Topic Name Description
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
Page Course Terms of Use
1.1: Create a Personal Learning Environment Page Video Signpost

Many educational institutions use a single platform for delivering online courses known as a learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environment (VLE). However, OERu does not use an LMS or VLE for its courses. Read the short article and watch the video that follows to learn more about PLEs and VLEs.

Page Embedding Digital Literacies

Read this short article.

Page Personal Learning Environments

This OERu course is a micro Open Online Course (mOOC) where you create your own personal learning environment (PLE). Learners create their own PLE incorporating several web-based tools, such as microblogs and blogs. You will use your PLE to document your learning and connect with other learners.

This course also uses several features associated with connectivist massive open online courses (cMOOCs). Spend some time to become familiar with the course environment and learning approach. This orientation offers a brief overview of PLEs and suggested learning approaches for open online courses.

Page LiDA Photo Challenge

Learning is a social activity. In LiDA we encourage you to share learning experiences to improve your skills and build confidence using social media. The photo challenge is a way to connect with your peers through creative expression of the concepts you encounter on this course.

Page Create a Course Blog

You are required to create a blog if you wish to be assessed to obtain formal credit for completing this course. However, we encourage everyone who is enrolled in LiDA 101 to create a course blog: it will help you improve your skills and network with your peers.

You can use any blog platform that is able to tag or label your posts. We recommend you register your blog with OERu which supports WordPress and Blogger. They may not be able to harvest posts for the course feed using blogging platforms that do not support categories, tags, or labels. If you would like to use an existing blog, OERu will harvest posts that are tagged or labelled using the course code: lida101. However, you may wish to create a new dedicated course blog.

The first learning challenge for this course will take you through the steps to set up your blog.

Page Declare Yourself Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Create a new blog on WordPress or Blogger and publish your first post introducing yourself to course participants. Time 45 mins – two hours.

During this challenge you learn how to create a course blog by introducing yourself and sharing your first daily photograph.

1.2: Introduction to Digital Literacy Page Posting a WENote comment

OERu uses a microblog-like comment feature called WENotes for learners to share thoughts and ideas during the course. Microblog posts are intended to be short. Whereas, the popular Twitter social media site has evolved from a simple 140-character text message, WENotes are restricted to 300 characters.

To post using WEnotes, you must be logged in on the OERu course site. When you post to WEnotes, your comments will automatically be included in the Course feed.

Page OERu Social Network

OERu hosts its own social network using Mastodon for course specific activities and a backchannel for the Learning in a Digital Age community. A backchannel is a networked conversation that runs alongside the primary course conversations. You will need to know how to use the course hashtag in your toots for course related posts. 

Note that Saylor Academy's LiDA100 course combines all four of the OERu micro-courses. This Saylor course will use four hashtags for the backchannel: #lida101 for unit one conversations; #lida102 for unit two; #lida103 for unit three; and #lida104 for unit four.

Page Introduction to Digital Literacy

In this subunit we invite you to define digital literacy. We begin by:

  1. Searching for definitions for digital literacy on the web.
  2. Considering the difference between digital skills and digital literacy.
  3. Sharing the links you find on (our resource repository for the course).
  4. Sharing personal reflections on why digital literacy matters to you in the course forum.

By starting to unpack the meaning of digital literacy, you also demonstrate your digital skills in social bookmarking, using online forums and earning badges on

Page Digital Skills vs. Literacies

In this section, we review an article on the difference between digital skills and digital literacies using, an online social annotation technology.

Page Researching a Definition

The resources we access on the Internet can facilitate and enable learning in a digital age. This involves the ability to search, evaluate and choose appropriate resources to support learning. A key feature of a personal learning environments (PLE) is the ability to share useful and valuable information with your peers.

In this section, we complete our first resource bank activity where we invite you to search for additional resources to help refine and develop your own definition of digital literacies and reflect on how they differ from digital skills.

The resource bank activity builds on your initial search on the previous page by inviting you to share links to valuable resources you source on the Internet. The resource bank provides the technology to share these resources with our LiDA learning community. The OERu resource bank hosted at is an open source social bookmarking application that allows you to share and annotate links to resources you find on the web. It uses a tag system to group resources according to different topics. The tag system helps you locate links to resources on the site using the same tag.

Page Why Digital Literacy Matters

A key component of digital literacy and networked learning relates to the ability to engage meaningfully in online learning communities.

The learning activity which follows will provide an opportunity to become familiar with the open discussion technology platform we use at Saylor Academy and OERu to support community learning discussions.

Page Assessment and Scope of Digital Literacies

Digital literacies for academic learning involves more than Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter and the associated technical skills in using these technologies.

As you explore the concept, you will find online resources which confuse digital skills with digital literacies. The activities which follow aim to provide an initial introduction to the wide range of digital literacies associated with academic learning. We will explore the concept of digital literacies in greater depth as we progress with the course. When exploring these online resources, we encourage you to differentiate between skills and literacies and to develop a critical disposition. Digital literacies involve issues, norms, and habits of mind surrounding technologies used for a particular purpose. However, these literacies are closely related to technical proficiency in using a range of digital applications. 

Page PLN Mapping Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Publish a blog post including your personal definition of digital literacies and complete the digital visitor/digital resident personal learning network (PLN) mapping exercise. Time: 2 hours.

