In my work here – developing courses to be more flexible in learning opportunities etc – I’ve been trying to strengthen the relationship between lecturer and librarian services. Where lecturers really need assistance is in locating reusable learning resources. By reusable, I mean artifacts with Creative Commons, GPL or GNU licensing.

A typical scenario might be:

Course wants to make its content available online. First we need to check the content for currency and copyright clearances. Almost always this is where we get caught. While a teacher is usually pretty diligent with referencing text quotes and the like, they almost never reference the imagery they use in their resources. So we have to find supplementary images, or find whole new resources that are free for reuse and remix.

As you can imagine, this can create a large amount of work, but I see it as a very important capability building exercise. We need teachers to be more careful with their resource creation, we need them to be intimately aware of all the free and open content that is available, and we need resources created today that can be reusable tomorrow.

Obviously a lecturer can not do this alone, and they are not the only ones that need to develop new practices that compliment this effort. Enter the librarian. Traditonal role is to support the lecturer in gathering information and teaching resources, and sometimes to support the learners in their efforts with the subject.

So I’ve been trying to get a librarian involved with every development project I get started. They attend all the meetings and workshops and become intimately aware of the emerging needs of the course. But most importantly, they develop a new awareness, skill set, capability and awareness for their role in this new era for the education sector.

In a nut shell, here’s what they are to me. Comments welcome.

Sourcing reusable and copyright less restricted resources in close consultation with the lectures who are developing their courses.

 

Awareness

  • What is a Creative Commons license?
  • What is a GPL and GNU license?
  • What databases exists that store resources licensed in this way?
  • Emerging librarian and educational uses of 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life

 

Skills

  • Advanced searching for CC, GPL, GNU and open courseware
  • Social bookmarking/tagging and RSS technology relevant to traditional librarian roles
  • Being able to use and control to a profitient user level a 3D virtual world
  • Formats, reformatting, open digital formats, digital archiving and reusablity

 

Capabilities

  • Being able to combine the awareness and skills and apply them to support lecturers in their needs to source, supplement and remix reusable content.
  • Being able to keep abreast of new developments in this area
  • Being able to relate these new practices with older practices

 

Experience

  • In time management with these new practices
  • In explaining the benefits of the new practices to colleagues and clientele
  • Working to an independent level the interpretation of copyright legislation and being able to advise lectures on the best course of action when it is an issue relating to teaching resources.