Open University of Hong Kong panel: Steering clear of copyright roadblocks in developing open and distance learning materials

K.S. Yuen, Open University of Hong Kong

The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) has been established since 1989, and has offered over 300 courses at degree, sub-degree and postgraduate levels, using principally the method of distance education. It makes extensive use of a variety of learning materials in its course delivery, including course materials developed by local academics or other open universities, published textbooks and journal articles, audio-visual materials, online contents, and commercial software.

The presentation will first start with the identification of ‘roadblocks’ to the free use of such materials in OUHK’s courses. Participants will have the chance of listing their own hurdles to overcome in using copyright materials as well. In this regard the presenter will share with participants OUHK’s experience in dealing with the globalization of knowledge, i.e., sourcing materials, sharing materials with other institutions, participation in consultations on local relevant legislation on copyright laws, and using copyright licensing schemes. The presenter will continue with a list of suggestions to keep copyright costs low. These include the optimal use of freely distributed learning materials and materials that an institution has already had access to (e.g. subscription of e-journals in its electronic library); development of an online learning platform and reusing its own learning objects, and collaboration with other institutions. Participants will be asked to consider how these are of relevance to them in their own institutions.

In the second part of the presentation, a representative of the government of the Hong Kong SAR will be invited to demonstrate how the government has assisted in removing some of the copyright ‘roadblocks’ identified. It will focus on how legislation is enacted to allow fair use of copyright materials inside educational establishments, possibly with an explanation of how a Copyright Tribunal can assist with the implementation of the copyright legislation.

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