Note: This challenge overlaps with Task 2 of the Unit 1 Assessment.

1.3: Find and Choose Open Resources Page Choosing a Research Topic

Your assignment is to prepare an analytical essay demonstrating your digital literacies, including advanced search strategies to identify and select relevant open access resources to research, analyze, produce and present information for tertiary education purposes.

Choose a topic that interests you for this assignment. The mini learning challenge will help you choose a suitable topic.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Choose a research topic suitable for college-level academic study to guide your search and select online resources in this learning pathway. Time: 1 hour.

Page Advanced Search

Improving search skills will save you time and result in more productive searches. Google provides a number of features to improve your searches in finding open access resources.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Advanced searching. Time: 30–45 minutes.

Page Database Search

In this section we focus on searching database repositories. Most databases provide advanced search features, however there are differences in how each database site implements search functionality. At OERu, we focus on repositories that provide access to OER and open access resources so you do not need to pay any fees to source online resources.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Database Search. Time: 30–45 minutes.

Page Evaluating Resources

Searching the Internet can generate a great deal of information. While some is credible and useful, you can also find a lot of misinformation and poorly researched material. As you become more skilled at searching and locating academic resources, you will be able to determine useful and credible information more quickly. In the meantime, consider using the following evaluation framework.

Page Reliability of Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the free online encyclopedia created through collaborative effort of contributors from around the globe. It is one of the most popular websites and Wikipedia articles are often listed in the top search results when you conduct a general Internet search.

Anyone Wikipedia registrant can create a new article page. Anyone can edit a Wikipedia article, and registration is not required to edit existing articles.

Several studies have examined the accuracy of Wikipedia articles. Regardless of the outcomes, many educational institutions do allow students to use Wikipedia as a credible source for academic writing and research. Do you think Wikipedia is a trustworthy resource? How do you justify your opinion?

We begin with an opinion poll on the reliability of Wikipedia and invite you to annotate and comment on some articles on the topic. We invite you to apply your knowledge about evaluating online resources to using Wikipedia in the academic sphere.

Page Review Selected Resources

Now that you have chosen four online resources for your research question, you need to evaluate the quality of these resources for the purposes of academic study.

Normally, you would evaluate your resources during your search and selection process, but we present these activities separately to introduce you to finding and choosing online resources.

Page Select Citation Management Tool

In this section, we introduce digital tools that help writers manage their citations. Scholars use citation management software or reference management software to record and keep track of bibliographic citations.

There are two components:

  • citation is a verbatim quotation published in quotation marks, or a reference to a book or journal article. The citation appears within the body text.
  • reference list is a list of all the sources the author cited in the body of the work. The reference list usually appears at the end of the article, book, or text.

The required citation style determines the format you should use for citations and reference lists. Examples include the American Psychological Association (APA) format and the Oxford Citation style.

For more information on citation styles, consult the OERu micro-course Making Your Arguments More Credible.

Page Use Citation Management Tool

This is a learn-by-doing challenge where you are directed to produce and share an output demonstrating your knowledge in using your preferred citation management tool.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Practical exercise using the citation management tool your selected. Time: 1 hour

Page Annotated Bibliography
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Publish and share an annotated bibliography Time: 1–1.5 hours.

1.4: Learning in a Digital Age Page Video Signpost

Watch this brief video.

Page Listening and Note-taking

In this section we listen and take notes from a video. Online video allows you to pause the play and even increase the playback speed.

Many of us prefer to take notes with pen and paper, but in this activity you are required to use a note-taking application. You can always use pen and paper to prepare your first draft before recording a digital text version of your notes. Most citation management tools provide note taking capabilities which you can associate with items stored in your library, however for the purposes of this activity you will be directed to use Simplenote (an open source tool) because we will be using features of this tool for other course activities.

Mini Challenge Summary
Summary: Watch a video or listen to an audio lecture, and record and share notes digitally. Time: 45 minutes.
Special tools: Simplenote available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux and the web.
Page Higher Education in a Digital Age
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: The future of higher education in a digital world and “free” online learning. Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

Page Reading and Note-Taking

In this section, you will demonstrate your note-taking skills based on reading an academic publication.

The challenge which follows also incorporates digital skills associated with semantic content markup using the Markdown markup language. Semantic markup is an important digital skill which separates formatting (e.g. headings, bold, italics, lists etc.) from the content using designated characters without the use of rich text editors. This provides the capability to use plain text files that can be converted to formatted text online. Markdown is one of many markup protocols, and is used here to demonstrate the principles of semantic markup.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Summarise research article using semantic markup. Time 45 minutes.

Page Research on Academic Skills
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Read and annotate a research article on academic and study skills. Time: 1 hour.

Page Academic Skills for Learning Success

Academic skills for learning success in higher education covers a wide range of skills, for example: reading for meaning, note taking, academic-writing, problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills. Fortunately there are extensive resources and tutorials you can source online to suppoegrt and improve your learning to ensure success with your studies.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Create a mind map summarising academic and study skills, highlighting areas for self-improvement and corresponding support resources. Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

Page Learning Reflection Challenge

An important part of university study is self-reflection. You are required to prepare a learning reflection for the final course assignment and this learning challenge will give you the opportunity to practice and refine your skills in preparing a learning reflection.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Learning reflection based on this unit, Learning in a digital age. Time: 1 hour.

