I’m using group discussion work with the class a lot more than usual during this project and it’s starting to work quite nicely. They always start out a bit stilted but soon relax into it. I’m hoping this is proving helpful to them, verbal skills are often a ‘soft skill’ not really taught, and which could well be one of the things holding them back from work. If you can’t converse with your peers how on earth are you going to handle a job interview?
So hopefully it will prove helpful to them in the longer term, even though we’re not primarily a basic skills centre.
Today the discussion was on copyright and I had prepared some handouts for them to list all the things they could think of to which copyright might apply, and a definition in their own words of what “copyright” meant.
In order to get across the idea of copyright as being about “control” rather than a blanket ban on copying I asked them to make a list of things they want to stop people doing with their own work. They came up with pretty much all the things that can typically feature in copyright statements, such as “keep my name on it” “don’t make money out of it” “ask my permission”.
I thought this was quite successful. We came back together as a class and I clarified some of the detail and talked variously about the idea of “fair dealings” and how it various across the world — and that since the Internet is worldwide the issues of jurisdiction and potential pitfalls.
Some of the fair dealings stuff is so very vague here that I suspect a lot of it is too much of a judgment call for most of the students. We therefore came up with some simple rules such as “don’t quote more than a paragraph of so”. “make sure it’s clear i’s a quote and from where.” and “Link back to the original website rather than copying and pasting content.
I also explained about the alternatives, that some people have explicitly decided to allow copying and reusing of their work, and showed some examples, in particular the Creative Commons project.
I next sent them off to look up the copyright statements on a variety of websites. I’d chosen these in advance for two reasons. One, a good selection of different restrictions and allowances, and two, for being (relatively) short and easy to understand.
I’d wanted to get around to some practical work actually uploading images and setting up links on the blog sites but this took the whole hour and a half session so I didn’t manage that.
After the session I was playing with the WebQuest creation tools at http://www.zunal.com and thought that might be an interesting way of tackling this topic next time — having them look stuff up themselves, and being able to integrate the links from a single site rather than have them type them in from a paper handout.