Re-visiting "elevator pitch" request that someone made here in 2020

Wondering if anyone has a typed up “elevator pitch” for OERs in general, or even just for specific resources? I am finding that showing patrons OERs or at least mentioning to them “try a google search for OER and…” happens at least once a day. Sometimes my explanations are more cogent than others, depending upon caffeine level. Are there some concise, easily memorized ways of describing OERs that translate well to people who are unfamiliar with them?

You may find this useful: “…the Creative Commons licenses were invented to enable a culture of legally safe sharing, spurred by the legal terror campaign waged by the entertainment industry, led by a literal criminal predator who is now in prison for sex crimes.”

Corey Doctorow, published Jan. 24, 2022, Retrieved 2024-03-13:

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They are “read the license” resources that must be attributed. They are generally subject to copyright but licensed for you to use. This is my elevator pitch for this year with my 3 talking points:
-assume they are copyrighted
-always attribute
-read the license to know how you can use them.

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Here’s what I’ve roughly got (soon to be published on the KPU Open Education Toolkits website that I’ve been working on). This is for people who have no concept of Open Ed:

Education is a fundamental human right, but for many people there are barriers that limit access to education such as physical circumstances, financial constraints, geographical remoteness, or cultural norms. Open education as an overall movement seeks to lower or eliminate as many of those barriers as possible, with the aim of improving educational access, effectiveness, and equality.

One of the ways we can do this is through the resources that teachers use in the classroom. Instead of requiring their students to buy a $200 textbook, they can use resources that are free online. What makes Open Educational Resources special (as opposed to other online content) is that they have special licenses that allow you to legally use, adapt, modify, and share them without fear or uncertainty that you are breaking copyright law.

They’re good for students because they are free and reduce financial barriers, and they’re good for teachers because they allow you to customize your resources to fit the needs of your specific course.

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I can’t offer a genuine elevator pitch! But I just came across a nifty approach from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (which is more specific to textbook affordability) but their two page approach is good and includes some decent FAQs and OER Myths-- the latter which is drawn from an excellent resource, SPARC’s OER Mythbusting doc (open licensed).

I’m not sure whether just searching or finding OERs does the “pitch” – for what use are patrons looking for things? Just to find “free” stuff? to reuse? A starting point might be just getting people to learn the skills for identifying if something is licensed, where to look, etc.

And also somehow conveying that this is the work of an individual who created it for others to use, and was willing to share it rather than sell it. That there is an author behind it.

I tend to think the license centric approach can miss the point-- yes open licenses are critical to understand and use, but sometimes we get into a frame of “I have to comply with the terms of a license so I do not get into trouble”-- I much rather trying to an instill an attitude that attributing a work that you have used is an act of gratitude.

When I taught digital storytelling I would do some kind of pitch about the virtues of CC and reusing. Students would diligently nod along because The Teacher Was Saying Something Important. I don’t think they understand at a personal level. So I shifted to creating activities where they would make remixes from CC licensed stuff, and then remix amongst themselves, and practice attribution.

As well, just complying with the terms of a license is kind of a minimal compliance. Just because public domain says you do not have to give credit, is problematic to me, because when you demonstrate that practice in the world, what does it signal to a viewer of your content? That you can just reuse a work because it was found on the internet? So I believe and encourage an act of Always Be Attributing (even if you are not required to). I used to make up words like LIntribution and Thanktribution.

Or go further, when you can, practice acts of active gratitude- let the creator of a work know you have made use if it. For someone who writes, makes images, music, anything, hearing an act of appreciation means everything.

My tale is that since 2004 I have shared all my photos in flickr under creative commons. People sould email sometimes and ask for permission to reuse a photo. One time I wrote back, explaining that the CC license meant they could use my photo as long as they provided some kind of attribution. I thought I was doing an educational act, you know, teaching someone about CC.

They replied, “Yes, I know how Creative Commons licenses work- I just thought you’d like to know that someone used your photo.”

That changed everything for me.

Now I gave you way more than an elevator rides!