LiDA101 Edubit Assessment Page Notes about Assessments, Credit, and Transfer
Page LiDA101 Edubit Instructions
Page LiDA101 Edubit Rubric
Unit 2: Digital Citizenship (LiDA102) Page Guiding Framework

The purpose of this section is to provide a framework for thinking about digital citizenship to guide your learning.

2.1: Digital Citizenship Page Video Signpost

Traditionally, literacy was about speaking, listening, reading and writing. Literacy has taken on a much broader and complex meaning. Today there is also digital literacy, media literacy, and new literacy. In this signpost we invite you to reflect on how your literacies have changed, as compared to those of your parents, and speculate on new literacies the next generation of learners may require.

Page What is E-Literacy?

In this section we explore perspectives and associated concepts used to describe literacy in the 21st century.

Page Citizenship

Before attempting to define digital citizenship let's consider the concept of citizenship in its own right. In its simplest form, citizenship refers to the rights, privileges and duties of being a national citizen. However, the concept of being a good citizen encompasses much more, particularly if you think about full engagement as a member of society.

Page Defining Digital Citizenship

Defining digital citizenship is not easy because it means different things to different people. It is also a concept which is debated among scholars researching the field.

If you conduct a general search for “digital citizenship” you will find many links referencing resources targeting the school-level, with a focus on safe, skilled and ethical use of online technology. While these aspects are important, for the purposes of this tertiary-level course, we need to explore the concept of digital citizenship in more detail.

Page Elements of Digital Citizenship
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Elements of digital citizenship for tertiary education. Linked to the digital citizenship learning challenge. Time: 30–35 minutes. 

Page Rights and Responsibilities

The concept of citizenship encompasses the rights and responsibilities of individuals. We need to consider what rights and responsibilities come with digital citizenship. In this mini challenge, we explore this topic with particular emphasis on the rights and responsibilities associated with learning in a digital age.

Following the hype of massive open online courses (MOOC) and the New York Times declaring 2012 the “year of the MOOC,“ a small group of educators drafted “A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age.” This document forms the basis for a course discussion on the rights and responsibilities of digital citizens.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Rights and responsibilities that come with learning in a digital age at tertiary level. Time 1 hour. Linked to the digital citizenship learning challenge

Page Digital Citizenship Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Prepare a learning reflection based on the knowledge you have gained on the concept of digital citizenship. Time: 30–45 minutes.

2.2: Your Online Identity for Learning Page Video Signpost

In the following video, Professor Chris Hankin of Imperial College, London highlights three challenges associated with digital identity in today’s online world:

  1. the blurring of online and offline identity;
  2. the blurring of public and private identity;
  3. social pluralism and feelings of group membership for minorities.

Page Defining Online Identity

We need to distinguish between the technical and human elements of online identity. In this micro-course, we are more interested in the human side of online identity, but in part, this is determined by how technology automates the process of building your digital footprint.

Page Your Digital Footprint
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Digital footprint audit. Time: 30–45 minutes.

Page Identity, Social Media, and Learning
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Explore how social media can support online learning and implications for engagement and identity. Time: 45 minutes.

Page Web Presence Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Build and improve your web presence as a component of online identity. Time: 1 hour.

2.3: Digital Environments Page Health and Safety

Health and safety is a component of digital citizenship. Using computers can create health and safety issues including physical discomfort, visual discomfort, stress and fatigue. Use of appropriate equipment, user education and a healthy dose of common sense will address most computer health issues.

In this section, we provide a few resource links for you to review your knowledge and practices in avoiding health and safety issues when using computers.

Page Online Hygiene

As an online learner, you are probably well versed in maintaining good online hygiene.

Nonetheless, in this section we summarize important practices as a reminder to remain vigilant in protecting your privacy and security online. If you are unsure about good security practices, there are a wealth of online resources you can (and should) consult.

Page Digital Rights Management

In a digital world, you may not have the full ownership rights you expect, or are accustomed to receiving in the physical world, when you buy digital content, resources, and equipment. In this section we explore digital rights management, geoblocking, and other examples. We highlight the importance users have to study the terms of reference and licenses when using proprietary software and buying products that rely on digital technology.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Explore and discuss the impact of digital rights management. Time: 30–45 minutes. Consult the suggested resources and participate in the digital rights management debate.

Page Online Communities

In this section we compare and contrast online and offline communities. We consider the research on online communities to derive practical advice on how to join and contribute constructively to these digital communities. If you do not have much experience with online communities, participate in the course forums and become an active member of the OERu learning family.

Page Critical Review Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Critically evaluate an online tool[1]. Time: 1.5 to 2 hours.

2.4: Digital Practices in the Workplace Page Video Signpost

In this short video signpost, Ken Steele from Eduvation speculates about the future of the labour market and the value of higher education in a digital age.

Page Personal and Professional Identity

Digital citizenship is all about being a person on the web. In the previous learning pathway on online identity, we noted that individuals portray different personas online, for example personal, academic and professional.

