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OC UCT OpenContent Magazine

The OER Legends OER Team Reflections

Why I choose Creative Commons





Anniversary Edition

Vol 1 Issue 1 OpenContent

Spotlight on Physics & 1st Year Study Guide


on the cover The OER Legends

Prof Ed Rybicki and Prof Jean Paul Van Belle

OER Team Reflections

Hear from the OER team about their experiences over the past year

Why I choose Creative Commons licenses

Three stories about changing mindsets towards open licensing

Click below to watch DVC Jo Beall speak about UCT OpenContent at our Anniversary Celebration

Spotlight on Physics & 1st Year Study Guide

We highlight the contributions made by the Physics Department and CHED

inside Number Crunch

One year site statistics for

Tips & Tricks

Digital Image Management

Copyright & Creative Commons - FAQ

Your questions answered

OpenContent in the Global Community

OpenContent does the OCWC and OpenEd Conferences

Finding OER materials for teaching Where to find other useful open materials

Techie Talk with Mike

Mike talks us through using open source software

Welcome to Issue 1 of UCT OpenContent Magazine


The OER Legends Who: From : Status :

Prof Jean Paul Van Belle Department of Information Systems Legendary

List of Resources on UCT OpenContent Internet Super-User Textbook NGO ICT and e-Readiness Self Assessment Tool Office XP for Business e-Marketing: The Essential Guide to Online Marketing Discovering Information Systems: An Exploratory Approach My formal commitment to Open Educational Resources started with my interest in Open Source Software - a paradigm and mindset of developing software "by the community for the community" which is radically opposite to that of the commercial paid-for software developers. During the late nineties, when textbooks became extremely expensive in terms of (South) African purchasing power, we developed a set of "in-house" information systems textbooks for use at UCT. Not surprisingly, there were many queries from lecturers at other Universities to get copies. So, in 2005, I decided to re-release the texts "Discovering Information Systems" and the different "QuickStart" manuals to various MS-Office software electronically under the Creative Commons licence. Needless to say, these books have since travelled and been used around the world, even though they are now getting a bit dated (I have found no time to update them in the last 6 years as I am no longer a course convenor). However, I am a firm believer that academic information, in particular research results and, as far as possible, educational materials should be as easily and freely available as possible. This is not to say that I deny that, sometimes, the financial incentive of commercial learning resources is essential to the production of high-quality materials. But, where possible, let's spread our educational investments (mostly financed from public funds anyway) to those who are eager to learn.

In this spirit, I am currently working on what I believe to be an exciting project to make my post-graduate courseware on IT architecture ready and suitable for OER release as a "Information Technology Update" resource. And, probably equally exciting, we have just released the "Internet Super-User Textbook" as an online or downloadable Creative Commons textbook. It is a fantastic, high-quality, well-illustrated and up-to-date learning resource, developed for the UCT accredited online Internet Super-User course, that empowers people to make maximum use of the resources available on the internet. It discusses the advanced use of search engines, how to research online, different ways of online communication (from online forums, instant messaging to VOIP), personal information management, online safety and security, mobile internet, social networking, and publishing your own online content.

“...I am a firm believer that academic information, in particular research results and, as far as possible, educational materials should be as easily and freely available as possible.�

An unforeseen development was that I soon found that it was being used informally by teachers and students from institutions as varied as the Universities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and Brasilia in Brazil; Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, as well as by several South African institutions. The material was formally adopted (in 2000) by the Universities of Pretoria and of SaĂľ Paulo (Brazil) in their Virology courses. This is for me the best validation of the ideal: that others can find what I have done useful, as I have adapted and used material from elsewhere.

List of Resources on UCT OpenContent: Who: From : Status:

Prof Ed Rybicki Department of Molecular & Cell Biology Legendary

Introduction to Molecular Virology A Manual of Online Molecular Biology Techniques

Open Educational Resources are an ideal for me, and have been ever since I realised that students either couldn't, or wouldn't buy the textbook for the course I taught - because it was extremely expensive, and covered far more than they needed. Accordingly, I set about trying to provide something that exactly fit their needs - and as this was in 1994, thought that using the Web might be a very good way to go. It took a while, but I was able to adapt my teaching material that I was already trying to port to a multimedia package to a set of Web pages.

Prof Rybicki’s Blogs: ViroBlogy Retroid Raving

The OER Legends

I was the Project Director responsible for the development of the UCT OpenContent directory from its inception in March 2009 until August 2010 when I handed over the reins to Glenda Cox. I was part of a really creative team of people who brought their able minds to bear on imagining and developing a platform for UCT academics to share teaching and learning. I am still involved with the OER project, but with a specific focus on researching OER at UCT. I was fairly modest about how many resources we would be able to locate at UCT and envisaged a fairly slow, but incremental growth. I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm expressed by many UCT academics and I certainly did not expect over a 100 resources in the first year! In fact I was the one that suggested that we scale down our expectations for 2010 but I am so happy that I was proved wrong!

