Open content requirement
Free use of the desktop version of the Qedoc Quiz Maker carries an open content requirement explained here. For exact terms, see the licence agreement for the software. The open content requirement does not apply to use of the desktop version of the Qedoc Quiz Player, which is freeware. For those who wish to avoid the open content requirement, various [[commercial options are available (see also: eLearning Designer). This page adds explanation, but does not extend, modify or override any part of the licence agreement.
Do you qualify for free use?
Yes. If you share.
A very traditional model of software distribution has been the "free"/"commercial" distinction.
The traditional model worked something like this (Qedoc never did this at all):
- Free version: typically available to private users, and sometimes for "educational purposes" as well, where "educational" was usually poorly defined and ignored the fact that a lot of education involves a lot of money. Free versions would typically be water-down, impoverished versions, possibly with time limitations and without any support. Use of the free version generally tried to push you towards the commercial version.
- Commercial version: the real thing.
To repeat, Qedoc never did anything like this, and made an earlier decision to stay away from the traditional model. In particular, the traditional model turns on the status of the end user: if the end-user "is commercial", they pay. However good, altruistic or generous a company might wish to be, under the traditional model, it had to pay. Qedoc's "open content requirement" is open to everyone, "commercial" or not, regardless of financial status. Your permission to use the software does not turn on whether or not your working day has ended when you use it, but whether or not you decide to give back to others in return. This is critical, because nobody can change their status, but everybody can change what they do. If you're commercial, the traditional model means you're stuck with payment as the only option. But the Qedoc open content requirement model means that you can decide yourself if you qualify for free use.
The traditional model also becomes a real problem in the educational world, where institutions as large and active as schools and colleges can usually only exist if staff are paid, buildings financed, etc. Educational users don't come in all-or-nothing black-or-white "commercial or non-commercial" varieties. The educational universe is not financially dualistic. This is another reason why Qedoc's concept is based on the open content requirement.
A few other ways Qedoc differs from the traditional model:
- Non-payers get the full version (see differences between free and commercial versions).
- Non-payers get the same (extensive) support and documentation.
- Qedoc's psychology is geared towards the maximisation of its online repository of open content eLearning resources, which means that non-paying users are regarded as Qedoc's biggest asset, and software development is primarily geared towards their neeeds.
With other software, the choice between free and paid-for often hinges on whether you want a cut-down low-featured version or the full version, or alternatively, on whether your status is commercial or not. With Qedoc, this is different. Qedoc's free versions are genuinely high-performance full-featured pieces of software. Your decision about whether to pay or not turns on completely different factors, and primarily your willingness to pay back to the community in kind, by sharing your educational resources as open educational resources (OER). Not only private individuals, but fully commercial companies, have been motivated by this licencing scheme to open up their training materials for the benefit of everyone. Content must also be appropriate for sharing.
I don't want to share
- Please share.
- Qedoc will attempt to address all your concerns about sharing - please contact us to talk about it.
- If you are convinced you don't want to share, then there are various commercial options available. Your choice between these will depend on how you wish to distribute your content to your intended audience.
How does sharing actually work?
Anyone can immediately and freely download the Qedoc Quiz Maker to create new materials of their own or edit, correct and extend the materials of others. If you build on the materials of others, the Qedoc Quiz Maker provides instant access to all materials published online and allows them to be worked on as simply as if they were stored on your own hard drive. Note that if you build on published materials, you must share your results (paying is not an option).
Once you've made the new materials, you simply upload them back to the online repository. Note that to ensure that the open content requirement is met, the new materials can't be used until they really are uploaded and published.
Alternatively, if you prefer not to share new materials which you have made yourself, you can choose to buy a licence for the Qedoc Quiz Maker instead or choose from among other commercial options. Most people share, because it is in their interest to do so. But some prefer to pay instead. By paying, they nevertheless still help the wider community by, for example, financing this site.
Sharing does not mean that you lose ownership of your work. The Creative Commons licences protect certain rights, such as your right to be recognized and mentioned as the author. When you share, you grant everyone else permission to use your work for free, but it is still your work. If someone else builds on your work, they must recognize your contribution as a co-author.
