Course Glossary

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Acculturation. Prolonged contact between individuals or groups of different cultures leads to changes in knowledge, attitudes or behaviour among participants.

Attribution. The process of recognising the source of borrowed materials, regardless of whether it is all rights reserved copyright or open licensed.

Community of practice. Social groups that share a common interest and are constituted in order to develop a specialised knowledge based on practical experiences.

Copyleft. ‘A play on the word copyright to describe the practice of using copyright law to offer the right to distribute copies and modified versions of a work and requiring that the same rights be preserved in modified versions of the work.’ (UNESCO, 2013)

Copyright. Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. However, an employer—for example, a film studio—may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise.

When you own the copyright in a work, you control how it is used in order to protect its value. Others who want to use the work have to buy or otherwise get your permission.’ (Canadian Intellectual Property Office, 2015)

Individualism-collectivism. Dimension of cultural variability that distinguishes between societies in which autonomy and individual interests prevail, in comparison with others in which the group’s harmony is valued more.

Intercultural competence. Set of skills that allow communication with individuals from other cultures, such as empathy, tolerance to ambiguity, cognitive flexibility and understanding of cultures in contact.

Licensing. The process of choosing and assigning a licence to an OPER by the original creator of that resource. OER creators can choose from several licenses offered by organisations such as Creative Commons—with the licence typically stipulating the conditions under which that resource can be used, shared, adapted, or distributed by other users.

Localisation. The process through which educational resources are adapted to meet local teaching and learning needs. Resource localisation might entail, for example,, translating a lesson plan into another language, or removing parts of a course module that are too complex for a given set of students.

Massive Open Online Course. (MOOCs) are online courses aiming at large-scale participation and open access. They may use OER as content. (UNESCO, 2013)

Metadata. Basic descriptive data about an educational resource, which help users more easily find and use the resource. It is ‘data about data,’ or attributes that describe the data, and includes descriptors such as title, language, author, and grade level, creation date, etc.

Open Access. A publishing model whereby authors make their content freely available with publishing costs met by authors, or the institution, to which they are affiliated.

Open Courseware (OCW). ‘publicly available materials that are either a part of, or a complete course from an educational institution such as a university or college.’ (UNESCO, 2013)

Open Educational Resources. ‘Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open licence. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OER range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.’ (UNESCO, 2013)

Open Source Software. Refers to a program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design. (UNESCO, 2013)

Open Standards. Public standards, usually divided into de jure (those created formally by a standardisation body such as ISO or BSI), and de facto (those gain ‘critical mass’ through near-universal adoption). Some standards are administered by a user group or committee (for example, W3C) rather than a legal body.

Open textbook: Digitised textbooks freely available with non-restrictive licenses.

Public Domain. The public domain, in intellectual property (IP) law, is generally said to consist of intangible materials that are not subject to exclusive Intellectual Property rights and which are, therefore, freely available to be used or exploited by any person (World Intellectual Property Organization).

Super-diversity. A phenomenon that occurs when diversity becomes a norm. For example, because of the proliferation of many small immigrant communities in the United Kingdom.