I am the Curriculum Projects Lecturer in CET and Part of my portfolio is to manage the Open Education Resources Project. I joined a creative and inspired team and The project is cutting edge and challenging. Fundamentally the purpose of OpenContent is to share UCT’s knowledge across the world and our target audience is not only academics and students but also broader society including NGO’s and self-learners in our community. This altruistic motivation of providing educational content freely to people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to access it gives me the sense that I am, for the first time in my career, on the path to making a difference in society. My hopes for 2011 are that we continue to grow the resources in the directory and that we can create awareness not only at UCT but also to broader society.

I have been working on the OER UCT project since March 2009. I was a technical analyst during the directory’s development process and now support the directory on a day to day basis. I am the primary author of the OER UCT blog and drive social media engagement with the @openUCT twitter account. Participating in the OER UCT project has been monumental in my own development as an educational technologist - I have witnessed how sharing content has led to opportunities for academics, How teaching materials have been brought to life and shared online, How connections have formed around content and between people. OpenContent is helping us share all of the great work that is happening at UCT. It’s been a pleasure engaging with the OER UCT team and academics throughout the institution.

I’ve had the privilege of being part of the UCT OER project since January 2010 and presently act as legal advisor to the team. the past year has been particularly fulfilling because of this change in mindset that I see slowly taking place in some departments across UCT. I’m now seeing more academics making conscious decisions about the proper usage of copyrighted materials in their everyday practice of creating lecture materials, presentations etc. I’m also seeing more academics willing to openly license their materials and to share it with the rest of the world. my hope for 2011 is to see more academics adding their teaching materials to the OpenContent directory. I will also like to see much more widespread awareness about copyright laws and the alternative management solution in the form of Creative Commons licensing.

cheryl hodgkinson williams OER research

Glenda Cox OER Project Manager

Michael Paskevicius Technical Associate

Shihaam Donnelly Legal Advisor

OER Team: Reflecting on the OER Project at UCT in 2010

Case Study 1: Kyle Reynolds Conway Writer, thinker and artist

Releases his works under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License

People have been asking… “Why are you not using copyright” or “why would you let people copy your stuff?” Well, I am using copyright (despite my opinion of it) because Creative Commons is a copyright license and it is my right to distribute and share my work in any way I choose. In other words: it is my right to give you rights.

Building on the Past by Justin Cone is licensed CC BY.

Case Study 2: Justin Cone Designer, animator

“I really do appreciate the existence of Creative Commons licenses as they provide artists with an opportunity to really embrace the present age of the internet and allow new amazing art forms to flourish. These new forms spring forth from our increased ability to connect across artificial boundaries. In fact, they spring from our ability to copy. Creative Commons licenses try to balance the insanity of current copyright law (Lessig has called the governmental response to the internet “absurd”) with the reality of the world we live in (every computer is a copying machine). “ “Some of you will undoubtedly consider me an extremist. That’s fine. Some of you will accuse me of trying to destroy art, music, theatre, film, and (most importantly) artists themselves. In that you are wrong. I create, promote and value art. I think that art is ultimately too important to be owned by anyone (especially people other than the artist) for over a century (as copyright law currently allows).”

Quotes used with kind permission from Kyle Reynolds Conway. This article is the work of Kyle Reynolds Conway and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license. Visit his website at

Releases his works under a Creative Commons Attribution License “Creative Commons is important to me for two reasons: The first reason is that it just makes life easier. I don’t have to worry about law suits or trying to secure permissions from people who might be impossible to get in touch with. It just makes creation easier and encourages the exchange of ideas; it encourages discussion and education. The second reason is a little more symbolic. By putting the CC license on my work, it basically says I care enough to share. I feel like I’m taking part in a community just by licensing my work with CC.” “I like to think of projects as stories. So if you choose a traditional copyright, then the story of your project has just a limited number of possible endings. And sometimes those endings are fine and they work for the story. But a lot of times it’s more interesting to choose a different path for your story. And if you go with a Creative Commons license you’re basically saying, I don’t want this story to end. I want it to go on and on. I want it to have different endings, different twists and turns rather, and I want other people to tell this story. I think that’s a better story, it’s a more exciting story; it’s epic.”