On the one hand, we need to be careful about what we post online because our posts could negatively impact our future career prospects or current employment. We must also be cognizant of the different limitations different careers place on what we can share publicly and what needs to remain private. On the other hand, building a strong learning or professional network online helps us stay up-to-date with new trends and establish connections with our peers.

In this section, we reflect on the balance between public and private in a digital world, recognizing that the best choice will depend on our work environment and professional circumstances. We will also explore how like-minded professionals in your field of interest network online.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Exploring professional online identity and networking in the field of your choice. Time: 1 hour.

Page Technology and Change

New technologies have influenced change in society throughout our history. Consider how the invention of the steam engine contributed to the Industrial Revolution. Recently, widespread use of digital photography has displaced Kodachrome, the leader in color film sales, which ceased production in 2009.

Page Artificial Intelligence

Many predict artificial intelligence (AI) will significantly impact society and business. Examples include, autonomous cars, computer understanding of human speech, and machine learning. For example, computer chess games available for commercial desktop machines can beat accomplished chess players including grand masters.

In this section we introduce some interesting examples of artificial intelligence to provide a sense of how sophisticated these technologies are becoming.

Page Jobs and Automation

In this section we consider the impact of automation on the future job market and the implications for education and training. We ask: Will robots replace humans? What jobs are most at risk of being replaced by robots? What are the implications for learning in a digital age?

Page Preparing for the Future Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Preparing for the future in an automated world. Time: 1 hour.

2.5: Societal Issues and the Internet Page The Cost of Free Websites
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Reflect on the hidden costs of using free website services. Time: 45 minutes.

Page Net Neutrality

The Internet was originally designed to provide universal access to a universe of documents. To achieve universal access, the original designers of the Internet felt it was critical to design the web as an open system, without a central locus of control. However, the Internet includes an increasing number of “walled gardens” that aim to control user’s access to content and services. In this section we explore the concept of net neutrality and reflect on the risks associated with universal access to online information.

Page Online Impersonation

Online impersonation refers to the act of creating an online presence in someone else’s name. This is a complex issue since some social media sites permit parody accounts or accounts that are not intended to represent real individuals. It is not necessarily illegal to impersonate someone per se, for example in comedy, but online impersonation is a growing problem. Many social media sites have anti-impersonation policies, but this does not provide a sufficient guarantee or protection against the risks of online impersonation.

Page Internet Trolling

It is estimated that that the Internet has about 3.17 billion users, almost half the population of the world (Smith 2016[1]). With the growing number of internet and social media users, we witness an increase in antisocial behavior online. In this section, we explore the phenomenon of internet trolling and strategies for managing this disruptive online behavior taking the communication context into account.

Page Online Harassment

Many associate online harassment with extreme cases, such cyberbullying and teenage suicide, or cyberstalking leading to physical sexual harassment. Antisocial behaviors associated with all forms of online harassment are more pervasive than most people realize. In this section, we review research on the state of online harassment and consider how leading social media sites attempt to manage the challenge.

Page Psychological Issues

The internet, social media, and mobile devices introduce new psychological issues, such as the phantom ringing syndrome, nomophobia, cybersickness, and internet addiction disorder. In this section, we identify selected psychological issues which learners may choose to research further in the learning challenge for this pathway.

Page Digital Redlining

Redlining refers to the discriminatory practice of denying services, directly or by raising prices to residents in certain areas, based on their racial or ethnic composition. The term redlining comes from the red lines bankers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and insurance agents drew on maps to designate the targeted areas where they refused to provide housing and business loans and other services.

While redlining is illegal in many communities, this type of geographic discrimination still occurs in many forms. In the digital environment, many rural and urban communities often receive limited or no access to affordable Internet resources, high-end computers, broadband internet access, and higher educational opportunities.

Page Equity and Inclusion

Inclusion refers to a sense of belonging irrespective of national origin, age, race, ethnicity, belief, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Equity is a proactive commitment to equal opportunity and practices that ensure inclusion without intentional (or unintentional) discrimination. In this section, we investigate examples of gender discrimination in a digital world, recognizing that equity and inclusion are not restricted to gender alone.

Page Choose an Issue

In this section, you choose a topic of interest relating to societal issues or problematic behaviors on the Internet for further investigation. You can select one of the topics introduced in this subunit, or an alternate issue you find more interesting. Your task is to search for reliable resources on your chosen topic and to share these links on the course resource bank.

Page Societal Issues Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Editorial on societal issue or problematic behaviour associated with the Internet. Time: 1.5 hours.

LiDA102 Edubit Assessment Page Notes about Assessments, Credit, and Transfer
Page LiDA102 Edubit Instructions
Page LiDA102 Edubit Rubric
3.1: Why Open Matters Page Meet Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a specialist in online learning technology and new media. He has worked with the National Research Council of Canada since 2001 and has been engaged with many leading edge research and development projects in e-learning. Downes is perhaps best known for his daily newsletter, OLDaily, which is distributed by web, email and RSS to thousands of subscribers around the world. Stephen is a popular speaker, appearing at hundreds of events around the world over the last fifteen years.

Stephen recorded the following video for an open course on open content licensing for educators hosted by the OER Foundation and it provides a fitting introduction to our initial focus on why open matters for learning in a digital age.

Page Freedom to Learn

Read the following short article and then watch the video recording of Desmond Tutu reflecting on the importance of freedom in education.

