Open content

This is my novice post for open content.

First of all, I have to get this out of my system. I did not not know that David Wiley was behind a pre-Creative Commons open licensing scheme. I hope one day that I’ll be able to claim that I had a good idea that was poorly executed, and that someone else will got it right for me 😉


Digital content is unlike anything in the world of atoms. Given sufficient bandwidth, access to the same electronic resource can scale up indefinitely, and every single user of that resource gets an exact copy, without any loss due to the copying process.

But the fact that something is digital doesn’t make it open. Openness happens at various degrees, depending on the permissions (on licenses) given by the owner of the intellectual property of the resource.

When discussing openness with faculty members at the University of Delaware, I always refer to the 4Rs. I believe it’s a very powerful concept that’s easy to grasp for newbies. Some examples:

The incompatibility of open licenses for remix purposes

I did not realize that remixing CC-licenses work was so cumbersome… 28% compatibility, really? I found this link from p2pu about the topic. It doesn’t seems as complete as the slide David used in the video, but it gives you an idea…

This seems to me like a real problem with the licensing scheme, but at the same time, for me personally, not that much. I don’t see myself remixing that much, I mostly sequence and point to open resources, so licensing only concerns my own work. I try to use CC-By on all my personal stuff, and CC-By-SA for work stuff, but I now realize that the share alike clause it actually a very big deal, especially for remixing purposes.

Flat World Knowledge

I very much enjoy the work of Flat World Knowledge. I think their business model of having peer-reviewed cannon textbooks available in all those formats is a low-hanging fruit for faculty members to start their journey toward openness.

We do have one adopter of Flat World Knowledge at the University of Delaware. I encourage you to watch the following video of her experience, or the one from the 2012 Winter Faculty Institute.

One criticism that my boss brought up to me regarding Flat World Knowledge is the fact that the text can be edited all the way to the sentence level. It’s hard for students to understand which words are from the cannon textbook versus what the instructor wants to say. I think the product should have a “version comparison” feature to see what was added, moved, and removed from the cannon.

Learning analytics

The example from the Open High School of Utah gave me a better sense of what David means by learning analytics. Being able to track users across open content is a way to detect when students are stuck to offer help on the spot, and a way to collect data to identify friction points, or resources that need to be improved.


One thought on “Open content

  1. Pingback: Claiming my novice badge for #ioe12 | Open Reflections

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