Physics OER

By Angus Morrison (pictured below), Michael Malahe and Angus Commrie

3 first year courses 4 second year courses 221 downloadable items

A number of academics in the Department of Physics have been in support of public access to our teaching materials for some time. Amongst the reasons for this position is that it gives third parties, including prospective students and academics from other universities, a clear idea of what is taught in Physics at UCT. High school students considering different universities and UCT students considering different courses could use this information to inform their decisions, and academics at other universities could use it to help them develop their own courses or to assess UCT Physics graduates for acceptance into postgraduate programmes. Another reason for members of the Department of Physics’ support for open content is that it is a way of contributing to the development of physics programmes at less fortunate universities in Africa and in the world. As well as providing a standard of comparison of syllabi, lecture materials and assessments at a world-class African university, initiatives such as A/Prof Andy Buffler’s DemOnline site allow lecturers and teachers with limited resources to incorporate simple, low-cost lecture demonstrations into their classes. The Centre for Education Technology’s OpenContent directory was an incentive for us to collate and rationalise the material that we already had available on course webpages onto our own open content page, accessible through the UCT OpenContent site. We hope that the collection of open material now available through the OpenContent site will become a useful resource for a broader audience than we have been able to reach in the past.


Studying at University: A guide for 1st year students By Cathy Hutchings

All illustrations were created by graphic artist Stacey Stent. Her work is motivated by CET projects but are stamped with her unique style. She conducts animation and design workshops, through which she strives to enlighten people about the principals of good visual representation. Stacey is an established and recognised animator and cartoonist. Her work has been exhibited at various galleries including the District 6 Museum, Association for Visual Arts and the National Gallery, whilst her works have been published in a number of books featuring South African cartoonists. She worked as a cartoonist for the Mail and Guardian for several years and now does a regular cartoon for Noseweek, a well-known investigative news publication.

I liked the idea of this guide for students being freely available and easily accessible to anyone who might find it or parts of it useful. This is a 3rd revision of the book. The last one was written by Stella Clark in 1994 and so much has changed since then - the Library no longer uses Boris, students now have cell phones and computers, course readings and lecture notes are put up on Vula and there are on-line discussions within their courses. It's nice to think that we can now revise parts of the book and put them online when needed. The OER team has been wonderfully supportive and great to work with - thank you!

Stacey Stent (left) and Cathy Hutchings (right) at the launch of the study guide.

Statistics ~ Statistiek ~ Ii-nkcukacha-manani 12 February 2010 - 12 february 2011

Top 3 faculties:

as determined by page view of content

Health Sciences Humanities commerce

Africa sent 19 198

where are most of our visitors coming from? South africa united states of america united kingdom

Top 5 content: as determined by page views

1. studying at university: a first year guide 2. advanced Ms word 2007 for thesis writing 3. open teaching in a digital age 4. occupation focused conceptual frameworks 5. e-marketing: the essential guide to online marketing

pages on the site were viewed

visits our way

Average time spent on site?

2:40 mins

77 181 times

28 245 site visits from 164 countries

iimbalobalo ~ Dipalopalo ~ Tibalo ~ tihlayohlayo ~ Zwitatisitiki ~ Izibalo

Digital Image Management

Image management is a quick and easy way to catalogue, organise, store, share and view your images. It will allow you to find files quicker and easier on your PC when putting together a presentation and ensure correct referencing practices.




Rename your image files to names that are relevant to the image.

Use software such as Picasa to organise your collections for easy viewing and cataloguing.

Take Picasa to the next level by adding tags or descriptions to your images. Picasa also allows you to geo-tag your images using Google Maps so that you can remember exactly where they're from. Another advantage of the Picasa software is that you can edit your images to change various aspects of the image such as color and lighting or for adding effects.

Categorise images and store similar image files in the same folder.

This free software automatically finds all the photos on your PC and organises them.

The UCT OpenContent team encourages the use of Creative Commons licensed images in your presentations.

? ?


Is content on the internet copyrighted or can I save anything from the web and just use it in my lecture presentations? No, you cannot copy and use things from the web unless it is licensed under Creative Commons or there exists other express permission to do so on the website where you found the materials Everything on the Internet by default is copyrighted even though its quite easy to reproduce or distribute some of these materials.

In terms of using copyrighted materials in your lectures - you need to acknowledge the copyright owner

by shihaam donnelly

of any materials that you use. If you decide to put your materials online, you need to contact the owner and ask their permission to do so.

I licensed my teaching materials in terms of Creative Commons and uploaded it to the web. But now I’ve changed my mind about the license I chose for my materials what now? Creative Commons licenses are non revocable which means that once you’ve licensed your materials you cannot stop someone else from using your work as stipulated in that license. You can stop distributing the material but it wont stop the circulation of copies already out there with the previous license.

? ? ?

I don’t mind sharing but I still want to make money from my materials at some point. Will Creative Commons prevent this? No it wont. Remember that Creative Commons is not an alternative to copyright - think of it as a way to better manage your copyright rights. Also, these licenses are not exclusive either. So while you can have material up on the UCT OpenContent website under a noncommercial Creative Commons license, you can use that same material in a book or in an online course and charge a fee for it. The non commercial term applies to users of the material, not the creator!

