Open Educational Resources: January 19 - February 8, 2009

Using Other People's Work

Using Other People's Work

by Scott Leslie -
Number of replies: 11
Going into the end of the first week of this seminar, where we've focused so far on 'Finding and Using OER,' I thought I'd try and turn the discussions to questions of Reuse.

Of the 4R's (Reuse, Redistribute, Revise, Remix) the last 2, which involve creating a derivative work based on the original, seem at once to be the most promising yet also the most contentious. Look around, and the larger media zeitgeist seems to be one of remix and mashups, yet it is not clear that the same can be said of Open Educational Resources - it is hard to find a lot of good examples of educational remizes. Why?

What is stopping you from re-mixing an existing OER for your own uses?

Have you remixed or revised someone else's materials? What was the experience like? Are there things that made it easier, or things you'd recommend others to consider to do to facilitate this for others?

Or do I have this completely wrong; are OERs getting remixed and revised everywhere? Point out your favourite examples to help inspire others.
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Gerry Paille -
Scott, one thing that comes to mind is that is is hard to justify using "open" resources to produce the "closed" resources that many institutions require. In fact, some licensing policies such as share alike may prevent this all together. If I use a CC share alike image from Flickr, does that mean my course must be licensed as such as well? That wouldn't bother me a bit, but I can see it being a deterrent.
In reply to Gerry Paille

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Scott Leslie -
Gerry, yeah, license incompatibility definitely can be a challenge, though my take is that we make far too much out of it, and I'm skeptical that it is the major disincentive. But I'll accept for now that 'Share Alike' (specifically) may cause some folks not to want to reuse existing open content because of the implications it has for them to share any derived works.

But I guess to take it out of the realm of the theoretical, have you ever had occassion to find an OER that was really good, that you wanted to reuse or remix, but didn't because of it's license? I'm really interested to hear specific examples of this. That's been one of my ongoing frustrations around OERs in general, lots of edge cases and theoretical discussions around licensing that don't have actual examples attached to them. Not accusing you of this, but would like to see if we can move past that.
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Gerry Paille -
Not failed to reuse them, but instead we get clearance from the creator for our specific use and ignore the license. I am not sure if that is still the case at TRU since staffing has changed. I picked OERs to use because I speculated that the creator would be more likely to give us permission to use when asked.
In reply to Gerry Paille

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Roger Powley -

Gerry, it depends on the type of licence you are referring to.  If it is a a Creative Commons Licence than it should be quite clear on how you can use the materials based on the type of licence assigned to the materials.  If it is the Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence than you do not need to request permission from the author.  Permission is automatically granted to remix, tweak and build upon the materials in the OER when the author assigns this type of licence to his or her products.  If the licence say No Derivative Works than the must use the materials as they were written.  No remixing or tweaking is allowed.

In reply to Roger Powley

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Barbara Dieu -
No Derivative Work

Would this mean that we are not allowed to use a photo in a ppt presentation with a different title?

What do the words "remix"and "tweak" entail exactly? Any concrete examples?

Where do we draw the line?
In reply to Barbara Dieu

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Roger Powley -

Barbara:  Take a look at this link http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/.  It provides a legal interpretation of the different licence conditions. 

If you used a photo in a PowerPoint presentation, the first question is where did it come from.  All OER materials have either a Creative Commons licence or a unique copyright restrictions based on the institution you downloaded it from.  The safest way to intrepret copyright is to assume (which is legally correct) that everything that is published, be it text, video, audio, photos or graphics automatically is protected by copyright.  The copyright owner must grant you permission to use those materials and may restrict how they are used.  Thus the need for a CC licence since it eliminates the need to always go to the copyright owner before publishing, reusing or re-mixing.

In reply to Roger Powley

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Gerry Paille -
Yes, I understand the types of licenses, I am just conveying the path that TRU used to (and may still do) take. Getting the rights cleared from the creator for a specific use was done to ensure that TRU resources could be published with all rights reserved.
In reply to Gerry Paille

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Roger Powley -

One of the issues that causes traditional univesities grief is that once you include an OER into a course than the course must conform to the Creative Commons licence of the original OER.  Therefore if TRU even re-purposes the content they must make it available (without restrictions) for others to download. Otherwise the institution violates the licencing agreement. 

Now that being said, I am not sure who enforces this policy.  It would be a very difficult task to follow the different re-use/re-mix variations that are based on single OER. 

In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Barbara Dieu -
Ready-made sequences can give me ideas on how to go about things but when creating an instructional sequence , I usually prefer "raw material" or primary sources to make a collage that is adapted to my own context. Then, I post it on the web so that other people can also use it - it would be wonderful if those who used it could pingback, leave a comment on how the activity was carried on or how they have adapted it, but this is very rare.

Have you remixed or revised someone else's materials? What was the experience like?
Most enriching and fun as it is impossible for one person to do or know it all so when you find something that fits your theme or the point you are trying to make, it is just perfect synergy. Brazilian favours an open and free culture of remix: "cannibalism", creolization, baroque, technological appropriation :-)

My students and I have used Flickr CC + quotations on the net to compose environmental posters, presentations, a collection of resources from other sites in an instructional sequence, the headers of a website.

In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Scott Leslie -
This has not totally restored my faith that given access, people *will* remix content, but thought I must point out http://cterfile.ed.uiuc.edu/mahara/view/view.php?id=327, an example of a large number of 'student' remixes (I put that in quotes because it appears as though the students were all themselves instructors as well) that surfaced on Jared Stein's highly recommended blog.
In reply to Scott Leslie

Re: Using Other People's Work

by Gerry Paille -
Barbara, I like that you mention context — I think when creating OERs including the context that they were developed for is import. When the remix occurs, then the new context should be describes as well. Including activities, assignments, and assessment criteria and rubrics is also a real bonus and can help with setting the context.