Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A thought on the "Four Rs" of the OPL

Dr. Wiley commented on my previous post about open content and asked a question about the "Four Rs."  He asked:
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?
I have thought about this question as I have reviewed the materials a third time.  My best answer to his question about the difference between revise and remix is that I think 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.


  1. Hi Darin,

    That would be my interpretation as well.

    If the resulting work would be a new version of the work (version 2.3, for instance), then it is simply an improvement of the core work.

    If the work produced is something else, it would be like branching out, if I may use a programming analogy. In that case, the work would become a "Something else version 1.0". Does that make sense?


    1. Thanks Mathieu. It does make sense. I appreciated your reference to versioning or branching in programming.

      Thanks for the response. It helps to know if others agree that your thinking is properly aligned.

  2. Darin,

    The legal difference between revision and remixing is whether or not you need to consider license compatibility issues. With revision, you are tinkering around inside a single bit of content. With remix, you are putting two or more bits of content together as one. These two bits of content may or may not have compatible licenses. When remixing, you have to pay attention to viral copyleft requirements like the CC licenses' SA term. With revision this is never a concern.