How to Incentivize Open Ed for Users: Notes From Open Education Week

Last week, Study.com participated in an online event called Open Education Week. As part of this week-long digital conference on just about everything related to open education, our reporter Sarah Wright got to sit in on a talk given by faculty and staff members of Athabasca University, an open university in Canada.

View popular schools

By Sarah Wright

open education week athabasca university canada

Shop Talk with Canada's Open University

Athabasca University is a great example of an educational institution that's making the best of what technology has to offer. This Canadian institution, also known as Canada's Open University, is dedicated to an open approach to distance education. The university hosted an online conference session as part of Open Education Week, which I attended. Several of Athabasca's faculty and staff spoke during the conference, each focusing on their particular area of expertise. The discussion ran for about an hour and a half and covered a wide variety of topics relating to the unique challenges a school like Athabasca faces.

All of the speakers had valuable information and experiences to share, but I was particularly struck by a common thread I noticed in several of the talks. This common thread focused on the potential benefits of using OERs in higher education, and how to get those benefits to be more widely recognized, with the ultimate goal of broad use of open materials. One of the more unique perspectives offered in this talk came from Rachel Conroy, who is a copyright officer at Athabasca.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Copyright Officers and OER

It is Ms. Conroy's job to make sure that materials used by the college are not in violation of copyright law. As such, she has a unique perspective on the ins and outs of copyright law as it pertains to higher education. Distance education in particular presents special copyright challenges, because laws governing fair use for educational materials can differ by region and nation.

Ms. Conroy pointed out that the copyright world and the OER world are two separate things, and that copyright professionals are interested in open materials. Increased access to materials that require minimal legal hassle are a good thing for those in Ms. Conroy's profession. She pointed to things such as fewer copyright-related delays, less money spent on royalties and the way OER encourages sharing between institutions as some of the benefits from her professional perspective.

Carrots and Sticks

The problem, though, seems to be increasing faculty awareness. If you've followed Study.com's coverage of Open Education Week, you'll notice that awareness is an issue that keeps cropping up. It is a major concern for supporters of open education from all across the board. Dr. Martin Connors, a professor of astrophysics at Athabasca, specifically raised this issue during his talk, which focused on, as he called it, 'carrots and sticks.'

Carrots and sticks refers, of course, to using both rewards and force as incentives to advance a certain agenda. In this case, a variety of carrots can be used to make OER more appealing to professors, who ultimately have a big part to play in the advancement of the use of open materials. Some suggested ideas included an OER user of the year award and adding praise for use of open materials to faculty evaluations. But incentives can't be the only part of this equation - some sticks, including rules and regulations designed to promote the use of OER - are necessary as well.

For more information about Open Education Week, and information about our previous coverage of the open ed movement, click here.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MA in Communication
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • MA in Science Writing
    • MS in Applied Economics
    • MS in Geographic Information Systems
    • MS in Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • BA: Criminal Justice
    • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
    • BA: Liberal Studies
    • BA: Psychology
    • BA: Psychology - General
    • BS: Computer Science
    • AA: Criminal Justice
    • AA: Liberal Arts
    • AA: Business Administration
    • AA: Information Technology
    • AA: Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology
    • MBA
    • Master of Public Health
    • MBA - Human Resources
    • BS in Liberal Studies
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    • BS in Nutrition Science
    • BSFIN in Accelerated MS Finance
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Administration - Food & Hotel Management
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Medical Office Administration Certificate
    • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
    • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
    • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Business Administration - Management
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
    • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
    • BS in Psychology
    • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • BS in Early Childhood
    • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
    • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Finance
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA in Healthcare Management
    • MBA in Accounting
    • MBA in Human Resources
    • MBA in International Business
    • MBA in Operations Management
    • Master of Accountancy

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?