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Posts Tagged ‘information literacy’

Fair Use, Smair Use….If It’s on the Web or Digital, It’s Free, Especially to Educators, Isn’t It?!

In Education, technology, using videos in teaching on April 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Information on the web is free for anyone to use. That’s what I’ve heard students say from time to time. It is relatively easy to debunk that myth by discussing creator’s rights under copyright law.

What’s more challenging is helping faculty identify that same principle: we know there’s a a copyright law. We know there’s an exception to that law called fair use. What is more difficult is to determine whether our conduct fits within the definition of fair use.In the article Have College Professors Become Digital Pirates?, Andrew Chow, J.D., discusses this very issue. Universities and faculty have been sued for including copyrighted material in e-reserves, for copying videos from film to digital format (UCLA won that one) and for digitizing books. As the article notes, there are several factors courts consider in determining whether a use constitutes fair use, including the purpose and  type of use,  the amount of use and the potential impact copying would have on the market. Many Universities devote websites to assisting faculty (and students) determine fair use (see e.g. the Copyright Clearance Center’s Checklist).

This does raise a question I’ve raised before: shouldn’t copyright law be changed to address the new ways information is made available? Shouldn’t videos, as digital information, be priced differently? Should copyright law be changed to make it easier for educators to use copyrighted information in the interests of furthering knowledge? I consider it a great compliment if someone uses what I’ve created (it’s still a rare occurrence, though!). I would like acknowledgement, so others can find and use it, but feel no obligation to chase after someone who used what I created.

Would I feel differently if that someone was not an educator, but a corporation that made money from my work? Probably-I’d Giantexpect that corporation to provide me some compensation, that way we could both share in the profit made. More importantly, though, my work, my words, what I’ve developed, has not been developed in isolation. I have stood on the shoulders of giants to get where I am today. So, I am happy to share and help others learn.

Information Overload and Innovation

In information literacy, innovation in teaching on November 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

In the article Information Overload, Then and Now,  Ann Blair explains that complaints of information overload began two thousand years ago, when people began preserving information through writing . She explains the joy and frustrations created in earlier times in this way: “Writing on durable surfaces (like parchment or paper), with a high level of redundancy (when multiple copies were produced, whether manuscript or printed), also made it possible to recover texts after they had fallen into oblivion, so that being in continuous active use was no longer essential to a text’s transmission, as is the case in an oral culture.”

Information overload in older times included the complication of searching for and finding relevant information. Blair notes the range of history from note-taking, informally collecting information through note-taking and formally storing information alphabetically and using indexing, organization methods within books to make the information more accessible and use of bibliographies. The article ends with a caution to build on what we’ve learned about storing and collecting information as we continue to store, collect and access information in electronic formats.

The issues raised in the article are magnified now that individuals can search using search engines such as Google, can store that information on their own and other computers, can add to that information through online mechanisms such as wikipedia and can create mashups that take data (regardless of its format) and manipulate it quickly to create new materials.

scales balancing traditional values and new thinkingAs we adopt methods to implement disruptive transformational change in teaching and learning, we must remain mindful of the tension between the traditions of knowledge that have served us well and the need to help learners filter through massive amounts of information available at their fingertips. In teaching, that involves, in part, helping students manage information literacy, or the ability to review information to determine its credibility. At the same time, change often occurs through innovation and mashups and using other web 2.0 tools can help create that change. Educators continue to struggle to figure out the best way to accomplish that balance.

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