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The question of what patrons are looking for I think does get to the core of the need/issue (or one of them). I work in a place that has a high percentage of children (0-18). My job is in a relatively affluent area (hence my 45 minute commute because… economics). So in general the majority of my patrons looking for things are either looking for things on behalf of their children or out of a fundamental intellectual curiosity- one strong enough to drive them out of their homes, away from google, and to the library. I think this specific group (because lifelong learning is A Thing, but also taken for granted within even the ‘lowest’ echelons of academia… that is some self-deprecating snobbery there, which isn’t translating for strangers, so anyone reading this will have to just accept that it is hilarious). Anyways, because I think that academic interest and curiosity tend to be either taken for granted or entirely overlooked outside of academic spheres, the real need that people have for trustworthy sources from which to base research is continually growing, and something that can be answered with OERs. Maybe people don’t have the time or energy for a structured class, but would appreciate getting to read a specific chapter of a textbook on a specific aspect of anthropology. That sort of ties in with why I am looking for a good general few-sentence easily-memorized spiel about OERs… I bring them up a lot, and depending on energy levels, either find new resources or just cannot follow my train of thought at all. But this also has to be balanced against feeling (and probably frequently sounding) like a used-car seller. I know the value and fundamentally believe in the philosophy behind OERs, but at this point so much thought, from so many people who are far more eloquent/better-spoken than myself has gone into so many directions, that I feel like I am randomly grabbing a handful of bouncy-balls when I try to express even a tiny glimpse of this whole universe. Something thoughtful, succinct, but not pushy that can be easily memorized would be ideal. I do love the acts of gratitude- being socially awkward before I could properly humiliate myself on social media, I spent a lot of my free time reading fanfiction, and in general that is a community that for all of the borrowing of pre-existing material, is incredibly intense about attribution (which I’m sure there are also a million academic papers about). Anyways, within that specific tiny sphere of the internet, attribution is the base expectation of being polite. And this isn’t quite a linear thought, so much as a divergent one from the point above, but in terms of attribution goes, I frequently tell people at the college I work part-time at that if they don’t have access to the academic article they want through the library, they should try emailing the authors directly asking if they are willing to share it. The problem within that though is (myself being the maybe slightly subjective 1-person case-study) I have personally never done that, even though I’ve had plenty of articles which I have wanted to read, but lacked access. I am sort of loving the terms Linktribution and Thanktribution though. I might (definitely) start wedging them into conversations, because they are kind of fantastic.
Beyond that, this is somewhat socially irresponsible, but at the same time, there are universal rules of common sense- if everyone is driving a certain speed, don’t go significantly slower, for example… I think another of those rules is “attribute as able, use as needed”. I mean, Aaron Swartz was the profile in what can go wrong with guerilla information activism, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people should (or even have the slightest inclination to) stop sharing over “small” things like CC laws- now, those are an entirely different kind of ride than this elevator…

We from the ICDE, The International Council for Open and Distance Education OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC) have worked within the ICDE Global Advocacy Campaign on some short messages on OER (they are also translated (the first 11 ones, the last ones are new for this year, so not yet) to Swedish, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese.

Our short messages are:

  1. Accessible, high-quality Open Educational Resources (OER) are a matter of human rights, public good, equal access, and social justice.

  2. Open Educational Resources can be Retained, Reused, Revised, Remixed, and Redistributed for educational purposes.

  3. The use of Open Educational Resources (OER) can strengthen international communities

  4. UNESCOs five prioritized areas for Open Educational Resources (OER) promote capacity building, supportive policies, encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER, the nurturing of sustainability models, and promoting and reinforcing international cooperation in OER.

  5. Access to Open Educational Resources (OER) is one way to reach SDG 4, “Education for All”.

  6. Access to Open Educational Resources (OER) can enable lifelong learning for all.

  7. Open and Distance Education for All People for Sustainable Futures

  8. Sharing your knowledge via Open Educational Resources creates an Open Society with equitable access promoting human rights and social justice.

  9. Open Education Resources (OER) are freely available resources for learning, teaching, and research.

  10. Open Education Resources are high-quality learning and teaching materials

  11. Open access to Distance Education: part of a new social contract for equitable life-long learning.

  12. Do you know that when you publish OERs, you still have ownership and should be acknowledged?

  13. Working with OER is about being guided by the common good

  14. OER empower quality learning for all, not leaving anyone behind

  15. OER is about access, equity, inclusion, diversity, social justice and democracy

  16. Quality of open resources can be increased, especially building on what is done

Please use if you like :slight_smile:

Best Ebba Ossiannilsson, Chair ICDE OERAC


This is a stunningly valuable and appropriate resource, thank for Ebba and ICDE for making this available. Much more than an elevator pitch.