Thursday, November 06, 2003

MIT Open Courseware, Copyright, Assessment topics discussed

The presentations are a little light duty on the technology side but I manage to pick up tidbits here and there. Yesterday I went to a session on MIT's open courseware initiative that was very interesting. I was particularly pleased to note that the MIT faculty were actually very supportive. They said they have received more attention for their work and their research from not only other universities around the world but even from their own colleagues in other disciplines. MIT arranges a license with the faculty members so they actually retain all copyrights with permission for MIT to provide the materials on the OCW site. The website clearly states the licensing provisions which prohibits the use of the materials for commercial purposes. Someone asked if MIT thought providing these materials would adversely impact enrollment but MIT's director said they don't think so but they are keeping an eye on it. I think it would boost their enrollment. Webstats on the OCW site shows that the site is generating over 9 million pageviews a month. That's nothing to sneeze at!

I went to a copyright session but the actual legalities were not explored in depth. I was surprised to learn that there are lawsuits in the courts that are trying to stop anti-spam and pop-up blocking products because they interfere with the content delivery intended by the content provider. (I hope the courts don't fall for that one)I guess there is also a lawsuit trying to gain a ruling on "deep linking" - linking directly to information on a website without forcing the viewer to navigate the site as intended by the conent provider. (that's another bummer) Apparently the internet's version of telemarketers are as persistent as those in the direct mail industry!

I attended a session on assessment strategies for online courses. The presenters definition of assessment was strategies to gain insight into the learning levels of the students. I think many of the attendees were expecting something else but I found the presenters rubric of dividing students into various levels of content and technology skill levels with the strategies to deal with each group interesting.
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