Page Scientific Publishing in a Digital World

Scientific research and dissemination of knowledge are key functions of the university. Traditionally, scientific knowledge is distributed through a process of peer-reviewed journals. Profit margins of commercial publishers of scientific journals are in excess of 30% compared with the profit margin of 12–15 percent for commercial magazines (Buranyi 2017[1]). From 1978 to 2014, the cost of academic textbooks has risen more than 800% which is more than triple the cost of inflation for the same period (Moules 2016[2]). In this section, we will reflect on and discuss the potential of open initiatives to widen affordable access to knowledge in a digital age.

3.2: Defining Open Education Resources (OER) Page Welcome from David Wiley

Watch this following video from Dr. David Wiley, the co-founder and chief academic officer for Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to increasing student success to and improving the affordability of education through the adoption of open educational resources (OER) by middle schools, high schools, community and state colleges, and universities.

Previously, Wiley was associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at the David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University. He has dedicated his career to increasing access to educational opportunity for everyone around the world.

Page Ownership of Ideas

In today's knowledge and information-based economies, a nation's wealth and prosperity are based on its resource of ideas. Copyright laws regulate this ownership of ideas, a system that evolved during an era when it was expensive to print, distribute and sell books and other learning materials. In the digital age, we can distribute ideas freely with the press of a button. We witness unprecedented opportunities to expand access to high quality educational resources. Nonetheless, much work is necessary to realize the potential of digital curriculum materials for our national education systems.

This subsection on the ownership of ideas sets the context for our global mission to return to the core business of education: to share knowledge freely.

Page OER Definitions

The concept of open education encapsulates a simple but powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that the open web provides an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge. In short the “open” in "open educational resources" means they must be free and provide the permissions to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. However, we need to examine the concept in more detail.

Page Defining OER

Our collective understanding of the definition of OER matures in parallel with increased adoption of open education in our formal education institutions around the world. In nurturing the development of a sustainable open education ecosystem, there is growing consensus that a definition of OER ideally needs to incorporate three interrelated dimensions:

  1. Educational Values: OER should be freely available;
  2. Pedagogical Utility: OER should embed the permissions of the Five Rs – reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain; and
  3. Technology Enablers: Technology and media choices should not restrict the permissions of the 5R framework.

We summarize each component below.

Page OER-Enabled Pedagogy
In this section we shift our focus to the benefits of OER from the learner’s perspective. Apart from the obvious benefits of savings related to the direct cost of textbooks and free online learning opportunities, we should ask: Does the “opening” of educational materials generate additional benefits for learning? What does OER enable that closed resources can’t deliver for learning in a digital age?
Page Summary
In this subunit, we:
    • Postulate that in a digital world, where the cost of replicating knowledge is near zero, we can widen access to learning for all using the open web and open content licensing.
    • Consider the relationships between digital freedom and education.
    • Reflect on the shortcomings of copyright as a mechanism to regulate the ownership of ideas in a digital world and the necessity to align our educational practices with our core values in fostering an ecology of creativity in education.
    • Provide a framework for defining OER according to three interrelated dimensions:
        • Educational Values: OER should be freely available;
        • Pedagogical Utility: ensuring OER embeds the permissions of the 4Rs – reuse, revise, remix and redistribute; and
        • Technology Enablers: specifying that OER should consider access to the technical tools required for editing and that OER should be meaningfully editable to facilitate the 4R activities.
    • Considered the implications of OER for learning in a digital age with a focus on solving real-world problems.
Page Implications of OER challenge

Challenge Summary

Summary: Identify key implications of OER for learning in a digital age from available research. Time: 30–40 minutes.

3.3: Copyright Page Video Signpost

This animated video was produced by, an organization dedicated to reframing the way artists and audiences think about copyright. The video provides a short but powerful message that copying does not necessarily prevent simultaneous consumption by other users and highlights a number of interesting tensions and perceptions about copying in a digital world.

Page Introduction

Copyright is a branch or subsection of intellectual property law which aims to protect the outputs of intellect through, for example, trademarks, patents, designs, software licenses and copyright. In this learning pathway we restrict our study to providing an introduction to to copyright law.

In his book Free Culture. How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, Lawrence Lessig argues that the default “© copyright all rights reserved” (applicable in most countries) contradicts the original purpose of copyright: to promote progress in science and the useful arts – a public good.[1] The purpose is not to enrich publishers or authors, or grant them undue influence on development and distribution of culture.

Disclaimer: These course materials are designed to provide an introduction to copyright for learners. This subunit forms part of a course on open education, copyright and open licensing and should not be considered as a replacement for detailed study of copyright law. However, copyright is prerequisite knowledge to understand and implement open content licensing.

These course materials are not intended to provide legal advice. Copyright is a complex area of law and there are differences between the copyright legislation of individual countries around the world which cannot be addressed in a generic introductory unit. Please consult a qualified legal professional for advice on copyright at your institution.

Page History

Take this short quiz and read the article that follows.

Page Working Globally

This subunit on copyright provides a brief introduction to copyright for an international audience. In a digital world, the implementation of intellectual property rights across national borders can be complex. In this section we focus on global work and introduce the basic principles of how copyright works in an international context.

Page Scope

Complete this short quiz and read the article that follows.

