Good news for open sharing, but also a challenge
The announcement by Blackboard that they will now be supporting open sharing on the Blackboard platform is definitely good news, but I also think it really forces the issue of developing an open education strategy at schools using Blackboard. Unfortunately, sharing educational content is much more complicated than simply clicking the new “Share” button. If individual faculty begin to advocate for the open sharing of their materials, the schools are going to have to think about a number of related issues:
- Who will be responsible for vetting the intellectual property of the content being shared? Are we just going to let the faculty deal with it?
- How do we want our university to be represented through open content? Is this just going to end up as a grab bag collection of the materials from faculty willing to share, or are we going to publish open materials more strategically to accomplish a larger end?
- How will this open publication intersect with other efforts to harness digital technologies to enhance the campus experience or build distance learning programs? How can it help? How can it hurt?
- How will we as a school communicate to internal and external constituencies about our open sharing approach?
Not an exhaustive list, by any means, but some of the questions raised. Fortunately, the OCW Consortium has lots of resources to help schools develop their answers.