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How not to promote open sharing of teaching materials at a university: UBC's Policy 81


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A presentation given at the Open Education 2014 conference in Washington, DC, November 2014.

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How not to promote open sharing of teaching materials at a university: UBC's Policy 81

  1. 1. How not to encourage open sharing of teaching materials at a university University of British Columbia’s Policy 81 Christina Hendricks, UBC-Vancouver Open Education Conference, Nov. 2014 Slides licensed CC-BY 4.0
  2. 2. Policy 81 “… if a UBC Instructor makes his/her Teaching Materials available for use by others, unless that UBC Instructor places restrictions up on the Teaching Materials …, UBC may, through its Faculties, Departments and individual Instructors, use, revise, and allow other UBC Instructors to use and revise the Teaching Materials to facilitate ongoing offerings of Credit Courses.”
  3. 3. Policy 81: “Sharing materials does not imply any transfer in the ownership of copyright by UBC Instructors. Nothing in this policy transfers the ownership of any Teaching Materials to UBC.”
  4. 4. Opt-out © 2014 Dr. T.T. Not to be used, copied, revised or shared without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.
  5. 5. Why? • Team-taught courses, standardized curriculum courses • Get written permission each time use materials?
  6. 6. UBC faculty union letter to UBC, Oct. 2013: The policy “acknowledges that faculty own copyright to material produced during the regular course of employment. Yet, … [it also] truncates this right by granting key powers to the University to usurp this copyright.”
  7. 7. Analogy? University like 3rd party service provider to whom you’re granting a license to use the content you “post” with them? • E.g., social media, MOOC providers
  8. 8. Criticism: opt-out UBC faculty union’s grievance: • Decision not to opt out seems irrevocable • Violates freedom of expression: forced speech ohave to formally opt out to preserve IP rights already have
  9. 9. Criticism: vagueness What does it mean to make one’s teaching materials “available for use by others”?
  10. 10. Criticism: academic freedom Canadian Association of University Teachers letter to UBC: “Control over one’s intellectual property is a cornerstone of academic freedom, so that any effective loosening of that control undermines academic freedom.”
  11. 11. Criticism: “Flexible learning” Rationale for policy from Provost to Board of Governors: Policy 81 is intended “to support UBC’s commitment to outstanding teaching and its Flexible Learning Initiative.” UBC Faculty Union: “The policy is meant to turn the intellectual products of faculty over to the University for its own commercial gains ….”
  12. 12. Current status Policy 81 Faculty union grievance
  13. 13. Damage done already? Policy 81 Anger/distrust UBC’s motives Open license? NO WAY!
  14. 14. No (8) 29% Yes (20) 71% Share teaching materials w/ anyone? “I put so much time and effort into preparing my materials, I don't feel like I just want to give them away.” “It doesn't seem fair to let others benefit from my work when I have no job security myself” Not compensated for the many hours I put in outside of contract to develop the materials. Out of 28 respondents so far
  15. 15. No (5) 18% Yes (23) 82% Familiar w/open licenses No (23) 85% Yes (4) 15% Given any materials an open license? Restrictions on open licenses not enough to keep work from being modified or used for commercial purposes. My materials are often iterations of those of others; would need their permission.
  16. 16. No (14) 50% Yes (14) 50% Policy 81 changed attitudes towards sharing w/open license? No’s: • 8 were sharing already (not all w/open license) • 2 not sharing already Yes’s: 8 said explicitly that they were sharing and stopped b/c of the policy
  17. 17. Policy 81 won’t share “Policy 81 is, in my view, a cynical attempt to seize and monetize faculty teaching materials.” “As a result of this policy, I am distributing fewer materials to my students; I am unwilling to give permissions for individuals' requests; I put a copyright notice on syllabi.” “Policy 81 has made me completely unwilling to share any of my teaching material, since it can be used to make me redundant.”
  18. 18. “UBC is no longer an institution of higher learning or a community of scholars. It is a corporation interested in protecting and advertising the "brand" and in making money. UBC cannot be trusted.” “I was happy to share a lot of things, but … when Policy 81 came along it became clear that UBC was really interested in "harvesting" anything and everything we do in order to achieve administrative economies of scale. Watching the process unfold has taught me to be deeply suspicious of UBC's administrative priorities.” Policy 81 won’t share
  19. 19. Damage done! Christina Hendricks Sr. Instructor, Philosophy University of British Columbia-Vancouver @clhendricksbc Slides: Slides licensed CC-BY 4.0