Page Ownership

Read the following article and complete the short activity.

Page Rights and Protections

Copyright provides protections for a number of exclusive rights for the copyright holder:

    • Economic rights relating to the rights to restrict reproduction, distribution and adaptations of the work;
    • Moral rights relating to interests which are not financial or monetary;
    • Related rights to protect persons other than the authors who are involved in the dissemination of copyrighted works;
    • Transfer of rights relating to assignment of rights, licensing and transfer of rights.

These exclusive copyright protections are limited for a period of time and restricted by a number of exceptions.

Page Exceptions

Copyright aims to balance the exclusive rights of authors with the general interests of society regarding access to knowledge and information. All copyright laws will include a number of exceptions or limitations which enable use of copyrighted works at no cost without prior permission of the copyright holder. Generally speaking, the exceptions are quite restricted, vary considerably from country to country and very often are open to different interpretations. These exceptions are associated with the concept of fair use in the United States, and fair dealing (less flexible) in Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In civil law jurisdictions this is treated under the limitations and exceptions to copyright. A few countries provide more liberal uses for education in their national legislation, but these typically do not adequately address teaching in a digital world. The exceptions of copyright can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Access to knowledge for the benefit of the public
  • Private or personal use

Note: The requirements and tests for exceptions vary considerably from country to country.

Page Transfer of Rights

Given that copyright and associated economic rights are automatic and first ownership vests with the author (or sometimes the employer in the case of works created during the course of employment in common law jurisdictions) the distribution and marketing of copyrighted works very often require the transfer of rights to the distributor. This may involve some form of contractual remuneration or compensation in the form of a fixed fee and/or royalties based on the sales volume of the published work.

3.4: Copyright Case Study Page Copyright Case Study

Read the following case study and answer the questions about copyright for the five resources the student wants to use.

Page Copyright Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Develop two multiple choice questions (MCQs) based on your mini copyright scenario or situation. Time: 1–2 hours.

3.5: Creative Commons Licenses Page Video signpost

Traditional “all rights reserved” copyright restricts our access to the creative outputs of the past. However, imagine a world where we stop reinventing the wheel and build on the past for a better future. In a digital world, Creative Commons licenses refine copyright for creating digital futures while expanding the shared commons.

Lawrence Lessig, a leading pioneer and founding board member of Creative Commons, suggests giving the creators of knowledge and culture the freedom to create. This means using copyright to give permissions to create. In this learning pathway we will explore how this works. It’s legal, and it’s free!

Page CC Basics

Creative Commons (CC) enables creators to share creative works legally by providing a number of copyright licenses and tools that creators may use to grant the public specific permissions on how to use their works.

If you own the exclusive rights to a property, as the owner you may decide how that property is used. For example, you may give permission to someone to use your car or to stay in your house. In the case of copyright, the owner holds the exclusive rights to copy, distribute and adapt an original creative work, including the economic rights associated with the work. Similarly, a copyright holder may give permissions regarding these rights. Creative Commons provides the legal tools that help authors manage their intellectual property rights and permissions associated with their creative works.

Page How CC licenses work

The Creative Commons Kiwi video developed for Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand and produced by Mohawk Media provides an excellent overview of the Creative Commons license elements.

  • Have you ever wondered how to download and share digital content legally?
  • How do you let people know that you want them to reuse your own work?

This video will show you how. It provides a valuable frame of reference before we study the detail of the license elements.

Page CC Licenses

CC[1] licenses utilise four terms (with standard abbreviations and identifying symbols) to represent four aspects of copyright which a creator may choose to apply to a creative work. These four terms are combined in various ways to create a number of separate licenses.

All of the CC licenses require attribution (or credit) to the author or creator of the work.

Page Anatomy of a CC license

A CC[1] license is composed of three distinct layers.

  • Legal Code – Each license begins as a traditional legal tool, in the kind of language and text formats that most lawyers know and love. This is the actual license, which is a detailed legal document.
  • Commons Deed – This is a handy reference that summarizes and expresses some of the most important terms and conditions. Think of the Commons Deed as a user-friendly interface to the Legal Code beneath, although the Deed itself is not a license, and its contents are not part of the Legal Code itself.
  • Machine-readable version – The final layer of the license design is a “machine-readable” version of the license – a summary of the key freedoms and obligations written into a format that software systems, search engines, and other kinds of technology can understand.

Page Remix and compatibility

The ability to remix, adapt or re-purpose materials is a significant advantage of open educational resources (OER) when compared to closed learning materials. Remix refers to the ability to combine different resources together to create new derivative works. Creators of OER often combine learning materials from a variety of sources together, or add their own creativity to existing works to create a new educational resource which they in turn re-license openly. However, the legal terms of one license may not be compatible with the legal terms of another license.

We need to consider the compatibility of different licenses when remixing materials, that is creating a derivative work. Note that license compatibility applies when creating derivative works. Reusing materials without adaptation (such as copying or redistributing verbatim) is easy with Creative Commons as long as you comply with the original license conditions.

Page Researching questions about CC

As in many areas of academic study, the devil is in the detail. In this section we consider a number of interesting but important questions related to Creative Commons licenses. The purpose of this section is for learners to familiarize themselves with credible online sources that can be consulted to find answers regarding the implementation of Creative Commons licensed works.

