As to a story about my 'favourite OER,' I'm actually slightly reluctant to tell this one lest it be seen as 'tooting my own horn' but hopefully you'll see by the end that the real star of the story is openness and the serendipity it enables.
Probably by far the most popular item I ever posted to my blog was a 'Matrix of Blog Uses in Higher Education' that I developed while facilitating a session quite like this one in 2003. Over the last 6 years it consistently has generated a lot of traffic and citations, and like everything else I publish on my blog was created and shared under a Creative Commons license. But the amount of use and attention it's received is not the reason it's one of my favourite OER stories.
The first remix of the matrix diagram I found was actually the second remix (the first being one by a Dutch blogger that has since vanished). Someone in the UK liked the graphic overhaul that the Dutch blogger had given it (my original was not very eye-catching, to say the least) but needed it in English, so translated that derivation back into English. When I first found this I was overjoyed, as it seemed a clear improvement to me, one I could myself use. Similarly, I was well chuffed to see other translations, first in Italian (I think?) and then Spanish. In all of these cases, no one contacted me first - they didn't need to because of the Creative Commons license I had chosen. In none of the cases was my own use of the resource impinged, and indeed in my eyes the remixes were often improvements.
But the biggest pleasure I took was when someone (who did contact me, after the fact) with skills much greater than my own took the matrix and totally transformed it. Tony Lowe, from a UK-based Academic spin-off called Webducate, wrote me to tell me he had created a Flash-based version of the matrix. You can see by my write up that I was over the moon, that I now had a visually appealing and dynamic version of this static diagram I had originally sketched up in a Word document! For free!
But it didn't stop there; I speculated out loud that a version that allowed new uses to be created on the fly and added to the matrix would be ideal, and almost no sooner had I written those words than Tony delivered another version, this one doing exactly that! While I think the idea of the matrix must have resonated with Tony, he was also developing this to help show off his authoring product, something I was extremely please to help him with. And I got an amazing dynamic version that I could NEVER have created myself. And the rest of the world now got a teaching tool so that if the idea of the matrix resonated, but the specific cases did not, they could easily add their own.
I apologize for the long story, but it feels important to tell it in detail, because people often find it hard to understand the value in giving their stuff away, for free. From my perspective, having published anything I was ever able to give away under an open license (or with an invitation to reuse it) it's the opposite - I have a hard time understanding why you wouldn't want to share! So now maybe you have a little idea of where I come to this issue from, but how about you? Have you ever shared a learning resource you created to see it multiply in ways you could never have anticipated?