Cheryl Hodgkinson williams presented a paper on the sustainability of OER at the opened conference in Barcelona, Spain. The paper was co-authored by Shihaam Donnelly.



t in th

e Glob

al Com



Glenda Cox attended the 5th annual OpenCourseWare Consortium Global Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. the paper highlighted the ways in which the UCT OpenContent directory was developed to support academics to build up an international teaching profile by having the facility to share any teaching and learning resources with the rest of the world.

the conference covered the areas of sustainability of open courseware as well as using and building opencourseware

MIT OpenCourseWare


The Freesound Project

Compfight searches the Flickr database of photos and has filters for Creative Commons and public domain images.

Database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License.

Wikimedia Commons


Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone.

Jamendo is a community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses.

Open Video Project

A collection of online videos such as documentaries, educational materials and lectures.

Open Yale University

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.


Academic Earth

An online video service offering a selection of courses, lectures, and other content on a wide range of subjects from art to political science.

Course materials used in the teaching of virtually all of MIT's courses available on the Web. Including lecture notes, exams , audio video lectures, textbooks by MIT professors.

OER Commons

Structured database of links to high-quality open educational resources found on other websites. It provides a single point of access through one can search,browse, evaluate, and discuss over 30,000 high-quality OER.

Open.Michigan helps people find, use, and create openly licensed content and provides a space to share new content.

Directory of Open Access Journals

This directory covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. There are now 6205 journals in the directory.

Finding OER materials for teaching

Open Source Software and the UCT OpenContent Directory

Techie Talk with Mike

When we were initially tasked with setting up a website which would help us share open educational resource in the Centre for Educational Technology (CET) at UCT we knew we would preference open source software (OSS). CET has a long and successful history with OSS, and many of the systems running from the centre are using open source technologies. OSS has come a long way in the past 10-15 years. I remember exploring open source projects early on, and finding many were quite under developed. Early downloads from SourceForge, a popular open source software sharing site, would reveal directories of files which were difficult to get running from a novice’s perspective. Anyone who was accustomed to using a “windows installer” may have struggled to get an early OSS project up and running. Gradually projects matured and many OSS packages now come with an installer, making them highly accessible to novice computer users and easy to set up. The popular OSS blogging engine Wordpress even offers a “Famous 5 minute installation process ”. OSS is available on demand, when you need it, which is a good fit for many exploring ways of using software to do innovative things. Because it is openly available one can also test out a number of difference OSS projects to find the right fit for their need. More notably, communities of users began to gather and support OSS projects enabled by the rapidly expanding internet. Many OSS projects have rich user communities which one can query for help when needed. The option to outsource some of the development is also a possibility.

by Michael Paskevicius

Exploring options for UCT OpenContent We explored a number of OSS projects in our quest for an OER repository. At the time many OER repositories found at other institutions were using EduCommons, which is a customization of the Plone content management system. We tested the Plone system quite thoroughly and found it slightly rigid for our needs. Many of the advanced content protection tools were unnecessary for our project as we wanted to make things highly accessible. The popular blogging engine Wordpress was also tested for use as an OER repository. Wordpress is an incredibly powerful blogging engine, and can also be used to set up a quick website if you use the pages feature. We did not find that Wordpress was a good fit for our project despite its other great functionalities. We tested dSpace and ePrints which are open source repository projects which provide tools for the management of digital assets. dSpace and ePrints are commonly used as the basis for an institutional research repository which is slightly different than what we were interested in developing. While both dSpace and ePrints had excellent file management and sharing capabilities, they were not as customizable as we desired.

Finally we tested Drupal, a popular content management system which is highly customizable. Drupal is being used by large scale and popular sites such as The Economist Magazine online and the White House homepage. We found Drupal to be highly adaptable through the various modules which could be added on to the core package. Modules are customizable packages which alter and extend Drupal's core capabilities adding new features or customizing Drupal's behaviour and appearance. In fact we were able to find a module for nearly everything we wanted to do with Drupal! We were also able to get excellent support from the Drupal user community , and in many instances we were able to ask questions directly to programmers who had written the source code. This became very useful as we developed the UCT OpenContent software combining many modules to create what we have today. It is hoped that we can share the work that went into customizing Drupal and combining modules to create the UCT OpenContent directory by offering the result as an open source project itself. We are working with the University of Michigan to achieve this goal, as they have also customized an instance of Drupal. In doing this we provide other institutions with an open source software solution for offering open educational resources on their campus! I am a firm believer that one can find an open source solution for nearly any software need. This is because people create and share code which others can easily pick up, adapt for their needs, and share it onwards with the community via the internet. It is this culture of contribution which is leading to a richer web experience for us all!

UCT OpenContent Issue 1 Volume 1  

OpenContent Magazine about events and activities surrounding the UCT OpenContent project