The future Also present
current old system for enforcing sharing is was sluggish, non-transparent and of limited scalability. In a heavily prioritised revision of the software, planned for Q4/2007 or Q1/2008, the transparency, speed, accountability and scalability of the system will be increased. Key proposed features:
- Contributors will be able to see and monitor their submissions at all times.
- Contributors can also see other people's submissions, which means they can see roughly how fast things are moving and what the rejection rate and rejection reasons look like. This kind of transparency promotes accountability on Qedoc's part.
- Review decisions will be recorded and visible.
- 3rd parties can appoint themselves as reviewer monitors and use this site for discussion of and appeals against review decisions.
(Finally adopted in Q1 2009 - see recent submissions.)
Still in the future
- Reviewer status will be provided to a wider group of volunteers, depending largely on project commitment and language skills. Reviewers will be accountable both to a board (above) and self-appointed grass-roots monitors (below) and can have decisions reversed or reviewer status suspended or removed.
Why people are reluctant to share
Sharing of educational resources has traditionally been a problem. Factors such as poor categorisation and unclear licencing have played a strong role. But so has a natural reluctance of educators to share. Reluctance to share is based on a number of reasons, all of which Qedoc attempts to address:
- Fear of unprofessional appearance: it's one thing to prepare materials for a class, and another to prepare them for the public. Few teachers enjoy being inspected. The Qedoc software partly addresses this fear by ensuring that materials created are instantly given a smart, professional visual appearance, ergonomy and structure.
- Fear of licencing pitfalls: media resources which may be photocopied and handed around a classroom often wouldn't be acceptable in a publication, and more to the point, teachers may be unclear over their rights and duties as regards integration of 3rd party materials. Qedoc employs a number of strategies to address this problem: a media bank integrated into the software which tracks media permissions closely, so that both you and recipients of your work have clarity; advice offered about media resources; ready-made teacher-friendly licencing schemes.
- Fear of exploitation: the licence types for modules offered by Qedoc, and its adoption of Creative Commons licencing, attempt to provide educators with the kind of protection they are most likely to want.
If you have other reasons for being reluctant to share, please contact Qedoc. Our software and our efforts are heavily directed towards overcoming traditional problems with sharing, and we do this initially by talking to people.
Open source versus open content
Open source software has had something of a buzz attached to it in recent years, and some open source software has educational intent. What is often not understood is that open source and open content are different and may even be opposed. Source means programming code, which most people can't do anything with unless they are programmers. Content means stuff you learn from, like texts, quizzes, lessons, lesson plans, flashcards, pictures, movies, sound clips. Content is useful to everyone, especially learners. It follows that open source is no immediate good to anyone except a programmer while open content is immediately good for everyone.
The difference can also be explained thus:
- Open source = programmatically open.
- Open content = educationally open.
Qedoc does not serve programmers; it serves learners.
Open source proponents theorize that if the source is open, then any programmer can "rip" out the content and effectively open the content as well. To do that, you would need a programmer. However in practice this doesn't work, because the open source software may well run on a server protected by passwords. You can download the programme code ("open source"), but loads of content remains "closed off" behind a myriad of passwords. Even educators within the same institution may be unable to access their colleagues' content.
Qedoc is about open content, not open source. We really want to help people create useful, interactive materials which are open to and immediately usable by everyone.
Unfortunately we know that if we offered our software with an altruistic request to share your materials back, most people wouldn't do this (not just out of meanness, but also embarrassment and a whole host of other reasons), so Qedoc goes a step further and enforces sharing.
- Commercial options
- List of learning modules others have shared
- Open educational resources
- Commercial use of quizzes
- Overview of licences used by Qedoc
- Differences between free and commercial versions
- Appropriate content
- FAQ about free use at qedoc.com
- Guidelines for submission of modules (from qedoc.com)
- Differences between free and paid-for use of the Qedoc software (from qedoc.com)