Sharing and openness

Last blog was about being resident or visitor on the internet. The second topic in ONL162 is about sharing and openness. Going online with courses is making knowledge open to everyone. The main problem with free open online courses is that one has difficulties as a teacher to get paid. A totally altruistic approach makes it hard to sustain as a teacher. Still, making it open and public can attract people all around the world for the knowledge one is in possession of.

As an example of the strength of open access a colleague and I wrote a paper on the topic of One Health (Lerner and Berg 2015). One Health is a field where there is collaboration between veterinary medicine, human medicine and biology in issues such as transmittable diseases between animals and humans. We tried to theoretically discuss some of the interdisciplinary decisions one has to make within such an approach. For example, should One Health share the same definition of health, what kinds of interdisciplinarity is possible within the approach and how should one look at education in the field? We didn’t expect to be cited by researchers from all continents within one and a half year after publication. During the same period of time the paper was viewed well above 10000 times. That’s the strength of open access.

In open educational resources, there seem to be a need for proper use of copyrights. The Creative Commons system (see this youtube-clip) is a good way of licensing the content. Instead of traditional copyright where one needs to ask the owner every time, one can add the Creative Commons information which makes it easier to share without “forgetting” about the author. There is also an important difference between Creative Commons and Public Domain ( In Public Domain one is free to use the content; in Creative Commons one is able to differentiate between how one is able to use the content. Also, the person/s writing the original is still acknowledged. For me this seems to be something worth thinking through which kind of Creative Common license to use for me.

To be able to sustain as a teacher I think it is possible to develop some modules that makes an interest in my topics to teach and in my department where I work. Then I could have other more thorough material (courses or literature) that could be used in order to earn money for my department.

Going back to the area of One Health, in the paper mentioned above we discuss the possibility to develop a new curriculum for One Health. One way might be to create an online open platform where different departments from different scientific disciplines might add modules that students interested in One Health could attend.

Best regards, Henrik


Visitor or resident

Our first topic in the course ONL162 is to think about whether we are visitors or residents on the net (see David White’s both short films,, I consider myself being a visitor when it comes to education and research, but private I am more of a resident spending time especially on Facebook. The main problem as I have found out during the first topic is that there are a whole lot of platforms or programmes facilitating discussions and online communication on the web. This autumn I will be using 13 different communication tools ranging from video communication, email-programmes through social media. Although that will increase my residency on the net, it also got me somewhat puzzled. Must there be that many systems to keep track of? Still, the many options might also open to be using different channels for sparetime and work, not confusing the professional roles with the more private roles.We’ll see, Henrik.