New Handbook for Educators Explains How to Produce & Distribute Free Video for the World


The chick­en-and-egg, forest/trees ques­tion for those who pro­duce edu­ca­tion­al and pub­lic ser­vice media is real­ly who are we pro­duc­ing our con­tent for. MIT’s Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Learn­ing San­jay Sar­ma has said that “we” – uni­ver­si­ties in par­tic­u­lar (but also muse­ums, libraries, and oth­er edu­ca­tion­al and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions) – “are all sort of Dis­ney, and Sony, and MGM – we pro­duce movies.” But who are we pro­duc­ing our movies for?

The answer is – per­haps obvi­ous­ly – that we are pro­duc­ing for mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers, but that many of us are real­ly pro­duc­ing these pro­duc­tions for the world. At a time when so much crap is hap­pen­ing around the globe, it is ever more clear that our real respon­si­bil­i­ty is to improve the plan­et while we are on it, and if we can help effect that by shar­ing our knowl­edge, so much the bet­ter.

Much as U.S. and oth­er nation­al indus­tries of research and schol­ar­ly pub­lish­ing have begun to man­date some form of open or free licens­ing for the out­put of grant-fund­ed writ­ten work, so now the ques­tion aris­es should video and edu­ca­tion­al video in par­tic­u­lar find its way, too, into the com­mons. Here, too, the answer is: of course.

On the occa­sion of the third LEARNING WITH MOOCS con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, Intel­li­gent Tele­vi­sion is releas­ing a new guide: MOOCs and Open Edu­ca­tion­al Resources: A Hand­book for Edu­ca­tors. The guide is a step-by-step man­u­al to how to pro­duce and dis­trib­ute edu­ca­tion­al video con­tent under the freest of licens­es, with an empha­sis on Cre­ative Com­mons.

The Hand­book sit­u­ates edu­ca­tion­al video pro­duc­tion in the con­text of more than 100 years of mov­ing-image work at uni­ver­si­ties and beyond. Indeed, the book­let draws on the work of edu­ca­tion­al pro­duc­ers from the ear­ly 1900s – works such as Charles Urban, The Cin­e­mato­graph in Sci­ence, Edu­ca­tion, and Mat­ters of State and the 1920s jour­nal Visu­al Edu­ca­tion.

The impulse to share knowl­edge in a free envi­ron­ment also is not new. In many ways MOOCs and Open Course­ware and Wikipedia and Cre­ative Com­mons and Google/YouTube are all part of the same project – envi­sioned by vision­ar­ies such as Richard Stall­man, media pro­duc­ers behind the start of pub­lic broad­cast­ing here and abroad, much ear­li­er, even, by pub­lish­ers active cen­turies ago in the Enlight­en­ment, and even ear­li­er, in ancient Alexan­dria under the Ptole­ma­ic kings. The vision? A giant rich resource: a gigan­tic glob­al ency­clo­pe­dia, or Ency­clopédie, or library or muse­um, con­tribut­ing to uni­ver­sal access to human knowl­edge. With the Inter­net upon us now, we can help real­ize it.

Does the rest of the world have any right to the knowl­edge that we pro­duce at uni­ver­si­ties and oth­er cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions? And do we have any oblig­a­tion to share it? We live once, but our prob­lems live on. And if the work of Richard Hof­s­tadter (an expert on “anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism” and what he called “the para­noid style in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics”) and Edward Said (so wise on the col­lapse of colo­nial­ism and media bias), just to pick two Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty exam­ples, could have been record­ed and shared – and shared open­ly – we’d be the rich­er for it. Dis­sem­i­nat­ing knowl­edge now through the world’s most pow­er­ful medi­um could be our high­est call­ing.

Start read­ing MOOCs and Open Edu­ca­tion­al Resources: A Hand­book for Edu­ca­tors here.

Peter B. Kauf­man is an author, edu­ca­tor, and film pro­duc­er and the founder of Intel­li­gent Tele­vi­sion in New York. Twice serv­ing as asso­ciate direc­tor of Colum­bia University’s Cen­ter for Teach­ing and Learn­ing, he pro­duces films and edu­ca­tion­al video in close asso­ci­a­tion with uni­ver­si­ties, muse­ums, and archives, and he pub­lish­es, pro­duces, and orga­nizes numer­ous projects at the inter­sec­tion of video, edu­ca­tion, and open edu­ca­tion­al resources. He is exec­u­tive direc­tor of a foun­da­tion to pro­mote Russ­ian lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture and runs a sum­mer doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing insti­tute for high school stu­dents every year in Con­necti­cut.

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