We will introduce two useful sources: the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Creative Commons web site, and the legal code of the individual licenses. We encourage learners to annotate, share and discuss these resource pages using

Page Summary

Creative Commons is the legal framework for open educational resources (OER) which makes the OER movement possible. It provides the legal and technical tools which educators and institutions use to share knowledge freely, building on a culture of permissions as opposed to restrictions. In summary:

  • Creative Commons works in tandem with copyright law to provide educators alternatives to refine their copyright by transforming the default position of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved” according to permissions determined by the creator of the work.
  • Creative Commons provides six license alternatives based on the permissions for derivative works and whether or not commercial use is allowed.
  • Creative Commons provides public domain tools which allow copyright holders to place their works into the public domain or to mark a work that is already in the public domain as such.
  • The Creative Commons website provides a free online tool to choose a license for a creative work.
  • CC[1] licenses are user-friendly and appropriate for the digital world, as they are available in three different formats: the full legal terms, the license summary (deed), and “machine-readable” code.
  • With CC licenses, users know in advance which material can be revised, remixed and redistributed as derivative works, according to compatibility for re-licensing among different licenses.

3.6: Remix Game Page CC Remix Game Prep

In this short exercise, you will consider a number of remix scenarios to explore license compatibility.

Page 4R learning challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Reuse, revise, remix and redistribute Creative Commons resources plus reflection. Time: 2 hours.

3.7: Dimensions of Openness Page Introducing Dimensions of Openness

Read the following list to help decide what dimension of openness you would like to focus on for this subunit.

Page Open Access

Open access is a sister open initiative to OER which aims to provide unrestricted access to scholarly research outputs including peer-reviewed journals, theses, scholarly monographs and book chapters.

Page Free and Open Source Software

The free and open source software (FOSS) movement is founded on the democratic principles of freedom of speech, in particular respecting individual choices in the use of software.

FOSS is widely used in today’s digital world. For instance, the majority of web sites (86%[1]) are powered by open source web server software (Apache and Nginx). You may not realise that the Android operating system, with a market share of 88% (2015) on mobile devices is based on the Linux, open source operating system.

Page Open Textbooks

The cost of proprietary textbooks in the United states has risen by 1041 percent since 1977 (Popken, 2015[1]). This has a negative impact on learning, for example, a recent survey in Florida reports that two-thirds of the students did not purchase the required textbook (Florida Virtual Campus 2016[2]).

In this section we explore contemporary responses to the challenge including open textbooks, textbook rentals and access codes to learning platforms provided by commercial publishers.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Comparing terms of service for open textbooks, textbook rentals and commercial learning platform access codes. Time: 30–40 minutes.

Page Open Policy

Watch this video from Cable Green, the director of open education at Creative Commons, who works with the global open education community to leverage open licensing, open content, and open policies to significantly improve access to quality, affordable, education and research resources so everyone in the world can attain all the education they desire. Then, complete the activity.

Page Open Business Models

A key question for openness is how to build fiscally sustainable models by giving things away for free. There are a wide range of successful open projects encompassing non-profit organisations, social enterprises and for-profit businesses. In this section we explore examples of open business models.

Page Open Educational Practices

The term open educational practices was first coined by Ulf-Daniel Ehlers in the Open Educational Quality (OPAL) project funded by the European Commission. The concept suggests that there are distinctive practices and processes required for the successful adoption and implementation of OER in education.

Page Openness Learning Reflection
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Learning reflection based on this subunit, Dimensions of Openness for Learning in a Digital Age. Time: 1 hour.

An important part of university study is self-reflection. You are required to prepare a learning reflection for the final assignment and this learning challenge will give you the opportunity to practice and refine your skills in preparing a learning reflection.

LiDA103 Edubit Assessment Page Notes about Assessments, Credit, and Transfer
Page LiDA103 Edubit Instructions
Page LiDA103 Edubit Rubric
4.1: Introduction to Media Literacy Page Video Signpost

Watch this short promotional video featuring Joey Papa, a media and film maker, produced for the 2015 media literacy week hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).

Page Defining Media Literacy

In this section, we reflect on a widely used definition of media literacy and the issues associated with the concept for learning in a digital age.

Page Media Literacy Perspectives

Watch this video and complete the activity. In this extract from the Real Time interview with Bill Maher, President Obama highlights the importance for a modern democracy of educating our children on media literacy.

Page Analyzing Texts

At its most basic level, media is closely related to the communication as the exchange of information and meaning. In this section we introduce types of communication and theoretical models of communication within the context of cultural roles of communication in everyday life.

Page Evaluate Press Release Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Critical review of a press release. Time: 1 hour.

Linked to Task 1 of Edubit assessment for LiDA104.

Press releases are inherently biased because they typically aim to put a positive spin on the announcement and therefore provide an ideal format for critical evaluation.

4.2: Mass Media Page History of Mass Media

In this section we review the evolution of mass media. We will also compare the roles of different media and types of power exerted on society.

Page The Medium is the Message

Watch this short video which summarizes the central tenets of Marshal McLuhan’s media theory.

