Thursday, February 2, 2012

Open Content Summary

For the OER class we watched a brief video from Dr. Wiley on Open Content licensing and the moral foundations for making learning artifacts open and available to learners.  The history of the OCL license developed by Dr. Wiley, and then the subsequent revisions of the licenses showed the growth and acceptance of the concept of openness in education.  The emergence of Nupedia which was the forerunner of Wikipedia followed the concept of open licensing educational content.

I asked Dr. Wiley what he felt was most important to take away from the open content discussion and he said that understanding the "four Rs" in the OPL was important.  The four Rs define different layers of licensing rights that the rights holder can use when licensing the content. The four Rs are reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.  Each of the Rs allow increasing rights to licensees to modify and distribute the licensed content.

The first R, reuse, allows the user to make copies of the licensed content and allows reuse in its unaltered, verbatim form..

The second R, revise, allows the user to make revisions by adapting. adjusting, modifying, or altering the content (such as translation to another language).

The third R, remix, allows the user to mix the original content with other content to create something new (like a mashup).

The fourth R, redistribute, allows the user to share copies of the content with revisions and remixes with others.

My feeling is that there is a moral foundation that would promote the use of open publication licenses so that learning is made available to students around the world.  This foundation is supported by the limited costs to publish and provide access to the publications with today's technology.  It is further supported by the fact that knowledge is nonrivalrous which allows the content creator to share that content, or knowledge, without losing the knowledge that I have gained.  The sharing of content that results in learning is a noble effort that advances all mankind.


  1. The thing that is most frequently overlooked by people when they first learn about OER is the difference / nuance between revise and remix. After our class discussions and what you've read is it clear why there are 4Rs and not just 3? In other words, why aren't revise and remix both contained in a category with one name or the other?

    1. I think that the main difference is in the content that exists following the completion of the revision or remixing. It is my understanding that the revision is taking the same content and revising it for communication through a different language or medium. The content is exactly the same, it is just revised to be effectively communicated through the means that required its revision.

      Remixing on the other hand results in a product at the end of the activity that adds additional content, incorporating the original content into some new aggregated product. So the content after remixing differs from the original content.