeks I will discuss each strategy, its relation to copyright/licensing concerns, and note any successes or failure that I have encountered.  Note: these strategies (and their silly names) are my work and opinion only, and in no way reflect the opinion of my employer.

First up, Let’s Make A Deal….

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