Page Manufacturing Consent

Modern democracies have traditionally been critical of countries with state controlled bureaucracies and censorship. It is much harder to see propaganda systems at work where state controlled censorship is absent. In this section we introduce the work of Herman and Chomsky to investigate the challenges of propaganda through mass media in democratic systems.

Page Race, Gender and Class

Watch the following video and complete the reading assignment.

Page Citizen Journalism

In this section we consider mass media which is not necessarily controlled by corporate media interests. Community radio is an example of alternate media not usually controlled by corporate or national public broadcaster interests. (Although radio spectrum management typically places restrictions on power outputs of the FM transmitters to be able to operate legally as well as additional requirements, for example, restrictions on the air time for sponsorship messages.) With the advent of the internet and social media, we have witnessed growth in citizen journalism which has also had an impact on professional journalism.

Page Social Media, Internet and Society

In this section we shift our focus to how social media and the internet influences popular culture and society. Social media is used to convey news, but participation and engagement also influences the news. In addition, social media is a powerful tool for advocacy, but this is countered by the growing phenomenon of walled gardens on the internet, a new form of filtering content.

Page Fake News

In this section we explore the phenomenon of fake news, that is, media which is custom made to fool you. In a digital world, spotting online deception requires knowledge and a critical disposition. Some hoaxes are easy to spot, whereas others are more sophisticated. In this section, we will investigate what you can do to identify and protect yourself from fake news. As digital citizens, it is also important that we do not propagate these guises by sharing stories we know to be fake.

Page Topical News Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Contrast and compare coverage of a topical news item on different mediums. Time: 2 hours.

Linked to Task 2 of Edubit assessment for LiDA104.

4.3: Web Literacy for Fact-Checking Page Four Moves

In Digital literacies for Online Learning (LiDA101) we explored frameworks for evaluating the credibility and reliability of scholarly online resources. However, media literacy also requires that you develop web skills for fact-checking in the contemporary digital world of “fake news.”

Page Look for Previous Work

The second strategy for checking a fact, quotation or article is to look for previous work. In this section we explore tactics to find out if the fact checking work has been done by someone else.

Page Go Upstream

The next strategy after tracing previous fact-finding work is to “go upstream” especially in cases where articles are reporting on other reporting. Upstream means going to the source.

Page Read Laterally

Reading laterally is the process of consulting third-party sources to help verify authority and reliability of the source.

Page Twitter User Identity

Twitter does not enforce a “real name” policy, so it is possible for a person to run multiple accounts. A twitter account could be a bot, parody account or fake account. In this section we review the basics of Twitter identity and complete a short activity to verify the identity of a Twitter account.

Page History of the Web

Digital history can be a valuable resource for fact checking, especially if the past has been recorded and is publicly accessible. In this section we explore the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Page Google Tips

In this section we highlight the importance of checking author expertise and how to trace the source of scholarly quotes using Google. We also remind learners that automatically generated search summaries from Google should not be accepted at face value in being accurate or true.

Page Practice Fact-Checking

Complete the following activity.

Page Fact-Checking Challenge
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Publish a fact checking report. Time: 1 hour. Linked to Task 3 of Edubit assessment for LiDA104.

4.4: Create Media Page Choose a Subject and Draft a Plan

In this subunit, we focus on digital skills for creating media. We recommend you choose a subject for your multimodal presentation assignment so you can reuse the outputs of the mini-learning challenges to incorporate into your presentation.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Select a subject and draft an initial plan for creating a multimodal presentation. Time: 30–45 minutes

Multimodal presentation assignment

Page Diagram Remix
Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Construct a diagram with reusable scalable vector graphics (SVG) images Time: 1.5 to 2 hours. The static image is the first modality of this learning pathway on creating media.

Page Animated GIF

The graphics interchange format (GIF) is a bitmap image format. The format can support the compilation of a sequence of still images and when played back, it generates a moving picture. GIF animations are gaining popularity again as a form of creative expression and as a method to use moving pictures to illustrate or explain concepts. In this section, you will create your own animated GIF from a sequence of still frames.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Generate an animated GIF from still image frames. Time: 1.5 hours.

Moving images (without sound) is the next modality in this learning pathway on creating media.

Page HTML Slideshow

In this section we explore web-based slideshows which are coded in HTML. This enables the slideshow to be viewed and presented using a web browser, with the advantage of supporting responsive design for mobile devices and applying styles using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Together with JavaScript (JS) it is possible generate dynamic and professional presentations authored natively for the web.

In this course, you are not required to learn how to code slide shows in HTML, but you will develop associated skills in web-based slideshows using the web-service. This web-service generates the underlying HTML for the open source Reveal.js framework for web-based slideshow presentations.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Prepare a short web-based slideshow based on the Reveal.js framework. Time: 1–1.5 hours.

Page Record and Mix Audio

A multimodal presentation requires an audio track. Learning how to edit and mix audio snippets is a valuable skill for creating online presentations with an audio. In this mini learning challenge you will learn how to use Audacity to record voice and mix a music track into the recording.

Mini Challenge Summary

Summary: Mix a music track with personal voice recording using Audacity. Time: 1 hour.

Audacity is a free, easy to use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. This open source software is available for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.

LiDA104 Edubit Assessment Page Notes about Assessments, Credit, and Transfer
Page LiDA104 Edubit Instructions
Page LiDA104 Edubit Rubric
Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey