Catalyst for Change…Access Copyright and Education

In June of 2009 the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency proposed tariff changes to the Copyright Board of Canada that would dramatically increase fees paid by both K12 and post-secondary educational institutions.

I work for a K12 school division that still functions under the Access Copyright License. For the most part the proposed changes requested by Access Copyright [proposed tariff] have not impacted the use or expected use of this agreement.  To be perfectly honest…very few pay it any attention at all.  I think this is because [generally speaking] classroom teachers use the key resources that they are provided by the division [textbooks, workbooks, teacher guides, etc] and do not look to producing a great deal of additional support materials.  I am sure there is a lot of searching for and finding/using content from the internet and elsewhere [resource based learning] but I don’t see a lot of concern or inquiries about copyright. With an increased emphasis on the use of social media, student and teacher publishing of student created content, collaborative online work and connecting students to authentic audience I am sure this lack of or seeming lack of concern might change.  From the division perspective the June 2009 application for school tariff changes could mean a 3 fold increase [5.16 to 15.00 per student] in fees paid. I would imagine that when and if the tariff increase is approved this increased cost will be a significant issue.

I do see the cancellation of the Access Copyright agreement by the University of Manitoba as a positive move.  The Provost’s [Joanne Keselman] comments in a letter to the university community and repeated in the Manitoban that leaving the agreement provides an opportunity to modernize both the resources and services provided by the university demonstrates a move in the right direction.  Along with this new approach The Copyright Modernization Act Bill C11 and a renewed focus on fair dealing should serve to clarify copyright life for educational institutions.

I would also hope that this renewed focus on copyright [because of real or expected increases in copyright costs] would result in educational institutions taking a renewed and much deeper look at openness generally and the creation and use of OER specifically.  I have said it before but educational reform [from my K12 perspective] seems to demand this.  A move to inquiry learning, personalized learning, collaboration and student publishing to authentic audience requires a much more flexible content ecosystem than what is now provided by traditional publishing and licensing relationships.  Simple technology and online services now provide the means for K12 institutions in particular to harness the power of OER and openness.  A move to outcomes-based curricula provides additional support as outcomes don’t demand a specific path for achievement.  Creativity, innovation and collaboration should re-emerge as paths to student success and content creation should increase as a result.

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2 Responses to Catalyst for Change…Access Copyright and Education

  1. Jonathan says:

    You shared an interesting perspective Stu, by viewing the cancellation of the Access Copyright agreement by the University of Manitoba in a positive light.

    Following your link I came across this statement from Joanne Keselman (shared in the article by Sarah Petz): that in lieu of renewing the agreement, the university will use its funds to “modernize” their resources and services “rather than perpetuating the antiquated relationship with Access Copyright,”

    Initially it seemed that this increase would cause issues for students and staff, but after reading your post I was pleased to see this response from the university.

    A move towards collaborative learning, as shared in your post, would incorporate the use of online resources (most of which are already available) and this would definitely keep costs down. Resource-based learning, another example provided in your post, would undoubtedly merge well with learning that utilizes online resources and OER.

    From the link you shared I found the following on the role of the teacher: “Provide a reason for students to gather information by developing a question or problem, based on a curriculum topic…”

    The end goal seems to be developing the networked learner.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.


  2. ebrownorama says:

    Stu, I agree with you that awareness is one benefit that happens when a change is made. Some people didn’t even know that a process, etc., existed until it is taken away from them. That forces those affected by the change to take a look at their practices and find an alternate method. Hopefully there are options to provide improvement due to the change. Specifically, you mention that different teaching/learning approaches be used such as inquiry learning, personalized learning, collaboration and student publishing to authentic audience. These are excellent methods for students to have the opportunity for improved learning and afterall, isn’t that the bottom line?
    Thanks for sharing.

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