In Summary

Australian universities will soon be equipped to deal with one of the major challenges of providing open online education, after Swinburne University of Technology received a $222,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching to research copyright, licensing and open education practices (OEP) in Australia.

Working with the University of Tasmania, Swinburne will lead a research project that will collect and analyse information on the current status of OEP in Australian universities.

The findings will then be used to develop an open education licensing toolkit, as a resource for learning and teaching, as well as business planning professionals in the sector.

“Our idea for the project began in 2012, when Australian universities first started offering MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses),” Swinburne’s project leader Robin Wright said. 

“Around the same time, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) was starting its review into Copyright and the Digital Economy. 

“With the ALRC’s Final Report released earlier this year, now is the perfect time to explore the issues arising for Australian universities in the global market for online education.”

Running for two years, the project will produce an improved understanding of copyright and open licensing for online learning in the Australian higher education sector. 

“The toolkit will provide Australian universities with a clearer way to make decisions around their engagement with OEP, while also being globally competitive in this market,” Ms Wright said.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Office for Learning and Teaching grants are a Department of Education initiative, which exist to promote excellence in learning and teaching within the higher education sector.