Proprietary Resources

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Bob Belford
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Proprietary Resources

I may have the wrong title for this forum topic, but let me try and put forth my thoughts.  Many technologies are gated access (fee-based) while others are open access, and our objective is to provide students with competencies in all of them.  It needs to be emphasized that one could define one of the objectives of an OLCC is to allow a school to offer a class on a topic that could not otherwise be offered, and to bring to the students new opportunities.  So by that definition, we must expect many of the participating schools NOT to have access to many of the technologies and services this course will offer, and this becomes an issue if they are fee-based.  The Organizing Committee needs to proactively develop a protocol to tackle this complication.  Here are some issues I can think of, and I hope others will add to this list.

1. Not all schools have the same library services. What do we do if a fee-based resource is available for some of the schools, but not others? Do we attempt to get a temporary license that covers the schools in the course for the duration of the course? This could be of great value, and give students access to material they may not otherwise have. The organizing committee needs to tackle this up front, and if done correctly, this could be a great way to get schools involved.

2. Should NSF funds be used on developing and teaching TLOs for  restricted fee-based technologies and services? If the technology/service has a commercial business model than the TLO is a form of advertisement in that it increases awareness of the technology. Students who are competent with the technology may use it after they graduate. So should commercial entities fund the development of TLOs associated with their technology. Doing so could be a win-win situation, and thought needs to be given to this.

All that said, the TLO still needs to be free and open access, even if the technology is not.  But the TLO is not the technology, but a Teaching and Learning Object that can be designed to enable mastery of the technology.