The University of Southern Queensland’s OpenCourseWare (USQ OCW) provides access to free and open educational resources (OER) for students, academics, and interested readers worldwide. USQ OCW contains sample courses from each of the University’s five faculties, together with courses from its Tertiary Preparation Program. Currently, the courses offered openly under Creative Commons licensing by USQ are:
• CSC2402 Object Oriented Programming in C++
• CMS2016 Communication, Technology and Policy
• EDU5322 Teaching Students with Special Needs: Behaviour Management
• ENG2002 Technology and Society
• FET5622 Creating Interactive Multimedia
• TEA5101 Exploring Teaching and Learning in Tertiary Contexts
• TOU1003 Introduction to Tourism
• TPP7120a Studying to Succeed: Planning your career
• TPP7120b Studying to Succeed: Planning your study program day by day
• TPP7155 General Science.
USQ is the only Australian member of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, an international collaboration of in excess of 100 higher education institutions and associated organisations ‘creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model.’
‘[T]o advance education and empower people worldwide through opencourseware.’ – OCW Consortium
As defined by the Consortium, OpenCourseWare is a ‘free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses.’ Institutions participating in OCW Consortium activities must be committed to publishing at least 10 courses in their name in a format that meets this definition.
The University of Southern Queensland is a multi-campus institution, with the main campus located in Toowoomba (150km west of Brisbane), a further campus at Harvey Bay (300km north of Brisbane), and one at Springfield (30km south of Brisbane). As such, USQ is classified as a regional university. Its current enrolment sits at approximately 26,000 students (equivalent to 12,100 EFT). Three quarters of the student body learns through distance mode. Whilst providing access to a selection of its materials, USQ notes that it does not grant credits or degrees, and does not provide access to faculty members through the OpenCourseWare programme.
The USQ OpenCourseWare project employs the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia licence. The licence is applied to ten courses made available as part of USQ’s membership of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, able to be downloaded on the site.
According to Professor Bill Lovegrove, statistics show that for the period from October 2007 to March 2008, there were over 26,000 visitors to the USQ OCW site. The most popular course was the Object Oriented Programming in C++, with significant numbers of visitors going to Creating Interactive Multimedia and General Science.
To date, there are no statistics on the reuse or distribution of the courses with appropriate acknowledgment or on whether visitors to the courses have enrolled as students at USQ as a result of access to courses on the OCW site.
The University of Southern Queensland sees its membership of the OpenCourseWare Consortium as putting into practice their stated Mission: to ‘develop, enrich and serve [their] regional and global communities.’
USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Lovegrove first heard about Creative Commons through colleagues, professional contacts and a general knowledge of developments in the open educational resources (OER) sector. In an email interview with Steve Gething from Creative Commons Australia in April 2008, Professor Lovegrove wrote:
‘Licensing under OCL allowed us to make available to anyone who might be interested in the parts of our courses for which USQ owns the intellectual property. The Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence is used by most academic institutions which make resources available via a Creative Commons licence as our ownership is acknowledged and our resources are made accessible to anyone anywhere.’
*Originally published on the Creative Commons wiki at https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Case_Studies/University_of_Southern_Queensland_OpenCourseWare under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Australia License*