Is having MOOC materials be truly open access -- and therefore open to creative re-use, mixing, enhancement -- neccessary for MOOC success? Must the "open" in MOOC mean "everything open access"? Many commentators have recently heaped scorn on Coursera and edX for retaining -- or allowing participating institutions/scholars to retain -- rights in the teaching objects used in MOOC courses. This seemed to be one of the bones of contention in the San Jose philosophy professor revolt against Michael Sandel's "JusticeX" course. If Sandel's wildly popular lectures could have been sliced and diced -- in effect customized by the San Jose professors -- maybe that would have been OK. But Harvard and/or Sandel are retaining a level of rights in the material that doesn't allow for such re-use.
I have a hard time saying to a Professor that his or her creation -- e.g. Sandel's Justice course -- must be made open in this sense of the term. Might it be advantageous in some ways? No doubt. But shouldn't we absolutely support an author or teacher's desire to retain control over their creation -- and a course like Sandel's surely is indeed an intellectual creation in which Sandel has a strong IP interest. Isn't retaining control perfectly legitimate?
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